Special thanks to The Motherhood and Energizer for partnering with me to make this Emergency Preparedness Month post possible. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own, as always.
I grew up in a part of the country where tornado sightings weren’t uncommon at all, especially in the spring months. In fact, I’m actually from Enterprise, Alabama, which some people know of because it is the place where a tornado hit a high school in 2006, killing 8 students. It was a tragedy, and also a miracle that the number of students killed was so low. After all, classes were in session. My own little sister was in the building that day, in fact.
So understandably, in many ways I am prepared when it comes to emergency weather situations. I take tornado warnings VERY seriously, and stay up-to-date on the latest weather conditions thanks to apps. I know the safest place in my home to go, and I have taught my children where that place is so that they know to go.
But I am embarrassed to admit that until this year, I wasn’t as prepared as I should be. I used to have an emergency supply kit, but I let it sort of fall apart over the years, as food in it expired and was tossed out, or as we moved and found ourselves needing some of the supplies for other purposes. We never rebuilt that kit, and frankly, I never really thought about it until April of this year, when my weather alert app went off during the night while I was home alone with our kids (Tim was 2 hours away in Atlanta at a conference).
When that alarm went off, I was completely startled. It wasn’t a tornado watch. It was a warning. Warnings mean that you need to take cover IMMEDIATELY. I woke up both girls, only half-awake myself and completely running on adrenaline. I carried them down the stairs and into our downstairs bathroom, which is a room with no windows. I put them in the tub, and then I raced to the nearest room with pillows and brought those in, as well. At that moment, I realized that I didn’t know where the flash light or the weather radio was located, and since we were in a tornado warning, I knew better than to separate myself from the girls. Seconds matter in times like these, really and truly.
It was dark outside, so there was no way to see if a funnel cloud was nearby. All I could do was hold my girls and pray. It was an incredibly scary moment in my life because when it comes to tornadoes, they are so random and so horrible, and I felt completely out of control and unable to shield my girls from what might have been headed our way.
We sat there for 45 minutes before the warning was lifted. I managed to get the girls back to sleep, but as for me, as I was completely restless. I would wake up every 30 minutes or so and frantically check the weather. I also wrote notes down about the things I needed to have with me in that room that simply weren’t there. It was foolish of me to ever assume that I could just gather those things when I needed them. You don’t have time to do that in an emergency, and you certainly don’t want to get separated from your family all for the sake of trying to find a flashlight.
September is National Preparedness Month, and that makes it a great time to take just a few minutes out of your day and get your family prepared for an emergency situation. Believe me when I say that you will thank yourself if and when the time comes that you need to reach for your kit. According to a recent Energizer survey, only 38% of Americans have emergency kits for severe weather in their homes. Let’s do something to change this statistic!
One important item that many households don’t have on hand is a hands-free light device, such as a lantern or a head lamp. We have a head lamp, but on the night in question, I discovered that it had dead batteries. Needless to say, that wasn’t very helpful!
Join us for a Twitter party on September 23rd at 1pm EST to discuss ways you can easily get prepped for emergency situations. You’ll learn a lot, have some fun, and be eligible for some useful prizes! More info here: http://twtvite.com/poweringsafety
You can also get more information about how you can get started today putting together an emergency kit for your family by heading over to the Energizer Facebook page.
Does your family have a plan and an emergency kit? Do you keep it in the safest room of your home, where your family is likely to gather during severe weather?