Family and Emergency First Aid Kits

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As we are approaching the 3rd anniversary of the 2011 Tornado outbreak we all went through, being prepared is on my mind.  In fact after the tornado’s hit-being prepared was being pushed every where.  Sorta like after any natural disaster.  After ours, I bought a Red Cross first aid kit-special from Target- along with a natural disaster kit .  IMG_6696 IMG_6697 IMG_6698

The blue first aid kit on the table was one I bought at Costco for our camper RV about 8 years ago.  I found it in our garage while cleaning.  I was going to throw it away cause it look old and yucky.  But I am glad I didn’t, cause much I was able to save!  I had to get rid of all the medicine and creams.  Then I put all the stuff I pulled, into baggies.

From all of that I created an “on the go first aid kit.”  I also add items like hydrogen peroxide, insect bit cream, sunscreen and aloe, hand wipes, baby and kid pain meds,  and a few other items.

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The red first aid kit in the Target Red Cross kit, is ready to go!  I did have to throw away some medicine that was out of date.  Keeping our medicine cabinet organized is important. This is a great time to go through your medicine and discard any old prescriptions or medicine.   That way we can really grab what we need if we really had to evaluate fast.  Also I kept an on the go bag for the car and activities on the run.  That tote needs to be redone for this summer.

You can put together your own first aid kit, or buy one.  Add to your emergency first aid kit slowly if money is an issue.  Watch for great sales.  I got a lot of Band Aids this week at Target on Sale.  Wholesale ware houses are a great place.   Check out my Pinterest board for awesome ideas for first aid kits!


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Family Fire Safety

My 6-year-old son, walked into my bedroom while I was resting with a baby.  “Mommy, there is a fire in the back yard” he said so calmly.  NOW…..once before when he was three he told us “I saw fire.”  We didn’t believe him.  We should have.  So when Isaiah said “mommy, there is a fire in the backyard” I jumped with some concern.

And concern was due.  Seemed Isaiah, found the matches that were hidden, went into the back little area of trees behind our house and was playing with them.  He started a small fire.  So I jumped into action, getting the hose, calling 911, and then dealing with the aftermath of processing this with the kids- I knew we were kinda prepared.  (Although I learned that talking to 911-I can not determine math related questions-such as how far is the house from the fire-my answer-a back yard distance! ) But I did know calling from a cell phone to give your address right away.  I was calm, till they started asking math relate questions and then I got frustrated.

We had many talks with Isaiah.  Just a few weeks before during a thunderstorm, lightening had hit a house and in the middle of the night, from the front of  our house we could see the flames.  So we first drew pictures or wrote about what happened.  Then we drove by the site of the burned house again.  We talked about fire safety till he finally put his hand up and said “no more I get it.”  We wanted to make sure that he was not going to do this again and that we were prepared!20140423-213820.jpg

Being Prepared!

Fire escape plan : Having a plan, and letting everyone know this, can save lives.  We review with our kids what to do if they hear the smoke detectors go off, if they smell smoke while in their rooms at night, or see fire.  As a foster family, we are to have a fire plan so foster kids know what to do.  It is good for any over night visitors to know what to do-just in case.  Here is a simple resource for you and your family to make an escape plan for your family. Review with them how to get out, how to open the windows and push out the screen.

Fire Extinguisher: Every house needs one, if not two or three.  We have three.   As a foster home we must have a 5 lb  Fire Extinguisher .  We have two smaller ones too.  All are in different areas of our home.

Smoke Detectors: We have three in our house.  Two over by the kids bedrooms, by each of the room doors and one in ours.  Two are connected, so if one on the other side of the house goes off, ours will go off too.  Our third one is hooked to our alarms system.  We also have a carbon monoxide detector too.

Stop Drop Roll: Reviewing with kids often what to do if you ever catch on fire.  We practice this just to see how it would work.

Crawl Low Under Smoke: If there is smoke, start crawling out.

Meeting place and DO NOT GO BACK IN: Make sure your family knows where the meeting place is.   And please make sure they understand to NOT got back into a burning house!  I had to re-emphasize this with my kids.

