This morning I was watching the news showing scenes of devastation from the tornado that swept across Joplin, Missouri, a city of about 50,000 people. I last heard the tornado killed at least 116 people, and an unknown number are injured. Many people have lost everything. My prayers are with the residents who are still trying to get in touch with loved ones, and are dealing with the aftermath of this disaster.
This got me to thinking if you have all your emergency supplies in room or closet at home, and a tornado hit, the supplies would not do a lot of good. I had thought that most residents living in tornado prone areas have basements where they can run to when a tornado hits, as well as store emergency supplies. Unfortunately, many of the homes in Joplin did not have basements as most of the houses were built in the 1960s. The only recourse was to hide in bathrooms and bathtubs. I had read that apartment complexes were also destroyed. Similarly, many apartment dwellers do not have basements.
Emergency sirens went off 20 minutes before the tornado hit. If I put myself in that situation, if we were home, my family would have to get everything together in 15 minutes, with the other 5 minutes getting to a safe area in the apartment, like the bathroom. However if we were not at home, that’s 20 minutes to find a tornado shelter and hope for the best. Our area is not prone to tornadoes, however there are other disasters that can occur that would only provide a short amount of time to get everything together. I think one hour was my estimated time we could get everything together, but that is not good enough.
I saw a good article over at Advanced Survival Guide.com: “How Quickly Can You Evacuate” I really need to re-evaluate and improve our ability to evacuate in a hurry.