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)
The beginning of a new year is often referred to as a new canvas. How will you paint this year? It can also be seen as a time for personal re-evaluation, of goal setting, of creating new habits or rituals.
As you begin this new year, look at your situation. What changes do you want to make? Are you sure? You will need to really want to make these changes – change requires passion. Write them down. Look at your list.
Let’s take the first thing there. Most likely it will require several steps to accomplish. Now write down three steps needed to get you from ”here to there.” Repeat this process with each item on your list. Soon you will see that you have created an action plan for each change you want to make.
Is emergency preparedness on your list? Refer to the September and October issues of “Every Needful Thing” to get the basic needs list. Evaluate where your family is in relation to each of these needs. Make a list of three things that you can improve. Now write three action steps for each. Does this look like a “TO DO LIST?” What on this list can you achieve today?
Accountability is fundamental in life. If you approach each day knowing that you will some day account for your life’s opportunities, you can stay focused. “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” 1 Remember, it’s the journey, not the destination, you can do it, one day at a time. Any progress makes us greater than we were before. Incorporate accountability into your DNA – evolve to be better.
Pick what you can manage to do today. You have 365 days of pure potential in this new year. Create a revolution. Manage it day by day. Write down what you accomplish. Send me a note on how you’re doing along with any questions you may have. We love to hear from you.
Billie Nicholson 2014
1 Thomas S. Monson, Worldwide Leadership Training Broadcast, June 2004
Family Supply List
Family Supply List
Water, food, and clean air are important things to have if an emergency happens. Each family or individual’s kit should be customized to meet specific needs, such as medications and infant formula. It should also be customized to include important family documents.
Recommended Supplies to Include in a Basic Kit:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Infant formula and diapers, if you have an infant
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
Clothing and Bedding:
If you live in a cold weather climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that the power will be out and you will not have heat. Rethink your clothing and bedding supplies to account for growing children and other family changes. One complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person, including:
- A jacket or coat
- Long pants
- A long sleeve shirt
- Sturdy shoes
- A hat and gloves
- A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
Below are some other items for your family to consider adding to its supply kit. Some of these items, especially those marked with a * can be dangerous, so please have an adult collect these supplies.
- Emergency reference materials such as a first aid book or a print out of the information on www.ready.gov
- Rain gear
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
- Cash or traveler’s checks, change
- Paper towels
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container*
- Signal flare*
- Paper, pencil
- Personal hygiene items including feminine supplies
- Household chlorine bleach* – You can use bleach as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to treat water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Medicine dropper
- Important Family Documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
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.)
When You Lose Water Service
If you have no water service during an emergency, turn off all faucets, valves and outlets. This includes the valve at your toilet. This will prevent flooding when water service is restored. Turn off gas or electricity to your hot water heater. If it runs out of water and keeps heating, the heater will be ruined or might explode.
With no water service, you must find a way to safely dispose of human waste and garbage. If you don’t, you will soon be spending your time taking care of sick people, including yourself. The leading cause of illness and death during disasters is inadequate sanitation, poor hygiene, and contaminated water supplies.
There are three kinds of water
Potable water is drinkable and can be used for cooking and bathing. Gray water is leftover from cooking, washing and other hygienic purposes. It can be used for irrigation of plants or flushing toilets into a septic system or a functioning city sewer. The third kind is black water, sewage containing human waste. You will be responsible for disposing of black water if your septic/sewage system is not working.
A Luggable Loo or bucket toilet can be a good option to have along with your 72 hour kit. Keep basic supplies inside the bucket. They can include toilet paper, baby wipes, garbage bags, disinfectant wipes, feminine products, spray deodorizer and chlorine bleach or other sanitizing chemicals.
Setting Up Emergency Sanitation
To set up a bucket toilet for use, put a garbage bag inside the bucket. Mix one cup of liquid bleach to two quarts of gray water and pour into the lined bucket. Add a little more disinfectant after each use. Change the bag when it is one-third to one-half full. Carefully tie the top and place bag into a larger lined can. Close toilet lid after each use to control odors. There is a variety of commercial chemicals which will make your emergency toilet smell much better.
