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  • Procrastination: A Recipe For Disaster(s)

    Why aren’t you prepared for a major emergency?

    According to a recent survey of 3,000 people, the majority claim they just keep putting off getting prepared. These people have even taken First Aid courses, so we know they’re interested and even want to be ready. Procrastination is keeping us from being prepared.

    Procrastination and emergency shelter does not mix.We all know disasters like to make an appearance when it’s least convenient for us, and when we least expect it. The recent 7.8 magnitude Nepal earthquake should be a smack back to reality. One moment life is good, the next…, well, it’s quite literally in shambles. This earthquake is just one reason we should not just be thinking about preparing, but actually doing it. And if you don’t think such a disaster can happen to you, just remember the earthquake that struck Michigan earlier this month. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said that "It's rare for Michigan to experience earthquakes, but as we were reminded today, it does happen.”

    And if it does happen, why do we still procrastinate?

    Mike Lloyd of News 1130 thinks that starting to prepare can be a little overwhelming, and he may be right. That’s why St. John Ambulance is providing people with 15 Easy Steps to Emergency Preparedness. St. John Ambulance is trying to remind people about the basics and also other things that people tend to forget about.

     

    1. Make An Emergency Plan

    It all starts here, folks. As Ben Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Does anybody ever really want to fail? And yet we plan on it – all the time – when we don’t plan ahead for disaster. Make a plan. To get you started, here are some things you should think about when planning:

    • Exits and evacuation routes
    • Family meeting place
    • Emergency contact
    • Plan for pets
    • Important documents (Social Security cards, birth certificates, insurance, photos of family members and pets, passports, health information, prescriptions, etc.).

     

    1. Emergency Kit

    This is pretty much the go-to for every disaster. Make sure you have a kit, because when disaster strikes, hospitals could very likely only be taking in those that are most seriously injured. Your emergency kit should help you survive the next three days after the disaster. But you might not even be home when the disaster hits, to the people at St. John Ambulance suggest to plan ahead for that, too.

     

    “You may be in a vehicle, so you need a kit for on the road or at work. You may have high-heeled shoes on at work – how are you going to walk? You may not get home for many days.”

     

    If you’re unsure where to start in building your emergency kit, ready.gov has some good resources to look through. Or, if you’d prefer getting a kit already packed and prepared by experts, check out our wide-range of emergency kits.

     

    1. Emergency Food and Water Storage

    We are all encouraged to be able to sustain ourselves for at least three days following a disaster. Having an emergency kit will definitely help with that, but without food and water (especially water), it’s going to be most unpleasant.

    Water storage doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by filling up 2-litre bottles from your kitchen sink and storing them out of direct sunlight. Each person should have about a gallon of water per day, so if you’re planning on using 2-litre bottles, that’s going to be about 6 bottles per person per day. If you have more room, consider investing in some water jugs, or even water barrels. These will help provide you with more water, so if you do need more than just three-days’ worth of water, you’ll be prepared. At the very least, make sure you have enough water for 72-hours. Every six to 12 months, you should get out your water storage and switch out the water so it always tastes fresh.

    Food is also fairly simple to store these days. Freeze-dried food can last up to 25 years, so if you get a can or two of your favorite meal to keep on hand, you’ll have a three-day supply of food without any hassle on your end. Best of all, freeze-dried meals are delicious and easy to prepare – just add hot water, wait about 10 minutes, and you’ve got yourself a full-on meal!

     

    Procrastination is unpreparedness.So you see, preparing for disaster doesn’t have to be hard. You can even start today by filling water containers and stashing them in your storage room. That will take about five minutes.

    Now’s the time to start preparing. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Even if nothing happens, there is peace of mind that comes in knowing that if a disaster did strike, you would be ready for it. Don't let procrastination get the best of you. Prepare today!

     

     

    What strategies have you found that help you get motivated to prepare?

     

     

    Drought Procrastination - Dont' Do It

     

    Posted In: Emergency Cooking, Emergency Kits, First Aid and Sanitation, Food Storage, Insight, Planning Tagged With: procrastination, disaster preparedness, emergency preparedness, water, First Aid, Emergency plan, food storage

  • How Good Sanitation Can Save Your Life

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    "The conditions are certainly right for cholera to take hold"

    That’s how an aid worker described the sanitation conditions in Kathmandu, as reported by NBC. In the same report, a health professional described cholera bluntly. “It kills you within 10 hours…,” he said, “and it’s a disease that affects the poorest of the poor.”

    Sanitation issues in Nepal Chicago Tribune

    And, with 8 million people effected, “the poorest of the poor” have grown dramatically in number. But if it were just cholera the people had to be concerned about, things wouldn’t be as bad. However, there are threats of e.coli, typhoid, and other illnesses. And with the approaching rainy (monsoon) season, things may only get worse. Nepal really is in the most dire of circumstances.

    Following a major disaster, disease and infections tend to spread quickly. According to Medical News Today,

     

    “Diseases and infections are not started in rotting bodies that have been killed by the immediate disaster trauma. In fact, survivors are the source of infection, as their own sanitary conditions deteriorate and sources of clean water are disrupted.”

     

    The Disasters Emergency Committee showed evidence of this from the recent Nepal earthquake: “People are defecating out in the open and there are already reports of diarrheal disease outbreaks and chest infections.”

    Sanitation is a critical part of emergency prep. Without the proper sanitation, not only will you be more likely to get sick, but you’ll be helping to spread that sickness to many others. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified five areas of sanitation preparedness that will help you – and others – keep diseases and infections at bay following a disaster.

     

    Disaster Kit

    Your disaster kit should supply you with the basics to stay sanitary. Items could include moist towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and garbage bags with plastic ties. Fecal matter has a tendency to carry diseases, so be sure to contain it and dispose of it properly (hence the garbage bags with plastic ties). One suggestion for containing your unwanted bodily waste is a portable toilet and privacy shelter. The portable toilet will give you a place to sit and go, and the privacy shelter…well, it will let you do so while still maintaining your dignity.

     

    Wash Your Hands

    Washing hands is good a sanitation practice.If kids have to wash their hands after they cough and sneeze, then we as adults should, too. Washing our hands can eliminate many of the harmful diseases before they have a chance to spread. Remember to wash your hands with clean water. If your tap water isn’t safe, then be sure to boil or sanitize your water before washing with it. If possible, wash with running water as well.

    You should wash your hands for more than just coughing and sneezing, however. If you have kids, just think about when you tell them to wash. Before eating, after using the toilet…that kind of thing. The CDC website has a long list of when to wash up. Make sure you keep your hands clean!

     

    Bathing

    Washing your body is a good health practice to follow. Not only does bathing remove dirt and odors, but also protect us from illness and infections. Finding a bathtub with clean water might not be as easy as before a disaster, but there are other options. For example, you can give yourself a nice, hot shower with the Zodi Extreme Portable Hot Shower. Or, you can turn your water filter into a portable shower with a shower adapter. Pretty handy if you can’t use your own home!

     

    Dental Hygene SanitationDental Hygiene

    Of course, we still need to keep our teeth nice and healthy. When brushing your teeth, make sure you only use water that is safe and clean. Using unclean water will just defeat the purpose.

     

    Wound Care

    A dirty wound can lead to infection and disease. Make sure wounds are clean and covered to keep other infectious microbes from entering. Wash your wounds with soap and clean water. Seek medical attention if the wound starts to swell or if it starts becoming red.

     

     

    Food and water will help you stay alive following a disaster, but if your sanitary situation is sub-par, that food and water can only do so much good. Sickness and disease can be avoided, but it will take planning beforehand to make sure you have the supplies you need to keep you and your family healthy. Are you ready with sanitation?

     

    How have you prepared to stay healthy and sanitary? Let us know in comments!

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, First Aid and Sanitation, Insight, Planning Tagged With: hygene, emergency sanitation, health, Sanitation

  • 4 Reasons Why You Need an Emergency Shelter

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    Kathmandu Earthquake 01 - ABCKathmandu has now taken an unenviable place in modern history, a place now known for grief and sorrow. Such distinction is shared by San Francisco-USA, Messina-Italy, Port au Prince-Haiti, Kanto-Japan, Ancash Region-Peru, Haiyuan, Tangshan and Sichuan Province-China, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, the eastern Coasts of the Indian Ocean, and many other diverse places. All are modern scenes of great death and destruction brought about by earthquake. The images from all are iconic, and are continual reminders that serenity is a delicate state, that where lies peace and tranquility may become calamity and devastation in mere seconds. Nepal becomes another example what we can expect when the unexpected happens. More importantly, we are reminded of how important it is to prepare for the real and lasting effects that follow these disasters.

