Emergency Preparedness Kit Recommendations Compare Survival Kits

Sanitation After a Disaster

Proper hygiene and sanitation are essential for the prevention of disease following a disaster. When water is limited, this could be difficult. You may think you can rely on hand sanitizers to stay clean, but hand sanitizers are not effective against all germs, and they won’t help if your hands are visibly dirty.

While boiled or disinfected water can be used for hand washing as well as washing dishes, it is wise to have a supply of water stored for emergency use. This can be used for cooking, bathing and wound care.

Even though CDC recommendations are to store 1 gallon of water per day, per person, that is a bare minimum and you are likely to need more. Storing water in 55 gallon barrels will help ensure that you have enough safe, clean water for all of your family’s personal hygiene needs. Treat stored water with Water Preserver Concentrate and it will be safe to use for up to 5 years.

Clean water is just one part of hygiene after a disaster. Proper waste disposal is also essential. If there has been flooding, sewer systems cannot function the way they should, resulting in sewage backing up into your home.

In this modern age, it is hard to imagine using something other than a normal bathroom with a flushing toilet, but after a disaster, you may need to resort to other means. Outdoors people may feel that simply digging a hole in the ground and burying waste is sufficient, and in many cases that is just fine, but if the ground is saturated after a flood, this can cause more contamination to surrounding wells and water supplies.

Keep a portable toilet or bucket with disposable plastic liners to use as an emergency toilet. You should also have chemicals to disinfect your portable toilet. This will help you keep your living area clean and reduce the spread of germs.

When liner bags are full, seal them with a twist tie so you can dispose of the entire bag. A large plastic trash can with a tight fitting lid can be used to store bags of waste until normal disposal methods are restored.

Posted in Emergency Preparedness | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Driving and Flood Waters

flood fatalities

As National Flood Safety Awareness Week continues, I thought it was interesting that, according to NOAA, 39% of people killed in flash floods in 2012 were killed while driving.

A driver approaches a section of road with water across it. The water doesn’t look deep, so the driver assumes it is safe to cross. Only he assumes wrong as the car gets carried away to deeper water before the driver can even think about escape.

Did you know that it only takes 18 inches of water to lift your vehicle and carry it away? That isn’t much water, so even if it looks like there isn’t a lot of water covering the road, that doesn’t mean it is safe to cross.

Once the vehicle is floating, it often rolls over, trapping anyone inside. Make sure you have an emergency auto hammer in an easy to access location, just in case you find yourself in a vehicle in the water.

The best course of action when you encounter flooded roads is to turn around. Don’t risk your life to get where you are going.

Image Credit: NOAA

Posted in Extreme Weather | Tagged , | Leave a comment

National Flood Safety Awareness Week

Next week, March 17 – 23, is National Flood Safety Awareness Week. You may not give flooding a lot of though, but if you get rain, you can get floods. That means you must be prepared for them.

FEMA will be offering lots of tips all week to help you get ready for the possibility of floods. I thought we’d kick things off early by showing you how devastating floods can really be.

Never drive on flooded roads. The water may not look deep, but that may be deceptive. And even just a few inches of water and carry your car into much deeper water.

And make sure you have an emergency kit for yourself and your pets.

photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey via photopin cc

Posted in Extreme Weather, FEMA | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Is Almost Here. Are you Ready for Floods?

spring flooding

While many of us are happily anticipating the arrival of spring, it is also important to be aware of the possibility of flooding. Flooding is one hazard that can occur anywhere and is the most common one across the country.

Heavy rains and melting snow saturate the ground until the water just can’t be absorbed anymore. Rivers, lakes and creeks are filled to overflowing, and the result is areas getting flooded. Sometimes flooding is minor, but often the results are devastating. Loss of life and property, sadly, are common.

There are a few things you can do to prepare for this type of disaster. Elevating the furnace and water heater may protect them from getting wet in a flood. Check valves can prevent floodwater from backing up into your home plumbing. Basement walls should be sealed with waterproofing materials.

If you know you live in a flood prone area, consider building barriers to keep floodwater out of your home. While this may not always be possible, if you are able to do it, it may help save your property from extensive damage.

Flood insurance is also a smart investment. Check out FloodSmart.gov to see how affordable it really is, as well as learning how much a flood could actually cost you with the Cost of Flooding tool.

Of course, as when you prepare for any type of disaster, you should have an emergency survival kit and a family emergency plan so everyone knows what to do when disaster strikes. The more prepared you are, the less you need to worry about the safety of your family.

photo credit: WalterPro4755 via photopin cc

Posted in Extreme Weather | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Have an Evacuation Map

evacuation route

Evacuations are more common than you might think, so it is wise to prepare for the possibility. In addition to having your emergency kit ready to go, you should also know your evacuation plan and map it out.

In most cases, if an evacuation is required, the local authorities will tell you what to do. Or you may have warning sirens where you live to notify you of impending danger. However, in some cases you may decide on your own that evacuation is a good idea.

In any case, you may not have much time to evacuate, so having an emergency kit ready to grab and go is essential. You should also contact your local emergency management office to find out the evacuation routes where you live.

Get a map of your city and mark the evacuation routes in a red marker. You may know of a shorter route, but those routes may be blocked in an emergency situation. Once you have the recommended routes marked, make a few practice runs with your family.

Have your family pretend that an evacuation has been ordered. See how long it takes to gather emergency kits and other essentials and get into your vehicle. Then practice traveling each route.

Make sure you have an emergency location to stay if you do need to evacuate. Many people stay in shelters, but if you can make other arrangements, such as staying with a friend or relative that isn’t in the evacuation zone, you’ll probably be more comfortable.

Make sure you keep a copy of your evacuation map in each vehicle. Keep in mind, during an evacuation, you will need more time to get to your intended destination.

Here are a few more evacuation tips:

  • Keep a full tank of gas, especially in times when evacuation may seem likely, such as during hurricane season.
  • If you do not have a vehicle, you will need to make other arrangements ahead of time.
  • Have a non-electric emergency radio so you can keep up with evacuation instructions.
  • If an evacuation is ordered, go immediately.
  • Pay attention for washed out roads and do not attempt to drive through flooded areas.
  • Stay far away from downed power lines.
  • If there is enough time, secure your home and unplug electrical devices if there is a chance of flooding.
  • Make sure someone knows where you are going and let them know when you arrive safely.

photo credit: taberandrew via photopin cc

Posted in Preparedness Tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment