Friday, April 8, 2011

Let's face it, disasters happen.

This post is part of my spring cleaning routine today, as I remind you to "make a plan" in the event of a disaster.  It doesn't have to be a big plan or kit, but the basics cover enough.

It's early spring here in Ohio and for me that means updating our disaster plan.  Yes, I know that sounds paranoid, but it's part of my spring cleaning routine.  I worked on the Red Cross disaster team in my area while in college and before I had kids, so trust me, disasters happen more than an average person may know.  I believe most people when they hear the word disaster think of the recent earthquake in Japan or the tsnami that hit soon afterward.  For me, a disaster is a house fire in which a family is displaced.  It's a thunderstorm that contained high winds that knocked a tree over onto a person's home.  A ton of rain or snow melting that happens to flood homes.  For me, those are the typical disasters I think of.

As anyone from this part of the country knows, spring brings the threat of tornadoes and high winds.  Thunderstorms and lightening are another threat.  Spring in Ohio can be dangerous and I like waking up each day knowing that in the event of an emergency or disaster my family is prepared.  Now, I'm not one of those who dwell on a disaster.  Not even close.  I'm more of the "if it happens better be safe than sorry" crowd.  I think that mindset happened once I starting volunteering for the Red Cross.  In order to be a part of the disaster team, they require you to take classes on preparedness.  I took what they said to heart and went home and prepared a kit for myself.  That kit has now expanded to include my entire family, PLUS our 2 kitties. 

I'm sure you may know, but then again you may not, in the event of an emergency, disaster, etc, the Red Cross can't help animals.  So, if it comes down to you getting to safety, you need to have other plans for your animals.  Only service animals are allowed in disaster shelters.  Personally, this bothers me because our kitties are like our "first kids".  Yet, I'm not so niave that I wouldn't get to safety if that was necessary.  Instead, I've made a plan for the kitties should something come up.  Depending on the situation, they will go to a relatives or to their vets office.  I love our vet and he is such a wonderful man that he makes it a point to post a sign in the office that says "in the event of a disaster, please bring your animals here for safe keeping". 

The one plan that I can't stress enough is what to do/where to go in the event of a fire.  That was the first thing we did once we got settled into our house.  We made the effort to connect with neighbors, so that if something happened to us or them, we had friends.  We told the kids that if a fire ever happened (all the while reassuring them it wasn't likely), that we needed to get out of the house and to meet at the designated spot.  We actually practice this!  Once a year Chuck will randomly push the smoke detectors and we practice how to get out of the house.  Along with being educational for the kids, it reminds them of our meet up spot. 

On a different matter, they already know where to go for a tornado warning.  We had "real life" practice of this two times last fall when sirens went off during some really awful storms.  They were scared, but kept calm and went where we told them to and A (in her wise Kindergarten experience) showed the little ones how to cover their heads. 

So, this is just a nice spring reminder that things can and do happen.  For the safety of your kids, if nothing else, having a plan in place is a good thing.  Here's a couple links to the FEMA website and the Red Cross to help you in designing your plan, should you choose to do so!

**Please note my kids aren't afraid of storms, sirens, or anything.  Although I could seriously kick my Mom for allowing A to watch something about the tsumani in Japan because she's been having nightmares. **

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