Prepare Every Needful Thing

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"


Leave a comment

Emergency and Disaster Response–November 2015

Landslides

Part of the aftermath of a record wildfire season here in California is the potential for devastating floods and landslides as we move into the rainy part of the year. Plants, shrubs and trees provide stability to soils, and when they are destroyed, saturated ground may slide downhill, destabilizing additional soils, uprooting trees and destroying structures in its path. It is estimated that landslides cause about $1 billion of damage annually in the US alone.

Prepare by maintaining erosion-preventing landscaping and retaining walls around your property. When rains begin, pay attention to runoff patterns (especially points where water converges), note seasonal creeks, and avoid these areas during storms. If pooling, flooding or run-off have been problems in the past, you may wish to have a professional assess your property and recommend improvements. Make sure your 72-hour kits are packed and ready for any emergency.

Watch out for warning signs of landslides: shifting or cracking concrete foundations, patios or driveways; doorways and windows out of square; lampposts, fenceposts, and decks leaning; a sudden increase or decrease in water flow in creeks; increasing noise as the landslide approaches.

During storms when landslides are likely, stay alert and listen to weather reports. Contact local police and fire departments for current conditions and recommendations. Contact neighbors, especially the elderly, to see if they need assistance. Evacuate if you feel prompted to do so and follow recommended routes to avoid getting trapped or caught in the landslide. If you choose to stay you may be safer on a second story. If you find you cannot escape, curl into a tight ball and protect your head and neck with your arms and hands.

Additional information.

Map of all past CA landslides (click on square and then right arrow on pop-up for complete information)

Information for other states.

 


Leave a comment

Emergency and Disaster Response–October 2015

Evacuation Plans—Part Two: The 1-Hour Plan—section C

traveling-by-car

We complete our preparations for the 1-hour evacuation plan this month.  To-do items are in bold:

Create a plan/checklist called “Secure Home”.  Learn how to do these things and purchase tools as needed.  Place a copy of list inside your empty “Additional Wealth” box and in your Evacuation Plans binder.  Your list may include:

  1. Turn off gas and unneeded breakers.
  2. Turn refrigerator to high—keeps food cold longer.
  3. Turn off water heater.
  4. Take steps to prevent pipes freezing if weather dictates: adjust thermostat, turn on taps, or turn off water heater and drain pipes.
  5. Flush toilets and take out trash.
  6. Lock windows & doors including garage.  Double check!
  7. Create “Evacuated” signs for main and secondary entrances.  Without a sign, emergency personnel will use any means to rescue potential survivors.  Write legibly on a full sheet of paper “Everyone Evacuated. Nobody Home Here”, or the like.  If you wish, you may also include info such as a phone number where you can be reached or your destination address.  Secure in a Ziploc bag or otherwise waterproof and secure to your door(s).  Store sign and tape inside empty “Additional Wealth” box.

Now you are ready to print up your complete 1-hour Evacuation Plan.  Keep a copy in your purse, tape one inside a kitchen or office cabinet and keep one in your evacuation plans binder.  Sample plan below:

  1. Sound the alarm.  Such as “Wildfire approaching! Come to the kitchen for instructions!”
  2. Communicate.  Begin with a family prayer.  Make sure children know what the plan is, and what is expected of them.  “We are leaving for Aunt Martha’s in 60 minutes.  Complete A, B and C and then go sit in the car.”  Adults can divide up the rest of the list.  Also, contact your destination if possible, let them know you are coming, make a reservation, etc.
  3. Arrange to collect or meet up with family members who are not onsite.  If they will not return home, assign someone to fill their box according to their list.
  4. Prepare the vehicle.  Check fluids, tires, fuel.  Do a quick clean of interior and windows.  Adjust seating.  If applicable, hook up trailer or attach external carriers. Secure additional gas cans outside the body of the vehicle.
  5. Place 72-hour kits in vehicle.
  6. Place box of Important Documents in vehicle.
  7. Place box of Family Records in vehicle.
  8. Collect “Additional Wealth” on box list.  Place filled box in vehicle.
  9. Everyone fills their personal box with the items on their list and places box in vehicle.
  10. If there is time and space, collect additional “comfort items”, such as personal pillows, blankets and airbeds.
  11. Children take seats and buckle up.  An older child or adult stays with children.
  12. Go through your “Secure Home” checklist.
  13. Securely tape your “Evacuated” signs to your doors.
  14. Get into your car, say another family prayer and drive to your destination.

