• ShakeOut Camp - Surviving Well

    Tank TruckOn April 16th, 2015 Emergency Essentials participated in The Great Utah Shakeout with Be Ready Utah. This is a state-wide readiness program where Utah businesses and families practice their earthquake preparedness for “the big one.” Evacuation plans, communications strategies, pre-earthquake precautions, food and water storage and a dozen other areas of disaster preparedness are rehearsed. Most other states and a few countries have “Shake-outs” scheduled for October. Why Utah chooses April for our event is uncertain, but lucky for you, it let’s us preview for you how your family, office, city and state might participate.

    For our part, we set-up tents, creating a little camp to show what living might be like following a devastating earthquake. As luck would have it, we had our largest snowfall in four months the day before the Shake-out. While it made setting up tents and trudging across the open field a bit slushy, it also seemed quite appropriate, since Salt Lake City receives snowfall from October to May. Odds are good that, when that long-predicted “significant seismic event” occurs, we will have snow on the ground.

    In our ShakeOut camp, we set up three tents of various sizes, a canopy, and a little privacy shelter for a makeshift restroom—the type of evacuation encampment that will likely spring-up when homes have been rendered uninhabitable due to structure damage, flooding, fire, or natural gas leaks. As you can see, these tents weren’t just any ordinary weekend warrior, go-out-and-spend-a-day-observing-nature varieties. These were tents a whole family could live in – comfortably – protected from the elements and offering many of the comforts of home.

    Let’s take a stroll through our camp and look at all the ways we were able to prepare for this earth-shattering earthquake.

    Camp Pano

    TrunkOur first stop are the vehicles. Inside the trunks we had displayed emergency kits that fit nicely in the back with the rest of your gear. You never know when an emergency will happen or when your car will break down and you need some extra food and gear. Having an emergency kit in your car can be a real life saver!

    Next up we have the Twin Peaks Mountain Trails Tent and Portable Privacy Shelter. This tent is small, light, and great for short camping trips or an easy shelter to carry with you during an emergency or mandatory evacuation. It’s small enough to tote around and will fit about two people. When all else fails, you’ll be glad to have something like this for shelter.

    You’ll be glad to have a privacy shelter if you’re stuck camping with all the other people who had to evacuate. These shelters are easy to set up, and offers you privacy as a restroom (try our Tote-able Toilet!), a shower, or even just to change clothes in. Of course, these shelters are great for beach parties and camping, too. Emergencies just make us appreciate our privacy that much more.

    BarebonesNext up we have the ridiculously amazing Barebones tent. These Barebones guys really know how to make a tent. They come in two sizes, the smaller Little Bighorn Tent (which will sleep 2 people) and the larger, camping-will-never-be-the-same Safari Outfitter Tent (sleeps 4-6). When I say these tents are amazing, I mean it just as much as when I talk about the new Star Wars trailer (and oh my word, that trailer is amazing!). People can actually live in these things. Well, I think I’d miss running water and some good, ol’ fashioned plumbing, but if I had to make do without, this would not be a sacrifice. These tents are built to last, too, so you really could live in one for quite some time if you had to.

    Barebones PanoThe ceiling on these thing go up to 9 feet high with a 28 degree pitch roof, which sheds snow like Chewbacca sheds fur. When we had our Barebones tent set up, the winds were raging, but these tents are built for harsh conditions, so it wasn’t even an issue. And when you’re packing up to go, don’t even worry about drying off the canvas or brushing off the snow. These guys just roll it and pack it up – still wet – and weeks later when it emerges from its cocoon, it smells fresh without a hint of mold. It’s incredible.

    Speaking of incredible…

    Let’s make our way to our last shelter we had set up – the GeoShelter.

    GeoShelterThe GeoShelter is like the king of shelters. We had a good dozen or more people inside of one with three different conversations happening all at once – and there was still room to move around and nobody was in each other's way. In fact, there were even a couple kids playing around in the hammock. There were enough boxes sitting in the mesh loft to provide enough food to last three months. And with the stove inside of it, cooking that food wouldn’t be a problem, either.

    The workmanship of the stove is high quality, and the build of the dome itself is strong, durable, and will definitely hold its own against the elements. Oh, and did I mention they can join together? They can! You can connect multiple domes together, creating a little village if you wanted! Just think of the fun you can have during family reunions! Or, if your house becomes unlivable because of a disaster, at least you’ll have a big, roomy tent to live in. In fact, you might just decide to live in the tent indefinitely! Just think of all the money you’d save on rent or mortgage!

    Geo Pano


    Believe it or not, there is a point to all this besides talking about how amazing these shelters are. The point is, when disaster strikes, you can still be prepared to live well and take care of your family. I understand that some options might not be as viable as others, but there are still ways to prepare so that when a disaster does happen, you will be prepared. Start small and keep working up until you have what you and your family need to be safe and protected during emergencies.


    For more information on earthquakes and how you can be better prepared, visit beprepared.com/earthquake.

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Preparing Your Business for Tornadoes

    Moore, Oklahoma Tornado on Ground Fox40

    In May of 2013, a deadly tornado leveled the town of Moore, OK. While experts are calling 2015 a slow year for tornadoes so far, the unfortunate residents of Moore have already seen their fair share. Last month, several smaller tornadoes barreled through the same town—the same intersection, even!—as two years ago.


