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June 01, 2022 | NATIONAL Didymus McHugh, Correspondent

Ok, something tells me that some of you may have thought about the 1970's television show with Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto, that's ok.

The thing that has come to my mind was preparing for emergencies. Law enforcement, firefighters and EMS are classified as Emergency Responders. Why? When people have an emergency, these are the front line that are there and usually trained for the emergency. Emergency responders train to respond to emergencies. We have the motto "don't train until you get it right, train until you can't get it wrong." Many areas train on the bread and butter calls and try to improve, so that everything works from muscle memory.

There are other emergency responders who really train. They are curious for knowledge and prepare for calls that barely happen or have not happened yet. How many are trained to work with livestock emergencies, when you live in an urban area? How many people before 2019 were trained to deal with a pandemic? Did anyone know that FEMA had courses to train you to handle providing services during a pandemic years before the pandemic happened? How many people are trained to deal with airplane crashes and mass casualty when you live nowhere in the path of any planes?

I think now people are training for terrorists, bio-weapons and electro-magnetic pulses. These may see like a dream, or nightmare but this is the thinking we need. How many people thought through fighting a fire or doing extrication with an electric car or self driving car?

Towns have departments that plan to deal with emergencies called Office of Emergency Management. These departments are supposed to be training for the big stuff like tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and things along that nature and they may do table top drills or almost full scale simulations.

But how are you prepared to handle you emergencies in life? I met a brother firefighter in Houston, after Hurricane Harvey. He shared with me that as the storm was coming, he put mattresses, an axe and chainsaw in the rafters of his one-story house. As the water started rising, his family went up there for refuge. He saw that the water remained high and he took the chainsaw and cut a whole in the roof and got his family on the roof of the house, until they got rescued. Like many firefighters, he made sure that his family was safe and then he went and reported for his shift.

When does the individual train for dealing with all this bad news? Have you ever taken a class on how to handle a life changing car accident? Do you how to handle when a doctor tells you that you have stage 4 cancer? Does anyone train you how to tell your spouse that you no long can provide an income to support the family? Are you ready for a sudden death, a divorce and all that entails, death of a loved one, or any sudden news? We may think that we are ready for our training, but it may help lessen it to some point.

There was a time that a chaplain friend of mine had to go into the hospital and people there knew him and knew that he was as a chaplain. When they gave him the bad news, they saw that he was a bit overwhelmed by what they told him. They mentioned that he was the chaplain, and works with this every day. The comment back to them was "yes, I deal with this every day, but it is not me that gets the news every day". Even people who help others all the time through their tough times also need to be supported.

Develop your support group to help you manage your emergencies. Try to pre-plan. I know that it may not be fun, but you may want to start thinking about a will, power of attorney, communications, where you can stay if your residence is destroyed. Have you thought how you would handle a fire in your house? Did you scan all your important documents and photos and store them on a flash drive and put in a safe deposit box, so that if you lose the house, you still have the important papers?

Please develop your team that you can call, local and long distance. During certain disasters, local calls were not getting through but people would be able to call people in other states. Some people were smart. They called a relative in another state and had them call someone in the town of the original caller.

Remember that when the stuff hits the fan, you can look towards a counselor, faith leader, a chaplain and as always you can talk with God. He is always there. Sometimes it may not feel like it but He sees what you are going through.

I pray that you do not have personal emergencies, but we know that it will happen. Know that I care.

Stay safe,

Didymus McHugh

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Didymus McHughCorrespondent

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