Tag Archives: emergency preparedness

  •  Setting Preparedness Goals

    “Getting Prepared” is a worthy goal in and of itself, but can be a little bit nebulous. How do you know when you’re done? Do you have a way to be sure you covered all your bases?

    There’s one easy way to be sure you get everything done that you need to do without getting burned out: Set preparedness goals. Here are four good reasons you should:

    Track  your progress

    Setting preparedness goals is a great way to see how much progress you’re making in a given time period. If you set time-specific goals, even better. Keep your goals all in one place, and sort them by preparedness category. Assign a “due date,” and as you achieve them, check off the box, knowing you’ve got one more item, concept, or skill under your belt.

    Stay focused on the most important needs first

    It’s easy to get sidetracked in your preparedness efforts—everything can seem like “the most important” based on what’s going on in the world, the things you’ve already started working on, and things your neighbors, friends, or others tell you to do. Making goals will help you focus on what will meet your needs. Let your neighbors focus on their own needs, and everyone comes out ahead.

    Pace Yourself

    Working on one or two goals at a time keeps you from running around like a crazy person, doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, while somehow still feeling like you didn’t make any progress at the end of the day (week, month, etc.).

    Consistently working on the same single goal (or two) will allow you to keep up your momentum without getting burned out and throwing in the towel.

    Enjoy the Accomplishment

    This is a biggie one—especially if you’re the type that likes to check things off your list. Setting manageable goals and checking them off your list can give you that boost of motivation to keep building on the supplies and the skills you already have.

    Get the Most Out of Your Goals

    There are a few things you can go to set yourself up for success in achieving your preparedness goals:

    1)      Figure out your preparedness needs and priorities first. This will keep your goals focused and relevant to what you want to accomplish.

    2)      Write them down. This is crucial. Have a preparedness binder? Stick this in the very front, and categorize your goals so you can easily see how your efforts are preparing you to meet your needs and face certain challenges.

    No preparedness binder? Keep your goals posted in your storage room near your supplies, or keep a document on your computer, tablet, or phone.

    3)      Make yourself accountable for your goals by sharing them with family or friends who are also interested in preparedness, survival, or homesteading (or all of the above). Friends and neighbors can provide additional ideas, help, and motivation.

    4)      Set timelines for each goal—and be realistic. If your budget won’t allow you to buy a year supply of food at once, don’t set a short-term goal to get a year’s worth of food. Make that a long-term goal, and work on a week supply or a month supply first. If, however, you’re too generous with the timeline, you may lose motivation to keep working toward your goal. So strike a balance, and don’t be a perfectionist about it.

    5)      Make the goals specific enough that you’ll know when you’ve accomplished them. If you find yourself checking off a goal and saying, “Well, except for…,” then it might be best to create two or more related goals.

    Remember to Have Fun!

    Enjoy the process of getting prepared—if you’re feeling burned out, alternate “have to” goals with “want to” goals to keep your interest and your motivation high. It might be boring to chop logs into firewood, but if you follow that with an evening of cooking delicious meals over a campfire or a backyard fire pit, you’ll remember the benefits of all your hard work—and practice a useful survival skill at the same time.

     

    So, what’s next on your list of survival goals?

     

    --Urban Girl.

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

  • 5 Ways to Start a Fire with Water

    A crucial skill to have in practically any emergency situation is knowing how to build a fire. Whether you get lost overnight on a ski trip or your car runs out of gas as you pack up to leave your campsite, knowing how to build a fire and stay warm could save your life.

    So what’s the best way to build a fire? “Building” a fire typically comes in three stages: gather the materials, lay the fire, and then start it. Check out our Insight Article to learn “How to Build a Fire” using these three stages.

    However, in an emergency situation, there’s one other item that could actually help you start a fire that many overlook—water. It’s true. Grant Thompson, from thekingofrandom.com, shows five ways you can start a fire using water. Check it out:

    There you have it: five ways water can start a fire. Four of Thompson’s five fire starting methods show you how to use water as a magnifying glass to spark a fire, letting the power of the sun do all the work (or at least a lot of it!). But e But B ven if there’s cloud cover, you aren’t out of luck. With just a few supplies you can still ignite a fire in seconds.

