There's nothing like seeing the Haitian earthquake victims on the TV news to make a person grateful for simple necessities. Last night, with those images fresh in our minds, my husband and I sat down to our dinner of leftovers and it felt like a feast. A hard rain, driven by high winds, pummeled the window and I thought about people, some badly injured, with no medical care, shelter, food, clean water or a safe place to sleep. The people in Haiti had so little to start with. Now many of them have nothing. NOTHING. Picture yourself in their situation.
We can sit here and feel compassion and still be disconnected because it's a faraway place, not our home town. But while safe in our cozy cocoons, we need to be reminded that a major earthquake could happen here too. Every time I go for a walk around my Tacoma neighborhood the cracks in driveways, including my own, and sections of sidewalk thrust up at odd angles, disturb me with their ominous signs. I wonder about the hill behind our house and the stability of the ground beneath our streets and homes.
We've all heard it again and again: be prepared. Are you? We've done some things like fastening tall bookshelves to the wall and securing the hot water tank, but when it comes to having emergency supplies on hand or a plan in place, I'll admit I'm not well enough prepared for a possible earthquake or other disaster.
Of course this is not the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere. Our infrastructure, though far from perfect, at least still functions. Help would arrive soon. Wouldn't it? After all, this is the U.S.A. That's what the people in New Orleans thought too. But even under the best of circumstances we could be without power, phones, water, food, shelter and medical help, at least for awhile.
Let's all make this a New Year's Resolution. It's a lot more important than losing weight or organizing your record collection. Just to help out, here's a list of links for websites loaded with information and resources. Please, because I care about all of you, take a look. But remember, knowledge means nothing if you don't take action.
Reducing Earthquake Hazards in the Pacific Northwest - United States Geological Survey
FEMA - Earthquake
Pacific Northwest Seismic Network