Emergency Preparedness

SWALLOWED by the Dragon, Part 3

Utah being an established earthquake zone is a given. There are numerous resources one can turn to in order to educate oneself on the subject. THE GREAT UTAH SHAKEOUT provided by www.SHAKEOUT.org listed some excellent scenarios just to name one. Utah.gov has a “Be Ready Utah” site set aside specifically to answer questions and help people get prepared for an imminent disaster.

In talking to locals in the Wasatch Front, most are aware they live in an earthquake zone but bury that knowledge beneath more immediate challenges and pray the future never comes. Will I lose my job? Can I pay my bills next month? Are more important concerns than repeated warnings about terrorism, earthquakes and floods. So what keeps people stuck?

Environmental psychology professor Robert Grifford calls the psychological barrier that prevents people from preparing for disasters such as earthquakes the “dragon of inaction.” He suggests there are 30 dragons of inaction that inhabit people’s minds and these seven keep individuals from getting ready for a natural calamity such as an earthquake:

  • The dragon of uncertainty. It often justifies inaction or postponed action.
  • The dragon of judgmental discounting. A disaster will happen later, or elsewhere, so there’s no need to do anything.
  • The dragon of habit. This beastie is also known as Behavioral Momentum. Many habitual behaviors are resistant to change, or change slowly.
  • The dragon of conflicting goals. This is also known as “I have other more important/immediate things to do.”
  • The dragon of optimism bias. “It won’t happen, at least to me, at least not soon anyway.”
  • The dragon of tokenism. People take the easiest steps to prepare for disaster rather than the most effective.
  • The dragon of conformity. If no one else in your neighborhood is preparing for an earthquake, you likely won’t either.

How does one get woken up from this lethargy? Scared straight is one idea. This approach has worked for some health concerns, such as the anti-smoking campaign. Bringing risk into the here and now, but be careful not to overdo it. Save Armageddon for the movies.

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SWALLOWED by the Dragon, Part 2

Thank you for the feedback Utah. It appears a vast majority of folks in the Wasatch couldn’t be bothered with the subject of PREPAREDNESS. Even a disaster such as the ones in Haiti, Christ Church, New Zealand, or Sumatra do not send fellow Utahans to local Emergency Essentials outlets to pick up emergency preparedness kits.

At the risk of repeating myself, the “rules” for preparedness over the course of a 72 hour period are quite simple:

  • People should prepare for natural disasters by keeping an emergency kit in their home, car, and workplace.
  • Each person should have enough water, food, and items such as a battery-powered radio, blankets, and extra clothing to be self-sufficient for 72 hours after an emergency.
  • Families should devise a plan covering how members will contact each other if they’re separated when a disaster happens.
  • Families should agree in advance on a meeting place and an out-of-area contact person to whom they can report that they are safe.
  • Take a first aid course, including CPR.
  • Know the safe and dangerous places in your home.

Did you know that Utah averages nearly 500 earthquakes per year (magnitude over 1.5 – 473 last year)? I was stunned, as I had no idea. Perhaps like myself, you may have heard that it has been 1300 years since the Wasatch range had a major earthquake and the chances for one soon are very high. Yet most Utahans do not have earthquake insurance and believe they are financially prepared for one.

This “dragon of inaction” could be a mistake. Scientists believe over 80% of the population would be impacted by a 7.0 earthquake and the Wasatch Front faces a 1-in-7 chance of that being a reality within the next 40 years. What would it look like? Consider a three to nine foot “curb” running right through Salt Lake City and beyond, approximately three thousand people would die, 50,000 would be injured and there would be nearly $35 billion in damages.

Imagine if you will the population of Ogden being displaced and needing public shelter as over 30% of the buildings were damaged beyond repair. Fires could be widespread and emergency personnel would be so overwhelmed it may take days before they could reach some areas of destruction. Power and water could be out for weeks. Oh, and that little gadget that you have in your hand that has become nearly an appendage, communication systems would be out for weeks, if not months, let alone other necessities we come to rely on.

