Floyd is a reminder that it could happen here

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 9, 1999

It's hard to explain that feeling you get when you're watching television and you watch news footage that shows rescue workers helping people escape floods that, in some cases, are above roof level. One thing that crosses my mind each time I'm exposed to a disaster like the one that's stopped life in eastern North Carolina, is that little problems are littler.

What we generally react to as being a crisis, is generally no more than a blip on the radar screen of life. Seeing the impact of Hurricane Floyd on the worst hit areas of the East Coast serves me with a wake up call that it could happen here. Disaster can happen anywhere.

I've visited with several folks about some of the hurricanes that have happened through Butler County. At first, I couldn't believe it. Then a friend in Pike County showed me a clearing of trees that looked like they had been harvested for lumber, only the harvesting was done by the last hurricane to come that way.

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And since the weather is far beyond the control of man, the next best thing is to try and always be prepared since we really don't know when a disaster might come our way. The American Red Cross of Central Alabama recommends that each household be prepared with the following items in case a hurricane comes our way:

n A week's supply of food and water (to be kept at home in addition to the recommended three-day supply for your evacuation kit).

n A portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.


Flashlight and extra batteries.

n Supply of prescription medications.

n First-aid kit and first-aid manual.

n Credit card and cash.

n Personal identification.

n An extra set of car keys.

n Matches in a waterproof container.

n Signal flare.

n Map of the area and phone numbers of places you could go.

n Special needs (diapers, formula, copies of prescriptions, hearing aid batteries, spare wheelchair battery, spare eyeglasses or other physical needs).

In addition, the Red Cross advises for each household to have an evacuation kit that includes:

n Three gallons of water per person.

n Three-day supply of nonperishable food.

n Kitchen accessories: manual can opener, mess kits or paper cups, plates and plastic or disposable utensils; utility knife; a can of cooking fuel if food must be cooked; household liquid bleach to treat drinking water; a can of cooking fuel if food must be cooked; household liquid bleach to treat drinking water; sugar, salt, pepper; aluminum foil and plastic resealable bags.

n One complete change of clothing and footwear for each family member, sturdy shoes or work boots, rain gear, hats and gloves, thermal underwear and sunglasses.

n Blankets or sleeping bag for each family member.

n Tools and other accessories: paper, pencil; needles and thread; pliers, shut-off wrench, shovels and other useful tools; tape; medicine dropper; whistle; plastic sheeting; small canister, A-B-C-type fire extinguisher; emergency preparedness manual; tube tent and compass.

n Sanitation and hygiene items; toilet paper; towelettes; soap, hand sanitizer, liquid detergent; feminine supplies; personal items such as shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, comb and brush, lip balm; plastic garbage bags (heavy-duty) and ties (for personal sanitation uses); medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid; disinfectant; household chlorine bleach; small shovel for digging an expedient latrine.

n Entertainment, such as games and books.

They also recommend to include special-needs items for very young and older family members, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons and include:

n For baby: formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk and medications.

n For adults: heart and high blood pressure medication, insulin, prescription drugs, denture needs, contact lenses and supplies, extra eyeglasses and hearing aid batteries.

Eric Bishop is publisher of The Greenville Advocate. His column appears on Saturday.