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Being prepared makes all the difference

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- First off, let me just say "kudos" to everyone who made last week's Hurricane Exercise - "Ocean Breeze 08" - such a success. As Tropical Storm Edouard shows, we are in the middle of hurricane season. These exercises help us better deal with what nature throws us and allow us to be ready at a moment's notice.

It is great that we have such a hard-working, talented, energetic and caring group of people who are so focused on protecting the personnel and assets of the Patrick AFB and Cape Canaveral AFS.

But they can't do all this on their own. Each of us has to prepare for emergencies and natural disasters, like hurricanes.

Some of you have lived here for years and know what to expect. Many others probably do not. This is why we practice.

Don't wait until the storm is brewing just off our shore before taking action. Know where your important documents are. Ensure you have re-fills of any medications that you and your family members need on a daily basis. Have a couple different evacuation routes in mind. Have a supply of water, batteries, flashlights, canned food, and other items "stored away" so they are there when you need them.

President Abraham Lincoln once said that if he were given six hours to chop down a tree, he'd spend the first four hours sharpening the blade. In other words, he knew full well the importance of being prepared.

Being prepared brings peace of mind to all of us. It brings a certain kind of quiet confidence, a "we-can-get-through-anything" mindset that is almost impossible to defeat.

We, as a family, need to feed off that air of confidence, while at the same time being ever vigilant in our preparations for the unknown.

So help yourself out. Please. Get prepared. You'll feel better, and so will I. We need you to be safe. Go Sharks!