Tag Archives: preparedness

  • Crisis City: "Disney World for Emergency-Response Instructors"

    Crisis City: "Disney World for Emergency Response Instructors"

    Gunshots, screaming, dust clouds rising from a recently collapsed pile of concrete rubble. It could be a scene from a disaster film. Or it could be a training course at Crisis City, Kansas’s premier emergency response training facility. A collection of simulated disasters—from train wrecks to burning skyscrapers—spread over 45 flat acres in the central part of the state, Crisis City has been called “Disney World for emergency-response instructors.”

    According to a recent write-up about the facility in Popular Mechanics, other similar facilities exist—notably Texas A&M’s TEEX and Georgia’s ginormous 830-acre Guardian Centers. The purpose is to train the professionals in a setting that is both safe and realistic—a tricky engineering feat, the article points out! Everyone from local firefighters to FEMA responders can practice pulling mock victims out of collapsed subway tunnels or train dogs to find survivors after a tornado.

    The principle at work here is a simple one: practice makes perfect…especially when adrenaline is high and critical decisions need to be made quickly. And while monster facilities like this can be booked for a small fee (somewhere in the neighborhood of $23,000 a day, reports Popular Mechanics), you can put the same principle to work with your family on a much smaller scale.

    Have an evacuation plan? Practice it. An escape route in case of fire? Make the kids act it out. A phone tree in case of emergency? Call it. Whatever plans you have in place, make an activity out of practicing them regularly, until those responses become second nature. Because it’s not just the professionals that need to act quickly when disaster strikes!




    Photo Courtesy of Popular Mechanics

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, preparedness

  • Setting Preparedness Goals

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     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: emergency preparedness, Emergency plan, preparedness

  • Earthquakes in the Golden State

    Recent Earthquakes in California cause people to prepare

    Since leaving Southern California a few years ago, I’ve been missing fresh avocado and Disneyland something fierce. One thing I haven’t missed? Earthquakes. I was reminded of how much I didn’t miss them when friends started reporting their experiences online with the recent 6.7 shaker.

    While the injury count is encouraging (none), the New York Times points to an important side effect: “For Californians, 2 Quakes Put Preparedness Back on the Map.” According to the article, the relatively gentle reminders lately have reminded a complacent community of the real and imminent danger of larger quakes. In fact, more than just encouraging residents to store water and practice earthquake safety, LA’s mayor is working with a prominent seismologist to overhaul the city’s unsound buildings and shore up its water and communications infrastructure.

    The short-term takeaway: events like this remind us of the importance of earthquake preparation. Is my house up to code? Have I stored food and water? Do I have ways to communicate with family or rescuers if phone towers are knocked out? These are important questions to answer, and you can find a thorough range of preparation resources in our post, “How to Prepare for an Earthquake.”

    There is, however, an even scarier lesson at work here. Angelinos certainly aren’t exclusively guilty of this, but the situation is a powerful reminder of how quickly we become complacent in our preparations. L.A.’s expert seismologist Lucille M. Jones calls the last 17 years “the quietest time we have ever seen,” in terms of seismic activity—but that’s barely a generation away from the lethal Northridge quake!

    A long stint without a disaster accomplishes two potentially fatal things. First, it tips preparedness off the radar of our consciousness. And second, it increases the likelihood of another disaster (for example, if experts predict my neighborhood will flood every ten years, and it’s been nine…). This principle really hits home for me. I said I was relieved to be away from the California fault lines, but experts have been predicting “The Big One,” a 9+ point mega-quake, here in my own Pacific Northwest for ages. The last one was in 1700. We’re long overdue, and we’re nowhere as prepared as Southern California!


    Whether it’s earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, or floods in your neck of the woods (and, let’s be honest, it’s never just one), don’t let a calm spell fool you. Follow LA county’s lead and take care of the problem before things get even dicier. Start here, and let us know how else we can help you!


    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Earthquake, natural disaster, preparedness

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