Corfu couple keeps "go-bag" at the ready in case disaster strikes
Thomas and Barbara Haberneck of Corfu have their go bags packed and ready. “They’re within arm’s reach,” said Thomas. “So we know, at a moment’s notice, we just have to grab our bags and run out the door.”
Thomas was a former fireman and knows the importance of being ready for the unexpected.
“Things can happen in an instant, and being prepared is encouraging,” he said. “Any disaster situation is very stressful; knowing that you are prepared gives a little bit of relief.”
While the Habernecks make preparations to stay safe, they do not forget to offer prayers as well as financial support by making donations to relief efforts organized by Jehovah's Witnesses. This helps those who have lost so much from the latest tragedy of Hurricane Ian “put their lives back together,” said Barbara. “It is a comforting thought to know that they are receiving help,” she added.
With extreme weather events escalating in frequency and severity in recent years, experts urge families to plan ahead for natural disasters. Ready.gov, a FEMA website, recommends putting together a “collection of basic items” to last for several days, including food, water, a change of clothes, cash and a flashlight.
Barbara has several medical conditions, so she makes sure to pack special items for those needs. I have to make sure my medical supplies are with me. It’s important that I’m prepared for that,” she said.
The Habernecks credit regular disaster-preparedness reminders through their congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and on the Christian organization’s official website, jw.org, for helping them to keep at the ready.
“We really appreciate the information we have received on disaster preparedness,” said Barbara. “We encourage other people to please, if you don’t have a go bag, get one together!”
“Being ready to face a natural disaster may be the difference between life and death when it unexpectedly hits,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesperson for the Christian organization. “We can’t just say life is precious; we need to live it. That’s why the Bible’s advice to take practical steps to protect ourselves and our families from danger make so much sense — even if threats seem far off.”
Until recently, Colorado couple Michael and Crystal Brook only thought of wildfires as a threat to those high on the slopes of the Rockies — never imagining that their suburban home in the foothills would be at risk.
Last December, their efforts paid off when the Marshall Fire, a record-breaking inferno fueled by drought conditions and high winds, ravaged homes and businesses in Boulder County.
As flames leapt across the interstate highway near their home and billows of smoke darkened the midday sky, the Brooks grabbed their go bags, along with pillows and stuffed toys to help keep 6-year-old daughter Annastyn calm amid the chaos of evacuating their community.
Michael recalls the panic within the community. “They didn’t know what to do,” he said.
Though the Brooks’ house sustained only minor smoke damage, and their go-bags went unused, the couple feel being prepared helped them remain calm and act swiftly under pressure. “Having the go bags made things simple,” said Michael.
“These days, anything can happen anytime, anywhere,” added Crystal. “It’s good to be prepared.”