 

(I have drawn HEAVILY on the ideas and recommendations of a Hurricane Katrina survivor for the sections on evacuation.  Unfortunately, although his website is an absolute wealth of knowledge, his language is very crude and I don’t feel great about linking directly to it.  However, wanting to give credit where credit is due, if you would like to visit his site, run a search on “the place with no name Katrina” and it should be your top result.)


Leave a comment

Emergency and Disaster Response–September 2015

Evacuation Plans—Part Two: The 1-Hour Plan—section B

important documents

We continue our preparations for the 1-hour evacuation plan from last month.  To-do items are in bold:

1.   Gather box of Important Documents.  Purchase a package of sturdy cardboard banker’s boxes—three per family, plus one for each family member.  Label the first “Important Documents” and assemble it to include:

  • Vital Records—official legal certificates, licenses, wills, trusts, etc
  • Identification Records—driver’s license & Social Security card (photocopy),  passport, permits, etc
  • Education Records—transcripts, degrees, diplomas, awards, certifications, etc
  • Work Records—resume, accomplishments, professional awards/certification, pay stubs, W-2, etc
  • Medical Records—History, allergies, medications, dental x-rays, immunizations, etc
  • Property Documents—Home purchase documents; inspection reports; rental agreement; auto titles and registration; receipts for appliances, firearms, etc; take photos of home, furnishings and property to expedite replacement by insurance company
  • Insurance Documents—home, auto, life, health, supplemental
  • Current Bills—mortgage, loan & credit card payments, utilities, cable, memberships, etc
  • Tax Documents—tax returns for last three years, other tax documents
  • Membership Documents and Records
  • Financial Records—bank, investment and retirement accounts, credit cards (photocopy), other assets
  • Military records

List contents, tape one copy inside lid of box and insert one into Evacuation Plans binder.

2.   Gather box of “Family Records”.  Include:

  • Original photos and scrapbooks
  • Journals, letters, Patriarchal Blessings and personal histories
  • Books of Remembrance: digital and paper copies
  • Family videos
  • Computer back-up discs and drives
  • Other irreplaceable family memorabilia

List contents, tape one copy inside lid of box and insert one into Evacuation Plans binder.

3.   Make a list of “Additional Wealth”, label third box and tape list to inside of lid.  Judge wisely and try to stick to the banker’s box size limit. List could include:

  • Laptop computer (may want to carry separately for safety)
  • Cash or precious metals
  • Valuable items currently on display in your home
  • Medicines and medical supplies
  • Irreplaceable books, heirlooms or antiques
  • Firearms and ammunition (may want to carry separately for safety)

List contents, tape one copy inside lid of box and insert one into Evacuation Plans binder.

4.   Label a banker’s box for each family member to fill with their own items.  Create lists, assign small children a helper and do a “dry run”.  This might be a good FHE activity when teaching about handcart pioneers or preparedness.  After the boxes are filled, members should load them into the vehicle, sit in their seats and buckle up.  Items might include:

  • Additional change of clothing and a couple changes of underclothes and socks
  • Church clothes, work clothes for adults
  • Pajamas
  • Favorite book, toy, stuffed animal
  • Toiletry items
  • Bath towel and washcloth

List contents, tape one copy inside lid of box and insert one into Evacuation Plans binder.

