A collection of items necessary to survive in the aftermath of a disaster
An earthquake hits. A category 5 hurricane leaves a coastal city demolished. An ice storm takes down trees and power lines. After a disaster occurs, your primary focus should be to first, assess the situation and second, move to a safe location if necessary. Next comes securing food and potable water for you and your dependents. Obtaining an adequate supply of food and water in a crisis situation could be at best difficult and at worst impossible unless you already have a supply of food specifically set aside for an emergency. Most grocery stores operate on a “just in time” method of inventory control. On any given day, a typical grocery store will inventory a supply of stock to last approximately three days; however, increased demand can render this three-day stock insufficient. You only have to experience the rush on a grocery store when a snow storm is approaching to know that a three-day supply can disappear in hours.
The key to ensuring you and your loved ones have an adequate supply of life-saving food and water is to prepare BEFORE anything happens. FEMA and Red Cross recommend at the very least to have a 72-hour supply of food and water stored away for each family member. There are numerous types of emergency foods on the market which can make the task of building an emergency food supply complicated and time-consuming. To simplify this task, we recommend you begin building your food supply with high-calorie, vitamin enriched food bars such as the ER 2400 Calorie food bar. The ER Food Bar was formulated to contain 72-hours’ worth of calories and nutrition in one compact package that can be safely stored for up to 5 years. 3600 calorie food bars are available for those with higher calorie needs. These bars are a convenient addition to bug-out bags and home, office or classroom survival supplies.
You can supplement the ER Food Bar with additional non-perishable food items as needed such as canned goods and preserved meats, but be mindful of expiration dates. According to the USDA, canned goods do not necessarily spoil due to the commercial method of preserving food but they will lose nutritional value. Low-acid containing canned food such as fruits and tomatoes should be consumed within 24 months for optimal taste and quality. Low-acid canned goods such as meats and vegetables should be consumed within 2 – 5 years depending on the storage conditions. Although studies have been conducted that show canned goods could potentially last for much longer than these guidelines, it is a good practice to rotate your survival goods and throw any cans away that are dented or rusted. Consider adding Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) to your survival supply. Depending on the storage conditions, their shelf life can vary but MREs offer a diverse selection of food choices. According to studies conducted by the U.S. Army Natick Laboratory, shelf-life on MREs can range from 18 months to 84 months depending on the temperatures at which they are stored. Higher temperatures reduce the shelf-life while stable, lower temperatures extend shelf-lives. For longer term survival, freeze-dried goods are available with shelf-lives ranging from 10 – 25+ years. Be cognizant that many freeze-dried foods require water to rehydrate them. Take into consideration this possibility when planning your emergency water supply.
The most fundamental need for human survival is fresh water. Depending on the severity of the disaster, your home could be without potable water for several days or more. Stores may be stripped of bottled water leaving you completely dependent on your emergency supplies. An emergency water supply should contain 72-hours of water per person in the household. This equates to about 1 gallon per person. ER Water Pouches are a cost-effective and dependable solution for drinking water in an emergency. Each Tyvek pouch is hermetically sealed to maintain the water’s freshness for up to 5 years. Six pouches of ER water are all you need to keep a healthy person adequately hydrated for 72-hours. These pouches are easily stored indoors or outdoors in a bug-out bag or home survival kit and are a practical solution for drinking water. Keep in mind store-bought water bottles have a limited shelf life especially when stored in an area that experiences wide temperature fluctuations. On the website www.ready.gov/water, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends bottled water be consumed by its “use by date” which can range from 6 months to a year. As with canned goods, these guidelines are subjective but exercise caution and periodically replenish your emergency water.
When faced with an emergency situation, drinking water is primary in importance, but you also need to consider a clean supply of water that can be used for cooking and cleaning. For that reason, FEMA and the Red Cross recommend 1 gallon/person of water be stored for each person. Consider keeping a 55-gallon drum of treated water outside your home or inside your garage or basement. The water barrel sold on QK.com is specifically designed to block harmful UV rays from penetrating the barrel thus ensuring the safe storage of water both indoors and outdoors. One bottle of Water Preserver Concentrate will treat 55-gallons of water for 5 years. After 5 years, simply empty the water out of the barrel, fill it up with fresh water and retreat it to last another 5 years.
