I’m compelled to write today regarding the terrible damage inflicted on Americans in Texas and Louisiana, and what might come for Florida and parts of the Southeast. The pictures on the nightly news and all over the internet share with people across the world the suffering of so many.
While our thoughts and prayers go out to the people who have been affected, or will be affected, by these storms we should all take this opportunity to review our own disaster preparedness. While we may not have been directly impact by either of these storms, you do not always have an advanced warning before disaster strikes. Visit the Red Cross’ website to help your family develop a disaster plan if you have not already done so http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/make-a-plan. As the events of the past few days have reminded us, pay special attention to children, the elderly, and your pets as all may need extra help in a time of crisis.
A new tool in your preparation of which I just learned is an app called “Zello PTT Walkie Talkie”. This app allows you to use your phone as a walkie-talkie as long as you have a network or a WiFi connection. The app is a free download, and is free to use. According to Business Insider downloads of the app spiked during Harvey. Zello has reached the top of the App Store’s free-apps chart. You can read more about the app here: http://www.businessinsider.com/zello-walkie-talkie-tops-app-store-ahead-hurricane-irma-2017-9
We have also received calls from a few clients looking for ways to give to those who have lost so much. One group that is just nogetting the word out is the One America Appeal put together by all five living former American Presidents. Although originally organized to support the recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey they are in the process of broadening their reach to include Hurricane Irma. The monies are being funneled through the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation because it has already been granted tax-exempt status and ensures 100 cents out of every dollar donated goes to hurricane victims. You can learn more about the One America Appeal here https://www.oneamericaappeal.org/. Another organization that is doing a tremendous amount of work with the victims of both hurricanes is the American Red Cross. You can make a cash donation here https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey. Still another option is to purchase items on the Red Cross’ wish list through Amazon, who will deliver those items directly to the operational centers https://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/3S2C81IC67YC1/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws_yMZOzbR8ZWCF7/ref=s9_acss_bw_cg_arcwl_1a1_w?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&pf_rd_r=77M0EA04WZ8WQEMQHBZY&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=930647db-a956-40a9-be05-3eab5190750c&pf_rd_i=16927356011. All of these donations would be tax-deductible allowing you to dig just a little bit deeper in your wallet.
There are many more ways to be prepare for a disaster or to provide relief than I could possibly list here. Hopefully, this post will be a call to action to do whatever you can. The people who have been hurt by these hurricanes need your support.