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  • Are You Ready for the Zombie Apocalypse?

    Zombie Apocalypse

    When the zombie apocalypse comes, ok, you’ll probably be running for your life. And estate and inheritance issues will be a mess.

    But at least you’ll be able to use Amazon’s game developing software, Lumberyard, to write code for medical equipment, nuclear reactors, and military operations. Under Lumberyard’s terms of service, you’re not allowed do so unless the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (or its successor body) declares a zombie apocalypse.

    Also on the bright side, the CDC has prepared instructions about how to prepare for such a disaster. Five years ago in May, the organization published “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse,” a blog post by Rear Admiral Ali Khan, the head of the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. Several months later, the organization produced a graphic novel with similar tips.

    By some strange coincidence, those same preparedness tips are useful for more mundane types of emergencies, like a hurricane or influenza pandemic.

    Khan’s blog recommended you start to prepare for a zombie apocalypse by building an emergency kit.

    “This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp,” he joked.

    It also recommended you add maps of the area, a radio and tools like a utility knife and duct tape.  Keep money and copies of important papers with the kit too.

    Next, the blog said, make a plan.

    It’s a four-step process. First, identify the types of emergencies that might hit your area. Second, pick meeting places for your family. There should be one just outside your home and one outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.

    Third, identify emergency contacts, including local authorities and one out of state person you can call to let your family know you’re safe (and haven’t been infected by a zombie bite).

    Finally, plan an evacuation route. Make sure you have alternate routes.

    “When zombies are hungry they won’t stop until they get food (i.e. brains),” Khan wrote.  “Plan where you would go and multiple routes you would take ahead of time so that the flesh eaters don’t have a chance!”

    By the way, according to the graphic novel, anti-zombie vaccines would first be sent to centralized evacuation points. So make sure you keep your gas tank at least half full so you can get there without having to take the time to siphon gas from abandoned vehicles. And keep a first-aid kit in your car too, so you don’t have to improvise basic health care with unclean supplies.

    The CDC does not recommend weapons because, hey, it’s a public health organization, not a law enforcement one. For other ideas about how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse, consider “The Zombie Survival Guide,” by Max Brooks.

    And, uh, if you want more information about how to prepare for a slightly more likely emergency, consider the CDC’s emergency preparedness site or the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s emergency preparedness site, ready.gov.

    And of course, check out Emergency Essentials at beprepared.com for our wide array of zombie-survival paraphernalia.


    How are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse (or other emergency)? Let us know in the comments!


    Disaster_Blog_Banner Zombie Apocalypse

  • Prepared with Prescriptions: 5 Tips to Being Medically Prepared


    Karen LuBean, of East Wenatchee, Wash., remembers when her pharmacist could provide a year’s supply of her prescription thyroid medication. It cost between $250 and $300, and she kept unused medication in the freezer.

    Insurance companies usually won’t allow that anymore. However, the Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests ways you can prepare if you take medicines daily or use medical equipment.

    First, if possible, keep at least a week’s worth of medication on hand. This includes all prescription medications and anything you need for treatments.

    Here are some ways to do it.

    FEMA recommends you refill prescriptions on the first day you can do so, not when you run out. Some insurance companies will allow refills a day or two before the date on the bottle. Over time, those early and on-time refills can add up to a decent emergency supply.

    Some pharmacies will allow you to get a few days’ supply of your prescription before the insurance company’s time limit if you pay the full price. My family learned this when I accidentally destroyed a bottle of my daughter’s prescription medication. Be warned: this can get costly. We had to pay $20 a pill for an inexpensive generic drug.

    Shelly Robertson, of American Fork, Utah, can’t get an emergency supply of medication because of insurance limitations. So she keeps all her prescription medication near her front door. That way, she can quickly grab them if she must evacuate her home.

    Second, FEMA recommends you keep written copies of prescriptions, over the counter medicine and orders for medical equipment in an emergency kit. Note dosage and allergy information as well. This information is also handy when you’re seeing a new physician, have to go to an urgent care clinic, or are traveling and don’t have access to your doctor’s records. Consider keeping an electronic copy on a flash drive.

