By Jim Truitt | Image by Jesse N. Love
The world has suffered many natural disasters over the last two years from typhoons in the Philippines, to wildfires in California and Washington, to seven feet of snow in Buffalo, and the Oso Mudslide. Now, two magnitude 7+ earthquakes have hit Nepal in less than three weeks. Each of these events has had a devastating affect on those who live in their path.
What can I do to prepare my family for the next natural disaster that hits where we live? (Ref: www.ready.gov)
Know what the greatest risks are for where you live. In the Pacific Northwest, the most frequent threats are floods, wildfires, earthquakes, and windstorms. Know what to do and where to go in each case.
MAKE A PLAN
Make a plan for you and your family and ensure each member of the family knows what the plan is. Don’t forget your pets.
BUILD A SURVIVAL KIT
You may have to survive on your own without electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and phone service or transportation for an extended period of time. Most agencies recommend you have enough food, water and supplies to last three days. Experience from hurricane Sandy, and tornadoes in the mid-west indicates that should be more like ten days.
What can I do to help those affected by the event? Preparation is the best first step. Get involved with your neighborhood, community, and church.
Train to become a member of your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). (Ref: www.fema.gov/community-em) Learn about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact your area. Learn basic disaster response skills to assist others in your neighborhood or workplace.
PUT TRAINING TO GOOD USE
Attend a session of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Connecting Neighbors training. Learn how your church can provide support to its congregation and the surrounding community in the event of a disaster. Put the training to use by developing a plan for how your church will respond following an event.
JOIN AN EARLY RESPONSE TEAM
Become an Early Response Team (ERT) member and how to properly provide support to make a survivor’s home safe, sanitary, and secure and to prevent further damage following an event.
Work through your Conference’s Volunteer Coordinator to join other volunteers in the long-term recovery efforts to rebuild after an event.
PROVIDE SPIRITUAL & EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
Take the United Methodist Spiritual and Emotion Care training to learn how to effectively provide spiritual and emotion support as part of your work with Volunteers In Mission (VIM) teams.
The question is “When?” not “If” a disaster strikes. Will you be prepared?
A joint Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conference ERT Basic and Refresher, Spiritual and Emotional Care, and VIM Team leader training will be held.
July 11th from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Tigard United Methodist Church
9845 SW Walnut Pl, Portland, OR
Register now! http://bit.ly/ert-training
Jim Truitt serves as the Co-Coordinator for UMVIM, Early Response Teams.