Tag Archives: Emergency

  • 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!




    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/.

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Emergency Kits, Food Storage, Planning, Uncategorized Tagged With: family plan, Preparing your family, Mother's Day, Emergency

  • 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!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparation, Emergency

  • Your Drought-Year Garden

    If you’re like me, a sunny afternoon in March finds you tearing through your Territorial seed catalogue and poring over cryptic drawings of garden plots. It’s like I can hear my backyard’s biological clock ticking and I can’t wait another minute to get outside!

    As part of your preparations for your 2014 garden, you’re probably checking out seed calendars and companion planting charts. Here’s one more graphic you might want to consider from the U.S. Drought Monitor:

    How will your garden do in your area during this drought?

    Experts are calling the current western dry spell one of the “worst droughts in 500 years”, severely affecting the supply of drinking water, as well as that for crop irrigation. In fact, one of the most far-reaching effects of even a localized drought in an agricultural state like California is rising produce prices across the country (read about food storage and drought here).

    In that light, gardening may seem like a smart way to beat the heat. However, if you live in any of the highlighted areas on the map above, there are some serious considerations for the home gardener. Some Californians have already been required to restrict water use. Your neighborhood may not be in quite such dire straights, but there are ways all of us can garden a little more conservatively in a dry year.

    Check out these tips and tricks for gardening in lean times:

    Water conservation is a good idea any time, but this year seems to be providing us a compelling reason to conserve. Read about California’s challenges and some solutions you can implement at home and in the garden. Then get outside and get those peas in the ground!


    Photo Courtesy of U.S. Drought Monitor

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: produce, drought, emergency preparedness, gardening, garden, water storage, Survival, water, Emergency, preparedness, food storage

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