It's one of those things that we think will never happen to us. With the images of Hurricane Isabel battering the East Coast still clear in our minds we still always think that the natural disasters or catastrophic events will hit some other area or some other country.
And now, since 9-11, communities are scrambling to become prepared. Prepared for whatever - natural emergencies, terror attacks, community crisis. Homeland security groups are busy at work in every corner of the country.
We never expect these things to happen in our community but deep down I think we all realize that we must be prepared. The difficult thing here is prepared for what?
Even though we live in an area that seems safe from typhoons or cyclones, memories of the occasional hurricane , earthquake, fires or mining disasters all are very clear to those people who endured these over the years.
I was at a public meeting a few weeks ago and remember someone stating the fact that if we knew all the chemicals that were being transported by trains or trucks through our community during the middle of the night we wouldn't be able to sleep. True or not, we must realize that one train derailment, a major accident in the canyon, or an unexpected flash flood could happen at any time and leave us scrambling like the folks back east. Even if we are prepared there will be a time of reconstruction.
I have to admit that I have not been very prepared nor have I been exposed to any significant disasters. But just as I say this I am reminded of the night in Klamath Falls, Ore. when a 6.9 earthquake struck the community. I was absolutely unprepared, not only for what was to follow but for my safety during the quake. When the first jolt hit at about 8:30 p.m. in mid-September 1992, I was attending a meeting on the third floor of a church. Rather than crawl under a table or get between a door frame I scramble out of the building onto the lawn and watch in disbelief as building crumpled and windows smashed throughout the downtown area. I returned home to a living room of broken glass and fallen shelves when the second quake struck. Again, without knowing I ran outside as one of my electrical wires danced in my backyard, still live.
I have since read up on what to do in an earthquake and how to protect myself.
I have been attending the emergency preparedness meetings, sponsored by Price City. The group, under the direction of Joyce Daniels, has been meeting and discussing all aspects of preparedness for months now. The next step is to hold a community fair Thursday, October 9 at the new Ascension St. Matthew's Church.
The work that is being done is often common sense procedures, but still ones that unless we take the time to get prepared and to understand what we need to do ahead of time we could be in trouble should a disaster strike.
It's things like getting water, food, towels, money and a radio ready ahead of time. It's having a plan should disaster strike during the day, especially if one or both parents are working in different communities and the children are in another town. It's knowing what to do with your pets. It's making sure you and your family will be safe for at least 72 hours in case something happens. It's knowing things like never calling 911 for information, but to tune into the local radio for evacuation plans.
The Community Fair, being planned in October will have over 30 booths, which will include vendors and informational brochures which will help assist people understand the importance of being prepared.