Weekly Tips for September 27, 2010

Posted on 26. Sep, 2010 by in Uncategorized

In today’s Sunday paper by the Union Tribune, they had a great insert on “ARE YOU READY?” for the next 72 hours if you are in a disaster.  It had great and very useful and insightful information.  It looked like the perfect way to roll up all our tips (green, health and food) into one informative article.  However, the UT has not made it available on-line.  So back to the life of “bing” and “Google” and found these great sites.  So here are your weekly tips of green, health and food, all rolled into one.

ARE YOU PREPARED?

1. Make a Plan. 

After a major disaster, it is unlikely that emergency response services will be able to immediately respond to everyone’s needs, so it’s important to be prepared to take care of yourself and your family. Plan to be on your own for at least the first 72 hours.

The following steps will help you prepare for any emergency:

Designate an out-of-area contact person. Try to select someone that is far enough away to not be affected by the same emergency. Provide this person with the names and contact information of the people you want to keep informed of your situation. Instruct family members to call this person and tell them where they are. Long distance phone service is often restored sooner than local service.

Duplicate important documents and keep copies off-site, either in a safety deposit box or with someone you trust.  Documents may include: passport, drivers license, social security card, wills, deeds, financial statements, insurance information, marriage license and prescriptions.

Inventory valuables, in writing and with photographs or video. Keep copies of this information off-site with your other important documents.

Make a household/family plan. Involve all key people in planning.  Make sure everyone knows where to find your disaster supply kit and Go-bags.  Have a flashlight and a pair of shoes under everyone’s bed in case there is an earthquake during the night. Use a plastic bag tied to the leg of the bed to keep these items from moving during an earthquake.  (This is imperative!).  Plan where to meet after a disaster if your home becomes unsafe. Choose two places, one just outside your home and one outside your neighborhood in case you are told to evacuate. Be sure your gas tank is always at least half full.  Determine the best escape routes from your home. Try to identify two escape routes. 

Make your home safe.  Start by viewing each room with a “disaster eye” and identify potential hazards – bookshelves that could tip over in an earthquake and block exits or heavy objects that could fall and cause injury.

Install smoke detectors on each level of your home and change batteries every 6 months.  Move beds away from windows.  Move mirrors and heavy pictures away from couches or places where people sit.  Clear hallways and exits for easy evacuation.  Store heavy items on the lowest shelves.  Keep an ABC type fire extinguishers on each level and know how and when to use them.  Strap down your water heater and fit all gas appliances with a flexible gas supply line.  Store flammable or highly reactive chemicals (such as bleach, ammonia, paint thinners) securely and separate from each other.  Secure pictures and wall hangings and use restraints to secure heavy items such as bookcases and file cabinets.  Know how and when to switch off your utilities.  Ensure that all window safety bars have emergency releases. Be sure your home number is visible from the street so emergency vehicles can find you.

2. Build a Kit

After a major disaster the usual services we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration, and telephones, may be unavailable. Experts recommend that you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days. Store your household disaster kit in an easily accessible location.  Put contents in a large, watertight container (e.g. a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels– LOVE THIS IDEA!) that you can move easily. 

Your basic emergency kit should include:

  • Water – one gallon per person per day
  • Food – ready to eat or requiring minimal water
  • Manual can opener and other cooking supplies
  • Plates, utensils and other feeding supplies
  • First Aid kit & instructions
  • A copy of important documents & phone numbers
  • Warm clothes and rain gear for each family member.
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Disposable camera
  • Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification
  • Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer and soap
  • Plastic sheeting, duct tape and utility knife for covering broken windows
  • Tools such as a crowbar, hammer & nails, staple gun, adjustable wrench and bungee cords.
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Large heavy duty plastic bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Don’t forget water and supplies for your pets.

A component of your disaster kit is your Go-bag. Put the following items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly.  Prepare one Go-bag for each family member and make sure each has an I.D. tag. If you have younger children, keep a recent photo of each child in their bag. Also include some comforting or favorite toys in each child’s Go-bag.  It will be helpful in the long run, should you be out of your home for more than a few hours.  You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety.  For you midwesterners, remember the coffee can with bars, water and a blanket shoved inside? This is the same just on a grander scale.

  • Flashlight
  • Radio – battery operated
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask
  • Pocket knife
  • Emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls
  • Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
  • Local map
  • Some water and food
  • Permanent marker, paper and tape
  • Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
  • List of emergency point-of -contact phone numbers
  • List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards
  • Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
  • Prescription medications and first aid supplies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Extra keys to your house and vehicle
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets.

All of this amazing information was found at 72 hours.org.   There is information for every type of emergency and disaster, pending your residence (earthquake, tornado, flood, etc.)  Thanks to 72 hours.org for a useful and family friendly website.

(I couldn’t have a whole week go by without a yummy kid-friendly recipe, so click over to Food for the muffins the whole family will love!)

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