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  • Back to the Future: Advice to Your Past Self

    The Toronto Blue Jays are in the playoffs, Trudeau just got elected as Prime Minister of Canada…What year is it, anyway?

    Well, it’s still 2015, but today marks an important day in history. Today is the day that Doc and Marty McFly went into the future! Great Scott! How time flies!

    DeLorean - Back to the Future

    In the movie Back to the Future, the protagonists Doc and Marty head off into the past, future, and past again to make changes so bad things won’t happen in the future (or past, or present, or…whenever). Time travel can be hard to stay on top of some times. After all, it’s all a bunch of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey…stuff.

    Unfortunately, we still haven’t mastered the art of manipulating time like they did. But let’s say we could time travel. Marty was sent all over the place to help prevent bad things from happening. Well, now it’s your turn. If you could go back in time and let yourself in on a little secret about being prepared…what would you tell yourself?

    If you knew your past self was going to be hit hard by a natural disaster, or injury or job loss, what would you say?

    Think about that for a moment.

    Ice Storm (CNN) - Back to the FutureHow prepared were you for Hurricane Sandy, or that last tornado that ripped through town? When that massive snow storm hit last winter, were you sufficiently prepared with food, water, heat, and other gear to get you through those days when you couldn’t leave your house?

    I think, if we had the ability to time travel, we would let ourselves in on some useful secrets. For me, it might be to stock up on some extra water during my time in the Philippines. That would have made the tropical storm and subsequent damage much more manageable.

    Or, during the fall of 2012, I would warn myself about the flood risk my apartment was in. Perhaps I could have avoided a swimming pool for a living room if I had but prepared a bit better.

    jobless man - Back to the FuturePerhaps there are some of you who have lost jobs, or have been involved in an accident which hindered you from making ends meat. Would you have wished for the ability to go back in time and warn your better-off self of ways to prepare? Maybe you would have told yourself to set some of that money aside for food storage and other emergency supplies, so when that job loss or accident did come, you would be OK until you can recover.

    If you really think about it, there are probably at least a couple times you weren’t as prepared as you should have been. If only someone from the future had come back in time to warn you about the threat that lies ahead.

    Well, fellow citizen of Earth, you’re in luck! Fortunately for you, I come from the future, and I’m here to warn you that life isn’t all safe, easy, and without its problems. From here on out, there is disaster around every corner. The future is always in motion, however, so it’s hard for me to say exactly when it will come. But your decisions today will affect your outcome tomorrow, next month, or even years down the road.

    Don’t put off preparing until it’s too late. Take it from me, your voice of warning from the future. There will be problems, and they’re hardly ever what you expect them to be.


    What would you tell your past self to do to prepare for the future? Let us know in the comments!


    Disaster_Blog_Banner - Back to the Future

  • Ms. America Teaches Emergency Preparedness

    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!


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  • 5 Ways the Chile Earthquake Affects You

    Epicenter - Telegraph - Chile Earthquake via The Telegraph

    Yesterday afternoon, Chile was struck by an 8.3 magnitude earthquake causing tsunami watches from California to Hawaii, Samoa, and New Zealand. A 15-foot tsunami was generated along the coast of Chile near where the earthquake went off, forcing over a million people to leave their homes and head for higher ground.

    The powerful Chile earthquake slammed the country, toppling buildings and knocking out power. Near the epicenter was widespread power outages, and cellular networks essentially collapsed in some areas. Running water is still off in some places. The entire city of Illapel, Chile was dark Thursday night, and, with their homes destroyed, thousands of citizens were forced to sleep outside.

    Earthquakes are a devastating disaster that are hard – if not downright impossible – to predict. When an earthquake strikes, the time for preparing is over. While this recent Chile earthquake is a real, heartbreaking disaster to those effected, we can still learn how to prepare from their experiences.


    Power and Light

    Chile Earthquake CNBC via CNBC

    The Chile earthquake knocked out power in widespread regions following this earthquake. That means if those people don’t have another source of light and electricity, they may be left in the dark for quite some time. It was already late in the evening in Chile when the earthquake struck, and the sun had probably finished setting. An earthquake is dangerous enough in the daytime. When it’s dark and the power goes out, things can get even worse.

    In preparing for an earthquake, make sure you have extra light sources handy. Flashlights, head lamps, and other emergency lights are a must-have when it comes to earthquake preparedness. Tripping over rubble and debris in the dark can cause hurt and injury. If the earthquake doesn’t hurt you, other things very well could.



    Cell phone service became absolutely useless following the Chile earthquake. Networks were down, so there was no way to contact family, friends, or even emergency services. Without cell service, I’m sure many people were unable to receive the information they needed.

    Emergency communications, such as radios, can provide essential information when other forms of communication drops. Having an emergency communications plan can also help you find your loved ones following a disaster. If everybody knows where your family’s emergency meeting place is, then you will all be able to meet up afterwards. Plan ahead, because you won’t always have cell service when you need it.



    According to Reuters, running water was also hard to come by. Make sure you have a way to get water in an emergency. This could be from a water barrel, emergency water in cans, or by water filter. There are other options available, so do your research and know which method works best for you in your situation.



    Chile Earthquake Shelter via Reuters via Reuters

    Thousands of people were forced to sleep outside after their homes were destroyed or badly damaged. Sleeping outside without shelter can put you at the mercy of the elements, and we've seen this before in Nepal and the city of tents that sprung up after their massive earthquake. If you’re forced out of your home due to natural (or other) disaster, the last thing you want is for more natural elements to give you a hard time. Tents, both large and small, can be a great asset to your emergency preparations. If nothing else, emergency ponchos can at least keep you warmer than your shorts and t-shirt. Again, research your options, and choose what’s best for your situation.



    Crowd and Fire - Telegraph - Chile Earthquake via The Telegraph

    With the power out, you may be in for a cold night. In some raw video of the aftermath of this earthquake, people are shown around a large fire in the middle of the street. While it’s great that they were able to start a fire to stay warm, that might not always be possible. Earthquakes may also hit during the winter, and a fire might not be good enough (although it would most certainly be better than nothing).

    From big heaters to emergency blankets and other sources of heat, you should have at least something on hand to keep you and your family warm should the power go out.


    In just a few moments, the people of Chile went from comfortable to out on the streets. Things can change in the blink of an eye, but if you’re prepared with the gear and prep you need, emergencies such as this Chile earthquake won’t be so bad. They will probably still be unpleasant, but at least you can be comfortable, safe, warm, and taken care of.


    What is your must-have piece of emergency prep for an earthquake?


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