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Thu, Sep 01 2005

Equipment And More

Here's another thought on outfitting yourself properly if you are thinking of going into the hurricane areas, even as part of an organized group. A press release from the International Safety Equipment Association has an excellent list of items to remember. These might also be great things to get extras of into the area to help the people still there try to deal with their own littered surroundings. I can't stress how important it is to realize that you could encounter many dangers if you go in as part of a relief effort. Don't let your compassion be your own undoing.

posted at: 10:31 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Listening From Both Sides

This is not the first of these kinds of stories I've heard and read. There is a certain amount of very important difference between what federal officials are saying and what is actually being begged for at the local level. Between bureaucracy and anarchy I hope there is room for compassion and practicality in a very tough situation that changes from minute to minute.

posted at: 09:54 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Supplies Are Needed, But...

I've just heard that the president of St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana has hundreds of people gathered in schools and other buildings and needs medical supplies and generators big enough to help get power to those buildings so that people can have some level of comfort. If you are somewhat outside the affected area and have a way to get a good-size generator to them it would help immensely. I'm sure this is a problem for other parishes and counties on the Gulf Coast. I know they don't want crowds of people rushing in to help in dangerous areas, but equipment like this could make rescue and relief efforst so much easier for those who are trained and in the area. The rescue workers have some equipment with them, but they obviously can't know about every need in every neighborhood.

Some of the other needs I know of at this time are:
Flats of bottled water
Saws, shovels and other basic tools
Cleaning and disinfecting supplies
Reading glasses
Medical supplies
Part of what has happened is that even inland areas, such as Jackson, Mississippi, had a huge run on generators and other equipment. It becomes a sort of ripple effect. The best thing to do is to check with agencies that are going to the coastal area and find out if what you want to supply can be taken in. If you try to run down there and haul things in yourself without being aware of the ramifications, you could be adding being part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

posted at: 09:30 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Plan Now For Your Katrina

We spent part of yesterday helping to connect some family members on the Gulf Coast who are working to get their personal belongings into storage during this rough time after Katrina. One person was planning to take his extra cell phone into the area for his mother to use. There were very few sources in the smaller areas outside New Orleans yesterday, but this morning there are at least a few places set up to get water and a hot meal to people. It's still not a great place to be right now, but there is beginning to be at least enough access from the outside to get supplies into people stuck in the area.

It's been interesting that Katrina has done its damage in a time when we are all better connected than ever before, but it's still been tough to get information in and out of the affected area. At one point yesterday I was on our voice land line after just having hung up a cell phone from another family memeber, was reading an email from another family member and IM-ing yet a fourth family member-all in an attempt to get one piece of information out concerning the welfare of the first family member.

This brings me to an important point. A disaster of some kind can happen anywhere, at any time. Do have some sort of plan in place so that your family and friends know who to call for "information central". Many times the phone service (including cell service) can be spotty. I spoke to someone in the Biloxi area yesterday and our connection was not stellar. But we did a quick communication and I was able to then relay that information to others in the family. Even if you haven't been heavily directly affected by Katrina, have a plan for a day when you might need it. The person I spoke to on the phone was extremely distraught, which is to be expected. You want to be able to get information to family and friends in a brief, efficient manner.

One important point to remember is that phone service is sometimes not just "broken" after a major event. The phone companies actually block access to areas in order to prevent a total shutdown of the system. It sounds awful, but it has to be done so that one area's activity doesn't put a halt to all phone calls. So you need to remember that having one family member as "information central" is not helpful if their area phone service is blocked. Think of contingencies now, so that you're not having to scramble in the emotional midst of a disaster.

posted at: 08:02 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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