Monday, January 5, 2009

Family Communications Plan

Originally Posted on The ReadyStore Blog


Family Communications Plan

When I was a junior in high school, a natural disaster hit. Late one spring afternoon, I was at my school at the softball field. My softball team was having sliding practice since the field was so muddy and the weather was so overcast. All of a sudden the wind started whipping around so fiercely that large drums that we used as garbage cans tipped over and started blowing away. Debris stirred up everywhere and the air seemed to fill with dirt and dust. The sky turned dark and it started to rain. We all started running for our cars. My mom was supposed to pick me up about an hour later, but we all just ran to cars and left as quickly as we could. I jumped in the car with a teammate and we took off. As we passed the school, the air pressure that had built up resulted in the windows of the school exploding. Large tree limbs scattered the road and a horrific roaring seemed to be right on top of us. We had no idea what was happening, we just knew we needed to get as far away as fast as we could.

We later learned that a tornado had hit our city. We didn’t live in an area where tornadoes occurred very frequently and we were caught by surprise. I ended up going home with a friend, and didn’t know if my mom and sister were OK. A few hours later, we were all reunited since the phones were only out for a short time. Trees fell on houses and there was substantial property damage to some homes. We were lucky. It could have been much worse. We didn’t have an emergency plan in place and we could have been separated for days, not knowing where our loved ones were or if they were safe.

I have worked on an emergency plan with my family so that my kids know what to do in an emergency. If we need to evacuate our house (think house fire or gas leak) we meet at the park across the street from our home. If we have to evacuate our city, I am in charge of picking up our children from school and then meeting my husband at a local fast food place just off an interstate exit. We know that whatever may occur, we have a plan in place so that our family can be together.


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