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In a recent Forum poll of our employees, a not so surprising 69% of the 803 people that answered the survey said they were just “crossing their fingers” they won’t ever need a first aid kit, ample supplies to sustain themselves for a few days, or even a plan for their family should some type of disaster sneak up on them. And yes, it is hard to imagine ourselves in a crisis situation… we think we’re invincible, that it won’t happen to us, or that the government will just take care of us if it does. Disaster preparedness experts call this “Disaster Denial!”
Now I don’t live and breathe preparedness like the disaster preparedness folks do, but self sufficiency in the moment of crisis is a must-have/must-do in my mind – I don’t want to rely on anyone else to care for the basic needs of my family, if I can help it! That’s my job, well… and my husband’s. But I’ll say it, he’s the bigger procrastinator. Yep, he’s in disaster denial and pokes fun at me and all my seriousness in trying to get us prepared; mocking the container marked “DON’T OPEN UNLESS AN EMERGENCY” which was clearly meant for my inquisitive boys (ages 11 and 14) whose hunger swings cause some pretty emergent breakdowns.
I even threatened to ground them from their most beloved possessions if they touched the emergency food without a “real” emergency. This then lead to me having to define for them “real” emergencies. It further led to us creating a whole list of emergency scenarios together – from an isolated home fire, to a community-wide devastation such as an earthquake or terrorist attack. Their animation and ability to create some pretty dramatic, but realistic scenarios surprised me and filled me with complete humbleness! And it all started over their curiosity about this emergency supply box I’ve been building over the past 18 weeks thanks to Community Regional’s disaster preparedness committee bringing it to our attention.
So the way I think about it is, (and it’s a question that continues to run through my mind) what if my boys were at home alone and an earthquake shook up our regular, ordinary day leaving them without aid for hours or days? Or even worse, what if my husband and/or I were injured and couldn’t get to them, would they know what to do – besides raid the emergency snacks? Because if it happened right now, my cupboards are bare – I’m in desperate need of going to the grocery store. They do know there’s emergency food and water stashed away! What they don’t know, right now, and what we haven’t prepared and practiced, is what to do if they couldn’t stay in the house and there’s no phone service and no mom and dad. Think about it… where are your kids right now, this very moment you’re reading this? How will you connect with them and your other family members if your ordinary lines of communication were striped? I’m just saying… “It could happen; in our lifetime.”
I want to share with you a very helpful preparedness tool I discovered. It features actress Jamie Lee Curtis as the spokesperson and is provided in an interactive website that guides visitors through user-friendly emergency preparedness games and activities. It’s part of the American Red Cross’ Do More Than Cross Your Fingers campaign teaching individuals that going just a little further in their preparedness efforts can make all the difference when the unexpected occurs.
The Do More website (www.RedCross.org/domore) features an online video of Curtis showing visitors how she personalizes her emergency kit. Like Curtis, visitors can share how they personalize their kit with others. An interactive game also allows visitors to create a customized list of emergency kit items based on their own needs. Break away from the disaster denial and check it out – you’ll be glad you did!
Community Regional Medical Center