The likelihood that you and your family will recover from an emergency tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparation done today. While each person’s abilities and needs are unique, every individual can take steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies from fires and floods to potential terrorist attacks. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs, you and your loved ones can be better prepared. For people with special needs disabilities, being prepared is a matter of life or death. If you are on your own, you need to have a plan.
The first step is to consider how an emergency might affect your individual needs.
Think about a given day, what do you do, what do you need and who can help you? Work on a plan to make it on your own for at least three to five days. It is possible in an emergency that you will not have ready access to a medical facility or pharmacy. Basic supplies for survival include food, water and clean air. Consider assembling two kits. One to use at home and one to take with you if you have to leave home.
Recommended basic emergency supplies include:
* Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
* Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener if kit contains canned food and where possible, extra medication.
* Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
* Flashlight and extra batteries for any necessary electronic equipment
* First aid kit; a week’s supply of any prescription medicines; include copies of all prescriptions and dosage instructions; copies of medical insurance, Medicare and Medicaid cards; instruction for operating any equipment or life-saving devices you rely on
* Whistle to signal for help
* Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
* Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
* Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
* Local maps
* Pet food, extra water, collar with ID tag and supplies for your pet or service animal
Make a plan for what you will do in an emergency.
Write it down and keep it with your emergency supply kit. For every aspect of your daily routine, plan an alternative procedure. Create a personal support network. Share your plans with them and make sure that someone in your support network has a key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies. Practice it. Keep a list of network contact information in your wallet. If you need to evacuate, select a shelter that can accommodate your needs.
It’s important to stay informed about what might happen and know what types of emergencies are likely to affect your region. For more information about preparing for emergencies for people with disabilities, click here for a printable document.
Information from Ready.gov
Additional Articles in September 2014 newsletter include:
Solar Moroccan Style Meatballs from our Solar Chef
Youth Need to Know, too.
Have you discussed basic survival techniques with the young people in your home? If they were lost or were involved in an accident, would they know what to do? School is back in session and your children are away from home most of the day, now is the time to review these skills.
As your children grow up, starting at a very young age they learn their name, address and telephone number. They also learn how to dial 9-1-1. Let’s not forget riding a bike and swimming. Do they know how to find their way home in your neighborhood or town? What about basic survival skills? What if your family went on a hike and somehow got separated, or an adult was injured? Would they know what to do? Teens were not born knowing everything, even though there are some who will argue that. Sharing these life lessons may be critical some day.
Teaching Survival Skills Builds Resilience
Before we get into some of the things they should know, let’s discuss how to share this as parents, guardians and mentors. The goal of raising children to become responsible adults involves teaching them more that reading, writing and arithmetic. They need to learn other skills, like critical thinking, leadership and teamwork. Sam Goldstein, a neuropsychologist and co-author of Raising Resilient Children, recommends a fourth “R”, that of resilience. It may be the most valuable skill of all.
We need to be empathetic, communicate with respect, be flexible and give undivided attention. Kids need to be given a chance to solve problems and make decisions on their own and help get projects done. Mistakes need to be used as learning experiences, with strengths recognized, and any corrections or discipline administered with love and kindness. Resilience means bouncing back.
What Survival Skills Should a Teen Know?
- Not Panic – This is one of the most basic of survival skills. In panic-mode we make bad decisions. Frightened youth, with limited life experiences, may do things which could be life threatening.
- Be Aware – Does your child know how to decide if they should run, hide or fight back? Are they aware of where you are going, whether walking or riding on a bike or in an auto? Do they know which places are dangerous to go to and what people and types of behaviors that may put them in a compromising situation? As much as we would like to keep our youth in a protective bubble, they need to learn to recognize that bad things happen, even to good people, and they need to know how to handle them.
- First Aid – Do your children know how to stop bleeding, remove a splinter or treat a burn? Taking a Red Cross CPR/First Aid class or practicing some of the skills in that Boy Scout Book of First Aid you have in your Bug-out-Bag may be a good weekend family project.
- How to Handle a Firearm – Every teen should take a gun safety course. A child who knows how to handle a gun safely is less likely to be involved in a shooting mishap. He/she may need to know how to use a firearm for a number of reasons.
- Feed Himself – This skill can range from opening a can without an electric can opener, using a stove safely, harvesting and preparing garden produce, or hunting, cleaning and preparing game. They should know how to set up and use a Sun Oven®.
- Self Defense – Do your children know how to defend themselves against an attacker; when to run?
- Get Back Home – Another fun weekend project, day or night. Also, make a family fire escape plan.
- Skills – Can your child use simple tools – hammer, drill, paint brush or screwdriver – something other than a game box?
- Stay Warm – Can they build a shelter, start a fire and understand the importance of warmth?
- Getting Help – Do they know who to ask and how to leave clues if they’re lost?
- Pack Their own 72 hr. Emergency Kit – Youth should be responsible for selecting most of the items in their emergency bug-out-bag. This is another good family project that should be updated every six months.
Do you know all these skills? Share them.
Thanks to Mom with a Prep for some of these pointers.
Billie and Robert Nicholson
Other articles in the August 2014 Newsletter include:
Today I was listening to a video by Healthy Prepper in which she shared the concept of dehydrating fruit and vegetables at their prime ripeness. She had just purchased many bags of price-reduced items. The groceries were beautiful, just really, really ripe. Studies reveal that 40% of food we purchase goes to waste. You can dehydrate almost any fruit or veggie, so there is no reason food should go to waste.
The SUNOVEN® is perfect for dehydrating produce. Green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, grapes and figs are in abundance in my refrigerator. Rather than hope that we’ll get around to eating them all before they spoil, I decided to begin a dehydrating project.
When dehydrating with the SUN OVEN®, focusing the oven into the sun is not necessary. The goal is to have a consistent temperature that ranges from 110º – 155º F. Keep the latches open for moisture and excess heat to escape. A higher temperature will effectively cook the produce rather than dry it. Use parchment paper and the racks provided with the oven. Drying time will vary depending on thickness. Try to be consistent so the pieces will dry at about the same rate. Check the oven from time to time to see how things are going. If your fruit or vegetables have not dried by the end of the day, simply leave them inside the SUN OVEN® over night. Collapse the reflectors and latch the door. The next day, resume drying with the door unlatched. For more details, watch our video on Dehydrating with the Sun Oven®.
After the produce has dried, there are a variety of ways to store them. The figs were packed in FoodSaver® bags and vacuum sealed. The Bay Laurel leaves, were stored in a plastic container. The tomatoes were stored in a glass jar with an oxygen absorber and vacuum sealed. What a great way to increase your food storage, reduce waste, and use the sun’s energy. What are you drying?
Other articles in the August 2014 Newsletter include:
Check your calendar and make your reservations to attend one or more of these upcoming emergency preparedness training expos. We will be there with lectures and demonstrations using the Sun Oven®. Plan to take one home along with lots of other preparedness ideas.
Other articles in the August 2014 Newsletter include:
In the September 2013 “Every Needful Thing” newsletter, we included a list of items to pack in an emergency escape bag, AKA your 72-hour kit. Hope you made one! We included some things that can last a long time and others that have a shorter storage time. This month is a good time to pull out the bag and review it’s contents.
- Exchange the food - Did you pack some granola bars and cracker packets? How about some nuts or peanut butter items? Many of these items contain oil of one kind or another that oxidizes or goes “rancid” if kept for over six months. Take out your snacks and eat them – or at least taste them to determine if they are still fit to eat. As you eat them, add these items to a list as a reminder to replace them on your next shopping trip. It’s a real disappointment to open one of these packs and find them yucky. Can you imagine how bad you would feel if you were in an emergency situation and that is all you had to eat? Do you have an 72-hour kit for your children? Are they still eating those “chicken sticks”? Have their favorite snacks changed? Staying up to date on their favorites will make a disruptive situation a little more comfortable.
- Check clothing sizes - This is a good idea for adults as well as children. Kids are always growing and changing sizes, so make adjustments by including some currently fitting and well used clothes for them. Since disasters can happen any time of the year, a bag of extra jackets for snow or lighter weight clothes for warmer weather is a good idea. Adults, include some extra socks, “sweats” or jeans and long sleeve shirts that can be rolled up if necessary,. Rain ponchos are a must, how does yours look?
- Rotate Batteries & Medicines - Do you have battery operated items like two way radios or flash lights in your kit? Batteries leak when stored for a long time and can ruin the item they’re in. Remember to store batteries separately. Prescriptions have expirations. Rotate these, too.
Keep Your 72 Hour Kit Updated
Additional Articles in the April 2014 Issue:
- A discussion of the importance of “duck and cover” in surviving a nuclear attack
- What are your plans to provide protein in your diet in an emergency situation? Here are some items to add to your supplies …
- Are members of your family hearing impaired that might not hear a smoke alarm?
- Our featured contributor this month is Tess Pennington of ReadyNutrition.com. She shares an article about Bio Mass Briquettes. Now you’ll have an environmentally friendly use for those shredded documents.
- Sun Ovens are a perfect partner for bio mass briquettes, here’s how …
- Some of our friends have complained that their yards were so shady that they doubted they could grow anything in a garden. In answer to their questions, here are some plants that can be grown in shade. Don’t give up on your yard either. Read more …
- Speaking of gardening, do you use Epsom salts? Here’s why.
- We can all be prepared to take the initiative to save a life, should we be faced with a life or death situation. Here are three critical first aid procedures that can be accomplished with one dressing.
- Our Solar Chef has included a wonderful recipe for Solar Stuffed Shells. Give it a try, these are yummy.
Billie Nicholson, Editor
As Shared by Francesca Dodge Taylor
Family Emergency Preparedness
Every year my family has a theme for family home evening. Our theme for 2013 was preparedness. Teaching our children the importance of being prepared, each week we would have an activity, like map reading, remembering directions with land marks, and packing go bags for a quick get away. Our four children range in age from newborn to 12 years old. We included the older three in our projects. For Christmas day, we planned a treasure hunt, which included their daily chores along with some fun.
To mark the clues along the way of the hunt, we cut out picture pieces of scrap wrapping paper and taped them at each location. the clues were drawn and listed by number on the treasure map that we created. The map had to be given a look of authenticity, of course, again adding to the fun of it (also making it harder to read) I tore pieces of the paper off and wrinkled it up to give the aged look.
Making Preparedness Fun
After breakfast, the kids had their choice of opening presents inside or going outside for the “Treasure Hunt.” Even though the morning was cold, they opted for the treasure hunt first. In their footed pajamas, they raced to get their boots on! Then ran to the front door to get their first clue, as they had to use the door to get outside to start the hunt! The second clue was a metal egg basket sitting in front of a bush where our hen likes to lay her eggs, the kids had to collect them. Next, they headed to the back yard chicken coup and let out the chickens and our duck. The fourth clue headed them through a course set up with cones. They all had to keep together and help one another follow directions and weave through the course.
We have a rock climbing wall attached to a tunnel. The next clue was to climb the rock wall together. Don’t you love the teamwork idea? Once at the top of the wall, they had to crawl through a tunnel (sometimes you may need to be brave making an escape.) The tunnel ends in the playhouse, where they found the last clue, a “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree. They were so excited, to my surprise, not even noticing the cold outside.
Inside the playhouse, behind the little tree were three brand new, loaded Go bags, customized for each child with survival items they can use. Our son (the twelve year old) got para cord, a tree saw and a head lamp. The girls got fishing poles, astronaut blankets and age appropriate activity books among other things they will need to spend nights away from home. Funny thing, of all the gifts they received for Christmas, they spent the most time playing in their Go bags. (Photos provided by Francesca Dodge Taylor)