Include Over-the-Counter Medications
There are thousands of over-the-counter medications used to treat an unlimited variety of ailments. This can make stockpiling medications difficult. Every health care professional has their personal recommendations, but the following are the five OTC items that should be bought in bulk. They are cheap, effective, and each covers a wide range of potential maladies:
Can be used to relieve pain, relieve inflammation, thin the blood and lower fever (do not take on an empty stomach)
2) Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
Can be used to treat itching, rash, allergic reactions, and is the most common ingredient in over the counter sleep aids (will cause drowsiness)
Can be used to treat indigestion, nausea, heartburn and diarrhea.
Antibiotic ointment for cuts, scrapes and burns
5) Primatene Mist
The only over the counter inhaler capable of minimizing the symptoms of or stopping an acute asthma attack.
No first aid kit is complete without those five. – LA, R.Ph . SurvivalBlog.com
October 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson, editor
Water Has Healing Properties
Did it ever occur to you that if we make the best use of water, we could reduce the amount of sickness and death in the world? From microbes to soap, contaminated water is a major source of diarrhea. An important part of its prevention is to purify water used for drinking and preparing foods. Boiling and filtering water will help make it safe to use.
If cooking fuel is limited, pasteurization (using the WAPI kit in a Sun Oven®) will make water safe for consumption. Hand washing with soap and water before eating or preparing foods and after defecation is important.
Babies are especially susceptible to diarrhea. A common cause of death in babies and small children, is severe dehydration. By giving the infant or child plenty of water, this can be prevented, even if given a spoonful at a time.
Making a Rehydrating Drink
A rehydration drink made with half a teaspoon of salt and 8 teaspoons of sugar per liter (~32 oz.) combined with half a cup of fruit juice, coconut water, or mashed banana will replenish the electrolytes. This should be given often in small sips, every five minutes, until the person begins to urinate normally.
Additional uses of purified water include bathing skin infections, washing wounds, lowering high fevers, hot water vapors to loosen mucus and using hot and cold compresses. When water is used correctly, often medicines are not needed, and the body will heal itself. (“Where There is No Doctor,” Hesperian Health Guides.)
Searching for a Shelter?
To search for an open shelter, use your cell phone and text SHELTER and enter a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA). The Red Cross will have shelters after a disaster, too. You will be able to search online: Local Chapter. Red Cross also has an iphone Shelter Finder app available in the iTunes Store. They have a website where you can register first and last names and a brief message. Concerned family members can check this site to learn if you are safe and well.
What Do You Need to Know about Shelters?
When you arrive at a public shelter, there are some things you need to know. First of all, make up your mind to be one of the good guys. Every person in the shelter is a refugee, some in better condition than others. Mass sheltering puts many people in a small space, so your part will be limited. Respect the rights and privacy of others. Most public disaster shelters can provide some water, food, medicine and basic sanitary facilities. Keep your emergency kits with you, and in your immediate control, so you will have the specific supplies you need.
Requirements at the Shelter
You will be required to sign in before being admitted to any shelter. The name and contact information of a “next of kin” not in the shelter is required. You will sign an agreement to abide by the shelter’s regulations, which means you will be required to stay until an authority determines it is safe to leave. You will be responsible for your personal belongings. Keep valuables locked in your car or with you at all times, as the shelter will not be responsible for lost, stolen or damaged items. Begin making alternative plans to leave as soon as you are settled.
If you are part of a family in the shelter, plan to take turns on watch duty to make sure your belongings don’t grow legs. Keep your supplies contained and concealed. You will decide if you are willing to share. If you know other families in the shelter, team up to help one another.
Prohibitions in a Shelter
No weapons will be allowed, except those carried by security personnel. No alcohol or illegal drugs are permitted. Parents are responsible for controlling the behavior and location of their children at all times. Keep your space in the shelter clean and organized. Noise levels must be kept low. Quiet time is observed after 11 PM. Be sure to tell the shelter registrar if you have any medical condition that needs attention. You will be referred to a paramedic for treatment.
The amount of time you need to be in a public shelter may be short or long, depending on the conditions that brought you in. Take turns listening to radio broadcasts to stay informed.
Semper Paratus – Always Ready
This Latin phrase is most well known as the motto and the official marching tune for the United States Coast Guard. Perhaps it should become the motto of the emergency preparedness and food storage specialists as well. In the September issue we discussed the basic needs of preparedness. This month, we will continue this conversation beginning with what to do when we have to evacuate. What reasons would cause you to leave your shelter? Make your list of top 10.
