Tag Archives: Prepare

  • Prepare to Prepare

    We talk a lot on this blog about current events, disasters in progress or recent emergencies. While world events serve to remind us of the importance of proper preparation, by the time catastrophe strikes, it’s too late to prepare. So, assuming you’re not under six feet of snow or facing an oncoming tidal wave at this precise moment, what can you do today to begin prepping for an emergency?

     

    In answer to that question, here are some key initial steps. Or, as we like to call it…

     

    Preparing to prepare.

     

    Time to PlanDepending on where we live and time of year, we all have specific natural disasters that could potentially affect us. And while I’d need to prep a little differently for a flood than you might for an earthquake, there is a common set of first priorities. According to experts, those first priorities boil down to 1) having a kit, 2) making a plan, and 3) informing yourself.

     

    Have a kit. No matter whether you’re cut off by a mudslide or a blizzard has taken out the power, you’re going to need to eat, drink, and stay warm. A basic stash of supplies for the whole family will get you through those crucial first 72 hours. Office organizations like FEMA, the Red Cross, Ready.gov, and even the CDC offer helpful checklists of what to include in your emergency kit, but all of them include these basics:

    Emergency Kit

    • A three-day supply of water, figuring one gallon of water per person per day
    • Three days’ worth of food for the whole family
    • First aid supplies
    • Flashlights and batteries
    • Knife, can opener, wrench, or other multifunction tool
    • Extra clothing and shoes
    • Toiletries
    • Medications
    • Infant or pet needs
    • Blankets
    • Cash
    • Important documents

     

    Ideally, every member of the family should have their own pack, and packs should be stored somewhere easily accessible. We like the idea of working on these together and keeping a checklist like this one out where kids can check items off as you acquire them.

     

    Make a plan. There are all sorts of reasons your family may have to evacuate. And as FEMA puts it on the introduction to their fantastic Basic Preparedness guide, “You plan only once, and are able to apply your plan to all types of hazards.” Begin preparations for bugging out by talking about possible scenarios. And remember, circumstances may require leaving your house or leaving your town! Prep for each eventuality by determining:

    Family Disaster Plan

    • The safest place inside your home to hunker down, as in the case of an earthquake or tornado
    • Best escape routes out of the house (have at least two!)
    • Two designated meeting points: somewhere close, but clear of your home; and an out-of-town location for larger-scale evacs
    • A communication strategy—who will call whom, by what point does everyone need to check in, and how will we reach each other if cell towers are down?

     

    We really like the specific emergency plan templates available at Ready.gov, or we’ve compiled a comprehensive Emergency and Evacuation Plan template you can fill in with your specific information and plan.

     

    Inform yourself. To be truthful, this is kind of a catch-all designation. The first two steps will see your family through the initial days of a serious disaster; after that, you’ll have to depend on your knowledge, skills, and ingenuity, which is why education is such a key ingredient to preparation. Pick any one of these areas to start, and build your repertoire of personal resources over time.

     

    • Know which natural disasters are likely in your area, and learn disaster-specific preparation.
    • Learn about your community’s notification systems and protocols for emergencies, including schools and hospitals.
    • Sign up for local or national text alerts.
    • Certify in CPR.
    • Learn how to use a fire extinguisher, shut off utilities, and prepare a home for severe weather.
    • Organize a neighborhood emergency response team.
    • Beef up your survival skills—building a fire, constructing a shelter, cooking outdoors, etc.

     

    FEMA’s guide, mentioned above, is a great, basic starting point. Another treasure trove of information is the Education tab on our website, which includes a searchable archive of all our blog posts.

     

    Remember, preparedness is less a state than it is a process. And, like any endeavor, the most important step is the first. Start today with these ideas, and build on your skills and resources as you progress. And don’t forget to keep us posted along the way—what are you doing today to prepare for tomorrow?

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Emergency Kits, Planning Tagged With: Prepare, Emergency plan

  • Don't Doubt the Drought

    Water Main CoverIn case you missed it, the state of California just passed a new set of water restrictions in its ongoing efforts to survive what experts are calling the second worst drought in US history. We’ve talked about the drought in this forum before. In fact, we spent a good chunk of 2014 looking at the varied effects of such a widespread dry spell—everything from gardening adjustments and grocery prices to wildfires and rattlesnakes!

     

    So, while Californians are already pulling out their lawns and keeping a wary eye out for parched pests, the San Jose Mercury News describes residents’ latest requirements:

     

    “[T]he rules adopted Tuesday:

    Watering Lawn

    • Ban all restaurants, bars and hotels from serving water unless customers ask for it.

     

    • Require all hotels and motels to provide signs in rooms telling guests that they have the option of choosing not to have towels and linens washed daily.

     

    • Ban Californians from watering lawns and landscaping with potable water within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.

     

    • Require cities, counties, water districts and private companies to limit lawn watering to two days a week if they aren't already limiting lawn and landscape watering to a certain number of days a week.”

     

    Yikes. And if no ice water at your favorite restaurant sounds drastic, it might not be drastic enough. In light of Gov. Brown’s call to cut water use by 20% in 2014, water activist Conner Everts points out, “we are failing”—the state’s water consumption went down by less than 10% last year, leading to the current restrictions. And then there’s Everts’ haunting question:

     

    “At what point do we accept that this might be the fourth year of a 10-year drought?”

