Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Be Prepared

This past weekend will long be remembered in the Saint Louis area -- particularly by those living near the airport when the tornado hit. The terminal's architecture didn't stand a chance against the storm's fierce blasts. Twisted metal, broken glass and open sky where a roof should be -- all attested to the power of 100-mile-per-hour winds as they slammed into the structure. But the airport wasn't the only property damaged. Hundreds of homes and businesses suffered structural damage and, in some cases, complete destruction. Worship was suspended at Good Friday services in many area churches as parishioners headed for structurally safer areas. One congregation emerged from its shelter only to find the roof of its building had vanished. But St. Louis was only one affected area in the country. Violent weather, pounding rains, lightning, hail and strong winds buffeted states from Texas northward. In the process it spawned tornadoes and property destruction across several Midwestern locations.

Unfortunately last week's storms may be merely a nasty preview of damage that spring floods may bring as snow melt and fresh rains swell streams and rivers beyond their banks and levies. As bad as the destruction from this past weekend's storms was, the costs pale in comparison to losses incurred from the Japanese tsunami and the Haitian earthquake.

We have experienced a very interesting weather pattern this past winter and spring with record levels of snow, rain and storms wreaking havoc on people and property across the country. So, it may not be a question of "if" but rather a question of "when" will a disaster impact you and your loved ones? Sometimes we have a few minutes' warning before bad weather hits. Sometimes we don't know about it at all. Either way, we -- and our property -- are vulnerable.

Are you prepared?

We hope so. There is great value in regularly reviewing your disaster plans with your family. This instruction includes everything from having easily accessible contact info for family members and emergency personnel to knowing where to meet in the event of a disaster. It includes having a pre-made "go bag" on hand filled with essential supplies, and it means family members can find critical information immediately when it is needed.

You can find information for disaster preparation from many sources including www.ready.gov, www.redcross.org, and others.

Men, your emergency preparations for your family can mean life or death in a disaster. It is also important your family can operate in a self-sufficient manner should you not be there to provide the leadership they need.

As one of those parishioners who had to find shelter during the church service last Friday, it was a relief to know preparations were in place to provide for our safety.

Men, how prepared is your family for an emergency?

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