I originally intended to introduce my Mommy Blog segment with cute anecdotes about my daughter and being a first time mom. However, having watched the news, and seeing the devastation in Oklahoma, my thoughts are considerably more somber. Yesterday afternoon, a category EF4 tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma. The base of the tornado was estimated to be two miles wide and wind speeds reached upwards of two hundred miles an hour. Currently the death toll sits at fifty-one confirmed dead. It is a bleak morning. Right now, as the people of Oklahoma are searching through the wreckage—the hopes for survivors all but diminished—my thoughts and prayers are with the parents of the reported two dozen children who were trapped in an elementary school. 

It’s heartbreaking to see the devastation and the testimonies from the children who did survive. One elementary school aged girl recounted how she had to hold on to the wall because she didn’t want to fly away. As a parent—as a human—tragedies like this make you realize how precious life is. Speaking specifically as a mother of a nearly two year old daughter, it makes me stress over how to best protect my child in cases of extreme situations. While my child is not school-age, it safety and security concerns are now at the forefront of my mind, especially while considering daycare options. It is important to familiarize yourself with your child’s school or daycare’s safety procedure. What are the teachers, staff and other personnel supposed to do in case of a fire, a tornado or an intruder? Where are the escape routes? Find out when the next fire or tornado drill is at the school and ask if you can observe it. In addition, make sure that your family knows your safety procedures and escape routes. Now that my daughter is counting, the first phone number she will learn is 9-1-1.

Here in Detroit, I can count the number of tornados to touch down on my fingers, and my generation in Detroit has never dealt with the level of devastation Oklahoma is experiencing and has experienced. A Call to Action has been issued. Donate $10 to the Red Cross by texting REDCROSS to 90999. Or go online to RedCross.org to make a blood donation.

Follow Amber L. Bogins on Twitter @AmberLaShaii

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