    If you plan to use water to help you start a fire in an emergency, make sure to add the following supplies to your emergency gear so you are completely prepared.

    Method 5:

    • A light bulb. Make sure your bulb has been rinsed and cleaned according to Thompson’s directions. Cushion the bulb with fabric, grocery sacks, or other forms of padding to keep it from breaking and place it in a small container before you put it in your emergency supplies.
    • A balloon to cap off the end of the light bulb after you’ve filled it with water

    Method 4

    • Plastic wrap
    • A bowl

    Method 3

    • Plastic wrap
    • A picture frame

    *For this method, make sure you have a way to securely attach the plastic wrap to the frame and to heat water.

    Method 2

    • A juice bottle (that looks like a bubble) filled with water

    Method 1

    • Toilet paper
    • Toilet paper roll
    • Small chunks of sodium
    • Jar lid

     

    Caution! Playing with fires is dangerous so make sure to have proper safety gear (a fire extinguisher, goggles, and leather gloves) with you when practicing these new ways to start a fire. Also, make sure to light fires in a cleared area away from flammable objects or dry grass.

    These are some fun, unique methods you can use to start a fire, but don’t forget about the traditional methods as well. Adding items such as the Sparkie, the P-25 Strike Master or FiredUp! firestarters to your emergency supplies are reliable ways to get a roaring fire and warmth fast. (Or, taking a hint from Thompson, how about a magnifying glass?)

     

     

    Sources:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCyHC7lnMyQ

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, emergency preparedness, fire, fire starting

  • How do Earthquakes impact your Mental Health?

    After a 4.4 magnitude earthquake shook California residents on St. Patrick’s Day, many people have found it difficult to shake their high-strung nerves, according to CBS Los Angeles’ article, “‘Earthquake Nerves’ could Impact Mental Health’”.

    Emotional aftershocks are common after experiencing emergencies or natural disasters. But did you know these aftershocks are capable of affecting your mental health if you ignore them?

    One of the most important things you can do after a disaster, according to Psychiatrist Charles Sophy, is to talk about your experience. Sophy believes emotional signs such as the inability to fall asleep or the lack of hunger are “signs that you’re still very upset [and] are red flags that you need to do something, which is either talking to [another] adult or call[ing] your doctor. Talk to your husband, your partner, whatever, but you’ve got to talk about it.”

    Talking about your experience can help alleviate the stress and anxiety that comes from the lack of control you felt during a crisis. It’s equally important to talk with your children if you’re a parent and to not underestimate or downplay the danger of earthquakes. Read the rest of the article here.

    Preparing will help alleviate some of the potential emotional turmoil and distress that comes from emergencies. Focus on the following areas (in addition to gathering gear and supplies):

    1. Prepare your home: You can prepare your home by building a supply of food, water, and gear to help you survive after an earthquake. You can go even further by bolting down furniture or securing vases, frames, and other moveable objects with an adhesive putty or gel, like these from Quake Hold.
    2.  Prepare your children: Teach your children how to stay safe at home, school, and while outdoors during an earthquake. Also let your children help make a plan, build an emergency kit, and get involved. Check out Ready.gov for ideas on how to include your children.
    3. Prepare yourself: Prepare yourself emotionally and physically for an earthquake. If you’ve taken the above precautions and prepared your home and your children, you’ll be able to better focus on keeping your emotions in check during an emergency.

     

    What precautions do you think are the most important to take for an earthquake?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, Earthquake, national disaster

  • Caught in a Mudslide: Survivors' Stories from Washington state

    Imagine hearing a crack and then sliding from zero to 20 miles per hour in half a second while sitting in the front room of your home. That’s how many described the massive mudslide that crashed through a neighborhood in Washington state on Saturday, March 22.

