Guest Blog: Preparing for Emergencies
Blogger Biography: Beth Jones is a freelance writer and a proud Air Force wife. She and her family are currently stationed in Maryland. When she’s not busy chasing her two little boys around, Jones enjoys reading mystery novels and spending time with other military spouses.
I was excited to celebrate my first wedding anniversary as a proud military wife.
My husband and I had too many plans to count. We would spend the day walking along the beach where we got married, watch a new movie that had just been released, and top the day off with a wonderful dinner at a fancy restaurant.
Unfortunately, none of that happened.
The morning of October 15, 2006, my husband and I were shaken awake by a rumbling noise and our walls moving.
“Is it a tornado?” I asked. Naturally, being from Kansas, I assumed that our walls shaking like that meant it was a tornado.
“I think it was an earthquake,” my husband mumbled from beneath the covers.
And indeed, it was. A 6.7 earthquake, to be exact, had struck off the shore of Kona. Although we were stationed on the island of Oahu, we had still felt the effects of the earthquake and the entire island lost power.
It was at this moment I realized just how important an emergency kit really is.
We’re handed brochures on what to put in an emergency kit every year, but how many of us really look through that pamphlet? More importantly, how many of us really put what we read into action?
Since that special anniversary when my husband and I sat around in the dark, playing board games and eating cold cereal, I’ve learned that an emergency kit or Bug Out Bag isn’t something you should put off making.
Now, almost six years after that first anniversary, we’ve survived two more earthquakes, a hurricane, and a tornado. We now, more than ever, make sure our emergency backpacks are up to date. We switch out all of the contents every six months and check all of the batteries to make sure everything is up to date and still in good working order.
We have two little boys now, so we make sure that each family member has a backpack entirely their own that contains an extra change of clothing, shoes, water, snacks, cash, local maps, first aid supplies, and a flashlight. An extra backpack that we keep in our car contains an emergency tent, flares, matches, at least a three day supply of medication our family uses on a regular basis, and a list of emergency phone numbers.
We also make sure that our car is never at less than half a tank of gas. In the case of a true emergency or crisis, the first place many people rush to is the gas station. The other place people tend to run to is the grocery store, so in addition to our emergency kits, we try not to let our house get too low on toilet paper and other hygienic necessities.
I’ve also found that it’s a good idea to keep non-perishable food items that don’t need to be cooked on hand. Non-perishable food doesn’t have to mean a box of sugary granola bars. Some things we like to have on hand are nuts, sunflower seeds, beef jerky, and dried cereal. I also keep flavored water and boxed milk on hand “just in case.”
In the time I’ve spent as a military wife, I’ve been challenged, tested, and pressed. Emergencies now aren’t as scary as they used to be, but that’s because now, being without electricity is less of an annoyance and more of an opportunity to spend more time with my family.