Are You Prepared?
Everybody has seen the human tragedy and horror that happened in Haiti since a devastating 7.0 earthquake hit the small island nation earlier last month. Millions of people were displaced, hundreds of thousands perished, and entire communities were destroyed. Life on Haiti will never be the same and the change will have a long lasting effect.
According to the Advocate, 14 men working with SEROvie, a Haitian group serving gay and transgender people with HIV, were among the dead. Furthermore, Flo McGarrell, a transgender artist and past San Francisco resident died as well. Natural disasters do not discriminate. Nature does not care if you are gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor. In only seconds, the world changed for millions of people.
Since that earthquake, numerous members of our community have stepped up to organize events to help out the victims in Haiti. I received dozens of email and Facebook invites almost every day urging me to support the relief efforts. What some people might see as spam, I saw an incredibly touching display of how caring our community is and how in times of need we come together to lend our support.
Despite the incredible human suffering experienced in Haiti, we should use this event to focus on our own community and backyard and ask ourselves: are we prepared? It is not a matter of if but when a similarly devastating earthquake will hit San Francisco. Did you get certified by the San Francisco Fire Department through their Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) training? Do you have an earthquake survival kit? Have you established an emergency contact outside of the city? Could you survive on your own for at least 72 hours?
If the answer to any or all of those questions is NO then it’s time for you to take action and get prepared. Katrina and Haiti have shown that government and humanitarian aid can take days to arrive – yes, even in San Francisco.
Here are some easy steps you can take: To find the next NERT training go to http://tiny.cc/sfnert . Visit72hours.org to find out how you can get prepared. And finally visit http://tiny.cc/sHuNW for some great emergency contact sheet templates. Disaster preparedness might not be the most exciting thing to do but it is incredibly important. Make a plan! Create a kit! Be Prepared!
Co-Chair, Alice Tech/Newsletter Committee