Posts Tagged ‘disaster’


AccidentWe often hear in the news about communities and neighborhoods who are told to quickly evacuate because of a toxic chemical spill or other biological hazard that has happened nearby.  Highways and railroads are the means of carrying many toxic and hazardous substances that are necessary for the operation of our society.  Most cities have chemical storage areas that are used for water treatment and manufacturing.  After September 11, 2001, we have come to realize the threat of terrorists using chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological weapons.  What if there is no time to evacuate a large population?  It is extremely difficult to quickly evacuate large population areas because there are too many people and too few exists.  Evacuation is preferable when there is time, but if it isn’t an option, families can do what is called “sheltering in place” with some simple preparation.  This means that a family sets up a shelter in their own home.  In the event of an airborne biological or chemical hazard, you can seal your family indoors until the hazard blows through, usually in a matter of hours.  When you become aware of an emergency, turn on your emergency radio to know what to do for the particular situation.  Be sure you are listening to the official emergency station for your area.

Prepare in Advance

Select a shelter in place room.

An upstairs, interior room is preferable since many chemical hazards are heavier than air and travel along the ground.  Choose a single room large enough to hold air for all members of your family.  Include pets as well.  A full-size dog uses twice as much air as an adult and cats use half the air.  To determine air needs and occupancy, have everyone in the room stand with outstretched arms.  If they can do this without touching anyone else’s outstretched arms there is enough air for one hour.  An 8 foot by 6 foot typical bathroom holds enough air for 2 adults and a child under 6 years of age for one hour.

Gather a shelter in place kit.

  • 2 mil or Thicker Clear Plastic Sheeting – 250 sq. ft. (1 roll) or enough for the room you chose.  Pre-cut and label the plastic sheeting to cover doors, windows, vents, and light fixtures to save time.
  • 2 Rolls Duct Tape – Use medium grade or better to tape plastic sheeting in place and to cover all electrical outlets, fixtures, and other areas where air can seep in.
  • Sodium Hypochlorite Bleach (Standard Household Bleach) – Use bleach without any added scents or colors to wash anything that might have become contaminated by a biological agent.  Rotate often as standard bleach has a one year shelf life.
  • Battery Operated Emergency Radio or TV – Check  for official news as to when it’s safe to come out.
  • Personal Medications – Any medical items that are essential to survive for a few hours.
  • Flashlight or Battery Operated Lantern – It is possible you could lose power and light.  DO NOT use candles or open flames as they burn valuable oxygen.
  • Porta-Potty – Don’t flush the regular toilet as it displaces valuable air.
  • Coats, Blankets, Sleeping Bags, Etc.  – Items for staying warm without using a heating device that burns oxygen.
  • Air Filtering Masks.
  • Towels – Get damp and use to jam under door cracks.
  • Books, Games, or Other Diversions.
  • Cordless Telephone or Mobile Phone.
  • Food and Water.
  • Small step stool or ladder to reach ceiling fan, vents, or fixtures.

Have your kit prepared in advance.  You may not have time to prepare it during the emergency.

When the Emergency Happens
  1. Turn on the emergency radio or TV for official information.
  2. Turn off all mechanical or electrically operated air intakes or air exchanges to your home; the furnace, air conditioner, chimney flue dampers, and any fans.  There is a switch on or next to the furnace that you can flip to actually turn off your furnace.  Some thermostats have an actual “off” position for the furnace or A/C, but just turning down the thermostat isn’t enough — you have to TURN THE FURNACE OFF!  Do not take the time to get on your roof to cover vents and/or chimney openings.
  3. Close, lock, and secure your home (windows, doors, animal entries, etc.). Close windows, blinds, and drapes.
  4. Gather your family, pets, and emergency supplies into the selected shelter in place room.  Using the pre-cut and labeled plastic sheeting and duct tape, make the room as air-tight as possible.  While gathering your family, you can provide a minimal amount of protection to your breathing by covering your mouth and nose with a damp (not soaking wet) cloth or using an air filtering mask.
  5. Wet towels and jam them in the crack under each door in that room.
  6. Use pre-cut plastic sheeting and duct tape to cover windows, heat vents, light switches, power sockets, fireplaces, baseboard gaps (if the baseboards aren’t caulked), light fixtures, entire door frames, attic doors that might be in the room, and where pipes come in through the wall.  The precut plastic sheeting needs to fit entirely over the window and door frame so you are actually taping the plastic onto the interior wall and not the casing.
  7. Limit activity and air usage.
  8. DO NOT use water from the taps or flush toilets as this could displace valuable air.
  9. DO NOT use lanterns or candles which burn oxygen. If your power is still on, it is fine to use the electric lights.
  10. Use a 5% solution of bleach to wash down anything or anyone you think might have been contaminated by a biological agent.
  11. Stay inside the sealed shelter until you are told OFFICIALLY it is safe to leave.
  12. When you are OFFICIALLY told it is safe to come out, have one person use an air filtering mask or put a wet cloth over their mouth and nose and go open up all doors and windows, and turn on air exchangers and fans to air out the home.  Realize you may still need to stay indoors, quarantined, for a longer period of time.

