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Is your family prepared for an emergency?

The governor has declared a State of Emergency due to today’s storms here in Alabama. Once the decision was made, the schools followed suit and most districts closed due to the storms coming in two waves, in the morning and afternoon.

(And for those of you that don’t know, when a State of Emergency is declared, the school systems can ask the state to wave the day so they don’t have to make it up. So anytime one is called, most districts choose to close.)

But what does that have to do with you, especially if you live in an area that isn’t prone to tornadoes and strong winds? Anywhere can experience an emergency. Whether it be due to tornados, earthquakes, blizzards, fires, etc.

Is your family prepared?

I know it seems far fetched that you might be in a situation where you are unable to call your spouse or would loose power for an extended period of time. But it can happen. Really, it can. Because it happened to us a few years ago.

The south was hit with multiple tornados on April 27, 2011. It was a very wide spread event, that most of us won’t forget. Multiple communities were affected. Multiple individuals lost their lives. And a large amount of people were without power for a good amount of time, including the Huntsville area.

The tornados not only took down hundreds of transmission towers, but two TVA power plants were also affected. Over 800,000 people were without power for almost a week. To add insult to injury, some cell services were affected, and people were unable to communicate.

We didn’t have a plan. My husband was in Iraq, and I decided to ride out the storms at a friend’s house because I lived in a second story condo.

Is Your Family Prepared for an Emergency? Kids in the Laundry Room During the Tornado Warning April 27, 2011

All the kids huddled in the laundry room during one of the many tornado warnings. 

We lost power and the storms were not over and night was falling. My husband was literally texting us updates from the other side of the world.

Is Your Family Prepared for an Emergency? Tornado going north.

One of the tornados that went north of us.

Fortunately I had a full tank of gas and my cell service wasn’t interrupted. I was able to charge my phone in my car and drive an hour and a half west to my mom’s house. I’m not sure what I would have done if I didn’t have gas in my car, because a gas shortage started quickly after, as many people were trying to leave the area.

So, learn from my mistake. If you aren’t prepared for an emergency, I challenge you to research items you need to keep on hand and come up with a plan.

Some items we always try to keep on hand:

  • Baby Carrier: Our ergo goes wherever the baby goes in the event that I need to have my hands free. It stays in the car, unless I’m using it. The only exception is that during times of severe weather, it is in our master closet, which is our safe spot.
  • Water: We keep water in the car, in the diaper bag, and at our house. This seems obvious, but do you have enough water for your entire family for a few days? Especially since our youngest is on formula, it is imperative that we keep clean water. Also, is it being stored safely?
  • Weather Radio with Extra Batteries: We personally have a hand crank weather radio and flashlight.
  • Flashlights with Extra Batteries
  • Closed Toed Shoes for the Entire Family: This is something you’d want with you at all times, but to be honest, I’m not very good at this. In the event you are in a car accident or in an area with a lot of debris, closed toed shoes are preferable.
  • Road Maps: We keep road maps in our cars in the event that our cell phones are not operational. This is even more important when we travel, because we are generally not very familiar with the area we are visiting.

Other habits that are important during times of severe weather/an emergency:

  • Full tank of gas
  • Keep cell phone fully charged
  • Keep the diaper bag fully stocked at all times, including formula, food, water, diapers, and necessary medications.
  • Be prepared to leave your home quickly: My husband and I have had multiple conversations on what we would do and what we would grab if we had to leave quickly. We know which child each of us are in charge of collecting, we know where all of our important documents are, etc.

*These are not meant to be a complete lists. There are a plethora of emergency kits and procedures out there. I simply wanted to bring to light planning for an emergency and inspire you to come up with a plan for your family, if you haven’t already.*

I truly hope you never find yourself in a situation where you have to use your family’s emergency plan. 

Stay safe and weather aware today!

- Katie


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