     

    Water LevelsSo, while California farmers drain the last of what blogger Mark Morford calls “our ‘backup’ water” from the ground, we’ll be sending moist thoughts and rainy vibes westward. However, if you live somewhere supposedly unaffected by the drought, don’t think that you get to stop paying attention. Have you heard the adage, “When the time for decision comes, the time for preparation has passed”? In other words, if you’re not currently experiencing a drought, the time to prepare for one is now!

     

    As ever, start with good information. Check out the blog posts listed below to learn more about water purification, filtration, and (critically!) storage. Then don’t forget to browse our water products for everything from tablets and filters to barrels and pouches.

     

     

    How about you? How has your area been affected? What have you been doing to prep for or thrive during a drought?

    Posted In: Additional Reading, Disaster Scenarios, Planning, Water Storage Tagged With: California, drought, Prepare, water

  • Everyday Carry: 6 Things You Should Never Be Without

    A major disaster can strike at anytime—yet, everyone experiences mini-emergencies as well (usually more often) that require being just as prepared. There are certain items you can carry throughout your daily routine that can serve a useful purpose when you need help.

    Always carrying a full-blown bug-out-bag may be a little too bulky. Even though you should always have an emergency kit in your car and at home, take the following items with you the next time you are out and about (you’ll be glad you have them):

     

    Everyday Carry Suggestion: Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier

    The first item you should carry is the Gerber® Suspension Multi-Plier. With its nylon sheath, it can easily hang from a belt, sit in a backpack, or slip into a pocket in a purse. It has 11 functions ranging from spring-loaded pliers to a locking blade, scissors to screwdrivers, and more. The Suspension weighs less than 10 ounces and is a great price for a Gerber product at only $30.

    [Picture of a Gerber Shard Keychain Tool (CU T125) and 11 Function Survival Tool (CU T120) side by side]

    Everyday Carry Suggestion:Gerber Shard Keychain ToolEveryday Carry Suggestion:11 Function Survival Tool

    The next item you will want to have is either the Gerber® Shard Keychain tool or the 11 Function Survival Tool. Both of these tools are a lot more basic than the Multi-plier, but they are smaller, lightweight, and easy to carry. The Shard is a simple, yet useful tool that fits perfectly on your keychain. It has 7 functions ranging from a mini pry bar (my favorite part) to screwdrivers and even a bottle opener. It weighs less than an ounce and features a Titanium nitride coating for durability.

    The 11 Function Survival Tool is a metal “card” that can slide right in your wallet. It serves as a knife-edge, a 4-position wrench, a saw blade, and more. It comes with a protective sheath and weighs just one ounce.

    Everyday Carry Suggestion: Katadyn Mybottle MicroFilter

    Water is always a primary concern when getting prepared. The Katadyn® Mybottle Microfilter serves as a water bottle that can turn into a MicroFilter (kind of like a water filter superhero). The filter insert can be kept separate in a backpack or purse while the beautifully designed bottle can be filled with clean water for drinking. If the need arises, the filter fits inside the bottle and you can drink from a dirty water source like a river or a stream. The filter will block Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and bacteria like E. coli. It even improves the water’s taste. You’ll probably carry a water bottle with you anyways, why not carry this one?

    Everyday Carry Suggestion: Paracord BraceletsEveryday Carry Suggestion: Paracord BraceletsEveryday Carry Suggestion: Paracord Bracelets

    Another recommended item, the paracord bracelet, can double as a preparedness item and a fashion statement. This bracelet is made from 7+ feet of woven, military-spec 550 Paracord rope (an easy-to-use rope that is strong and versatile). If you need to, just take the bracelet apart and you’ll have a solid strand of cord to use in a variety of ways.

    Everyday Carry Suggestion: Switch 8 Recharger

    Being able to communicate with loved ones is important while you are out running errands, on a hike, or on the road. The Switch 8 Recharger by Goal Zero® is a great way to have a back-up power source for your cell phone or other small electronics. Without fail, right when you get a flat tire or your car won’t start, you’ll notice you only have 5% battery left on your phone—great. By having your small Switch 8 in your purse or backpack, you can quickly plug in your phone and make the calls you need. It works great with smartphones—even the new iPhone.

    Everyday Carry Suggestions: New Millennium Bars

    What about the possible need for food? Of course you could carry an extra granola bar or bag of chips, but one of the fruit Millennium Calorie Bars would be a better option. With the consistency of a sugar cookie, each bar provides 400 calories of energy. There are nine different fruit flavors and one bar will easily fit in a pocket in a purse. They store for 5 years, even in a car during the summer months—you can’t beat that (especially not with a greasy bag of chips).

    Everyday Carry Suggestion: SHIELD Kit

    Let’s not forget about your kids while they are at school. The Shield School Emergency Kit is a compact group of essentials that fits perfectly in a school backpack as an everyday carry. Each item in this kit can store for several years and provides needed comfort and nourishment during an emergency event. This portable kit isn’t just for your kids. It is small enough to be carried in a backpack or left in a desk drawer at work.

    These are just a few ideas for an everyday carry that can serve as tools, water supply, power, or food when a need arises. Of course, there are several other items that work just as well, including portable survival kits. Take a look at what you carry with you everyday and ask yourself—will this stuff help me in an emergency? If not, it might be time to add a few items to your everyday carry.

    What are some items you carry with you to be ready? If you don’t carry anything yet, what items do you think you’ll start carrying?

    --Rob

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: everyday carry, gear, survival gear, Prepare, Emergency Essentials, Survival, preparedness

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