May, 2010

Food and Water Preparedness in an Emergency

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Great video on what to do to be prepared.

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Debunking Some of the Myths of Emergency Preparedness

Most people have not done anything to achieve emergency preparedness (A recent Red Cross study discovered 7% of the population is prepared). Many do not understand the concept of being prepared. Sadly, when faced with an emergency situation, people often blame themselves for not being prepared ahead of time. This may stem from two factors: The realization we could have done more to avoid certain risks and losses, and secondly, it is human nature after initially blaming some situation/person outside of ourselves, we admit we made choices to put us in the situation we are in and have no one to blame but ourselves. I want to take this time to discuss some important preparedness steps that are useful for everyone, and I also want to address some myths which often get in the way of our getting adequately prepared for unexpected events.

The first misconception is the belief we can dial 9-1-1 and all of our problems will be solved. Most people believe they can call 9-1-1 and emergency personnel will come a running at lightening speed. Truth is, during a major crisis situation, phone lines may or may not work and there will be thousands, perhaps millions in need of help. Situation overload generally means not everyone is going to be taken care of in a “timely manner.” In short, you are going to have to survive on your own for a certain period of time. Security begins from your own preparedness, not in relying on someone else. So the first step is to prepare yourself by doing three things: Get a kit, make a plan, and stay informed. To achieve better preparedness for an emergency, read articles and watch videos for pointers. Many areas have preparedness classes readily available sponsored by a local government, church, or association. If you are prepared, and you and your family are safe and do not require immediate assistance, two things get to happen: you can make yourself available to those in need and emergency personnel will be able to help others who need it. A couple benefits from being prepared are that more lives are saved and more people who need the help, get it.

There is much talk on the Internet about the need for a 72 hour kit, this leads me another misconception about preparedness. Many believe just having a disaster kit and a first aid kit means they are prepared. Truth is, being prepared is more that having a three day kit, a radio, a flashlight and some band-aids. Survivalists are quick to point out it is not realistic to believe all severe emergencies will be overcome in a 72 hour window. Having a 72hour kit, a radio, a flashlight, a first aid kit, some food and water is better than nothing. AND it is a start towards being fully prepared. Long-term interruptions of food and water are not uncommon for many natural and/or man-made disasters. Consider being prepared for two to three weeks. Setting aside enough food and water to satisfy your family’s needs for a 21day period speaks volumes about care and safety for yourself and your loved ones.

Another myth is that you will have time once the emergency occurs. Recent history has shown this is rarely the case. Just ask the people in Boston, some 2 million persons, who were affected when a 10’ broke and their drinking water was contaminated in a heartbeat. Or ring up your friends in Nashville who recently underwent a flood of epic proportions for the. Of course you can always contact those in the Gulf and ask them about the impact of Katrina or the recent BP oil spill that has yet to be cleaned up.

It is virtually impossible to create a universal list of supplies, a “one list handles all.” Every family and every person is unique, and have their own specific needs. It all starts by communicating with one another. Reaching out and asking for help. What can you live without for three weeks? What can’t you live without for three days or a week? Start with the basics and build from there. There are numerous resources that provide kits and list suggestions of what to put in your kit. YOU get to decide what emergency preparedness means for you and yours. Get started!

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72 Hour Kits for Dummies

Making an Emergency Preparedness kit just makes sense. It is the right thing to do. It is also easy to do. So lets get started. Here is a checklist of items to store in your 72 hour kit so you can be prepared in case of an emergency. Consider making one kit per family member.

