Friday, August 29, 2008

From the Mobile Press-Register

Mobile Press-Register Editorial, August 28, 2008 (Page 8A)

Why preparation matters

Thursday, August 28, 2008

EVEN THOUGH it's tempting to dwell on the unfairness of a hurricane following so closely on the heels of Tropical Storm Fay, Alabamians can't afford to waste the time. They've got work to do.

With meteorologists predicting that the new storm, Gustav, will threaten the Gulf Coast as a major hurricane, it's time to review family evacuation plans, emergency supplies and the like.
Perhaps Alabama will get lucky and Gustav will go somewhere else. But the key to effective hurricane preparation does not lie in wishful thinking; it lies in paying attention to weather advisories and emergency planners.

It lies in deciding whether to leave home or "shelter in place," as the experts call staying put in a storm. And, as always, effective preparation lies in people making sure they have necessities such as non-perishable groceries, bottled water, batteries, prescription drugs and pet food.

In keeping with the spirit of preparedness, it was good to hear Gov. Bob Riley say Wednesday that state agencies are making storm plans, too. In addition to keeping an eye on the storm as it prepares to enter the Gulf of Mexico, he said, state officials are in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Certainly, the agencies' efforts could turn out to be unnecessary. But it would be beyond reckless not to get ready for a storm that could be at least as powerful as Hurricane Katrina.

Surely, fresh memories of the damage from Katrina in 2005, and from Hurricane Ivan the year before, will keep Alabamians from taking anything for granted.

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