• 2 Things Japan Teaches Us About Disaster Preparation

    Dark water surges from the sea, the 40 meter wave crashing down upon anything that stands in its way. Streets become rushing rivers, and then an extension of the ocean itself. Boats take to the flooded streets, belly up as they careen through the city. Entire buildings are uprooted from their foundation, tossed and battered as the tsunami waves push them farther and farther away from where they had once rested.

    This may sound like something out of a fantasy novel (because really, a 40 meter wave?), but this is exactly what happened to Japan only four years ago. This video gives you just a taste of the destruction that took place:

     

     

    The Great East Japan Earthquake How do you prepare for the unexpected?

    Four years ago, Japan was rocked by the Great East Japan Earthquake – a 9.0 magnitude – which was followed by a devastating tsunami. Now, the effected regions have had time to recoup and rebuild. Japan is now teaching the world what it’s learned from this disaster.

    Every 10 years, the United Nations holds a World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. This year it was hosted in Japan. In particular, the conference was held in Sendai, which, according to the Japan Times, “is a city that is synonymous with resilience to disasters for its remarkable recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.”

    There are two things in particular that stand out from what Japan is trying to do.

    1. Cost effective prior investment
    2. “Building back better” (creating nations and regions that are more resilient than they were before the disaster)

     

    Cost Effective Prior Investment

    I think the key words here are “prior investment.” Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, the government took aims to make their nation safer when it comes to disasters.

    Richter ScaleThis earthquake registered at 9.0 on the Richter scale, and when talking about it they use words like “unpredictable.” But guess what? It happened anyway, predictable or not. However, despite the unexpected quake, Japan already had preparations in place. Well, maybe not for a 9.0, but they get a 7.0 or 8.0 about once a decade, so earthquakes are something they have prepared for. That’s why they’re urging other nations to get prepared, just in case one of these “unpredictable” disasters strikes again. If something of this magnitude doesn’t strike, there are bound to be other disasters instead. As the saying goes, prepare for the worse, hope for a lesser disaster instead (or something to that effect).

    Japan has also put into place a Disaster Prevention Law. Don’t be fooled, this law isn’t to meant to illegalize disasters (thereby reducing them through incarceration), but to find ways to make them less devastating. One way is through construction. Their high-rises sway like trees when the ground starts shaking. Because of their construction requirements, these buildings can withstand heavy quakes, thus saving countless lives within the buildings. Another way Japan prepares is by having homes and businesses stockpile food and water.

    Sound familiar?

    We talk all the time about storing food and water for those “unpredictable” moments. Fortunately for Japan, it was before the disaster that these preventative measures were put into place. If they had waited until after this massive disaster, many more lives would have been lost. Of course, we’re talking about a global scale here, but we can definitely shrink it down to fit your personal life.

    Tsunami Evac Tower (nikkei) Do you know where you can go when disaster strikes?

    For example, how can “prior investment” relate to you? Well, in the same way the Japanese are gathering a supply of food and water for emergencies, can you do the same? Japan has also constructed tsunami evacuation towers to give people a place for refuge during such storms. Do you have your own personal evacuation tower? Where will you go when your tsunami crashes against you? Do you have preventative measures in place to weaken the blow, or lessen the damage?

    Prior Investment now is the only way you will weather an earthquake, hurricane, accident, job loss, or any form of disaster that could affect you.

    There are several ways to get started with your prior investment. Here are some pre-storm preparations to consider:

    1. Emergency kits
    2. First aid kits
    3. Food storage
    4. Water storage
    5. Contingency plan

    There are many different kits available (pre-made) for your convenience, and at a good price. There are also plenty of individual kit items available, so you can build your own kits or add to existing ones (check out the links above for options and ideas).

    There is time to prepare before those “unexpected” disasters strike. That time is now.

     

    “Building Back Better”

    OK, so maybe you were caught off guard when disaster struck. What should you do now?

    Well, I’ll tell you what you shouldn’t do. You shouldn’t sit around thinking lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice. Just ask the folks in Kissimmee, Florida who had three hurricanes pass through in 2004, or the people in Moore Oklahoma, today digging out from their second tornado in less than 2 years. These are people committed to “Building Back Better.” We should be, too.

