Read these passages. Here is something I felt I needed to share from someone who lived through a Tornado and the terrible ordeals with rebuilding and reshaping his community...
Pick Your Poison
Tornado season is in full swing. As soon as this ends, it will be hurricane season along the gulf coast and eastern seaboard. If you live in the west, wildfires are ever present many months of the year. Those on the extreme left coast have the potential for their town to fall off into the ocean one day due to earthquakes. Midwesterners and those in the river regions have to be prepared for floods and tornadoes. All of us risk house fire. SO, no matter where you live there is a risk you may one day experience a catastrophic event. Pick your poison.
People in my community learned these lessons the hard way, by experience. My community was impacted by one of the worst tornadoes in history. Several perished. No one expects the worst, but it can and does happen. Imagine teenagers recently orphaned trying to piece together their parent’s financial lives with the help of distant relatives when everything is a smoking ruin or has been blown into the next county. I write this in the hope I can save one person from the heartbreak and issues that come along if they experience such disaster.
Should one of the unfortunate events occur, there are several simple steps you can take to make recovery less painful
- Inventory and document your personal property. Update regularly. In our community, several lost all family members and distant relatives were the only survivors. They had no clue what the family owned.
- Have a plan. Including escape routes and a meeting place should you get separated.
- Make sure family members know the plan. Practice it.
- Store your emergency relief supplies flashlights candles etc., in more than one place. Replace batteries every 6 months.
- Put $100.00 and a few blank checks in your billfold, purse. Forget it is there. We were without power for 14 days. Cash is the ONLY negotiable instrument.
- Make copies of your important papers
- Keep the Originals offsite in a secure place.
- One copy in a lockbox in your home.
- One NOT in the community you reside. See #1 above some towns lost their bank. I personally have no medical records the Doctor’s office and all the records no longer exist.
- Make sure a trusted friend or relative with whom you do not travel, visit frequently or live near you has a copy or knows how to access these documents.
- Have a WORKING battery operated radio and weather radio. Or two.
- If there is a warning of a severe weather event, emergency situation. Be fully clothed including a light jacket/ raincoat, long pants, sleeved shirt and socks. No open toed shoes. You can always take something off after the event. Many had only the clothes in their back while waiting for relief. If it is not on your body during the event, the article may no longer exist or be usable.
- It takes time to set up relief and authorities may not allow them to set up for several days until rescue and recovery is complete.
- Have your car keys and billfold or purse on your person. If it is in the next room it may be 100 miles away or destroyed beyond recognition. God spared you not your possessions
- BE PATIENT, it will get better.
What they Don’t Need
My heart goes out to those in Oklahoma. Residents and family of the affected communities have a journey; one none of them planned for or want to embark on. Nevertheless, those families and communities affected will complete the journey. In time.
I know what they are going through and I can tell you a few things about what is going on in Oklahoma right now. On April 27th 2011 northwest Alabama was impacted by an EF-5 tornado. When the Northwest Alabama monster was over there was a 132 mile scar on the earth and more than 200 people had perished. I lived in one of those communities in Northwest Alabama. I did not lose any family members and my home was one of 12 spared in our community of 1000 people. We all lost loved ones, neighbors and friends.
And I can tell you what they need and don’t need in Oklahoma right now.
My observations are not based on the news reports or pictures from the media. The pictures you see do not do the devastation justice. There is no way to portray this accurately. Few manmade structures, nor the human body are made to survive the forces of an EF-5. The damage in most cases is complete and irreparable.
- First of all the people of Oklahoma need our prayers. Nuff said.
- They need to bury their loved ones and grieve, while starting to piece together what used to be their lives.
- They need donations to faith based groups. All denominations of churches, the Red Cross and Salvation Army, These groups are already set up and will be serving meals to first responders and those affected by noon today if not already. By tomorrow their efforts will be coordinated and they will be working together. The faith based groups will be there for months. In most cases you can designate your contribution to that area or disaster.
- They need you to STAY AWAY. This is a rescue and recovery operation for several days. Local volunteers and first responders can more than handle these efforts. Too many people get in the way.
- They don’t care what is being said by the media. Essential services are non-existent, can’t hear it anyway. In the weeks to come they don’t want to hear what if. Meteorologists save lives, PERIOD. The government works slowly but they do work to provide assistance and aid. And no it won’t be perfect. Nothing ever is. They also appreciate the military protecting the rubble that used to be their homes and lives and yes the guns are comforting.
- By next week they will need volunteers with gloves a hard hat and willing hands. There will be a central place to direct you to the area most in need and task you are most suited for. The hard hat may be a requirement to participate in the clean-up.
- If you are too distant, someone or organizations near you are sending assistance. Help them collect, sort, catalog the items, load the truck, etc.
- Many faith based groups have disaster rebuilding teams. Skilled craftsmen assist in rebuilding the destroyed homes at no charge. Two of these groups were in our community for 16 months and helped rebuild more than 40 homes. While the craftsmen work free but these groups still need money to complete their mission.
- There will be stories of survival and grief. A child will be found safe and unharmed. Rejoice with them. A parent will struggle to survive and succumb to their injuries. Grieve with Them.
Every donation and goodwill gesture will be appreciated. Anything you do will help these communities to recover.