(to be continued…)

(I have drawn HEAVILY on the ideas and recommendations of a Hurricane Katrina survivor for the sections on evacuation.  Unfortunately, although his website is an absolute wealth of knowledge, his language is very crude and I don’t feel great about linking directly to it.  However, wanting to give credit where credit is due, if you would like to visit his site, run a search on “the place with no name Katrina” and it should be your top result.)


Leave a comment

Emergency and Disaster Response–August 2015

Evacuation Plans—Part Two: The 1-Hour Plan—section A

checking-tire-pressure

Last month we discussed and prepared for a 60-Second evacuation, such as would be required in the event of a house fire.  This month we will begin to prepare for a slower-moving, yet still serious emergency.  In the case of an approaching wildfire, predicted serious flooding or hurricane one may have advance warning that will allow one to gather more valuables and better prepare for a safe evacuation.  As the preparations are rather involved, we will complete them over the next three months.  Here is this month’s list to help you prepare.  To-do items are in bold:

  1. Have a plan.  You will need variations on the plan based on daily locations of family members. Have a plan for when parents are at work, and children are at school or extracurricular activities.  Decide who will pick up children?  Where will you meet if you cannot come home?  It is a good idea to have an in-town meeting point (the Library) and an out-of-town point (the Safeway at Exit #5).  Where you meet will depend on travel time and the scale of the emergency.  Next, select locations where you can stay during the emergency and rebuilding periods.   Choose locations North, South, East and West of your home.  These could be the homes of friends or family, a cabin, a hotel or even a campground.  You will need to consider:
      • Distance: plan to be far enough away to be outside the disaster zone, but not so far away that rebuilding your life at home is unnecessarily difficult.
      • Suitable for your needs: must accommodate the size, ages, medical needs of your group.
      • Safe: you may need to temporarily leave behind property and family members while you work on rebuilding your life at home.
      • Emotionally supportive or neutral environment: don’t make a bad situation worse…
      • Contact location and consider sending supplies on ahead: ask questions, offer reciprocity, work out as much as you can in advance; some people will feel better knowing that you are planning to provide for your own needs and won’t mind if you keep a couple of boxes in their garage.
      • Print up your plan for gathering family members and your list of locations along with contact info and put it into an “Evacuation Plans” binder.  As you continue to plan you will create more pages to add to the binder

    2.   Prepare your vehicle.  Know how to check fluids, tire pressure and adjust seating; have supplies on hand for topping up fluids, cleaning windows, inflating/repairing tires.  Purchase at least one five gallon gas can and plan how you will secure it on the outside of the vehicle.  Assemble these items to keep in your car at all times: quality jack, basic tools and spare tire; tire plugs or other means of dealing with damaged tires; jumper cables; umbrella/raingear; reliable flashlight/headlamp; gloves—both work and cold-weather; baby wipes (remarkably versatile); triangle road markers; fire extinguisher; wd-40 or Break-Free CLP; duct tape; small shovel and piece of old carpet (for getting out of snow/mud); roll of saran wrap (for broken or stuck windows); tow strap rated for your vehicle weight; drinking water. Habits: Refill your gas tank any time it is less than ¾ full, and stay on top of regular maintenance.

(to be continued…)

(I have drawn HEAVILY on the ideas and recommendations of a Hurricane Katrina survivor for the sections on evacuation.  Unfortunately, although his website is an absolute wealth of knowledge, his language is very crude and I don’t feel great about linking directly to it.  However, wanting to give credit where credit is due, if you would like to visit his site, run a search on “the place with no name Katrina” and it should be your top result.)


Leave a comment

Emergency and Disaster Response–July 2015

Home Evacuation Plans—Part One: The 60-Second Plan

fire

(This evacuation series is being re-run from 2013.)

