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Fear & Loading: Preparedness

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and first responders in South Carolina’s record-setting flooding. Mother Nature’s deadly arsenal isn’t limited to a direct hit from a hurricane, tornado or earthquake and all of us need to be prepared at some level to “bug out” when things turn bad. When that’s impossible, we should be able to take care of ourselves and loved ones until first responders arrive.

Unfortunately, forced evacuations, closed freeways and first responders stretched to the limits are an open invitation for criminals—another of many reasons a lawful citizen’s survival plan should include a self-defense gun and training. Even when given the all clear, it’s not uncommon to encounter opportunistic, often armed, looters when a homeowner returns. There are other lessons, though.

Military budget cuts are deep and going deeper. This isn’t the time for debate, not while people’s lives are still at stake, but this video of a young mother and infant rescued Sunday by the Coast Guard highlights how the military continues to do good deeds stateside, and across the globe.

It’s common knowledge among rescue personnel that swift water rescues are the most dangerous. Cliffs don’t move, ebb and flow, or suddenly grow in size. And, in an operation of this magnitude, if a first-responder goes down, there usually isn’t enough manpower or resources to mount a rescue—their survival training is expected to kick in.

I’m an hour north of the floodwaters, but this weekend’s catastrophe brings back horrible memories from 30 years ago or so, when southern Arizona experienced similar flooding while I was part of the area’s rescue teams. Roads and bridges were out, people died and one of the Department of Public Safety helicopter crews we were working with had logged enough flight hours that they needed to return to base. As they headed back, a call came in for a pregnant woman stranded on her roof, so they diverted. The crash site was located later. I won’t tell you how long it took to recover their bodies, but resources were tied up, and it wasn’t a Hollywood ending. Thoughts and prayers for those who continue to put their lives on the line in South Carolina and elsewhere in the Air Force Para Jumper tradition of, “That others may live.”

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