Hurricane Ready!

Hurricane Ready!Hurricane season is upon us. Are you prepared? In South Florida many churches stand ready to help with disaster response, but the best response to a hurricane is for each individual to have a plan set in place in advance.

When anticipating a hurricane, listen to a weather radio station for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). The Red Cross offers the following steps to keep in mind when preparing for a severe storm:

Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture, potted plants, etc.).

Close your windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.

Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting. Keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.

Turn off propane tanks.

Unplug small appliances.

Fill your car’s gas tank and keep extra on hand if possible.

Obey evacuation orders. Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. (redcross.org/prepare/disaster/hurricane)

Supply list

It is always good to have a basic disaster supplies kit ready to go in case of emergencies. Be sure to keep a list of emergency contact information in a visible location. When preparing specifically for a hurricane, here are some items your family will find essential: water—at least 1 gallon daily, per person, for 3 to 7 days; food—non-perishables for at least for 3 to 7 days; linens and clothing; first-aid kit; any special items for babies and elderly; toiletries; flashlights and batteries; radio; telephones; cash; personal keys; entertainment such as books, cards, games, etc.; important documents—in a waterproof container (insurance, medical, bank account, social security); tools; fuel tanks; pet care items.

Emergency plans

Refer to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for comprehensive information on hurricane preparedness at home and in your community (ready.gov/hurricanes). Develop and document safety plans for your family. It would even be beneficial to periodically run hurricane drills with your children. You will also want to find out about your community’s hurricane response plan and where local shelters are located. Remember that safety is also critical immediately following a natural disaster.

After a storm

Recognized as a leader in Southern Baptist disaster relief, the Florida Convention has carried out more than 100 relief efforts in the past two decades. “When Hurricane Andrew hit, Florida Baptists had 500 trained volunteers and one feeding unit. The Florida Baptist disaster relief and recovery ministry has grown to 6,500 active, trained volunteers,” utilizing feeding units, response ministries, clean-up equipment, child care units, and more. (gofbw.com/print.asp?ID=14332).

Many other churches and ministries have been on the frontline of disaster relief such as when Hurricane Sandy devastated the northeast back in 2012. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale was one of the first of many churches to send support through prayer, supplies and manpower. Calvary Chapel has a specific budget and extensive strategy for hurricane response (calvaryftl.org/ministries/volunteer-ministry/hurricane-volunteer-opportunities/).

Our refuge

As hurricane season finds itself in our backyards, we prepare and plan as best as we are able, but may we also rest in the fact that our Heavenly Father is in control and we can trust in him.
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge” (Psalm 46:1-3 NLT).

Over the years, Finley has worked with different disaster relief organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse. He can be reached at [email protected].

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