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  • Mom's 5 Tips for Weathering Thunderstorms

    Mom's 5 Tips for Weathering Thunderstorms

    To this day, I love a good thunderstorm. I think it’s because when I was little, my family would gather in our screened-in porch and watch the clouds roll in. We’d drink punch and eat popcorn, and we’d huddle together to listen to and watch for the cracks, booms, and bolts in the sky. I would smell the wet heat rising from the pavement, and I would wish, wish, wish that the power would go out. I wanted that cozy, let’s-huddle-together feeling to last even after the clouds had rolled away.

    Now that I’m a parent, I realize that my happy childhood feelings about thunderstorms were made possible because my parents were prepared for whatever storms might bring—and whatever they might leave behind. I recently checked in with my mom to get her insights on how to prepare for this kind of sudden, potentially serious stormy weather.

    Mom’s 5 Tips for Weathering Thunderstorms:

    1. Weather gear. My mom reminded me that it’s a good idea to have certain items on hand that will make weathering the actual storm itself a comfortable, less wet experience. Ponchos, raincoats, galoshes, umbrellas, long johns, and thick wool socks can make rainy seasons (and puddle stomping) downright enjoyable. Also, they can help protect you from getting too wet and cold, which can be helpful if stormy weather turns into power outages, and you don’t have an easy way to get yourself warm and dry.

    2. Windows. The first thing to do when storms are coming is to close your windows—especially the ones you don’t usually think about or see (basement windows, garage windows, etc.). This alone can prevent a lot of unnecessary seepage.

    3. The light and the bucket. My mom says that a smart person once told her to put a working flashlight right near her bed, so even in the middle of the night, she wouldn’t have to go fumbling around storage closets or bins to find the things she would need in the dark.

    She says it’s an even better idea to fill a plastic bucket with all of the first things you’ll need when the power goes out (e.g., flashlight, battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, batteries), and store it someplace easy to remember and easy to reach. If both the light and the bucket are ready to go and easily accessible, you’ll have sucked the scariness right out of the first moments of a power outage, and you’ll be ready to find your emergency gear without much hassle.

    4. Power. If the storm is serious, you may lose power. There are lots of workarounds for this, but the most important thing is that you’ve thought about it in advance and are ready to go. My mom’s preferred cooking device is a sterno-powered foldable camping stove similar to the Single Burning Folding Stove. With this and a can opener on hand, warm meals are easy to prepare.

    She points out that also having a fireplace and marshmallows can turn an otherwise dismal blackout into a fun family event. (Note to self: Keep marshmallows on hand for emergency purposes. And punch. And popcorn.)

    5. Floods. If the rain comes down too quickly or for too long—or both—flooding is a real possibility. My mom’s number one tip is to keep your gutters clean. Clogged gutters can make flooding much worse than it might otherwise be; but, if gutters are clear and able to do their jobs, they can direct excess water to places it should go (like away from the house).

    If the storm is forecasted to be a big one, sand bagging areas of potential weakness can be helpful. Also, putting up cellophane and caulking around garage doors adds an extra layer of protection. Having your burner or furnace installed on blocks can prevent you from losing them at a critical time. Likewise, taking everything off the floor can keep most of your stuff safe and dry. Mold is a real problem, so be sure to inspect flooded areas and ask for expert help, as necessary.

     

    I like the idea of being able to act now in ways that will help my children have the same safe, prepared, ready-for-anything feelings my parents gave me. I feel lucky that my parents’ preparations allowed me to enjoy the beauty of this crazy earth, including the beauty of a thunderous rainstorm. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)  That is a gift I want my children to have, too.

    --Sarah B.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: thunderstorm, storms, emergency preparedness

  • Severe Flooding Follows Tornadoes in the Southeast

    Severe Flooding Follows Tornadoes in the Southeast

    Natural disasters can sometimes cause a domino effect of other disasters: an earthquake can cause a long-term power outage, a drought can cause a wildfire, and the high-speed winds of a tornado can quickly turn into a raging flood.

    Many in the Southeast are learning that one storm can cause another as the tornadoes that sprawled across over a dozen states this week have not only left behind twisted cars and destroyed homes, but also brought on severe floods.

    Florida was one of hardest-hit states, where Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency after 20 inches of rain fell in 24 hours, killing at least one and leaving others stranded, according to Fox News

    “There’s a lot of water on the ground,” the governor said to Yahoo News. He also anticipates that more flash flooding is still a real threat.

    In some areas, flooding reached up to four feet, other locations flooded more. Across numerous states, floods trapped people in homes, vehicles, and other buildings. Yahoo News reports one elderly woman dying in Escambia County after being unable to escape as the high waters surrounded her vehicle.

