Case in point... Emergency Services

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
Friday night, a tornado touched down very near my home.  Actually several touched down in various places around St. Louis, but that's actually fairly typical and is not the point of this post.  One even touched down at the Lambert International Airport - blowing windows out of the main terminal and moving planes of passengers around on the runway.  Many people were affected by wind damage, significant rainfall and power outages, but none of that is the point of this post either.

What is the point?  A friend of mine who works in local emergency services called me at 9:00 pm to check on my family and home.  He told me that no ambulances were available in my city.  In fact, city police had waited at one (tree attacks car) accident scene for half an hour before officers finally allowed a family member to take an injured person to the hospital. 

Thankfully, no one was killed by the tornadoes.  Some have called it a miracle.  I heard the catastrophe at the airport only had a few injured going to the hospital.  Our rescue personnel were serving - being brave and strong and helpful.  But in one hour of (relatively minor) storm-related emergencies, we were left vulnerable. 

We are accustomed to having the help we need at a moment's notice.  But I encourage you to think for a moment how easily those services could become overwhelmed or restricted during a disaster.  Although, money and politics certainly allow more police, fire, rescue, and medical personnel and services are routinely available to us, we must not depend solely on their availability.  Each person, each household, each neighborhood, and each community must plan and prepare to care for one another as well.

Take a first aid class.
Have a flashlight ready.
Know your neighbors, and check in on them.
Keep gas in the car.
Make your go-bag and home emergency kit.
Keep preparing for the best, in every situation.

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