Spring and fall are times when weather patterns become unpredictable. Whether it’s tornadoes in the plains, fires in the west or flooding in the south, opportunities to lend a helping hand to your fellow man abound. When the day comes that images of wreckage and loss splash across the news and your heart is moved to help, don’t forget to pause, take a breath and look over these ten commandments of disaster relief.
Ten Commandments of Disaster Relief
- Thou shalt contact your local church, student organization and/or charitable organization and offer your help. Ask your church to set up a collection area for bottled water, shovels, plastic gloves and breathing masks. You may also ask for a special account to collect financial donations.
- Thou shalt not become a lone wolf. Working in cooperation with other relief agencies is the best way to provide positive change and avoid a disaster of your own.
- Thou shalt not ignore the advice of experts. Disaster conditions change. If you’re not listening to regular reports then you may find yourself in a terrible spot and in need of rescue.
- Thou shalt not forget to have an escape plan. Sure, you can get in, but can you get out? Have you factored in that restaurants, gas stations, ATM’s are not working?
- Thou shalt not drink any water in a disaster zone. Even tap water can be contaminated. Carry your own water and have enough so share.
- Thou shalt not walk or drive through flowing water. Most deaths in floods occur when people enter flowing water. It’s a bad idea, don’t do it.
- Thou shalt not donate clothes. Sounds counter intuitive but relief agencies get loaded down with unclaimed clothes and wind up throwing most of it away. Most groups post a needs list and your gift will be more useful if you stick to it.
- Thou shalt donate to legitimate charities. Every disaster has looters and scammers. You can look up legit charities with the Better Business Bureau, United Way, etc.*
- Thou shalt continue to help long term. The need for recovery resources continue long after the media’s coverage has ended. Look for ways to continue to help others in need.
- Thou shalt pray for everyone. Pray for the victims, volunteers, extended family, government officials, and anyone else you can think of.
*Louisiana Baptists accept online donations at LouisianaBaptists.org/donateDR