We just passed the tenth anniversary of the 9.3-magnitude quake and tsunami that killed over a quarter of a million people. Scientists claim that what happened in Sumatra in December 2004 will happen in North America beyond any reasonable doubt. How about you, do you believe it could happen in the Wasatch Front? If so, what are you doing to prepare yourself (and your neighbors)?

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SWALLOWED by the Dragon

ANY one else out there who believes that their token preparation for the Big One is inadequate? This tokenism is what I call the “dragon of inaction” – a psychological barrier that prevents people from preparing for disasters such as earthquakes.

If one were to poll an authority on earthquakes, there is a long held belief that a mega-quake through the Wasatch is immanent. This sleeping monster’s destructive power is reported to be one of the biggest America will have seen to date.

While some businesses, local governments, and locals have made some plans to cope with natural disasters, truth is, most are sitting on their hands. What is this dragon of denial that keeps Utah’s citizens from getting prepared? While the next major disaster may not be the Big One, the likelihood of having to deal with a major disaster in your lifetime is pretty high.

Local corporations have done a good job in educating people about disasters, but most folks in the Wasatch do not even have a basic plan. There a number of websites and readily available social media sites pumping out information, but short of having some bottled water, people are more apathetic than ever.

What thoughts do you have on the subject? Are you prepared? Are corporations doing the best they can to provide you with the information you need? We will discuss your answers and talk more about preparedness in Part 2.

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Muscle Memory in Emergency Preparedness

Ever heard the slogan: “Prefect practice makes perfect”?

With last year’s disaster in Japan and others including the Joplin, MO tornado and the BP oil disaster, the supposed “end times” coming up in December, more people bring up disaster preparedness. Some circles live with a preparedness awareness. For members of the Latter Day Saints faith community preparedness has been talked about for years especially centered around having a year’s worth of food and water storage.

One aspect of awareness that gets over looked is the actual practice of practice disaster drills. Think about fire drills at work and school. They can be very disruptive but if a fire broke out there do you know what to do? Can you do it in near automation mode? If the answer is yes then you know why drills are important. It is similar to “muscle memory” in exercise.

There are many good preparedness blogs though one of the best for the average person could be from one that survived Katrina and posted about the experience with worksheets on his blog, “Listening to Katrina.” He gives a great outline on getting prepared in your own region.

A key component of preparedness is practice. Consider having a drill every six months on getting out of the house in one minute or packing the car for evacuation in an hour. Turn off the power and see if you can hook up the generator if you have one or just see how you would manage without power or water one weekend. These practices can be as short or as long as your family wants to tolerate.

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FREQUENTLY Asked Questions on Water Storage

Question: How much water should I store?
Answer: Water is your most important supply during an emergency. The amount of water a person needs will depend upon age, physical condition, activity, diet and climate. One gallon per person, per day for drinking, food preparation and hygiene should be stored with your emergency supplies. For example, a minimum of 56 gallons of water should be stored for a family of four for two weeks.

A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need even more.

Question: Can water be rationed if supplies are low?
Answer: Never ration water. If supplies run low, drink the amount you need today and try to find more for tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.

Try to avoid foods that are high in fat and protein, and don’t stock salty foods, since they make you thirsty. Try to eat salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.

Question: Does our hot climate mean I should store more water?
Answer: A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day; however, hot environments can double the amount of water required. Reduce your activity and stay as cool as possible to minimize the amount of water needed to stay hydrated.

What is the best way to store water?

If possible, purchase bottled water and keep it sealed until ready to use. You can also store water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has held toxic substances.

Plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are best. You can purchase food-grade (FDA) plastic buckets or 55 gallon drums from MBC Inc. Seal water containers tightly, label them and store in a cool, dark place. Rotate water based on expiration dates on bottles or every six months.

What can I do to improve the taste of stored or boiled water?

