Early one July morning in the mid-70s, I awoke to the news that my Familyís home had been destroyed by a terrible windstorm the previous night. Having spent the night at my auntieís house, I couldnít imagine what our home would look like once we drove the few miles down the road where it once stood.

The first sight I recall is seeing our household belongings scattered about the yard like someone had just gotten tired of using them and had tossed them haphazardly into the wind.

I also remember how my mother tried to remain calm as we collected belongings to take to my grandparentsí house, the place we would live until we could re-establish our home. But, with a childís perspective of prioritizing, I upset Mom by trying to gather my tea set and dolls rather than clothes, shoes and other necessities.

Nothing prepares a child for the devastation of losing a home. I hadnít known the power of Mother Nature, but I had witnessed the aftermath of her wrath.

That disaster set in motion a practice that my mother has maintained for years later ó she always keeps an emergency kit handy.

Iíve done the same. My kit may not be very elaborate, but it contains water, canned goods, snacks, wet wipes, a flashlight, and hygiene and paper products.

We have enough coolers to store food. I suppose optimum preparation would be to buy a generator, but we have yet to do so.

My husband maintains enough gas for the grill or large cooking pot, a practice that came in handy when we lost power for two or three days following Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Surviving Floyd was all the more memorable because it was difficult to care for my 1-year-old son at the time. Never have I ever taken running water for granted than being pressed to bathe and feed my baby.

We spent the last day, determined to be comfortable, at my cousinís house.

Living in the south, Iíve become accustomed to hurricane and tornado warnings, but I take them seriously. A 2011 tornado damaged some Fort Bragg facilities, but the installation maintains an emergency management plan.

The Giant Voice, an exterior mass notification system is tested every Wednesday. The Fort Bragg Facebook page and website keeps updated information. In any emergency situation, 911 is available. Unless there is a power outage, radio and TV is also available. Any time is a good time to invest in a weather radio.

By all means, whether natural disaster or not, read the paper.