By Alan on Feb 23 in Blog tagged bedding, blankets, cash, change of clothing, check list, clear debris, communication plan, coping with disasters, credit cards, disaster, disaster apeals, durable shoes, essential medicines, evacuation plan and route, extra batteries, family preparedness, first aid kit, first aid manual, flashlight, flood, flood insurance, hurricane, if ye are prepared ye shall not fear, lowest floor, non-perishable food, nonelectric can opener, pets, portable battery-operated radio, prescriptions, protect your windows, red cross, sleeping bag, tornado, water | Comments Off
Coping With Disasters
.During the past 20 years, the U.S. has sustained 44 weather-related disasters in which overall damages with costs reached or exceeded $1 billion! More than 11,000 people lost their lives and Thirty-eight of these disasters occurred between 1988 to 1999, seven occurring in 1998 alone—the most for any year on record.
To help keep yourself and your loved ones safe, TheFamily.com provides you with this information you need to be prepared in times of disaster.
DISASTER CHECK LIST
When facing the prospect of any type of natural disaster, make sure you have the following disaster supplies on hand:
FLASHLIGHT AND EXTRA BATTERIES
PORTABLE, BATTERY-OPERATED RADIO AND EXTRA BATTERIES
FIRST AID KIT AND FIRST AID MANUAL
NON-PERISHABLE FOOD AND WATER
NONELECTRIC CAN OPENER
ESSENTIAL MEDICINES OR PRESCRIPTIONS
CASH AND CREDIT CARDS
DURABLE SHOES AND APPROPRIATE CHANGE OF CLOTHING
BLANKETS, BEDDING, OR SLEEPING BAGS
HURRICANE SAFETY – Before A Hurricane Hits:
Evacuation: Plan an evacuation route. Contact the local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter, and ask for the community hurricane preparedness plan. This plan should include information on the safest evacuation routes and nearby shelters. Learn safe routes inland. Be ready to drive 20 to 50 miles inland to locate a safe place.
Family Preparedness: Make sure that all family members know how to respond after a hurricane. Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water. Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
Pets: Make arrangements for pets.
Protect Your Windows: Permanent shutters are the best protection. A lower-cost approach is to put up plywood panels. Use 1/2 inch plywood—marine plywood is best—cut to fit each window. Remember to mark which board fits which window. Pre-drill holes every 18 inches for screws. Do this long before the storm.
Clear Debris: Trim back dead or weak branches from trees.
Consider Flood Insurance: Check into flood insurance. You can find out about the National Flood Insurance Program through your local insurance agent or emergency management office. There is normally a 30-day waiting period before a new policy becomes effective. Homeowners’ policies do not cover damage from the flooding that accompanies a hurricane.
Communication Plan: In case family members are separated from one another during a disaster (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
When A Hurricane Hits:
Status: A hurricane watch is issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours. A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane conditions (winds of 74 miles per hour or greater, or dangerously high water and rough seas) are expected in 24 hours or less.
During A Hurricane Watch or Warning:
Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for official hurricane reports.
Check emergency supplies. Fuel your car.
Bring in lawn furniture, toys, and garden tools, and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows. Remove outside antennas.
Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when absolutely necessary and close doors quickly.
Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles, and gather some cooking utensils.
Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container on the highest level of your home.
If officials indicate evacuation is necessary, secure your home by unplugging appliances, turning off electricity and the main water valve, and locking up your home. Then leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.
Tornadoes are the most violent atmospheric phenomenon on the planet. Winds of 200-300 mph can occur with the most powerful tornadoes. When a tornado warning has been issued for your area or whenever a tornado hits, do the following:
In A Home Or Small Building: Go to the basement (if available) or to an interior room on the lowest floor, such as a closet or bathroom. Wrap yourself in overcoats or blankets to protect yourself from flying debris.
In A School, Hospital, Factory, Or Shopping Center: Go to interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor. Stay away from glass enclosed places or areas with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums and warehouses. Crouch down and cover your head.