Stored or boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring it back and forth between two containers.

What if we run out of water?

There are hidden sources of water in your home. You can use the water in your hot-water tank, pipes, and ice cubes. As a last resort, you can use water in the reservoir tank of your toilet (not the bowl).

How to use water in your pipes: Shut water off to your house. Let air into the plumbing by turning on the faucet in your house at the highest level. A small amount of water will trickle out. Then obtain water from a faucet located at the lowest point in the house.

How to use hot-water tank water: Be sure the electricity or gas is off before draining the hot-water tank. Open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Start the water flowing by turning off the water intake valve and turning on a hot-water faucet. Do not turn on the gas or electricity when the tank is empty.

Be sure to purify water from outside natural sources before drinking it. Avoid water with floating material, an odor or dark color. You should not drink floodwater.

When should the water into the home be shut off?

If you hear reports of broken water lines or sewage leaks turn off the incoming water valve to prevent contaminating the water in your pipes and hot-water tank.

When does water need to be purified?

Water of uncertain purity should be purified before using it for drinking, food preparation or hygiene. Contaminated water can contain microorganisms that cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis.

How do I purify water?

There are several ways to purify water and none of them are perfect. The best solution is to use a combination of purifying methods. Before purifying, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or clean cloth.

1. Boiling – Boiling is the safest method of purifying water. Bring water to a rolling boil for one minute. Some water will evaporate. Let water cool before drinking.

Boiling water will kill most microbes but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals.

2. Disinfection – Chlorine water purifying tablets or household liquid bleach will kill most microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color-safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners.
Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.

Is there really an expiration date on water?

Studies show sterilized or disinfected water, stored in clean, food-approved containers with secure lids or caps should be safe for use even after many years of storage. Replacement of stored water with fresh water should be necessary only if the stored water becomes contaminated in some way or if the container should begin to leak. Be certain to label each container so there will be no question about its contents. Include the date and information on the method of disinfection used. We recommend changing properly stored water every three to five years.

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Community Preparedness Webinar Series

National Preparedness Month 2012

Tuesday, June 5th, 3:00 PM ET/Noon PT

Dear State and Local Partners,

Please JOIN US on June 5th for the official launch webinar for National Preparedness Month 2012 this September. National Preparedness Month has grown every year, and with your help, this will be our most successful and coordinated effort to date!

The theme for this year’s National Preparedness Month is Pledge to PrepareDON’T MISS this great opportunity to learn about the number of easy ways that you, your organization, or your business or place of work can fulfill the pledge and become better prepared for disasters this year:


  • Free Publicity: Thousands of people visit this site. Having your events and training and education activities in one place makes it so much easier, not just for us and the public, but also leadership and the media, to learn about the great work that you’re doing. Please post any upcoming events and learning opportunities on the site’s events calendar. Your events will be placed on a Google map and the public will be able to search for events by zip code.
  • Connect with Current and New PartnersThe discussion boards are a great way to meet new partners and to exchange information with the stakeholders you already work with. Please introduce yourself so that the public and other participants know who you are!
  • Event Ideas and Resources: Get access to new ideas on how you and your community can get involved and plan events in your community to raise awareness about emergency preparedness and help people learn to protect their homes and families from all hazards

Details for the kick-off webinar are below.  We look forward to working with you to make the nation more prepared.


Darryl Madden, Director, the Ready Campaign
Paulette Aniskoff, Director, FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Division




 Presenters for this webinar will include representatives from organizations including:

  •  FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Division
  • The Ready Campaign
  • Arizona Division of Emergency Management
  • New York City Office of Emergency Management and Citizen Corps

DATE: Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TIME: 3:00 PM ET/Noon PT

Please note that we will be opening the webinar meeting room beginning at 2:30 p.m. EDT in anticipation of a large volume of participants. Please feel free to join the webinar at this time, while understanding that the official event will still begin at 3 p.m. EDT.  

