Have you ever seen the calm before the storm? I have seen a few of these in my lifetime and they’re always more terrifying that the storm itself. On Wednesday, April 27th, 2011, we had watched the news off and on all day and followed it closely at work. They were calling for bad storms and a potential tornado watch for the area. I was 5 months pregnant with Emma and I remember calling JR and telling him to get home right away. There was something about that day that just didn’t seem right. He came home and we ate dinner and prepared our downstairs area for the storm to hit. We had the news on and Dave Dierks, locally weatherman, was keeping us up to date on what was coming. As we watched, we heard it getting worse and worse outside and once the watch turned into a warning, we made our way downstairs and watched the news online (thanks to technology). Soon after, the power went off and we were left wondering what was going to happen. After two systems came through, we were told the worse was over and though we were still without power, we went on upstairs and went to bed. Shortly afterwards, I awoke to the house shaking with such force that I was terrified. As soon as it came it was gone, and we went to sleep. The next morning, we found out that was the worse hit and less than ½ mile from our house a severe storm came through and took out a lot of vegetation and damaged many houses in the surrounding area. We were very blessed that our house wasn’t hit because during the worse part, we were snug in our bed. The tornado that hit that night (early morning Thursday, April 28th) killed 3 people in Glade Spring and injured well over 50. That could have been us and since then, we’re working to become proactive rather than reactive. Here is how you can do the same and just in time for tornado season.
*We take watches seriously and warnings even more serious. If we know they’re calling for even a potential tornado, we make sure we’re home BEFORE it hits. Prior to 2011, we tried to be cautious but we weren’t too serious. If you add together 2011 plus having a child, you get very serious people. We never question if we’re going downstairs or not. If there’s a watch, we will wait until it hits and if it’s a warning, we don’t even wait. Downstairs we go.
*We made sure our alarm system upgraded and now has a tornado watch/warning feature on it. It didn’t cost anything extra and that’s why we LOVE vivint. It alarms as soon as a watch/warning comes through our area and follows the same as our weather channels. This was awesome last spring when we had a warning at 9am and were still in bed on a Saturday morning. We weren’t watching the news and many people probably weren’t. We called our loved ones as we made our way down to our basement.
*We are prepared in advance. We have a “survival” kit downstairs that could keep us happy and well for at least 24 hours if needed. This kit is ALWAYS downstairs and available. We also have a basement that has several safe places to go. This has been a huge blessing to us and there are several people without this possibility. I would recommend finding a close by friend or neighbor with a safe location or even consider building a shelter based on where you live. Below is our list of what we keep in our survival bags (we use (2) back packs):
- Bottled water (we have a whole pack along with travel bottles on our bags)
- Food- preferably NOT snacks. We packed assorted nuts in our bags and all our extra food is stored downstairs anyways.
- Weather Radio (2). One is simply the radio and the other is a combo of a radio and flashlight
- Candles and matches (in case the power goes out) & batteries
- Medication- a z pack, Tylenol, Advil, Imodium, Band-Aids, ointment cream, hand sanitizer, peroxide, and rubbing alcohol
- Personal items- toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, hairbrush, toilet paper
- A change of clothes for everyone- including underwear for us & diapers/wipes for Emma
- We include a jacket/blanket in the winter and hats in the summer time
- Toys for Emma- stuffed animal and pacifier(s)
- Game for JR and me (we chose chess since it’s a long game and can take up time)- this is NOT in our survival kit but downstairs in our safe zone.
*We know what to bring with us. We have a few things that don’t stay downstairs due to their active use on a daily basis at the Linkous house. They are few so we are able to grab them and remember them without having to think. The goal is to take no more than 5 minutes gathering your items. Here is that list for us:
- Emma (non-negotiable)
- Allie (non-negotiable)
- Allie’s leash/collar/harness (based on time)
- Any additional food we may want (based on time)
- JR’s computer for TV access (based on time)
- My purse which contains needed medications- my inhaler/epipen (based on time) and our car keys
- Phone chargers (based on time)
*We have a list. If we ever got in a bind and had to survive downstairs or even had to leave our house, we have a list that says what we need to bring. Some of these things may be upstairs but they’re non-essentials. We keep this list downstairs with our kits so we know what we may need. These things will change as Emma gets older but we update them at least two times a year.
This is how we prepare for emergencies. How do you prepare? Any additional tips?