Archive for the ‘Before an Emergency’ Category


Camping is great practice!

  • Before
  1. Learn & Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Practice
  • During
  1. Remain Calm
  2. Gather Information
  3. Think
  4. Act
  5. Help
  • After
  1. Help
  2. Talk About It
  3. Resume Normal Life

The old saying that “Practice makes perfect” applies to emergency preparedness as well. We practice our emergency plans for a number of reasons, first of which is so that when we need to use them we know HOW to use them. We practice so there is less time spent THINKING what we need to do and more time spent DOING what we need to do. In an emergency situation, seconds can be the difference between life and death.

“Table Top” Practice

Once we know what possible emergencies we could face, it is a good idea to sit down and have a “table top” practice where you verbally go through a scenario with your family. Talk through the steps you each take in the fictitious emergency. Discuss what could go wrong and what additional problems you may face, then what additional plans, actions or supplies could overcome the problems. Write them down and be sure everyone understands them.

When we are practicing, we are able to go through our plans, seeing what works and what doesn’t, without the stress of a real situation. We are able to think of possible obstructions or flaws in our plans and develop strategies to overcome them when we have the time and the rational thought of “peace time”. For example:

  • How do we change our emergency plans if something happens during the day when few family members are home?
  • What if phone lines don’t work?
  • What if the 5 year old sleeps through the fire alarm?
  • How do we evacuate with all of our children, or pets, or supplies if the roads are impassible?

It is also a good idea to physically walk through your different plans.

Fire Drill

How often do we hear tragic stories of children or adults who didn’t know what to do in the event of a fire? Have a “fire drill night” with your family. Have everyone go into different rooms and then set off the smoke alarm so everyone knows what it sounds like. Make sure there are at least two exits from each room and go out both. Have all family members meet ACROSS THE STREET in an exact location. Do it once or twice, then time it. After everyone has it down, choose a day to do it unannounced. Even do it a few times in the middle of the night.

Communication

Practice your family emergency communication plans. Start the family calling tree and time how long it takes for it to come back. Also, have a day that everyone is supposed to call the family out of state emergency contact at a certain time.

Evacuation

Practice your family evacuation routes. Find different routes to and from work, school, church and your evacuation areas. Choose a day to hike with your family and your 72 hour kits to your out of neighborhood evacuation area.

Tools & Supplies

Practice using your emergency tools and supplies. Does everyone know how to use all the items in their 72 hour kits, car kits, work and school kits? Do you know how to siphon from your water storage or how to use the water filter? How about simple car repairs like changing a tire?

Utilities

Practice living without the utilities. Have everyone practice shutting off the electricity and water – don’t shut off the gas during practice. Choose a weekend where live without running water and electricity. Also turn down the thermostat. How will you stay warm? How will you see at night? How will you prepare food? Do you have enough water stored? What in your plans work and what doesn’t? What changes will you make?

Go Camping!

One of the best ways to practice emergency preparedness principles with your family is to go camping. You use many of the basics of survival in a fun and recreational atmosphere where if something DOES go wrong, you are not in a life threatening situation. Use each camping experience to try out a new technique or aspect of emergency preparedness.

As we practice our preparedness plans, we will not only perfect them and make them better, but we will be able to prove to ourselves and our family members that we CAN be prepared and we CAN have that peace of mind that comes from the knowledge that our plans DO work.

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Gather emergency supplies

Gather emergency supplies

  • Before
  1. Learn & Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Practice
  • During
  1. Remain Calm
  2. Gather Information
  3. Think
  4. Act
  5. Help
  • After
  1. Help
  2. Talk About It
  3. Resume Normal Life

Getting ready for an emergency is about 90% mental and 10% having stuff.  But, after we have learned about the possible emergencies we could face and how we can respond to them, we need to get our PHYSICAL preparations in order.  We don’t stop learning, but now we at least have a basic knowledge of what we need, when and where we need it and how to use it.

Start gathering your emergency supplies.

Much of your basic emergency supplies may already be found in your home.  From camping gear, cooking utensils, pantry stores and that pile of stuff in the garage that you need to go through.  It is important to get these things organized and even listed so you know where they are and if they even still work.

Let’s start by talking about WHERE you will need emergency supplies.  The answer is anywhere you may be when confronted by an emergency.  How much of your time do you spend at home? At work?  At school?  In the car? Any place you spend time you should have emergency supplies.  The kind of supplies and the amount will depend on your storage space and needs for the area.  Car emergency kits are different than your work emergency kit or your home emergency supplies.

For a list of items for different kits, see the PAGES link at the left.

72 Hour Kit

The first item to prepare is your 72 Hour Kit.  Whether you are evacuating or sheltering in your home, a 72 hour kit is three full days worth of everything you need to survive.  Make sure THIS kit is complete before working on the others.

Some rules to consider when buying or building your 72 hour kits are as follows:

One personalized, self contained kit per person.  Some places will sell you kits for two, three, four or more people in one bag.  But what if you get separated?  One person has everything, everyone else has nothing.  Adults, children and infants need to have their own, separate kits.  Infants obviously won’t carry their own kits, but it needs to be separate so it can go where the infant goes.  Children can’t carry as much as a full grown adult, which leads to the next point…

Kits need to be individually portable.  Each person needs to be able to carry or transport their own kit whether it’s a backpack, duffle bag, bucket or wheeled suitcase.  You need to cover all TEN AREAS OF EMERGENCY PRPAREDNESS, (SEE Self Reliance) but only the basics.  It needs to be light enough for children or physically impaired people to be able to carry or roll on their own.

