Tag Archives: Emergency plan

  • Be Ready for the Unexpected

    How many times have you read about an emergency or natural disaster and thought “that wouldn’t happen in my area”?

    This type of thinking leads many people to believe they only need emergency kits and emergency plans for major disasters. However, we also need to prepare for smaller, unexpected emergencies that sometimes occur more often.

    Stories from the past few months have taught us two valuable lessons:

    1. Mother Nature doesn’t follow rules; the unexpected can happen to anyone.
    2. Even the smallest of events can become larger disasters due to poor planning and lack of preparation.

     

    Prepare for Winter Weather—Even if it’s Unlikely

    At the beginning of December, unexpected snow storms and freezing temperatures stranded over 300 people for 7+ hours on a stretch of Interstate 15 between the Utah/Las Vegas border.

    Freezing temperatures and snow are rare in the area, so many travelers were unprepared. They had little food or water, few items to keep warm (many only had clothing for a day at the pool), and only a little gas in their tanks. What’s typically considered an hour’s drive quickly became an unexpected emergency. Luckily there were no major injuries reported.

    In January, many parts of the U.S. experienced another unexpected phenomenon that was dubbed a Polar Vortex. As we learned from WeatherChannel.com meterologist, Nice Wiltgen, the term ‘artic outbreak’ is a more accurate term than ‘polar vortex’ to describe the dramatic cooling effect the Midwestern and eastern portions of the U.S. are currently experiencing. So this Polar Vortex is a new name for an ancient phenomenon, causing cities that usually don’t see below freezing temperatures to see record-breaking lows and snowfall.

    The so-called Polar Vortex altered the everyday lives of thousands: several areas faced school closures, blackouts, flooding from frozen pipes, injuries, and deaths even occurred.

    While it may have been hard to predict the impact storm near Las Vegas or of the Polar Vortex, these events illustrate the need to prepare and plan for winter emergencies (even if you live in the South).

    What can we learn from these emergencies?

    If you are adequately prepared, unexpected emergencies will be less likely to turn your life upside down. The Ready Campaign suggests these three steps to prepare for any emergency you might face:

    1. Make a plan: Make a plan with your family for a number of situations—big and small. You can plan for house fires, power outages, and even major disasters like earthquakes. Don’t forget to plan for unique situations for your area and climate, as well.
    2. Build a Kit: Based on your planning, build or purchase emergency kits for your home, car, workplace, and school. These kits should fit the personal needs of your family. Also, you should always have a car emergency kit—especially while traveling
    3. Stay informed: Learn from the experience of others. Plan for unexpected emergencies before they happen, stay informed on weather conditions in your area, and adapt your emergency kits for situations like the ones mentioned in this post. Don’t slip into the thought process of “it won’t happen to me”.

    It’s important to prepare for unexpected emergencies. Good planning and preparation can help us avoid minor annoyances or major health concerns in crisis situations. As you plan for possible emergencies, avoid the mentality of “that won’t happen” and change it to “whatever happens, I’ll be ready.”

    --Rob

    Have you ever been stuck in an unexpected emergency or snowstorm? What did you do? What do you wish you had? 

    Sources:

    BePrepared.com/Blog

    CNN Article: "The Polar Vortex Leaves Nasty Surprises, Still Grips northern midwest"  

    KSL News article: "Motorists trapped by snowstorm on Arizona Strip"

    Preparedness Pantry Blog: "The Polar Vortex--What are the Consequences?"

    BeReady.gov: “Make a Plan. Get a Kit. Be Informed” 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: winter storms, emergency kit, Emergency plan, emergency preparedness

  •  Lessons Learned: Our First Evacuation

    So here’s one for the family blog: two weeks ago, my husband and kiddos and I were officially evacuated from our home. We don’t live in an area particularly known for wild weather; nor are we anywhere close to big, messy factories or power plants. In fact, we’re not especially close to anything up here on our little island in the Puget Sound. And yet, at 10:15 that night, the nice firefighters who had been scampering up and down my street all evening knocked on the door to tell us they “advise leaving.”

    Two hours earlier, my little ones were distracted from their bedtime routines by the exciting chaos of fire engines with their lights ablaze, and sirens screaming just outside the window. While they remained glued to their favorite sight, my husband and I caught a glimpse of what had brought the authorities there: plumes of white vapor pouring into the sky from the garage of a home just down the street.

