Last Tuesday night, Kelsey Meyer bathed her four young sons, saw to it they brushed their teeth and got them ready for bed. As the young boys — ages 4, 6 and twins, 8 — delayed bedtime, a screaming tornado warning hit Mrs. Meyer’s phone. The young family quickly took shelter in their basement. Minutes later, an EF4 tornado tore through Perry County Missouri, killing a young man and injured 12 others. Huddled in the basement under a blanket, the family survived as shattered windows, debris and dirt showered them. Mrs. Meyer lost her Perryville home and her nearby childcare business.
Four days later Mrs. Meyer said she wanted the public to know about her experience. The young mother didn’t talk about all she had lost or what she and her family had been through. She didn’t talk about the terror the she felt as the tornado roared above them. The young mother had a preparedness message: “We should have had an emergency kit in the basement.”
“When the tornado passed, glass was everywhere and it was dark. We didn’t have power … We didn’t have shoes; we didn’t have a flashlight; we didn’t have clothes … and outside, glass everywhere and down powerlines … “
“I have an emergency kit in the basement of my preschool; if I had treated my family the way I treated my business …” and her voice trailed off.
Mrs. Meyer wants everyone to create an emergency kit. “You just don’t think it will happen to your family. We learned the hard way.”
The American Red Cross wants all families prepare for emergencies. Build your emergency kit and download the Red Cross Emergency App, which gives instant access to customizable weather alerts, safety tips and preparedness information in the palm of your hand.