Friday, July 18, 2008

Do like the boyscouts-Be Prepared

I must admit in the past week or so, I have felt a little bit like I'm losing my mind. While doing some research on "Fire safety" I ended up on the FEMA website and somehow got linked to the blog of a survivor of hurricane Katrina.
Her comments were so genuine. She talked about having to let her baby be naked because she had no food or water or diapers. Her baby wailed until she was too weak to wail. It was 3 days before they recieved food and other rations. After reading that, I have felt this tremendous sence of urgency to get things together in case of an emergency. (I have seriously had dreams about it!)This girl recommended having bookbags ready with personal items etc. I have heard the idea before, but I thought "What a brilliant plan!" So we have been working on the emergency preparedness thing, but we're also putting together backpacks that we can hang on a hook by the door. That way if we have to leave in haste, we can grab them and run out the door!!
I just thought I would post the FEMA list of what is recommended and encourage all of my friends and family do the same.

It is as follows:

When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it's best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.
Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

· Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

· Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

· Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both

· Flashlight and extra batteries

· First aid kit

· Whistle to signal for help

· Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

· Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

· Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

· Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)

· Local maps

Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:
· Prescription medications and glasses
· Infant formula and diapers
· Pet food and extra water for your pet
· Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
· Cash or traveler's checks and change
· Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from
· Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
· Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
· Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
· Fire Extinguisher
· Matches in a waterproof container
· Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
· Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
· Paper and pencil
· Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

· One gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.
· Children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water.
· If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary.
· Store water tightly in clean plastic containers such as soft drink bottles.
· Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person.
Food· Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
· Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water.
· Pack a manual can opener and eating utensils.
· Avoid salty foods, as they will make you thirsty.
· Choose foods your family will eat.
o Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
o Protein or fruit bars
o Dry cereal or granola
o Peanut butter
o Dried fruit
o Nuts
o Crackers
o Canned juices
o Non-perishable pasteurized milk
o High energy foods
o Vitamins
o Food for infants
o Comfort/stress foods
First Aid Kit
In any emergency a family member or you yourself may be cut, burned or suffer other injuries. If you have these basic supplies you are better prepared to help your loved ones when they are hurt. Remember, many injuries are not life threatening and do not require immediate medical attention. Knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency. Consider taking a first aid class, but simply having the following things can help you stop bleeding, prevent infection and assist in decontamination.
Things you should have:
· Two pairs of Latex, or other sterile gloves (if you are allergic to Latex).
· Sterile dressings to stop bleeding.
· Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect.
· Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
· Burn ointment to prevent infection.
· Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes.
· Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant.
· Thermometer (Read more: Biological Threat)
· Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.
· Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies.
Things it may be good to have:
· Cell Phone
· Scissors
· Tweezers
· Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
Non-prescription drugs:
· Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
· Anti-diarrhea medication
· Antacid (for upset stomach)
· Laxative
Clean Air
Some potential emergencies could send tiny microscopic "junk" into the air. For example flooding could create airborne mold which could make you sick and an explosion may release very fine debris that can cause lung damage. A biological terrorist attack may release germs that can make you sick if inhaled or absorbed through open cuts. Many of these agents can only hurt you if they get into your body, so think about creating a barrier between yourself and any contamination.
Nose and Mouth Protection
Face masks or dense-weave cotton material, that snugly covers your nose and mouth and is specifically fit for each member of the family. Do whatever you can to make the best fit possible for children.
Be prepared to improvise with what you have on hand to protect your nose, mouth, eyes and cuts in your skin. Anything that fits snugly over your nose and mouth, including any dense-weave cotton material, can help filter contaminants in an emergency. It is very important that most of the air you breathe comes through the mask or cloth, not around it.
Do whatever you can to make the best fit possible for children. There are also a variety of face masks readily available in hardware stores that are rated based on how small a particle they can filter in an industrial setting.
Given the different types of emergencies that could occur, there is not one solution for creating a barrier between yourself and any contamination in the air. For instance, simple cloth face masks can filter some of the airborne "junk" or germs you might breathe into your body, but will probably not protect you from chemical gases. Still, something over your nose and mouth in an emergency is better than nothing. Limiting how much "junk" gets into your body may impact whether or not you get sick or develop disease.
Other Barriers
· Heavyweight plastic garbage bags or plastic sheeting
· Duct tape
· Scissors
There are circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as "shelter-in-place," is a matter of survival. You can use these things to tape up windows, doors and air vents if you need to seal off a room from outside contamination. Consider precutting and labeling these materials. Anything you can do in advance will save time when it counts.
Use available information to assess the situation. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you can use these things to tape up windows, doors and air vents if you need to seal off a room. Read more: Deciding to Stay or Go.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filtration) Filter Fans
Once you have sealed a room with plastic sheeting and duct tape you may have created a better barrier between you and any contaminants that may be outside. However, no seal is perfect and some leakage is likely. In addition to which, you may find yourself in a space that is already contaminated to some degree.
Consider a portable air purifier, with a HEPA filter, to help remove contaminants from the room where you are sheltering. These highly efficient filters have small sieves that can capture very tiny particles, including some biological agents. Once trapped within a HEPA filter contaminants cannot get into your body and make you sick. While these filters are excellent at filtering dander, dust, molds, smoke, biological agents and other contaminants, they will not stop chemical gases.
Some people, particularly those with severe allergies and asthma, use HEPA filters in masks, portable air purifiers as well as in larger home or industrial models to continuously filter the air.
Unique Family Needs

Remember the unique needs of your family members when making your emergency supply kit and family emergency plan.
For Baby:
· Formula
· Diapers
· Bottles
· Powdered milk
· Medications
· Moist towelettes
· Diaper rash ointment
For Adults:
· Ask your doctor about storing prescription medications such as heart and high blood pressure medication, insulin and other prescription drugs.
· Denture needs
· Contact lenses and supplies
· Extra eye glasses

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