Goshen News, Goshen, IN


November 17, 2013

Be prepared to fend for yourself in a disaster

Hoosiers should know better than to put something off until another day, but according to the state’s Department of Homeland Security, that is just what some residents are doing in the area of emergency preparedness.

The DHS surveyed 2,500 Indiana residents recently and found half of the respondents admitted they did not have a three-day supply of food and water stashed in case of an emergency. Even more of the respondents said they did not have basic emergency stocks of medicines, pet food, flashlights, extra batteries and first aid supplies. Nor had these same people made any effort to copy important personal documents. We find these results troubling.

TIME AFTER TIME The Goshen News and national media outlets have reported stories of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and snow and ice storms that have shut down communities. And in most of those stories there is a mention of people being left without electricity, gasoline, food water and shelter. So we wonder why Hoosiers haven’t prepared for the range of disasters that can befall them?

We certainly are out of range of hurricanes, but tornadoes, winter storms and even earthquakes are real threats to our cities and rural areas.

Perhaps we trust too much in local and state government being able to provide aid in emergencies. But when the power is knocked out by an ice storm bringing down miles of electrical lines, the government can do little to help until utility crews string new power lines. And local residents who lived through the heavy snowfall and Arctic cold of the blizzard of 1978 can testify that local governments shut down like everything else during a blizzard. Even our hard-working and courageous road clearing crews were exhausted by the storm and could not keep up.

We don’t expect every Hoosier to “bunker up” like those who expect an economic collapse or solar storm will destroy western civilization, but we urge local residents to create an emergency plan and acquire enough food and water to last through another historic snowstorm or other event. For good measure, basic first aid supplies, extra medicine and a weather radio should be on a shelf in every local home.

WHERE TO START IN gathering supplies? Go online to getprepared.in.gov On that website the DHS has a lot of good information about preparing for emergencies.

History is a cruel teacher and what it has taught Hoosiers is that natural disasters have struck the state many times before and will do so in the future. We should all be good students and listen to this teacher and take basic steps to be prepared.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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