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Be prepared - we might be next

It could have been us.

It could have been us. While watching the heart-wrenching footage of mothers crying over children's bodies and people lining up for immunization shots to keep from contracting disease in devastated Asia, I thought, it could have been us, it could have been me.

My house sits about 200 feet from the water's edge on Sechelt Inlet and I wondered, if a tsunami hit here, would we survive? And if we did, could we for long?

I flashed back to interviews I have had with Bob Stubbings, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator on the Coast. He tried to impress upon me the importance of having food, medical supplies, water, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight and warm clothing stashed for just such an emergency.

I secretly thought he was a little bit paranoid. I mean, life is great here - what do we have to worry about?

But I guess that's why he had all these things securely stored at home and in his car, so he would not worry. He knew he'd be okay if disaster struck and spared his life. Now I'm wondering where he lives and if I could get to his house when the "big one" hits.

There's something about a natural disaster that grounds us. It's completely beyond our control, which is why it's easy to rally around people affected by it.

The usual rationalizations don't come into play here. We can't turn our heads and say, "oh, well, they deserved it," or "they brought it upon themselves," like we do with so many tragedies we hear about daily.

There's a personal connection to these people who were working, eating, playing and sleeping when a massive wave struck and destroyed their lives.

It could happen here, with the "big one" forecast in our future and no way to stop the earth's plates from moving and sending disaster our way.

So what can we do? We can give to these people who are experiencing such tragedy in Asia. We can give money for food, clothing, immunizations, medical attention and housing. Money's not that hard to part with. I do it daily, buying things such as coffee and clothing I don't really need.

We live in a country of abundance, and we should give all we can to help these people who are just like us.

But money's not enough. We need to pray. Seal your donation in an envelope and pray that it gets to where it's needed most. Pray that these people have hope to go on despite their enormous loss. Pray they know we care and feel a kinship to them. And pray they find God amidst the devastation. Sometimes God has to break us before he can reach us, so pray that doesn't have to happen here.

There's nothing wrong with being ready for disaster. Take Bob's advice and store up food, water, clothing and medical supplies for the day the unthinkable happens here, and also tuck a Bible in with the emergency supplies. When disaster comes and we are left to wait it out in ruin, it doesn't hurt to give yourself a little hope.