Preparing to be prepared

being preparedWhen his truck’s gas tank nears half full, my father-in-law can’t rest until he finds a gas station to fill the tank again. He likes a full tank of gas.

I’ll admit I’ve teased him about this obsession for years — even as I’ve prayed myself to a gas station many times while driving on fumes.

He likes to be prepared and knows what it is like to be on alert for a mandatory hurricane evacuation out of South Florida. A full tank of gas can change everything for the better in the midst of trying to flee north on I-95 with thousands of other cars.

I’m guessing that most Alabamians and north Georgia residents have a different perspective about a full tank of gas and other emergency supplies since the Jan. 28 weather catastrophe. I know I do.

It seems that everywhere I go, someone is talking about how he or she has put together an emergency kit for the car, is now leaving extra toiletries and clothes at the office or has worked out a new work-from-home plan when bad weather is predicted.

It is smart to learn from difficult experiences and develop plans for similar issues that might happen in the future. We now have firsthand experience of what is needed to be prepared, at least to some degree, and we certainly should not be taken off guard again.

But I wonder how long the memory will last and how prepared we will stay.

Staying up-to-date

Will our emergency kits be up-to-date a year from now? How about two years from now, especially if we don’t have to use the kits in the next two years?

Think about your first-aid kit or other emergency kit you once put together. Do you know where it is? Have you replenished its supplies lately? Are there fresh batteries in it? Will the kit work if there is a true emergency?

And while this year’s extreme level of winter weather for Alabama has given us plenty of time to think about being prepared, we also can plan to freshen up our kits annually around this time.

After all, February is now Disaster Preparedness Month for Alabama Baptists. It not only is a great time to review our personal emergency plans, but it also is a good time for churches to host activities for church members and the community related to the theme.

Disaster Relief funds

Church leaders might also use the annual observance as a time to review their disaster plans and appoint a few members of the congregation to serve as point people for any disaster-related situation that might occur.

Two good websites about this topic are www.sbdr.org and ready.gov.

Be sure to check out the annual Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) offering resources at the sbdr.org site as well.

A $1 offering from every Alabama Baptist church member once a year would allow DR officials to maintain and upgrade necessary equipment in an ongoing fashion and allow them to respond immediately to a disaster rather than having to wait for funds to come in after a situation arises.

It also is a good time to consider signing up as a disaster relief volunteer. There are several ways you can serve, and the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions provides training opportunities throughout the state. The sbdr.org website is the best place to start. You also can call 1-800-264-1225 and ask for Mel Johnson. Be sure to tell him I suggested you call. I need all the brownie points I can get!

No matter what is right for you, your family and your church, at least think through a few aspects of being prepared for the “what ifs.” It will relieve a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.

—Jennifer Davis Rash

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This entry was posted in Snapshots of life, Snapshots of The Alabama Baptist, Snapshots of the season and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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