If you have not participated in a previous HSIN webinar and need to register, please click here in order to view this webinar.

If you have participated in a previous HSIN webinar and already have a username and password on the HSIN system, please log-in here in order to view this webinar.

How to view our webinars

The Community Preparedness Webinar Series is conducted via DHS’s HSIN Connect system. Audio for this webinar will be broadcast within HSIN Connect and will play through your computer speakers; there will not be a concurrent, phone-based teleconference. Questions and answers will be moderated via text-based chat inside the webinar. In addition, please ensure your computer’s speakers are working prior to the webinar. If for any reason you have trouble accessing the system, please send an email tocitizencorps@dhs.gov.

This webinar will last approximately one hour. In addition to airing live, the webinar will be recorded and viewable at a later date and linked from this web page. The live webinar will offer Closed Captioning and a transcript of the webinar will be posted with the recorded version of the webinar.

If you have not participated in a previous HSIN webinar and need to register, please click here.

If you have participated in a previous HSIN webinar and already have a username and password on the HSIN system, please log-in here.


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Cómo Desinfectar el Agua – Beba Agua que Sea Segura


Después de un desastre natural, es posible que el agua no sea apta para el consumo.

Escuche los anuncios de las autoridades locales para saber si puede utilizar el agua.

Con un poco de cloro se puede hacer que el agua se pueda utilizar en forma segura.

Si el agua de la llave es clara:

1. Utilice cloro que no tenga otros olores (como limón).

2. Agregue 1/8 de cucharadita (8 gotas o unos 0.75 mililitros) de cloro

líquido de uso doméstico en 1 galón (16 tazas) de agua.

3. Mezcle bien y espere 30 minutos o más antes de beber el agua.

Si el agua de la llave es turbia:

1. Utilice cloro que no tenga otros olores (como limón).

2. Agregue 1/4 de cucharadita (16 gotas o 1.5 mililitros) de cloro líquido de

uso doméstico en 1 galón (16 tazas) de agua.

3. Mezcle bien y espere 30 minutos o más antes de beber el agua.

Recuerde que puede ser necesario desinfectar los recipientes antes de utilizarlos para guardar el agua limpia:

1. Utilice cloro que no tenga otros olores (como limón).

2. Agregue 1 cucharadita (64 gotas o 5 mililitros) de cloro líquido de uso doméstico en 1 cuarto de galón (32 onzas, 4 tazas o alrededor de 1 litro) de agua.

3. Vierta esta solución en un recipiente limpio para almacenar y agite bien para asegurarse de que el líquido cubra todo el interior del recipiente.

4. Deje reposar al menos 30 segundos y luego vacíe el recipiente. 5. Deje secar al aire O enjuague con agua clara que ya ha sido desinfectada,

si la hay.

■ Nunca mezcle cloro con amoníaco ni con otros productos de limpieza.

■ Cuando utilice cloro, abra puertas y ventanas para que el lugar se ventile.


Después de un desastre natural, es posible que el agua no esté apta para utilizarse ni para consumirse. Puede ser que contenga gérmenes y sustancias químicas.

Escuche los anuncios de las autoridades locales para saber si puede utilizar el agua.

Escuche los anuncios de las autoridades locales para saber qué hacer. Las autori- dades le dirán si el agua está contaminada con gérmenes o sustancias químicas.

Hierva el agua cuando se lo indiquen. Déjela hervir al menos 1 minuto (comience a contar cuando el agua alcance un hervor constante). Espere lo suficiente para que se enfríe antes de beberla. Hervir el agua mata los gérmenes.

Use agua embotellada cuando se lo indiquen. En algunas ocasiones después de un desastre natural, es posible que haya sustancias químicas que no se puedan eliminar al hervir el agua.

Amamántelo o utilice una fórmula preparada.

Si necesita agua para preparar la fórmula, utilice solo agua embotellada comercial hasta que las autoridades le indiquen que el agua de la llave se puede consumir.

