Summer is coming soon, and in Iowa that means there is an increased likelihood of natural disasters. Wind, hail, floods, and fires all pose a potential threat this time of year, so it’s good to be prepared in the event of a storm or other incident involving the elements.
To ensure that Iowans are ready for such an emergency, a new disaster preparedness initiative will be introduced at Annual Conference this year. The program addresses the basic questions that you should be asking yourself so that you can always be ready in case of an emergency.
WHO do we need to talk to?
Rev. Catie Newman, Disaster Response Coordinator for the Iowa Conference, stresses that “We all need to talk to our families, our places of work, our church family, and our neighborhood about where we go if there’s a problem. Who do I contact if I can’t find you?” She also suggests calling any neighbors who you suspect might not be paying attention to the news to make sure that they’re aware of coming bad weather.
WHERE do I go?
Rev. Newman says that you need to decide where to go if something terrible happens. You should determine if there is a safe place in your home, and if so, identify it and make sure your children are aware of it.
It’s also important to think beyond your home. If you need to leave the house, then where is the safest place to go? Further, if there is a large-scale disaster, where will you go and meet up with your family in the event that your entire town is evacuated? It’s important to make these decisions in advance so that everyone has a plan to follow.
WHAT do I take?
“At the disaster response booth at Annual Conference there will be some examples of a Go Bag, something that you could have packed and ready that you would take with you,” explains Rev. Newman. A change of clothes, a pair of shoes, a little cash money, a list of your medications, and a toy if you have a child are some of the items she says one might want to include in their Go Bag.
Rev. Newman also points out that it’s smart to include phone numbers, since so many of us rely on our cell phones, which may not be of much use in a disaster. “Once the battery’s gone, you can’t access all that information,” she says.
In addition to the information that will be provided at Annual Conference, the message about being prepared for possible storms and disasters is also being spread through flyers and the internet. Visit www.iaumc.org/disasterministries
to download a disaster plan and to access other helpful information about disaster preparedness.