In A High-Rise Building: Go to interior small rooms or halls. Stay away from exterior walls or glassy areas.
In Cars Or Mobile Homes ABANDON THEM IMMEDIATELY!!! Most deaths occur in cars and mobile homes. If you are in either of those locations, leave them and go to a substantial structure or designated tornado shelter.
According to FEMA, flash floods and floods are the #1 weather-related killer with nearly 140 deaths recorded in the U.S each year. If there is the possibility of a flood in your area, do the following:
When Inside: If ordered to evacuate or if rising water is threatening, leave immediately and get to higher ground.
If Caught Outdoors:
Go to higher ground immediately! Avoid small rivers or streams, low spots, canyons, dry riverbeds, etc.
Do not try to walk through flowing water that is more than ankle deep.
Do not allow children to play around streams, drainage ditches or viaducts, storm drains, or other flooded areas.
IF IN A VEHICLE: DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH FLOODED AREAS!Even shallow water should be avoided. The majority of deaths due to flash flooding involve people driving through flooded areas. Water only one foot deep can displace 1500 lbs! Two feet of water can easily carry most automobiles.
POST-DISASTER RED FLAGS
The damage caused by natural disasters such as fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and blizzards can often bring out the best in people, as strangers reach out to help others in need. Unfortunately, the aftermath of a crisis also brings out persons who take advantage of those who have already been victimized. Some of the most common “after-disaster” scams involve home repairs, clean-up efforts, heating and cooling equipment, and flood-damaged cars. The Better Business Bureau has the following advice for consumers:
Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements the company may have.
Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid acting in haste. Don’t be pressured into signing a long-term contract. Make temporary repairs if necessary.
For major permanent repairs, take time to shop around for contractors, get competitive bids, check out references, and get a report from the BBB.
Be wary of door-to-door workers who claim your home is unsafe. If you are concerned about possible structural damage in your home, have an engineer, architect, or building official inspect it.
Prepare a written agreement with anyone you hire. It should delineate the work to be done, the materials to be used, and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. Review it carefully before signing. Never pay for all repairs in advance, and don’t pay cash.
Examine your options instead of giving to the first charity from which you receive an appeal. There will be a variety of relief efforts responding to the diverse needs of disaster victims.
Be wary of appeals that are long on emotion but short on what the charity will do to address the specific disaster.
Ask how much of your gift would be used for the disaster mentioned in the appeal, and how much would go towards administrative and fund raising costs.
Find out what the charity intends to do with any excess contributions remaining after the victims’ needs are addressed.
Remember there will be opportunities to give in the future. The problems caused by disasters don’t disappear after the headlines do.
Complaints: Consumers who feel they may have been victimized can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau to try to recover their money and to warn others about the individual or company.
“I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” D&C 38: 30
By Alan on Dec 07 in Blog tagged 72 Hour Kit, alternate cooking sources, blankets, clothing, emergency preparedness, extra batteries, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, flashlights, food, gas leaks, medications, Misc., money, pets, shoes, tools, water, weather radio | Comments Off
Week 48 72-hour Kit
In my week 46 article on emergency purification of water I wrote about the 72-hour kit recommended by city, state and federal government. These are primarily to get us through short-term emergencies that we can find ourselves in.
When we lived in Yorktown, VA the local government was always worried about the hurricane season. The month before the season usually started the stores would run sales on emergency items that you might need to ride out a tropical storm or lower class hurricanes. We picked up a NOAA weather radio, batteries and the like. Quite honestly I was disappointed that we never had one while we were there. One of the unusual features in the area was the railroad type crossing arms that were on each of the Interstate on and off ramps. I had no idea what they were there for. It was explained to me that they were to allow the highway patrol or other officials to direct the flow of traffic in one direction, on both sides of the Interstate, during an emergency evacuation of the area. The arms would prevent you from getting on or off in the wrong direction. What did happen while we were there was a tornado in the area. It occurred April 28, 2008. It damaged several businesses, homes, an elementary school, a strip mall and destroyed at least a dozen homes.
