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Moms Talk Q&A: How Does Your Family Prepare for Emergencies?

Do you have a natural disaster family plan and emergency kit?

In light of the recent tornado that and the surrounding communities, we thought we'd bring up the topic of emergency preparedness for this week's Moms Talk Q&A feature.

I won't forget the lesson taught in my 10th-grade physical science class. Mr. Floyd Koehler offered us extra credit if we assembled emergency kits with our families. My kit had flashlights, batteries, water, granola bars and, most importantly, cans and cans of Spaghettios (I'm sure I made room for first aid supplies too).

Does your family have an emergency kit? If so, what was it like putting the kit together and what supplies did you include? What other emergency plans did you make with your family? Please share your stories in the comments box below. Our Moms Council members will offer their thoughts too.

And if you're looking for more guidance on constructing an emergency kit: the American Red Cross has a suggested supplies list posted on its website.

Susan Stone April 27, 2011 at 08:27 PM
We currently do not have an emergency kit. To be honest we just cleared a spot in the basement to hang out in with all these tornado's. It is something our family needs to put together. I remember my parents having an emergency kit for the New Madrid Fault scare back in the late 80's early 90's. It consisted of water and a lot of it. Can's furnished by Anheuser Busch to exact. Then after 9-11 they still had the water and it accompanied with rolls of duck tape and plastic. I guess looking back food was not a necessity. Anyway, it is something my family needs to look into and I will have more then water and duck tape. I may have to take a lesson in the tv show Extreme Couponing' on TLC in order to stock up on those canned food and toiletries.
TP April 28, 2011 at 12:51 PM
We don't have a set kit either. As far as storms go, when there is one coming we always gather the flashlights and candles and snacks together - just in case, but I have to admit that it is kind of a half-hearted effort. It's not all collected and packaged and sitting on a shelf in the basement waiting for us.
Denise Lee April 28, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Emergency preparation is important to me because you never know what's going to happen. Yes we do have a kit. At the last National Association of Professional Organizers' conference, I attended an excellent session on emergency preparation taught by my colleague Margaret Lukens. There are three major points from her presentation that I would like to share. Start preparing for an emergency with small steps. Get a plastic bin and throw a few things in the bin as you think about it. Having one can of soup is better than no cans of soup. Having one sleeping bag is better than having no sleeping bags. Secondly, distribute your items. Put some under the stairs, some in the garage, some in the car. Distribution increases your chances of being able to get to some of your items in an emergency. You may not be able to reach the items under the stairs if the house burns down but you will still have some items in your car. Thirdly, talk about emergencies with your family. Designate an out-of-town contact to report to in case everyone is separated. Today is a good day to start preparing for emergencies - it's the central states earthquake preparation day!
Katrina Sommer April 28, 2011 at 07:30 PM
Admittedly my family has no emergency plan other than the vague notion that we should seek shelter in the basement when the sirens go off, but we have yet to do this because, as my husband put it, "tornadoes don't hit St. Louis." Well apparently they do and I don't need one to knock on our door to knock some sense into me. We are minimalists by nature so aside from the lonely computer desk (i.e. card table) and chair our basement is rather unwelcoming; the black asbestos flooring, dark wood paneling, and dim lighting almost makes it eery so the thought of spending time down there, especially without electricity, gives me goosebumps - seriously. That's right, basements frighten me. Almost as much as tornadoes (almost). So if I'm going to spend tornado season huddled down in the pit (okay I may be exaggerating a little) I think I'm going to have to freshen it up a little. Oh, and stock up on bottled water, flashlights, and spagetti o's. In all seriousness, as a parent it is my job to protect my son and without a plan or a safe haven I'd hate to think of where we'd end up if disaster hit Brentwood. This recent storm has certainly been a lesson for our family, so I am looking forward top hear what others in Brentwood do to prepare for such catesrohpic events.
Becky Slatin April 29, 2011 at 02:35 AM
We actually do have an emergency kit that my mother gave each of her children for Christmas 1999 to prepare for the millennium and then updated it for post-9/11. It's probably due for another update. We do have a battery-operated radio, lantern and flashlights in our basement that we've put to use multiple times during power outages. After the latest storms here in St. Louis and the devastation across the South it has made me re-think how unprepared we really are. I'll definitely take Denise's tips in consideration and try updating what we have and think about being a little more prepared.

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