Food and Water
(A three day supply of food and water, per person, when no refrigeration or cooking is available)
• Water (1 Gallon/4 Liters Per Person)
• Protein/Granola Bars
• Trail Mix/Dried Fruit/Plenty of nuts
• Crackers (Multi-Grain are great as a bread substitue)/Cereals
• Canned Tuna, Beans, Turkey, Beef, etc. Canned Juice

Bedding and Clothing
• Change of Clothing (short and long sleeved shirts, pants, jackets, socks, etc.) Think layers
• Undergarments
• Rain Coat and/or Poncho
• Blankets and Emergency Heat Blanks (that keep in warmth)
• Cloth Sheet
• Plastic Sheet

Fuel and Light
• Battery Lighting (Flashlights, Lamps, etc., consider the crank type which recharge by turninging a handle)
• Extra Batteries (pay attention to expiration dates)
• Flares
• Candles
• Lighter
• Water-Proof Matches

Equipment
• Can Opener (manual)
• Dishes/Utensils
• Shovel
• Radio (with batteries!)
• Pen and Paper
• Axe
• Pocket Knife
• Rope
• Duct Tape

Personal Supplies and Medication
• Prescription Medication (for 3 days)
• Toiletries (roll of toilet paper- remove the center tube to easily flatten into a zip-lock bag, feminine hygiene, folding brush, etc.)
• Cleaning Supplies (mini hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo, dish soap, etc. Warning: Scented soap might “flavor” food items.)
• Immunizations Up-to Date
• Medication (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, children’s medication etc.)
• First Aid Kit (some stores, walk-in or on-line, have ready to use kits)

Personal Documents and Money
(Place these items in a waterproof container)
• Legal Documents (Birth/Marriage Certificates, Wills, Passports, Contracts, etc)
• Insurance Policies
• Cash
• Credit Card
• Pre-Paid Phone Cards

Miscellaneous
• Bag(s) to put 72 Hour Kit items in (such as duffel bags or back packs, which work great) Make sure you can lift/carry it!
• Infant Needs (if applicable)

Notes:
1. Update your 72 Hour Kit every six months (put a note in your calendar/planner) to make sure that: all food, water, and medication is fresh and has not expired; clothing fits; personal documents and credit cards are up to date; and batteries are charged.
2. Small toys/games may be important too as they will provide some comfort and entertainment during a stressful time. Playing cards, something to draw on and with, puzzles, etc.
3. Older children can be responsible for their own pack of items/clothes too.
4. You can include any other items in your 72 Hour Kit that you feel are necessary for your family’s survival.

Some items and/or flavors might leak, melt, “flavor” other items, or break open. Dividing groups of items into individual Ziploc bags might help prevent this.

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EP planning for Food and Water Storage: Its easy and necessary

Prepare for adversity by storing an emergency supply of food and water.

Earthquakes, fires, severe storms, and power outages are just some of the potential emergencies we may encounter. Imagine that you have no electricity, no gas, no water and no telephone service. What would happen if you are told to evacuate your home in the next ten minutes? Imagine that all the businesses are closed and you are without any kind of emergency services. What will you do until help arrives?

The 3 day emergency food and water supply is meant to be a quickly accessed, portable source of food and water that can sustain you and your family for several days. It should be stored in one or two containers for quick portability.  The foods chosen should be ready-to-eat without the need for cooking.

The 3 week3 month emergency food and water supply are meant for a disaster where food and water delivery may be interrupted. Hurricane Katrina was a perfect example where the normal delivery of food was interrupted. Build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet by purchasing a few extra items each week. Expand on this until you reach your goal.  Not all of these foods will be ready-to-eat and plans must be made to store the necessary means to prepare them.

Long term food supply is stored for one to many years. This type of food storage emphasizes a mixture of canned goods that can be safely stored for several years and low moisture foods that can be safely stored for long periods (10-30 years). These foods must be stored along with equipment to prepare them. A typical long term food supply for a family of four could weigh as much as 1500-2000 lbs. That’s almost a “ton” of food!

Courtesy of Utah State – Thanks Aggies!

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12 Steel Drum and Pail Benefits


Recyclable

Weatherproof

Non-Combustible

Standardized

Provide Worldwide Acceptance

Easy to Decorate

Stack Higher to Save Warehouse Space

Best Product Protection

Choice of Linings

Unaffected by Temperatures

Residue Free

Proven Performance

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