My Dad taught me at an early age to appreciate the sheer awesome power of Mother Nature. As a kid growing up in a nomadic family, we practiced all manner of weather and emergency drills both in practice and out of necessity. Over the years we learned to seek shelter from a tornado while on a camping trip (seek the lowest ground possible, preferably in a ditch or ravine, and lie flat), how to stay safe during sudden rough water while boating (fasten life jackets, stay low and center, point the bow at a 40 degree angle into the wind, reduce speed and head toward the nearest coast), and what to do when caught in a blizzard (seek shelter, making a snow cave if no other option, get/stay dry and stay hydrated but do not eat snow). Since then I’ve encountered earthquakes, water spouts, crazy thunder storms, a mud slide and hurricanes, plus a few other non-weather emergencies.
Last week, as we were hauling home sandbags and strapping down the yard furniture, we reviewed our emergency and evacuation plan and double-checked our stash of supplies in preparation for Sandy. While federal and state governments have spent millions (billions?) on ads encouraging folks to have an emergency plan in the aftermath of Katrina, DH and I came up with one years ago and review it twice a year. Each time, we’re surprised at the small (and sometimes big) changes that we make – tweaks we feel make it faster, safer, and easier to remember, important to us given the age of our kids. So while everyone else in our neighborhood was looting the grocery store for TP and water, we popped some corn and watched a movie, catching storm updates on the weather radio.
Obviously preparation can only get you so far; in my experience, it’s often the kindness of strangers that makes up the gap. We were fortunate to come through the storm unscathed, and my heart goes out to those in New Jersey and New York who were not as fortunate.
Do you have an emergency plan? How often to you revisit and/or practice it?