On this day last year, I was huddled up with my three girls in our house watching our trees dangerously sway back and forth around the house. The wind was loud and I could tell it was upsetting Emilie. I put on a brave face for her but inside I was scared as well. It was day one of Hurricane Sandy.
Having just recently moved to Connecticut from the west, Hurricane Sandy was something I was very nervous and unprepared for. In the beginning it was hard to take it too seriously considering our house is nowhere near the coast… how bad could it be? However, when the news began advising people to start preparing themselves for the major power outages that were most likely to occur statewide, I knew I had not really considered the likelihood of how much this could impact my family. All my friends and neighbors gave me a laundry list of things to make sure I had stocked up on around the house: batteries, lamps, flashlights, firewood, and water…lots of water, portable stove, propane and food.
Robbie and I ran to the store with our list in hand to get all the supplies we would so desperately need. Unfortunately, we came out of the store with many of our essential supplies missing. They were sold out. Over and over again we were leaving stores frustrated that we hadn’t acted on the advice we were given earlier. As we were driving to one store I would be calling others asking if they had any propane or batteries left. Two hours out of town we were finally able to get the batteries and propane we had been searching for. I had learned a valuable lesson about being prepared.
A couple of months ago I wrote a post titled “My Running Shoes”. I wrote this post after the attempted school shooting in Georgia and wanted to know what questions or concerns you had about your school’s safety and what held you back from doing something about it. To my surprise I received hundreds and hundreds of emails. The questions were all so amazing and honest. As I tried so hard to begin answering all these emails I realized how important it was to share information about how to be prepared and get started. These questions needed to be answered on a larger scale and I wanted to help provide a platform to do that. I organized your questions into different groups and brought them to my wonderful school safety team at safeandsoundschools.org. We decided what we needed to do was start a blog on our website to create an open discussion about how schools can best be prepared. I am so excited that the blog will finally be up and running this week! There are many things we have been working on to help inspire and empower people to know where to start with making their schools safer. I know so many of you want to know what to do and just don’t know where to start. Take some time to read through our tool kits. They are filled with the tools you need to help you and they are all free.
Robbie and I have also been working with an amazing organization called Save the Children. Save the Children is one of those rare organizations that purely gives much needed support and help to children here in the U.S. as well as children across the globe. Recently, Save the Children announced a program called, “Get Ready. Get Safe.” They offers checklists and wonderful information to help parents by focusing on how to be prepared BEFORE a disaster impacts a community. These disasters include events like Hurricane Sandy as well as the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook. Unfortunately, our shore line is still in a horrible state after Hurricane Sandy and are still in need of great repair (watch this video by to see how significant the problem still is).
I promised myself I would do everything in my power to use my voice to help protect children and to do that, we need to be prepared. It isn’t about waiting until the storm is upon you to ask yourselves if you are ready. It isn’t the time when you are waiting in a room full of worried parents wondering if your child is seriously injured or worse, murdered, by an attacker at their school to finally use your voice about your concerns about the safety of their school. Now is the time for all of us to act. It is time to be prepared.