Cosas que debe hacer

Cómo alimentar a su bebé


Cosas que nunca debe hacer

Nunca tome agua si no sabe si es apta para el consumo. • Nunca lave platos, utensilios para comer, juguetes ni otros objetos si no sabe si

el agua utilizada es apta para el consumo.

Nunca se bañe si no sabe si el agua utilizada es apta para el consumo.

Nunca cocine con agua si no sabe si es apta para el consumo.

Nunca se lave los dientes con agua si no sabe si el agua utilizada es apta para el consumo.

Nunca haga hielo con agua si no sabe si el agua utilizada es apta para el consumo.


Para obtener más información sobre el agua que se puede consumir después de un desastre natural, visite http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/safe_water/personal.html


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Water Storage Containers

Plastic jugs are frequently used for water storage. These containers are light weight and fairly sturdy. There are many types of plastic containers manufactured. Generally polyethylene type plastics are safe for storing water. Some, however, are not recommended for food storage because harmful chemicals could leach into the food. Most plastics used in waterbeds are not approved food storage plastics. Plastic containers which have previously been used for food storage or which are being advertised as food storage products will be safe. Plastic jugs with secure lids, which have contained milk or other edible substances are safe for water storage, however, it is essential that the milk bottles be very thoroughly washed to remove the fat traces. Some light-weight gallon containers might split at the seams and leak. Chlorine bleach bottles may be a food approved plastic, but contain an anti-static agent which prevents accumulation of dust during storage and are thus not recommended. Since plastic is permeable to certain vapors, water stored in plastic should not be near gasoline, kerosene, pesticides, or similar substances. It is advisable to store plastic water containers away from direct sunlight.

Check out our selection on this page or on Facebook. Call us and let us help you get it right the first time.

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Emergency Preparedness Resources

There are a handful of websites that will act as resources to help you get back on your feet after a disaster. Spend some time reviewing the readily available resources for your business. Some of these sites translate to homes/families emergency preparedness needs as well.


Ready.gov has a variety of publications for download covering various topics about planning and preparation for disasters and emergencies.



Federal Emergency Management Agency

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s mission is to support citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.



The Business Civic Leadership Center

The Disaster Response and Recovery Program of the BCLC, a nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, helps businesses communicate and collaborate with each other and with the nonprofit and government sectors to make disaster relief, recovery, and reconstruction activities more effective. The BCLC also has a help desk designed to enhance community economic recovery after disaster. They can be reached at 888-MY BIZ HELP / 888-692-4943



The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

NIOSH includes a page of publications dedicated to emergency preparedness and response as one of its workplace safety and health topics.


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Emergency Preparedness: Businesses Need a Plan Too!

People think disasters happen to somebody else.  Truth is, all companies should plan for anything that might disrupt their day-to-day routine. It does not have to be a major event like a tornado or fire or flood. It’s anything that keeps businesses from operating.

When polling businesses about disaster plans, more than two thirds responded they did not have an emergency plan for their business. The Insurance Information Institute estimates nearly half of companies never reopen following a major catastrophic event that disrupts business for any significant length of time. Do you see a correlation?

It does not take much to create a plan. Creating a team and prioritizing what is critical for the business is a great place to start. Remember the saying, “It takes a village”? No one person can know everything about the facility, the supply chain, the personnel, the customers, or the company. After your “emergency preparedness team” determines what is critical for the business to survive, a plan can be put into place such as an alternative location.

Next, there is key information, critical to your business that needs to be kept safe. Contact information (personnel, vendors/suppliers, and key contacts with your largest customers), financials, and even back-up options for vendors and suppliers (should they be shut down for some reason). Whether the information is stored in a “cloud”, an off-site storage facility, or off-site server, it is important it be in a place where it cannot be destroyed or damaged.

This plan/document is a living, breathing document and it is important for the team to have on-going conversations concerning strategies to help the company recover from any disaster.

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