Limit the size of your kit to the same as a piece of carry-on luggage.  Depending on the situation, if your kit is too big it may be left behind to allow another person on the evacuation vehicle.  It needs to be small enough to fit on your lap.

Store the kit for easy, quick access.  If your 72 hour kit is the one thing you grab as you’re running out the door, other than your family, it can’t be down in the basement, hiding behind the Christmas decorations.  It needs to be near an exit.  A closet near front door is ideal.

Finally, update the contents of your kit every 6 months.  Go through the inventory list and make sure everything is still there and still functioning.  Rotate your food, water, batteries and medicines.  Make sure clothing still fits.  Update important documents.

Food & Water Storage

After your 72 hour kits are in order, work on your food and water storage.  Start with two weeks of water and one month of food.  Build up to a month of water and three months of food.  Always remember to “Eat what you store and store what you eat” so your food supplies are not wasted.

When storing anything from food and water to batteries and medications, remember to always keep it cool, dark & dry.  This prolongs shelf life for as long as possible.

Important Information

In all of your emergency kits you will need copies of your important information.  This includes identifications, insurance policies, emergency contact information, current family photos, diplomas and other certificates, birth certificates, wedding licenses, legal documents, account information, etc.

It’s also a good idea to have cash in small bills for when the ATMs and credit card readers don’t work.

Fuel

Store fuel.  Gasoline for the car and generator, wood for the fire place, propane for the stove and heaters.  Keep different kinds of fuel, don’t rely on just one.  Find out local laws on how much, where and how to store fuel.

Sanitation

Also remember your family’s sanitation needs.  Put together a portable sanitation kit and include a privacy shelter.  Have a safe way of disposing of garbage and biological waste.  Also have a means for washing people, clothes and dishes.

Build your car and work emergency kits and STORE THEM WHERE THEY BELONG.  Auto survival kits won’t do you any good if they are left in the garage; work survival kits won’t save your life or the life of a coworker if left at home.

It sounds like a lot of work, but do a piece at a time and make emergency preparedness a priority.  If you do, you won’t be part of the problem, you will be part of the solution.


  • Before
  1. Learn & Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Practice
  • During
  1. Remain Calm
  2. Gather Information
  3. Think
  4. Act
  5. Help
  • After
  1. Help
  2. Talk About It
  3. Resume Normal Life

Survival SolutionsBefore an emergency strikes, the first thing on your list is to LEARN and PLAN; this is your mental preparation.  Before you run out and buy the kits and the gear, you need to do some research.  Emergency preparedness is 90% mental and only 10% stuff.  You can have all the cool gadgets and gear, but if you don’t know the basics of survival and how to APPLY your supplies to the given situation, you will have a difficult time making it through the incident. 

Find out what emergencies are most likely in your area.  Do you live near a fault line?  Is your area prone to tornados?  Are you in a hilly or mountainous area prone to landslides or avalanches?  What is the weather like?  Are you near a coast and need to worry about hurricanes or tsunamis?  What about flooding?  Do you live near highways or railroads where hazardous chemicals are transported?  Do you live near an area where hazardous substances are stored or manufactured?  Contact your local city or county emergency manager to learn what potential hazards are in your area. 

Once you know what emergencies are likely, learn how the 10 areas of survival needs apply.  You will shelter differently if you are at home in the summer than you would if you are stranded in your car or evacuating with your 72 hour kit in the winter.  You may not need to worry about cooking food in the aftermath of an auto accident, but you would if an earthquake or hurricane stranded your family for a few weeks.  Learn what emergency supplies are necessary and what isn’t.  Apply your family emergency preparedness budget to items that you will REALLY need, not just stuff that looks cool.  Learn how to use your emergency supplies, otherwise they are just taking up valuable space and resources. 

Learn how to gather information in an emergency.  There is the E.A.S. – Emergency Alert System on radio and television.  Learn what channels are the primary emergency information sources for your area.  N.O.A.A. weather channels give a constant update or the weather and emergencies in your area.  Some cities and counties have a REVERSE 911 system that actually sends out an automated call with the emergency information to all the phone numbers in the phonebook.  Mobile numbers have to register to receive this service.  Sometime if there is time, emergency responders may go door to door, street to street informing residents about a coming emergency. 

Be proactive and take training classes in emergency preparedness.  The Red Cross not only teaches different levels of first aid, but disaster prevention, preparedness and response.  C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team) classes and certification are offered in many cities.  CERT trains individuals how to organize and how to be safe, effective volunteers in an emergency, doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the least amount of time.

For more information on emergency preparedness check out www.ready.gov.  Order the free book Are You Ready? from FEMA Distribution, 1-800-480-2520.  Learn about emergency supplies at http://www.survivalsolutions.com/store/index.html and receive an emergency preparedness solution for the day when you become a fan of Survival Solutions on Facebook.

Develop family emergency communication plans.  Have a FAMILY PHONE TREE that quickly gets information out to family members.  Also have an emergency OUT OF STATE CONTACT.   After a disaster it is often easier to call long distance rather than locally.  Make sure everyone knows who the contact is and when they need to be called.  During an incident, family members “check in” so your contact has everyone’s status and location.  Get permission from your contact beforehand and let them know what their role is. 

Plan and develop your family EMERGENCY EVACUATION PLANS.  Have both near home (walking distance) AND out of area emergency meeting places.  Learn plans for evacuation from work and school.  Are there evacuation shelters in your area?  Where are they? 

What if you can’t or shouldn’t evacuate?  Do you have family SHELTER IN PLACE PLANS?   Consider making emergency safe rooms where you and your family can shelter from toxic gas clouds using plastic sheeting & duct tape.  Also learn about what your family can make it through the isolation of a reverse quarantine during a pandemic.