    As the mudslide rushed towards the homes below, people frantically cried for help. Evacuation teams immediately worked to rescue people from their homes, airlifting them from destroyed structures.

    One survivor spoke with the Washington Post about her experience:

    “I looked out the window, and I saw this huge wall of mud – must have been 20 feet tall. We went moving, and we were tumbled. I had a mouth full of mud, and nose full of it. We were under everything, and we had to dig our way out,” said Robin Youngblood.

    “To all my family and friends in many parts of the world – we’re all OK,” Youngblood wrote on her Facebook page after the event. “We don’t have a home at present, its only matchsticks, the landslide took it out with Jetty and I inside. It was a wild ride. We were airlifted out by helicopter after about an hour. The only thing that survived besides us is a painting called Night Warrior…”

    Read more stories from survivors from the Washington Post here.

    The rescue effort is still underway as volunteers search through the rubble. Right now the death toll is at 14, although emergency officials expect it to rise, and there are 176 people unaccounted for. Our hearts go out to all those suffering from this natural disaster.

    Landslides can be fast-moving or slow; they can cause damage gradually or destroy property and take lives in an instant. They can happen anywhere and for a variety of reasons (heavy rain and snowmelt, shaking due to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, erosion, and gravity, etc.).

    So what should you know about avoiding or preparing for landslides?

    The Red Cross shares three tips to help you avoid or prepare for landslides.

    1. Learn about your area’s landslide risk. Landslides tend to repeat in places where they have occurred in the past. If the home you’re hoping to build or buy is in an area where a landslide has occurred before, think seriously about choosing a different location.
    2. During severe rainstorms, avoid roads that may be in the path of a land/mudslide. Heavily saturated ground makes the chances of a mudslide more likely.
    3. Generally, landslide insurance is not available. However, some flood insurance companies may cover damage caused by debris flow. Check with your company and see how you can protect your home and personal property in the event that a mudslide does happen in your area.

     

    Have you ever been caught in a mudslide before? What was your experience? What would you do differently if you could?

    Photo Courtesy of the Washington Post

     

    Sources:

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/03/24/2-killed-in-big-wash-mudslide-sheriff-office-says/

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/03/24/the-fatal-mudslide-in-washington-what-was-it-like/

    http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/landslide

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, natural disasters

  •  The Shamrock Shake: California's 4.4 Earthquake

    Imagine waking up, not to your alarm clock, but to a magnitude 4.4 earthquake! What could you do to protect yourself if you were still groggy in bed when the quake started?

    This was a question many California residents had to ask at 6:25 a.m. PDT on Monday, March 17th, when a magnitude 4.4 earthquake was reported in the southern California area. This monumental earthquake was quickly labeled the #Shamrockshake by California residents and news teams on Twitter in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

    According to Robert Graves, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, this quake was the biggest shake in southern California since a magnitude 5.5 earthquake in Chino Hills in 2008. This unexpected quake reminds us of the importance of emergency preparedness, especially since Graves suggests that earthquakes of this magnitude often act as preludes to equal or stronger shakes.

    In fact, Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, suggests that "today's earthquake is a reminder that every L.A. family must be prepared with food, water, and other essentials, as well as a plan" even though there was no major damage reported in the area. But preparations don't just stop at food and water; there are also things you can do to prepare your home like bolting down furniture or securing bookcases.

    To find out the latest about California's 4.4 earthquake, check out the L.A. Times article, " Earthquake: 4.4 quake strikes Los Angeles; 6 aftershocks so far." Also, follow the #Shamrockshake Twitter hashtag for continual updates.

    As we suggest in our article “Preparing for Earthquakes”, if you're ever caught in an earthquake while you're in bed (like many in California were), hold on, stay there, and protect your head with a pillow.

    For more cool tips about how to prepare for Earthquakes, check out our Insight articles, blog posts and our Preparedness Checklists to start making an emergency plan today.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, natural disaster, natural disasters

  • 3 Emergencies in the past 30 days that needed solar power

    At the beginning of March, a pole fire caused a 7-8 hour power outage for many residents of Orem, UT—one of which was me. As my husband and I scrambled in the dark trying to find our spare flashlights, I quickly realized that we were not as prepared as we should have been.

