Tornados, Wind Storms, and Blizzards, Oh My!

So far March has come in like a lion. Tornados, wind storms, snow blizzards, oh my! March is living up to its reputation.

I lived through the New York blackouts in 1964 and 1977, the Great Buffalo Blizzard of 1977, and the after-effects of Hurricane Andrew in South Florida (1992). In the Atlanta area, I have experienced the floods in 2009, the major snow storm in 2011, and the after-effects of tornados. Like many of you, I have lived through these and other disasters.

It does not matter if they are natural or man-made, they impact us all. Whether we’re talking about 9/11 or last week’s tornados and snow storms, we are touched by the suffering and determination of others. Many people have lost loved ones during these events. Many others have lost their normalness of everyday life along with homes, property, and peace-of-mind. My heart goes out to all of them.

How prepared are you when faced with a personal emergency?   

Being prepared is key to getting back to your normal life with peace-of-mind. Put together an emergency kit and supplies.  The contents will vary with your location. What you need in Florida for hurricanes  will be different than what you need in Buffalo for blizzards.   There are many resources available online and in print to guide you. Look up ones for your specific area. Check out the NOAA, FEMA, Red Cross, local emergency services and governments for guides and checklists.

Recently, I put together personal records for my family as well as the emergency water, food, and supplies.  I created spreadsheets with the medical histories for myself, my husband, my daughters, and the dog. I gathered our medical directives, wills, legal documents, important insurance information, and phone numbers of people to be notified. I call this our "personal vitals kit". All the information is in one place and can be accessed immediately when needed. No searching at the last minute or worrying if the papers were destroyed.

Another option is to have all this information available electronically. You can scan the documents into computer and keep a backup off-site. If you do not have a good, reliable backup system, there are services that can backup and keep your data for a fee.

While March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb. When faced with an emergency situation, here are some actions you can take so your life is more like a lamb than a lion when it comes to personal recovery. 

1. Put together an emergency kit based on the needs of your family and location.

2. Agree on a meeting place in case family members get separated.

3. Create a “personal vitals kit” for your family. Gather and keep all important documents together.

4. Consider storing the documents electronically. Ensure the files are backed-up regularly and kept off-site.

5. Donate your time, talents, and unwanted items to those who have lost their homes and need to put their lives back together.

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