Saturday, May 28, 2011

Do you have an emergency kit?

I’ve started probably 25 posts.

I hope to finish at least this one.

Forgive me, though, we’ve had a hell of a week.

As I write this, it’s Saturday. This past Monday, we had some serious storms roll through – lots of trees down, power out, that kind of thing.

Then, it was Wednesday.

And we were just getting started.

If you follow me on Twitter, thank you again for bearing with me as I spent all of Wednesday tweeting about our weather conditions. I was our community’s geographical “front line” and information I was sharing was being passed on by several of our local paper’s reporters and others.

And then, of course, there was our tornado. The one that passed between my house and my mom’s house. The one that took the homes of my children’s classmates, and my mother’s students. The one that flipped the semi’s at our Wal*Mart, and ripped off part of the roof of our Sam’s Club.

It’s not anything like Joplin here, or Tuscaloosa. Our tornado was just an EF1, with no fatalities, and only 17 people even injured, none seriously. Believe me, we recognize how lucky we are. But when it happens in your neighborhood? To people you know? It’s still terrifying. And a little humbling.

Thursday I already had an appointment to donate blood. (That didn’t go as well as usual, and they had to pull the needle part way through the donation. I’m sporting a beautiful bruise on my right arm, and can’t try again until July. But I tried. And I know that THAT lady and I don’t mesh well.) After I finished up at the Red Cross, I headed over to Big Lots, where I picked up toiletries. Soap. Tissues. Razors. Toothbrushes and toothpaste. Things I knew that people who had lost so much might need just to feel human again.

I assembled toiletry kits and dropped them off at our AmVets post, which was cooking food and collecting supplies for those displaced and those working on the recovery effort. It wasn’t much, but I hope, in the end, it was helpful for someone.

The damage is amazing – we’ve lost hundreds of old, majestic trees throughout our city. Several homes have been damaged, and a small mobile home community was completely destroyed.

So many things to think about, much of which was already on my mind after the devastation across our country – emergency kits, making sure insurance is current, good contact numbers for people, just being prepared.

People? You don’t know what tomorrow may hold. Floods, fires, natural disasters. Please, take a few minutes and put together a bag that you can grab and go. Check out the thoughts of Cassie, who I’ve just met through twitter and this experience, who HAD a bag and was displaced by our tornado. See what she had, what she wished she had, and how comforting it was for her and her husband. Then?

Pack yours.

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