Monday, August 17, 2009

False Alarm = Good Practice

So the forecast for this week predicts a 30% chance of rain every day. Around 4:00pm yesterday I could here sirens from the base, but I couldn't make out any dialogue, so I figured it must be an operation on base.

Imagine my surprise when my neighbor burst into my house to grab her 2 girls who were playing with mine, and informed me those sirens had been a tornado warning and that the base had already taken cover (I'm STILL getting used to this part of the country.. grr). I had noticed BLACK clouds rolling in and noted the rain and wind pick up a bit, but it never occurred to me that it may be indicative of severe weather!

SO, I throw my kids in the downstairs bathroom and race around the house, grabbing an assortment of things. The kids were understandably anxious, especially when I grabbed the cat and held on to her while collecting essentials- they kept asking what I was going to do with her. I was afraid she's scamper out of reach if I put her down.

Of course, the one thing that was eluding me was my cell phone. By the time I found it (in plain view on top of the TV) it had been about 5 minutes. Kai was crying in his bouncer, and the other 3 were trembling. When I plopped down on the bathroom floor, one crawled into my lap and the other 2 snuggled into me as closely as they could.

Not even 3 minutes passed before I got a phone call- it was that same neighbor. Get this... turns out it was NOT a tornado warning- it was the siren for "We're under attack!". Come to find out from Fred later, it was accidentally activated. *groan*

All this week the ENTIRE base is enduring drills and roll-playing and simulations to see whether they are truly prepared in case of eminent danger- I know ALL about it because Fred is his unit's UDM (Unit Deployment Manager); the guy in charge of this operation. Let's just say the past couple months leading up to this have been a bit stressful... ok, that's an understatement.

ANYWAYS, ironically, the storm DID peak during my rushing about, making the trees thrash around pretty violently, rain pelting the house super hard, so I totally believed my neighbor!

Gregory was very concerned about our "stuff". I considered trying to explain renter's insurance to him, but instead tried explaining that the most important thing was that we were safe, and that we could replace any possessions that could get destroyed.

I've decided to view this whole thing as a blessing- a very realistic trial run for next time, should there ever be a next time. I think having a basket, box or bag of stuff ready to go in an easily accessible place is a must.

Here's a numbered picture I took after the "all-clear". It's kind of funny seeing what I figured was important enough to grab... and realizing what I forgot (like important/legal documents and water) :

1. 2 big blankets
2. My beloved Canon S5 IS
3. Baby bouncer
4. cordless phone (not much use if power went out)
5. sippy cups
6. milk for the kids
7. battery operated lantern
8. kids' books, to wile the time
9. case of kids' DVD's (I gave up finding the laptop- later Fred pointed it out in the main hallway)
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows... reading for me
11. nursing wedge (coolest nursing invention EVER... deserves its own blog post)
12. loaded diaper bag (behind Charla)


Shauna- said...

I have done that before. The sirens would go off in Wisconsin and have me scampering off to the basement...Only to learn that they were apart of the weekly volunteer fire departments practice....

Have fun.

Liz said...

That must have been so scary for you. And the poor kids thinking that you were going to be doing something to their cat.
What a wonderful opportnity however to help yourself become more prepared for a real tornado warning.

Introspective Steph said...

Growing up in Ohio... I still get scared when there's a Severe Weather Warning out. I've been through a small tornado...not a ton of damage, just some uprooted trees and this is what I've learned.

When the sky gets green you know bad weather is coming. when all of a sudden it gets super quiet...something is coming! I rely more on the tv to know if a tornado comes...than the sirens. The sirens are usually a little later than the Meteorologists. But, You are one step ahead of me... I don't have a plan of what to grab either. Usually, I just race to the crawl space or basement. But, I think I'll keep all my important documents all in the same area (fire proof container that they are currently in) and grab them with some water. All of my food storage is in the basement i guess there is that too.

It is a scary thing to hear the Tornado Siren. I think you did good.