    As it turns out, even in our sleepy little corner of the globe, emergencies can sneak up on you—in this case, taking the form of a giant, chlorine-filled tank that my unfortunate neighbor happened to crack open. It took us a while to get the whole story, but the upshot was an impromptu overnight adventure to Grandma’s house.

    I hate to admit that my bug-out-bag was a little dated (ahem, diapers for my son, who is now four and completely potty-trained). Fortunately, our exit wasn’t as urgent as it could have been and I had time to gather the essentials. However, here are some things I will be doing ASAP:

    1. Evaluating our evacuation readiness. I know I work in this field, but the idea of an evacuation was so far from my mind that night. I clearly need to think through my family evacuation process more thoroughly.
    2. Creating our Family Emergency Plan. This time we had a couple of hours to sort out where we were going and what we needed to take. Next time, I don’t want to have to have that lengthy conversation.
    3. Practicing our Family Emergency Plan. My kids were groggy and easily persuaded last night, but had they been fully conscious, I could anticipate a lot of questions and even a bit of resistance. But if everyone knows the drill, next time we can save precious minutes and get everyone to safety with minimal drama.
    4. Develop a Neighborhood Emergency Plan. Most of our night was spent texting multiple neighbors, trying to gather and disseminate information as best we could. If we’d had a neighborhood communication plan in place, it would have saved a lot of hours of uncertainty and stress.

    Don’t wait for an actual emergency to remind you how important preparation really is!

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Emergency plan, emergency preparedness

  • Prevent Winter House Fires with FEMA's Safety Tips

    Did you know that on average, at least 905 people die in winter house fires each year?

    In fact, the majority of house fires in the United States take place in winter when families prepare holiday meals, heat their homes, and display decorations that may use unsafe heat sources. However, according to FEMA, the leading cause of winter house fires is cooking and the most common times for them to occur is between 5 to 8 p.m. which makes sense because that’s  the same timeframe that many of us cook dinner in.

    Since the threat of winter fires is very real and there are many statistics to show just how real and how common winter fires are, FEMA wants everyone to be informed and learn safety tips to protect themselves. Recently, FEMA launched a campaign to help families and communities learn winter fire safety.

    Aside from the statistics, FEMA’s winter fire safety campaign offers downloads, links to winter safety tips, social media messages, public service announcements, and an infographic and widgets to place on websites to help spread the word about winter fire safety.

    To find out the leading causes of winter house fires and tips to protect yourself against them, check out one of FEMA’s winter fire safety public service announcements below.

    Learn more about FEMA’s winter fire safety campaign and how to protect yourself and family at FEMA.gov. And while you’re at it . . .

    Prepare yourself and your family against winter fires by creating a “fire escape plan” and learning ways to “prevent kitchen fires” in your home.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Emergency plan, emergency preparedness

  • Stay safe this New Year's during all of your festivities

    As the New Year rolls in, start it off right by staying safe during your New Year’s Eve festivities.

    Whether you plan to celebrate at home, around town, or in Times Square, make sure you prep for any emergency that might happen while you’re out ringing in the New Year.

    Keep Your Phone Charged

    Take a cell phone and charger with you to your parties and events. Cell phones (what most already consider to be their lifelines) become even more vital at big events, especially if you are celebrating in an unfamiliar area. The Switch 8  will help you charge it even if you don’t have your regular charger handy. Communication is important so that you can reach your friends, family, or loved ones in case you get lost, injured, or have another emergency.

    Keep Cash Handy

    Have cash on hand if you’re going to be out all night. You never know when a craving for tacos or pie might hit you. More serious than a craving, however, would be to have enough cash to take a taxi home or to use in another emergency.

    Be Safe on the Road

    Watch out for drunk drivers on the road. And remember to also do your part in keeping the celebration fun without making it dangerous for yourself or others.

    Be Careful with Fireworks

    Be aware of the potential danger that fireworks pose. They are a fantastic way to celebrate 2014, but the fun and games end when someone gets hurt. Double check that fireworks are legal in your area before lighting them. Watch for flying sparks or children standing too close to active fireworks.  However, even with all the preparation in the world, accidents can still happen, so keep some BurnFree on hand, just in case. It never hurts to prepare.

    These are just a few tips to keep you safe as you celebrate the end of 2013. For more safety tips, check out the links below.

    http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_southeast_valley/mesa/fireworks-safety-tips-for-new-years-eve

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/31/jan-1-is-worst-day-for-drunken-driving-analysis-shows/

     

    We hope you have a safe and fun New Year’s Eve this year!