If you are able to shelter in place, make a permanent port-a-potty out of your toilet, assuming you do not have sewage backing up into your toilet. With advanced planning, you can have an automatic sewage back-up prevention valve installed on the sewer pipe which exits your house. This will be worth it’s weight in food or gold, if the sewer system fails. It will also prevent rats from crawling up an out of commission sewer pipe into your home.
To set up your in house toilet, make sure the water supply is off. Empty the toilet bowl. Insert a large rag into the exit hole to keep sewer gas from coming up and entering the house. Line the toilet bowl with a 13 gallon plastic trash bag. Duct tape the edges around the back and sides of the bowl completely. Then insert a second bag inside the first. Tape this bag lightly around the sides and lower the seat to hold it in place. Pour a small amount of disinfectant into the bag after each use to help prevent the spread of germs and disease. You may want to add sawdust or poo powder to solidify the liquids. The bag may be used several times before changing.
To change the bag, lift the seat and carefully remove the inside bag by loosening the taped edges. Twist the top edges together and seal the bag. To avoid accidental spills, place an empty bucket right next to the toilet and lift the bag into the bucket. Use this bucket to transport the black water waste outside. Put in a fresh bag, lightly tape and repeat as above. Cover the entire toilet with a 30 gallon trash bag to control odor.
How Much Waste Per Person?
Each person creates an average of five gallons of human waste each week. The waste, if not handled properly, will stink and make people sick. Never throw human waste on the open ground. If no other alternative is available, bury it in deep trenches and cover with two to three feet of soil, 100 feet away from your house or water supply to avoid contamination. (LDS Preparedness Manual)
October 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson, editor
There are two major aspects of communication
First is remaining informed. What is the current situation, what alternatives are available and how can you get this information? The second is keeping in touch with family members to implement your personal emergency plan, and contacting emergency service personnel, should you require immediate attention.
The biggest problem with keeping informed will come if electricity is out. This means no television or radio and no internet. Your computer can run on batteries for a while, but without internet you will not be up to date. What do you do?
A battery operated radio, tuned into an AM channel (AM radio waves are omni-directional) will provide some news and weather updates. A hand cranked radio will not require a stock of batteries. Emergency alert radios broadcast weather forecasts and warnings provided by the Emergency Broadcast System. These radios have an alarm system that comes on automatically to give warnings if an alert has been issued in your area.
Citizen Band radio (CB) popular a few years back, can provide useful information about road conditions, but don’t have a long range.
Local emergency scanners will let you listen in to local communications between fire, police, local safety personnel as well as government transmissions. These are more expensive and most useful if you are involved professionally.
Ham radios, also known as amateur radios, are reliable and involve thousands of operators throughout the world. In addition to equipment, and a tower, an FCC license is required. [http://www.aarl.org]
Emergency communications when separated
If an emergency occurs when your family is separated, your stress level as to their location and condition will raise. Your first thought will be to grab your telephone. Is it working? If it needs electricity and the power is out, it is useless. An old, landline phone will.
Hopefully, you have kept your cell phone batteries charged. As long as the towers are functioning, it will work. In a local disaster, the circuits may be jammed with users doing exactly what you are. Shift modes to text messaging. These take less band width and will go through easier.
Also consider that a long distance telephone call may be easier to make than a local one. When you make your Family Emergency Plan, include an out-of-town contact as your family’s contact person. Everyone in your family should have a copy of this contact information and be instructed to phone that number to check in. Take the time to make hard copies of this just in case high-tech equipment doesn’t work.
Another option is to have a set of “walkie-talkie” radios. Formally referred to as a hand held transceiver, these are useful for communicating with others while hiking, biking, and working; keeping track of family members in a crowded public event; checking with travel companions between cars; or talking with neighbors and arranging meeting places. The Cobra Microtalk set we have also has a NOAA all hazards radio channel.
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.