Monday, May 3, 2010

Diocesan Preparedness Month: Why Prepare?

Here at TEDRD, I'm sometimes referred to as the "preparedness diva." And for good reason. Preparedness isn't just my job; it's my mission.

Of course, I understand that not everyone is as passionate about preparedness as I am. Some don't see the need in preparing for things that "probably won't happen anyway."  Unfortunately, disasters typically come when we least expect them, and they don't strike only the prepared.

So why prepare? Here are a few reasons:

We live in Texas. There might be a handful of low-risk states in the U.S., but Texas is definitely not one of them. In 2008 alone, three hurricanes hit our coast. Two of our major cities (Austin and Houston) are prone to flooding, sometimes to devastating levels. And that's just a start; we haven't even begun to talk about tornadoes, fires, chemicals leaks or explosions, and even the occasional earthquake. Disasters can be regional (like tornadoes) or local (like fires). We may have warning (as with hurricanes) or they may occur suddenly (as with chemical explosions).

Preparedness reduces fear and anxiety. Sure, there's no way to be fully prepared for every event; things will always happen that we don't expect. However, having a plan in place gives us a solid starting point, direction and the peace of mind of knowing we've done everything we can. Plus, in many situations, we may find that our advance preparation is enough. Those food stores set aside will come in handy for sheltering-in-place. And the evacuation kit we stash in a closet by the door will save valuable time, possibly getting us on the road ahead of the crowd. Anybody who has been through an evacuation knows that getting caught in a flood of evacuees is a disaster in itself.

Preparedness can reduce damage or losses to your person or your belongings. Knowing each escape route in your home, for example, can help us to get away from a fire safely. Keeping trees and shrubs pruned prevents dead branches from becoming missiles in a tornado or other windstorm. Preparedness can be as simple as building or buying a home outside a flood zone, or as detailed as storing plastic cut to fit each window in our homes. The steps each of us take will depend on the risks specific to our communities.

For more information, visit "Why Prepare?" a resource of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

You may have other reasons to prepare for emergencies, depending on your family or situation. Check back with us all month long for resources, information, and tips to get you there.

Plus, if you have a story of how being prepared worked for you, we want to hear about it. Email me at!

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