Survival

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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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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Your Emergency Plan is as Easy as C-A-P

What is an emergency? Perhaps the simplest definition is “any unplanned event that causes death, injury, or property damage.”  It has been said that less than 10 percent of people in the United States are prepared for an emergency. Being prepared for an emergency is as easy as 1-2-3, or in this case just remember three things, C-A-P.

“C” stands for COMMUNICATION.  Whether it is your business (check with employees to find out what they think are the essential elements of the business) or home (check with family members to determine what actions are best to protect the family from harm). In addition to communicating within the business and home circle, reach out to community resources such as your local Chamber of Commerce and your insurance carrier to see what advice they have about recovering from an emergency.

“A” stands for ANTICIPATION.  Here in Utah we do not get hurricanes like they do in Florida, but we do have occasional flooding, massive snowstorms, and those of us in the Salt Lake area are aware we live in an area with high potential to earthquakes. Maybe your company is located next to a rail line that carries shipments of hazardous materials. You need to anticipate any possible emergencies that might happen to you or your community.

“P” stands for PREPARATION.  It all starts with an emergency preparation plan, whether you are talking about a family or a company, large or small, one location or many locations. A sufficient plan that will allow you to face any potential emergency is critical to short and long range survival. For a business’s survival, it may be important to cross-train employees, so that is some are cut off from making it to work, other employees can fill in on essential operations. A plan should include an evacuation strategy and a course of action for contacting family members to see if anything is needed until they can return home. Homes and businesses should keep a supply of water and food just in case conditions prohibit people from leaving. Energy bars, electrolyte drinks, or anything that will provide you with basic nourishment for a minimum of 72 hours.

The key to being prepared for emergencies is to remember these three things.  Do this, and your family and/or your employees will thank you when the emergency is over.

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Water Storage for a Rainy Day

Fact: People can live without food longer than without water. Fact: Drinking water can be stored for long periods of time. Fiction: If there is an emergency, there is enough bottled water in local stores to handle the need. Fiction: The chances of you needing safe drinking water is less than average because natural disasters happen in other parts of the country, not here.

Why do survivalists say water is step one in emergency preparedness? Simple, for many natural or man-made disasters, safe drinking water may become a rare, priceless commodity. Having enough drinking water will, at a minimum, save you and your loved ones from unpleasant side effects, and best case, save lives.

For some, Emergency Preparedness feels overwhelming. Just wrapping our minds about needing water, food, first aid, etc. brings up uncomfortable feelings. While there is no scientific evidence indicating the world is going to come to an end in 2012, there is plenty of evidence to indicating natural and man-made disasters happen all the time, and so does the need to set some things aside for a rainy day. Rain happens. So where do you begin?
The easiest way of getting prepared is to pick up some commercially prepared water. Whether it is distilled, spring, or plain old bottled water, it does not matter. What matters is that you have enough. Minimum requirements: One gallon of water, per person, per day for three days. (Formula: 1g/p/dx3) It’s easy to pick up an extra case of water (which by the way can be stored for at least five years) and put it in your basement or in some out of the way place. Remember, if you have pets, they will need water as well. AND it is “smart” to set a little extra aside because you never know what or who might drop by and for how long.

Next, now that you have set yourself up for success for a 72 hour period, consider adding enough water for a long term emergency. Sometimes it takes weeks, even months, before everything turns back to normal. While water heaters, toilets, pipes, etc. can and will provide some water (as could rain water, rivers, lakes, streams), we suggest picking up a 30 or 55 gallon drum or two for water storage. Another option are 5 gallon pails for water.

Lastly, unless the water is from a sealed container, it is important to keep in mind that it is not always safe, regardless where it comes from. It is important to learn how to disinfect drinking water, especially any water that comes from a questionable source. To disinfect the water, simply boil it for about three minutes. There are commercially available treatment solutions and chlorine bleach (concentration depends on the number of gallons being disinfected), which can kill all dangerous organisms that may be present. Emergency Preparedness, its easy.

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What to Pack to be Prepared in a Disaster? “‘da List”

Think of emergency preparedness as if you are going on a trip. Once we make a decision to go on a trip, we sometimes make a list of what we are going to bring. Your 72 hour kit is THAT list. Here are some suggestions:

Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days.

Food – at least enough for 3 to 7 days — non-perishable packaged or canned food/juices — snack foods — non-electric can opener — cooking tools/fuel — plates/utensils – If needed: Extra powdered milk and food for infants and elderly.

Blankets/Pillows, (sleeping bags?) etc. It is important to be as comfortable as possible.

Clothing – seasonal / rain gear / sturdy shoes

First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs (check dates)

Tools – keep a set with you during the storm

Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes (toilet paper has lots of uses)

Flashlight/Batteries (It is a good idea to pack extra batteries)

Radio – Battery operated and NOAA weather radio (Hand crank is a good option as well)

Telephones – Fully charged cell phone (car charger may be a resource) with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set.

Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards – Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods.

Keys

Toys, Books and Games (playing cards, crayons if you have children, puzzles, etc.)

Important documents – in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag — insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.

Vehicle fuel tanks filled (If possible have an extra 55 gallon drum or two of fuel stored in the garage)

Special Items – for babies and the elderly (if needed)

Pet care items — proper identification/immunization records/ medications — ample supply of food and water — a carrier or cage — muzzle and leash

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Workplace Emergencies: Are You Prepared?

Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. For this reason, it is important to have someone who knows first aid. First aid can be either simple treatments for minor injuries, or initial care provided before emergency medical treatment is available.

OSHA says…
The OSHA regulation for medical services and first aid, which is found in 29 CFR 1926.50, says that employers must be able to provide prompt care for life-threatening emergencies — such as stoppage of breathing and severe bleeding — when an infirmary, clinic, hospital, or physician is not reasonably accessible in terms of time and distance to the worksite. In other words, employers have an obligation to provide first aid equipment, training, and personnel when a hospital or other outside emergency response is not close enough to provide help within three to four minutes. In addition, OSHA expects employers to make provisions for prompt medical attention prior to beginning work at a site.

First Aid Provider
If you are required to have first aid providers, those employees must be trained and designated to respond to emergencies at your worksite. To be in compliance, the employee must have a valid certificate in first-aid that can be verified by documentary evidence, and must be available at the worksite to render first aid. However, even if OSHA does not require you to have designated first aid responders, it is best practice to:
First Aid Kits

As for first aid supplies, employers must provide an easily accessible, weatherproof first aid kit. This first aid kit must be checked before going out to the jobsite and at least weekly to ensure supplies are replaced as used. (The Utah Safety Council sells first aid kits that exceed OSHA and ANSI standards for only $45.)
In addition, the telephone numbers of your company physician, hospital, and ambulance service must be posted in plain view. And, your company must provide transportation of an injured person to a physician or hospital if ambulance service is not available.

Remember…
In emergency situations, first aid that is given promptly and properly can make the difference between life and death, rapid and prolonged recovery, or temporary and permanent disability. Employees need to know where first aid kits are and be trained before an incident occurs. Also, they must understand and follow the universal precautions when dealing with blood.
Become a certified First Aid Instructor for your organization. Register for the First Aid Instructor Course held on July 19-21, 2011. For more information contact Brandee, Training and Development Specialist at 801.746.SAFE (7233) ext. 307.

The Utah Safety Council First Aid Programs meet the 2010 CPR and ECC Guidelines and OSHA standards for first aid in the workplace.

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Course 101: What to do in an emergency?

Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes and they can be devastating. The impact on roadways, power stations, water plants, and water sewage treatment plants can turn the “normal routine” upside down for hours, days, even months and years. Having fires with no water to fight them or local EMTs so swamped that there are no professionally trained people to assist in an emergency is no laughing matter.

Emergencies happen without warning. There is no time to think. Whether it be a natural disaster such as an earthquake (44 of the 50 states are earthquake prone) or severe weather, or a man made disaster caused by equipment failure, such as a power outage, it is important to be prepared. By thinking, planning, and preparing ahead of time, one is able to respond quickly and calmly. The benefits of being prepared are numerous: lives are saved, injuries are prevented, and property damages are reduced. It is easier to “bounce back” from an emergency. Lets review some basics to emergency response for various disasters.

How one responds vary depending on the type of emergency. A medical emergency is the most common. Getting proper first aid training helps one determine how to quickly assess a situation calmly and with control. It also reduces the fear that often comes up when one is in an unfamiliar situation. First and foremost always keep yourself safe. People are the number one priority. Be prepared to assist others as to the location and type of emergency. Dialing 9-1-1 may be all you can do.

For weather emergencies, stay out of harms way by seeking shelter. Stay inside and clear of falling debris. “Duck, cover and hold” may be apropos. That is, seek safety underneath a table or sturdy object, cover your head, and stay put until the situation becomes safe. Stay alert for aftershocks in an earthquake situation. The impact of tornados may have created an unsafe situation so care is to be taken. Be sure to secure equipment to prevent any possible lateral movement or having equipment tip over. Shut off main valves, such as gas lines to prevent leaks.

If there is a fire, notify personnel, shut down equipment and leave or evacuate the area safely. Use and knowledge of fire suppression equipment is critical. Check for broken connectors after shutting off main valves. Check with a flashlight, do not use a match. It is important to have a designated meeting area to re-assess the situation and determine if everyone is safe and what might need to be communicated to emergency personnel.

If a chemical spill happens, stop and think. Is it hazardous? Do I know what to do? Do I have the proper equipment? Am I trained? Is this a danger to you or the facility? Do not try to clean it up, but instead, rope it off and let properly trained professional personnel clean up the spill. Again, the first rule of safety is keeping yourself and others clear of potential dangers.

