I sip my morning cup of tea and gaze outside. The leaves are in their jewel-toned glory. Dappled sunlight streams through the window and the quiet peacefulness envelops me like a fuzzy blanket.
Not so a year ago today, when the fury known as Super Storm Sandy whipped up the east coast and wrought devastation and destruction in her path.
The Calm Before the Storm
It was two days before Halloween and our carved pumpkin grinned toothlessly on the front porch. My husband brought our ceramic jack o lantern up from the basement and we filled it with candy for the dozens of trick or treaters we get every year.
And then, we started to hear the dire forecasts. This time the meteorologists got it exactly right.
We lost power that night and didn’t get it back for five days. Even worse, we were unable to get information about our summer home at the Jersey shore.
Halloween didn’t happen in our cold and desolate neighborhood last year. There were no twinkling lights, no children running from door to door. My husband and I came home each night to darkness and huddled under every blanket to be had.
But we fared well compared to thousands of others. The power did come back, and our home at the shore was spared.
The magnitude of this loss will reverberate for years as communities strive to rebuild. But what about the damage to our psyches? The emotional impact of this natural disaster can not be underestimated. And children, all too often, are the silent victims.
Before another disaster hits, we need to make sure that we are prepared. Not just with a stronger infrastructure, but with plans and procedures in place to make sure our children will be protected.
We are Not There Yet.
A new report commissioned by , “Unaccounted For: A National Report Card on Protecting Children in Disaster,” identifies troubling holes in the system – in emergency preparedness, response and recovery.
On this anniversary of Super Storm Sandy, I join other bloggers in promoting a new initiative by Save the Children, called “Get Ready. Get Safe” to help families and communities protect children at times of disasters. Before another super storm hits, and the prediction is that Sandy will be followed by others, let’s do what we can to prepare.
A Call to Action
Save the Children has a checklist for parents and caregivers, an interactive map, and your state’s report card on emergency preparedness here.
How can you help? Urge your governor to either meet the report card standards or make sure child-focused emergency plans are in place and practice.
It’s only a matter of time. until it happens again.
Disclosure: I am not being compensated by Save the Children or any other entity for writing this post. I am joining other bloggers from #PANJ4Good and across the country to share this important information on emergency preparedness.