By Amy Grissom, Region VI Regional Emergency Management Specialist
What does emergency preparedness look like for a family that’s already struggling to make ends meet? You may have seen TV shows about disaster “preppers” who spend thousands of dollars on luxury underground, zombie-proof bunkers. But what about the rest of us?
Eighteen years ago, I became a single mom who didn’t know how I’d get through each normal day, much less how I’d survive a disaster. My emergency plan was to pay my “beeper” bill every month in case my son’s daycare needed to reach me. I was poor enough to qualify for Food Stamps and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) assistance. It was hard to even keep some extra cans of food on hand in case I ran out. I don’t remember having a working flashlight and I didn’t keep extra water at all.
One day, lightning struck my grandparent’s old house where we lived. The ceiling fan exploded and the TV blew up. I grabbed my baby and ran out, hoping our only place to live wasn’t going to burn down. I called 911 and held my son in the front yard as we watched several brave responders run in. Luckily, there was no further damage. But that small incident made me realize how unprepared I really was.
If I were that same struggling parent today, here is what I’d do differently:
When your time and money are limited, raising healthy, happy kids can be overwhelming. But getting prepared for emergencies doesn’t have to be. In disaster after disaster, I’ve seen prepared families recover much faster than unprepared ones. Be the hero or the “she”ro of your family. Start small, but start now.