Hide, hide, hide the lighters and matches: So we have our lighter and matches hidden.  So we thought, but my husband while grilling, put them up high, but in sight and a curious little 6 years old started a fire.  And we learned a lesson.  Don’t think not my kids.  If you smoke, keep your lighters up.  Because  you just never know.

Resources to help your family prepare for family safety:

Sparky the Fire Dog

Keeping Kids Safe– great resources

Fire Facts

Check out my Pinterest Emergency readiness board where I am adding new ideas all the time.

I am blogging about Family Emergency Readiness.  Please share with me any other ideas! Make sure you check out what to do when the power goes out and about unexpected family storms.10179047_10201590939751558_1096325659_o


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When the Power Goes Out

I first want to say, that I am no expert on any of this readiness stuff.  Just like you may be-I am just an everyday wife and mom who knows I need to have some better things in place.  When the tornadoes came through three years ago we lived without power for almost a week.  I remember the first night as the darkness over came our house and town.  Not only was it dark-it was quiet.  A kind of quiet I had never heard.  Soon over the next few days that quiet was filled with the hum of generators and chain saws.10179047_10201590939751558_1096325659_o

We struggled to find batteries.  We had no communication to the outside world.  Our phones had no service.  We were in a crisis state.  We knew what ever happened was bad.  I had heard the F5 tornado not far from our house.  I had heard it roar as it tore the world as we knew it up side down.  We knew a smaller one hit by our house because of the damage.  Either way,  we made it through that week.  Finally got batteries by driving 20-30 minutes to get gas and buy batteries (no power meant no power for pumps for gas).  We listened to the radio every night.  We were blessed with hot water because we had a gas hot water heater.  We were playing “Little House on the Prairie” we told the kids some days.

Lessons I learned from that week:

  • Have flashlights ready with batteries that work.
  • Have a battery power radio with batteries.
  • Have a battery power weather radio. (We realized on the TV and internet for the weather all day, it was evening when the power went out.  We were helpless in knowing what the next storm was doing, cause I didn’t know were our weather radio had been placed.)
  • Learn to grill a lot of food fast!
  • You get a clean fridge and freezer after a week
  • We charged our phone in our cars
  • We got all our text ready-when we got signal, we quickly hit the send button.
  • The little battery power tea lights are great for the kids to take to bed with them.

Things we said we would do differently:

  • We didn’t rush out and get a generator.  We had our RV-hybrid pop out, that we did use it for little things. Only if we fill our freezer with a cow will we get a small generator.
  • We needed a box of all our power outage stuff together.  Instead of rushing around looking for stuff.
  • We would have like to have more solar items to charge things.
  • Walkie Talkies would have been nice to have.  Or known where they were.
  • Make sure we had enough flash lights for all kids.
  • Make sure we had lanterns to use for family time.
  • Get more of the battery candles
  • Use the solar outside lights inside-like in the bathroom
  • Get glow sticks

We have created a Power out box.  It will keep extra flashlights, radio, batteries, candles, matches,  battery candles,  and instructions on what to do.  While I hope to never be in a Katrina situation or Sandy- a week without power is enough.  But long term power outage- would be like living off the grid.  And a kind of living we only think about once in a blue moon.  But basic power outages is what we are prepared for.  From storms or natural disasters.  Something bigger-we would need bigger planning.

Web pages and ideas good for getting prepared and surviving a power outage.

      • Red Cross is always FULL of great information.
      • Here is a great site on survival about food safety.  I think I needs some thermometers for our fridges and freezer!
      • Check out all the Flashlights!
      • Having a portable Generators is always handy.  If you want a big time one, check out your local hardware stores for suggestions.
      • Solar Panels would be handy to have.
      • Maybe a hand crank weather radio would be handy?
      • Check out gdonna’s idea for a battery power fan!  Now that is handy living in the south!!
      • Sometimes the power goes out when it is cold.  Direct Energy gives some tips to survive that time.
      • If you know a storm is coming, like a hurricane or bad thunderstorm, charge all phones, iPads and other electronics.

