Preparedness at Night

Yesterday, we learned that Indonesia had a devastating earthquake at night.  Once upon a time, we had a small earthquake as well.  At 3:00 am.  In the past couple of months we’ve had many tornado warnings (actual sightings) in our area, all after we’d gone to bed, all alerted by the community siren.  And this past week, we've had strong and violent winds... at night.  This made me really think about preparedness while we sleep.  I’d argue it’s the single place where we spend the most time every week, so it makes sense to have a plan.  Here’s mine:
  • Every night, next to the bed, I keep my purse with basic essentials in it – keys, wallet, ID, cash, etc.  My cell phone is often charging, but it’s charging in my bedroom.
  • I wear pajamas. Reasonable ones. This may be a no brainer, but if the smoke alarm goes off in the middle of the night, you don’t want your attire to keep you from doing what you need to do. At least, keep clothes or a robe very handy.  Also keep sensible shoes at hand.
  •  Keep the floors clear.  If you need to make a quick exit, you may not have the luxury of parting the sea of toys, magazines, or laundry in the living room.
I’ve planned out for specific emergencies we might face at night:
  • Tornado?  We have some extra clothing and bedding in the basement in addition to normal emergency supplies.  An extra pair of glasses.  I can see well enough to get downstairs, but once I’m there, it would be nice to watch the television report.  Our go bags are in another part of the house, so we have some duplicate items (flashlights, radio, etc. down there)
  • Earthquake?  I also keep a pair of shoes next to the bed.  There could be broken glass and other hazards on the floor.
  • Fire/CO Poisoning?  I’ve thought out egress routes and have items nearby heavy enough to break a window for fresh air or escape. A fire extinguisher in the bedroom is not a bad idea. You should have one in the same room with every home exit and/or heating unit (furnace, water heater, stove, fireplace, space heater, etc.)
  • Power outage?  A flashlight next to the bed is a must.

These ideas might help you bridge the gap between peaceful slumber and your normal emergency preparations.  And a middle of the night emergency is when you’ll always be thankful for well-stocked supplies, a half tank of gas, and extra cash because the store, gas station and bank are closed.

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