Prepare beforehand and practice shelter in place procedures with your family.  You may not have time in the event of a real emergency to learn by trial and error.


 

  • 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

 

When making preparations for an emergency, we usually just think about surviving the ordeal, not recovering from the incident.  After large-scale disasters like September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina, we have seen communities and the entire nation come together and help those in need.  Emergency responders and other volunteers leave family and home to travel to the other side of the country to render assistance.  Neighborhoods, churches, and business donate time and money to put together disaster, food, and sanitation kits.  Blood donors flock to literally give the gift of life.

When thinking about post-disaster recovery, we often think about search and rescue, removing debris and cleaning, or reconstructing homes and other structures.  Many people don’t have the skills or ability to help in these actions.  So what can these other individuals do?

After an emergency on your area, after you have taken care of the needs of your family and neighbors, it is a good idea to report to CERT, Red Cross or other community action groups.  They are trained in how to organize volunteers to help. 

There are many things that can be done besides heavy lifting, cleaning and building. 

  • Volunteers can help prepare and distribute food, clothing, sanitation, and shelter supplies. 
  • Just as in any organization, there is a lot of paperwork and documentation that needs to be done.  Volunteers can help collect, organize and distribute information. 
  • If traditional communication lines are down, volunteers can act as information runners in cars, on bikes, horses, ATVs, or on foot.
  • In emergencies, children can get separated from parents.  A volunteer experienced in child care can care for these children or for the children of parents who are volunteering in other areas.
  • Sometimes one of the most important jobs a volunteer can do is to hold a hand, listen, and provide a shoulder to cry on.

If a person is willing and able to help, there is always something that he or she can do.  Be proactive and think about what you and your family can do to help others after a disaster.  Remember that when we are helping others, we forget about our own sorrows and can find comfort in serving others.


To prevent disease in an emergency situation, keep yourself and your environment clean!

Sanitation KitMobile Sanitation Kit
Home Sanitation Supplies
Portable Hygiene Emergency Kit

Work Emergency Kit

Work Emergency Kit

Keep this personal emergency kit in a desk, locker or other quick access area to help you survive an emergency until you are able to evacuate and go home.  Make sure your place of business has an emergency plan and additional emergency supplies.

Water

Food

Shelter & Warmth

Cooking

Light

First Aid

Communication

Hygiene & Sanitation

Clothing & Personal Items

Important Papers & Money

  • Emergency & Non-Emergency Numbers
  • Emergency Family Contacts:  Phone, Address & E-mail
  • Home, Work, School, Day Care, Out of Area, Out of State
  • Local Maps with Evacuation Routes, Home, Work, School, Family Meeting Places
  • Currant Copies of Family Photos & IDs
  • Personal Medical Information
  •           Medical Providers
  •           List of Medications
  •           Special Medical Equipment
  •           Medical Conditions
  •           Vaccinations
  •           Blood Type
  •           Allergies & Sensitivities
  •           Health Insurance
  • Emergency Cash
  • Coins for Pay Phones

Kit must be small enough to fit in a desk or locker.

Water

Food

Shelter & Warmth

Cooking

  • Unnecessary

Light

First Aid

Communication

Hygiene & Sanitation

Clothing & Personal Items

Important Papers & Money

  • Child ID Tag with Emergency Contact Info, Family Picture & Medical Info
  • Small Bills & Change


WaterWilderness Breakdown
Food
Shelter & Warmth
Cooking
Light
First Aid
Communication
Hygiene & Sanitation
Clothing & Personal Items
Important Papers & Money
  • Emergency & Non-Emergency Numbers
  • Emergency Family Contacts:  Phone, Address & E-mail
  • Home, Work, School, Day Care, Out of Area, Out of State
  • Local Maps with Evacuation Routes, Home, Work, School, Family Meeting Places
  • Currant Copies of Family Photos & IDs
  • Personal Medical Information
  •           Medical Providers
  •           List of Medications
  •           Special Medical Equipment
  •           Medical Conditions
  •           Vaccinations
  •           Blood Type
  •           Allergies & Sensitivities
  •           Health Insurance
  • Emergency Cash
  • Coins for Pay Phones
Auto Kit Specifics