    Kim

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: safety, preparedness, Emergency plan, emergency preparedness, holiday, celebrate, New Year

  • Natural Disasters and Gender: An Unexpected Factor

    In 1970, the Bhola Cyclone hit Bangladesh, killing close to 300,000 people. Of every 15 victims, 14 were women. Since then, researchers have been looking into the cultural factors that affect genders differently in an emergency situation. In third world countries (historically hardest hit by natural disasters) for instance, social taboos might make it difficult for women to evacuate unescorted.

    While we may live in a community free from the same restrictions, other factors are less foreign, in the article, “Improving Women’s Odds in Disasters,” the World Bank reports that “most women in Bangladesh were home-based, and responsible for children and elders . . . They died in cyclones because they did not hear warnings, or because they had to fend for others as well as themselves.”

    The circumstances of these women are in some ways similar to what we may experience in the U.S. during an emergency. In a crisis, many women and men may put aside their own safety to lend a helping hand to a spouse, the elderly, children, neighbors, friends, and other loved ones. However, it is also important that in addition to helping others, we learn to help ourselves as well. Or in another circumstance, fathers or mothers who work to provide for their families and may not be home when an emergency strikes, thus it is important that all family members know how to be prepared. Our own preparedness education will allow us to not only help our loved ones, but will enable us to do so without jeopardizing our own health or safety.

    This is why for the last 40 years, Bangladesh has labored to involve women more in their emergency planning so that they can help themselves as well as others during an emergency. This increased effort has caused the gender gap in disaster casualties to dramatically decrease. One of the major lessons we can take away from emergency planning in Bangladesh is that no matter what our social, cultural, professional, or domestic circumstances may be, whole families (men, women, children, and the elderly) need to be educated about preparedness.

    Learn more about Bangladesh’s efforts to educate citizens about emergency preparedness in the World Bank.org article, “Improving Women’s Odds in Disasters.” Then check out the following articles and resources to get started on your own family’s emergency plan.

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Emergency plan, family, Survival, emergency preparedness, natural disaster

  • One of the first steps you need to take to get prepared is make an emergency plan. Whether you live alone or with family, friends, or roommates, it’s important to be on the same page with your household, as well as those who don’t live with you but will be anxious to locate and touch base with you in an emergency.

    A basic plan is a good place to start, and we've got a great (and free) fill-in-the-blank Emergency Plan PDF so you can have a custom family emergency plan in 10 minutes or less.

    Sample Family Emergency Plan

     

    You can build a more comprehensive plan from there if you’d like, but this plan covers the basics:

    1) Grab survival kits/emergency kits/bug-out bags

    2) Designated meeting point near the home

    3) Designated meeting point in the neighborhood

    4) An out-of-town relative or friend that everyone can call to check in with (it’s pretty common for local lines to be busy following a disaster—your best bet for reaching each other is to call someone with a long-distance number and leave messages for each other).

    5) Out-of town meeting place/evacuation location

    6) Evacuation plan with primary and secondary exits from each room

    7) Emergency Contact Information

    8) Evacuation assignments (who will take what based on how much time you have)

    So, whether you’re just getting started in prepping or you’ve been building food and water storage for years, be sure you’ve got an emergency plan in place—it’s one of the most fundamental (and easiest) things you can do when it comes to emergency preparedness.

    --Sarah

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: planning, Emergency plan, emergency preparedness, getting started, Free Download, Family evacuation plan, preparedness basics

  • G

    Talking with kids about disasters, personal safety, and emergency preparedness could be an emotionally draining task for everyone involved. Playing outdoor survival games may be a good way to approach the subject in a fun, memorable, and safe environment.

    Before or after you play: Talk with your Kids

    Talk to your kids about the types of emergencies or personal safety situations they may encounter and what they can do to be safe. Create scenarios or role plays to act out and come up with solutions together. Here are some survival skills that you could talk to them about:

    • The Family Emergency Plan
    • Emergency Kits (how and when to use each item appropriately)
    • What to do if they are lost
    • What to do if a stranger approaches them
    • Outdoor Survival Skills (plant and animal track identification, building a shelter or fire, using a compass)

    Talking with them about these issues will help them to understand the importance of the games and the reasons why they are playing them. After playing the games, you can even ask them what they learned about emergency preparedness or survival.

