Earthquake! Hurricane! Fire! Flood! Tsunami! Tornado! Violent people!
Disaster: a large emergency that overwhelms first responders (firefighters, ambulances, EMTs, police, hospitals) and emergency services such that help cannot reach residents for several days or longer. We must prepare to take care of ourselves and be on our own, without government resources, during this time.
Calamity: when too many people are not prepared for a disaster.
Government studies and post-disaster data analysis have shown that when disaster strikes fewer lives are lost, fewer injuries occur, and recovery is faster for those who have done basic planning and preparation in advance of the disaster. This applies across-the-board to individuals, families, neighborhoods, schools, churches, and workplaces.
During the past year, I attended a variety of training seminars sponsored by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) LA County, and the cities of Pasadena and Los Angeles. I was surprised that seminar attendees were from a variety of churches, synagogues, and mosques.
A survey by FEMA found that 57% of U.S. residents consider themselves participants in a faith-based community or a house of worship. Common characteristics are that we participants network and communicate with each other, care about each other, and we offer to help without being asked.
In 2014, somewhere in some government agency someone mused, “We could save lives and reduce injury for 57% of our citizens if we asked houses of worship and faith-based communities to get their people planning and preparing for disasters. We can produce beautiful, effective websites with pictures, lists, plans, and make all resources widely available through the internet free of charge.” And so it is!
The newly formed NUUC Safety Team is charged with helping our church community revisit, learn, revise and put disaster plans into place at home and wherever we congregate. The buck starts here with Calif. Earthquake Preparation Month. You can find more Safety Team resources HERE and in our weekly electronic bulletin.
No internet? No problem! Look for paper information and brochures at the Safety Team table in the patio September 11th through October 2nd.
After all, caring communities keep each other safe.
Jan McCreery, Safety Team Leader