    Lightning ThunderThe odds of you getting struck by lightning twice is statistically very low, and the odds of you getting struck even once in your lifetime is 1 in 3000. So if it can happen once, it can happen again. Remember Japan’s 9.0 earthquake? The odds of an earthquake of that magnitude occurring was once in several centuries. Who could have seen that one coming! But come it did. Just because the odds are in your favor, it doesn’t mean you’ll come out the victor.

    When it comes to “building back better,” take a look at Japan’s example. They have become the leaders in helping countries be prepared for disaster.

    There is a saying that goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

    I’d like to change that up, if I could, to something a little more…human:

    “Fool me once, shame on me for not preparing for it in the first place. Fool me twice…well, maybe I’ll get lucky? I hope.”

    We should never let ourselves be fooled, not even once. It shouldn’t happen, since we can all be prepared for anything. But being fooled twice is downright unacceptable. We need to learn from the past, be it our own or the past of others, like Japan. Lightning has struck in the same place twice, after all (or for one (un)lucky man, seven times).

    We can learn a lot from The Great East Japan Earthquake. If you’re prepared before unforeseen disaster strikes, you will be so much better off. If you haven’t prepared…it’s time to take the next step and begin working on preparing yourself and your family.

     

    Has disaster ever caught you unawares? What happened? Looking back, what could you have done better? Share with us your experiences!

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Emergency Kits, Planning Tagged With: be prepared, Japan, Tsunami, Earthquake, emergency preparedness

  • Don't Doubt the Drought

    Water Main CoverIn case you missed it, the state of California just passed a new set of water restrictions in its ongoing efforts to survive what experts are calling the second worst drought in US history. We’ve talked about the drought in this forum before. In fact, we spent a good chunk of 2014 looking at the varied effects of such a widespread dry spell—everything from gardening adjustments and grocery prices to wildfires and rattlesnakes!

     

    So, while Californians are already pulling out their lawns and keeping a wary eye out for parched pests, the San Jose Mercury News describes residents’ latest requirements:

     

    “[T]he rules adopted Tuesday:

    Watering Lawn

    • Ban all restaurants, bars and hotels from serving water unless customers ask for it.

     

    • Require all hotels and motels to provide signs in rooms telling guests that they have the option of choosing not to have towels and linens washed daily.

     

    • Ban Californians from watering lawns and landscaping with potable water within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.

     

    • Require cities, counties, water districts and private companies to limit lawn watering to two days a week if they aren't already limiting lawn and landscape watering to a certain number of days a week.”

     

    Yikes. And if no ice water at your favorite restaurant sounds drastic, it might not be drastic enough. In light of Gov. Brown’s call to cut water use by 20% in 2014, water activist Conner Everts points out, “we are failing”—the state’s water consumption went down by less than 10% last year, leading to the current restrictions. And then there’s Everts’ haunting question:

     

    “At what point do we accept that this might be the fourth year of a 10-year drought?”

     

    Water LevelsSo, while California farmers drain the last of what blogger Mark Morford calls “our ‘backup’ water” from the ground, we’ll be sending moist thoughts and rainy vibes westward. However, if you live somewhere supposedly unaffected by the drought, don’t think that you get to stop paying attention. Have you heard the adage, “When the time for decision comes, the time for preparation has passed”? In other words, if you’re not currently experiencing a drought, the time to prepare for one is now!

     

    As ever, start with good information. Check out the blog posts listed below to learn more about water purification, filtration, and (critically!) storage. Then don’t forget to browse our water products for everything from tablets and filters to barrels and pouches.

     

     

    How about you? How has your area been affected? What have you been doing to prep for or thrive during a drought?

    Posted In: Additional Reading, Disaster Scenarios, Planning, Water Storage Tagged With: California, drought, Prepare, water

  • Water Filter Essentials

    Being able to create good, clean water wherever you are will not only wet your whistle, but also save your life.