    Besides personal loss, one of the most devastating affects of a tornado is the damage sustained by a community’s economy and infrastructure. When the 2013 twister hit, Moore lost more than buildings; access to stores was cut off, inventory was damaged, services were interrupted, employees lost their workplaces (and, consequently, their jobs), and potential customers had much more to worry about than weekly sales. Not only that, but in their Disaster Impact Report, Dun & Bradstreet noted that half of Moore’s businesses were suffering financially before the tornado, compounding the struggle for stricken companies.


    Cash-nadoAll told, the Moore, OK, tornado cost $2 billion. The even more devastating tornado in Joplin, MO, the year before that cost $2.8 billion. And of those staggering losses, small businesses tend to suffer the brunt. Though more vulnerable than their large commercial counterparts, mom-and-pop operations are less likely to have disaster plans in place, with the result that 40-60% of businesses hit by a natural disaster never recover.


    So, what can business owners do to weather a tornado? Experts’ advice boils down to three main areas of preparedness:


    1. Prep your space. Clear the property of unsecured materials or dead trees. Identify the safest place in your facility, make sure it will fit employees and customers, and stock it with emergency supplies.


    1. Prep your people. Have every employee’s contact info and make a phone or text tree to account for everybody. Teach employees how to take care of customers in the event of an emergency. And remember, it’s not enough to have an emergency plan; everyone needs to know and practice the plan until it becomes a conditioned response.


    1. Prep your stuff. Back up important information, like equipment inventory, customer information, ledgers, tax and payroll information, and contracts. Also, keep a current catalog of inventory and assets to help with insurance estimates after a disaster. Iowa State University even recommends storing extra supplies or key equipment offsite in the event your location is unavailable.


    While tornado season may be approaching, other catastrophes—floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, anything!—can have the same affect on commerce. These are sensible steps for any business to take in preparation for their customers’ safety and the security of their bottom line! One of the best ways you can prepare your people is by having emergency kits handy at the job site. Check out our list of kits and find some that will suit your company’s needs!






















    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • 3 Simple Lists for Earthquake Preparedness

    If an earthquake rocks your city, will you have prepared yourself, your family, and your home for life after the quake? Knowing what to do before, during, and after an earthquake is essential. FEMA.gov has a prepared a comprehensive list of earthquake preparedness items from which I borrow.


    Before The Quake

    First and foremost, prepare your family. 72-hour kits are a must have for any disaster. Your 72-hour kit should supply you with enough resources so you and your family will make it through the first three days following a major earthquake. A good kit includes:

    • Emergency ChecklistWater
    • Non-perishable food (MREs are always a good 72-hour kit option)
    • First aid kit
    • Blanket (keeps out the cold, can be used as an impromptu shelter)
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Books, toys, games for kids (OK, and for adults, too. Don’t forget my Star Wars toys!)
    • Complete change of clothing
    • Portable radio (runs on batteries or other alternate source of energy, such as solar or hand-crank)
    • Important documents and cash (ATMs and bank systems may be offline)
    • Special needs (diapers, medications, prescriptions, etc.)


    Of course, there are many other things you could put in your emergency 72-hour kit. For a more in-depth look at what you could put in your 72-hour kit, check out ready.gov’s list for a basic disaster supplies kit. Or, take a look at some of our pre-built emergency kits and specialized disaster kits, such as our earthquake emergency kit.

    Also before an earthquake, make sure you secure anything that could tumble to the ground. This includes TVs, microwaves, computers, and other electronics. Don’t forget to anchor your bookshelves to the walls. Other things to anchor securely are filing cabinets, china cabinets, and tall furniture. Avoid placing heavy objects about your bed or other areas in which you may be sitting. For a full list of ways to prepare before an earthquake, ready.gov has a great article you can look into.


    During the Quake

    Nessie I said "Nelly", not "Nessie"!

    As the saying goes, “Drop, cover, and hold on, Nelly!”

    This is fairly self-explanatory (except for maybe who Nelly is). Basically, you’ll want to:

    • Drop to your hands and knees.
    • Cover your head and neck with your arms. This will help protect you from falling objects.
    • Hold on to anything sturdy until the shaking stops (Let me clarify – until the earth stops shaking. You might be shaking for a while afterwards. That is called adrenaline and is normal.)
    • Stay away from windows, glass, and anything that could fall (ie. light fixtures and furniture)
    • If you are trapped under debris:
      • Do not light a match.
      • Use clothing or handkerchief to cover your mouth to avoid breathing in dust and other debris.
    • If you are in a car, stay inside until the tremors are over.


    After the Quake

    Although the earthquake has stopped, there are still dangers. Make sure you proceed with caution in the immediate aftermath of the quake.

    • After Quake SafteyCheck for injuries.
    • Wear shoes to avoid cutting your feet on broken glass or other debris.
    • Do not turn on lights or use electrical appliances inside your home until you know there is no gas leak. When using a flashlight, turn it on outside the home (flashlight battery could create a spark that could ignite gas if there is a leak).
    • Use cellular network to communicate. Texting can sometimes get through busy networks where phone calls fail.


    Of course, there are always more things to be aware of and keep in mind than what any one person can write down. By using caution you can avoid other unpleasantries and injuries, so be sure to stop and think about the safest way to approach each scenario as you come to them.

    Earthquakes can be devastating, but with the proper preparation and knowledge, you can still be safe and comfortable during the days that follow. Take the time to prepare now, so when an earthquake does happen, you will be ready and able to help yourself, your family, and your community.

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Emergency Kits, Planning Tagged With: what to do, Earthquake, emergency preparedness

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