Archive for preps

Snow Storm Emergency Preparedness Tips

 

snowstorm

 

If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow during the winter months, you know how important it is to prepare for big snow storms ahead of time. You may find yourself stuck at home, or worse in your car for long periods of time during a snow storm. The heavy snow can cause trees or large branches to fall and cut power lines. Here’s what you should do to make sure you’re not caught unaware by a blizzard.

Winterize Your Home And Car

At the beginning of the cold season make sure both your home and your car are ready for winter. Put on winter tires, fill up the antifreeze, and stock your car with a shovel, sand, snow chains, a warm blanket, and a bit of water and food. If you’d just like to buy a kit instead of making your own, this kit by GetReadyNow is pretty good. It does need a shovel and a blanket.

Make sure your home is well-insulated, your heating is in good working order, and you have an ample supply of heating fuel or firewood. Keeping some emergency water and food rations along with a battery operated weather radio and plenty of ways to stay warm is also a good idea (but you already knew that).

Pay Attention To Weather Forecasts

The good thing about winter storms these days is that meteorologists have gotten pretty good at predicting them well in advance. This gives you plenty of time to stock up on some supplies, get home safely, and hunker down to wait out the storm. Watch weather forecasts regularly throughout the colder months and set up storm alerts on your phone to give you plenty of time to prepare. You can download the ping4alerts! app to make this easier, but it does require location services to be enabled. I have an email in to them about just adding an address and running the app without location services turned on; I’ll update here when I hear back from them.

Minimize Travel

If you know a storm is coming, avoid traveling, particularly on the road. Waiting out a blizzard in your car is not a lotsnowstormdriving of fun and you may be stuck and trapped for hours if not days. Cancel travel plans and do what you can to get home before conditions get too bad.

If you do have to travel during a storm, make sure you gas tank is full and your car is well stocked with winter emergency supplies. Check on road conditions before you head out and pull over if things get too bad. You should also have a charged phone with you to call for help if you get stuck in a storm drift.

Stock Up On Food, Water, Heating Fuel, and Firewood

When there’s a lot of snow or an ice storm in the forecast, stock up on food, drinking water, and heating fuel and/or firewood. Have a plan for heating and preparing food if the power goes out. Having plenty of flashlights and candles is also a good idea. You may also want to make sure you have something non-tech for the kids to play with in case their (or your) phone/tablet/computer runs out of battery.

Wait out the storm and don’t be tempted to head out to clear off the roof. Should you fall and get hurt, emergency services may have no way of reaching you.

Take Care Of Your Animals

Remember to provide for the animals in your care as well. Dogs, cats, goats, poultry, cattle, horses – doesn’t matter; they all need a solid shelter to block the wind and keep at least some of the snow off of them during the storm. Remember to stock the shelter with hay (if appropriate) and some warm water. I use 5-gallon buckets with omega lids (love these lids!) to carry warm water from the house to the outside animals.

Creating A Basic Starter Emergency Kit

Do you have a basic emergency kit? Governments around the world are encouraging their citizens to be prepared in light of more frequent disasters, both natural and man-made (Germany, Russia). Your basic kit should include everything you need to ensure your survival for several days or until help arrives.

Drinking Water

One of the first things that will get you into trouble in any type of disaster or emergency is sawyerwaterfilterdehydration. Make sure you have safe drinking water for several days stored. A good alternative or addition is a small water filtration system you can use on unsafe water sources to extend drinking water. I have the Sawyer portable water filter. It can filter up to a 100,000 gallons of water and includes a cleaning plunger to periodically clean off the filter.

Food and Accessories

Next, it’s good to have at least some emergency food rations. This is particularly important if you have small children, pregnant or nursing women, elderly, or anyone with diabetes or low blood sugar in your family. They can make it even fewer days or hours with food than you can. Keep some easy, ready to eat food on hand like granola bars, nuts, and canned foods. Make sure you have any tools or accessories you need to open the food containers and utensils to eat with. Manual can openers can be super cheap. I suggest keeping 2 of the really cheap ones in your evacuation bin just in case one breaks.sosrationsemergencybars

Focus on food items that won’t perish quickly and that can be eaten cold in a pinch. Chances are power will be out and you’ll have no way to cook or heat the food you’ll be eating. Something like these S.O.S. Rations emergency bars would be good. They’re compact, have a lot of calories, and will help keep you alive until you can get to something better (note: doesn’t taste like candy, if you know what I mean).

Radio, Flash Light, and Cellphone

Next, let’s talk about small electronics, or electric, hand-cranked devices. You want to be able to get the information you need and see where you’re going. A good flashlight with long battery life is aacuriteweatherradio must, as is a small weather radio. This can be battery operated or hand-cranked. I previously mentioned this battery- and ac-powered weather radio that we have. We’ve had it since 2012 and have not had any problems with it. If you’re using battery operated devices having a spare set of batteries in your kit is always a good idea.

Last but not least, when disaster strikes, grab your phone and charger, if possible. You want to be able to get in touch with loved once as soon as possible. I recommend also keeping a paper copy of your contact list in your evacuation bin.

First Aid Kit

Afirstaidkit small first aid kit that includes bandages, alcohol wipes, Band-Aids, scissors, and some basic pain medicine is another must have. Make sure it also includes any medication you take regularly. If you have family members with severe allergies, antihistamines or even an epi-pen may be an important and potentially life-saving addition. You can start with a commercial kit and then build on it according to your family’s needs.

Assorted Tools

There are various tools that may come in handy in an emergency. A good knife is a must and can come in handy in a variety of different ways. A wrench or pair of pliers is handy if you need to turn of utilities in an emergency. A multi-tool can have myriad uses. Last but not least, consider adding a whistle and flashing light or emergency flares to your tool kit so you are able to alert rescuers to your location.