When Sheltering in Place is Not Possible
When sheltering in place is not possible and you know you must go, there are some steps to take to secure and minimize future damage to your property.
Assuming that you have already prepared your evacuation kits (each family member has one), often referred to as “bug out bags,” get them into your escape vehicle, which you NEVER , EVER let the gas tank drop below half full.
Identify where you are going, get the address, and look at your maps to determine alternate routes to the shelter before you get on the road. Take the maps with you.
Remember to take your stash of cash. Hopefully, you have small bills and some coins, too, in case you need to have exact change in vending machines.
Grab your important papers, including emergency contact telephone numbers, extra glasses, medicines and any supplies for children and pets. And don’t forget to pack the children and pets.
Secure the following items:
- Find your main electric breaker and turn off the main power switch.
- If you have city water, find your water meter. The shut off valve will be there. This can be a handle (move it perpendicular to the pipe) or a knob (turn it clockwise to close). If you have a well, shutting off the electric will suffice.
- Turn off any natural gas valve. This will be at the gas meter. May need a wrench.
- Secure outdoor furniture so they do not become missiles.
- Lock all doors and windows.
October 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson
PLAN TO PROTECT YOURSELF & YOUR FAMILY
Prepare yourself and your family for a disaster by making an emergency plan. Most important thing: update and practice your plan.
Download the Family Emergency Plan, print the pages and fill them in offline. This is an In Case of Emergency (ICE) communications listing. Basic descriptions of all family members and contact information are listed. Each family member should have a copy with them at all times. Even if you do not have a personal telephone, with the numbers you can call when you do have telephone access.
Your emergency planning should also address the care of pets, aiding family members with access and functional needs and safely shutting off utilities.
You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Read more about school and workplace plans.
Once you’ve collected this important information, gather your family members and discuss the information to put in the plan. Practice your plan at least twice a year and update it according to any issues that arise.
They don’t call an event a disaster if there are no injuries! Get over the sight of blood or other injuries, your life or another’s may depend upon your First Aid Skills. We could make an entire newsletter containing First Aid lessons. In this issue, we’ll touch on some basics related to emergency preparedness and include some links for further study.
Immediately after an unpredicted or forewarned disaster, there are generally two types of response. One is Panic and the other is Normalcy Bias or Negative Panic.
Using these responses people are either running around screaming and maybe bleeding or just staying right where they were when the event occurred, in a state of disbelief. Both types of reactions are dangerous. People in panic mode can cause additional damage and injuries. People not responding can become participating victims by not responding to get away from the danger.
As difficult as it is to imagine bad things happening, we need to think about what kinds of events could happen in our homes and communities. Is your community subject to hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes? Do you know what accidents can happen and what can be done before help arrives?
What kind of accidents can happen in your home? Falls, cuts, electrical shocks, burns from explosions? Multiply that by a large number of people involved and it is easy to understand what pandemonium will be like. Now is the time to get out the First Aid book and assemble a First Aid Kit. A few basic items can make a big difference in survival.
The proper response is to quickly evaluate personal danger and respond accordingly. Only when you know that you are okay and will not be in danger while assisting others, can you be of value. Many fatalities occur because victims received help too late or because people on the scene administering first aid didn’t know what to do. During an emergency situation, often there are more injured people than helpers, so helpers should establish the priority of victims to aid first.
When you find a victim, check for a response. Ask “Are you OK?” and whatever other actions make sense, like touching. If there is no response, send or call for help. These are the 4 B’s of First Aid:
- Breathing – are they? Includes airway obstruction and breathing impairment
- Bleeding – covers circulation and deadly bleeding
- Breaks – includes all bones, including spine and skull
- Burns – bad ones turn into blisters filled with fluid that isn’t in the blood where it belongs
First Aid kits for home use can be procured in a variety of stores from big box to pharmacies. When you get your purchase home, open it and review the contents. Make sure your kit includes tweezers that actually grasp, hydrocortisone cream for itching insect bites, pain relievers, gauze and tape, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, allergy medications as well as assorted sizes of bandages.
