Tag Archives: flood

  • Houston Flood: A Lesson Learned

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    The recent flood in Houston, Texas has many stories of loss and destruction. But there is another side to the story that many people don’t think about. It’s the lesson of learning.

    recovers.org

    For the Sillitoe family, this lesson came at the expense of their home and many of their belongings. Two feet of water rushed into their home during the night. Roy Sillitoe and his wife Rebecca did what they could. At first, they tried to stop the water from entering their home by shoving towels under the base of doors and they used buckets to fill the bathtub. But when the water kept coming in quickly, they started moving what they could to higher locations. Roy wasn’t sure what exactly it was he and his family needed to do. They managed to save some of their children’s toys, but other keepsakes were ruined.

    Despite their loss, Roy feels that his family will be fine. In fact, he believes that being a part of all this was good for his kids. He said that “they can see how we respond to it and stay positive.” Among other things, Roy feels that this disaster has been an effective learning tool for his children. “It’ll happen to them in their lifetime, sometime they’ll have to suffer something tough. So this is good.”

    Teaching about and preparing our kids for disasters can really give them a leg up in the future. Roy’s family had to go through a major disaster before the learning experience came. Although it’s good to learn from these disasters, it is likewise important to learn before these disasters happen. That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to take some time this month to practice your prep.

    By practicing for disasters, you’re accepting the fact that a disaster can affect you, but you’re also proving to yourself that when it does come, you’ll be ready. There’s no need to wait until the disaster arrives before you start evaluating your emergency plans.

    The time has come to stop ignoring the possibility of being effected by a disaster. Live Science wrote an article on why people don’t learn from disasters. In that article Gene Whitney of the Committee on Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters (say that ten times fast) said that “despite repeated disasters, the public continues to turn a blind eye to the risks.”

    Prepare to FailWhy do we keep doing that? There have been countless times in which we have seen disaster after disaster wreaking havoc on cities, communities, families, and individuals. We see it happen, but for some reason we don’t think it will happen to us. That’s where we need to start changing our mindset.

    Roy Stillitoe’s mindset following the flood was that of education. He found his experience an unpleasant one to be certain, but he also saw the benefit for his children. They could learn from that disaster. Although it took a flood, he hopes his children will remember their experience in the future so they will be better prepared for other disasters that will inevitably come knocking (or just barge right in).

    That is something most people don’t generally do. A survey done by Robert Meyer (in the same article by Live Science), a professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania, said that “we [ie. people] underattend to the future, we too quickly forget the past and we too readily follow the lead of people who are no less myopic than we are.”

    Why don’t we plan ahead for disaster? We attend to the future in other ways, such as going to college to get a good job, move from a one-bedroom apartment to a three bedroom house to have more room for your growing family, and even have life insurance, because we want our loved ones to be provided for, just in case. So why don’t we look ahead for disasters?

    Meyer believes that we need to change our behavior. He feels that society needs to makes safety a norm, beginning with education in the school system. But since it isn’t necessarily being taught in the school system, we can start by teaching it in our home. And again, one way to do that is to practice, practice, practice!

    Roy Stillitoe and his family learned some valuable lessons in disaster planning because a flood came through their home. I hope we can all take that one step (or more) further and learn those lessons before disasters come. Go out and not only learn what you should do during specific disasters, but actually pretend that the disaster is actually happening. Practice living in a tent for a day or two. Practice eating only your freeze-dried food (hey, at least you’ll still have good meals). Practice using your emergency gear in any way you can think of. Knowing what to do is only half the battle. Now you’ve just got to put what you know into practice.

     

    Practice Your Prep

     

    In what ways have you practiced using your prep? Let us know in comments!

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Planning, Practice Your Prep Tagged With: lessons, Houston, practice your prep, Flash flood, flood, family

  • A Tale of Two Winters

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

    Boston's Snowiest Winter (WBZ-TV Retrieved from cbs Boston) Attribution: WBZ-TV

    That’s how this winter has felt for most of the country. High amounts of nothing in the West can make for happy commuters, and yet equally unhappy farmers and anyone else who enjoys drinking water. The East coast received a pounding in snow storms, and Boston has even broken its own record (congratulations!) for snowiest winter, accumulating 108.6 inches of snow as of Sunday evening. That’s over 9 feet of snow! Now, as spring starts to set in, each side of the country is experiencing the aftermath of their individualized winter.

    Each side looks longingly at the other, wishing for what the other has. If only they could arrange a switcheroo, with the West taking some much needed moisture from the overly-watered East, and the East taking some dry weather from the parched West. But alas. To borrow from Rudyard Kipling, "East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet."

    Winter has definitely been a different story for each side of the country, and each story has its own villain and plot twists. The western drought is worse than ever as water levels are historically low, while in the East, spring flooding has become a huge problem with the Ohio River overstepping its banks, flooding areas in Cincinnati, as well as Kentucky and Indiana.

