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Emergency

  • Tokyo is Prepared for Earthquakes, Missile Attack, and Making Diapers out of Plastic Bags

    In case of an emergency, want to know how to make a diaper out of a plastic supermarket bag and a towel? How to make a size D battery out of an AA? How to keep warm with newspaper?

    The Great East Japan Earthquake in Iwate - Tokyo The Great East Japan Earthquake in Iwate

    In Tokyo, city planners have been studying the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit less than 200 miles to the northeast. The disaster left more than 18,000 people dead or missing, damaged a million buildings, displaced a quarter of a million people and left 4.4 million people without electricity and 1.5 million without water. A nuclear reactor damaged during the disaster is still releasing radioactive material into the ocean, and a month ago, scientists found traces of cesium from the reactor accident about 1,600 miles off the U.S. West Coast.

    In response, Tokyo planners prepared a 300-page disaster guidebook and in December mailed it to every residence. Guides were also distributed to local bookstores, where they sold out at $1.15 each. They’re planning another printing. The book was translated into English, Chinese and Korean and is available to download free online here.

    tokyo how to 9 Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office via AP

    The book is incredibly detailed – one of its suggestions is “exchange greetings with neighbors regularly.” Its main focus is how to deal with an earthquake and its aftermath while in an urban area. For example, in its first chapter the book points out that fire caused 10 percent of deaths in a 1995 earthquake. So if a fire is tiny, it recommends trying to put it out, but if it seems unsafe, like if flames are touching the ceiling, leave.

    It tells how to prepare before an earthquake, like how to stabilize furniture by putting anti-slip pads underneath and what to put in an emergency kit.

    In another chapter it talks about other types of disasters, like – no kidding – missile attack, tornado, volcanic eruption and pandemic.

    It had this advice for dealing with a nuclear incident:

    “If there is a nuclear explosion, hide behind cover and evacuate to an underground facility or strong building. An explosive called a “dirty bomb” will cause radioactive contamination of the area. Follow the instructions of the authorities and consult a physician.”

    tokyo how to 1 Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office via AP

    Finally, it gives all kinds of substitutions for everyday products. To make a diaper, cut open the top and sides of a plastic grocery bag and lay it flat. Put a towel in the middle. Then tie the top and bottom parts around the baby.

    To make a size D battery out of an AA, wrap cloth around the battery until it is the width of a D, then use crumpled aluminum foil to adjust the length.

    To keep warm with newspaper, wrap several layers around like a cloak. Or fold two sheets of newspaper around your abdomen and wrap plastic wrap around them.

    Here’s a bonus idea: to make an emergency toilet, put two plastic bags inside a bucket or cardboard box then put torn paper in the bottom of the bag. After using the toilet, remove the top plastic bag and take it to a designated waste area.

    The book is easy to follow and mostly illustrations. It includes advice from people who lived through earthquakes and summaries and activities at the end of each chapter. After reading it, I’ve decided to add a bunch of grocery bags to my emergency kit – those suckers are incredibly useful. Also, I’m so thankful for where I live (Missile attacks? Hello.).

     

    What emergencies are you prepared for?

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner - Tokyo

  • 3 Steps for Preparing Your Family For Calamities

    Caring MotherMothers have got to be the best nurturers around. They’re loving, caring, and all they want is what’s best for you. They prepare their children for all kinds of things: school, bullies, the cold, cold winter…you name it. But when it comes to catastrophes…well, less than half of parents out there have prepared their family for an emergency? Now, I’m not a mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that’s not a very good ratio of preparedness..

    We might think, “The odds that such a disaster will affect me is 1,720 to 1” (which, ironically, is the same odds as successfully navigating an asteroid field, according to C-3PO). We think that because the odds are in our favor, we shouldn’t have to worry about it. But that’s where we’re wrong.

    Wendy Sue Swanson, MD (2011) recounts in her Parents Magazine article why it really is important to prepare, even if we don’t think we will be affected:

    “‘Although disasters are rare, prepping for them is one of those crucial 'just in case' precautions, like having smoke detectors,’ explains Parents adviser Irwin Redlener, M.D., director of the Center for National Preparedness at Columbia University. Planning for a catastrophe also makes you ready for a less severe event like a fire or a local power outage.”

    Smoke Detector 01We all have smoke detectors. They help prepare and alert us. We never expect to burn our house to the ground, and yet we all have smoke detectors so that if such a disaster could happen, we can stop it from becoming even worse. Essentially, we have smoke detectors to protect our family.

    The same can be said of preparing for emergencies and disasters. Smoke detectors are a “just in case” precaution, as Swanson noted. Perhaps a reason why smoke detectors are so widely implemented is their relative ease to buy, install and maintain. Well, following three preparedness activities are just as simple, and once you’ve done them, your family– especially your children – as that much better prepared for an emergency

     

    1. Create a communications plan

    PhoneTeach your children your phone number. Dr. Swanson suggests that children are able to memorize a 7- or 10-digit number by age 5. She councils to “practice with your child and turn the phone number into a song, like a modified version of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.’”

    Having a designated meeting place for your family will help you gather together during an emergency. There are certain circumstances – such as a fire or an earthquake – where your house may not be the best meeting place. Find a location away from your home, like a nearby school or park. Go there with your children, so they know how to get there, too.

