This past Friday our city went through some pretty tough times! On June 15, our town and neighborhood got hit by two tornadoes. My neighborhood got hit by a category F2 (113-157 mph winds) tornado and our adjacent neighborhood got hit by a F1 tornado (73-112 mph winds). It was extremely surreal and hard to believe.
When we came out of our house it felt like I wasn't in the same neighborhood. A ton of our trees and fencing were demolished. Roofs had been ripped off, and 30-40 year old trees were up-rooted in just seconds. Luckily, no one was injured or killed in this tornado.
Like a typical dad, I was watching the storm on the front porch right up until the point when I saw a large hand of wind just rip into my neighborhood. I knew that was the point when I should probably seek shelter! :)
After things had settled down, all of the neighbors started coming out of their houses and couldn't believe their eyes. It was like we had just had a bad dream and reality would soon return. Here are few pictures of what we came out to…
It was is hard to believe that we had actually gone through a tornado. I thought it would have felt different. Like I would have seen it come in miles away, and it would have been a big funnel cloud. Instead, it was like the hand of God had wiped the earth!
In going through this experience we experienced a lot of great community in the support and helpfulness of our neighbors! I saw first hand the helpfulness of the American people and determination to immediately rebuild! It is amazing to see fellow neighbors join hands in helping a neighbor out. After seeing this I was really reminded of what a great country we live in. Truly! If you don't remember anything else I saw in this blog post, remember, WE LIVE IN A GREAT COUNTRY!
After going 36 hours without power and having time to think about a lot of things, I came up with a few lessons that I learned in going through this experience.
- Help your neighbor – a lot of times this is a given, but through a disaster you realize how many people need each other. Not only that be we need our neighbors. I had one neighbor say to me that she is completely indebted to us. I said, “I know you'd do the same for us.” It is encouraging to see how a disaster really brings a community together!
- Have a proper emergency plan – it is important to have adequate number of flashlight and batteries to survive a number of days without power/lights. Make sure you have enough food to last 3-5 days with limited power or heating source. Also, ensure that you have a heating source in case you lose power during some cold winter nights and can help protect your family!
- Ensure you have proper insurance – this storm really made me look at my insurance policy and gave me a friendly reminder to recheck my policy. Currently, my deductible is 1% of the value of my house, so I have to pay $2,250 out of pocket before I can get my insurance company to pay for repairs. Do you know what your deductible is on your house?
- Buy a generator – if you have a lot of frozen foods and refrigerated goods, then it is extremely important to have a backup power source. I'd say that if you have $400 or more worth of frozen/refrigerated food, then that is the point at which you should consider buying a generator. I have a hard time buying a generator when I'd only utilize it less than 1% of a given year. The only exception is if you have a lot of food that needs to be preserved and the financial loss would justify the low utilization.
These are just a few ideas that I thought of while cleaning up our neighborhood. Have you ever gone through a tornado or hurricane or earthquake? Were you prepared? What did you learn from going through a natural disaster that helped you be better prepared the next time?