    As the drought drags on, water shortages will become more and more common. The clouds refuse to give a much-needed respite. Water tables are dropping, and farmers are in a pickle. And so are the rest of us…eventually. Food crops need water to grow, and so as the clouds remain petulant and refuse us their moisture, what will happen to food supplies? What will happen to the cost of groceries? Food tends to run short during food shortages (funny how that works). And of course, that’s when prices tend to rise.

    boston-snow (WBZ TV) Attribution: WBZ-TV

    On the other side of the country, melting snow and spring rain is causing floods, water washing over roads and flooding business. Ironically, one must ask, how does flooding affect your water supply? Impure flood waters can contaminate municipal supplies. Also, how do flood waters affect food supplies? The entire supply chain, from the farm to the highway, to the grocery store is interrupted. Assuming food finds its way to the store, and you are even able to there, you’ll likely find prices much higher when you arrive.

    It’s times like these when we can only hope we are prepared.

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, the best time to prepare for today is yesterday. Or last week or last month. Basically, if we are constantly preparing for natural nuisances such as these, we won’t be in over our head when the floods rise or the droughts linger.

    Woman Looking In Empty Food CupboardsThese next few days could prove quite uncomfortable for those left with what’s in their cupboards. If you’re like many Americans and like to wait until the cupboards are completely bare before you do your shopping (after all, why go shopping if there’s no room to put the goods?), you could end up re-living your college days by only eating ramen noodles and Easy Mac. That’s one reason (among many) why it’s important to have food and water storage on hand. At a minimum, make sure you have at least 3-days’ worth of food and water stored.

    Instead of fording rivers to see what the stores have to offer, having your own food storage can really keep you afloat during these times. Starting a food storage may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You can start with a can here, a can there, and gradually build it up over time. Or, you could just dive in head first and take advantage of our year-supply offers by either getting it all in one go. We also has Prep As You Go plans, allowing you to gradually build up your storage over the course of a year, making it a much more affordable option.

    Droughts and floods may seem like polar opposites, but they can leave the same problems in their wake. Not being able to find food when you need it can be very scary. As we like to say around here, the best time to get prepared is yesterday. The second best time is now.

    How have you prepared for flooding? Droughts? What is the most important thing for you to do to get ready? Let us know in the comments!

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Food Storage Tagged With: Boston, drought, flood, Winter

  • California Rainstorms Bring Flooding, Mudslides

    California Rainstorms Bring Flooding, Mudslides

    It’s been a tough water year for California. We’ve talked about the drought pretty extensively here on the blog, as well as some surprising effects it has had, like increasing rattlesnake populations in residential areas—in addition to the expected effects, like increasing food costs, more frequent and damaging wildfires (see here and here), and skyrocketing prices at water auctions.

    California started getting much-needed water last week, but it’s coming in a series of downpours that have flooded streets, caused mudslides that overtook homes and stranded motorists on the Pacific Coast Highway (a portion of the PCH is even shut down completely for 3-4 weeks because of the damage), and temporarily cut power to around 100,000 customers in the Bay Area. There was even a small tornado in south L.A. that blew the roof off one home.

    Just this month (1st-15th) it has rained 9.14 inches in San Francisco—compared to 2.08 inches that fell in almost six months last year (July 1 to Dec 15th). The ground just can’t absorb the water at the rate it’s falling, which leads to the mudslides and severe flooding that happened this week. Evacuations have taken place in several Southern California communities, and more will happen if the rain continues at these rates.

    A heavy storm is expected to come into Southern California Tuesday afternoon, leading to concern over more possible mudslides and flood damage. Northern California can expect rain and snow until Wednesday.

    Many California residents are unprepared for power outages, evacuations, and flooding—while others are ready, having prepared in advance for just these types of emergencies, with survival kits, family evacuation plans, and emergency gear they can rely on during the storms.

    Instagram user @annettecardwell posted this photo on December 10th with the caption “House is sand bagged, hatches are battened, fireplace is roaring. Ready for #hellastorm”

     

     

    House is sand bagged, hatches are battened, fireplace is roaring. Ready for #hellastorm

     

    A photo posted by Annette Cardwell (@annettecardwell) on

    Google brought their sense of humor—and a raft—along for the ride… because you never know.

    Twitter user @dwnydaisy seemed all set to go the day the storms hit.

    Unfortunately, there were also a lot of messages like this one from Twitter user @krisellelaran, who thinks Californians aren’t well prepared.

    Some California residents even had to evacuate because the storm downed power lines onto their homes.

    Being prepared doesn't always mean you get to stay home, or that there isn't damage to your property, but it does mean there’s less to worry about in a crisis.

    To prepare for heavy storms that cause power outages and evacuations:

    • Get an emergency kit for everyone in your household.
    • Buy or build a power outage kit for your home—you’ll appreciate having it during short outages where you get to stay home, as well as serious storms that require evacuation.
    • Develop a household or family emergency and evacuation plan.
    • Build up a supply of food storage and water storage you can rely on in long-term emergencies as well as short-term crises that last just a few days or weeks.
    • Research and develop important skills you can rely on for communication or survival.

    Prepare in advance, and you'll be ready for the next #rainpocalyspe or #hellastorm that comes your way.

    --Sarah

     

    Sources:

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/waterlogged-northern-california-rain-27626164

    http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2014/12/13/pineapple-express-storm-system-pounds-california/

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-first-storm-of-three-southern-california-20141216-story.html

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-portion-of-pch-to-be-closed-20141215-story.html

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, rainstorm, Current Events, flood

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