Search results for: 'winter'

  • Preparing Dads for Disasters

    “Everyone had one thing in common… they all love their kids and were all equally concerned about being prepared for future disaster.”

    Preparing Dads - FishingThat was the scenario in Ohio at a disaster preparedness training for fathers as put on by the U.S. Office of the Administration for Children and Families. It was designed in preparing dads for the unexpected. As Father’s Day fast approaches, perhaps it’s time for fathers – and father figures – to sit down and think about what more we can do to help prepare our families for disaster.

    Now, I’m not a father just yet (although I will be by Father’s Day), but when I think about all I need to do to help my growing family be prepared, it can be a little bit daunting. I want to make sure they have food, water, and shelter if a disaster hits. In fact, there are 12 areas of preparedness that fathers can prepare their family with: water, food, shelter, heat, light, power, sanitation, first aid, communications, cooking, tools, and planning. This post will address each area briefly and what fathers can do to help their family prepare.

     

    Water

    First on the list is water. Without water, we can only survive for about three days. Kids and adults alike need 1 quart of water (about 0.25 gallons) for every 1,000 calories eaten. Storing water is pretty easy. You can start by filling pop bottles with tap water and storing in your basement or somewhere out of direct sunlight. You can also find water in cans and pouches, or use larger jugs, barrels, or large reserves. No matter what your living conditions are, there’s always room for at least some water storage.

     

    Food

    Preparing dads - FoodFood is next. We can last longer without food than we can with water, but again, without food, we’re still in a heap of trouble. I might be able to skimp on meals here and there, but kids are going to need to eat regularly – and in good amount – to stay healthy and growing. Food storage was once regarded as old, musty food stuffs like raw wheat, dehydrated milk and bags of sugar stacked in dark corners in big metal canisters. Well, today is nothing like your great Aunt Ruth’s cellar. Freeze dried fruits and vegetables are actually good enough to eat anytime, even right out of the can. Just-add-water meals include whole entrées like Fettuccine Alfredo and Beef Stroganoff. And even powdered milk is made with processes that perfectly preserve flavor. And, freeze-dried food is packaged to last up to 25 years, so it’s going to last until you need it (unless you get the munchies and pop open that can of freeze-dried strawberries). Today’s kids can be picky eaters. Fortunately, food storage isn’t what it used to be.

     

    Shelter

    Preparing dads - ShelterHaving a good shelter can really make post-disaster life so much more enjoyable. I’ve actually written some great articles about shelter (if I do say so myself), so I’ll just link you to those. The first one is called 4 Reasons Why You Need An Emergency Shelter, and provides information as to what shelters protect you from (hint: it’s more than just rain). This next one explains how tents became the go-to after the Nepal earthquake, and what that means for us. In a nutshell, shelters are right up there in importance with food and water. In short, shelter is not only a great way to keep yourself and your family out of the elements, also provides a feeling of family safety and security, a comfort to your children.

     

    Heat

    Even in the summertime, nights can be cold. In the winter, every time can be cold. Making sure your family stays warm is an essential part of emergency preparedness. If the power goes out, how will you stay warm? My wife has told me stories of a time when she was a teenager, living in Kentucky. They had a crazy ice storm that knocked the power out for days. After a couple days of cooking food with a small, propane stove and bundling up in blankets, they decided to abandon ship and stay with friends who actually had power, and therefore heat.

    Thinking back on her experience, I want to make sure that if we lose power for an extended period of time that my family will have the resources to stay warm. Having something like an indoor-safe propane heater, or other alternate heat source, would have been a welcome relief to my wife and her family during that ice storm.

     

    Power

    Family of four outdoors with solar panel, portrait, elevated viewThe stove cooks the food, the fridge keeps the leftovers cold and the microwave nukes leftovers back to life. There are lights, heat, computers, phones, tablets…and all of it works only when they power is on. When it’s gone, everything changes. Fortunately, there’s more than one way to get power when you need it.

    Solar panels are getting to be a lot more economical to have around as an alternate power source. Other sources to consider are battery-powered devices (make sure to stock up on batteries, though), power packs (big or small), or hand-crank battery packs. Then, of course, are the full-fledged back-up generators. Any of these options can help you through a power outage.

