The sirens had gone off in Borger. Clouds were boiling. In fact, the neighbors on the street had identified one of the two homes that had a basement and most of the families on the block were gathering there. Lynn and I were not. We stood outside watching.
We had been trained as weather spotters. We were now spotting. All the radar said was that the rotation was directly over us. We looked up and there were not one, not two, but three rotating clouds directly above us. An amazing thing to see. Standing there, I thought of the legendary Pecos Bill, riding a tornado in West Texas.
Upon reflection, standing there was dumb. It was exciting but dumb and as the Texas District Disaster Relief Coordinator, I would not recommend others to do what we did. Such features can drop from the sky without warning.
The tornados that did drop from the sky that day were mostly on open range, damaging fencing on ranchland. In fact, the worst damage from this storm was large hail, some of which hit one of my vehicles in another part of town.
Storm season, once again, is upon us. Texas is one of, if not the most active storm areas in the country. With that, I am encouraging you as individuals and as congregations to make preparation. As so many have learned in past years, storms can be very damaging, dangerous and even life threatening. Still, it is easy to say, “It won’t happen here.” I have said this too. Never-the-less, the fires came, the flood waters rose, the hail fell and the winds blew. I’ve been through every one of these, some many times and I do have stories. Preparation is appropriate.
There are many places to begin preparation. A good starting place is to read an article from Weather Nation at http://www.weathernationtv.com/news/tornadoes-need-know/. This will introduce you to some of the terminology and best practice action plans.
If there is a LERT (Lutheran Emergency Response Training) event near you, plan on attending. Additionally, “Disaster Ministry Action Plan Workbook” written by Dr. Lou Jander, the previous Texas District Disaster Relief Coordinator, and his wife Martha is available and will self-guide a congregation or family through a preparation process. For additional information on these, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are a few other websites with which you will want to become familiar.
Texas District: http://txlcms.org/congregations/disaster-relief/
LCMS Disaster Response: https://www.lcms.org/disaster/resources#disaster-response-1
LCMS Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LCMSDisasterResponse
It is difficult to plan for something that may never happen. There is expense to planning. Dollars, time and thought are required. But doing so may not only help others and your congregation but your own family as well. It is worth the expense.
By: Rev. Steve Misch
Mission & Ministry Facilitator, Area A