Tag Archives: preparedness

  • 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!

     

    --Stacey

     

    Photo Courtesy of Popular Mechanics

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, emergency preparedness

  •  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: preparedness, Emergency plan, emergency preparedness

  • 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!

    -Stacey

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

  •  How Prepared is your car for an emergency?

    In light of the recent debacle in Georgia, when a dusting of snow locked up roadways across the state, one local insurance company set out to see how prepared their city’s citizens were.

    According to Delawareonline.com, the “junk in the trunk” campaign hosted by State Farm found that, while drivers tend to leave or store plenty of items in their car, relatively few of them count as “emergency supplies” (not real sure how those mason jars are going to come in handy…).

    So, if you can’t quite think of a good use for old fast food bags and crusty beach towels from last summer, what should you stash in your car? FEMA has a good checklist, as does ReadyWisconsin who might know a thing or two about snow days, to get you and your vehicle prepared with the right supplies.

    Or, if you’re a level 5 prepping fanatic—and drive something more substantial than, say, a Civic hatchback—you can use the Allstate Insurance comprehensive, ready-for-absolutely-any-kind-of-road-trip-emergency checklist.

    Start here to gather materials, and don’t forget to clear out all the stuff from your car that you’ll never use! Except the ketchup packets. You really never know when you’ll need one of those.

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Winter, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, winter preparedness, emergency car preparedness, car

  • After 10 years of living in their home, the Zwick family cracked open the fallout shelter out back and found it fully stocked!

    After living in their home for 10 years, a Wisconsin family was surprised to find an 8' x 10' fallout shelter in their backyard—even more surprising is that it was fully stocked! Ken and Carol Zwick cracked open the shelter for the first time in 2010, revealing $1,200 worth of emergency supplies stored by the home’s previous owners who were prepping for the Cold War.

    Inside the Shelter

    The Zwick family donated the supplies to the Neenah Historical Society (NHS) in the spring of 2012. According to the NHS website, the purpose of this society is to “collect, preserve, and share the stories of [their] community.”

    We reached out to NHS Executive Director, Jane Lang, to learn a little more. We were curious about the types of preparedness supplies the people who stocked this fallout shelter considered to be important to their survival 50 years ago.

    Although 5 feet of water seeped into the shelter during its 50 years of life, the Zwick family found many of the supplies still intact. Foodstuffs and treats like Tang, Corn Flakes, and Butterscotch Bits were found among other supplies such as toilet paper, paper towels, candles, clothing, bedding, tools, flashlights, and batteries (most of which were surprisingly still in good condition).

    But the previous owner didn’t stop there. Other supplies like a radio, an alarm clock, an axe, a funnel, and a phone book filled the water-tight, metal military boxes the Zwicks discovered. These World War II army surplus cases no doubt helped preserve the condition of the family’s emergency supplies.

    Emergency preparedness items from the 1960 fallout shelter as displayed at the Neenah Historical Society

    Items in your emergency supplies can range from the basics of food and water to items such as an alarm clock to help an emergency seem less like a crisis and more like daily life. One great item the previous owners added to their shelter was the phone book. Having a list of emergency phone numbers/emergency contacts is a great idea (as long as you keep it updated).

    According to Lang, one of the neatest items found in the shelter was a Geiger counter in perfect condition (still inside its box with the manual) and a “Banshee” radiation detector with its receipt. “It was fascinating to look at the contents of the shelter and see what people in 1960 were told to put into their family fallout shelters,” Lang stated.

    The Exhibit

    The NHS exhibit, “Take Cover, Neenah: Backyard Family Fallout Shelters in Cold War America” replicated the shelter found in the Zwick’s backyard. “I wanted visitors to be able to feel like they were back in the ‘60s, sitting in their own living rooms, and then leaving to take cover in their backyard shelter…so that people could get a true sense of that confinement,” Lang said.

