• Prepare Early…If Not For Yourself, Then For Those Less Fortunate


    By Erin McBride

    Editors Note: Erin McBride, a friend of Emergency Essentials, was asked to share her experiences with preparedness while in the very midst of a major tropical storm. As a person dedicated to the health and welfare of those less fortunate, her perspective is turned outward, focusing less upon her own well-being, and more upon the interests of those she serves.


    We live in Southwestern Virginia. We’ve already had one major flooding incident in our town this week, and we are bracing for more. It has rained every day for seven straight days. And now we are in the path for Hurricane Joaquin. We are expecting non-stop rain starting Friday morning, and the hurricane hitting us on Monday. Our ground is already saturated, and the rivers and creeks are overflowing. It is inevitable that our town is going to flood this week.

    Flooded StreetThis is a deceptive rainstorm we are facing. We’ve all been warned to treat it like we would a major snowstorm. We are not expecting massive thunder or lightning, or even high force winds. The rain will be a constant, steady downpour, not too heavy, maybe even at times fairly light. But with the saturated earth, and overflowing waterways, our roads will flood, power will go out, and homes are in danger of flooding as well.

    I work part-time for a local non-profit that provides access to free healthcare for the poorest residents of our community. Most of our clients are single mothers with multiple children, with no job, or father in sight. They depend upon programs like food stamps, and charities like ours, to provide for their children.

    Today our families were invited to come in to receive free dental care. As our doors opened many families began to call in to cancel their appointments. They explained that it was the first of the month, and they had just received their food stamps. They needed to hurry up and get to the grocery store.

    When I heard that families were canceling their much-needed, and much-wanted dental care to go grocery shopping I was confused. Why couldn’t they go to the store after the dentist?

    Someone more compassionate and astute than I explained that food stamps only buy certain foods. There is a storm coming and the first items in the store to go will be the milk, eggs, bread, and cereal – the exact things that food stamps can buy. Our clients needed to get to the store before these items were gone, because they couldn’t buy other items.

    elderly man at empty shelves in  shop scratches in  napeI went to the store after work and realized just how right my co-worker was. I looked around and noticed that the shelves were barely stocked, and customers were quickly buying up the obvious basics.

    It was a very humbling moment for me. Families were giving up precious healthcare to get milk and bread. The poorest of families couldn’t get to the store yesterday when the shelves were full. They had to wait for their food stamps. Meanwhile, individuals like me, that didn’t need to wait for the first of the month, and could have better prepared in advance, were keeping these families from getting what they needed.

    It made me think twice about which items I purchased. If I bought a loaf of bread it may keep a needy family from getting it. I have a generator I can pull out and use if necessary (I truly hope it doesn’t come to that). If that happens, I will be able to cook for myself. But a family on food stamps won’t have a generator if they lose power. Food stamps don’t always buy fruits and vegetables, but I can. I made sure I got items I could eat raw, without the stove, oven, or refrigerator. A family that can’t buy fruits and vegetables needs the bread for sandwiches when the power goes out. I left the bread at the store.

    Compassion and consideration for those less fortunate than me – one more reason to better plan my food storage and emergency preparations for the future.



    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: hurricane joaquin, food stamps, Compassion, emergency preparations

  • Ms. America Teaches Emergency Preparedness

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    Ms. America - Deseret News Julie Harman dons her Ms. America crown - via Deseret News

    On Tuesday, September 29, Julie Harman of Midvale, Utah, was crowned Ms. America. Her title gives her the opportunity to spread her message of self-reliance across the nation.

    Harman wrote in a biographical statement that self-reliance “goes to the heart of everything I’m about.”

    She became a single mom at age 28, according to her biography. Her life as a single mother with two daughters, starting her own business and facing money troubles, caused her to realize she had to rely on herself, she said in a platform promotional video on her web site, http://www.libertywithjulie.com.

    “I realized over the years of being a single mom that there were many instances and moments in my life where I wasn’t sure if I was prepared,” she said. “I knew that I had to search deeper. I had to figure out whether or not I was truly prepared.”

    Her platform focuses on “five points of preparedness”: act responsibly, be informed, commit to a plan, decide and deploy, and encourage others.

    “Self-reliance is something that isn’t just about food storage. It’s a message that goes across the board in many facets of life,” she said in her video.

    This includes emotional preparedness.

    “There are moments in life when we may feel that there is no one else there for us, or no one understands what we are going through,” she wrote in her biography. Such moments can lead to a downward spiral of depression or anxiety where recovery takes far longer than just a moment.

