Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Preparing For Disasters

Disasters can be as small as a single person or as large as an entire nation. A disaster can be a house fire, a wildfire, a tornado, a hurricane, an earthquake, a pandemic or a terrorist action.

How you prepare is the same regardless of the size or type of disaster. There are several publications out by countless organizations to deal with disaster preparedness.

I am going to supply the links, and let you decide which one makes the most sense for you. If you happen to have a source for preparation, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

First, Personal Preparation
There are a couple of links
I like The Red File – it is well written, concise and has tons of common sense.
Citizen Corp has many links to publications to assist you in every aspect, from preparing, preventing and recovering. Very good!

Emotional Preparation
North Carolina has done a great job compiling links and publications to assist folks with the emotional aspect of any disaster.
Child Advocate has come out with a small booklet for children and I have found this to be the best out there:
A book entitled Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. While this book deals with coping with disaster after the fact, reading it before it happens will give you a great weapon on coping before during and after such a serious event.

Financial Preparation
The best I have found in handling this particular aspect is from an organization called Operation Hope. It’s detailed, calls for several lifestyle adjustments in order to put their plan into place, BUT it will work! They have what they call an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) that you can download for free: - This is 28 pages.
And a Personal Disaster Preparedness Guide - 18 pages.

Finally, Professional/Business Preparation
The Hancock County Chamber of Commerce gave this to me. I’ve not found it in any files or websites I’ve come across and it’s simple, common sense stuff that is so easy to overlook. I have left this information at the top of their page:

I feel these links do the best job of covering all aspects of preparing for a disaster. Please let me know if there are others you find that you feel are better or more concise, etc. I’m more than willing to add to the list!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Teacher Thanks

Dear Friends,

The past few weeks have been bittersweet with the ending of the school year and the combining of Charles B. Murphy with Gulfview E. Elementary. Though we both lost our campuses and were relocated to trailers next to one another this year, we remained separate, holding our breaths for any glimmer that we might be rebuilt at some point in time. That does not seem to be the case... at least for the moment. We spent the last days packing and moving once again as our CBM teachers and staff were mixed into the other faculty and classes.

Just so you'll know, we took the students on a field trip to a small playground/zoo about 75 miles from us. Having real grass to run and play on, animals to see, and a small rain to ride was quite an adventure. Funny, sometimes you forget just how the storm affected the kids. A second grader sitting next to me on the bus looked out the window and said, "Ms Jeanne, they must not have had a hurricane here!" "Why's that?" I replied. "Cause their grass is green and there aren't any FEMA trailers." he answered.

Needless to say, the trip was worth every dime we spent. I also used your donations to provide hot pizza for the school (a welcome change from the dreaded BROWN BAG!), icy watermelon for all of us one hot afternoon, and had field day with awards for everyone, hot dog lunches, and "just goofing off time" with frisbees and balls ! I even treated all the staff to a farewell dinner one night at Outback, and provided Subway sandwiches for our last work/moving day.

Your money, your books, your supplies, and your notes and calls of support and encouragement were well used. In fact, I stayed so busy that somehow I only managed to get digital pictures those last days of the kids eating watermelon, and a few of us clowning at Outback,and a priceless kindergarten picture with an almost Biblical look, while another worn-out classmate just can't make it till dismissal time.

Please know that you certainly made a difference...not just now but all year! There are no words to say what you have done for us...and for me personally. I've grown to know each of you as though we've been friends for a lifetime, and truly, since August 29th, 2005, it has been a lifetime! It's hard to write what I feel and even harder to say the words.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet someone who entered our lives because of Katrina. Gary Newell, of Buccaneer Computer Systems in Warrenton, Va , in partneship with C. Hunter Richie Elementary provided thousands of dollars in computers, routers, servers, and other AV materials as well as adopting children for Christmas. But whether it was change earned at a child's lemonade stand or gift cards, or used books, or teaching supplies, everything was sent with the utmost love and concern...and it showed!

I've learned to understand "Mainer" talk, and can hold my own with Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and all you "Yankees", as easily as my California buddies. Colorado holds my "extended family" as do almost every state across the country. YOU ARE THE HEROES OF THIS DISASTER! YOU WERE THE "FIRST RESPONDERS'...THE ONES WHO REALLY CARED ! So many friends, so many places, so much in my heart!

In searching for words, I ran across a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson entitled "Success". He said it better than I, so here it is. Each of you, in your own unique way, brought joy to my life and impacted the lives of each child, each teacher, and each family in Pearlington. You are the cause of our success because each of you embody the traits of a successful person.

"To laugh often and much to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty, to find the bestin others;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or redeemed social condition;
to know evenone life has breathed easier becauseyou have lived.
This is to have succeeded."

Each one of you is a success!

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we prepare for another unusual school year!

I treasure you all!

Jeanne Brooks

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