What is in our Power Out Box

  • Big flash ($5)
  • Little flash lights ($1 each)
  • Battery power Tea Lights  ($10 for 24)
  • Other flash lights (I buy the cheap ones with batteries-cause if we use them-they will disappear) ($8)
  • Radio (note-leave batteries out) (Had in the house along with the batteries ($9)
  • Mason jars with tea lights and matches (these may hide somewhere else-more tomorrow. (had candles, jar, waterproof matches ($2.5)
  • So you can see I didn’t spend that much

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Things we still want to put in there:  Bigger Power candles (will wait for a good sale:)), glow sticks (those should be in the dollar section of Target soon), and some lanterns.

We do have two good flashlights by our bed, so if we need them at night time, we have them.

Also our check list-to remind us of things to do during a power outage.

What to do when the power goes out

  •   Stay Calm
  •   If it is storming, make sure you are listening to the weather radio. Be Safe.
  •   Get the flash light
  •   Get Power out box

Power Out Box

  •   Hand out flash lights
  •   Have everyone turn off lights and radios
  •   Keep Living Room light on so we know when power comes back on.
  •   Mom or Dad can check on reason for outage.
  •   If it looks like it is going to be a while- unplug small appliances.
  •   Put out battery candles and other lights
  •   No Candles inside-unless mommy and daddy light them
  •   Remember no flashing light in others eyes
  •   DO not open fridge
  •   The weather outside will determine how we handle keeping warm or keeping cool.

In the next coming weeks I am going to be looking at different ways to be prepared in an emergency.  I would love for you to share with me how your family is prepared in these different areas.

 


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The Unexpected Family Storm

Three years ago-our family was hit with the worst unexpected family storm.  

Actually Storms.

Began with a week-long snow/ice storm.  Then a very close family friend had their 13-year-old son get sick and within 3 months die.  Then the tornadoes hit.  One after another.

What I learned from that year was we were not prepared.  At all.  We struggled to make it through all the different circumstances that were thrown in front of us.  But some how we did, but we said, we will be better prepared.

April 3-4 marked the 40th anniversary of a super outbreak of Tornadoes.  All that talk and memory made me realize-we are not prepared.   It is time to be prepared.  We have some preparation in place-like our tornado safe room.  But three years ago-when we had the last super out break we were without power for almost a week.

So for 10 days (plus) I want to dedicate on my blog resources and ideas to help us all get prepared.  Simple things to do.  Ah Ha things we can do.  If I had been prepared for the week-long snow storm that stranded me in my house I would have had more food and batteries incase we lost power.  Speaking of batteries-I never got them when the tornadoes came, only a few months later.

A family storm can come in way of a natural disaster.  Red Cross is always a great place to go to be prepared.

A family storm can also come in a way of illness or death.  They can swoop over us leaving us and our family paralyzed.  Having a simple plan can help during those times.

So areas that I plan to get in order in our family and give you ideas and resources on are:

  • What to do when the lights go out
  • Fire Safety
  • First Aid Kits
  • Emergency Kits
  • Evacuation plans
  • Babies, Kids, and Pets
  • Food and Water storage
  • Car Kits
  • Our Safety area
  • 10 of the Ah Ha Survival Ideas on Pinterest
  • Sickness and Death

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In The Aftermath: 10 Tips for Helping Families

With all the stories on TV right now and all I have to do is close my eyes and I am taken back to April 2010 when over 20 Tornadoes including a F5 came barreling through my state, and community.  I still drive by houses still destroyed by the second unexpected tornado a year later following the same path as the F5 did just the year before.  The sound of the wind.  The look of the sky.  The warnings that came before.  The sirens that sounded all day long.  All those memories have flooded back today.  But along with all that comes the experience that I have been through.

I have some tips to help you through the next few weeks.