Supplies:

  • One Apple Box with Lid, or 2 large matching boxes with flaps cut off
  • Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
  • Stapler
  • Heavy Duty Scissors
  • Metal Wire Rack that fits completely in the box horizontally
  • Metal Wire (Optional)
  • 2 Pie Tins
  • Bricks or Boards for a Base
  • Charcoal
  • Tongs
  • Hot Pads

(Figure 1)

Box Oven Instructions:

  1. Completely cover the inside and bottom of the apple box with heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Fold the foil over the edges about 2” and staple it to the box.  (Figure 2)  Turn the box on its side.
  2. Place a rack in the box so that it is level and approximately 8” from the bottom of the box.  You may secure it with wire on all 4 corners of the rack.  Or, use a rack that comes with legs.  Make sure the rack fits completely inside the box. (Figure 3)
  3. Cut the lid of the apple box or second matching box down to about 3” to 4” from the bottom.  (Figure 4)  This is now the door of the oven.  Cover the outside of the door with foil and secure the foil in place with staples.  (Figure 5)  Place the lid with the foil side toward the opening of the oven to form a door.
  4. Place bricks or boards under the bottom edges of the oven so air can circulate and keep the outside of the box cool. (Figure 6)
  5. Put two pie tins with the bottoms together and the tops facing up and down.  The top tin holds the coals while the bottom tin prevents the coals from burning the oven.   (Figure 7)  Place about 12 hot coals in the top pie tin and place both tins in the bottom, center of the oven.
  6. Place food on the rack for cooking like you would in a normal oven.  Cover with the oven door to cook the food.  (Figure 8, Figure 9)
  7. Use a pair of pliers or tongs to adjust the coals and a hot pad to remove the hot pans from the oven. (Figure 10)

Reflector Oven Instructions:

  • To use the oven as a reflector oven, you don’t need the pie tins or the door.  Place the pan of food on the rack in the oven and set the oven close to and facing a heat source like a campfire.  The radiant heat from the heat source will then cook the food.  (Figure 11)

72 Hour Kit

72 Hour Kit

 

72 Hour Kit Rules: 

  1. One personalized, self-contained kit per person
  2. Individually Portable
  3. Store for easy, quick access – Closet near front door is ideal
  4. Update every 6 months
  5.           Summer clothes to winter clothes, winter clothes to summer clothes
  6.           Check medications
  7.           Check food
  8.           Check water
  9.           Check batteries
  10.           Check cooking fuel
  11.           Check inventory
  12.           Update documents
  13. All 10 survival needs, but only the basics:  Food, Water, Hygiene & Sanitation, Shelter & Heat, Cooking, Light, Communication, First Aid, Personal Items & Clothing, Important Papers & Money
  14. Know how to use items in kits
  15. This list is more than can probably fit in your 72 Hour Kit.  Take the items from each of the 10 areas that are most important to your personal needs.  Bold items are recommended.
  16. Practice Evacuation with your family

 

*Baby Needs

**Store outside of pack, but in same location

***Don’t forget 

Container

Backpack, Duffle Bag, 5 Gallon Bucket with lid or other Portable Container

Small enough to fit in your lap.  Approx. carry-on luggage size. 

Food 

Ready to Eat & Simple Preparation

  • Instant Soup Packets
  • Ramen Soup  
  • MRE Bread
  • Granola Bars
  • Instant Oatmeal Packets
  • Instant Apple Cider Packets
  • Instant Hot Chocolate Packets
  • Instant Broth Packets
  • Water Bottle Flavor Packets 
  • Fruit Cup
  • Raisins
  • Beef Jerky
  • Trail Mix
  • Fruit Roll-up
  • Crackers & Peanut Butter
  • Peanut Butter/Jelly Packets
  • Hard Candy
  • Emergency Ration/Energy Bars 
  • Multi Vitamins
  • *Liquid Vitamins 
  • *Powdered Baby Formula 
  • *Baby Cereal 
  • Paper Copy of Planned 3 Day Menu

SAMPLE MENU:

DAY 1 

Breakfast – Granola, Hot Chocolate 

Lunch – Chicken Noodle Soup, Jerky, Fruit Roll up, Candy 

Dinner – 1/2 Ramen Noodle Soup, Fruit Bar 

DAY 2

Breakfast – Oatmeal, Apple Cider 

Lunch – Chicken Noodle Soup, Jerky, Raisins, Candy 

Dinner – Peanut Butter/Jelly, MRE Bread 

DAY 3 

Breakfast – Granola, Apple Cider 

Lunch – 1/2 Ramen Noodle Soup, Trail Mix, Candy 

Dinner – Cheese & Crackers, Fruit Cup 

Water

Hygiene & Sanitation

Travel Size

Shelter & Heat

Cooking

Light

Communication

First Aid

Personal Items & Clothing

  • Multifunction Pocket Knife
  • Compass
  • Personal Prescription Medications
  • Diabetic Supplies 
  • Epinephrine Pen 
  • Complete Change of Clothing Incl. Socks & Underwear
  • Thermal Underwear 
  • *2 or 3 Complete Changes of Clothing 
  • **Sturdy Shoes or Boots
  • Extra Shoe Laces 
  • Bandana 
  • Paper Clips 
  • Rubber Bands 
  • Ear Plugs
  • **Coat/Hat/ Gloves-Mittens 
  • Small Games/Cards/Books
  • *Toy/Coloring Book/Crayons 
  • Extra Glasses/Contacts 
  • Polarized Sunglasses 
  • Mace/Pepper Spray 
  • *Baby Bib 
  • Religious Items (ie. scriptures, consecrated oil, cross) 
  • 100 Foot Nylon Clothesline 
  • Small Roll Duct Tape 
  • Small Wind-up Clock or Watch w/ Alarm 
  • Extra House & Car Keys 
  • ***Mobile Phone & Chargers 
  • ***Pets 
  • ***Pet 72 Hour Kit 

Important Papers & Money

  • 72 Hour Kit Inventory List
  • Emergency Contact List w/ Names, Addresses, Phone #s & E-mails of all Family Members for Home, Work, School & Day Care
  • Address, Phone# & E-mail of 1st & 2nd Family Emergency Meeting Places
  • Local Emergency Phone #s – Police, Fire, Ambulance, Poison Control, Family Doctor, Dentist,  Religious Leaders
  • Local Map with Home, Work, Schools, Em. Mtg. Places & Evacuation Routes Marked
  • Minimum $200 Cash in Small Bills
  • $10 in Change
  • Prepaid Phone Card
  • **Written Evacuation Plan
  • Current Individual Photos of Family Members for ID Purposes (“Has anyone seen this person?”)
  • Current Group Family Photos to ID as Family Group
  • Copies of– Printed Copy and/or Flash Drive
  •           Marriage Certificate
  •           Birth Certificate
  •           Social Security Card/Records
  •           Vehicle Registration/Title
  •           Will
  •           Guardianship
  •           Power of Attorney
  •           Personal Property Inventory List
  •           Insurance Agent & Policy #
  •           Life
  •           Auto
  •           Home
  •           Medical
  •           Diplomas
  •           Military
  •           School Certificates
  •           Immunization Records
  •           Prescriptions
  •           Budget
  •           Bills
  •           Outstanding Debts
  •           Checking/Savings/Credit Card Accounts
  •           Web Site Accounts
  •           Passwords
  •           Safe-Deposit Box Location & Number
  •           Assets
  •           Stocks
  •           Bonds
  •           Tax Returns
  •           Children’s Fingerprints
  •           Religious Documents (ie. Blessings, Prayers)
  • ***Wallet/Purse
  • ***Passport
  • ***Checkbook 

Take only if time & space are available

These items are NOT a part of your 72 Hour Kit     


Tornado Emergency

Care for yourself, your family & your neighbors.

  • 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

You’ve prepared.  You’ve planned.  You have your emergency kits in order and they are ready to go.  You’re staying calm & you’re continually gathering information about the emergency you are now facing.  With that information you are adapting your emergency plans to this specific emergency.  So you have your plan of action, now DO IT!  This is the time that you hoped wouldn’t come, but you prepared for any way.  Don’t hesitate.  Seconds of delay could mean the difference between life and death.  Get going!

You First

Now that the emergency is here, who do you take care of first?  YOURSELF!  Just like they tell you on the airplane, put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your child.  That sounds selfish, but think about it.  How can you care for your child or any other person if you are incapacitated?  Look after your own health and safety FIRST so that you CAN help others.  YOU are your first priority, your family is your second, neighbors and the community are third.