Just last week there were widespread hurricane-force winds, often exceeding 100 mph. These winds covered areas of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. They toppled semi-trucks, trees, fences and power lines. Some homes were damaged from trees falling on them to the point they had to be condemned. Electricity was out for more than 48 hours in many of the affected areas. In a local TV report, one resident said that as soon as everything was back to normal he was going to start stocking up on emergency supplies.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says:
“The first 72 hours after a disaster are critical. Electricity, gas, water and telephones may not be working. In addition, public safety services such as police and fire departments may not be able to reach you immediately during a serious crisis. Each person should be prepared to be self-sufficient – able to live without running water, electricity and/or gas, and telephones – for at least three days following a disaster. To do so, keep the following on hand and rotate supplies to keep them fresh:
Food: Maintain enough nonperishable food for each person for at least 72 hours.
Water: Store enough so each person has a gallon a day for 72 hours, preferably for one week. Store in airtight containers and replace it every six months. Store disinfectants such as iodine tablets or chlorine bleach, eight drops per gallon, to purify water if necessary.
First aid kit: Make sure it is well stocked, especially with bandages and disinfectants.
Fire extinguisher: Your fire extinguisher should be suitable for all types of fires. Teach all family members how to use it.
Flashlights with extra batteries: Keep flashlights beside your bed and in several other locations. Do not use matches or candles until you are certain there are no gas leaks.
Weather Radios: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio, with battery backup, portable radio or portable television with extra batteries: Telephones may be out of order or limited to emergency use. The NOAA weather radio, portable radio or portable television may be your best source of information.
Miscellaneous items: Extra blankets, clothing, shoes and money. Wear sturdy shoes just in case you need to walk through rubble and debris.
Alternative cooking sources: Store a barbecue or camping stove for outdoor camping.
Caution: Ensure there are no gas leaks before you use any kind of fire as a cooking source and never use charcoal (or propane) indoors. Gasoline-powered appliances should be filled away from ignition sources.
Special items: Have at least 72 hours of medications and food for infants and those with special needs. Don’t forget diapers.
Tools: Have an adjustable or pipe wrench for turning off gas and water, and a shovel or broom for cleaning up.
Pets: Assemble an animal emergency supply kit and develop a pet care buddy system with friends or relatives to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be sure each of your pets has a tag with your name and phone number. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to plan for your pets.
Pay attention to directions from emergency managers, police and others and obey instructions in the event of an evacuation. Obtain a NOAA weather radio to receive alerts and learn the language of weather warnings:
A watch is issued by the National Weather Service when the risk of a hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain.
A warning is issued when a hazardous event is occurring or has a very high probability of occurrence. Warnings advise of a threat to life or property.
An advisory is issued when a hazardous event is occurring or has a very high probability of occurrence. Advisories describe events that cause significant inconvenience.”
A site called The National Terror Alert Response Center states,
“There are many types of disasters and emergencies: floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes. In many cases, a 72-hour kit could mean the difference between life and death. It is estimated that after a major disaster, it may take up to three days for relief workers to reach some areas. It would be wise to consider a 72- hour kit that you could live on for 7-10 days. In such a case, if you live in a disaster prone area a 72-hour kit is the minimum you should have available. Plan your 72- hour kit according to your family’s size.” They have an extensive list for a kit at:
We have bare basics 72-hour kits in backpacks that can be grabbed quickly and easily carry on our backs if we need to evacuate our home.
From my Community Emergency Response Team training I learned other things that a homeowner should do to protect his or her home: secure the water heater into the adjacent wall. This is can easily be done with galvanized plumbers tape. Be sure to screw it into studs in the wall and not just the drywall.
