"Positively Prepared"…Free Resource Made Available for National Preparedness Month, September 2005

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and The American Red Cross declared September 2005 as "National Preparedness Month." The goal is to increase public awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies and to encourage individuals to take action. In response, Butterhouse Publishing has released a free pamphlet intended to aid individuals in preparing their own disaster plans to ensure that they are not entirely dependent on government intervention or other external sources of relief.

As a nation, we watched in disbelief and horror as Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas. The ensuing chaos shed light on glaring inadequacies in the way those of us who live in the U.S. have prepared for disaster, both collectively and individually.

Judging by the numbers of people who remained in the path of the Hurricane Katrina despite repeated warnings to evacuate, it is abundantly clear that many Gulf Coast residents simply did not believe that the storm’s severity and resulting devastation would be so monumental. Although it is easy to point the finger at those who ignored such warnings, the truth is that for many years this nation had not experienced a national catastrophe ignited by a natural disaster or man-made crisis. The result is a collective sense of security and comfort that persists despite evidence to the contrary, such as the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the severity of Hurricane Katrina.

Although this mentality has been eroded by recent events, proof that it still exists is embodied by a question raised as a Hurricane Rita advanced on the Gulf Coast, specifically, “How could this happen again so soon?”

Notwithstanding the host of potential answers to this question that have been floated in the media, the question is largely rhetorical and spiritual, rather than practical. It may not, in fact, be answerable, but it does beg and second and third question; “Could an unthinkable and improbable disaster happen to me?” and “Would I have the resources I need to survive?”

Recent events force us to recognize that we are unquestionably vulnerable to various kinds of disasters, and that the possibility is not as remote as we once believed. We have no ability to restrain the weather, and only limited control of man made crises such as terrorist attacks, oil spills, nuclear disasters and so forth. The message is clear, then, that our only power over the circumstances lies in our preparation prior to the event, and our response following.

Questions have been raised nationally as to whether or not our government was adequately prepared and if it responded appropriately. While these inquiries are legitimate, they ignore the power that each human being has to prepare their own resources, to make a personal disaster plan, and to help themselves to survive with or without a quick or sufficient government response that is largely out of the individual’s control.

"Positively Prepared" is written to address the specific actions that people can take to prepare for common emergencies, as well as unlikely disasters. Step by step, it guides the reader to prepare a basic disaster plan and emergency supply kit in just one day. Once the basics are in place, the reader is encouraged to refine their plan, addressing more complex preparedness issues and and ensuring that the plan is thorough.

Concisely and pragmatically, Kari Spencer tells her readers precisely what actions to take and why. She provides simple forms to help the reader organize their supplies and important documents, as well as questions to ask an insurance agent to ensure proper coverage.

Kari Spencer encourages her readers to take responsibility for their own survival, and not to wait for the government and other relief agencies to respond. Each section presents a subject related to disaster preparedness, and each can be consulted step by step, or on a strictly need-to-know basis. Kari takes her readers past helpless or apathetic to a place of security, and, if her advice is put into action, to a greater possibility of survival.

She begins the journey by affirming that life is too short for a pessimistic attitude that sees disaster around every corner. However, by spending a small amount of time considering the negative possibilities of life and preparing for them, one is then free to thoroughly enjoy their life and to have hope for the future, with the assurance that they are adequately prepared should the unthinkable occur.

"Positively Prepared" can be downloaded at not cost by visiting http://www.lulu.com/financialstories. The book is also available for purchase in soft cover. For more information about this book, or to learn about other financial topics, visit the Butterhouse Publishing website at http://www.moneyguideonline.com.

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Kari Spencer
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