In planning for home evacuation, we will deal with four general timeframes based on the type of emergency leading to the evacuation.  Each will require a different approach and mind-set.  They can be divided up as follows:

  1. 60-second evacuation: house fire or other fast-moving catastrophe—requires you to leave your house with just the first thing(s) you can grab and a pair of shoes.
  2. 1-hour evacuation: approaching wildfire or slower-moving catastrophe—you have a little more time to secure your home and gather belongings.
  3. 12-hour evacuation: Approaching danger, such as a hurricane—more time to secure and gather.
  4. 72-hour evacuation: Slow-moving disaster, think weather systems again—time to make purchases, harden your home against weather or ill-intentioned humans, secure or hide belongings to be left behind, map out evacuation routes , etc.

Over the next couple of months, we will discuss how to plan for each of these.

60-Second Plan

This will fall into the same basic pattern for everyone and it will need to be memorized so that you act automatically.  In the case of a significant house fire, you will have less than two minutes to safely evacuate (click here for video illustration—note the time between the sounding of the smoke alarm and the complete destruction of the room) and this is not enough time to think things through and make decisions.  Have every household member who is able, memorize the steps in bold and then drill regularly.  If you have small children, quarterly drills are recommended as little ones will often panic and hide in a crisis situation.

  1.  Sound the Alarm.  Use any possible means to get everyone’s attention as quickly as possible.  Make sure that you have a smoke alarm in every bedroom and on every floor.
  2. Communicate.  Decide how you will alert the members of your household to danger.  Describe the emergency and give directions in as few words as possible, such as “Fire! Get out!” or “Earthquake! Mail box (see #7)!” and repeat until everyone has heard and followed directions.
  3. Are Children (or physically disabled) in Danger?
    YES – Rescue & Escape
    NO – Continue
  4. Can you safely retrieve your 72-hr (backpack) Kit?
    NO – Escape
    YES – 72-hr Kit Mantra
  5. 72-hr Kit Mantra (acronym B.A.G.S.):
    BAG—this is your 72-hour backpack kit or other emergency pack *
    ASSETS—items of monetary or sentimental value only if easy to grab
    GUN—if you have one, to protect your family and life-sustaining belongings
    SHOES—protect your feet from injury
  6. ESCAPE!  Draw a simple map of your dwelling and determine 2 exits to every room.  Purchase equipment, such as fire escape ladders, and trim (or plant!) surrounding shrubbery to make window escapes as safe as possible.  Make sure that these exits are always accessible and not blocked by furniture or other items.
  7. Meet up. Establish a safe meeting place, out of the way of potential emergency vehicles, but close enough for everyone to reach quickly so you can be sure that everyone got out.

*See the 72-hour Kit segment in this month’s newsletter for instructions on assembling an appropriate kit for a 60-second evacuation.

 

(I have drawn HEAVILY on the ideas and recommendations of a Hurricane Katrina survivor for the sections on evacuation.  Unfortunately, although his website is an absolute wealth of knowledge, his language is very crude and I don’t feel great about linking directly to it.  However, wanting to give credit where credit is due, if you would like to visit his site, run a search on “the place with no name Katrina” and it should be your top result.)


Leave a comment

Emergency and Disaster Response–June 2015

Civil Unrest

riotAs the foundations underpinning society are stripped away, the world becomes a more dangerous place. While it may have been a remote possibility at one time, it is increasingly likely that during our lifetimes, we will encounter some type of dangerous civil unrest. The suggestions below may help you and your loved ones weather such events safely.

Be prayerful. The Spirit will alert us to dangerous situations if we will hearken.

Pay attention to what’s happening in the world and especially in your area. Stay on top of the news (even when you’d rather not) so that you know when people are upset and where they are congregating. If there is a particular group that is problematic in your area, you may consider following them on Facebook or Twitter. Most gatherings are not spontaneous and much of the planning takes place on social media.

If you know there will be problems, stay home or at least away from problem spots. If violence is likely to be near your home, it is still usually better to harden your home and stay put as long as possible.

