Be Prepared for an Emergency, Auntie!
As I write this, a couple of tropical storms are churning out in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic, contemplating transformations into full-fledged hurricanes.
September is National Preparedness Month, Aunties. How prepared are you and your nieces and nephews? Growing up in Oklahoma, where tornado watching is a sport, and living on the Gulf, where I went through Hurricane Ike and a couple of serious tropical storms, has taught me the hard way about being prepared.
Fellow organizer Judith Kohlberg literally wrote the book on Organizing for Disaster: Prepare Your Family and Home for Any Natural and Unnatural Disaster. The book covers every imaginable topic, including tornadoes and fires to volcanoes and nuclear attacks.
Another book I’ve mentioned before is The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence by Gavin de Becker. Older nieces and nephews – particularly the ones going off to college or living on their own for the first time -- should read this book since it talks about trusting your instincts when something or someone doesn’t feel right.
On the app front, check out WikiHow Emergency Survival Kit. This little app provides information on CPR, chocking, animal attacks, car problems, and many other emergencies. It even includes tips on calming a spooked camel (apparently you should hang onto the reins or make a quick dismount). Since I’m not a camper, I hope I never have to encounter a bear and say, “Excuse me, Mr. Bear, let me check my app.”
Children may wonder why they have to do fire drills at school and home and learn about 911. Just like studying for a test in school, we all have to “study” to prepare for emergencies.
Fire Safety: Practice fire drills with your nieces and nephews, and take your nieces and nephews to the local fire station. Call ahead to see how you should schedule a visit. Learning fire safety from real firefighters is simply cool and effective. Older nieces and nephews should know where your fire extinguisher is and how to use it.
911: You’ve seen the news stories about how small children have saved the lives of adults by calling 911. Talk to your nieces and nephews about 911 and when to call. Like the fire station, you can make a field trip to a police station.
Storm Safety: If you live in tornado-prone areas, keep games, sleeping bags, snacks, and flashlights in your storm shelter.
Important Papers: I know it’s not fun to think about, but we grown-ups need to have those important papers, such as a will and a living will with advanced directives. Whether married or single, someone important needs to know where our papers are and have their own copy (my brother has copies of mine). Your birth certificate, passport, Social Security card, and insurance information should be stashed in a safe place, such as a fireproof safe or a safety deposit box. Just remember that “fireproof” doesn’t mean for all safes on the market. Do your research.
Fire Safety: If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, buy one. If you have one, it will last for several years. Inspect it each year to make sure the hose is free from cracks. When the time changes in the spring and fall seasons, you should change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
When the Lights Go Out: If you live in areas prone to thunderstorms that like to knock out power, keep flashlights, candles, and lighters handy. If you don’t want to worry about lighting candles, many flameless models are on the market, which work just as well – of course, they require batteries or chargers, depending on how they’re made.
While we don’t want to experience any disasters or emergencies, being prepared will help us and the children in our lives be ready for anything.
Published: September 17, 2012