Keep food and water storage, first aid kit, tool supplies, sanitation, flashlight and batteries and other emergency preparedness materials in a place that is easily accessible. Utilize water supplies such as water heater, toilets, ice cube trays, when needed in an emergency. Pre-emergency drills go a long way to instill calm and focus. Remember it is not uncommon to be isolated from your loved ones during an emergency. Being separated due to work and proximity constraints happens often. Now is the time to practice and get prepared.

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ARE you Prepared?

Recently I was on the www.fema.gov website. There continues to be a growing concern in the U.S. about what is happening with the economy, natural disasters, and world events, including terrorism. I noticed the website had a map listing out the recently declared disaster areas in America. Most of those listed, whether it was in North Dakota or Texas, I was not familiar with. Are you?

Families and businesses are beginning to wake up to the importance of being prepared for potential situations, which will lend them powerless and unable to secure their long-term food, and water needs. Most people are vulnerable to outside influences and have not made an investment in preparing for a disaster. Given that no amount of money can keep someone alive in a crisis, long term water and food storage may be the most important investment we can make.

The food and water systems we have created in our local communities are designed to support our basic day-to-day needs. It is estimated there is less than a three-week supply of food in the national food distribution network. Grocery stores keep about a one-week supply of food in their stores. Most households have even less food readily available. A serious emergency could easily cause breakdowns in the supply of essential goods and services. The non-existent food reserves coupled with a water supply that could get easily contaminated would spell disaster for millions. Are you prepared?

Most survival experts suggest a minimum three-month supply of storable food and water per person. A wise person once said it is better to buy two years early rather than a day late. Still undecided? Personally, I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. How about you? There are a variety of people readily available to lend you assistance. Contact us atwww.marksbarrelcompany.com and let us help.

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Where To Get Started in Food Storage Containers

There are three types of containers that are excellent for storage. The standard five or six gallon plastic bucket is the most common. They come in a variety of colors, some use blue for water for example. These are ideal for storing supplies such as food and non-food items. Examples include: Toilet paper, soap, shampoo, flashlights, batteries, etc. Spend a week or so and jot down what you use. Items that moisture will affect but temperature will not can be stored in the garage or storage shed. Give serious attention to how your family will cope when power is out and plan accordingly, utilizing pails to put books and games in.

There are two types of lids to use with the standard plastic bucket.  The less expensive alternative is a lid that you will need a hammer to put on. This seals the contents from moisture and bugs. To remove the contents the lid must be removed with a special device. The other type of lid is a “Gamma” lid. It is a lid that can easily be screwed on and off. Both lids come in a variety of colors.

The second type of container is a specialty bucket. It comes primarily in white. This bucket/pail has a removable lid. It is more heavy duty than the first plastic bucket. In fact, these buckets can be used to dispose of waste if need be.

The last type of container, which continues to gain in popularity, is the “grain vault” type. This container is typically oblong, made of durable plastic, and comes with a screw on lid. All of these are reusable and ideal for food storage. Water storage containers are generally different and we will discuss them next time. Until then, enjoy practicing self-reliance and getting prepared.

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What if?

Much has been said/written about the need for water in an emergency.  Medically we know we are largely made up of water and we will not survive long without it. Most say 72 hours or less. This makes water a crucial component of emergency preparedness.

It is staggering to discover just how much water an average family of four consumes here in the United States. We use approximately 400 gallons of water a day to wash, clean, drink, prepare food, water our lawns/plants/crops, flush, etc. [On average the number is closer to 25 gallons/person/day when we take away farming and industry.] What would happen if we did not have this water or have access to it?

Government emergency preparedness agencies have told us for years to get prepared. It only makes sense given the examples worldwide we have seen and read about: Haiti, China, Philippines, and closer to home, New Orleans, Nashville, and Houston. Consider some man-made disasters and their impact: the stock market, the mortgage industry, unemployment rates.

Being prepared is simple. It is the practice of setting something aside for a “rainy day.”  I believe one reason that only less than ten percent of Americans are adequately prepared is most do not believe a catastrophic event will happen to them or their communities. The “big one” is unimaginable.

But what about the power going out for 24 hours due to an electrical storm? What about your spouse coming home and informing you they were downsized and lost their job? What about small flash flood due to snow melt that contaminates the local water supply? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little something set aside just in case?

Are you prepared? What would it take for you to buy a 72 hour kit and set some water (we recommend a couple of gallons per day per person) and food aside? Many recommend having enough water for a week; do you have enough water storage containers to handle this? What would it take to get prepared?  Begin today to plan for a possible shortage of resources. If anything happens, you will be grateful you did.  There are numerous resources at your fingertips available to help.  Just ask.

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