    Lang went on to explain that in the late ‘50s and ‘60s, emergency preparation was greatly encouraged. As many visitors have toured the replicated fallout shelter and its supplies (1,500 in May and early June 2013 alone), they've wondered aloud whether we are “more or less safe [today] than we were during the Cold War.”

    Although in certain areas many people aren't as concerned about war as natural disasters, unemployment, or other emergencies, emergency preparedness is still essential. After all, Lang put it perfectly: “Human beings have always been and will always be concerned with family safety and security.”

    Currently the exhibit is closed for the winter, but will re-open in late April. The exhibit will close for good in late July this year. If you are in the area, stop by to check it out.

    If You Go:

    Cost:                            Free

    Location:                  343 Smith Street, Neenah, WI 54956

    For more information about the exhibit and when you can visit, feel free to call the Neenah Historical Society at 920-729-0244

    Update:

    A few of you have requested more photos of the fallout shelter found in Wisconsin so we found some for you! Below are photographs we found on the Internet of the Zwick family uncovering the shelter.

    Carol Zwick uncovers a 1960s fallout shelter in her backyard

    Courtesy of Daily News

    The fallout shelter behind the Zwick family's home

    Courtesy of Daily News

    Descending into the fallout shelter found in 2010

    Courtesy of Huffington Post

    Inside the 1960s fallout shelter found in a Wisconsin backyard

    Courtesy of the Daily News

    Stored water found in a 50 year old fallout shelter

    Courtesy of Daily News

    Foodstuff supplies stocked in a fallout shelter 50 years ago.

    Courtesy of Huffington Post

    --Kim

    Sources:

    Interview with Ms. Jane Lang, Exec. Director of the Neenah Historical Society

    http://www.focol.org/neenahhistorical/index.html

    www.nydailynews.com/news/national/wisconsin-family-found-1960-nuclear-shelter-article-1.1333040

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/neenah-wisconsin-fallout-shelter-photos_n_3200757.html

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, Emergency plan, Survival, emergency preparedness, fallout shelter, 1960, Cold War

  • Your Drought-Year Garden

    If you’re like me, a sunny afternoon in March finds you tearing through your Territorial seed catalogue and poring over cryptic drawings of garden plots. It’s like I can hear my backyard’s biological clock ticking and I can’t wait another minute to get outside!

    As part of your preparations for your 2014 garden, you’re probably checking out seed calendars and companion planting charts. Here’s one more graphic you might want to consider from the U.S. Drought Monitor:

    How will your garden do in your area during this drought?

    Experts are calling the current western dry spell one of the “worst droughts in 500 years”, severely affecting the supply of drinking water, as well as that for crop irrigation. In fact, one of the most far-reaching effects of even a localized drought in an agricultural state like California is rising produce prices across the country (read about food storage and drought here).

    In that light, gardening may seem like a smart way to beat the heat. However, if you live in any of the highlighted areas on the map above, there are some serious considerations for the home gardener. Some Californians have already been required to restrict water use. Your neighborhood may not be in quite such dire straights, but there are ways all of us can garden a little more conservatively in a dry year.

    Check out these tips and tricks for gardening in lean times:

    Water conservation is a good idea any time, but this year seems to be providing us a compelling reason to conserve. Read about California’s challenges and some solutions you can implement at home and in the garden. Then get outside and get those peas in the ground!

    Sources:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/02/us/severe-drought-has-us-west-fearing-worst.html

    Photo Courtesy of U.S. Drought Monitor

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, preparedness, water, Emergency, Survival, water storage, garden, gardening, emergency preparedness, drought, produce

  • National Severe Weather Week

    Traditionally, hurricanes and tornadoes occur seasonally, so we know when to expect them and how to prepare. But earthquakes can come at any time of the year. And, if large enough, they can cause huge amounts of destruction. So in honor of National Severe Weather Preparedness week, let's use today to start thinking and planning about what we can do now to be ready for an earthquake.

    If you're an earthquake novice, check out the articles below to learn how to prepare for them. And even if you've lived through an earthquake, you might pick up some tips you didn't know.

