For ShelleyRae, her need to be “prepared” began early one morning in 1982 in Anaheim California.
At 15, in the early hours of the morning her father woke her quietly so as to not awake the rest of the house. He handed her the keys to a 27′ motorhome and his 9-volt battery operated radio. The instructions were simple – go to school, keep listening, keep the keys with you, if the fire jumps Brookhurst come home – don’t let anyone stop you, grab the animals and take the motorhome towards Huntington Beach. – For a 15 year old girl who wasn’t yet driving this was a scary set of directions. For hours Shelley quietly turned on the radio and listened; planning with each class how she’d escape the school and run home if things became worse. Though the Fire did storm and several schools where friends were went on lock down the fire remained far enough away escape was not required.
As her father sat listening to the local news on his portable radio on April 23, 1982 – 3 miles away … “police and firefighters hustled sleepy residents out of their homes and apartments in a four-square-block area of Anaheim, just west of Disneyland, as Santa Ana winds sparked a fire that blow torched their neighborhood. The 60 mph winds downed power lines and blew the sparks onto wood shake roofs and palm tree fronds. The shingles were tinder and the tree fronds lit matchsticks that flew from building to building. What followed was the worst single fire in Anaheim’s history. More than 500 housing units — 51 homes and apartments — were damaged or destroyed and 1,500 people were left homeless. Thanks to some 350 firefighters no one was killed, and there were no serious injuries.” More . . .
ShelleRae’s Crisis & Emergency Preparedness Story
Years after the Anaheim Fire Storm, when ShelleRae’s children were toddlers, she had anxiety attacks. Debilitating, scary, attacks that brought her world to a crash. Having “survived” Whittier Narrows while pregnant, birthing a daughter in Southern California while friends worlds rocked with the Loma Prieta Quake and Landers in 1992 shaking up her adoptive grandparents home; it was no surprise that at some point fear would try to rule. After more than a few conversations someone asked the right question and the answer that came was – I am not prepared to care for my kids or their friends should something happen. Thus began her journey to preparation for the unexpected. Car kits, earthquake kits, fire kits, camping gear, extra tow hitches and water in the vehicles.
Fast forward more than a few years and 9/11 happened and once again – ShelleyRae was pregnant and thinking how this would change her baby’s life.
The story that stuck with her was that of Rick Rescorla “The Man Who Predicted 9/11.”
Inspired by Rick Rescorla and what he had managed; he was her hero not only for saving so many lives but because he held his ground and made everyone practice with no excuses.
Fast forward a few more years and Hurricane Katrina took our breath away. Once again ShelleRae was the mom to a toddler. Life though held more challenges this time. She had aging parents, a business whose clients safety she was responsible for, teenagers who felt their schools were not as prepared as their homes and so on. ShelleRae’s daughter (then a high school sophomore) asked for an emergency plan. 3 weeks later ShelleRae supplied the family with an extensive plan not only for her daughter but for the entire spread out family and ShelleRae’s toddler son’s daycare.
Fast forward a few more years and ShelleRae has met some amazing former FEMA folks, talked to businesses about how they were preparing (finding out how many weren’t preparing) and realized there was an area that was being missed in the preparation communities – restoration.