I Wasn’t Ready for a Fire… Are You? Please pass this on to everyone! We were so lucky… Life happens. I have heard this saying before, but yesterday it caught up with me in a very forgiving way. We had a neighborhood emergency and it revealed that our family does not have an emergency plan in place. I am writing this as a way to get my mind around t we should do in an emergency, but also to warn you. We were very lucky. I pray we are never tested on our new plan, yet I want to be ready just in case. Early in the morning we smelled smoke. It was a none threatening smell. Actually, it smelled wonderful, like someone was burning some wonderfully aromatic wood in their fireplace. It was relaxing. It was too warm for us to start a fire, but the smell did make us check the temperature just to make sure. Yes, it was too warm for us to burn a fire. We had a lovely morning. We talked about everything from pumpkins to raising chickens. I remember even talking about the fact that I was not willing to get up in the middle of the night to check on baby chickens. Random, I know. My husband commented that they make warmers to keep baby chickens warm. Even more random… Or was it? I went for an hour and a half walk with one of the kids. When I stepped back onto our front lawn I smelled the fire smell again. Mmmm. Smelled like fall. I went inside and commented to my husband that it must be a fireplace, because I could only smell it here. I sent the kids outside to play and they came bursting back inside within 5 minutes… “Mom! There black smoke right out front. I think it’s the neighbor’s house!” I walked outside (Not sure I believed the kids…) and saw the smoke and the flames… our neighbor’s yard was on fire… Throw all reason out the door. I called to have my son bring me the phone and dial 911. My husband was in the shower and I did not even think to go tell him. I was working on less than rational thought. I had no logical trains of thought, just OMGoodness, that fire is close. Fast forward about an hour. The fire was out. No one was hurt. The only loss was a… CHICKEN COOP! Can you believe it? We learned a few lessons that morning. We do not have an emergency plan We cannot think rationally in an emergency We should trust the Lord’s whisper of a voice (He was trying to tell us the chicken coop was on fire!) So I have to ask you. Are you and your children ready for an emergency? As a homeschooler, this is my responsibility to equip my children. We are currently forming our official plan and we will be practicing weekly for a while, then monthly. Do you have a plan? What would you and your kids do if there was a: Fire Earthquake Tornado Flood Hurricane National Disaster If your family was separated, Where will you meet? Do you use cell phones and cordless handheld phones? They do not work when cell towers go down and power outages happen. Do you have one of those “old fashioned” phones that simply plug into the wall? You’ll want one! Start garage sale shopping. Do you have a list of emergency contacts in your wallet? Do all of your children? Do your kids know how to make collect calls from a pay phone? (Don’t laugh. When I taught my then 18 year old he tried to tell me there were no pay phones in our town. He was so used to cell phone technology that he didn’t even see them!) My day yesterday showed me that even though I love my Scarlet O’Hara mentality of “I’m not going to worry about that today, I’ll worry about that tomorrow”, if I do not have a plan to follow then I will be up a creek without a paddle in an emergency. Need a starting point? Here is a great Disaster Preparedness Coloring Book by FEMA Here is FEMA’s Make an Emergency Plan Site Our family feels like the Lord protected us in our little emergency. It could have been so much worse! All the trees within 5 feet of the fire are crispy dry. We are all surrounded by fires favorite food, dried brush. The wind is notorious in our town, we even have one of the largest wind farms! We could have lost everything. We are thankful for our neighbors who never hesitated! They knocked the fire down from a 30 foot wall of fire, down to about a foot by the time the fire department arrived! If you do not have a plan, set aside school work for a few days this week and develop one with your children and start drilling!