Emergency Response Planning
It’s not often that my husband calls me at 2:30 pm, “just to chat.” Last week, though, he had the opportunity. He was stuck in the backup on Highway 101, behind a gasoline tanker truck that had rolled over and started leaking. Fortunately, he was far enough back to be able to get off at the last exit before the accident. It only took him 90 minutes to get back from a lunch meeting that had taken 20 minutes to get to. Other people were not so lucky.
But it made me think. What if it had been me? What if I were stuck on the freeway for three or six hours? Who would pick up my children at school? In case of a more general meltdown, what if I had to walk from my house to the school? Where would we go if it was too late to walk home again?
Thanks to Google Maps, I figured out how to walk from my house to my kids' school. It's almost 10 miles, so it’s a complicated route. My husband pointed out that such a complete meltdown of the transportation system that I would have to walk there is highly unlikely. But I feel better knowing I could if I had to. Even if I didn’t have to walk, I now have a better sense of how I would get there without getting on the freeway.
Because I used to work for the Red Cross, we already had a emergency supplies kit in our house. Last week, I went through it and got rid of the medicines that expired in 2003. I replaced the cereal and crackers and canned fruit and beans. We added a couple of gallons to the water supply (which we had replaced last summer). I found the list of emergency phone numbers that the school sent home at the beginning of the year and put that in the box too.
My husband and I had already agreed upon an an out of town contact number. Our next step is to try to imagine how we will find each other, if he’s at work, I’m at home, and the kids are at school.
The Red Cross has great suggestions for your Disaster Preparedness Plan, in fourteen languages, no less.
It’s scary to think about, but it will only be worse if we don’t think about it.
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