Disasters can happen anywhere at any time. Don’t fall under the misconception that your area is immune to an emergency. You will never regret being prepared for a disaster, but you will regret not preparing for one. If your survival food and water are nearing their expiration dates, move it to your pantry and consume it. Donate the ER bars to your local food pantry or homeless shelter and freeze the ER pouches to use as ice packs. There is no need to waste money. Just remember to replenish your survival supply. Need advice on what you need to prepare your family? Call us at 800-277-3727.
Historically, records show an influx of school shootings occur in the month of April prompting authorities and educators nationwide to re-evaluate their disaster preparedness plans. Experts tracking school shooting incidents theorize that many such disasters occur in April because some armed intruders want to copy or venerate what other shooters have previously done, or memorialize a date in history. Tragic school shootings that have occurred in April include:
Parker Middle School shootings – April 24, 1998
Columbine shootings – April 20, 1999
Virginia Tech shootings – April 16, 2007
Oikos University shootings – April 2, 2012
Many schools take this time to conduct preparedness/lockdown drills so students and faculty are prepared for an active shooter situation. Schools are also communicating with parents about their disaster plans in the event of an emergency. It is heartbreaking to contemplate kids in elementary school practicing how to hide from an armed gunman, but unfortunately today’s society dictates the importance of preparing for the unexpected. Tragically, the rate of mass shootings in the U.S. has tripled since 2011 and seemingly occur almost every week. It is not a matter of if, but when the next shooting will happen at a school, a church or office building.
The below basic disaster preparedness guidelines can be adapted for any organization:
The days between April 14th and 20th are filled with historic tragedies that prompt people and organizations to be wary of potential disasters. These include the fatal shooting of Abraham Lincoln, the San Francisco earthquake that killed 3,000 people and the sinking of the Titanic. Other disasters that have occurred in April include the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings and the Oklahoma City bombings. It is believed that the birthday of Adolph Hitler on April 20 sometimes prompts extremists to consider violent action or terrorist acts. We must all work together to make sure that our families, workplaces and classrooms are sufficiently prepared so that when the worst does happen, we will be “prepared, not scared.”
• What do cows produce in an earthquake? A milkshake!
• What did the ground say to the earthquake? You crack me up!
• What’s the status of a nuclear reactor after an earthquake? Not cool.
• What is an earthquake’s favorite song? “Shake, Rattle and Roll!”
• What do people say when a building collapses in San Francisco? “It’s San Andreas’ Fault!”
Jokes like those have been around since the San Francisco earthquake killed more than 3,000 people on April 16, 1906 — or perhaps even since 1769, when the California’s first earthquake was recorded by the expedition led by Gaspar de Portola, governor of the Spanish colonial province. But earthquakes are no laughing matter.
California experiences more quakes than in any other state. Yet many Californians don’t feel at risk unless they live near the state’s well-known San Andreas Fault or the Hayward Fault.
That misconception gives millions of Californians a false sense of security. The truth is most people in California live within 20 miles of a major fault. Earthquakes affecting people and property can occur at any time, anywhere.
Southern California alone has about 10,000 earthquakes a year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Most are too small to be felt. Hundreds are greater than magnitude 3.0, and about 20 a year are greater than magnitude 4.0. A big earthquake and its aftershock can produce more earthquakes of all magnitudes for months.
That’s why authorities in California are taking steps to ensure that citizens are educated and prepared for any earthquake disaster. April is “California Earthquake Preparedness Month.” Municipal agencies, schools and businesses are conducting readiness seminars, earthquake drills and other activities for “California Earthquake Preparedness Month.”
The state’s most recent big earthquake – 6.0 in magnitude — occurred in the Napa Valley of northern California on August 24, 2014, just eight months ago. It injured hundreds of people, wrecked homes and commercial property, disabled utility power for tens of thousands of residents and, overall, impacted more than 175,000 people. The estimated economic loss: More than $1 billion, according to the USGS.
Major earthquakes with magnitudes between 6.3 and 8.3 have occurred in California every 5.4 years on average for the last 200 years. Where will the next one strike? Nobody knows.
That’s why the American Red Cross and other agencies advise Californians and people in any at-risk earthquake zone, such as Missouri, Alaska, Nevada and Washington, to prepare with these precautions:
Keep an earthquake survival kit in your home, car and place of work with food, portable lights, emergency radio, packaged food, water and medical supplies.