    Rules and Regulations for Parents and Kids

    Parents:

    • Don’t try to cover everything in one day!
    • Teach one skill at a time and have a game to go along with each
    • Make sure that games are age appropriate
    • Make sure games are supervised by an adult

    Kids:

    • Show respect to the environment
    • Be kind to the gear that you use
    • Stay within the playing area 

    Let the Games Begin!

    Bases (ages 6-12+)

    This is like extreme hide and seek that teaches you how to use the environment as a natural hiding place (good for hiding from intruders, hiding for safety outdoors).

    Number of People: 6-8 people (the more people, the better!)

    How to play: Select one person to be the seeker (this could be the adult supervising). Seeker picks out 6 “bases” that all the hiders must touch/reach during the game within the playing area. The seeker stands at the last base. The goal for the hiders is to get to all the bases without being caught by the seeker.

    The seeker will count to a certain number each round, as hiders run to hide behind each base. Every round the number of counts will be different. As the seeker counts they can count very fast or very slow using the “dot system.” For example:

    • The seeker will announce the counts before they begin counting by saying “10 Slow” or “3 fast”
    • If the seeker wants to count slowly they will count saying—“one, dot, two, dot, three, dot”
    • If they want to count fast they will say “one, dot-dot, two, dot-dot, etc.”

    If the seeker sees anyone poking out from their hiding place after they are done counting, the seeker will call out their name, signifying that that person is out. The person who gets to the last base first without being seen is the winner.

    Other Survival Skills Games to Play:

    Naturalist Scattergories-http://www.twineagles.org/fun-outdoor-games.html (ages 6-12+)

    One player selects a category (example: types of trees), players sit in a circle and have ten seconds to say a type of tree. Answers can only be said once, the last player remaining in the circle wins. Best with 6 players, but can be played with 2. Can also be played using emergency items (name items in an emergency kit, items to bring on a camping trip, types of shelters, etc.)

    Shelter Skirmish-http://cheaperthandirt.com/blog/?p=45983 (ages 8-12+)

    After reviewing types of shelters and talking about how to make one, have players compete to make a lean-to shelter with items from the yard. After they work for a while, give them items to help such as a few strips of duct tape, some rope, or a poncho. See who can make the best shelter from a couple of items.

    For More Survival Games Check Out:

    For More Resources for Teaching Kids Survival Skills:

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Emergency plan, Survival, emergency preparedness, kids

  • iStock_000016393748XSmall_family camping

    When you think of your prepping supplies, what are the most important items for your survival? To me, food, water, and a fully stocked emergency kit are pretty high up on the list. However, a printed map displaying alternate routes to avoid traffic and congested areas could be as equally important to your survival as a #10 can of food!

    This week we came across a great article from Commonsense Homesteading that gives advice on how you can use a map in your prepping gear to keep you out of harm’s way during an emergency. This article gives tips for how to use your map effectively if you live in the country, city, or the suburbs.

    Here are some helpful tips for using a map in an emergency:

    #1. Print out a map of your area, laminate it, and put it with your prepping supplies (you might not be able to rely on Google Earth, Mapquest, and GPS on your phone or in your car during an emergency).

    #2. “Know your exit routes, map them.  Have multiple exit routes, don’t plan on just one.” Depending on the emergency, some common routes may be unusable or totally congested. You’ll want to know what your alternatives are.

    #3. Get to know your neighbors. If you live in the country, map out where their homes are within a five mile radius on your map, how long it will take you to get there, and what resources you could potentially share, trade, or sell to them in the event of an emergency. If you live in the city, get to know your closest neighbors and get their contact info. Have the contact info for local authorities.

    *As our recent "Hurricane Sandy: Neighbors to the Rescue" post suggests, those who get to know their neighbors and work together with their communities are more likely to get through an emergency situation than those who do not.

    #4. Know the Terrain and high-risk areas including rivers and other waterways or flood zones, bridges (which could be vulnerable to collapse), or highways prone to fog or ice.

    #5. Map out routes to your family or friends for shelter. Also map routes to storage units or other places you might have supplies waiting.

     

    For more information, tips, and tricks for getting the most out of printed maps during an emergency, check out the article at commonsensehome.com 

    For more information on evacuating during an emergency, learn how to build a car emergency kit and practice your family evacuation plan

    --Angela

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, emergency kit, Emergency plan, Survival, emergency preparedness

  • Large Group of Happy People standing together.

