Prepare for Hurricanes, so you can be a blessing to others

The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins tomorrow. Time to get ready. A tornado hits unexpectedly, but thanks to Doppler radar and satellite imagery, we see hurricanes coming a long way off. We can be prepared, and should be.

After a recent hurricane, Assistant to the Bishop Peggy Hahn and I rode around. Most churches were shut down. However, a few were out passing out water, helping people muck out, and serving their community quite visibly. I thought, Given the choice, I’d like to be one of those churches on top of things.

What would it take?

Preparation. Whether you want to be a household that is prepared to help others in need, or a congregation that is prepared to help others in need, you’ll need to get ready. After a hurricane, your family is your first ministry. Once they are set, you can help others. So, make sure you have enough supplies that your family is cared for.

After a disaster, you are pretty much on your own the first 24 hours. You can be on your own for as much as 72 hours. It takes time for services to ramp up. So be prepared. Peggy Hahn and Chris Lake rolled out the 72-Hour Lutheran at Synod Assembly last week. Here you go…

What is a 72-hour Lutheran?

A 72-hour Lutheran is a person who happens to be Lutheran and has 72 hours of supplies in their home so that they are able to take care of their own basic needs for 72 hours. Why this amount of time? If we here in the Gulf Coast are hit by a hurricane, it takes a majority of governmental, state and private entities to respond to a disaster. The goal in our synod is to have a majority of our people prepared at the basic level by creating 72-hour Lutherans which in turn leads naturally to the creation of 72-hour congregations who are able to take care of their own needs so that they will be available to respond to the needs of others. Below you will see a modified list from the NOAA.GOV website. A fuller list can be found at the http://tinyurl.com/fullhlist, but if you just want the bare minimum to become a 72-hour Lutheran use the following:

Basic 72-Hour Lutheran List

1. Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind. Locate a safe room or the
safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. In certain circumstances, the safest areas may not be your home but within your community.

2. If necessary, determine an escape route from your home and designate places to meet. (Note: these should be measured in tens of miles, rather than hundreds of miles.) Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact so all your family members have a single point of contact.

3. Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.

4. Call the church and make sure that they have all your information.

5. Stock up on non-perishable emergency supplies and create a disaster supply kit.

Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days

Non-perishable packaged or canned food – at least enough for 3 to 7 days
Juices
Snack foods
Foods for infants or the elderly
Cooking tools
Non-electric can opener
Fuel
Paper plates / plastic utensils
First aid kit
Medicines
Prescription drugs
Toiletries
Hygiene items

Moisture wipes
Flashlight / Batteries
Radio – Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
Telephones
Fully charged cell phone with extra battery
A traditional (not cordless) telephone set
Cash (with some small bills) (credit cards, banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods)
Extra keys
Tools – keep a set with you during the storm
Vehicle fuel tanks –kept filled
Pet care items
Proper identification
Immunization records
Medications