    What to do before, during, and after an earthquake

    Check out our Quake, Rattle, and Roll series to find out how to prepare and keep yourself safe during each phase of an earthquake.

    Quake, Rattle, and Roll: Easy steps to take before the big one hits

    Quake, Rattle, and Roll: What to do during an earthquake

    Quake, Rattle, and Roll: What to do after an earthquake

     

    Supplies you need for an earthquake

    Our Insight article, Preparing for Earthquakes gives you a good checklist of items you can include in your emergency supplies to help you deal with each phase (before, during, and after) of an earthquake.

    For instance, did you know that the United States Geological Survey (USGS) suggests storing a fire extinguisher in your emergency supplies for an earthquake? Find out more of the items you'll want to have during an earthquake by reading our article Preparing for Earthquakes

     

    How to Protect Yourself in an Earthquake

    Learn how to protect yourself through participating in your state's Shake Out Program. Last year, the staff at Emergency Essentials took the Utah Shake Out challenge. Read about it in our article, Baby Steps: The Great Utah Shake Out and then go to the national Shake Out website to find out when a regional earthquake drill will be held in your state. Also, check out the Disaster Preparedness Guide:Get Ready to Shake Out that we put together in partnership with BeReady Utah and the Deseret News (one of Utah's biggest newspapers).

     

    Come back tomorrow for more resources and tips to help you prepare for severe weather.

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, emergency preparedness, natural disaster, emergency supplies

  • When Typhoon Haiyan first set down in the Philippines last November, Emergency Essentials worked with disaster relief organization CharityVision to provide relief to those affected by the severe natural disaster. We sent supplies donated through your purchases and by our generous vendors, and we were able to outfit a great team. CharityVision recently sent us an update on the progress of their relief efforts, along with a few photos that illustrate how your donations have helped those in need.

    Those affected by Typhoon Haiyan continue to face the aftermath of the destructive storm

    A volunteer and children from the Philippines using the Wavelength Emergency Radio

    CharityVision has quite a few projects underway to help the long-term recovery and reconstruction of the area. They’re working to build a larger reserve of medical supplies and to set up a modular hospital facility. They also plan to provide shelter and power to families, hold gardening classes to teach self-reliance, and offer additional services to help  those in need. Each of these projects is possible because of the generous donations CharityVision has received from communities and companies around the world.

    As CharityVision works to "Build Back Better", those affected by Typhoon Haiyan strive to get their lives back.

    Although injured, refugees from Typhoon Haiyan smile as they plan to restart their lives

    One of CharityVision’s major goals is creating projects that will better the living conditions in the affected areas for those who saw their lives turned upside down by the typhoon. All of these projects are to help restore jobs and offer employee growth to those working in those jobs. CharityVision seeks to “Build Back Better”.

     “We view the reconstruction as an opportunity to build back better,” CharityVision posted on their new Facebook page Action Humanitarian which focuses on their efforts in rebuilding the Philippines. “Our current plans include structures that will withstand future storms to avoid the repetitious cycle of rebuilding following destruction.” They go on to say that their building plans will provide added protective elements over previous building styles without adding extra cost or skilled labor.

    Amongst the chaos and ruin that Haiyan caused, an additional issue has appeared: how does the country keep certain areas of the country occupied when so much of it is desolate and destroyed? Despite the international relief efforts aimed at the Philippines, the quality of life is dwindling in areas where lack of power caused by the typhoon creates a lack of commerce leading to a lack of jobs. Talented workers and students are leaving certain areas and moving to other locations for work. Learn more about the quality of life in the Philippines from the New York Times article “Months After Typhoon, Philippine City Suffers From an Exodus of Jobs

    Refugees from Typhoon Haiyan still feel the affects of the destructive storm

    Princeton Tec headlamps prep victims of Typhoon Haiyan for night with white ultrabright light

    As you can see, natural disasters can still have effects long after the storm has passed through making it even more important to prepare yourself. In the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan cased months of difficult—and it isn’t over yet. Get started today on your own preparedness plans so you can be as resilient as possible if a disaster strikes.