Brace bookshelves and filing cabinets at work and home against the wall.
Be aware of fire evacuation and earthquake plans for all buildings you occupy regularly.
Pick safe places in your home, workplace or school, such as under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you. Avoid basements.
Practice “drop, cover and hold” to protect yourself. Kids and seniors should do the same.
If you don’t have something sturdy to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench for that purpose.
If you are in bed during an earthquake, stay there. Curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass.
Stay indoors until the shaking stops and it is safe to exit.
Use stairs rather than an elevator in case there are aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
If you are outside when the earth starts shaking:
Drop to the ground. Stay put until the shaking stops — away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights.
If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines. Stay inside with your seatbelt on until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.
If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes!
Brian Houser of Quake Kare Points out, ““A recent earthquake in La Habra in Los Angeles County measured a magnitude of 5.1 and caused more than 100 aftershocks that were felt for days.
“California is a leader in disaster response and recovery capabilities, but firemen, police and other first responders can’t do everything by themselves to help ensure public safety in an earthquake or other emergency.
“Every citizen, every business and every organization needs to take steps to be prepared when disaster hits and not just for earthquakes but for floods, tornadoes and potential acts of terrorism,” Houser says.
“In today’s world, we must be prepared for any unexpected disaster. No matter where we live, there’s potential for catastrophe, whether natural or manmade. The best advice is to prepare yourself and your family with the best tools and precautionary procedures to stay as safe as possible.
“Have a survival kit, make a plan and stay informed. Being prepared can save your life!”
For tips on building your own earthquake survival kit, visit http://www.quakekare.com/earthquake.html
Earthquakes are not only terrifying; they can be deadly. In 2012, there were over 700 deaths from earthquakes. Learning how to survive an earthquake is essential if you live in any area that is prone to earthquakes.
Who Gets Earthquakes?
Did you know that there are only 8 states that do not report earthquake activity? These states are:
The remaining 42 states are affected by earthquakes. States with the most earthquakes are:
Even though an earthquake may not occur in all these states, it is often felt in the states surround the one struck by an earthquake. It may still cause damage and injuries or death. Therefore, in addition to having a survival kit and first aid kit, it is essential for the majority of people in the U.S. to know how to survive and earthquake when one occurs.
One common myth is to use the “triangle of life.” This idea was spread via email and was written by Doug Copp from American Rescue Team International. He claims that taking cover under an object that creates a void, often in a triangle shape, is the safest thing to do.
His email states, “…when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the ‘triangle of life‘”
Drop, Cover, and Hold On!
To practice this method:
Drop to your knees, before you are knocked down by the shaking.
Cover your head and neck under a sturdy table or desk.
Hold on to your shelter object and be ready to move if necessary.
If there is nothing to take shelter under, get down against an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms. You should also make sure heavy items in your home are secured and use an earthquake kit to make your home safer.
Watch a demonstration of how to survive an earthquake in this video:
Most people think of California when they think of earthquake country, but the fact is, the Central U.S. has moderate to light earthquake fairly often, and larger earthquakes that will cause damage are expected to occur in the near future.
Would it surprise you to learn that there are 150 earthquakes each year in the Central U.S.?
Sadly, most people in the Central U.S. don’t think they are in any danger from earthquakes, so they do not prepare. If you live in the central U.S., take steps now to be reduce damage and injuries in the event of a major earthquake where you live.
If you live in an older home, be sure it is retrofitted to meet current codes for earthquake safety. Your home should be bolted to its foundation, the water heater should be strapped and furniture should be secured. If you have a chimney, it may need to be strengthened to keep it from collapsing. Get an earthquake kit to help you get your home secured.
You should also have emergency kits for your home, car and place of employment. A quake can occur at any time, and the resulting damage to roads and buildings may make it impossible to get home, so you will need to have emergency supplies with you.
Medical services and banks may be disabled after an earthquake, so be sure you have cash on hand, as well as a first aid kit and other essential medical supplies.
Look into a separate earthquake policy to cover any damage your property may sustain. Contrary to what many people think, a standard homeowner’s policy will not usually cover earthquake damage.