    Over the past month, other similar emergencies have occurred across the country that resulted in the loss of power. In these specific situations (as well in other emergencies) solar power could have helped ease the tension of the crisis. I know it would have for me! Solar power helps you remain self-reliant in the face of a disaster. Prepping you and your family with solar power can give you the tools and skills you need to help your family get through an emergency much more comfortably.

    Check out these three emergencies that happened in the past month where those affected could have benefited from storing a solar power option.

    Power Out for a Million

    In early February, winter storm Nika spread across the Northeast dropping snow and ice, and knocking out power for an estimated one million people—some were even left without it for days.

    Read the rest of the story here.

    In these icy conditions, a reserve of solar power gear would have helped many people power appliances, and tools for communication. You can charge your cell phone (how will you let loved ones know you’re okay?), your laptop, radio (to keep in touch with news updates), and other electronic devices using solar power.

    Tools such as the Yeti 1250 Home Essentials Kit give you all the tools you’d need to power multiple devices at once. However, if you’re looking for a basic setup to get started, you can add items like the Switch 8 (a compact, portable power pack to power up any device via USB) and a [Nomad 7] solar panel (or other panel) to your emergency gear.

    Possible Attack on the Power Grid

    A 2013 attack on an electric grid near San Jose, CA has many now wondering whether they’d be able to survive a long-term power outage. Since our society relies so much on power, an attack on the power grid could be devastating.

    Read the rest of the story here.

    If the power grid went down, you’d be left to your own devices to light, heat, and cook in your home. Are you prepared to power your own home for weeks or months on end? In this situation, solar power could help keep your family’s perishable food cold, keep the lights turned on in the dark, and provide you with a way to power portable heaters.

    In a long-term emergency, which an attack on the power grid could certainly cause, all you’d have to do is gather sunlight during the day to provide power for your family at night.

    Staying Toasty in Texas: No power? No problem!

    In early February 2014, a gas leak required companies to turn off the natural gas supply for most of North Texas—leaving many without a way to heat their homes on a day when temperatures sat abnormally below-freezing.

    Read the rest of the story here.

    Keeping a portable heater on hand will help you stay warm during heat-related emergencies. But not all portable heaters run on propane. Some portable heaters are electric which wouldn’t be as helpful during a power outage…unless you’ve prepared with solar power. Solar power can provide you with the power you need to run a portable electric heater so you can stay warm.

    You could also try adding a portable heater like the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy which gives you safe, reliable propane heat indoors. No need for electricity at all!

    Why Solar Power?

    Adding gear such as the Yeti 1250 Home Essentials Kit can help you survive an emergency power outage. With the Yeti 1250, you get 1250 watt-hours of power so you can run multiple devices at the same time. Think about powering your laptop, cell phone, or microwave all at once. Having solar power can not only give you power for light, but for communication, cooking, and more.

    The Yeti 1250 Home Essentials’ Kit is ideal to use in a long-term outage such as the one that left a million people across the Northeast without power, or even for a possible attack against the power grid.

     

    This kit includes:

    • 2 Boulder 30M Solar Panels to help you collect power
    • 1 Yeti 1250 —an emission free, solar power generator.
    • 4 Light-A-Life’s to disperse your stored power as light. These lights require low energy so your power can last longer when you need it to most. Light-A-Life’s have been rated for 20,000 hours of use.

    Are you a solar power advocate? What do you use solar power for?

    --Kim

     Editor's Note: The Staying Toasty in Texas event did not encompass the whole region of Northern Texas. The city of Jacksboro was the main town invovled.

    Sources:

    http://www.weather.com/news/commuter-conditions/winter-storm-nika-latest-news-20140203

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, emergency preparedness

  • Corned Beef and Cabbage Slaw is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal. This year, we decided to pay homage to the beef and cabbage combo, but try it out in some different recipes. Give one of these a try on St. Patty’s Day or any time—believe me, you’ll want to make them more than once a year.

