Emergency Response Planning

Last week’s tanker accident on 101 was a good reminder to have a family emergency plan in place.

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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Blogger Chris M. said...

You wrote: "Our next step is to try to imagine how we will find each other."

Here's one part of the answer:
"Be joyful always; pray continually." -- 1 Thess 5:16-17.

-- Chris M.

2/29/2008 3:35 PM  
Blogger jsi said...

Hi my name is Jessie and I found your site as my youngest daughter and I were searching for Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie. We found your 2005 posting and we jumped right in. You have a good recipe! Its cooling now as all the kids went outside for a serious fort building.
I'm going to follow your posts and keep up with your thought.
Praise God from whom all blessing flow.

3/01/2008 4:26 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Thanks Chris. If your exact location is known to me when the disaster strikes, that will be the answer to my prayers.

Jessie - I'm glad you liked the recipe. I am not always the biggest fan of lemon pie, but this one was worth every minute. Welcome to my blog.

3/01/2008 4:37 PM  
Blogger Martin Kelley said...

Wow. I'm trying to think. I have a hard time imagining any kind of scenario that would require such a plan here in South Jersey.

Around here, there's always a non-highway alternate route between points A & B. Every century the roads get upgraded but the old roads continue as shadows. When I travel I often have the option of taking 1) the modern expressway, 2) the 1950s US highway, 3) the nineteenth century post road or 4) the meandering Lenape trail turned colonial byway. A few years ago I easily biked 25 miles into work in Philadelphia just by following these long bypassed routes.

Then again what disasters do we face? About ten years ago we had a big blizzard--feet and feet of snow. It was so cool. Cars were actually banned from the road but everyone was friendly to one another and I don't remember any mass die-offs. The mayor of Philadelphia came on the radio in the midst of this explaining this was the greatest natural disaster to ever hit the city. I laughed and thought he was speaking in hyperbole but then realized he was probably right.

Within a half hour walk there's two supermarkets, two large food markets and three convenience stores. If Julie and I got separated I'm sure we'd find each other in a few phone calls (she'd call my Mom then my brother, I'd call her sister then her Dad). Our big problem would be the loss water if our electricity kicked off (we have a pump) but then again our neighbors are on city water which is from a nearby water tower that would presumably still flow in extended electrical outage (we could actually do the hose trick and just mooch off their water).

Still wouldn't be a bad idea to make sure we have a camp stove stored out in the garage.

3/04/2008 1:50 AM  

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