    Emergency shelters create a tent city Associated Press

    A few days after the devastating Nepal earthquake happened, I wrote about how the postcard-beauty of Kathmandu had become a pile of rubble surrounded by a tent city. Of all the images from this devastation, it was the vast hillsides of tarps and blankets that most poignantly struck me. From the immediate outset, emergency shelter was a major concern for those effected by the earthquake.

    After the earthquake, half a million tents were needed to provide shelter for the masses left without a roof over their head. And, to make matters worse, this may only be the preface to the Nepalese crisis; monsoon season is mere weeks away. Soon may follow downpours of rain, followed by extreme heat. Definitely not a time to be left without shelter.

    As happy and comfortable people, we tend to think about emergency preparedness as a short-term solution. We live and breathe our “72-hour kit plan” but don’t expect to be inconvenienced any longer than that. Don’t get me wrong, 72-hour kits and emergency kits are vital. And, for many situations, a 72-hour kit will be all you need. However, there are instances – such as the Nepal earthquakes – where a 72 hour kit will be your bread and butter for the first three days, but after that, you’re going to need something a little more…permanent.

    That’s where emergency shelter comes into play.

    It’s been almost three weeks since the 7.8 earthquake in Nepal struck. Since then, many countries have donated shelters to the shelterless people of Kathmandu and other regions; Britain has donated more than 65,000 shelters, with more on the way. So why is shelter so important? Let’s use Kathmandu to explain why.

     

    1. The Elements
    Kathmandu Eartquake Emergency Shelter in the Rain BBC

    This is probably the most obvious reason. Rain can really put a damper on things if you’re stuck out in it. With monsoon season on its way, there has already fallen quite a bit of rain on the affected areas in Nepal – and therefore the people. And then there’s the wind. Unless their tarps and blankets are anchored by rocks, the wind will make short the benefits of their makeshift shelters.

    Staying warm and dry is essential to physical health and general sanity (imagine all those afternoons watching your kids on a windy, rainy soccer field…now imagine you can’t go home…sick, tired and crazy!). Then, there is the sun factor, and the burn that cannot be blocked (remember the soccer field, again). In Nepal, shelter from rain, wind, and sun are only the beginning of why shelter is essential if they are to prevent illness, sleep at night, and survive. Reason enough to have a shelter plan?

     

    1. Hot and Cold

    The rain and altitude of Nepal make the night air drop to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t know about you, but sleeping out in the cold, particularly when you’re also wet, makes for a very uncomfortable, sleepless night. And then, during the days, the heat can rise close to 90 degrees. Both extremes are compounded by the humidity. Shelter will hold the heat at night, provide much-needed shade in the day, as well as temper the extreme temperatures.

     

    1. Sanitation

    No matter where we are…we will all have sanitary issues. Improper disposal of human waste can shortly lead to widespread disease. Now, shelters might not necessarily cure the spread of diseases, but they can sure help. By having some sort of privacy shelter with a portable toilet, doing your business is much easier, more localized, and can be controlled, keeping waste contained, thus keeping disease and sickness to a minimum. Privacy shelters can also help keep you healthy by keeping you out of the rain, cold, and other conditions that breed illness.

     

    1. Insects

    Insects, man…tell you what! Those little bugs just, well, bug me while I’m camping. Shelters, fortunately, can protect us from those nasty critters. This is especially important where there are mosquitoes. If their buzzing doesn’t drive you nuts, their bites will, not to mention the fact that they can carry all sorts of diseases. So, keeping them out of your space is another benefit of being ready with shelter in a catastrophe.

     

    Besides all these shelter-from-the-elements reasons, the sense of home, family and belonging that a shelter provides is a benefit that cannot be overstated, particularly in a world torn apart, as in Kathmandu. So you see, there are many reasons to think beyond your 72-hour kit and consider why an emergency shelter plan is essential following a disaster.

    Do you have emergency shelter for yourself and your family? Check out our range of shelters – including the heavy duty Barebones Safari and Barebones Little Bighorn tents – and get started preparing your family with shelter!

     

    What shelter works best for you and your family? Let us know in comments!

     

    Barebones Safari Emergency Shelter

    Barebones Bighorn

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, First Aid and Sanitation, Insight, Shelter and Temperature Control Tagged With: Barebones, emergency shelter, Nepal earthquake, Sanitation, shelter

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