Apr 11, 2011

Misawa Monday Preparedness Perspective - Roxanna

Roxanna and Mark moved into the building next to ours a few weeks before we did and we liked them right away.  For one thing, Roxanna has super sassy hair that I admire and envy and she has no problem teasing Doug. :) They have five kids: the oldest is Janelle (our fearless babysitter), then Cam=Max's buddy, Eva, Chipmunk=Sam's buddy, and almost three-year-old Quinny=Gray's nemesis.

I see or talk to Roxanna pretty much every day.  Sometimes multiple times.  Sometimes we Skype just for fun.  (Okay, once Janelle Skyped us...) Sam practically lives at their house after school.  We've spent the last three Christmas Eve's, numerous parties and lots of date nights with this family.  We trade babysitting constantly...

I don't know what we're going to do when we have to leave our friends here in Misawa.  :(
This is from Roxanna's blog:
First day of Japanese First Grade (ADORABLE!)
Okay, I'm not an expert on earthquakes, but I feel like one after the hundreds and HUNDREDS of aftershocks we've had since 11 Mar 11.  I'm embarrassed to say I've only been really bothered by just a few.  Monday's 6 point something didn't even get me out of bed.  And my neighbor said she kept right on applying her mascara - crazy!

The thing that really bothers me is the uncertainty of life in Japan.  The nuclear reactors, although far from us, hang over our head like a cloud of radiation dust :(  The suffering of so many people here makes me SO sad.  I cry for them and pray for them often.
BUT, I can't let myself think this way for too long - it's paralyzing.  So I have to DO something.  My good friend Emily (an awesome blogger) posed a question this morning.  I decided to DO something by answering it and posting it.  Here's my response: 

I pride myself on being a planner (did I say proud?  yes, that's probably my main problem!).  When I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 11 years ago, I was all over the food storage and emergency preparedness bit.  We moved here almost 3 years ago without the food storage :( but with the kits loaded up and ready to handle ANY emergency.  Last summer I noticed in the shed outside where we stored the kits... RAT droppings! Urgh!!!  After the rats were caught and disposed of (that's a story of it's own), I decided to tackle the cleaning of the storage unit.  What a mess!!  Those rats got into everything that wasn't in a plastic container.  Including our 72 kits - even the clothes and bags themselves!  

First lesson learned: keep the kits inside and protected from critters.  

The next 
general conference we attempted the reassembly of new kits.  That can be an expensive endeavor with 5 kids, so we did not complete them.  Little by little I bought items they were lacking.  Then 11 Mar 11 came: no power, no way to communicate.  Once we stumbled around finding all our family members and came inside due to the tsunami, we analyzed what we had and didn't have.  Turns out we didn't even touch our incomplete 72 hour kits, but we were glad we had plenty of candles, flashlights, bottled water, food, and blankets in our house.  3 days later we had minimal power, so we took the kits out to complete them.  

Lesson 2: finish the kits right away, just adjust the budget to do so.  

Yes, I said we didn't even touch the kits, but if we had to evacuate like our neighbors just 30 mins south of us, we would have been in a world of hurt.  Four days after the quake/tsunami, I shopped for the rest of the items for the kits and I took my good neighbor (a Catholic) with me.  My neighbors took pleasure, at times, making fun of our kits prior to 11 Mar.  They don't do that anymore :)  They are GOOD people, don't get me wrong.  

Lesson 3: encourage friends, family and neighbors to assemble kits and help them do so, it can be an overwhelming task.  

I mentioned that my family was scattered and locating them proved difficult.  What we lacked was a plan (gasp!  I know, what kind of a planner am I?!)  Last night we spent 
family home evening with a map of our town, highlighting all the places each member of the family is during a typical day.  We discussed a good meeting point and good phone numbers to call.  We discussed other methods of getting messages of whereabouts to each other using a central point.  We tracked the routes of everyone so we can all know who is walking/riding where.  We are placing more complete contact info inside each of the kids backpacks with their info and numbers to call (even alternate numbers like family out of state or the Command Post for those of us on a military installation).  We are also training the kids to call the numbers.

Lesson 4:  have a plan and a backup plan-- and make sure everyone understands the plan as best they can.

Watching the news of the aftermath and survivors in shelters, we have been able to analyze other items that would be handy.  
This time we can see extra emergency blankets would help with the cold many are enduring.

Lesson 5: learn from others' experiences.    

In addition to that, we saw how quickly those people had to run for higher ground.  

Lesson 6: kits need to be in an easily accessible area - safe from critters.  

Our kits are now in the front coat closet on top of the cases of bottled water with a list of other things to grab.  We've also realized that the brain is in flight mode in an emergency and will NOT be able to recall many things including, "grab the passports and external hard drive."

TODAY we all know where the kits are, what's in them, where to locate important information, where everyone is during a typical day, and how to move quickly in an emergency.  We are so grateful for many things, but mostly that our Lord prepares a way.  We are prepared more now than we've ever been and feel at peace for doing so!

I feel better today after writing this and realizing I am actively engaged in DOing something everyday!


Unknown said...

I have to say thank you for this post and for this blog in general. I am LDS and an army wife and I've felt the strong need to get our emergency preparedness together. I would HATE for my husband to be gone on a deployment and a disaster happened. If I couldn't take care of myself and our kids what would I do. This blog is helping me get started with our kits. It's motivating me to do something - even with our meager income. Thanks for all the advice!
I pray that you are all safe over there.

Linz said...

This is a great post! Thank you for sharing. It really helps me stop and think of what we need to do here.

Gayle said...

Great post!
I live in Oklahoma and have been prepped for a long time since we live in Tornado Alley. I'm so glad you got your kits ready to go and in place. I just went through ours, changed the batteries, washed the clothes, replaced whatever had been borrowed from them and am now looking for 2 rollaround suitcases for them instead of the totes. Every season here brings some type of hazard but nothing like the earthquakes and tsunamis Japan has had. Prayers for all of you and for the people of Japan!

I found this blog right after the earthquakes, it has been an eye opening read. Thank you for posting and thank your husband for the service he has rendered to his country! And thank you for supporting him!

LaLa said...

Great post!

Lyana said...

very helpful post! I thought I knew everything already-hahaha. But I do need to figure out how to get in touch with people, get phone numbers together and stuff like that. I, like you, have a list of things to grab on top of the 72 hr. kit--documets and backed up files thingie (OneClick).

Robyn said...

Just read this post it is excellent! My husband and I were in Hawaii (traveling for his work) during the earthquake and had to evacuate because of the tsunami. Information I would love to share with you is that I had packed a solarlink emergency radio, it is an amazing little radio that I picked up at a Staples on sale for less than $20.00. It is solar powered has radio, flashlight and can charge your cell phone,and it doesn't need batteries because it has a hand crank on it. I also discovered that I couldn't make phone calls but I could text to our children that were on the mainland and I also could post to Face Book from my blackberry. I wouldn't depend on that being possible every emergency situation but it worked for this time. There is a very gut wrenching feeling when the sirenes would go off every hour for the tsunami warning and I would get out of our rental vehicle and go crank my radio up and listen to updates. I packed the radio because of a gut feeling I had and knowing my husband would think I was a bit crazy I just gave him some lame excuse that I might want to listen to the radio on the beach. I'll never travel with out it again! Best wishes and safety to all!