I was going to write a scary fact today about home fires, but decided it was just too depressing for the day before Christmas. Instead, you get my Christmas disaster creativity, twisted liberally from Clement Moore’s classic A Visit From St. Nicholas. (This really is my dream disaster response!)

‘Twas The Night After The Earthquake

‘Twas the night after the earthquake, and all through the town
all the people were helping with nary a frown.
The bolted up bookshelves and chimneys still stood.
Who knew earthquake proofing would work out so good?

Teddy bear Sleeping Bag

Photo by 190.arch (aka mamma190)

The children were nestled in sleeping bags and sweats
While next to them snuggled their dear rescued pets.
And Dad in his work boots and I in white coat
Were resting a moment and reviewing our notes.

When suddenly around us, there arose such a clatter!
“It’s only an aftershock”, I said. “It won’t matter.”
We hit the floor, rolled under the table.
Drop, Cover, and Hold – whenever you’re able.

We emerged from our tent to the quiet moonlit night
and waved to the neighbors – “everything is all right”.
When what to our volunteer teams should appear –
a supply laden helicopter and a fresh stash of gear.


Helicopter. Photo by Matthew Peoples.

And a National Guard pilot, so well-trained in his job,
I knew he would land in our field with no prob!
He rapidly touched down; his team – out they came.
They grabbed boxes and equipment and called us by name

“For CERT team, for Watch Captain, for your MRC.
Here are your supplies. What else do you need?”
I replied that our med team wanted transport for three
Dash them to the hospital – surgery I foresee.

As dry dust from debris piles around us did swirl,
the helicopter took off, its rotors awhirl.
We paused for a moment  as further they flew,
then I turned to the rest – “We’ve got work to do!”

So then in a twinkling, we returned to our chores,
taking care of the wounded and organizing our stores.
I drew in a calm breath, and then looked around,
amazed with the successes our planning had found.

Emergency Water Supply

Emergency Water Supply. Photo by Jennifer Cowley, Plan for Opportunity.

Our CERT Search and Rescue checked all houses on foot
Helping  pets and the people despite dust, dirt, and soot.
Our Neighborhood Watch collected all seniors and tots,
bringing them to safe places in pre-prepared spots.

Our doctors and nurses were acting quite merry
They felt well prepared and no longer were wary
of emergency field treatment, in rain, or in snow.
Triage, advanced first aid, IV meds – these they know!

All the power was off, all the water was gone,
But generators, radios, and lanterns worked on.
We had food stores for weeks – no hungry bellies!
Even treats for the kids, like strawberry jelly.

We may not be chubby and plump when we’re through
But we still should be healthy, thanks to our planning crew.
We can’t drive or use phones, but that’s nothing to dread
We communicate our needs via radio instead.

Hame Radio Equipment

Ham Radio Equipment and Gadgets – a frightening sight for the technophobic! Photo by Nate Gri

I return to command, resuming my work,
when the world starts to spin and I awake with a jerk.
It was only a dream! I’m at home in my bed!
There wasn’t an earthquake. It was just in my head.

I sprang to my desk, typed this up with a whistle
attempting to rhyme it in this strange epistle
Now I beg of you all, before saying adieu,

Start preparing today, and my dream could come true!

By Sheila Sund, M.D.

Merry Christmas. Photo by Sheila Sund.

Merry Christmas. Photo by Sheila Sund.

  1. Kristi Kelty says:

    Sheila this is FANTASTIC! Love it!
    Merry Christmas to you!
    PS: We have all the surveys completed for HW TV, and are planning our first show on EM, which should be shot on Feb. 7th.

    • disasterdoc says:

      That is so exciting about the surveys and show. Please keep me posted on how it goes. The information you sent me is still on my to-do list, and I really want to talk to you more about it. Unfortunately the holidays, my health, and my atrociously slow blogging style have put me behind in many things. That’s what the New year is for, right?

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