     

    1. Create an emergency kit

    K7 A400 Emergency KitRemember the smoke detector example? We use those in our home, “just in case.” So, then, we should have emergency kits for the same reason. Do your kids have one? If not, now’s the time to get them one. If you need some ideas, follow this link to learn more about what you need in an emergency kit, with links to checklists and pre-built kits.

    As your children grow, so will their needs in their emergency kits. For example, they might grow out of diapers or other clothing. Having an updated emergency kit will definitely make their lives more comfortable. Swanson also suggests making some “refresh” cards, taped to each kit. These cards will detail “which items need to be replenished,” says Swanson, “or which info needs updating, and when.” For example, food bought for the kit five years ago will surely need to be refreshed (unless it’s properly prepared and packaged for long-term storage).

     

    1. Know your neighborhood

    NeighborhoodKnowing the area in which your children live and play can protect them from unforeseen dangers. Look for dangers that your kids might not recognize. Swanson suggests using the fire department as a resource by asking them “about specific threats to your neighborhood such as unstable trees, streets prone to flooding, or transportation challenges.”

    She also encourages working with your neighbors. Don’t know them yet? Well, now’s as good a time as any! Everybody has unique skills and talents, and working with your neighbors during an emergency can bring all those skills together, so everybody can benefit. It’s best to work with them before something happens, so you’ll be ready when it does.

    By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to providing the protection your family needs. Preparing for calamities doesn’t have to be difficult. Just take it step by step, day by day.

    As Dr. Swanson admonishes, “Don’t freak out. You can do this.”

    If you ever have any questions as to what more you can do, feel free to give us a call! We’d love to talk with you. Our number is 1-800-999-1863. Or, visit our website at beprepared.com. We’re here to help you be prepared for any situation. And remember, if Han Solo can successfully navigate an asteroid field, you can prepare your family for that unforeseen disaster. We believe in you!

     

    What steps have you taken to prepare your family for emergencies? Let us know in the comments!

     

     

    Source:

    Swanson, W. (2011). “Are You Prepared For an Emergency?”. Retrieved on April 22, 2015 from http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/emergency-preparedness/.

  • Mind Game: What to Do in an Emergency

    mindGameYou’ve heard us say before that proper emergency preparation can mean the difference between life and death. It turns out that that’s truer than even we knew. Obviously having food and water stored and knowing some key survival skills are crucial to provide for our needs in an emergency situation. But researchers are noting an even more fundamental advantage to preparation.

    In a recent article on BBC.com, military survival instructor John Leach explains the psychological effect of preparation in the midst of a disaster. In essence,

    “[s]urvival involves goal-directed behaviour: you feel hungry, you look for food; you feel isolated, you seek companionship. Normally, this is straightforward…But in a new, unfamiliar environment, particularly a stressful one such as a sinking ship or a burning aircraft, establishing survival goals – where the exit is and how to get to it – requires a lot more conscious effort.”

    safetyOnBoardjpg Actually listening to the flight attendant and thinking through the “what ifs” can actually save lives…maybe yours.

    Another expert points out that strong emotions tends to inhibit logical thought processes by actually limiting the number of alternatives we consider—all of which adds up to a lot of baffled people standing around in the midst of an emergency wondering what to do.

    According to Leach and others, the antidote to this all-too-common mental paralysis is (you guessed it!) preparation. If we know ahead of time the steps to take in the event of an emergency, we eliminate the need to run through all the options in our mind and decide on the best course, and can proceed straight to action. Essentially, we can win at the mind games a crisis's bring with it.

    In the short term, that may mean noting emergency exits and fire alarms, reading evacuation notices, locating life jackets, or paying attention to safety instructions. But what if you’re at home, or visiting friends, or camping, or in one of a thousand situations where there are no conveniently posted directives telling you what to do in case of a disaster?

    I’m glad you asked.

    1. Have a plan, and practice it! How does my spouse get hold of me at work? Which neighbors can my kids go to safely if I’m not here? Where do we go if we need to evacuate? All these kinds of questions can be thought through, discussed, and decided long before any need arises. And to make it easier, download our free and handy templates and checklists to get it all on paper. Make sure each family member knows the plan, and practice it until the response becomes second nature.

    kit2. Gather the right gear, and keep it handy! FEMA recommends keeping enough food, water, and supplies on hand to survive 72 hours (see their recommended supply list here). Be sure your bug-out bag is up to date and conveniently located—the very back of the basement closet may be the only available real estate in your home, but an emergency kit won’t help you much if you can’t access it in a hurry. And if you don’t have one, check out our variety of pre-packed kits, buckets, and packs.

    3. Educate yourself! Your personal repertoire of survival skills will not only provide the necessities for your family in an emergency, but it will add some much needed peace of mind in a stressful situation. Local classes are a great option; most fire departments teach regular CPR courses, and you can look online for community groups that focus on gardening, canning, foraging, or anything else. We’re also big fans of online tutorials, and don’t forget to browse our books on everything from cooking with wheat to surviving nuclear war.

    There you have it. No excuses. Increase your chances of survival in any situation by preparing your brain for action…Now!

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