Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering the victims families

Today as America stops to remember the events of seven years ago, the focus is remembering those who died. But it is equally important to think of the challenges the families of these victims went through. What was it like for those kids who knew their parents were in the World Trade Centers but did not know their fate? How long before some of the kids sitting at school would know whether or not their parents survived?

It doesn’t take something as catastrophic as an airliner ramming into our work place to create challenges for our families. If an accident at work seriously injures or kills you, your kids still need to be picked up from daycare. While you are being whisked away to a nearby trauma center, your kids still need to have dinner. As you recover from injuries, elderly parents will need someone to care for them until you are released from the hospital.

Scenarios for such situations can range from a industrial accident of some kind to car accident. Regardless of the cause, you may be unable to let family members know of your whereabouts or situation. Planning for it now before you ever need it can relieve stress for both you and your loved ones.

Most scenarios have you in the middle of the crisis. But what if the crisis strikes your house or neighborhood while you and family are away at work and school? Having a pre-arranged rally point can help. For instance, what if a tornado destroys your neighborhood before you come home? You and your family can’t go home and chances are good under such circumstances cellular service is out. Identifying a park or playground away from your home that can serve as a really point lets all of you family where to go.

There may be an extreme situation where you have to evacuate the city immediately. You may not have time to go home and collect everyone. Is there a place outside the city that you could use as an assembly point? I’ve got to be kidding, right? Think if some disease broke out suddenly (smallpox, ebola virus, plague). The mass panic would cause thousands to flee from the city. Law enforcement would probably block routes back into the city to maintain safety and a steady flow of traffic. Under such circumstances, backtracking home would be nearly impossible. Planning ahead and determining a pre-identified location to meet up later can help overcome the mass evacuation.

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