Posted: Tuesday, January 04, 2005

How sad it is that during what should be one of the happiest seasons of the year we have yet another disaster. On December 26, we heard about the earth-shattering quake that has caused one of the most deadly tsunamis of all time. As of this morning the death toll is 117,000 and climbing. There are 5 million people with no access to food.

This summer our own Florida was hit with not 1 but 4 hurricanes. This was one of the worst seasons for hurricanes and yet at least there was some warning.

In Alaska we can experience earthquakes and flooding but on a more day to day basis we need to be prepared for things like bad weather or severe cold or being stranded. Unfortunately the people in Asia and Africa had little warning. We often have notice of bad weather or storms coming. Even without warning we should always take some survival supplies with us. Especially in the winter, Alaska can be quite unforgiving for the unprepared. It is a good idea while traveling to carry extra food, water, blankets, a heat source of some type and flares. Even the ever-present cell phone can come in handy. It is always better to stay put in a stranded vehicle than walking away from the only shelter you may find for miles. Be sure if a heat source has to be used that a window is left cracked. It would be just as tragic to be asphyxiated as to freeze to death. I prefer to just stay home when the weather is getting real bad, but there are times when that is not an option.

If you are participating in outdoor activities be sure to be safe. If the ice is too thin, delay that fishing trip. Don't purposely go snow machining in a high avalanche area. Don't put you or your family in situations where you may have to pay dearly. The poor people in Asia and Africa were all just going about their business when their world was turned upside down. While we haven't had this level of catastrophe here, let's do all we can to prevent our own personal catastrophes and keep ourselves and our families as safe as possible.

As 2004 draws to an end, let's all count our blessings and look forward to an even better 2005. Keep the people in Asia and Africa in our prayers.

See you next week

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