    Medicine - perscriptionThird, rotate your stock. This goes for prescription medicine and consumable medical supplies, but also for first-aid kits. Did you know that sealed alcohol-based wipes dry out after a few years? I learned the hard way. If you have a first-aid kit in your emergency supplies, update it at least yearly. Also, pay attention to prescription expiration dates. Liquid-suspended antibiotics, for example, last only a few weeks.

    It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to build a first-aid kit. Robertson buys most of hers at a dollar store.

    “I got aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen, Excedrin, all those little bottles of hand sanitizer and petroleum jelly,” she said.

    She bought hard candies and throat lozenges for her children to suck on if they have colds. She found BurnFree pain relieving gel for under $5 at Emergency Essentials.

    “That stuff is like a miracle,” she said.

    Fourth, if you get routine treatment at a clinic or receive services like home health care, treatment or transportation, discuss emergency plans with your service provider. They may provide a list of backup providers.

    Fifth, remember other personal needs. If you have glasses, make sure you’ve got a backup pair in emergency supplies. If you use a hearing aid, keep spare batteries.

    If you use powered medical equipment, make sure you’ve got batteries and a backup plan. As the U.S. Department of Energy pointed out, after a disaster, you will not be highest priority of government and utilities. They’ll be getting power plants online and making sure medical facilities and first responders have the electricity they need.

    That being said, utilities can put a higher priority on restoring power to your home if they know you have a medical power need.

    It takes effort to prepare for emergencies when you have medical needs. It takes extra time to check dates on bottles; to make lists of prescription medication; to coordinate with caregivers and utilities; to rotate supplies and prescriptions. That doesn’t matter to LuBean. Since she must take her medication daily, keeping it in her emergency supplies is a “number one” priority.


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  • A Prepper's Valentine: Give the Gift of Preparedness

    Valentine Flower Power Give your loved one power over emergencies this Valentine's Day

    When I was in college, every Valentine’s Day I wore a button: “Flowers wilt. Candy melts. Send money.”

    Since then, I’ve realized that money goes away even faster than flowers or candy (actually, the rate at which my money vanishes is proof of both black holes and the existence of faster-than-light travel).

    So what’s a Valentine’s Day gift with staying power? How about a gift that shows your concern for your loved one’s well-being: the gift of emergency preparedness.

    Here are some gift ideas from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Many of those ideas can be found here at beprepared.com.


    • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
    • Books, coloring books, crayons, and board games, so kids will have something to do.
    • Personal hygiene comfort kit, including shampoo, body wash, wash cloth, hairbrush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant.
    • An emergency kit, like a waterproof pouch or backpack, that contains such things as a rain poncho, moist towelettes, work gloves, batteries, duct tape, whistle and food bars, as well as any of the above items.


    Also, when you’re having your lovey-dovey conversations, consider what readycolorado.com calls the one of the most important: developing an emergency plan for your family.

    First, develop a family communication plan. Ready.gov has templates for communication plans. They tell ways to communicate during a disaster, including family, physician and school phone numbers and out-of-town emergency contacts. Each family member should carry a copy.

    Second, identify types of disasters your household might experience, and plan emergency meeting places for each type, including by your home, in your neighborhood, outside your neighborhood and outside your area.

    Third, schedule times to practice what you’ve discussed.

    “A gift to help prepare for emergencies could be life-saving for friends and family,” said FEMA Region V acting regional administrator Janet Odeshoo in a release. “These gift ideas provide a great starting point for being prepared for an emergency or disaster.”

    So while flowers are nice and all (until they wither and die), perhaps a better way to say "I love you" is to show them how much their life really does mean to you by helping them prepare for emergencies. After all, flowers wilt, candy melts, but emergency preparedness is a meaningful, practical gift that will last much longer.

    - Melissa


    February - Power Banner - Valentine's Day

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