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.
Posted in disaster, Earthquake Preparedness, emergency, Emergency Preparedness, Extreme Weather, Flood Preparedness, Preparedness Tips, survival food bars, Survival Kits
Tagged disaster preparedness, emergency food, food rations, survival food
Spring is finally here which means warmer temperatures, green grass and colorful flowers. It also means changing weather conditions and in some areas of the country, rain. Lots and lots of rain. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is advising Americans to prepare this spring for another round of potentially disastrous flooding of the kind that devastated much of Louisiana, Missouri and Texas late December/early January.
Individuals and families are advised take certain precautions in flood prone areas. These precautions are simple, but they are steps that could save your life.
- Familiarize yourself with the terms weather forecasters use to describe your area’s risk for flooding. A “Flood Watch” means a flood or flash flood is a possibility for your area. A “Flood Warning” means a flash flood or flooding has already occurred or is imminent for your location.
- Ensure your house is stocked with emergency supplies such as a Home Survival Kit that contains a 72 hour supply of non-perishable food and water, emergency lighting, Mylar blankets, first aid items, and a hand-crank/solar powered weather radio in the likely event the power is out. Maintaining communication during a flood event is crucial in ensuring you and your family can safely evacuate to higher ground without encountering closed roads or other deterrents. Your kit should also contain an emergency gas/water shut-off utility tool, medications, food/water for your pets and an extra set of weather appropriate clothing.
- Once a Flood Watch has been issued for your area, monitor changing weather conditions by tuning into your local news station or a NOAA weather band radio. Get yours here
- If a Flood Warning is issued in your area, don’t delay, head to higher ground via the safest evacuation route.
- Don’t travel through flooded roadways. According to Tom Graziano of NOAA, “flooding is the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S.” Standing water on roadsides can be deceptive. A car can be quickly carried away in only 2 feet of water. Don’t succumb to this avoidable dilemma. Turn around, don’t drown!
- Ensure your home is adequately covered for flood damage. Check out FloodSmart.gov for more information.
Parts of Texas and the Midwest are already experiencing torrential flooding. Houston, TX declared a State of Emergency this weekend after a foot of rain fell on the city in a matter of hours. Evacuations are currently taking place and search and rescue operations are in effect.
Communities along the Mississippi and Missouri River basins, parts of the southeastern U.S. from Alabama to North Carolina and low-lying areas in the Ohio River basin and the Tennessee and Cumberland River Valleys are also at risk.
NOAA announced a precipitation outlook for April through June warning of above-average precipitation for these additional areas:
- Most of California
- Gulf Coast
It is going to be a wet spring. Prepare, be vigilant and stay safe.
Credits: Red Cross Flood Safety
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.”
Snow covered neighborhood
Forecasters predict that ice and snow in winter 2015-16 will hit hard across much of the United States dumping blizzards down upon major U.S. cities, including areas normally not impacted by icy cold. Weather experts are advising people to prepare for the worst that nature can deliver this winter season. These predictions are surely sending shivers through those who survived one of the worst winters to ever hit the East Coast last year.
Few people can forget winter’s icy bombshell totaling 100 inches of snow in Boston in early 2015, or the seven feet of snow that crippled Buffalo, New York in December 2014. Thousands of homeowners and motorists feared for their lives when they were stranded, and hundreds of thousands were without power for days. For those of us last year who only experienced the snow and extreme cold via our television sets, we might not be so lucky this year. Forecasters are predicting ice and snow will impact much of the United States this winter.
What signs are pointing towards this being one of the worst recorded winters in history? The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a venerable publication founded in 1792 and North America’s oldest continuously published periodical, has traditionally been used by farmers and forecasters to determine a baseline for the year’s weather. This winter’s predictions call for above-normal snow and below-normal temperatures for New England, icy conditions in parts of the South and frigid weather in the Midwest. Snowiest periods in the Pacific Northwest will begin as early as mid-December.
The presence of El Niño is also causing forecasters to prompt warnings of a colder than usual winter season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that this year’s El Niño is among the strongest on record. El Niño will influence this winter’s weather and climate patterns by impacting the position of the Pacific jet stream. “While temperature and precipitation impacts associated with El Niño are favored, El Niño is not the only player,” NOAA reports. “Snow forecasts are dependent upon the strength and track of winter storms, which are generally not predictable more than a week in advance.” Unpredictability until a few days before a really bad blizzard hits is one reason why experts are advising people to prepare for the worst and the potential of being stranded in their homes or vehicles.
How do you plan for the worst?
The American Red Cross and Quake Kare recommend that preparing for severe winter weather (snow, ice and extreme cold), at a minimum, should include having at hand the basic supplies below. These should be kept both in your home and your vehicle.
• Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation)
• Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation)
• Battery-powered or hand-crank radios
• Extra batteries
• First aid kits
• Baby supplies, including food and diapers
• Pet supplies, including food and water
• Basic medications and medical items
• Multi-purpose tool
• Sanitation and personal hygiene items
• Cell phone with chargers
• Family and emergency contact information
• Emergency blanket
• Maps of the area
Remember, the best way to stay safe in severe winter weather is to monitor your local forecast, stock your home with emergency supplies and stay home when the roads are slick. Only go out if absolutely necessary and make sure you have a basic car survival kit with you. Stay safe and warm this winter season!
For expert advice, contact Quake Kare toll-free at 1 800 2Prepare (1-800-277-3727).
March through August is tornado season in the United States, where some 1,000 tornadoes hit every year. Be prepared. Tornadoes are more powerful than any other storm: They can toss freight trains like toys and throw your house down the block.
If you live in one of the top ten tornado states identified in order below, be smart and prepare yourself and your family for unexpected disaster:
- Florida is hit by more tornadoes than any other state in the U.S. and, also, also by more severe thunderstorms than any state.
- Oklahoma is the heart of what meteorologists call Tornado Alley. Its weather patterns often make warm and cool air collide — ideal for creating tornadoes and damaging thunderstorms.
- Kansas is where a mammoth twister whisked Dorothy and her little dog Toto to Oz, but it’s also where thousands of people are caught unprepared for damaging storms every year.
- Iowa was clobbered by 28 tornadoes in 2013 and averages of about 50 damaging thunderstorms every year.
- Illinois experienced one of its deadliest years on record for tornadoes in 2013. Storms generated widespread flooding and cut power in more than 160,000 homes and businesses.
- Indiana ranks second in the nation for the costs of tornado damage, sixth for the number of deaths and seventh for the number of personal injuries.
- Mississippi averages 29 tornadoes per year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Its coastal regions are hit by devastating hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Maryland ranks in the Tornado Top Ten because of its mid-south and Atlantic Ocean weather patterns generate many twisters and serious thunderstorms.
- Louisiana ranks second in the U.S. for the most thunderstorms annually and as a result, and averages 37 tornadoes per year.
- Texas averages 155 tornadoes per year – the most of any state — but its land mass is so large it ranks 10th in the U.S. per tornadoes every 10,000 square miles.
Posted in climate change, disaster, emergency, Emergency Preparedness, Extreme Weather, extreme weather, homes, Tornadoes
Tagged NOAA, severe weather, tornado preparedness, tornado safety, Tornadoes