     

    Light

    Speaking of power outages, light is one important thing we are without when power goes down. And if that outage is due to a nighttime disaster, you will be left in the dark in the very moment you need light most. Kids need light for all sorts of things: doing homework, reading Harry Potter, not to mention, just to feel safe. After all, isn’t that what night lights are for? Having light when you otherwise wouldn’t can provide your children (and you) with comfort. Candles, rechargeable lanterns, and outage-sensing emergency flashlights are all inexpensive and easy to keep around the house and in your emergency kits. Then, when your child turns on a flashlight, you can tell him, “You light up my life.” Awww, such a tender moment. I’m glad we could share that together.

     

    Sanitation

    This is one many people don’t generally think about. Sanitation is vital for maintaining good health. Options for personal necessities should be planned for when access to the bathroom is not possible. Also, with kids running around, playing in the dirt and getting into who-knows-what, keeping hands and faces clean might be a tad more difficult than you might think. Give sanitation and hygiene some thought and minimize health issues.

    I recently posted another article about how good sanitation can save your life. It’s a good read (again, tooting my own horn), and should provide you with important information on how to stay sanitary.

     

    First Aid

    Not to be confuse with Second Aid, which is much less effective than First Aid. Even just knowing how to respond to cuts, sores, and other owies can prevent additional harm and prevent infections. First aid prep can be as simple as having band aids (preferably of the Star Wars variety) to having a complete medical kit. Check out fema.gov for a list of things you should have in your first aid kit.

     

    Communications

    Preparing dads - CommunicationsHaving a way to stay connected to the world around you will help you know what the situation is like, when you can return from an evacuation, and just letting your family know you’re OK. We can’t predict earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, or other horrendous disasters, but we can prepare our families to cope and survive as best as possible. By knowing what communication options are available to you before and after a disaster, you’ll have more confidence that you can know how to protect your loved ones. Confidence can be contagious, too, so that’s never a bad thing to have in an emergency, especially if you have children. They need to see their father and mother confident that all will be well.

    Be sure to establish a meeting place where family members can meet up after a disaster or in case of an emergency. A local school or church are usually good options. Or, if for some reason you can’t all gather together, find someone you can all call or text, so you can all be accounted for and know each other is safe.

    It is important to note that if you’re all separated, this common third-party person you will contact should live outside the affected area. After all, if you choose someone who lives within the affected area, they may be having just as many problems as you are. And, if you’re trying to get in contact with someone, it’s always best to text. During an emergency or disaster, phone lines can be tied up or even down. Text messages have a tendency to get through when phone calls can’t.

    Having communications equipment will help you stay in touch with your family and the world. Walkie talkies are always a good idea to have on hand. Emergency band radios are also something to consider. These radios will keep you in tune with other radio stations so you can know what’s going on, where help is, and other vital information following a disaster. Some emergency band radios, such as the Kaito Voyager Pro, can even notify you when there is a severe weather warning in your area. Definitely a good source of information, and information can be a total game changer in an emergency.

     

    Cooking

    Preparing dads - CookingRemember the story I told about my wife and their ice storm? Do you remember how they had to cook their food? It definitely wasn’t their stove or oven. It was a portable propane stove. What might have happened to my dear sweet wife had her parents not been prepared with an alternate source of cooking? In reality, they probably would have abandoned their designs of holding the fort a lot quicker. But still, what if that ice storm had made it impossible to leave? Things could have been very different for them.

    Having an alternate source for cooking is another great way to prepare your family for disaster. Be prepared with an alternative way to cook, such as a portable stove, kettle, sun oven, grill, or anything else you can think of that works for you and your family.

     

    Tools

    Have you ever been in a situation where you needed a certain tool to fix something but you don’t have it? That’s happened to me, and it sure is annoying to have to go out to the store and pick one up. Needing a tool you don’t have during an emergency won’t necessarily end as well as just going to the store. I like to keep a 4-in-1 Mini Folding Shovel in the trunk of my car for the next time I hit the ditch and have to dig my car out of the snow. Tell you what, the first (and only) time that happened all I had were my hands. I don’t recommend it. Having other tools, such as knives, screwdrivers, gloves, duct tape, and anything else you can think of can be the difference between a quick fix and a long wait for help.

