Monday, October 14, 2013

Are You Prepared?

Last weekend, a massive storm by the name of Atlas ripped through Western South Dakota. Massive amounts of snow and wind came in hard and fast.  South Dakota is my home.  My grandparent's home just outside of Rapid City has been there forever. The people that live there are used to nasty storms and blizzards.  They expect them and know how to survive them.  

But this one was different.  It came SO quickly that people didn't have time to make it home. Dozens of vehicles were just stranded along the roads; some of them with people still inside unable to get out. Thousands of cattle and horses died. Houses burned to the ground because fire crews just could not get through the snow to help. Power was lost within hours; and not just in sections of town.  All throughout the Black Hills.  In South Dakota, school is rarely called for a snow day; this storm shut down multiple cities entirely for 3-4 days. 

Everybody thought they were prepared; made extra trips to the grocery store before the storm blew in; ready to hunker down and enjoy the ride. But I don't think anybody was prepared to live without power for days on end.  Or for 10' snow drifts blocking their doors and cars. And my home town that I love so much? Ripped to pieces. Parts of it are unrecognizable right now; ranchers have literally lost everything - with nobody to offer help or relief.  You can read more about it HERE or HERE (these articles are mostly about ranchers).  I am absolutely heartbroken for the land (and people) there that I love so much, and I am sickened that there hasn't been any national news coverage about it.
This is looking out my uncle's front door partway through the storm
My cousin's house...with one drift to the top of their house

My brother lives there with his 4 small children and his wife, who is currently 8 months pregnant.  They were without power for 115 (or more) hours.  So, imagine...4 children ages 11, 9, 5 and 2 with no entertainment, no heat, no food and absolutely no way to get out of their house for 4+ days.  They had plenty of food - that all ended up going bad because they had no way to cook it.  Luckily for all of them, the weather stayed fairly decent temperature wise.  South Dakotans are well accustomed to temps that hang out at about -60.  During the storm, the coldest it got was mid-20s, so with all their winter clothing and lots of blankets, they were able to stay warm enough.

So.  My point in all of this?  I realized quickly that my family is nowhere near prepared enough for a massive emergency.  Yes.  My pantry is overflowing with food.  But only a small percentage of it would be edible without cooking.  And what if we were evacuated?  We do have 72 hour kits (which you can read about here), but we don't have much of a plan as to what we would load in the car first (besides the children and dog!) or where we would go.  Nor have we verbalized any of those plans with other family members so they would know where to find us.

We have started one major step though, and that is this amazing binder that a sweet friend of mine designed and put together.

The Family Preparedness Binder is an all-in-one spot to organize your family’s important records and information. The idea is that you have everything together if you need to grab it and go, or when you just need a quick reference, you can know where to find it. The binder has 10 sections:
• Family Member Information • Important Contacts • Insurance Information • Family Finances • Budgeting • Home Inventory • Estate Planning • Memorial Information • Emergency Preparedness
There are over 70 pages in the binder. Each section has forms to fill out with information pertaining to each of those categories. You will be able to record each member of your family’s vital information, write down your insurance policy numbers and company information, plan a monthly budget, and have your legal documents for your estate planning all in one easy-to-access binder.  
Also, a section is provided to write down your home inventory if you ever need to know the value of the items in your home or where they were purchased. A CD slot is included so you can take pictures of these items as well. The CD slot can also be handy for scanned documents (like birth certificates, insurance policies, or contracts) so you can have an electronic copy of them. The Emergency Preparedness section has several articles about household emergency preparedness tips, and in the very back are five page protectors and a business card page protector to hold social security cards or other important papers.

This is just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to emergency preparedness. However, it's a really good start! For more information on emergency preparedness, you can check these links:

Are you interested in purchasing one of these amazing Emergency Preparedness binders? You can leave me a message (or email me) and I will put you in contact with Jacie. Or, you can email her directly at jacieames(at)


Ashley Duggan-Smith said...

Wow, that is incredible and so not what I'm used to on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Those are good tips for hurricane season too, but it is sad there isn't more media coverage on it!

Katherines Corner said...

Great tips, and I am not prepared! Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop! ♥


That is such a scary thing - that storm! I saw info about it on the news, and my heart just broke for them... but, you are so right! We need to plan for the worst for our family's survival in times like these. I'm from southeast Texas, and we are an area where hurricanes tend to hit frequently. I've learned... you don't want to wait til the last minute to get things together.. Thanks so much for sharing this! This is a great post!!


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