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Do Not Wait For Disaster Planning

November 18, 2013
Photo  by David Zalanik - Washington, Illinois damage

Photo by David Zalanik – Washington, Illinois damage

We tend to think we know how we’ll respond in an emergency. Several communities in Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and into Pennsylvania were affected by a force of nature that is unapologetic, ruthless and random yesterday. One of the hardest hit – Washington Illinois.

My dad worked in Washington for years, and I trained some horses there when I lived in Peoria. Seeing the images and reports is bad – hearing from friends who are there is heartbreaking.

When we started considering the ideas of disaster timeshares it was having been around such a massive loss. It’s easy to talk smack from the safety of another area. It’s another to incur damage. Loss. Life rearrangement.

Storm damage in Michigan - Vander Werff Family Farm.

Storm damage in Michigan – Vander Werff Family Farm.

As the day comes to the storm areas there are many who want to help but are frustrated at “not being able to”. It’s the beginning of a very long race. Friends had damage, but even they say it’s not nearly what many lost.

There are those insurance commercials that play everything in reverse and make it seem like replacing things will put all back the way it was. It doesn’t. Ever. Our Bess freaks in storms now – she’ll try to dig through the floor if we don’t put her in the safety of her crate. If only that was 100%. The insurance can replace things, but nothing goes back the way it was – we just find a new normal.

Supports from a mobile home wrapped around a tree. Washington, Illinois. Photo from Don Bell.

Supports from a mobile home wrapped around a tree. Washington, Illinois. Photo from Don Bell.

The images are hard to see, but not that different. Shown the photo to the right, Scoutman said the ones he saw (after the Alabama tornadoes) were higher on the tree. That we’re safe can be a false belief. Making plans is huge.

Someone from the Joplin tornado area said there are some things that can’t be unseen. Others criticize keeping the public and volunteers out. “Well they just must not want help” and “What are they going to do – arrest me for going in?” are but a couple. And yes, they can, will and should arrest for trespass. That takes effort and manpower away from helping those in need.

Right now those in the path are coming to terms with surviving! Meals, where to sleep tonight, where’s my pet – hundreds of questions just trying to get through day by day. The inspectors, insurance folks and other officials must inspect before removing things. There is likely still a hunt for survivors – both two and four legged! – in the hardest hit areas.

There are MANY ways to help without going to those hard hit areas! Find where pet survivors are – there will be help needed walking pets, feeding and cleaning pens, helping them through a time that they don’t understand and their owners may be desperately searching for them. Posting the pictures online can help someone who knows the family get reunited with their pet. There *have* been reunions!

Go down and find an affected family – take them out for a meal, or bring an emergency survival kit to them. Go to crisis shelters with games and things to do for kids, who also don’t understand what’s going on completely.

These folks will need help for months. Thanksgiving. Christmas. The coldest weather of the year is ahead. If you can help, do so.

And for those out of the path of this one – do not delay anymore. Make your plans. Get your emergency plan in order. Five quick things:

1. Microchip pets! They may lose collars, they may be at the remnants of their home that no one is sure what the address is. They may be picked up and taken to a shelter, where there are dozens of medium sized brown dogs with short hair or too many tabby cats to tell over the phone descriptions. Unfortunately, there are those who scoop up pets and move them out of the area where owners won’t find them. A microchip can be the thing that returns your pet back to you.

2. Make a plan for yourself. Storm shelter, stocking the basement, whatever. Make it happen.

3. Get some solar yard lights. They are MUCH safer than candles in a crisis. Put them out to charge in the day time and when needed bring in at night. On Halloween we lost power for a while. After the tornadoes we bought some of the little driveway lights, and on Halloween we simply plucked a couple up and brought in the house.

4. Make copies of identification, important forms and find a relative out of the area to safely store it.

5. Make a complete plan. How do you get around if your car is gone? How do you get a room if you don’t have money, credit cards or identification? How do you get out of town if there’s no fuel to fuel up? Think *now* before you need it.

We’re thinking of these things. With the disaster timeshares, we’re aiming to help others. Because tomorrow might be too late. If you’re interested in disaster timeshares, email us to get that started at – but start planning something. Each storm assault leaves more warnings. In the last few years, it’s been not just Alabama and Joplin but also Oklahoma, widespread from hurricane Sandy, fire evacuations and countless individual crisis issues.

Don’t wait. Start planning.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2014 3:34 PM

    Preparing your family and home for disasters can be the difference between a travesty and saving your family.

    • April 3, 2014 5:51 PM

      Agreed. The aftermath can be stressful also, and important to consider all factors. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. May 14, 2014 8:40 AM

    I’m so glad that growing up my mom always had us learn our emergency plan. We had food storage and we always knew where our emergency kits were. I’m working on getting my family set with emergency supplies and plans. My next step is to get some solar lights. I think they will be incredibly nice to have in an emergency.

    • May 14, 2014 10:24 AM

      Always a good thing to have ready! The solar lights are really handy when needed! Thanks for stopping by.


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