On Oct. 29, Hurricane Sandy, or as the media dubbed it, “Superstorm Sandy,” hit the New York Metro area. Now, almost a month later, there are still people without power or even homes in the area Sandy hit.

There’s a simple message to be learned from this storm.

What is it?

In an emergency, when seconds count, help from the government is only weeks away.

The lesson from Sandy is the same lesson from Hurricane Katrina. When you need help in disaster, you are on your own. Government – because of its sheer incompetence – will not help you.

Sandy is a great example of this. Days after the hurricane hit, while power was still out and people were begging for water, Mayor Michael Bloomberg (who had both power and water at his home) had his top priority. It was to make sure the New York marathon went off so that he could have his “mission accomplished” photo op.

In New Jersey, Barack Obama came into town in time for an urgently needed campaign photo op. As soon as he left, everyone was back on their own.

One of the most popular reality shows on TV right now is a show called “Doomsday Preppers.” The show examines the lives of “preppers” who believe that a major “end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it” disaster is coming. While the show makes some of these people look pretty outrageous, the theory is pretty sound.

These people are preparing for a disaster.

Americans used to prepare for disasters. During the Cold War, we had something called civil defense. Civil defense, or fallout shelters, existed in most public buildings, including churches. These shelters had food, water and other survival tools. During the height of the Cold War, America had enough food in storage to feed every man, woman and child in the nation for three years.

But then Bill Clinton decided he wanted to blow the “peace dividend” on spending programs that would help Democrats get elected. Today, there is no civil defense. Today, if there is a disaster, you are on your own.

The “Doomsday Preppers,” who are featured on the show, prepare for cataclysmic end-of-the-world events, such as nuclear war, a pandemic or a total economic collapse.

While those events are not very likely, there is an event that I can guarantee you will happen within the next six months. It is an absolute certainty.

What is it?

It is a natural disaster.

What is that natural disaster?

I have no idea.

It could be a major winter storm. It could be a blizzard. It could be an earthquake or a tornado. It could be a major fire.

One of those will happen.

Are you ready?

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. Five wise virgins and five foolish virgins were waiting on a wedding party.  The five wise virgins brought enough oil for their lamps for all night long in case the party was delayed. The five foolish ones did not. The party was delayed, and the five foolish virgins ran out of oil.

Most Americans are like the five foolish virgins. They are totally unprepared.

If there were a disaster, do you know what the top priorities of survival are? How would you handle them?

The three top priorities of survival are shelter, water and food.

If you were in a disaster, how would you find shelter?

Most Americans assume if there were a major disaster, they could stay at home. Most of the time that is probably true. But how would you live without power? The loss of power is usually one of the first things that happens in a disaster.

Where would you get water?

Without power, your local water company isn’t pumping water anymore. The tap would quickly run dry.

What about food?

Most Americans plan weekly shopping trips, so rarely do Americans have more than a few days worth of food at home. Much of that food is refrigerated. Without power, frozen or refrigerated food will go bad quickly. Without power, how will you cook?

What would you do if you were given half an hour or less to evacuate your home because of an impending disaster? What would you do if a disaster struck while you and your spouse were at work and your children were at school? How would you find your spouse and children?

All of those questions are important questions. Since we have natural disasters every year, those are questions that people really face every year.

Statistically, at some point in your life, you’re going to be impacted by a natural disaster. So the real question is, are you going to be wise, or are you going to be foolish?

Are you going to act to protect yourself and your family, or are you going to wait on help from a government that may not consider helping you to be its top priority?

Just remember, in a disaster when seconds count, help from the government is only weeks away.

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