Shake, Rattle, and Role

I remember the day well. I was alone that night, a young mother, living in Los Angeles, with infant twins and a 3 year old all sleeping soundly in their beds. The earth let out a huge groan and began to shake. Plates flew out of the cupboards shattering on the floor. Tree branches snapped and power lines were downed. I thought about grabbing my children and running outside but with all those power lines down, broken glass everywhere, and only two arms and three kids that just didn’t make sense. I was terrified, my mind racing. I had just experienced my first earthquake and had no idea what to do – no plan in place since I had moved from Chicago where earthquakes are virtually non-existent. I didn’t have an emergency plan in place for my family. I have since moved from LA to Louisville and I still don’t have a disaster/emergency plan in place. With man-made and natural disasters on the rise is imperative that we all have a family emergency plan in place that all family members know about in order to protect our loved ones.

During the next 6 months I will be a PULSE volunteer for the National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) in NYC. Pulse is a GSK skills-based volunteer initiative where employees are matched to a non-profit organization for 3 or 6 months. The NCDP has partnered with Save the Children, funded by a grant from GSK, to develop a child focused disaster preparedness model with a strong emphasis on building long term community resilience. The goal is to develop a set of tools, guidance, and best practices that can utilized on a national level. I will be working on the development of this tool.

Each workday 69 million children are in schools or daycare. After Hurricane Katrina it took 7 months for the last child to be reunited with his family. Babies were separated from their parents for long periods of time. In the case of an unforeseen emergency it is imperative that we all have a disaster preparedness plan for our families that can be implemented in the event that we are separated from our loved ones. Please join me on this journey in keeping your families and our most venerable citizens, our children, safe.


  1. Your experience Trish will be so helpful to thousands of GSK employees and family members. Plus humanity.
    I’ve put it off-the Disaster Plan! So please share your learnings-could be the trick to get me motivated.
    You’re Inspiring

  2. I had no idea that after Hurricane Katrina children couldn’t find their parents and that it took one child 7 months to be reunited with their family! That is crazy! This work is so important, Trish! I can’t wait to hear about your contributions. I guess I should work on my emergency preparedness plan – I have a nice brochure from my county – I just need to do something with it!! And any tips you have – I’ll take ’em! Best of luck!!

  3. Your blog has really opened my eyes!! I was horrified to read that after Hurricane Katrina it took 7 months to reunite the last child with their family!!!
    I am looking forward to learning from you!
    You have taken on a totally new task and really put yourself out there! This is just one more example of why I admire you so much!!!!

  4. Hi Trish, so excited and happy for you. What a great opportunity:) Thank you for sharing this information…I am looking forward to hearing about your experience as you embark on this journey. I was at the Reliant Center when the buses came over from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and saw first hand what transpired with children not able to find their parents…it was heart breaking. I commend you for taking on this assignment and can’t wait to hear about your learnings and success!!! Gia

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