• American Red Cross: Click “disaster services” (on left side), then “disaster safety.” Choose from the following: blackouts, chemical emergencies, drought, earthquakes, fires, floods, heat waves, hurricanes, mudslides, terrorism, thunderstorms, tornadoes, tsunami, volcanoes, wildfires or winter storms.
• Ready.gov: Disasters listed individually, FEMA for kids and other links.
• Your city’s Web site: Check under emergency services, emergency management or emergency preparedness.
Readiness begins at home
• Change your smoke detector batteries on a regular schedule.
• Store at least three gallons of water per person.
• Create a fire safety/disaster plan for your family. Identify an out-of-town contact and practice your fire-escape routes (and “duck, cover and hold” drills).
• Store first-aid and emergency supplies in a portable tub.
• Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes near your bed.
The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and other
weather-related disasters reminds us that the scouting adage is so
right: Be prepared. That goes for congregations as well.
Any crisis that makes roads impassable may create an interruption in utilities that could prevent repair crews from reaching your area for days. How prepared is your congregation to handle emergencies—whether it’s a natural disaster or a kitchen fire during a Sunday potluck?
It took the 6.8 Nisqually Earthquake in Seattle six years ago to prompt Faith Lutheran’s education committee to consider preparedness in the church.
When the quake anniversary rolls around each February, Faith concentrates on another aspect of fire and earthquake safety. First-aid backpacks hang by each exit door and bright red notebooks that instruct what to do in an earthquake are in every room. (A white notebook is even within reach of the pastor in the sanctuary.) Members practiced “duck, cover and hold” during worship and staged a fire drill during Sunday school.
Faith holds Red Cross First Aid and CPR classes and informational safety and preparedness brochures are part of the educational efforts in February.
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© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers