Back in 2012, I posted about our spring emergency preparedness plans. It is time to update that with how it works now and encourage you all once again to make a plan before the spring storms arrive.
Last spring, the tornadoes were intense and terrifying. One family we are close to lost their home and another one of his businesses, while a third lost her car after safely coming through the storm hunkered down in a hospital cafeteria. We always have taken the threats seriously, but we've also learned a bit about what is helpful following these experience of helping out after the storm.
Several years ago we installed a garage storm shelter via Flatsafe. We have sheltered in it a time or two and while it is a weird experience it is OK. We have registered with the City of Oklahoma City so they know to come find us, if need be. Brent has finished his normal spring cleaning of the storm shelter so it is free of bugs and debris as that is really not necessary with all the other issues of storm days
Supplies now stored in a plastic tub in the shelter:
- 4 Pack of Emergency Rations (expires in 5 years)
- 2 cans of Tuna
- Can opener
- Paper Towels
- Toilet Paper
- Trash Bags
- Duct Tape
- Several pairs of work gloves
- dust masks
- 8 diapers
- Package of Wipes
- 8 sets of plastic tableware and napkins
- Datrex Emergency Water Pouches Case of 64 for Survival Kits, Disaster - expires in 3 years
- First Aid Kit
- Wind Up Radio-- this includes a flashlight and our kids adore it.
- Emergency Thermal Blankets (4 Pack)
- 100 Hour Plus Emergency Candle Clear Mist
- Waterproof Matches
- Adjustable Wrench (for turning off gas/water if necessary)
- 50 feet of paracord
- Portable Water Purification Tablets
- Flashlight and Cell Phone Charger (ok, technically not in the box yet, but nearby)
- LED Light (magnetized to side, not in the box)
- Rubber boots (not in the box itself, but very useful in the aftermath of the Moore tornadoes)
Supplies we plan to add:
- List of emergency telephone numbers -- both family, friends, and government
- Extra clothes-- It isn't realistic to add them to the box but we might bring some down with us.
- Soap - and maybe hand sanitizer
The problem is we have fairly limited space to add anything before it starts to reduce the number of people that can fit in the shelter. We also are unsure what emergency might require us to shelter in place at our house for more than a day or two as our basic plan is to drive to the farm with whatever we can grab should a longer term emergency occur. With that in mind, we keep fairly full pantries that we could pack up and take with us if we needed to evacuate.
As mentioned, we have updated things in the box this year based on Brent's experiences in helping clean up/salvage in Moore last year. His experience also, thankfully, was that there was lots of help, water, and food available and I hope that would be the case if we were in a disaster too.
We (and Uncle Able) also practice with our kids getting in and out of the shelter as initially they found it kind of scary--- as did I, as it is a bit like being closed in a tomb in the ground. E just tried it again for the first time and was hesitant to go in, but fine once he was inside playing.
We have conversations with the kids about other possible emergencies now and then, including most recently fire safety. We try to keep it easy, general, and not scary as they are still quite young. We are also trying to remind them that they need to help each other as they evacuate or head to the storm shelter. The familiarization also includes going to things like touch a truck or community events where they see and can interact with police, EMTs, and firemen. Happily, these folks also come visit their school.
So, that's the situation now. Any suggestions? Any good resources we should consider?