    "We were rescuing people out of cars, out of ditches, out of homes," said Mitchell Sims, the emergency management director for Baldwin County. "We are still getting reports of people trapped."

    When preparing for an emergency, it’s common to overlook the fact that one disaster can trigger another. It’s important to prepare as well as you can for all types of disasters. Are you prepared for a tornado and a lightning storm? Do you have duct tape for your windows for a hurricane and sandbags for flooding? As you stock your supply, are you thinking of how to prepare for multiple disasters?

    As you work on your preparedness, check out the following Insight Articles for some helpful tips for staying safe in a variety of disasters:

    Have you ever been caught in a “secondary” disaster triggered by a first? What happened? Share your story and expertise in the comments

     

    --Kim

     

    Sources:

    http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2014/04/30/forecasters-downplay-tornado-predictions-as-storm-system-weakens-in-south/

    http://news.yahoo.com/u-tornadoes-kill-34-threaten-more-damage-south-043914845--sector.html

    Photo Courtesy of Fox News

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

  • How to Build your Own All-in-Four Portable Shelter Kit

    |13 COMMENT(S)

    UPDATE: You asked, and we listened. The All-in-Four 4-Person Emergency Supply is now available!

    A little while ago we learned about the Life Cube—an all-inclusive, inflatable shelter stocked with the necessary food, water, and gear to help a person survive the few days after a natural disaster occurs. The Life Cube, which weighs between 950-1100 lbs., is ideal to be airdropped into areas suffering from catastrophic events. However, although it is a great idea for mass emergencies and agency use, the Life Cube currently costs anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. For many looking to add an all-inclusive, portable shelter to their emergency gear, this may be a little out of their price range.

    We were inspired by the Life Cube to create our own all-in-one portable shelter kit. Rather than focusing on agency use, however, our portable shelter kit focuses more on a personal/family level, only weighing about 71 lbs. and costing approximately $762. Here at Emergency Essentials, we have configured a list of items that would work as a basic all-in-one (or in our case, all-in-four) portable shelter. The all-in-four portable shelter consists of four bags with essential supplies divided among them. These items not only give you shelter, food, and water, but other basic supplies to help a family of four survive for three days after an emergency.

    DIY All-in-Four Portable Shelter

    First things first: Collect your gear. The following list describes what gear is needed to help four people survive for three days in an emergency.

    Each pack gives you more than 2,800 cubic inches of space to hold all of your emergency supplies and gear while providing durability and expandable comfort to stick with you on all your travels.

    Trail Hiker Backpack for a Portable Shelter

    This pack is a great way to include versatility to fit the needs of the owner. Wear the pack on your back, carry it by the handle, or roll it along the ground behind you. This is a great pack for people unable to carry a lot of weight on their back.

    Good hygiene will help keep you healthy and safe during an emergency. This kit provides basic bathing, dental, and toilet hygiene needs for a family of four.

    Family Sanitation Kit Part of our DIY Portable shelter solution

    These simple-to-setup and waterproof tents give you 49-square feet each to spread out and enjoy a good night’s rest.

    Just-add-water breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (plus sides and drinks) give you enough food to feed a family of four for 3.5 days.

    We typically recommend a two-tier approach for treating your water: have a microfilter and purifier. Adding the Katadyn Hiker Pro and Micropur tablets will help provide you and your family with filtered, purified water while remaining compact and lightweight.

    Katadyn Hiker Pro for a  DIY Portable Shelter

    Made from Tritan™ plastic, these bottles give you get extra durability in a BPA-free bottle. These are perfect to take on outdoor adventures or to use along with a microfilter in an emergency.

    This kit includes 397 pieces of first aid gear to help you survive every scrape, cut, burn, or bruise that you or a family member may get.

    These lightweight, pocket-sized sleeping bags unfold to wrap you in a covering that will reflect 80% of your body heat, keeping you warm on cool nights.

    Emergency Sleeping Bags for a DIY Portable Shelter

    These lightsticks are safe, reliable, and easy to use making them fantastic for families with children. Just bend, snap, and shake for a light source that will last up to 12 hours.

    Keeps you up-to-date with communication services, provides 30 minutes of light (with one minute of hand-cranking), and charges your cell phone (including many smart phones).

    Lightweight and reusable, an emergency poncho is a must-have to keep you dry from sudden storms.

    Easily alert rescuers to your location with an emergency whistle.

    This high-quality, BPA-free water container can store 2.5 gallons of water and collapses to easily fit in your pack. It even remains flexible in cold temperatures.

