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Resolve to be prepared this year

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Typhoon Haiyan occurred in November of 2013. Two months later, many people are still living in temporary shelters. Over 6,000 people were killed during the typhoon and another 1,779 remain missing, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and its church partners in the Philippines are working to provide shelter assistance to 1,000 families left without habitable homes. They are also providing food parcels, medicine, emergency first aid for the sick and wounded, and water purification tablets to improve access to safe water for drinking and cooking. The need for emergency hygiene kits is continues to grow. Instructions on organizing a kit assembly drive can be found on the IOCC website at www.iocc.org/kits.

Being prepared is more than just having enough water per person for three days or having a family communications plan. While these are both important, in the event of a major disaster like Typhoon Haiyan or Hurricane Katrina here in the States, preparation needs to consider the long term issues, needs and effects.

The federal government was slow to respond when Hurricane Katrina hit, leaving millions homeless. Local emergency crews were quickly overwhelmed. Many people were left to fend for themselves.

Lancaster is pretty safe geographically from most major natural disaster. That said, Lancaster does regularly see floods, winter freezes and ice storms. According to the Lancaster County Historical Society, the Susquehanna River, which borders Lancaster County on the West, floods on average once every 20 years. The Susquehanna Flood Forecast and Warning System claims the River floods every 15 years. Hurricane Agnes in June 1972 claimed over 50 lives in Pennsylvania and was financially crippling. It was, for many years, “the storm”. Then, in 1996 Pennsylvania rivers experienced major flooding throughout the State. In addition blocks of ice broke free from northern regions and made their way south. The ice jams caused localized flooding along the Susquehanna River.

Prepare for municipal water service not working, power outages, a lack of fuel for cars and for grills, and depleted grocery stores. Water is key for survival. If you have the room, you could store water. Often though you may have to disinfect and purify water to safely drink. Food prices are on the rise. Stock up when they are on sale. Dried foods last long. Non perishables are great to stock up on when the items are on sale. Depending on you dietary requirements depend on what you may want to stock up on.

In a long term situation, you must also think about preparations to defend your family and home. In dire circumstances, or an economic crash, people will get desperate and do whatever it takes to feed themselves and their families. Be able to secure your house.

First aid supplies should also be on your stock up list. Remember your pets. Stock up of pet foods and, for cat owners, litter. Batteries and emergency candles are helpful. Batteries will be useful for flashlights and battery powered radios.

Being prepared is not winging it. It is not simply having a plan. Put the plan in motion. Stock what you can now. An emergency could be a natural disaster, an act of terrorism, an economic crash or an accident.

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