  1. Pay attention to your fridge. Start eating or cooking-but if you have questions-just throw away.   I had the cleanest fridge by the end of the week after the tornado hit.
  2. Use solar lights inside at night-time.
  3. Get to know new neighbors.
  4. Talk to your kidsabout what is going on.   We didn’t hide stuff from them but listen.
  5. Get board games out.  Deck of cards.  Play games, have fun every day doing the time of “recovery”
  6. Share you story.  Sharing your story is part of the healing process.  Let your kids share their story.
  7. Take pictures if you can.  If you are going to need to file with your insurance company start taking pictures.  Remember these people are working hard and will take the hardest hit families first.
  8. Work with FEMA and Red Cross and all those there to help you.  They are not there to work against you but are working hard for you.
  9. Don’t start wandering around looking at damage till officials tell you it is safe.  We had so many “site seers” in our areas.  Our neighborhood only had minor damage compared to the ones up the road completely destroyed and still cars were in and out all the time.  It makes it hard for the rescue teams to get their stuff done.
  10.  This too will past.  The weeks after the tornado it didn’t seem like this would get back to normal around here.  Truth be told, it will not be the same, but soon that became part of our past and we have moved on with out future.  Hang in there.

I know the first week you will be just shock that this has happened to you.  I will continue to blog, about the stages that we and our kids went through.  Each disaster is different, but much is the same in the end.


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A year ago, today.

The other day I was doing my concession stand duty up at our kid’s ball park.  There was a teen girl working, and toward the end of the evening, we were talking about weather. We all knew that the one year anniversary of the tornadoes was coming up.  Her comment was, “well I hope I don’t lose my house a third time.”  I thought third time.  Just a few weeks ago, we had storms come through with unexpected tornadoes that took the same path as the big.  Some families were just finish their houses, when they got hit again.

One year ago changed this areas.  While for some it is just the distant memory of not having power for a week, for many, it took away how they lived.  It reminded us that our stuff is here and our stuff doesn’t matter.  It is the lives that matter.  But even so, we are changed for that day.  Driving around we still see evidence  of missing houses, trees broken in half, lives no more.

Every time we have tornado warning, everyone still tenses up and panics.  I talked to many mom’s who were in schools the other month who just didn’t know what to do.  They had to gain control so the kids saw them in control.  But when fear still lives in you, that is hard.

The fresh spell of tornadoes is something this country seems to have all over.  We are not the only ones who had tornadoes hit a year ago. That day began for us at 4:30a.m. when our son woke us up.  He listens to 88.1 and the sirens were ringing.


View Tornado Outbreak April 27, 2011 in a larger map

It was an unreal day.  We would speed eat lunch with the kids so they could get back into the little bathroom. The noon storm scared the hell out of me.  (excuse my language-but that was how I felt.)  The noise and the sound was something like I had never heard before.  The house shook.  There was hail.  It was loud.  All I texted to my husband was “oh shit.”  I don’t cuss.  I was scared.  When we came out, we had a huge puddle of water inside our house by our front door. Later we will learn that our front door was damaged a bit, at that time, I just thought the wind had pushed water through the bottom.

When you walked outside, the smell of broken trees filled the air.  There was an odd feeling in the air.  We were not done.

My husband came home and we spent the afternoon waiting for the guys from Service Pro to come and start drying up the water from our refrigerator that we found out had leaked.

We just kept watching the TV, the radar, the news reports.  We were saddened by what we saw, not knowing that the worse is still coming for many in our area.


A F-5 tornado came barreling through and tore a hug part AL.

We were only hit by a F-1.  We only lost a tree.  We had other damage.  Later we found out our trailer had damage to the roof.

 

Our damage was minor.    Some are getting on with life with out their love ones.

 

 


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Pictures from 3:45 storm from Athens

I love taking pictures of storm clouds! This is from a Thunderstorm with possible tornado just north of us coming out of Athens Al.