    Check out the following articles to help you develop a valuable skill set that will help you survive in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

    Preparing by Developing your Skills

    How to Build a Fire

    First Aid for Wounds

    Emergency Shelter

     

    Sources:

    https://www.facebook.com/ActionHumanitarian

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, natural disaster, survival gear, philippines, Typhoon Haiyan

  • Prep yourself each day with a new survival skill during National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

    Throughout 2013, severe weather disasters touched down all across the country. Whether citizens faced tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, or other disasters, the importance of preparing became very apparent. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have teamed up for their third year to inform the public how to best prepare for severe weather. They have chosen March 2-8, 2014 as National Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

    This year’s campaign, “Be a Force of Nature: Take the Next Step,” encourages individuals to set an example for others in their communities through disaster preparation and responses. For example, when tornado warnings, hurricane alerts, or other alarms notify the public of oncoming weather conditions, be an example and take action first rather than ignore the warnings.

    Often many will choose not to seek shelter immediately after hearing the alert. Instead, they wait to hear a second warning. Sometimes a second warning never comes. But once in a while that second alarm will sound and those who didn’t act after the first alert are caught in the chaos of a severe weather storm. If you take action to prepare, others will follow and, ultimately, stay safe.

    Knowing how to prepare for different weather disasters—and responding immediately to warnings—can help save your life. And so FEMA and NOAA ask you to “Be a Force of Nature.”

    Throughout this week, “Be a Force of Nature: Take the Next Step” challenges the public to take a single preparedness action each day. Your action can be something simple such as preparing an emergency evacuation plan for your family, or as complex as building your food and water storage supply. No matter what action you choose to do, this week is meant to better prepare you and your community for severe weather.

    Check back this week for tips on what you can do to stay safe during severe storms.

    Sources:

    http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1392907694854-c8defc5a1deef616f4c2fefb760b65bd/Severe+Weather+Preparedness+WeekToolkit.pdf

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, severe weather, National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

  • Attack on the Power Grid

    |5 COMMENT(S)

    If the power grid got knocked out, are you prepared?

    “Almost everything we do in modern society relies on electricity.” So would you be able to survive without it?

    Granger Morgan, quoted above, heads the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. After a 2013 attack on an electric grid near San Jose, CA nearly knocked out Silicon Valley’s power supply, Granger and other lawmakers and analysts were shocked that no one was doing more to prevent a repeat attack.

    Many wonder if we’d be prepared to live without power considering how much we rely on power.

    The Los Angeles Times reports that the 2013 attack, which Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (the facility’s owner) once downplayed as vandalism, is now being treated as a possible act of terrorism.

    It would actually be fairly easy for a criminal group to knock out the power grid, according to a report issued in 2007 by the National Research Council committee (which was chaired by Morgan). If the power grid was knocked out, large regions of the U.S. could be denied “access to bulk power systems for weeks or even months,” leading to “turmoil, widespread public fear and an image of helplessness that would play directly into the hands of terrorists.”

    Unfortunately, as the Los Angeles Times reports, not much has been done to protect the nation’s power system. Read their full article here.

    Considering this vulnerability, it’s important to be prepared on an individual level for a power outage. Think about the following:

    • What would you do to protect your perishable foods?
    • How would you stay warm?
    • How will you see in the dark each day?

    Addressing these questions will get you off to a good start. To learn more about staying safe and powered up in  an outage, check out our Insight Article, “Preparing for and responding to a power outage”.

    Also take a look at some gear you can add to your emergency supplies. Adding even a few basics will make your time during a power outage or blackout more comfortable, and it will feel a little less like an emergency. These product categories are a great place to get started:

    Check out some gear that can help you stay warm in a power outageCheck out gear that will help provide you with power in an emergency     Check out this gear that will help light your way in a power outage

     

    What do you think is the best thing you can do to prepare for a power outage?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, Survival, power, emergency preparedness, power grid

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