In the wake of one of the most destructive storms to ever hit the United States, Oklahoma’s neighbor to the south is facing tragic flooding, property damage, and trying times.

Although facing a catastrophe of a different kind, the Oklahoma Standard is the promise we made years ago to take care of each other in times of tragedy. In the face of Hurricane Harvey, Texas needs to see that the Oklahoma Standard transcends state lines.

While persistent storms and record breaking rainfall levels continue to pummel Texas and nearby states, we all want to do what we can to help the states in our surrounding area.

It’s true that every little bit helps, but if you’re interested in donating your time, goods, or funding to the relief efforts, consider where your donations would be best served and always be cautious of charity scams.

The Federal Trade Commission put out guidelines for safe charity donations, should you choose to donate monetarily. Make sure that you only donate to charities that you know and have a proven track record of assisting in relief efforts of natural disasters.

You should also designate your donation to the current disaster to ensure your donation goes to immediate relief efforts and not a general fund. If you have further concerns about donating to a specific organization, visit the National Association of State Charity Officials to see if they are registered in Oklahoma.

September is also National Preparedness Month. As we continue to live through the heartbreaking impact of Hurricane Harvey on Texas, I encourage your family to take some time this month to prepare similar events such as earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters.

Talk to your kids about what to do in the event of an emergency and always have a plan in case disaster strikes without warning. By educating ourselves and our kids, we can do our part to ensure that we will be ready for whatever Mother Nature sends our way.

One of the greatest things about our country is that when unforeseen circumstances or events are thrown at us, Americans always unite to take care of each other. Hurricane Harvey is no exception.

There is no greater display of the Oklahoma Standard than seeing the Oklahoma National Guard deploy to Texas, Air Evac Lifeteams from Henryetta and Cushing lending emergency transport services to patients in need, or Oklahoma’s Salvation Army sending volunteers and supplies to our neighboring state.

Now more than ever, our country is united in our service and that’s what the Oklahoma Standard is all about.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) represents the second district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached through http://mullin.house.gov, and at 3109 Azalea Park Drive, Muskogee, OK, 74401, 918-687-2533 or 202-225-2701