Consider carrying pepper spray or some other weapon as part of your Every Day Carry.

Take a self-defense class.

Carry a 72-hour kit in your car whenever you are away. If you have the necessities of life, you simply have more options. Make sure that you have a paper map and/or know multiple routes home so you can avoid trouble spots.

Improve your situational awareness. When you walk into a building, locate your exits and pay attention to the people around you. If somebody is acting suspiciously or something seems wrong, trust that feeling.

If you find yourself in the middle of a violent group:

Remember that law enforcement is there to deal with the mob, not to protect you. It is up to you to protect yourself and your loved ones.

If you are in the middle of the group, work your way out to the edge. You are more likely to be crushed, trampled or dragged in the center.

Avoid becoming trapped against a wall or fence or pushed into a corner.

If objects are being thrown, get well behind the launch points and find cover.

Blend in and then get out. Anyone who stands out is likely to become a target. Obviously, don’t participate, but if everyone is chanting or waving their fists in the air, chanting and waving along with the crowd might just keep you unnoticed long enough to get to safety.

More information:

http://thesurvivalmom.com/coming-to-a-location-near-you-civil-unrest/

http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-tips-for-staying-safe-during-time-of-civil-unrest/

 


Leave a comment

Emergency and Disaster Response–May 2015

Protecting Your Supplies in a Natural Disaster

I recently read an account of a woman who had spent a great deal of time, energy and money to build up her supply of food and other essential supplies only to have a large percentage of her things destroyed in a plumbing-caused basement flood. It was not that she was careless, but her situation revealed weaknesses in her storage systems that she had not anticipated. Fortunately, her disaster was very localized—she saved what she could save, worked on rebuilding what was lost and learned from the experience—but in the case of a widespread natural disaster, we may not have the same luxury of a do-over. Below are some steps you can take now to preserve your preparedness investments.

  • Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. Divide your food storage and supplies and cache them in various places around your property. This decreases the likelihood that everything will be lost. It might not even be a bad idea to store some things offsite in a storage unit, cabin or even at a friend or family member’s house if, particularly if you have arranged to evacuate there in case of an emergency.
  • Use wooden bars, straps or bungees to keep items on shelving units. Many of this woman’s losses could have been prevented if items had not fallen from the shelves. Also, use non-slip liners on shelves and baby locks to keep cabinet doors closed.
  • Anchor free-standing shelving units into wall studs.
  • Package items to withstand both water infiltration, falls and abrading and crushing forces. For instance, vacuum sealing is great waterproofing but it is quickly compromised by a run-in with a sharp or rough object. Placing several vacuum-sealed items together in a five-gallon bucket or large plastic tote will provide more reliable protection. Filling the empty spaces with newspaper or packing peanuts will provide even better protection. Other tactics to consider include clear-coating metal cans to improve water resistance and purchasing plastic JarBoxes to contain and cushion your canning jars.
  • Consider below-ground or safe-room storage if you live in a tornado or hurricane prone area. Underground storage may also be a good option for wildfires.

If you have flood-damaged food storage items:

  • Throw out any opened packages; any permeable packaging (even if it appears dry); any metal cans that are rusted, bulging or have dents along the seams. Also, throw out any item with one-piece screw on lid that does not have a sturdy interior metalized vacuum seal—mayonnaise, salad dressing, and peanut butter are often packaged this way. Dirty water will seep up into the threads and cannot be decontaminated.
  • Thoroughly check home-canned food with two piece lids. If seal is good—decontaminate, if broken—discard.

Decontamination after flood:

Products properly sealed in cans or foil pouches can be used after the container is rinsed with clean water and immersed for 15 minutes in a freshly made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of clean drinking water.  The containers should be completely air-dried before opening or storing.  If you lack bleach, you can submerge the cans in boiling water. (from preparednessadvice.com)

For more information, see:

Dealing with food storage post-flood

Earthquakes and food storage

Fire and food storage