Ready or Not #67: Fire and Destruction

I don’t even have to turn on the news any more to know that there are a lot of people that have lost friends, family, houses and more because of all of the different fires periodically rage through our state.  People have had to leave their homes and in some cases leave everything they own behind.  They will come back to a lot of smoke damage and in some cases, loss of property.

If I did turn on the news, I would hear about flooding, an earthquake here, a tornado there, and a variety of other calamities and mass destruction.  The question that I have is: how much longer will we be protected in our safe little corner of the world and what trials will we eventually have to face?  Personally?  As a family?  As a community?

I was talking to a gentleman today that owned a house that was involved in a mudslide a few years ago who lives north of where I live.  He said that when the mud started coming down that he had just moments to leave and save himself and his family.  Several neighborhoods were affected and everyone had to leave their homes.  They ended up living in a local church for about two weeks and sleeping on cots at night.  He was disappointed with the response from the city because there was a lot of confusion and disorganization.  The only sense of organization came from his local church leaders.

Are you ready to help your community in a disaster?  Are you practicing emergency principles in CERT and other emergency organizations in your city?  If not, go to your city leaders and ask what you can do.  Don’t take on the attitude of “What is somebody else going to do to take care of me during a disaster!”  Instead, go out and be pro-active about becoming part of a very much-needed solution for a “gonna’-happen-someday” problem.

The second observation that he made was the reaction of his neighbors and people who lived in the area that was affected.  People that he thought were good, upstanding, law-abiding citizens changed to people that would try to circumvent the law and instigate contentious situations out of frustration and anger.  Let’s just say that there was rioting in the streets and downright destructive type attitudes.  The police had cordoned off the neighborhoods and wouldn’t let anyone back into their houses.  Some people got very abusive and were screaming and fighting with the police while trying to cross the barricades.  Others were sneaking past the police and entering unsafe houses that had been pushed off of their foundations. Unsafe, illegal and very disappointing.

One thing that has been observed about people and human nature is that whatever they are, they become more of IT when under stress.  I’m not talking about our personalities that we want people to see, but our true personalities – what we keep in check inside.  Novice complainers turn pro, nervous Nellie’s become hysterical and those who are practical become useful. Or, for some of you, you will find a quiet strength that you never knew you had and help in ways that you didn’t know you were capable of.

All of us are going to go through tough times in our individual communities one of these days.  After all, we can’t be isolated from hard things forever.  Because I live in Utah, it will most likely be an earthquake.  Get your water stored.  Get your under-the-bed kits made; get your 72-hour kits completed.  Gather your important documents together.  Go over your emergency plans with your family; get your out-of-area contact in order.  Make sure that the person you have chosen as a contact knows what their role as a contact person is.

Yes, you can push your luck and hope that you won’t be around when something happens. And, lucky you if you aren’t. But it is still your responsibility to teach those around you how to take charge of their own salvation when you aren’t there to help them – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Instead of pushing your luck, make your own luck and get prepared.

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