DEAR READERS: In the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and projections from the National Weather Service indicating that there are more to come, it is apparent that too many of our citizens are at a loss about how to prepare for a natural disaster.
Wanting to help not only the hurricane survivors, but also to offer information so that ALL of us will be better prepared for potential disasters in the future, I turned to my friends at the Federal Citizen Information Center in Pueblo, Colorado.
True to form, they have come through with an excellent publication from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: "Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now." It explains how to assemble an emergency supply kit and develop a family plan that can be invaluable in all kinds of emergencies. The booklet is free. It's available in both English and Spanish, and can be ordered by writing to: Preparing Makes Sense, Pueblo, Colo. 81009, or by calling toll-free: 1-888-878-3256 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.
For survivors of the hurricanes, and for those individuals who want to help with the recovery effort, one of the best online sources is � HYPERLINK "http://www.FirstGov.gov" ��www.FirstGov.gov�. This Web site has links to help locate loved ones, register online for government assistance, replace your vital personal documents, locate state and local services, as well as volunteer opportunities.
Because scam artists are always quick to take advantage of those in need as well as those who want to help, � HYPERLINK "http://www.FirstGov.gov" ��www.FirstGov.gov� offers sound advice for avoiding frauds and schemes, and making sure the charity that you donate to is reputable. (Free copies of "Preparing Makes Sense" can also be ordered online at FirstGov.gov.)
While my prayer is that our country will be spared future disasters, my goal today is to encourage you to send for this free publication and to further protect yourselves and your loved ones by using the resources at � HYPERLINK "http://www.FirstGov.gov" ��www.FirstGov.gov�. -- LOVE, ABBY