After this winter’s ice storm, my community decided to meet to form a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). This a team of community members trained by FEMA to respond to emergencies until state and federal teams arrive. After reviewing the procedures and demands required to become certified, we decided to forgo the acronym and design our own team with our own strengths and needs in mind.

Decisions like this give me hope for the future. We are so used to giving up our power for the mantle of protection offered by some governmental agency or other. Fearful people can  behave like children, looking for the direction and aproval of an adult before making a move. The problem with behaving like a child is that one is then invariably treated like a child. I know of too many cases of hearing those infamous words, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”, and all of the sudden someone is telling you where to go and when to go there. There is some help I would rather do without.

Our little commitee designed a short survey so we will know who lives where and is likely to need help in a crisis. We will know who is elderly or alone or disabled. We have a couple of people in town who rely on grid powered equipment for medical reasons and we have put a plan in place to deliver generators to those folks. We also set up a community shelter plan along with a plan to check on people who might need transportation. We made a water plan and a food and cooking plan, a sanitation plan and a communication plan. No one who doesn’t want to participate would be required to. You’d be surprised how quickly this plan was put together when we didn’t have imposed standards and rule to abide by.

The past decade has brought many folks to the realization that the government may not always have our best interests at heart. It may not always know what’s best for any one group of people and it certainly does not have all the answers. Heck-it doesn’t even have the right questions. Every time you have the chance to look out for yourself and the people you love, grab it. Every time you can learn something, grow something, rise to a challenge, face a fear, do-it-yourself or take a stand, it behooves you to see it as a gift and an opportunity. Read some history. Remember our roots.