How to Plan for Home or Vehicle Emergencies

Happy Friday, RISERS! I hope this week has been good to you. Spring Break—has there ever been a more wrongly suited word for this particular week in the school year? First, it’s not even spring yet, so how can we have a break from it? But more importantly, how do we dress for this time of year? Every spring we struggle to know if we should wear T-shirts, shorts, and flip flops or to keep those hoodies and sweatpants close by. Good luck finding the right clothes combo, and have a great weekend!

Quote of the week: “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” –Mark Twain

Joke of the week: How does a hurricane see? With its eye.

Nugget of Wisdom of the week: Weather. I’m sure you have heard the Tennessee saying that if you don’t like the weather here, just wait 15 minutes and it will be different. Forecasts are wrong on a regular basis. Even one of the “second breakfast” memes, based on the 2001 Lord of the Rings film The Fellowship of the Ring, pokes fun at the weather.

All joking aside, it is imperative that we learn to prepare for severe weather, especially now, as thunderstorms get energized and can spawn tornadoes. I know what you’re thinking…how can we possibly prepare for anything that is so unpredictable? Today I want to mention two types of preparedness. The first one relates to vehicles that you own. Make a list of things to do during each month of the year. All fluids, such as oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, wiper fluid, and antifreeze, should be checked according to the auto manufacturer’s specifications. Tire pressure should also be tested, especially after going from warm/hot weather back to cooler weather. Carefully inspecting your tires can also help you notice any sharp objects that may be lodged. In the trunk, use a large bag or plastic crate to store a blanket (reflective, if you have one) as well as jumper cables, a flashlight, and a pair of heavy-duty gloves. I also recommend that you pack a separate bag of snacks and water in case you break down. If your vehicle is parked in direct sunlight for long hours during the summer months, you may want to make this bag something you carry with you when you leave, rather than one you stow long-term. Lastly, be sure to wear the proper clothing when traveling, so that if you are stranded or must to walk a short distance, you will be warm.

The second type of preparedness relates to your home. My 11-year-old son has been one to check the weather ever since he was old enough to talk. If it rains for just five minutes on any given day, he will wear his water shoes and raincoat. Two weeks ago, he had a full-blown panic attack when we received notification of a tornado watch. He worried about where we would go if a tornado was spotted. To reduce weather anxiety, create an escape plan or a safety plan spelling out where your family members need to meet if forced out of your home. When we were foster parents, we had to place an exit plan on our refrigerator to show the children where to go to be safe. Keep flashlights and candles handy, in case the electricity goes out. Your family might also want to purchase a couple of block chargers to continue charging cell phones, especially if you don’t have a landline phone. Then you wouldn’t need to sit in your car to charge up. In a crisis, you’d also need a few foods that can be eaten without being heated. Packs of tuna, crackers, and peanut butter sandwiches are all inexpensive items to keep on hand. It’s important to have a few gallons of drinking water or bottled water available, too.

Shout-Out of the week: This week, I want to give a shout-out to the people who work in hematology and oncology, assisting patients to get their shots and lab reports. While visiting my mom this week, I went with her to get blood drawn and was impressed by how the lab techs and nurses were extremely patient and caring with the predominately older folks needing their care. Thank you all for ensuring that these tender patients get the medical attention they need!

Have a great weekend. Remember, you are most awesome, and YOU ROCK!

Marion Rhines is a foster-turned-adoptive parent. She lives in Knoxville, Tenn., with her husband and five children. She has written and published two children’s books as well as two foster-care-themed novels. She has a Facebook blog, Tips from the FLIP Side, and enjoys working with children of all ages.

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