When we originally planned to start the Nite Ize Blog our first article was going to tie into Emergency Preparedness Month which falls each year in September. I wrote a very informative article about packing your "Go Bag" and having a family plan for unexpected emergencies, but at no point did I think I should actually implement this plan personally. It was for someone else. Some poor family in another part of the country that gets hit with strong hurricanes, someone who lives in the middle of the tinder dry mountains who might have to worry about a wildfire, or a family who lives near a fault line who may have to deal with an earthquake. That was last Wednesday. On Thursday my smug, non-emergency having world came crashing down around me.
As the rain gauge filled up for the 3rd time (over 15" of rain) in as many days, and the Colorado front range canyons and communities experienced what the news media have labeled "biblical flooding", it dawned on me that my family didn't have a plan. Not only didn't we have a plan, we were staring straight at an ocean of contaminated water, potential evacuation and road closures, loss of power/water/sewer, limited emergency services, and the words "self-rescue” hanging in the air. It was terrifying. With almost 12,000 people currently evacuated from their homes and thousands of helicopter rescues from mountain communities cut off due to washed out roads, I've heard dozens of stories from friends and strangers recounting the harrowing tales of escape and rescue. The one thing I keep hearing over and over again is "we had no time". No time to pack a "Go Bag", no time to gather important documents & medications, no time to lovingly pack cherished keepsakes, no time to do anything except leave with the clothes on their back and their lives. This is how emergencies happen, and sooner or later chances are that an emergency will happen to you. Basic family preparedness is something you owe yourself and your family.
The government has a great website that provides communication tips and a Family Emergency Plan document for you to fill out as a family. I highly recommend visiting their site: http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan to learn more.
You can also click here to see a list of items from Nite Ize that you could include in your "Go Bag". A helpful tip: Always choose a flashlight that uses L123 batteries. They have a 10 year shelf life and won't go bad and leak all over your flashlight if you don't use it very often. As I was clutching my INOVA T4R Rechargeable LED Flashlight in the dark last weekend, I was grateful for that piece of safety & security. A week later, my family has an emergency plan, a "Go Bag” and a sense of humility and gratitude having been spared the worst of the storm's damage. I know that next time we'll do better. Please, spend the time right now during Emergency Preparedness Month to make a plan for your family.
Emergencies can happen fast and without warning. Sooner or later, chances are that an emergency will happen to you. Basic family preparedness is something you owe yourself and your family. Our Emergency Preparedness Collection can help make your "Go Bag" even more useful in your time of need.