Next, before an emergency event occurs, take time to learn some basic techniques. MedicineNet.com has online first aid essentials slide shows with photos and explanations. Local Red Cross chapters and most volunteer fire departments offer training. Community colleges also offer EMT and paramedic training. Community emergency response teams (CERTs) are in need of volunteers and will provide the necessary training to teach members how to assist in a disaster until other help arrives.
September 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson
For centuries humans have carried fire wherever they have gone. Whether you shelter in place or have to create a temporary shelter, you will need an energy source to provide some warmth, cook food and even serve as a signal. Before starting a fire, take a minute and decide where to put it. To benefit most, it should be near some sort of backdrop, perhaps that lean-to shelter you just built. It will absorb and reflect some of the heat. If you sit between the shelter and the fire, you will get the most benefit. Don’t build a fire in the shelter. Build a fire pit with stones or a sand berm to keep the fire contained.
The four things needed to start and maintain a fire are tinder, spark, fuel and oxygen. Those waterproof matches in your pack will provide a spark so all you’ll need is some dry tinder. Small, dry twigs (like in ‘been dead a long time’ dry), some dead dry plants parts including leaves, lint and dry, soiled tissues in your pocket, pine tree shavings or needles, tree fungi, and bark can all be used with your spark (water-proof matches or fire starter flints). As you are searching, locate a source of water or sand with which to douse the fire, if it gets out of hand. Gather enough dead, dry wood of varying sizes to keep the fire going. You will start with the smaller pieces and add the larger ones after the fire is established. Stack the items cross-ways to allow space for the fire to breathe (let in oxygen). Tip: Taking leftover sparklers from a patriotic celebration, cutting them into three inch strips, sealing them in mylar and adding them to your pack will give you a hot (4500º) fire starter. Remember to seal in a ziplock bag to keep the remainder together after opening the mylar. This flare will start even the wettest wood. One more thought, never leave your fire unattended. If you are leaving the area, put it out completely.
Fire can also be used as a signal for searchers, if you are lost. Add some wet, pitchy – like evergreens, or green wood to create smoke. The wood will not burn, it will smolder, creating smoke but not much warmth. This can be seen easily by searchers.
The following Checklist from “The Preppers-Playbook” lists some fire starting materials.
If you are making a fire outside of your non-electrified home and have all your appliances available, your SunOven® can be used on sunny days, reducing your needs for cooking fuel.
Along with the need for fire is the need for light. A fire will add light in one area, but not all around. Flashlights, battery operated lanterns and even decorative, outdoor, LED solar lights can be carried as you move about a dark area. Candles and oil lamps have been used historically and are even available in the 100 hour burning kind. You get to choose. Then practice using them, so you can operate them in the dark or near dark. Try going for a night using only alternative lighting. You will develop an appreciation for light quickly and will probably go to bed earlier than usual.
Our homes protect us from inclement weather and from the intrusion of other people. We live and store our personal property there. It is the center of our daily activities, and contains a place to prepare food and sanitary facilities. It is our home and we have the right to defend it. It is our obligation to maintain our shelter by paying attention to the need for repairs, whether we do the work or have someone else do it, repairs mean safe shelters. Security also involves habits like locking the door behind you, having screens on windows, and placing dowels in sliding doors.
Add a steel plate over the frame of doors to reinforce the deadbolt area. This will reinforce the door locks. Remove existing door trim, screw in steel strip. Make sure your screws don’t interfere with the bolt positions. Replace the door trim. The door will not give way easily.
During disasters, our first instinct is to shelter in place at home.
If our home is damaged, we may have to leave it and find protection from the elements elsewhere. Depending on the situation, we may be able to find a public shelter in a school or other facility manned by a humanitarian organization. If the disaster is widespread, you may need to make do with items you have in your emergency supplies or apply some wilderness survival techniques to make one. If you find yourself in this situation, preparing a shelter will be a first priority. You will want to get it finished before nightfall.
This will be the time that you are happy to have an emergency kit. Items included in your kit like a flashlight, rain poncho, hand warmers, extra clothing and waterproof matches will be welcome. You may not have an air mattress, but that thermal space blanket and plastic tarp will help avoid hypothermia.
Thanks to Joe Marshall for use of this table from his book, “The-Preppers-Playbook”. Joe is an average guy with a passion for sharing everything he learns. He is managing editor for www.SurvivalLife.com. Joe is graciously making this book available to Every Needful Thing readers at a special price. Click on The-Preppers-Playbook link.