     Reliance Fold N Filter for a DIY Portable Shelter

    Use Sierra cups as bowls, plates, drinking cups, or as cooking and warming pans. Their versatility lets you get more done with less stuff to carry in your pack.

    BPA-free, washable, heavy-duty plastic spoons can be used for every meal you eat during an emergency.

    This kit includes over 172 hours of total warmth. It includes 6 Hand and Body Warmers, 4 Adhesive Body Warmers, and 2 Hand Warmer 2-packs.

    This super-compact stove is simple to use, fully flame adjustable, and stores easily. You don’t even need matches to light it. Requires a canister of Iso-Butane/Propane fuel, which can be purchased locally.

    Volcano Lite Stove for a DIY Portable Shelter

    Stormproof Matches will help you weather any storm. Blow them out, bury them, submerge them in water, do it all over again, and these Stormproof Matches will keep relighting themselves for up to 15 seconds.

    How to Build It

    Once you’ve gathered all of your supplies, you just need to pack them.

    Pack #1: Trail Hiker Backpack

    • 1 Twin Peaks Mountain Trails Tent
    • Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter
    • 4 (6 inch) Green Lightsticks
    • 24 Packets of food from the Gourmet 14 Day Supply
    • 1 Tritan Emergency Essentials Water Bottle
    • 4 Emergency Whistles
    • 397 Piece First Aid Kit

    To make your pack more compact, fit the lightsticks into the outside pockets along with the Wavelength Radio Charger Flashlight, the 4 Emergency Whistles, and the water bottle. The other items will fit in the main compartment of the pack.

     

    Pack #2: Trail Hiker Backpack

    • 1 Twin Peaks Mountain Trails Tent
    • 20 Packets of food from the Gourmet 14 Day Supply
    • 4 Emergency Sleeping Bags
    • 2 Tritan Emergency Essentials Water Bottles
    • 4 Emergency Ponchos

    Fit the water bottles into the outside pockets. The rest of the materials should fit within the main compartment of the pack.

     

    Pack #3: Olympia 18” Rolling Backpack

    • 4 Packets of food from the Gourmet 14 Day Supply
    • Reliance 2.5 Gallon Collapsible Fold-A-Carrier
    • 3 Sheets (or 30 tablets) of Micropur
    • 1 Tritan Emergency Essentials Water Bottle
    • 2 large Sierra cups
    • 2 small Sierra cups
    • 4 GSI Spoons
    • Warmth Emergency Kit
    • Volcano Lite Stove
    • Stormproof Matches

     

    Pack #4: Family Sanitation Kit

    The last “pack” is the Family Sanitation Kit which comes full of sanitation items for you and your family. About 1/3 of the bucket will still be empty for you to add additional or personal items too. The kit includes:

    • 1 – 6-Gallon Bucket
    • 1 – Bar of Soap
    • 1 – Tote-able Toilet Seat and Lid
    • 4 – Toilet Paper Rolls
    • 1 – Box Double Doodie Waste Bags
    • 1 – Epi-Clenz Plus Hand Antiseptic
    • 4 – Fresh & Go Toothbrush
    • 3 – ReadyBath Packets

    Each pack is manageable to carry and there’s extra room in most of them for personal items.

    Upgrades

    Although the basic items will help you survive during an emergency, some people prefer to have items that may make their time in a crisis a little more comfortable. If you’d like to upgrade some of the items in your kit consider adding the following:

    • Headlamps or flashlights instead of the lightsticks.
    • SOL Escape Bivvy in addition to the emergency sleeping bags.
    • One Month Supply of Water in addition to the filter. Instead of just adding a microfilter and purification tablets to your portable kit, try adding a one month supply of water. Water is priceless in an emergency and this item gives a family of four enough stored water to last for a week (drinking 64 ounces a day) in case a water source to filter from is unavailable.

    *NOTE: Upgrading items in the kit will change the price and weight of the pack. It also may require you to rearrange and reassemble how the all-in-four portable shelter kit is packed.  You can, of course, change the way items are distributed among the packs for redundancy in case you get separated.

    To make carrying your all-in-four kit a bit more comfortable, or to add even more space, replace the Family Sanitation Kit (pack #4) with another Trail Hiker backpack, put the kit items in the pack, and lash the bucket to the outside of the pack using [paracord] or another rope.

    Now that you’ve prepped yourself with all the supplies you need to help you and your family survive the days immediately after a disaster, try developing your survival skills with some of our Insight Articles:

     

    --Kim

    Sources:

    http://lifecubeinc.weebly.com/uploads/9/9/4/2/9942328/life_cube_sheltered_delivery_system_user_manual.pdf

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, shelter

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