    How well do you know your neighbors?

    A recent poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, residents in New York and New Jersey believed that their neighbors were more helpful in providing assistance and support than the state and national government.

    While sixty-three percent of the 2,025 individuals polled in this survey suggested that they turned to friends, families, or neighbors close to their homes, only seven percent said that they contacted their state government during the storm. Additionally, only nineteen percent of those surveyed sought help from the federal government.

    Commonly, in disaster situations, the perceived notion is that a “fend for yourself” attitude comes out in the community. However, this survey found that seventy-seven percent of people reported that the Hurricane brought out the best among their neighbors.

    Neighbors helped each other by sharing food, water, shelter, generators, or access to power. In neighborhoods hardest hit by the storm, sharing was even more common. Many people stated that they really got to know their neighbors as they bonded to help each other through this crisis.

    The most important point that we can take away from this survey is that according to the Associated Press, “data showed that neighborhoods lacking in social cohesion and trust generally had a more difficult time recovering. People in slowly recovering neighborhoods reported greater levels of hoarding of food and water, looting, stealing, and vandalism, compared with neighborhoods that recovered more quickly.”

    Hurricane Sandy teaches us that now is the time to start getting to know your neighbors. Learn about what resources and skills that you can pool in order to help your community survive in case a disaster hits. To learn how to create a community preparedness plan or join our group program to prepare with your neighbors, check out these resources:

    http://beprepared.com/group-program

    http://beprepared.com/blog/1601/baby-steps-to-a-preparedness-network/

    http://beprepared.com/blog/6506/survival-swap-meet/

    http://beprepared.com/media/wysiwyg/PDF/NeighborhoodEmergencyPlan.pdf

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: group program, Emergency plan, Neighborhood Emergency Plan, Hurricane

  • Looking for a great Bug out Vehicle idea?

    To go along with our post on last mile transportation vehicles, we wanted to share a DIY Bug out vehicle that our customer Kevin White created. If you are interested in using alternative transportation in case of an emergency, you might want to check out what he did.

    Using his 2006 Police Electra-Glide motorcycle, Kevin and his wife, Debbie, attached a trailer hitch for a 42”x 48” trailer that held all of their camping gear “to cover heat, light, shelter, food, water, cooking, sleeping, and clothing for a period of at least four days for two people.”

    In order to lighten the load and remove the need for refrigeration, Kevin and Debbie brought along freeze dried foods purchased at Emergency Essentials® and reviewed a couple of our products while they were at it. Kevin’s take on motorcycles as bug out vehicles is that “they are great if there is not mud or icy conditions” (weather is something to keep in mind if you’re considering pulling a trailer with your motorcycle).

    Here are all the items that Kevin and Debbie brought along on their trip using their trailer.

    kevin white vehicle

    And here is a list of everything they brought along with them:

    battery operated fan

    1 13'x9' tent

    1 Queen-size double-chamber air bed

    1 battery/12 volt rechargeable air pump

    2 sleeping bags

    2 pillows

    2 single burner propane stoves

    1 bottle (1 pound size) propane

    1 set of cookware( pot and frying pan)

    1 10 cup percolator

    1 full set cooking utensils

    2 lanterns (battery operated, one with hand crank)

    2 flashlights

    1 can of insect repellent

    1 camera

    1 set extra batteries for all equipment

    Food for 2 for 4 days ( spaghetti, sauce, taco seasoning,FD sausage crumbles, whole egg powder, ground beef, salsa, tortilla shells, coffee, sugar, creamer, cranberry juice, pop, water, cheese, salt, pepper, lettuce, tomatoes and prob some stuff I have forgotten

    1 ice chest

    1 mallet

    Silicone waterproofing spray

    150' rope

    Bungee cords

    2 camp chairs

    1 extended length lighter to light stoves

    3 plastic containers with lids for rehydrating foods

    3 coffee cups

    1 multi-port cell phone charger that plugs into charge port on bike

    Dish soap, dish rag, paper towels, styrofoam plates, plasticware, febreeze spray

    Extra clothing: jeans, socks, shirts etc.

    What do you think? Do you have a motorcycle? Would you ever consider one as a viable option in an emergency? Chime in via the comments.

    --Angela

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Emergency plan, Customer Reviews, alternative transportation, transportation

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