With Halloween upon us, I thought I’d share a scary story. It starts with a clap of thunder and a flash of light in the sky…this story ends depending upon how you want it to end. In this case, I’m not talking about one of the stories you’ll encounter on this year’s Jacksonville Haunted Trolley Tours. I’m talking about not being prepared in case of natural disaster.

With forest fires literally surrounding the Rogue Valley for months, and the recent disasters in Houston and the state of Florida, I got to thinking about what would really happen if my household needed to evacuate and then take up residence in a shelter. It’s also worth considering what you’d do if forced to shelter-in-place for a few weeks or months at your very own home. Are you prepared? For years, the Review has reported on the natural dangers lurking in the shadows—the two most likely disaster situations are wildland/forest fires and a major earthquake. Again, are you prepared? If not, please read the piece by Jacksonville CERT member Gayle Lewis on page 17 before reading any further!

With lightning strikes sparking fires across the West, the likelihood of a fire start in the Jacksonville Woodlands and/or Forest Park is real. If you’re not taking this seriously, just look at the situation in similar terrain a few miles west in the Applegate Valley on the Miller Complex Fire…and the Chetco Bar Fire in Brookings, and others.

Lest you think I’m sitting on a lofty perch telling others to be prepared, consider my own disaster in the making. The other day, I discovered that my household human and pet “Go Bags” were out-of-date! When opened, I found out-of-date medications, clothes and shoes that no longer fit well, and a supply of Power Bars that were 3+ years old. Suffice it to say, all Go-Bags in the Parker household are now refreshed, a task that took less than an hour, including the time it took to replenish the stash of Power Bars, a supply of emergency water and emergency food. Once completed, I grabbed my iPhone and entered “Update GoBags” in my calendar for 2018.

This October, join me in getting your household prepared “just in case,” and not being scared in our Small Town with Big Atmosphere!