Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Real Life" Emergency Series - Joplin, MO

We are continuing our guest post series sharing your stories about getting through emergency situations.  Today, we're sharing Victoria's story from Joplin, MO.  Thanks so much for sharing, Victoria!
(Do you have an emergency story you'd like to share?  It can be short or something longer... we'd love to share it!  Please email it to us at safelygatheredin (at) gmail.com).

Advice from Joplin:

As someone who has been involved with the tornado that hit Joplin, MO, something that people don't think about is taking photos of their homes to document what is inside for insurance purposes. My sister-in-law lost everything but is still alive which is the important thing. However, trying to fill out the insurance forms for everything she lost is a nightmare.

The other important thing to know is basic first aid and have those supplies in your car and know how to use them. When you're knee high in nothing but rubble, it's easy to get cut and hurt.

Make sure you have a family plan in case you get separated. Know where to go in case your home is no longer there. Our Stake President (religious leader) was separated from his daughters for a few hours and he said those were the longest hours of his life. Make sure your children can say, “My mom’s name is ____”. My father works in the hospital and they have a lot of children who couldn’t tell them their parents’ names. They just knew them as “mom” and “dad”. He’s sedated many mothers who were over come with grief because of missing children.

There isn't anyway to emotionally prepare for something like what happened in Joplin. I wasn't prepared to comfort people who lost everything, but I cry with them every night. I wasn't prepared to take in homeless people that night, but I did anyway. However, I was prepared to give them basic things that they needed; toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, etc. Making sure your home is fully stocked with basic things is very important. You might not need 10 toothbrushes, but an unexpected houseguest might. People tend to focus on food storage and stocking your home with food but forget to stock up on non-food items.

The best way to prepare for a disaster like this is to ask yourself what would happen if your home was gone? Do you have enough insurance to cover your loss and help you start over? Do you have family or friends close by to go to if you become homeless? Do you have 72 hr kits in a place where you can grab and go? What if you lost power for a week or more? Do you have a way to heat your home in the winter if you don’t have power? What if the stores were gone and you had to survive on what’s in your pantry?

The most important thing to do is to become prepared and then teach everyone you know how to become prepared as well. Make sure that the people you would have to rely on in emergencies are prepared.

Don't ever second guess those little promptings in the middle of a crisis. That little voice might very well save your life. So many people were prompted to do something that they normally wouldn't do and it saved their lives. God will protect us if we listen and obey immediately.


Judy said...

I appreciated the ideas. The last one really struck home. Listening to the "little prompting" once saved my life. Teaching young children who you are is excellent. We did that with our children and now are doing that with our grandson. Thanks for sharing!