     

    Planning

    Lastly (but certainly not leastly) is planning. Planning is one of the most essential parts of emergency preparedness, because without a plan, implementation might never happen. The Journal of Family Psychology suggests that “parents have an important role in disaster preparedness through individual and family disaster planning and by addressing the concerns their children experience in anticipation of disasters.”

    That’s smart talk for “Parents, plan ahead so when a disaster happens, your children won’t freak out.” Although planning is down here near the bottom of this post, it should really be one of the first things you do. Remember Benjamin Franklin’s wise words: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

     

    These the 12 areas of preparedness are what every father should plan for. Your family is counting on you to keep them safe. Your role as a husband and father is more than just going out every day to work and bring home the bacon. Among other things, it’s to prepare and protect them from the disasters that are coming, so they will be safe, healthy, and happy. And don’t worry if you haven’t started preparing. There’s always today! If nothing else, just jot down a simple plan to help get you going.

     

     

    What is the most important thing you prepare for with your family? Let us know in comments!

     

    Practice Your Prep

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Emergency Cooking, Emergency Kits, Equipment, First Aid and Sanitation, Food Storage, Insight, Planning, Skills, Water Storage Tagged With: father, preparing dads, Dads, Father's Day, family, preparedness

  • Why Should You Have Solar Power?

    Following the devastation of the Nepal earthquake, thousands of volunteers flocked to the hard-hit regions to lend a hand and provide aid. These volunteers brought water, food, and shelter to help give life to the survivors.

    And while they bring life, others bring light.

    Solar Power in Nepal CBC

    SunFarmer is just one of the organizations working hard to bring energy and power to the devastated Nepalese cities, towns, and villages. The goal of SunFarmer is to bring the reliable resource of solar energy to developing countries. Nepal definitely fits the bill.

    Not to be outdone, Gham Power is a Nepal-based solar power company that rushed to the aid of its fellow countrymen. Since the earthquake, Gham Power has set lights and recharge stations to help aid workers and those still living in that area.

    While these companies and organizations work to provide light and power to the survivors, my thoughts are brought back to us, today. What would happen if our grid went down? How would we get power? Of course, even before the earthquake, electricity in Nepal wasn’t the most stable of commodities. This solar initiative could help change that, however. Just how stable is our grid? And what’s our backup?

    Following Hurricane Sandy, over 8 million U.S. homes were left without power for days, and some even weeks. That, my friends, is a lot of dark days and even darker nights. Sometimes it can be hard to believe that such a power outage could even happen here. But, if one super storm can wreck the grid like that, who’s to say it won’t happen again? And when the grid goes down, you’ll definitely want an alternate power supply.

    Power and light are very important to us as human beings, both in our every-day lives and as survivors of a disaster. The CEO of Gham Power in Nepal explained why being left without power is so discomforting:

     

    Solar powers light Eco Watch

    “First, you don’t want to be in the dark, as it’s scary, you don’t feel safe, and it is also very cumbersome to get, or administer relief without light.

    “Second, in this day and age, your first instinct is to reach out for your loved ones to check if they are okay and let them know you are okay, and when you reach for your mobile phone, it’s dead and there is no place to charge it.”

     

    Without power, life really can be much more difficult. Fortunately, we live in a day and age where we don’t have to rely on just one source of power. As we’ve seen from the examples of Gham Power and SunFarmer, solar power is a viable option for providing ourselves with power. Of course, there are other sources of power out there (wind, hydro, etc.), but solar power can be used in most every part part of the world, regardless of geography. Except maybe the North Pole during the winter, where night can last more than 24 hours. But other than that, you should be good.

    Another reason why solar power is so great is that it can be a portable energy source. This means you can have power for your phone, laptop, or TV not only during emergencies, but anytime you’re away from a wall plug, like while you’re out camping.

    Check out our line of solar products and other alternate energy sources to find something that would fit your needs. Be prepared with power whenever you need it, wherever you need it.

     

    What is your preferred source of alternate energy?

    Posted In: Alternative Energy, Disaster Scenarios, Equipment Tagged With: Alternative energy, solar power

  • What Does Star Wars Teach Us About Drought?

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    With less than 1% of surface water and an average humidity level of 5.4%, Tatooine was a very hostile place to live...

