Wednesday, May 22, 2013

8 Questions to Get YOU Thinking

Photo Image Courtesy of 123RF

The wise see danger ahead and avoid it,
    but fools keep going and get into trouble.
~ Proverbs 22:3, NCV ~

Major tragedies always move us to great emotion.  There is something deep inside each of us that thinks, "There, but for the grace of God, go I."  We feel moved to volunteer, to give money, to donate blood, all to support those suffering and make a difference.  And that is the way it should be.

However, the fact remains that in the moments immediately following a natural disaster or crisis situation, we must be prepared to care for ourselves.  No government agency or benevolent organization can assure an optimal outcome like we can for ourselves.  No one can get to our location quickly enough when minutes matter.

This is especially true when there is a family member who has a special need.  First responders, government agencies and diagnosis specific groups would not even have on hand what our individual family needs in an emergency.  If we are without power, cell phone service and water, we are very much on our own.

Planning ahead is critical to families like ours.  Failing to plan could mean a death sentence when there are special needs.  While we parents of unique kids are notorious for putting off preparation because we are inundated by so many other demands, this is certainly not a risk we want to take.  Simple steps can be taken.  Resolve to spend 1 hour a week for 4 weeks, and you will be much better prepared than when you had nothing set in place at all.  Some simple questions to start with might be:

  1. What medications does my child need in an emergency?  Do I have them readily packed, so I could grab them and go in less that 2 minutes?  (HINT:  To keep all of your family's prescription names & numbers readily available, take a photo of each to keep on your cell phone.)
  2. What ancillary supplies do I need to go with my child's medications to make sure I can administer them in an emergency situation?  (ie gauze, syringes, medicine cups, bottled water)
  3. What alternate power source do I have to assist with the emergency function of any medical equipment that runs on electricity?
  4. Are everyone's medical alert tags up-to-date?  (REMINDER:  Medical alert jewelry is only effective if a person is wearing it.  Make certain you find something that your child can be comfortable wearing on a regular basis.)
  5. Where would we meet in the aftermath of an emergency?  (HINT:  Identify a marker on your property if there is a fire or other need for evacuation.  Have a key person whom you can contact to let know where you are and what your status is.)
  6. If we have to take shelter in our home, where would we go?
  7. What non-perishable food sources do we have packed for an emergency?  (HINT:  Pack food with your emergency medications.)
  8. What comfort items will my child need to emotionally cope in the short term?
These are only a few of the questions to get you planning.  Put that plan in writing.  Experts also highly recommend that your family practice emergency procedures on a regular basis.

For more sound, helpful information, we recommend visiting the Inclusive Preparedness Center website, and Preparing for Disaster for People with Special Needs by FEMA & The American Red Cross.

PRAY:  Holy Spirit, you are the source of all wisdom.  Help us to avoid danger with prudent planning.  Guide us to be deliberate as we care for our loved ones with the possibility of crisis in mind.

*Our hearts and prayers go out to all of those affected by the devastating recent tornadoes in Oklahoma.  

~ Barb Dittrich

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