Do you have a written emergency plan? Do you know what you will do if faced with an hour to get out of your house?
Wait a minute, Sallie! I thought this was supposed to be a quiet place.
Yes, it is. There is nothing as quiet and simple as knowing you are prepared for an emergency.
Watching the devastation in Iowa has reminded me that I need to update our written evacuation plan. Yes, we have a written plan. I’ve written down what we need to get in each room of the house if we are ever forced with an evacuation. The down side is that I haven’t updated it since Caroline was born and it is completely out of date. I will be updating it this weekend.
Think it won’t happen where you live? Maybe not a flood. Chemical accident from a train derailment? Live anywhere near the New Madrid Fault? Ever read about the past New Madrid earthquakes that shook a significant part of the US and is expected to happen again? Tornadoes? Hurricanes?
No, we can’t plan for every eventuality. But we can plan to the best of our ability. When there is a crisis and you have stored water, you can be a blessing to others instead of another person in need. Think you won’t be without water? We had a water main break here last year and we were without water for three days and on a boil water advisory for a few more. That can happen almost anywhere.
I can guarantee you that probably 99% of the Iowans who are losing everything in the floods never thought it would happen to them. From what I have read, most of them don’t even have flood insurance because it was such an improbability.
The time to think about what you need to take with you is not when you are in a daze and told you have an hour to get out. The stress is too much at that point. You need a list that you can go through. Give yourself a plan with five minutes in each room and know what you will grab. Know what will go in each suitcase or bag or tote. Know what will fit in the car. Have a plan. Think about it. Write it down. Make sure everyone in the house understands the plan and could implement it if you weren’t there for some reason.
Make a plan.
I live on the Gulf Coast, so you can bet, we’ve been through that planning. I would exhort to also add to your thinking what you would do if your home was invaded, if someone tried to carjack you or if your home was on fire. Too often, it’s uncomfortable to think of these negative things so we don’t. Then, when we are face to face with trouble, our brains have nothing to pull out but fear. Far better to think about what you would do in an emerency situation when you are thinking clearly and can prepare.
My heart goes out to everyone who has lost their homes in the flooding and storms…
Thank you for this post- I need to put my treasured photos, negatives, and cds of digital photos in a safety deposit box. I will do it before the end of July- there, I’ve put it out there in the blogosphere, I’m going to make it happen!
sallie @ a quiet simple life
Susan – Thank you for the extra suggestions. They are good ones. I just read a really good article from TIME called Surviving a Disaster. It is uncomfortable to think about, but the advice was very good. I highly recommend reading it all the way to the end. The last story is the best illustration.
Katie – One thing that we have been religious about is putting copies of our digital photos and movies in the safety deposit box. We also have copies in another location. One good piece of information I have read but not followed through on is to have copies of all of your important information (birth certificates, account numbers, etc.) in another location far away (as in another part of the country). That way if there is a widespread disaster in your area/state, you will still be able to access your information via a friend who has it elsewhere.
Sallie, I tagged you!
Kathy of the HavinsNest
We woke up on Saturday, January 5, 2002 to a toilet gone haywire and 4 inches of water in our home. We realized we’d be getting new floors but imagine our surprise to discover we would be moving to a hotel while our house received new flooring, new walls, new furniture, new cabinets and cupboards, new more than I can begin to tell you.
My anality was a blessing. I could lay hands on room descriptions, item descriptions, receipts and pictures to back up our claims of loses and prices.
I now have copies in a second location.
Wills are important and so are funeral arrangements or special requests. Ours are in our files and copies are with our kids and my cousin.
That’s a fabulous idea. We’ve been here in Florida two years now and have blessedly missed a hurricane thus far. I keep thinking that our luck can’t hold for long and that we need to be ready. This is a good idea of something that will help us if that ever happens.
I feel this way about a will, too. So many people we know don’t have a will, assuming nothing will ever happen, but we can’t count on that. And, as a mother, I want to choose who will rear my children. A will’s the only way to do that.
We *kinda* have an emergency plan – grab the baby, grab the diaper bag, grab toothbrushes, soap, our ‘bill portfolio’ with all the paperwork we would need, (wills, insurance, etc) and get out. My hubby would also grab the laptop and removable hard drive – what pictures and other things we do have could be replaced if we have the hard drive.
Frankly, as long as I have my husband and my son safe, we can rebuild. Watching the water continue to rise in our area is forcing us to think and make hard decisions, but our lives are so much more important to me than our few possessions right now. Some of our family members are facing lots of losses thanks to the flood waters.
We really need a better contingency plan though, I think. *Sighs*
In addition to having an emergency plan we’ve always felt it was important to have a record of our home’s contents and approximate values. This is easily accomplished on a Saturday afternoon with video camera, digital camera, and a Word document. We keep ours in a safe deposit box and update it periodically. In the event of a fire, theft, robbery, or some other type of event making an insurance claim should be much simpler and complete.
Kathy of the HavinsNest
What a timely post. I love God’s sense of humor.
We came home today to discover we’d lost a tree while we were gone to school and work. It landed on the house (doesn’t seem to have damaged the roof MUCH), rolled down the roof onto Terry’s grill but leaving the smoker intact and landed on the patio and across the backyard but not touching the deck or any of our planters or flowerbeds.
He’s sad about his grill. His birthday is next week so I think I see a new grill in his future.