preparedness

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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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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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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Food Storage Made Easy

You don’t have to ask an expert to know home food and water storage are essential for surviving an emergency situation. It’s easy to see where not having enough food and water to sustain you can make a bad situation worse. Sadly, few of us maintain emergency food supplies because it is too easy to drive over to the neighborhood grocer.

Home food storage can be broken down into three basic categories: Survival, Emergency, and Long Term Storage. A survival food store, such as Emergency Essentials, should include everything you and your family might need to survive for three days without any outside assistance. Experts agree 72 hours is the absolute minimum. Ideally, survival experts suggest we work towards a month supply of food and water, but let’s walk before we run. Canned, dehydrated and freeze dried foods are the principle make up for this type of storage.

Emergency storage normally refers to stores of food that will allow you and your loved ones to survive for a minimum of a month, up to . When most survivalists refer to “emergency food storage” this is the category they mean. The food selection is similar to the aforementioned “survival storage”, there is just more of it. Stick with what works for you, add grains, rice, quinoa, flour, etc. to round out your canned goods, dehydrated and freeze dried foods.

Long term storage requires the most storage space. Most experts agree this type of storage is meant to support a family for upwards of a year or more. Canned goods and dehydrated foods are common, mix in staple items of grain and flour.

Lastly, careful consideration needs to be taken when choosing the containers you will store your food in. Everything should be carefully stored in containers designed to keep out pests and moisture, both of which will quickly destroy your supplies. Mark’s Barrel Company has three types of containers designed to do just that within your price range. Check out our website www.marksbarrelcompany.com for a list of helpful articles and videos to help you get prepared.

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