Life doesn’t hold anything back these days, does it?

By Andy Foshee

Pittsboro, NC – Covid-19, twin hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, 500 fires burning in California, a contentious political environment.  While all this sounds like the tag line to a thriller action novel it’s the world we’re living in today.

big waves under cloudy sky

Chatham CERT – the Community Emergency Response Team – is an all-volunteer organization of neighbors helping neighbors.  Our primary mantra is “Don’t be a Victim” – if you take care of yourself then you are not adding to the burden of first responders and others who have to come help you.  After caring for yourself the priorities are to care for family, neighbors, and finally the community at large.  Of course, in caring for yourself and family ultimately is helping the community because resources (first responders) can go to others who aren’t able to do so.

In times like these it is important to remember the old saying “an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure”.  In other words, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and grief by spending a short time preparing for possible future problems.  Prep right now is even more important as we can see life is more than happy to throw a lot at us at once.

One way to prep is to purchase one extra item each time you go to the store, and set it aside “just in case”.  A box of instant oatmeal (I personally prefer grits!) aren’t expensive, but it has a long shelf life and provides 12 meals.  Over time you’ll build a cache of supplies that will keep you going if there’s an emergency.  FEMA has upgraded their recommendations from a 3-day supply of food and water to TWO WEEKS of supplies for you, your family, and all your animals.

While working on your own prep, hopefully you’ll have the ability to still think of others.  Whether you saw this on Facebook, or the recent re-post on NextDoor, there was a photo of a sign hanging in a store window I found especially poignant.  I’d like to quote the sign here:

“Remember all the local small businesses that you’ve asked for years and years to donate and sponsor your sports clubs, school events, organizations, etc.? They’re calling in a favour. Answer the call!”

It doesn’t take much to help your community, only a few simple things. First, help yourself (don’t be a victim).  Secondly, make sure your family is prepared (don’t forget your pets & other animals).  Third, help where you can in the community – even if it means choosing take-out from a local restaurant.

Interested in learning more?  Anyone who works or lives in Chatham County is welcome to attend CERT meetings and training sessions, online or in person – membership (which is free!) is not required.  If you’re interested in CERT just drop a note to , and you’ll be put on the monthly email list for meeting notifications.  Our next meeting is Wednesday, August 26th and is on Home Security and is being co-presented by someone with a personal story to relate and the Chatham County Sheriffs Department.  A link to join the virtual meeting via your web browser (or dial-in) will be sent to those on our list.

Chatham CERT is a 501(c)(3) all-volunteer organization.