Watches, Warnings & Advisories for Sunflower Co.

Monday, May 20, 2013

What would you do?

As I read reports from the indescribable devastation brought on by today's tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, I'm reminded that this is not the first time Moore has seen this.  In May, 1999, a similar event tore through their city, with similar results.  What lessons did they learn then?  How many of those lessons were given life through changes in their plans, in their actions?  How has their population changed in fourteen years, and how has that change affected the community's overall state of preparedness?  Those are questions for another day.

The question for you, today, is what is YOUR plan?  Look at the news from Oklahoma City on,,  What are they describing?

They are describing communications emergencies where land lines were rendered useless.  Cellular telephone traffic jammed the system.  These events occur in almost every disaster, and are predictable.  If they're predictable, then we should have a plan to communicate with our family and friends that calls for more than one communications pathway. 

They are describing families without homes, who may live in shelters for the next few days or weeks.  What is your plan if your home is destroyed?  Do you have friends or relatives nearby that can accommodate you, and your family?  What steps have you taken with them to be ready to host you?  Do they even know you're coming?

For those without homes, they have likely lost many valuable records.  What steps have you taken to protect critical documents?  Do you have copies stored in another location, or digital copies?

If you and your family are separated by work and school, how do you plan to reunite?  Where?

As you consider these and other questions, consider this mnemonic to help you: P.A.C.E.
  • Primary - those things you do on a routine basis (how you call friends & family, etc)
  • Alternate - those things needed when the Primary means isn't available
  • Contingency - those steps or things needed to accomplish a task within a reasonable time frame, when our Primary & Alternate means are not available
  • Emergency - likewise, the steps we need to accomplish a task when all else fails.
If you build your family's plans using a P.A.C.E paradigm for each major component, you'll be well on your way to having a valid, useful plan.

I'm not writing this to be an exhaustive essay on family preparedness.  I just want to get you to think, well before storms, floods, or fires affect you.  By clicking here, you'll be linked to all the articles published on about disaster preparedness.  We hope you find the information useful.  In the coming days, we'll post more information for you to consider.

In the meantime, please pray for those in Oklahoma.  For the victims, for their families, and for the responders who will carry those mental images forever.

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