Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Season

We're back from Thanksgiving and working hard again. Our jobs feel even more important during this time of the year as our homeowners long to be home with family during the holidays.

We have just a couple more months left in our project which has been so instrumental in helping over 150 homeowners. We want to help as many people as possible before our grand exit at the end of January. Can you donate today to help us finish strong?

Donate here

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hurricane Season Ending, But...

By Carolyn Jo Gibbs

Residents of the Gulf Coast can certainly be grateful for one thing this Thanksgiving: the end of another hurricane season. And while the 2010 Atlantic storm season lived up to the foreboding predictions of experts, with 19 named storms and12 hurricanes (five of which were classified as “major”), most of us never got a chance to utilize the plans and preparations we put into place last spring.

Yet as we breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to the holidays, our opportunity to prepare for emergencies presses on. The end of hurricane season marks the beginning of winter in Texas, with its occasional freezing temperatures, ice storms, and even a snowflake or two. These events, standard procedure for other areas of the country, can be devastating here, where many communities lack the systems and knowledge to adequately respond.

Additionally, as furnaces burst to life to ward off the chill and as we gather together indoors to enjoy their warmth, the likelihood of fires and illness increase. Not to mention those events that can affect communities at any time of the year: technological outages, transportation disasters, and chemical spills, to name a few.

With all this to consider, it seems that the work of a prepared person is never really done. As one threat passes behind us, others stand ready to take its place, each requiring unique action. No matter what the season, the beginning steps to becoming prepared are the same: examine your risks, find out how to prepare for them, create a plan, and review it often.

We can even use these varying risks to our advantage. To prepare for everything, all at once, would prove a daunting and expensive task; when we turn preparedness into a year-round activity, it becomes more manageable.

Preparing for winter weather, for example, might involve keeping our fuel tanks more than 25% full, having adequate food and medicine stored at home in case we are unable to travel for necessities, keeping flashlights, candles, and warm blankets ready for power outages, and testing fire alarms throughout your home and church.

Many of these tasks might have already been completed as we considered other risks such as hurricanes or chemical disasters, though food, bottled water, and other items with expiration dates should be checked regularly to ensure that they are usable.

Whether your goal is to build an emergency kit from scratch or to restock, consider making a list, and then picking up a couple of items each time you make a regular trip to the store. Test fire and emergency exits each time you clean, and gather flashlights and candles in locations easy to find without the aid of electricity.

Preparedness requires thinking ahead, not only to our immediate threats, but those that could happen even months down the road. Yet when we make preparedness part of our regular routine, we won’t be caught off guard. And that’s just one more thing to be thankful for.

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