Remember the 4th Survival commandment: “Adapt to the surroundings, wherever they may be.” Gaye Levy
September 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson
Food storage has three major components:
What to store, where to keep it and how long to hold it. The first thing to consider is what kinds of food will you and your family eat? You can start with a short term, say three days. Select items that your family likes to eat and that can be stored without needing refrigeration. Select small containers that can be consumed in one meal, that come with easy open lids (be sure to have a manual can opener in your stash), and do not need to be heated. Items like tuna, chicken or peanut butter will store well and can be eaten on the go, if necessary. Be sure to check the “best if used by” dates on cans or packages. This will give you an idea of how long to hold items and when to begin to rotate them. For longer term storage, assuming that you will be sheltering in place, break your food storage down into different types of ingredients, like baking components, canned or freeze-dried goods (vegetables, protein sources like meat, beans and eggs, as well as fruit and soups), seasonings, and starches. Date items when acquired and store them with the oldest items out front for easy access.
As you shop each week get extra cans of the food you eat, like tomato sauce, green beans, fruit or soup. Do the same with dried beans, canned tuna, and starches, etc. This way you can begin to accumulate the items you like. It will not take long to realize what a benefit this is for non-emergency times. Not everyone is so organized that they plan a week’s menu in advance. If you have extra items on hand, you can be creative and spontaneous. Remember to include replacements for the items you eat each week in your shopping list. You can include non-food items like paper towels, toilet paper, toothpaste and soap into this longer term storage plan as well. With extra items on hand, you can watch for sales and save money as well.
Variety will be key
Variety will be key as you accumulate extra food items. Mix in some frozen things for short term storage (most frozen foods will keep three months). They will taste different from canned items and will need to be processed and eaten quickly should there be a long term electric grid failure.
Setting up a storage place
Setting up a storage place to keep your extras will be necessary when kitchen cabinets and pantry spaces are full. When selecting a space, keep in mind that the best temperature for food is generally 40º to 50º F. Higher temperatures will shorten the shelf life (the time food is at optimal nutritional value) and locations with temperature swings are worse. The space you choose should be dry. High humidity will cause cans to rust and mold to grow in flours and cereals. Good air flow will reduce the moisture impact. Round cans allow better air flow than rectangular ones. Store foods in a dark place to combat the effects of light. Cardboard boxes added protection to items stored in glass jars.
The presence of oxygen can be a problem for some dry foods. It causes oils to go rancid and allows insects, fungi and aerobic bacteria a place to grow. Food purchased for long term storage is processed to exclude oxygen. Items you buy in bulk will need to be repackaged with oxygen absorbers (see July, 2013 – Every Needful Thing). Stored grains are often contaminated with insects. Canning jars and mylar bags are good oxygen barriers. Dry foods, nuts and crackers that can go rancid should be rotated more often.
Protect your storage space from rodents. They can squeeze through the smallest spaces.
September 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson
How will you respond to a disaster?
How will you respond to a disaster, whether it be an electric grid failure, a major storm or an act of terrorism? Do you have a plan in place that will sustain you and your family for a minimum of 72 hours? Eventually outside help may arrive, but the first 72 is on you. This month’s newsletter discusses six of the major topics of survival that will be evident very quickly when a disaster strikes. Unfortunately, we can be thrust into the middle of turmoil without any warning, so it it imperative that we think through the types of disaster that could strike in our area and work out a plan that will be useable. Living through a disaster requires the courage to plan ahead.
- Do you have a source of safe, clean water for drinking if your regular supply is disrupted? How can you purify water? What about other water needs, for cooking and cleaning up?
- Can you provide sufficient, healthy food for yourself, your family including any disabled members and family pets if food were not available at the local grocery?
- Do you have an energy source for cooking and to provide heat for your home in cold weather?
- Will your home have light when the sun goes down? Can you get around in your home safely without it?
- Who can you contact for assistance or to let family know you are OK? What will you use?
- Can you provide first aid for family members?
- Will you be able to leave your home with three day’s worth of supplies for each family member in five minutes? Do you know how to shut off the utilities to your home before leaving?
Customize Your Family Emergency Plan
Your family emergency plans should be customized just for you, remember to include all your family in the planning process. Make it a family project. Everyone needs to understand the the necessity of such a plan and buy into it, accepting that some major changes in lifestyle will occur, at least temporarily. The adventure begins when you not only make the plan but also practice it.
September 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson