(Photo: courtesy Operation Blessing International)
As tornado season begins in the United States, a major Christian humanitarian organization is providing families with a downloadable guide about disaster preparation.
Operation Blessing International announced Monday that they would be providing a free booklet known as the "7-Day Family Disaster Planning Guide."
"Historically, March marks the beginning of the peak tornado season in the USA. However, due to much colder temperatures than normal this winter, there were only 17 tornadoes in the month of March, the lowest in 35 years," says OBI.
"But with the return of warm temperatures now in place, forecasters are calling for an increase in the likelihood of tornado activity in the coming weeks."
Jody Herrington-Gettys, director of U.S. disaster relief for Operation Blessing, told The Christian Post that this planning guide was the first one her organization had released.
"This is actually the first such planning guide that Operation Blessing has published for the general public," said Herrington-Gettys. "Last year's tornado season and hurricane season impacted so many thousands of families, we decided to publish this guide now to try and help families prepare."
The guide involves seven topics on disaster preparation: creating a plan, gathering important documents, preparing a kit, getting food and water supplies, getting emergency supplies, gathering together the supplies, and practicing an emergency plan.
Herrington-Gettys told CP that the focus of the guide came from the "firsthand" experiences that OBI personnel saw in disaster areas.
"Last fall, for example, we were a first responder to Hurricane Sandy and had set up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where the electricity had been out for days," said Herrington-Gettys.
"We saw tens of thousands of people who were living in dark apartments with no plumbing – they were out of food, drinking water, and many ran out of their prescription medications."
Herrington-Gettys added that the guide "was born out of a heart and vision to help families better prepare."
"It was originally intended as part of a hurricane preparedness program that we do for school children, but the material is just as relevant to tornadoes, floods or most any other disaster scenario," said Herrington-Gettys.
"In our work as first responders to disasters, we have seen many common challenges that families face when they are not prepared – lack of food, drinking water, running out of medications, toiletries, loss of important documents, etc. So we took those challenges and created specific items in the planning guide, like the Family Go-Kit, that address these needs."