Also include a few days worth of clothes and basic hygiene items for each family member. Remember to change these clothes out seasonally and as sizes change!

You may not be able to get everything right away, but getting anything is better than getting nothing!

PS. I have the bin in the featured image. It’s 27 gallons, professional grade and you can find it here.

Preparing Children For Evacuation – Link Love!

childhiking

I saw a blog post called “How to Prepare your Children for an Evacuation” by itsamystery. In it she talks about introducing children to the ideas and practicalities of evacuating. She has a great idea–impromptu camping!

Impromptu camping is a great way to test out your evacuation box or tote as well as get the kids a little more prepared to be able to leave the house in a timely fashion if the need arose.

Another thing she brings up is important for the kids as well as the adults–exercise. She points out that kids (I’ll add adults, too) may not used to hiking or walking around for long distances with a backpack on. In both camping and evacuating, that’s not the time for the parents to be the pack-mules. Everyone needs to be ready and able to help out.

Overall, several good tips and a nice, quick read. Check it out!

Be Prepared For Local Natural Disasters

naturaldisasterfeaturedNatural disasters appear in all parts of the world, and no matter where you live, chances are that you will encounter several of them throughout your lifetime. Depending on where you live, they may happen, or at least threaten your home much more frequently. It’s easy to see why it is important to be prepared for them.

The first thing you need to know is what type of emergencies and disasters you can expect in your area. We can all be affected by fire and winter storms that shut down roads and power are likely across the country as well. From there it depends on where you live. Where we live, the worst I’ve seen is a couple feet of snow and flooding (separately). Your town may be prone to flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoon, earth quakes and the likes. Do floodyour homework, watch the news, talk to your neighbors and figure out what natural disasters you should prepare for. A great source for information is your local government, particularly emergency services. Many will not only be able to make you aware of any dangers, but also have brochures, plans, and other resources that will help you prepare for any eventuality.

Once you know what natural disasters you can expect where you live, it’s time to learn how to best respond to them. Will you likely wait things out in your home, or will you be required to evacuate? Are there emergency shelters or evacuation routes you should be aware of? I know it’s man-made, but while you’re at it, it may be a good idea to try to find out if there are fallout shelters nearby and their capacity (check out the news about Russia, folks!).

Once you have the basics down, figure out a plan for securing your home, yard, and vehicles depending on the disaster. What can you do to make sure your property has the best possible chance to come out of the disaster undamaged? If you’re in an area prone to flooding, having sand bags on hand can be invaluable. Again, what you need will greatly depend on where you live and what natural disaster you can expect.

Having a good emergency kit that includes food, water, medication, first aid kit, flash light, radio, and a few tools is a good idea. Every household should have a kit that’s kept in good order and is easyemergencytote to reach in an emergency. Our local EMS recommended a large plastic tote to hold the emergency kit during a talk they gave. I bought one that was similar in size to what they had; mine is a 27-gallon “professional box” that has places you can put a padlock through.

Make sure you are aware of the potential threats as early as possible so you can prepare. Set up alerts on your phone (ping4alerts for iPhone here), sign up for local emergency preparedness emails (check with your local EMS or fire department), and keep an eye on the news and social media if you think there is a potential for a disaster. The earlier you know the better you can react and prepare. Listen to local authorities and don’t hesitate to evacuate should the need arise. Things can be replaced, people can’t.

5 Ways To Keep Important Documents Safe And Secure

We hope and pray that nothing will happen to our home, but it’s a good idea to be prepared “just in case.” You likely have insurance on your home and many material things in your house can be easily replaced should disaster strike. Other things like photos and important documents can be hard or impossible to replace. Missing documents can make it harder to rebuild after disaster strikes. That’s why it is a good idea to keep them safe and secure.

1. Invest In A Fire Safefiresafe

A good fire safe will survive a lot of damage. Invest in a quality one for any documents you want to keep at home. You can get a fairly small box that can be stashed away in a closet or cabinet. Make sure both you and your spouse know where the safe is kept and has a key to open it.

2. Get A Bank Deposit Box

You may also want to rent a bank deposit box and store important documents, or notarized copies of them there. This will come in handy when you need the information on the documents (i.e. your insurance policy number), or you need to replace documents that didn’t survive a home emergency.

3. Make Physical Copies

It’s amazing how much easier it is to get a replacement passport or birth certificate if you have a copy of the original. That’s why it’s helpful to make these paper copies and keep them in a secure offsite location (like a bank deposit box). You could also keep them at a family member’s home. Make sure the copies are stored safely to avoid issues like identity theft.

4. Make Digital Copies And Store Them Online

Go ahead and scan the documents or take pictures of them with your phone and store them on a secure online server. Places like One Drive, or even Google Photo, will store quite a bit of information for you free of charge. Since your document scans are living in the cloud, you can easily access them from anywhere with your phone or a borrowed computer. This also makes it easy to email them off to insurance agents, or government officials to get replacement documents made.

5. Upload to Thumb Drives

Upload copies of your important documents to thumb drives. You can keep one in your purse or thumbdriveswallet, car, everyday carry bag, and your bug-out bag. Set passwords so that they can’t be accessed if lost or stolen. Thumb drives frequently go on sale; I recommend purchasing them ‌in multi-packs.

Spend a little time this week to sort through your most important documents and get your paperwork in order. It won’t take you long to scan them, take pictures of them, and/or make photo copies. The little work you’re doing now to be prepared will potentially safe you a lot of headache down the road.

Schedule it on your calendar to revisit your documents every 6 months to make sure everything is up to date and in order. Once the original setup is done, it will be much easier to keep up with it. You’ll likely only need to change out one or two document copies a year.