EDITORIAL: Texas floods a wake-up call

The flooding devastating most of southern Texas in the wake of tropical storm Harvey …

The flooding devastating most of southern Texas in the wake of tropical storm Harvey serves as a stark reminder to those who think it can’t happen here.

We live in an area so susceptible to a major earthquake, and the destruction it would sow, that some experts routinely use the word “when” instead of “if” when predicting the likelihood of the Big One hitting close to home.

Video from Houston, the fourth largest city in the U.S., shows roads buried under water from rain described as a one-in-a-thousand occurrence.

The scenes of people trapped on rooftops awaiting rescue, of furniture floating by in the windows of half-submerged homes, underscore the terrible wrath of forces we may be able to predict but frankly can’t control.

To make matters worse, a large, Category 5 storm, Hurricane Irma is expected to hit Florida this weekend, having already worked its way through parts of the Caribbean.

We in this province are fortunate to have extensive emergency support services. These organizations are staffed by volunteers who undergo the training required to help us through situations that arise with little warning – situations such as this summer’s wildfires. They are the people who will be there to staff the shelters and provide the assistance we will rely on heavily during an emergency.

We owe them a debt of gratitude for their dedication and efforts that enable us all to sleep a little more peacefully.

One way we can make it easier for them to help us is by being prepared to survive that first three days it may take emergency services personnel to reach us when our world has been turned upside down.

In the event of a major catastrophe, access to almost everything we take for granted or can’t do without in our daily routine can disappear in the blink of a hurricane’s eye. No heat, no water, no shelter, no food, no communication; the list gets increasingly scary with each item you add. Such a dire situation is not something anyone wants to stop and think about, but it’s important that we do, should the unthinkable happen.