    Cabbage Coleslaw

     This delicious cabbage coleslaw is great alone or as part of a meal using food storage ingredients!

    Beef Brisket Lo Mein

    Beef Brisket Lo Mein gives you the flavorful taste of beef and cabbage in a delicious Oriental-style dish

    Beef Brisket Taco

    The Beef Brisket Taco adds a colorful display of flavor to the table any time of the year.

    Personal BBQ Brisket Pizzas

     Personal BBQ Brisket Pizzas from food storage

    What’s your favorite beef and cabbage meal?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, recipes, emergency preparedness, freeze dried, #10 cans, St. Patrick's Day, emergency cooking, food storage meals, beef and cabbage

  •  How Prepared is your car for an emergency?

    In light of the recent debacle in Georgia, when a dusting of snow locked up roadways across the state, one local insurance company set out to see how prepared their city’s citizens were.

    According to Delawareonline.com, the “junk in the trunk” campaign hosted by State Farm found that, while drivers tend to leave or store plenty of items in their car, relatively few of them count as “emergency supplies” (not real sure how those mason jars are going to come in handy…).

    So, if you can’t quite think of a good use for old fast food bags and crusty beach towels from last summer, what should you stash in your car? FEMA has a good checklist, as does ReadyWisconsin who might know a thing or two about snow days, to get you and your vehicle prepared with the right supplies.

    Or, if you’re a level 5 prepping fanatic—and drive something more substantial than, say, a Civic hatchback—you can use the Allstate Insurance comprehensive, ready-for-absolutely-any-kind-of-road-trip-emergency checklist.

    Start here to gather materials, and don’t forget to clear out all the stuff from your car that you’ll never use! Except the ketchup packets. You really never know when you’ll need one of those.

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Winter, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, winter preparedness, emergency car preparedness, car

  • Ukraine and Your Gas Bill

    how has conflict in the Ukraine affected Natural Gas transport?

    Have you been following the situation in the Ukraine? Skirmishes on the other side of the globe seem far from our everyday worries, but some parts of the world are already considering possible far-reaching effects.

    At the top of the list is Europe’s energy supply. Roughly a quarter of Europe’s natural gas comes from Russian oil fields. Most of Russia’s pipeline transport routes cross Ukraine on their way to continental Europe. Though experts claim Europe’s reserves are in good shape, and fears of shortages or price hikes are premature, European newspapers like Britain’s Telegraph are already reporting increases in the price of oil and gas.

    Some of you might remember oil and gas shortages in our own country in decades past (is anybody going to own up to remembering the 1970s?). And within my own kids’ lifetime, we’ve seen energy prices fluctuate frighteningly. But along with shortages, embargoes, and depletions, we’ve also seen a fairly miraculous proliferation of energy technology. Just a generation ago, for example, the cost of solar power for consumer use was extremely high. Today, the average prepper can buy a portable solar generator for less than the cost of a laptop.

    Chances seem good that Ukraine’s troubles won’t affect your gas bill—but Ukraine isn’t the only country with troubles! Could you power your home if your utilities were disrupted? Do you have the tools you need to wash clothes, heat your home, or to cook? Have you considered storing fuel? Or maybe you’re looking into generators. Whatever your own energy solution, be sure to do your homework.

    Storms and wars aren’t likely to stop. But that doesn’t mean we have to sit in the dark!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, warmth, emergency preparedness, generator, emergency warmth

  • After 10 years of living in their home, the Zwick family cracked open the fallout shelter out back and found it fully stocked!

    After living in their home for 10 years, a Wisconsin family was surprised to find an 8' x 10' fallout shelter in their backyard—even more surprising is that it was fully stocked! Ken and Carol Zwick cracked open the shelter for the first time in 2010, revealing $1,200 worth of emergency supplies stored by the home’s previous owners who were prepping for the Cold War.

