Hurricane Harvey has taught me that having a plan is essential, evacuations are not a joke, and staying calm is a virtue.
During the initial storm warnings and watches, I saw so many mixed messages and social media posts from friends, family and acquaintances. Facebook statuses ranged from “Pray for my family please” to “Eh, it’s just another storm, NBD.”
Some people were bashing those that cared, and others were bashing those that didn’t. It was (and still is) social media mayhem. I know that for me, instead of reading back and forth storm-related banter, my efforts might have been better put to use creating a definitive and detailed emergency plan for my family.
This storm hit VERY close to home, and I know now that I was not prepared to the level that I should have been.
As a Gulf Coast native, you would think I would be familiar with evacuation protocols and what to do in the event of. To be incredibly honest with you… I would have had no idea how to evacuate with my two kids, or board up my house while my husband was at work. Though, for this approaching storm, I did what I could before Harvey passed us by; I brought in patio furniture, picked up sandbags, water, batteries and an emergency radio/phone charger.
Seeing now how many people have been affected by this catastrophe, I know I need a more in depth plan. This time, it was not just another storm, and it was not “NBD” (no big deal). During the storm’s peak, I was messaging another stay-at-home-mom friend of mine (also from South Texas, transplanted to Florida), who expressed the same concerns about her family’s plan.
The damage my immediate and extended family experienced was minimal. My sister lost a fence. My parents lost shingles. Our Corpus Christi storage unit building lost its roof.
I have many friends, however who were not as lucky with property and possessions, but their family evacuation plans may have saved their lives.
The geographical threat did not vanish just because I am a valley mom now; therefore, I am absolutely working on an emergency plan to have available for my family.
Our Emergency Plan:
- I will be learning evacuation routes from my town towards an inland direction.
- I will try and have a pre-decided destination in mind, in the event we have to leave in the middle of the night.
- I will be asking friends and neighbors about flood conditions in my area.
- I will work with my husband on cutting and sizing boards (and maybe have him show me what to do).
- I will be sure to know the location of my emergency kit at all times. (Our current emergency kit is stored away in Corpus Christi which is not much help in a real emergency.)
There is so much more that I will be writing down, color-coding, laminating and memorizing for myself and my family for the next time around.
In the words of Robert Frost, “May no fate willfully misunderstand me” or my intentions. I do not wish to take away from the relief efforts, or tell people what they should have done. I simply wanted to share with you the beginnings of what I was working on for my family. For me, this storm was a terrifying, eye-opening experience that hit close to home, literally. My plan will certainly continue to grow using tips from the American Red Cross.
Does your family have a plan? Is there anything unique and helpful in your emergency plans that you wish to share? If so, comment below.