EF-3 Tornado, Suffolk, VA
April 28, 2008
Q: Did you prepare for natural disasters before the tornado?
A: Other than very basic hurricane items, no.
Q: After surviving an EF-3 tornado, do you prepare now?
A: We take emergency preparedness much more seriously, as well as indicators of potentially dangerous situations (not just weather)...
Q: Do your family/friends prepare now after hearing what happened to you?
A: Unfortunately, can't say that they do. I guess since everyone figured that the tornado was somewhat of a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, or that just happens to other people. I think same general attitude prevails for hurricanes....
Q: How bad was the tornado damage to your home and neighborhood?
A: We we on the out-skirts of damage path. Many of our neighbors homes had to be demolished. We had substantial roof, siding and water damage. Standing in our yard, we could see leveled homes in one direction, and homes that hadn't been touched in another. Search and rescue teams entered the neighborhood and big "X"'s' were placed on front doors indicating no occupants were inside. All utilities were shut off to homes, and you were not allowed to enter the neighborhood. Several days later you could show ID and re-enter. The news covered it for just a few days. The view out our back window for months looked like a war zone, and smoke alarms were going off 24-7 for weeks and rebuilding took several families over a year.
Q: Were you home when the tornado touched down?
A: No, but I should have been. I received a call from my sister-in-law about 10 minutes prior, asking me if I was watching the weather, which I was not. Between the tone of her voice, and a strong gut feeling (thank you!) I took a look around, grabbed my keys and left. I drove straight over to my sisters house to get her and her young kids downstairs who I knew were taking their afternoon nap. We got everyone downstairs and into the bathroom, and about 2 minutes later heard the noise. Didn't really have time to think, and thought I was crazy for leaving at the time. Here's a great mental exercise : Imagine if you had 90 seconds to grab what you needed and evacuate your home.... could you do it? Would you even know where to start? What would you need/grab?
Biggest lessons learned:
(1) Communications/phone service was very difficult to near impossible for several hours/days - have a plan
(2) Have important items and/or copies in multiple locations
(3) Know your insurance policy/coverage
(4) Have important emergency items in both home and car
Q: What advice would you give to people who don't prepare/can't afford to prepare?
A: Basic preparedness doesn't have to be expensive. It is easy to get overwhelmed and then end up doing nothing. Don't make it complicated - just do something! Start with the basics for home and car, and go from there. It's amazing how doing just a bit slowly here and there over time will start to add up to significant progress. Also, preparedness is not just having "things"on hand. It's also having a plan and having thought various situations through.
Q: Your current business is related to preparedness. How long have you been involved with Thrive Life?
A: I became a consultant with Thrive Life (formerly Shelf Reliance) in early 2013. And yes, most Thrive foods have a 25 yr shelf life and are shelf stable (don't require refrigeration), but Thrive is also great for dinner tonight! A win-win! Everyone eats... so it's not like other 'prep' items that you hope you will never need to use. Thrive foods are lots of non-gmo, gluten-free, saves you tons of time in the kitchen, reduces food waste, and tastes great food! Everyone should "Thrive" in the kitchen! My Thrive cooking classes and home party tastings are lots of fun and a super easy way to get started "Thriving"!
(Photo Credit: Hampton Roads.com)