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When Hurricane Katrina struck the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida, tens of thousands of people were caught unprepared. Despite warnings and constant television coverage preceding landfall, many residents were caught unprepared. I was not one of them.

People were trapped in the second floor of their homes by flood waters without any food or water to sustain them. I shook my head and asked, "Why? Why would anyone, with or without advance warning of a hurricane, have no extra food or bottled water in their home?" There is a big difference between panic and preparedness, and it is a difference that can save your life and the lives of your family.

Years before the hurricane struck, I had bought a small generator. I always keep several full cans of gasoline to run it. I had long before started a storehouse in my garage with canned goods and bottled water so that we would have plenty when disaster hit. So while some of my neighbors spent over a week sitting in the dark, trying to Replace fast food restaurants that were open, sitting in long lines for rationed, over-priced gas, I reclined on my couch with my refrigerator plugged in and a fan blowing on me while I watched the TV coverage of the hurricane destruction.

I cooked on my grill and Coleman propane stove. My family had everything they needed. It could have been worse; but none of the trees that blew down landed on my house. My heart was broken for those in New Orleans and coastal Mississippi who lost everything to the storm's fury, and I became actively engaged in relief efforts for months following the hurricane. My family was very, very glad that I had insisted on emergency supplies and equipment. We may have been inconvenienced by the storm, but we never suffered. The saying "Always Be Prepared" is really common sense, but it sure does make a big difference. I encourage everyone to always be prepared.

in Mississippi

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