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Hurricane Sandy: What you can do

October 31, 2012

We are sitting by helplessly watching friends, families and communities struggle with the aftermath of the “Frankenstorm.” Enduring waves, rain and wind is bad enough, but the cleanup is even worse.

So – what can you do?

1. Donate Smart: Unfortunately there are people who will take advantage of this tragedy. If you are solicited for donations, check here: Charity Navigator, or go to this great article written by eHow. My fallback is always Salvation Army, because they have a solid history of using the majority of our donations on the cause rather than on administration. Red Cross is also very good.

2. Volunteer: Numerous sites are springing up to help victims of the hurricane. Again, be smart about your time and talents. Make sure you are working with legitimate organizations. The best bet would be to contact either the city offices in your chosen area, or look for a Council of Churches, the local Red Cross office, and even the local Humane Shelters. Wall Street Journal offers these resources.

3. Organize a Food Drive Locally: In your civic organization, school, business, church or synagogue, start a drive to collect non-perishable food and emergency supplies. Contact your local Red Cross and Salvation Army to see if you can drop off your collections to them.

4. Consider donating your old phones: Check with your carrier and with your local Emergency Services organizations. That old phone lying in your drawer can be used NOW by many people. Clear it first! And remember, even without a plan, all our cell phones have an emergency 911 call button on them and will work as long as they are charged.

And now – about you

1. Be Smart and learn something from what you are watching on TV: There’s something called The Black Swan Theory: that is, huge life altering events can happen at any time. “It can’t happen here” are four of the most dangerous words in the English language. Emergency Responders, Mayors and Governors were flabbergasted and frustrated by the lackadaisical and non-responsive behaviors of many citizens who refused to evacuate and who were vastly under-prepared.

2. Being Prepared isn’t radical, it’s just good common sense. Look around you. What do you NEED? What can you do without? There are a few things you absolutely want to have on hand. Set aside a small amount each week in your budget to give yourself a fighting chance in the midst of a disaster.

  • Food: Freeze Dried Food is packaged to last for a long time, so making an investment in cans or pouches with a long shelf life is just a good idea. My go-to source for Freeze Dry Food is They are reputable, have been in business for 40 years, and have great customer service. They also have some other items that you may need in the event of an emergency. Canned, frozen, and bulk foods are also good to have… just be sure you have a way to store them and keep them fresh.
  • Water. Never underestimate how much water you need. In the desert I learned quickly how tired and exhausted I would get if I didn’t drink at least 3 quarts of water a day. Purchase water filtration kits and water treatment drops from a camping store like Sportsman’s Warehouse or Cabelas. Any outfitter will do, and they’ll have all sorts of great options that will fit into your budget.
  • Shelter. Tents, ponchos and tarps all can be used to shelter you in the middle of bad weather. It’s wise to have all three. Think about the ways you need to keep dry and warm so you’ll be able to protect yourself and think straight. Again, any outfitter will have these items, and you may already have them in your camping gear.

There are numerous sites online that will give you in-depth advice. This is just to get you started thinking about your own safety and welfare in the event of a disaster. FEMA’s website has a Preparedness Guide that is very useful. Don’t wait till the last minute when everyone else is panicking.

A few other things:

  • Never let your gas tank get below half
  • Do regular checkups on your car so you know you can count on it
  • Buy a backup external hard drive and keep it up to date. Get a sturdy one you can toss into a backpack if you need to take it with you. Scan all important documents as well onto this drive. (I’ve even put all my photos on mine!)
  • Assess the potential issues in your area – Are you near an ocean (Tsunamis, Hurricanes)? Is your area prone to tornadoes, floods, fires? Each of these issues requires a different response.
  • Being prepared means having some things ready so you can grab and go if you have to.

In these uncertain times, being prepared isn’t a radical idea, it’s mainstream. It’s good common sense. And at the very worst, if nothing happens, you’ve got some great equipment for a wonderful camping trip!

Be safe out there.

And take care of yourselves, We NEED you!


© 2012 Beth Terry Seminars, All Rights Reserved. May be quoted with attribution.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2013 6:43 pm

    Have you ever considered publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog centered on the same topics you discuss and would
    love to have you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would appreciate your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to
    send me an e-mail.

  2. winfred-blair- permalink
    November 23, 2012 3:35 pm

    Another way you can help people affected by disasters like this, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit , call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.


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