As stated in the FEMA section, have a wrench to turn off the gas line into the home and know where and how to turn off the water into the home.
One thing that Alan did was have his house wired so that he can plug his gasoline powered generator into a plug on the outside of his home to run essential items like a refrigerator and freezer. I am considering doing the same for my own home since I have a gas generator that I use for camping.
We have a natural gas fireplace in our family room. I had heard that the switch would work to turn on the flame even with the power off. The last power outage we had I tried it and up the flame came. Of course the blower didn’t work. This would give us at least one room that would be warm in a power outage.
I was watching a program recently when it was asked how the person could sleep soundly during a terrible storm. The reply was, “Because I was prepared”. Let us find ways to prepare ourselves, as well as possible, for emergencies that may occur in our areas.
Alan has a few more emergency topics he wants me to address, but since the Christmas season is upon us I will do a couple of articles with some relation to the Christmas season.
“Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.” Ezek. 38: 7
Next Week: Rebirth of the American Chestnut Tree
Dennis Adamson – Master Gardner
firstname.lastname@example.org = Send any questions to Dennis!
For The Family
By Alan on Mar 28 in Blog tagged batteries, blankets, camping equipttment, candles, clothing, comforter, diapers, earthquake, emergency, Family, food, foodd, hand blender, japan, lantern, learn, medicaions, money, prayer, prepared, propane, water, wheat grinder, wood | 1 Comment
This is a letter sent to me. Emily wrote this from Japan to her friends.
We’re doing “fine” here. Considering what is going on around us. When the first big quake hit, around 2:45 in the afternoon on Friday, I ran to Gray’s room and grabbed him out of his crib. We’ve had plenty of earthquakes in the 2.5 years we’ve been here, but this one was huge. Gabe started crying and calling for me –I got him too and we huddled on the stairs away from windows and light fixtures. The two big boys were walking home from school and came in while the house was still shaking. They thought it was exciting. I yelled at them to “GET BACK OUTSIDE!” because I’d just been told if you’re outside, you’re supposed to stay outside! I sat on the stairs praying: “Please protect my kids, please protect my kids, please protect my kids…” It seemed to last forever (around 5 minutes I’ve heard) and then the aftershocks just kept coming and coming. They’re still coming.
They evacuated the hospital and Doug was able to come home around 4. [I can't tell you what a relief it was to have my whole entire family safe and together. And how upsetting it was/is to think of people all over Japan who have family unaccounted for. It's really hard for me whenever one of the husbands has to leave.]
Since then, the power has been out and we haven’t had any heat or access to phones (to the states) or Internet (except Doug getting one e-mail out from the hospital.) Friday evening we moved our friends in with us (Tami and Wes and three kids) since they just shipped all of their stuff to the states in preparation for their move in two weeks. It’s been nice to have them around because everyone is on edge and extremely stressed. (And Tami is very cool under pressure! She’s amazing. Me, not so much turns out.)
Yesterday (Saturday) they opened the commissary (No lights, cash only) and we grabbed some extra food, water and diapers. Since we have the standard Mormon “food storage” I wasn’t too worried about running out of food or water, but I didn’t have any spare diapers so was happy to buy three big boxes yesterday for Gray-Gray. (And yes, I bought two big cans of hot chocolate. Priorities, people!)
We went to church for a shortened meeting to take the sacrament and get the news today. All members of the branch have been accounted for and we’ve heard that all the missionaries in Japan are accounted for also. (Big relief.)
Anyway, evidently Misawa is going to become the base for rescue operations in nearby prefectures. We were asked at church to see what extra coats, blankets, food and water we can round up to donate to the Japanese people nearby. I feel heart sick thinking of those who’ve lost homes and loved ones. Although you probably know much more than me, I hear the devastation is extremely great. We were lucky to be so safe on base and grateful our off-base friends and neighbors were okay.