    She worked to overcome the tough times in her life by focusing on her own health and mental strength, she wrote. She based her mission statement on those experiences.

    “Self-Reliance is the ability to strongly perform from one’s own abilities in different areas of life. As we each become more personally PREPARED, we inherently become more RESPONSIBLE citizens to society as a whole,” she wrote.

    Ms. America

    Harman is a strong supporter of first responders like firefighters and police officers.

    “I actually consider them the heart of every community,” she said in an interview with KSL, a Utah-based NBC affiliate.

    She feels individual preparation helps first responders, she said in the interview.

    Desmond Johnson, a paramedic for the Unified Fire Authority in Salt Lake County, said he appreciated that message, in a story in the Deseret News, a Utah newspaper.

    "There are only four to eight of us at a fire station at a time, and we can't be everywhere at once," he said in the story. "If people have some view of what is going to happen, whether it is small-scale or large-scale, it won't be complete chaos."

    Sheroes - Ms. America Sheroes - via libertywithjulie.com

    She also works for empowerment of women, calling them “Sheroes,” from an organization she represents. In September, she participated in an event with the charity Dress for Success, which helps women afford business clothing.

    She wants to carry her message to what she called the “five areas of community”: businesses, nonprofits, schools, political leaders, and service providers like emergency responders.

    “It was a message that not only I needed to receive, but there were a lot more citizens in the country that needed to receive it as well,” she said in her video.

    One nickname for the Ms. America pageant, which is not affiliated with the Miss America scholarship pageant, is “crown for a purpose.” The title for the competition, open to women age 26 and up, provides recognition to help winners promote a cause, according to Susan Jeske, the pageant’s CEO.

    “Titleholders … are to use their ‘crown for a purpose’ in order to ‘make a difference’ in their communities and around the world,” Jeske wrote on the Ms. America web site.


    - Melissa


    What are you doing to "make a difference" in your community? Let us know in the comments below!


    Disaster_Blog_Banner - Ms. America

    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: Utah, 2016, Ms. America, emergency preparedness

  • Home Necessities to Help You Be Prepared for Any Natural Disaster

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    By guest contributor Katherine Oakes

    Family - via Modernize via Modernize

    At Modernize, we believe your home is your sanctuary and your shelter. In the chance that a natural disaster or unforeseen emergency should occur, it is important to know that your home is still that safe space. Even though imagining those worst-case scenarios can be difficult at first, knowing that you and your family will be safe despite the extreme circumstances will be enough to give you peace of mind.
    Making sure that you and your loved ones are prepared for any sort of situation can seem like an overwhelming task. Where do you even begin? Start by narrowing it down and consider what items would be necessary to have stored in your home in case of an emergency. Since many of the incidents that occur and leave people stranded are due to natural disasters like hurricanes, storms, floods, earthquakes, or tornadoes, it’s more likely that you may be stuck in your home without power or access to clean water. Think about what kind of items and products you use on a daily basis and then make it more specific by asking yourself what you would actually need in order to survive?

    To help you get started, we’ve outlined some of the most important things to consider storing in your home in case of an emergency.



    At least half of the human body is comprised of water, and since dehydration can easily be one of the first things to seriously affect you when you are without it, it’s extremely important for keeping your area and yourself clean and hydrated. So as you are creating your plans, make sure that water is at the top of your list. FEMA recommends storing at least one gallon per person per day for two weeks at minimum, and it will be even better if you have the space to store more.


    via The Emergency Food Assistance Program via The Emergency Food Assistance Program


    If you are following the two week rule, then you’ll want to include enough food in your emergency storage to adequately sustain you and the other members of your household for that amount of time. It is, of course, wise to store non-perishable items like canned food or packages that require water and to consider how many calories they will provide per person per day. However, if you have the means to store food that needs to be slightly cooked, you can use cooking equipment that doesn’t need electricity and is battery-powered to do so.


    First Aid Kit

    Having a well-stocked first aid kit can make all the difference. There are plenty of kits for sale that come with all the essentials you might need. However, you can always create your own first aid kit by buying products individually and customizing it to your liking. Keep it nearby your food and water for convenience.


    Other Functional Necessities

    Add things like several flashlights, batteries, and matches, and candles to your storage as well. It’s also important to keep a hand-crank or battery-powered radio in your collection so that you can stay well informed throughout the process and know how to safely move forward with your loved ones. Also consider what daily medications you or others might need to have in case you cannot get more. Do your best to stock up and keep them in your first aid kit or in a safe place.


    What are some other home necessities you have on hand for an emergency? Let us know in the comments!

    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: home necessities, disaster preparedness, emergency kit, planning

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