Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Emergency Preparedness

This past Sunday, there was a tornado that went through an area about 40 minutes from here.  This same tornado made its way northeast and touched down less than 10 minutes from here. 

Funnel cloud about ten minutes from home.
Photo from MnDOT.

None of the warning sirens went off locally until the tornado touched down and had passed further north.  Had it not been for my sister who has a weather radio, we would not have been aware of the tornado - it was a clear, sunny day at that point. 

It made me realize the importance of having a weather radio.  This article from Minneapolis Public Radio talks about the siren failure and how important it is to have a weather radio - just like it is to have smoke detectors.  Both are of equal importance.  This will be something on my list to purchase in June.

Despite seeing a tornado from one of the upstairs windows, the speed at which we were able to get downstairs and outside (we have an old cellar door that we have to go through to get to the basement - kind of like in the Wizard of Oz), was rather embarrassing.  Most likely, we would be trapped, injured, or dead if the tornado continued on its path and we were inside the house.

Clouds a bit northwest of here
after the tornado passed through.

Nearly 3/4 of all tornadoes in Minnesota occur during the months of May (15%), June (37%), and July (25%).  This article has some interesting information about tornadoes in Minnesota, including some memorable ones (like the 2008 one that also was very close to here and damaged many homes).

Sophia and Olivia putting together "Go-Bags."

So, making "Go-Bags" or bags that are already packed and ready to take for use in an emegency (like a tornado), became top priority this week. This past week, my daughters and I created "Go-Bags" or bags that can be used in an emergency.  We put into each backpack or bag so far:

- flashlight with batteries
- whistle
- pocket knife (adult only; not for child)
- change of clothes (top, pants, underwear, socks)
- notepad
- pen and pencil
- tape (masking and duct) - (adult only; not for child)
- medication
- small first aid kit (adult has full kit; each person has bandaids)
- small sewing kit (adult only)
- small books and games
- hand towel
- spoons, forks, and knives (two sets)
- paper plates (6 small)
- two heavy-duty trash bags
- one kitchen-size trash bag
- water purification tablets
- comb
- lip balm
- soap
- washcloth
- shampoo and conditioner
- toilet paper

We still need to put into each bag:
- small package of wet wipes
- toothpaste
- toothbrushes
- dust masks
- rain gear
- water bottles
- snack food
- hard candy and gum
- map
- permanenet markers
- photos of family members
- emergency contact numbers and names
- identification
- list of allergies
- copy of health insurance card
- extra keys (house and car)
- mylar blanket
- sunscreen
- sanitary supplies
- hand warmers (for cold weather)
- matches and/or butane lighter
- cash
- cell phone
- spare eyeglasses
- insect repellent (for warm weather)
- spare shoelaces

The list I was going off of also recommended some other items in the event of an evacuation, but these wouldn't be kept in a backpack:

- tent
- sleeping bags
- radio (hand-cranked or battery-operated with batteries)
- water jugs (for water purification)

In the process of putting together the "Go-Bags," the girls and I cleaned the medicine cabinet and grouped items together (e.g., first aid items, soap, shampoo).  I gathered all the expired prescription medications together and will find a place to recycle them this week.  Also threw away all over-the-counter medicine that was no longer good. 

Medicine cabinet after getting rid of expired medications.
Now I can supplement it with necessary items
to create a good first aid kit and have needed items on hand.

Having these items organized will make the next things we work on much easier (e.g., first aid kits).  It also is easier to see now what we have on hand and what is needed for minor and serious injuries or emergencies.


joyfilled said...

Great post! My hubby has always been big on having at least one bag of this sort, but until recently I never realized how right he is. Definitely important to have these resources!

Dawn said...

Thanks for this post. To go bags is on my summer list too.

Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

You did an excellent job preparing this week! Wonderful! Thanks for linking up and sharing.

Laurel said...

Great post - I need to borrow your list to make "go bags" for my family, even though we don't live in a particularly disaster-prone part of the U.S. We had a close call with severe flooding about 5 years ago, and a couple tornadoes have been too close for comfort. This would be a great lesson in preparedness for our kids.