The earthquakes (aftershocks) haven’t stopped and I spent all night last night having nightmares about running from collapsing and buckling buildings. The kids are on edge and tantrums are at an all time high. They keep busy playing during the day, but when it gets dark and we have to ration flashlights and candles it gets extra hard to keep the peace.
A few things I’ve been wanting to tell people and note for the future:
*Get an old school, corded phone. If the power goes out, your cordless wont work. We were lucky to have a corded phone upstairs which helped Doug coordinate with the Branch President to get accountability of church members.
*Speaking of accountability, in an emergency, if you’re going to leave your house–leave a note on the door saying where you are going so when guys from church or work coming looking, they’ll know where you are.
*When the power went out, people off base couldn’t get their cars out of their garage. Turns out there is a special crank to use but most of our friends didn’t have it or know what it was. Luckily Tami had parked outside and was able to get her kids to our house Friday.
*We’ve been cooking with our camping equipment. Note to self: Buy a 20 pack of small propane tanks. We’ve also used our outdoor BBQ (in the cold) and I’m wishing I had a spare tank of Propane for that. (We still don’t have power and don’t know when it will come back on On Base. Estimates have said 24 hours (we’re way past that) to 1 week, to indefinite.)
*Do you have an extra refill of your prescriptions in your 72 hour kit? It’s terrifying to imagine running out of the things you take every day. Also, the thought of my kids getting sick and not having enough Children’s Advil and/or Tylenol made me pretty nervous until I verified we had some of each.
*For ONCE I was glad to be doing Dave Ramsey yesterday when we had plenty of cash on hand to shop at the commissary. But we also have a cash and yen emergency fund hidden in the house for back-up which was very comforting.
*While I’m making notes to myself: Buy a hand crank wheat grinder and blender! (We have a freezer full of frozen fruit to make smoothies but no way to blend anything.)
*Flashlights are a pain. All of our stupid Rayovac crappy batteries that I had stored for an emergency, LEAKED! So the flashlights are all slowly dying, being over used by the children, and being misplaced. The best source of light the last two nights has been the pillar candles I’ve had in the cupboard for fancy table settings. They seem to burn pretty slow and shed a lot of light. I’ve gone through 3 and have 1 left. Wish I had a 20 pack of those in my 72 hour pack. It would be nice not to worry about running out. Small, light weight, energy efficient lanterns would be nice too.
*Also, my next house will have a wood burning fire place. This all would have been much easier if we could have been warm.
*Also, I’m buying all my kids a down comforter. We have one on our bed and we’ve been fine at night, but the kids need 20 blankets piled up to stay warm. (Actually, the two big boys each have a two layer fleece blanket which is pretty warm, but unfortunately, they’re not very big.)
(Poor little Gray had to spend yesterday in his snow suit to stay warm. The poor little guy must be sensing the stress because he’s been quite out of sorts. He’s always shivering (even when bundled) and very clingy. The kids are all confused and upset but mostly hanging in there. Like I said, it’s been nice to have friends to keep us company.)
A few more random thoughts:
*The last two days this thought kept running through my head “All are safely gathered in.”. I can’t express enough how glad I was/am to have my family around me. Please say a prayer for our many many friends with deployed spouses. This is a very stressful time here. Also, please pray for all the Japanese people who are missing or displaced. So sad.
*We were very blessed on base to have running (freezing cold) water. Off base, sewer lines broke and contaminated the water supply they weren’t even supposed to touch it.
*Today we sang “I Need Thee Every Hour” at church. Has a lot of meaning right now.
Please pray for us (us being everyone in Japan) and if you feel so inclined, find a way to send some warm blankets to people who’ve lost their homes. Don’t know when I’ll be back on-line again, but hopefully soon.
Thanks to everyone for your concern. I knew (figured) there were people praying for us back in the states and it helped to think about that.
“Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to “prepare every needful thing” (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we can care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others.
“We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.
“We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.”
—The First Presidency, All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage,
For The Family