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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Emergency plan fail

I really thought I was prepared for a weather emergency. Living in Oklahoma, this is just a fact of life. I have reviewed, tweaked and relayed the plans with my children so much they know it by heart. The one thing I did not take into consideration is what I would do when I was alone away from home. The May 20th tornado revealed this to me.

   I took shelter in the basement of the main building where I work. The public always seeks shelter there as well. There were so many people crowded down there. Everyone was huddled against the walls. You could just feel the fear coming radiating on waves off people. It smelled of sweat. I had my tablet with me so I turned it on to start streaming the local broadcast live. Thank goodness there was WiFi down there. You could not get a cell signal.
  When I turned it on the people around me a surged closer to get a look as well. The news broadcaster was saying that it was at SW 15th and Santa Fe. A women started to wail. Fear clutched me. That would place it close to us. I briefly had visions of the hallway collapsing with all these people around us. I could understand how little it would take to start a riot in a mob. I said a prayer right then and there. The broadcaster went onto say it was SW 15 in Moore and still headed east. That would place it away from us and meant we were safe. Let me tell you. I have never felt such relief. I don't know what I would have done if it had hit us. I realized then I need to have a better plan in place.

   You will not be able to talk on your cell phone. The lines get jammed with everyone else trying to call loved ones. Make sure family knows where you are seeking shelter before it strikes. THEN as soon as it's safe try to give everyone an update. You won't be able to call but most people have Facebook on their phones. Just a simple I'm safe post will help put everyone at ease. We did not know about a family friend until 2 days after the disaster. Thank god they were OK but their car was destroyed by the tornado.
   Have a secondary plan. If something had happened to me I don't have anything in place for my children that did not include me in it. It NEVER occurred to me that I might be the one in danger's path.
   I pray for all those who have lost loved ones, homes and their livelihoods in the tornado. It was an awful event but a learning experience for me.