By Janaki Jane, Colorado Spirit
Maybe this sounds familiar; you thought you were doing great, but remember that extended downpour right before Memorial Day? Did you wake up, and spend some time, maybe with the lights on, just...listening?
There are many who are reacting in unexpected ways to life in the aftermath of the floods. This is a normal response to feeling out of control, which is how everyone felt in September. And no wonder, rain is uncontrollable, flooding is uncontrollable, and when governments’ emergency measures kick in, and people are evacuated, the feeling of being out of control increases.
A very easy way to begin to deal with these feelings of loss of control is to take control where you can. An obvious area to do that is to be more prepared for the next emergency, no matter what it is. Increasing preparedness decreases the deep underlying anxiety that comes rushing to the surface when the sirens go off or the river seems a little too high for comfort.
The Red Cross has lots of information on how to be prepared, so much that it can seem a little overwhelming. The easiest way to go through the steps in their “Be Red Cross Ready” plan is to download one of their apps, which are available for every imaginable emergency situation. (If you don’t have a mobile device, most of what is on the apps is available to print out from the website, please see sidebar.) The flood app has five buttons: Right Before (a warning or watch has been issued), During (staying safe), After (assessing and cleaning up), Plan Ahead (be better prepared for next time), and Make a Plan (know what to do). The Red Cross folks are aware that every emergency and disaster is different, and that is built into the apps. For instance, Plan Ahead has users look at their area’s risks and possible actions.
The apps all have “make a plan,” “practice your plan,” and “prepare an emergency preparedness kit” buttons. The plan part of the app leads the user step-by-step through individual household member’s tasks in case of emergency, alternative places to meet up, and a family contact. There is a checklist of items for the emergency kit that can be checked off, as they are collected. (Something not on the list is to get either a wind-up flashlight or weather radio, which can also charge a cell phone).
The toolkit icon on the app’s home page has an obnoxious alarm, a flashlight, and an “I’m safe” message that can be written beforehand, and sent later via email, Facebook, Twitter, or text. The app includes a finder for all shelters currently open in the area.
Kids can be involved in making the kit via a scavenger hunt, and then involved in the household’s twice a year practices. A good thing to have children do is to decide on and practice getting a safe object, perhaps a stuffed animal or a favorite book, before they leave on practice runs of the family plan.
. Find out flood related information that is not on other Lyons Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/LyonsAndEnvirons, or browse our Pinterest page about Lyons at https://www.facebook.com/LyonsAndEnvirons.
Colorado Spirit Teams in Boulder County are a program of Mental Health Partners.
Where To Find
Do-It-Yourself Preparedness Information And Apps
There is a lot of free, do-it-yourself information on preparedness. The most accessible is to go to the Red Cross’ preparedness page: www.redcross.org/prepare
There you will find links to the mobile apps, information about all kinds of emergencies, and a link to the “Be Red Cross Ready” all-in-one pdf. For those without a mobile device,
the information pages for different emergencies on the website have links to printable checklists for each kind of disaster.