Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us
by Dave Robinson
Originally published October 25, 2012
Until now my focus has been on family and home preparedness. And while I still believe that should be the individual priority, I am equally convinced that whatever service club or church organization with which you are involved should also be prepared to meet needs when necessary. Historically when a disaster or traumatic event strikes, church attendance swells. It seems to be a pattern anytime there is a crisis, people tend to look to a higher power for stability and comfort. There’s not a church in the country that doesn’t want to be known as the place that met the needs of its community when disaster happened. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that families need to stock up. Get a kit, make a plan, and be informed, are very viable and essential for home preparedness.
Seven years ago when two major hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast, more than 40,000 refugees fled to the city of Austin, Texas. Several pastors showed up at shelters only to be turned away because they were neither trained nor had any qualifications to deal with the situation. Since then the Red Cross (upon request) has provided training to thousands of pastors and church members in their city. As a result, Austin is now one of the most ready cities in America. To date members of the Austin Disaster Relief Network have been called upon to respond to floods and fires in the surrounding area. Some were even sent to Joplin, Missouri, to assist following the devastating tornado in that area last year.
Many churches in our region already have some food supplies on hand, some are operating their own mini food bank and most have a commercial-grade kitchen. Moving ahead with an expanded disaster plan, including increasing supplies on hand, would be a small step toward making a big difference. And while you’re at it, how about compiling a skills inventory of your group. Who has medical experience? Is there a nurse or doctor in your group? Does anyone have skills in working with children? How about counseling? Maybe a team of musicians that don’t need electricity to make music. You get the idea. If this sounds familiar, it should. Your church or service club is a microcosm of the community and it may be every bit as important to map your group, as it is to map your neighborhood.
The next time your service club or church has a planning session, show them a copy of this column. When all the lights in the neighborhood are out except for the Coleman lantern in your gathering place, people will naturally be drawn to you. If there is a pot of soup on the propane stove and some coffee going, you might just make an impression on someone. You could save lives. Food for thought...
As always send your comments and question to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Dave Robinson is Bandon's Postmaster and has worked for the postal service for 30 years. He has a background in law enforcement, served in the Air Force in Vietnam, worked nine years for the Coos County Sheriff's Department, and serves on the Myrtle Point School Board, where he lives.
additional columns by Dave Robinson