    Star Wars Tatooine Tatooine

    Compared to Tatooine (the desert planet made famous in Star Wars), California ain’t half bad. With an average humidity level of 53% during the day and 4.8% of water covering the entire state, California would feel stiflingly humid for the locals of Tatooine. And that 4.8% area of water is just for the state of California, compared to less than 1% of the entire planet of Tatooine. Yes, compared to Tatooine, California is quite the wetland.

    But if California is fearing a water shortage, how does a place like Tatooine – with even less water – survive? Water was obviously hard to come by on that Outer Rim planet, but with great drought came great innovation.

    Moisture farms made it possible for life on Tatooine. On these farms, moisture farmers would harvest water from the atmosphere. In order to do this, moisture vaporators were used. Moisture vaporators are essentially tall, refrigerated pipes, and when hot, moist air came in contact with these pipes, the humidity would condense onto the pipes, turning into water, and would be collected into underground water storage containers for future use.

    Basically, this is their version of a rain barrel.

    Vaporator (ABC) ABC

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have something like that? Believe it or not, this type of moisture vaporator actually does exist, and it’s even in our galaxy, rather than one far, far away. Invented by Terry LeBleu from Texas, his machine pulls in water from the air and turns it into pure drinking water. People need about one gallon of water per day to live comfortably. This includes water from drinking as well as sanitation. Properly maintained, one moisture vaporator on Tatooine can sustain up to three people. LeBleu’s version does even better:

     

    “Depending on humidity, the machine can make between five to seven gallons of pure water in one day. All you have to do is plug it in, and one gallon costs only 4 cents in electrical charges.”

     

    This right here proves that Star Wars is real (but let’s be honest, we really didn’t need proof since we all know it’s real anyway).

    But what about California? They don’t have moisture farms (although maybe they should start looking into those), but there are some things people there can do during a drought to help preserve water. The following are a few steps to take to prepare for a drought and help preserve water during one (this goes for all areas, not just California).

     

    1. Store Water

    Just like moisture farmers, we should have ways of storing our own water. Water reserves, water barrels, jugs, cans, and pouches…there are many ways to store water, each with its own benefit. Water reserves and barrels are large and hold a lot of water, but they take up more room. Jugs, cans, and pouches are smaller, so they can fit better in smaller areas, but they hold less water. The point is to have some sort of water storage, so if water does run out for a bit, you’ll have some on hand until help can arrive.

     

    1. Stop Leaks

    You may not think a leaky faucet is a big deal, but did you know that if your faucet is dripping one drop per second, you’ll be wasting 2,700 gallons every year? The people (and aliens) of Mos Eisley do not approve of such waste. Stop those leaks!

     

    1. Don’t Water Your Lawn So Much

    You don’t necessarily have to spray paint your lawn green to keep it looking nice (although it is a tactic some Californians are reverting to), but do try to cut back on how much water you use to green up your grass. Your lawn only needs to be watered once every 5 days in the summertime, so maybe it’s time to put the sprinkler away those days in between. And, in the winter, your lawn only needs a watering every 10 to 14 days. A bonus is if you get a good rain, your grass is good for up to two weeks! Don’t overdo it. You don’t see Jabba the Hutt using water excessively, and he only cares for himself!

     

    1. Recycle

    Don’t waste water if you can find another use for it. Excess shower water, for example, can be used to water your plants. Find ways to capture excess water and use it for other things you’d normally use water for.

     

     

    Star Wars may take place in a galaxy far, far away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from their drought-ridden planets. Tatooine is in a constant state of drought, and always has been. California is now in their 4th year of drought, but if it keeps up the way it is, Tatooine may have a new rival when it comes to arid wastelands. But before California turns into a genuine dust bowl, there are some steps to take to reduce water usage and prepare for even harsher conditions. During times of drought, water is the most valuable resource you have. Take care of it, and it will take care of you.

     

    For more information on drought, including articles and essential gear and products, visit beprepared.com/drought-preparedness.

     

    Drought Preparedness

     

    Additional Reading:

    When the Well Runs Dry: http://beprepared.com/blog/17715/well-runs-dry/

    Don't Doubt the Drought: http://beprepared.com/blog/17819/dont-doubt-drought/

    Posted In: Planning, Water Storage Tagged With: moisture vaporator, Tatooine, Star Wars, California, drought, water storage

  1. 1-3 of 122 items

Please wait...