In the wake of all the firestorms burning in Arizona, the tornadoes in Springfield, MA and our own storms here in Connecticut, I am reminded that we all need to have or update a family disaster plan.

I am native to the Springfield, Massachusetts area so most of my immediate family lives there.  Wednesday evening, June 1st, was difficult on my family as we spent the evening trying to locate everyone. Being in Connecticut at the time, I had cell coverage but many of my family did not. They could not contact each other for hours by cell. My niece was in one of the buildings downtown as a preschool teacher, without any knowledge of an impending tornado she threw herself on four children and her own baby as the windows imploded and roof disappeared. She lost her car and a place to return to work (the school building was later taken down by the city) but she kept her wits about her and took care of herself, her son and her students. All she lost was replaceable.

To prepare for an emergency situation the American Red Cross recommends GET A KIT, MAKE A PLAN and BE INFORMED.  In preparing yourself or helping a senior friend or family member besides all the great ideas in the Red Cross website, I think it is important to inform an elderly person of the rescue plan and review with them frequently. It is also important to have copies of legal documents handy.  You may also use this time as an opportunity to get Health Care Agent and Living Will documents prepared. In the event of tragedy it is best to know what your love ones would want as an end of life experience.

In this age of technology having a Facebook page can  be a great link to family and friends after an event. It was the best way for my family during our long evening to connect as everyone checked on Facebook and mentioned names of anyone that they had spoken with. This has taught me it is time to really learn more about Facebook and other social media as they can be such an instrumental tools in family disaster planning.