    Filtered Water

    Water storage is very important in being prepared for the unexpected, but what if you’re far away from your water storage? Perhaps you’re out hiking. Well let me tell you, toting around a 30 gallon water barrel just isn’t going to work if that’s the case. Or maybe your living arrangements don’t allow for extensive water storage. There are many scenarios in which you might need something more. Fortunately, there are plenty of handy, portable water filters on the market that you can invest in.

    With so many water filters out there, how are you supposed to know which one is best for you? Fear not, faithful readers! I have just completed my official emergency preparedness expert Katadyn Water Filter Training, and now I’m here to pass along all my hard-earned secrets. Ready? Here we go!

    Old man and the Sea in a SkiffFirst of all, let’s talk about the why. We can find water almost anywhere. Unfortunately, very little of this water is drinkable. As the Ancient Mariner once said, bemoaning his fate as he was stuck out at sea,

    Water, water, everywhere,

    nor any drop to drink.

    That’s exactly how it can be. So much water, but most of it so very undrinkable. What makes water unsuitable for human consumption? Well, let’s just say there are plenty of nasties in the water, and it would be best for us if we didn’t invite them into our bodies. There are three main kinds of water hazards we should avoid:

    • Protozoan cysts (0.5 microns)
    • Bacteria (2-15 microns)
    • Viruses (0.018 microns)

    These bad boys can make a person sick. Fortunately, the Katadyn filters are designed to keep them out of your water. All of the filters will work great against the protozoan cysts and bacteria, since those little guys are big enough to be stopped by the filters. Viruses, however, are a wee bit too small for filters to be effective.

    Normally you won’t have to worry about viruses, as those only show up near where human activity takes place. For example, a stream, creek, or lake or something off the beaten path where people don’t generally venture forth, will be quite free of viruses. Rivers and lakes near civilization could be a problem, however. Also flood water. Don’t drink flood water.

    Lake with blue skies No people? No problem (for filters, at least)!

    Viruses can be eliminated with a tablet (the Katadyn guy prefers the Micropur purification tablets). Just drop a tablet in the water and let it go to work. It’s one tablet per liter of water. If the water is clear, you only have to wait 30 minutes before the water is good to go. If it’s dirty water, however, your wait could be up to 4 hours. But again, in the wild or away from humans, you won’t need tablets. The filters will be just fine.

    Now, I’d like to take a moment and talk about two of the filters that were demonstrated. One is a simple, reliable and totally portable personal filter. The other is great for filtering larger volumes of water for a camp, or a family in an emergency.

    Hiker ProThe #1 selling filter on the market is the Hiker Pro. There aren’t many moving parts, so it’s reliability rating is very high. It’s super light (11 oz.), so hiking with it is a breeze! It has a carbon core which also helps to improve the taste of the water. Another nifty bit with this filter is the quick release valve and bottle adapter. With this, you can quickly disconnect your hose from the filter and connect it to your bottle. It’s an easy transition, and a great way to quickly fill your water bottle. Speaking of speed, it pumps about a liter a minute. Not bad, if you’re far from a sink or faucet.

    The second filter is the Base Camp Pro, and it is ridiculously cool. For one thing, it’s crazy fast (as in 2 liters a minute), and uses Base Campgravity to do all the work. Just hang it up in a tree (or have your kid hold it and call it a workout) with its extra-large strap and watch the water flow! It holds 10 liters of water, and is guaranteed not to clog with debris and other contaminants. The coolest thing about this (for me, anyway) is that you can turn the Base Camp into a shower with the handy dandy shower adapter. Say goodbye to nasty, showerless camping trips!

    I won’t talk about every filter we saw, since we already have a great article identifying all the filters and purifiers we carry. Instead, I’ll politely send you to check that out by clicking here.

    If you’re looking for a filter for hiking, home, or just-in-case, Katadyn has some great options for all situations, so you won’t have to worry about getting caught (ahem) in the rain.

    What’s your favorite filter? What do you look for in a filter? Let us (and your fellow preppers) know in the comments!

    Posted In: Insight, Uncategorized, Water Storage Tagged With: purification, water filter

  1. 1-3 of 866 items