Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When Disaster Strikes

By: Chiqui Raveloski

The recent tragedy in Oklahoma is a reminder of how powerful mother nature can be. More often than not, disaster strikes when we least expect it. It turns us upside down, inside out, which ever way possible. Then, slowly, we try to recover. Pick up the pieces, build life all over again.

We do get tornadoes here in Georgia every so often. I remembered three years ago, Barnesville, Ga , a town 45 minutes south of where we are was hit by an EF-3  twister. The college I went to for my RN-BSN is located there and I was actually taking statistics around that time. Thanks to the high probability of disastrous weather, classes were cancelled. I really needed that break. The college was spared from disaster, but the outlying neighborhood and communities suffered damages.

One month ago, we had a hailstorm and I was at the hospital working. The hail I saw from the hospital window were baseball sized. It sounded really scary. Some employees who parked their cars in the hospital grounds got "hail dents" on their cars. Luckily for me, I parked in the parking deck. No dents, thankfully!

When I got home, I found out that my daughter's car got hail dents and the glass sunroof was shattered. Yep, glass everywhere. It cost us $500 dollars to replace the sunroof.

My husband and I went ahead and had our roof checked by one of the contractors here. He found quite a bit of holes in the roof and chimney. The damage from the chimney made the water seep through inside the house through the basement, and into the carpet. Yep, wet, mildewy carpet!

The insurance adjuster came and assessed the damage. There was $10,000 worth of repairs that needs to be done. He continued on to say that our area was deemed a catastrophic area, Therefore, a lot of repairs going on right now. Our  brand new roof was just installed last week. Today, the chimney was fixed. Next, will be new gutter guards, then new carpet and base boards.

In light of the recent calamity in Oklahoma, I cannot help but think about my family. Are we prepared for a natural disaster? We have talked about and assigned a room in the house that we can take refuge, in case we need a safe place. We all decided on a walk in closet in the basement under the stairs. It is situated in the center of the house, and can easily get access to. Perfect.

OK, so there is a place. But, this made me realize more that we really do not have any survival gadgets inside that room. So, I would like to take this opportunity to better prepare, if such disaster strikes.

What should I put inside this room? Here's a list of what I have come up with. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. You can comment, email, whatever you desire.

1. Flashlight, with batteries. Extra batteries.
2. There are coats inside the closet. Maybe extra shirts, pants.
3. Battery operated radio... Is there still such a thing?
4. Bottled water. Non perishable items. Cat food for Mozart. Our daughter's cat.
5. Blankets
6. My diabetic supplies. I'm insulin dependent. Glucose tablets.

Just a thought. I should have a ready to pull plastic bag in the refrigerator with insulin. This bag is ready to come with me, if the need to go to our safe closet comes.

Please have a plan in place. Go over with it within your family. I believe this can save many lives. Chances of survival is higher once preparation is in place. We do these things in the hospital setting. The competencies and skills check offs we go through every year. These activities keeps us in check.Those fire drill, and disaster drill that we go through every so often. This is to better prepare us, the healthcare workers, to respond appropriately when disaster does strike.

Important links:


  1. Glad to hear you're taking steps to be prepared.

    Here's a link to a page of emergency radio options. Might want to put a cat carrier in your shelter to keep kitty with you; just in case.

    Only other thing I'd suggest is considering if the house collapsed and you were trapped in the room, what about flooding; where does excessive rain water runoff go in your area?. I think 7 kids died in Moore because they were trapped in the school basement.

    Might want to consider a few tools (hammer, pry bar, saw or two, etc) to help you get out the room in case you were trapped in wreckage. Could also be useful to help neighbors.

    Other first aid supplies in the event of injury to yourselves or others - some saline, bandages, splinting material, roll or two of duct tape (great emergency taping material, easily torn off the roll).

    That's what comes to mind. Keep working on your plan and adjust/refine as time goes on.

    Best wishes and may you never need the room.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions Rebekah. Didn't think of the tools. Gotta get those. As well as the first aid supplies.
    Take care.

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