JULY 29, 2019
In February of 2017, in the middle of one of the coldest winters in years, it was also the wettest. The water couldn’t sink into the frozen ground so it pooled. Fields quickly turned to ponds and small lakes and roads became rivers. No one in our area had seen anything like it, and only a few were prepared for the waters. Entire roads were flushed out and homes were sunk in less than a day. Rumors about the local dams overflowing were spreading. Even though my spouse worked for the city and assured me the rumors were false, I began to worry.
We have some camping supplies, but if we had to leave in a hurry, or even hunker down at home, we could be in trouble. I looked at my daughter and realized I had no water storage for food or formula if needed.
It was a wakeup call.
Since then I have learned more about being prepared, but I still have more to learn. I can honestly say the hardest part about being prepared is acknowledging sometimes bad things happen, and accepting responsibility to prepare and protect my family.
The thought of our family in danger can sometimes be enough to avoid talking about emergency preparedness. That’s not helpful for us, or our family. Children look to parents for guidance and it’s hard to guide your family when you don’t know what to do.
“In an emergency situation, your cognitive skills can be 80 percent diminished,” notes Gordon McCraw in a Ruralite article.1 Sounds like taking a test with test anxiety. If you practice what you know, you’ll increase your odds of remembering what to do in an emergency.
The articles and materials I’ve read have many things in common. They can be compressed into four basic steps to being prepared.
1) Know the risks of your area: for example propensity for earthquakes means securing water heaters and shelves to prevent further damage in the home.2
2) Know your family’s needs: medical and dietary needs, pets…
3) Have an Emergency Preparedness Kit, ready and accessible: first aid kit, food, water, games, small increments of cash, radio, pet supplies, important documents.1,2,3
4) Plan and Practice: Talk to your family. Where will you meet if you get separated? Will your hotel accept pets in an emergency?
I found this a great start for learning to be prepared. There are resources at the end of this post for you to use and prepare for your family’s unique needs, including Federal Emergency and other Management Agency information.
I would like to add a fifth step of my own.
5) Live: Do not live in fear. You may never experience a natural disaster, but if you do, you will be more equipped to handle it than you were previously.
I’m not going to leave the job of protecting my family to chance, but I won’t live in fear’s shadow either. For the sake of our children, let’s resolve to be more informed and prepared for emergency situations.
And for ideas to teach children: