Two days ago, the unthinkable happened. There was an active shooter in my neighborhood and I found myself hiding in my bathroom until the police came into my building to get me and my neighbors out. Our building ended up having the best view of the two windows where the shooter was firing his high powered rifle and the police and SWAT team needed our building free of people.
When the police came to get me, they didn’t give me time to grab my keys, shoes, cellphone, or anything else. It was a let’s-go-and-go-now situation. The first gunshots were heard in my neighborhood at about 9 in the morning. I was escorted out at about 10:20.
My neighbors and I stood across the street from our building (protected in our location from gunfire) for many hours. As the day wore on I started to get nervous about my evening medications. I found a police officer and told her that I have paranoid schizophrenia and that at 5 I would need to take a dose of my medication. She asked me which apartment I lived in, where my medication was kept, etc.
That officer checked in with me two more times to update me on the situation with my medications. We were finally let back into our building at about 3, so I had a couple of hours left before I would have been late on my evening medications.
Here is what I learned from this, always keep a small bag by your door that you can grab in case of an emergency. I live in earthquake country and I know that I should be earthquake prepared, but this incident really drove the lesson home.
If there is a fire in your home, or a natural disaster, or like in my case, the police evacuate you, you never know how long it will be before you can get back in your home and have access to your medication.
For me, I am going to keep a two day supply of medications, a couple of granola bars (I need to eat with my medications) and two small bottles of water. I am also going to tuck a pair of shoes into the bag (I was not given the time to put on my shoes). Of course, every month, I will change the medication and the granola bars so they are always fresh and safe. Other things to consider for your bag – a coat, some form of ID, cash, and your house key.
The police were compassionate toward me, and I am sure they would have tried to help me get medication if we had been out of our house past 5. But I know for sure, that the police were not going to risk a life for my medication – that never would have happened.
Let’s hope none of us ever need an emergency stash of our medication, but if we do, let’s be prepared so we can stay healthy and safe in times of crisis.