In Case of Emergency

When my kids were little, I used to have fire drills at our house. I would push in the button on the smoke detector and all four kids would race out of the house for the swingset in the park across the street. I talked with the baby sitters about where to go in case of a tornado. One of my daughters filled a Rubbermaid tub with emergency supplies for a 4H project.  

Last week was a huge reminder that we all should have emergency plans. The library website has a lot of community information to help you with yours. You can find links to Panhandle Public Health’s basic family emergency plan and a more comprehensive list of suggested items to include in your emergency supplies.

Gering Library also has several books that might be useful to look through when thinking about what to do in an emergency: 

“The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook” and “The Worst-Case Survival Handbook: Travel” both by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht

“The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why” by Amanda Ripley

“Amazing Stories of Survival: Tales of Hope, Heroism & Astounding Luck” from People Magazine

And some books about past disasters and what we can learn from them:

“A Fire Story” by Brian Fies

“Ruth­less tide: the heroes and vil­lain­s of the John­stown flood­, Amer­i­ca’s as­ton­ish­ing gild­ed age dis­as­ter” by Al Roker 

“The stor­m: what wen­t wrong and why ­dur­ing hur­ri­cane Ka­tri­na : the in­sid­e s­to­ry from one Louisiana ­sci­en­tist” by Ivor van Heerden and Mike Bryan- we have several books on Katrina

 “The last ­men out: life on the edge at Res­cue 2 ­fire­house” by Tom Downey

In addition to these items, you can borrow the firefighter’s exam manual if you are interested in becoming a firefighter. We also have a number of children’s books about all sorts of natural disasters, and we have some great ones specifically on wildfires. 

After reading “A Fire Story” by Brian Fies, I am re-thinking how I store precious things like photos. He and 6,200 other people lost their homes in the 2017 California wildfires. Fies is a cartoonist, so he wrote a graphic novel, “A Fire Story,” describing his experiences at that time. Waking up in the middle of the night, he chose random things to save. He writes about some of his regrets. Fies also describes the aftermath of the fire and how he and his wife put their lives back together, dealing with FEMA, insurance companies and citizens trying to be helpful. It made me ugly cry several times. You should read it.

Fies felt that his community was very helpful in his circumstances. One of the things our community does well is support each other. When something happens to our neighbors, we pitch in, sometimes financially, sometimes with food and water. When we see a need, we do what we can to help. Not only citizens, but local businesses, churches, Firefighters Ministries and the Oregon Trail Community Foundation all roll up their sleeves to pitch in with what they do best.

As my kids got older, I let my emergency planning lapse. This fall, I intend to work with my family to develop plans for what to do in a variety of situations. I also need to review my insurance coverage. It would be a good idea to review emergency plans when we change the smoke alarm batteries and to make that a habit. I also need to peek into that tub and see what my nine-year-old daughter thought we should have in case of an emergency ten years ago.

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