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Disasters and Kids

This last week has set many of our local children in memories that most kids just read about.   But many of our kids have lost their homes, roofs, trees, and some family.  Kids handle this lost, this grief differently.
When we have storm warnings, the younger kids ask “What if our toys get blown away?”  “We can replace toys, we can’t replace you, so our job is to keep you safe”  After the storms last Wednesday, we lost the big tree in our back yard.  This was the tree that Robby and my kids have grown up with.  It wasn’t one of the back row trees just blocking the view of our neighbors.  This was the one that when Robby was 4 the branches hung to the ground and they made forts our of them, the tree he tried climbing, the tree where he found an Indiana arrow head.  To him this tree was special.  His response was he cried when he saw it, just sobbed.  The two younger ones didn’t understand, but Isaiah just put his hand on his back and rub it.  Jeremy, being a teen, said to just get over it.
As we walked around the neighborhood, Robby said this was the worse day ever.  I said this was a good day compared to others.  Robby and Jeremy went with Dan to Athens, the saw part of the path of the tornado, Robby came home and said we were lucky to have our house.
The three younger ones wanted to know about tornados and how they worked.  Robby has an idea, but I happened to have three weather workbooks from one of the local TV stations we picked up from kids days somewhere.  Just right for the moment.  (homeschooling mom’s mind, hands on learn:))
My oldest acts like this was all no big deal.  But having 7 days of no power, I am sure brought back some memories of his past with no power cause mom had no money to pay the bill.  But he has a strong desire to help.  He wanted to get the tree down as soon as possible.  While we have tried to find a spot for him to volunteer more, somehow that always fell threw….but there is many opportunities coming up…

But one thing is for sure, my kids want to help, and I love their servant hearts.

So some resources to help kids.

http://www.ldr.org/care/children.html
http://www.fema.gov/kids/dizkid1.htm
Coloring book “After the Tornado”
Fema and Redcross Coloring book
http://www.aap.org/disasters/index.cfm
Red Cross
Many Links to other resources

Resources for teens
Tips for Helping Adolescents
Teens Coping
talking-to-teens-about-natural-disasters

Our next steps,  making sure the kids know we are prepared.  We will collect our flashlights again and make sure they work.  Make sure that they know we have a plan and all is fine.  Restock the little bathroom again, make sure our weather radio still works, (it didn’t work this last time)  Making sure we have our radios in a good place.  As a foster home we need to also have this ready again.  It’s been awhile since we had it posted.  So it is time to have them ready and posted again.
Share any more resources you may have!


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Storms…Can’t Sleep

This is the first night since the storms I can’t sleep. Since our only form of outside communications has been the radio I had not seen pictures till today. Finally I saw a few through the iPhone earlier, but tonight Pastor Bernie came by for ribs and brought the newspaper…oh the pictures. I thought our neighborhood seemed bad, we knew it wasn’t but when every house has some damage it seemed bad. But houses where gone. Someone said if that tornado…that I saw…had been 10-20ft lower our neighborhood would not be only clearing trees, shingles, shutters, toys and branches, but…we would be picking through rubble. This bothers me right now. How close my family was to danger. These things you don’t think of till it smacks you in face. My nine year old is terrified of Tornados. We have many warnings here and many times they end up in the little bathroom. I have a plan that when we get close I will say…” each go get a pillow and blanket and grab some books and take it to the bathroom. The first wave of panic…I will say ” we are fine now, it is mommy and daddy’s job to be prepared and keep you safe. Then the questions…”what will happen if it knocks our house down?”…then we rebuild…as long as you guys are safe that’s all I worry about.
When the warnings are close I simple tell the kids time to go read books. Off they go…my 16 sits in the living room. He knows when I say go…go…! I have my lap top in bathroom and I listen to tv and watch out the window…
I did that twice on Wed…the first time the noise and wind were loud…but minor damage.


The second time I saw the twisting off to my left when I finally realized what I was seeing.


I ran to the little bathroom and waited to the noise to go away…it did…I yelled out to Dan in laundry room “was that it?”. Dan said no there is still a few more minutes….I waited.
I looked out front and thought oh good the houses are standing…


At that moment it never crossed my mind that anything could be wrong with out house. I just saw houses standing. Dan called from the back sunroom. Our nice big tree 6 feet from the house was uprooted…


Glad it went the other way, we went out to check on the rest of the house while an other storm was brewing not far from us.
House in tack, cars still there, trailer still there…


That red little car was by the truck before the storm.

Two shutters off, some roof damage…minor…our house was still standing.

The sirens still ring in my head…and I know the next time we hear them..my kids will be more freaked out…
But we will praise God with what ever we have cause all this stuff well ……….it’s stuff!! My family…they are they true blessing!

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