    Inside the Shelter

    The Zwick family donated the supplies to the Neenah Historical Society (NHS) in the spring of 2012. According to the NHS website, the purpose of this society is to “collect, preserve, and share the stories of [their] community.”

    We reached out to NHS Executive Director, Jane Lang, to learn a little more. We were curious about the types of preparedness supplies the people who stocked this fallout shelter considered to be important to their survival 50 years ago.

    Although 5 feet of water seeped into the shelter during its 50 years of life, the Zwick family found many of the supplies still intact. Foodstuffs and treats like Tang, Corn Flakes, and Butterscotch Bits were found among other supplies such as toilet paper, paper towels, candles, clothing, bedding, tools, flashlights, and batteries (most of which were surprisingly still in good condition).

    But the previous owner didn’t stop there. Other supplies like a radio, an alarm clock, an axe, a funnel, and a phone book filled the water-tight, metal military boxes the Zwicks discovered. These World War II army surplus cases no doubt helped preserve the condition of the family’s emergency supplies.

    Emergency preparedness items from the 1960 fallout shelter as displayed at the Neenah Historical Society

    Items in your emergency supplies can range from the basics of food and water to items such as an alarm clock to help an emergency seem less like a crisis and more like daily life. One great item the previous owners added to their shelter was the phone book. Having a list of emergency phone numbers/emergency contacts is a great idea (as long as you keep it updated).

    According to Lang, one of the neatest items found in the shelter was a Geiger counter in perfect condition (still inside its box with the manual) and a “Banshee” radiation detector with its receipt. “It was fascinating to look at the contents of the shelter and see what people in 1960 were told to put into their family fallout shelters,” Lang stated.

    The Exhibit

    The NHS exhibit, “Take Cover, Neenah: Backyard Family Fallout Shelters in Cold War America” replicated the shelter found in the Zwick’s backyard. “I wanted visitors to be able to feel like they were back in the ‘60s, sitting in their own living rooms, and then leaving to take cover in their backyard shelter…so that people could get a true sense of that confinement,” Lang said.

    Lang went on to explain that in the late ‘50s and ‘60s, emergency preparation was greatly encouraged. As many visitors have toured the replicated fallout shelter and its supplies (1,500 in May and early June 2013 alone), they've wondered aloud whether we are “more or less safe [today] than we were during the Cold War.”

    Although in certain areas many people aren't as concerned about war as natural disasters, unemployment, or other emergencies, emergency preparedness is still essential. After all, Lang put it perfectly: “Human beings have always been and will always be concerned with family safety and security.”

    Currently the exhibit is closed for the winter, but will re-open in late April. The exhibit will close for good in late July this year. If you are in the area, stop by to check it out.

    If You Go:

    Cost:                            Free

    Location:                  343 Smith Street, Neenah, WI 54956

    For more information about the exhibit and when you can visit, feel free to call the Neenah Historical Society at 920-729-0244

    Update:

    A few of you have requested more photos of the fallout shelter found in Wisconsin so we found some for you! Below are photographs we found on the Internet of the Zwick family uncovering the shelter.

    Carol Zwick uncovers a 1960s fallout shelter in her backyard

    Courtesy of Daily News

    The fallout shelter behind the Zwick family's home

    Courtesy of Daily News

    Descending into the fallout shelter found in 2010

    Courtesy of Huffington Post

    Inside the 1960s fallout shelter found in a Wisconsin backyard

    Courtesy of the Daily News

    Stored water found in a 50 year old fallout shelter

    Courtesy of Daily News

    Foodstuff supplies stocked in a fallout shelter 50 years ago.

    Courtesy of Huffington Post

    --Kim

    Sources:

    Interview with Ms. Jane Lang, Exec. Director of the Neenah Historical Society

    http://www.focol.org/neenahhistorical/index.html

    www.nydailynews.com/news/national/wisconsin-family-found-1960-nuclear-shelter-article-1.1333040

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/neenah-wisconsin-fallout-shelter-photos_n_3200757.html

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, Emergency plan, Survival, emergency preparedness, fallout shelter, 1960, Cold War

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