OUR VIEW: Texas floods a wakeup call for all

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 that 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 roof tops 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. We are fortunate to have emergency support services throughout the region. These organizations are staffed by volunteers who undergo the training required to help us through situations that arise with little warning. 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. If you’re thinking of volunteering to make a positive difference in your community, ESS is a pretty good place to start. 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 when you stop and think about it. There is comfort and peace of mind, however, for as little as a couple of hundred dollars for a family of four in a pre-packaged kit. You may even be able to cobble it together yourself for less, if you are so inclined. it’s a small price to pay to keep your family safe, especially when you consider the consequences otherwise.