10 Areas of Emergency Preparedness

As you follow your plan, continue to assess the situation and change the plan as needed.  One of the greatest factors in survival is adaptability.  Remember the ten areas of emergency preparedness:

As you adapt your plan to THIS emergency, think about these ten things and how your preparations before hand and your current resources can be used for you and your family.  Your first thoughts should be on SHELTER.  Find shelter from extreme temperatures, elements and physical danger, ie…  escaping from a burning building, shelter from a severe thunderstorm or tornado, car breakdown or lost, earthquake or hurricane, terrorism or intruder.

Because of the nature of emergencies, even the most prepared and self reliant of individuals can find themselves needing help.  In the case of injury, misjudgment or just happenstance that puts us beyond our own means we will need to communicate our needs to others.  That may be verbally or by calling 911, blowing on an emergency whistle or banging on something.  It may require making a signal fire or using a signaling mirror.  The important thing is to make contact and let someone know you need help.

Help Others

After securing yourself and your family, depending on the size and scale of the emergency there are going to be a lot of people that need your help.  Take a volunteer emergency training class like CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) now to learn how to safely and effectively help others in a large scale emergency.

Look at your neighborhood.  You know there are a lot of people who take emergency preparedness for granted or even dismiss it all together.  There are others like you who seriously try to prepare their families for a possible disaster.  If there is a large scale incident, it won’t discriminate between the prepared and the unprepared, everyone is going to be needed to help everyone else.  Think about your neighborhood.  Are there any elderly or people who have difficulty moving unassisted?  Are there any families with many children or who have special needs or disabilities?  Talk to them now and discuss what help they may need in an emergency.

First Aid:  Check, Call, Care

After you have taken care of yourself and your family, is there anyone around that needs first aid?  When you go to help, remember to check the environment around the victim for hidden dangers.  You don’t want to become a second victim and double the problem.  After checking the environment, check the victim to determine what is wrong.  Call for available help and give care to the victim as far as you have been trained.

In an emergency situation, you do what you need to do to help you, your family and those around you to survive the duration.  After the emergency, working together, you can rebuild and return to normal life as quickly and completely as possible.


  • 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 emergency has just happened. You are remaining calm and you are gathering information about the incident. Now you need to think about how to best apply the information you have for the situation you are facing.

Time

One of the scarcest commodities in during an emergency is time. You probably don’t have much when you are gathering information and determining how you are going to use it. Use it wisely. Even though the time for emergency planning is over, you do need to QUICKLY think about how you are going to apply your plans to this situation. How much time do you have before you have to evacuate? This may determine what you can take with you and what additional security precautions you can take. How much time do you have before the hurricane or tornado arrives? This may determine where you can shelter or evacuate to.

Instructions from Authorities

What instructions have you received from the authorities? Did they tell you to shelter in place? Depending on the emergency, are you just staying where you are or do you need to find a safe room to shelter in? How are you best going to do that?
Did the authorities tell you to evacuate? Did they tell you what routes to take or to avoid? Can you take the car or the RV, or are you on foot or bike? What can you take with you? What has to be left behind? How are you best going to do that?

Location of Supplies

Think about the location of your previously stored emergency supplies. Can you get to your 72 hour kits or your first aid kit? Is your food and water storage easily accessible? What about your camping supplies or your sanitation supplies? Is the fire escape ladder where you need it? Can you use your flashlight or is there a gas leak and you need to use your glow stick? Where are they?

Available Resources

What resources are available that you can use to ensure your safety, your family’s safety and the safety of your neighborhood? Are there resources for sandbags? Are there chain saws and pry bars for clearing debris? Can you use a sheet, table cloth or curtain to make a bandage? What do you have to make a splint? Is there a door you can use for a backboard? What is there around you that you can fashion into a makeshift shelter for you and your family? Remember that people are resources as well. Does anyone have medical training? Is anyone a HAM radio operator? Are there any people trained in CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)? People can accomplish more working together rather separately.

Decide How to Act

You need to decide how you and your family are going to react and respond to the situation you are facing. If you have preplanned and practiced your emergency plan, this should be very quick and easy. Are you going to evacuate out the door or a window? Are you going to do CPR or the “chin tilt”? Are you going to evacuate west to the public shelter or north to your sister’s city? Are you going to shut off the gas and the water?

Whatever emergency you are facing and whatever your emergency plan, your plan needs to be flexible as you get more information and as your situation changes. You don’t have much time, but you need to take a quick moment to decide how to best implement your emergency plans. Remember to consider how much time you have, what instructions you have received, what supplies you have and what resources are available. After you have made your plan, ACT on it.