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Emergency preparedness

 
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bruja
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Joined: 29 Aug 2006
Posts: 5974
Location: Under a tall black hat

PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:41 pm    Post subject: Emergency preparedness Reply with quote

Lost power in a thunderstorm last evening (as did thousands of others apparently), and found that our preparedness had become rather lax, since we hadn't checked much after we got back to Canada 3 months ago.

GOOD:
- plug-in emergency light on stairs came on and stayed on for 9 hours
- flashlight in back hall and slap LED light on bedside table were in place and working
- matches, candle in candlestick, and 2 kerosene lamps were in master bedroom, exactly where they were supposed to be
- matches and candles were in correct drawer in kitchen
- both "old fashioned" phones bought for a couple of bucks in a charity thrift shop worked, unlike the cordless phones
- battery powered clocks were working
- stove top kettle was in correct place
- solar powered radio was charged and working
- manual can opener in correct place (didn't need it, but might have)
- 2 bbq propane tanks were full
- both vehicles had full gas tanks
- chimney for wood stove newly swept, kindling on hand
- at least 3 week supply of all prescription drugs on hand
- lots of canned and packaged food on hand
- old duvets to insulate freezers were in correct place

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT:
- We had about 18 litres of drinking water, enough for a couple of days. Not enough for a real emergency, since we're on our own well, which needs power
- propane camp stove and bbq size tank were in place in garage, but piezo electric lighter didn't work
- only 5 gallons of gasoline, which might have been needed for small generator and log splitter
- logs for woodstove need to be split and moved under cover
- less than a gallon of kerosene

POOR:
- several kerosene lamps were still in storage in the basement after some redecorating
- several flashlights and the short wave/am/fm radio had dead batteries
- had only a few AA batteries and no C batteries
- rechargeable large flashlights can't be found
- small generator, which might have been needed to keep freezers running, is at the back of the garage, behind stored furniture, and will take time to retrieve and check
- cell phone needed charging
- emergency nightlight in 1 bathroom defunct

I was hoping to finish my newly cloned cash register with new NPCs, but I'm already exhausted. The man in the family thought he saw a light in a house in the distance, so he got up at 4:30 a.m. to trek down the driveway to make sure that the breaker for our house hadn't blown. Personally, I think that 4:30 a.m. during a power outage is a good time to be in bed and asleep, instead of filling a kettle to make tea and coffee, but one is required to be seen to make an effort during such exciting emergencies laugh

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ruthml
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's very impressive Bruja! However i know you've been honing this knowledge over years and it shows.

Today, after hearing about an awful apartment fire yesterday in my area, I organised all the important papers, passport etc into a satchel. If there's ever a fire then I know what to grab and where it is.

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bluesage
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Location: Albuquerque, NM. USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and Reeses, lots of Reeses. yes
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bruja
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ruthml wrote:
Today, after hearing about an awful apartment fire yesterday in my area, I organised all the important papers, passport etc into a satchel. If there's ever a fire then I know what to grab and where it is.


Oops! Something else to check. I bought a small fireproof safe to keep all that stuff in, but I haven't checked since we got back to Canada to see what's where. blush

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Yersinia
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bruja (and anyone else interested in this kind of thing), ya might start reading here....

http://survivalblog.com/

and here...

http://ferfal.blogspot.com/

and here...

http://www.theoildrum.com/

I think you'll be able to find plenty more just starting from those. laugh

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Stevi Nyx
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Joined: 22 Jul 2011
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Location: Houston, TX

PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the humor value, you might also want to check out the US Center for Disease Control's "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse":
http://www.bt.cdc.gov/socialmedia/zombies_blog.asp

Here in Houston, our main threat when it comes to natural disasters is hurricanes. Fortunately, we get a bit more warning than with other types of emergency situations, so a lot of my comments have to do with evacuating.

HANDY TIP FOR ALL DISASTERS:

Does your grocery store looks like it's been hit by looters? Are the shelves are almost bare, except for some seriously dented cans of Spam? Head for the diet food section for SlimFast, or the health section for nutrition bars and sports shakes, or the diabetes/geriatric section for other insta-food-in-a-can. In my experience, people tend to forget about these quasi-food-like substance. It may not gourmet, and it might involve weird aftertastes, but it will keep you going until you can find something better.

PREPARING YOUR CAR:

Check all the fluids. Yes, your radiator too. Trust me. In fact, you might want to have bottles in your trunk -- oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, distilled water.

Got plenty of air in those tires? If your car is retro enough to have a real spare tire and not one of those bitsy spares, does it have enough air in it?

Do you have jumper cables in your trunk? The battery kind are okay, but you're not going to be able to recharge until you arrive wherever. The old-fashioned kind might be better.

Tow chain (and I don't mean one of those cheesy straps). Do you know where to attach it to your frame?

Spare tire, jack, and tire iron. Do you know how to use them?

GAS CAN! GAS CAN! GAS CAN! If traffic on the freeway comes to a halt, and you have to be running the air conditioner because it's 100 degrees outside, you'll be using a LOT of gas. Some states have laws about dispensing gas only into approved containers -- do you really want to risk whether the station nearest you is actually enforcing that? Also, Do you really want to try to haul gas in a Big Gulp cup?

You've got a state atlas in your car, right? If communication systems get overloaded, "I've got MapQuest on my iPhone" is not the right answer.

And speaking of your phone, you've got a charging cable that plugs into your cigarette lighter, right?

VETERINARY PREPARATIONS:

In early May (1 month before "hurricane season begins), get rabies vaccinations for pets. Yes, I know about those every-3-years shots they've got now. But if your pet bites someone, having proof of a current rabies vaccination will keep the authorities from seizing your pet and destroying them. Oh, and it will also keep whoever got bitten from going through a painful course of treatment.

Clean out pet cages/carriers. If your cat only wears a leash when going to the vet, put the leash and harness into the carrier, along with the rabies vaccination paperwork. (If you don't have a leash and harness for your cat, GET THEM. A cat can escape from figure-8 style harnesses if she gets her front paw through the neck. A better style has a loop for the neck, a loop for the stomach and a strap connecting the two.)

Verify that you have small, non-tip bowls. Bring dry food for feeding in the car (stinks less than wet). If you have a cat, get several of those disposable litter boxes. Assume that your travel time will take way, waaay longer than it would normally (in the case of the Hurricane Rita evacuation, what should have been a 3-hour trip turned into 27 hours on the road).

TRIP PLANNING:

Re-check your plans for where you're going to evacuate TO, especially if you have pets. Most emergency shelters will not take pets. Ask your relatives in nearby cities if you can stay with them. Have they recently self-diagnosed themselves as allergic to cats? Are they going RVing to Alaska in August? Some hotels will take pets, so make a list just in case your first choice is booked up. A microwave and mini fridge will cut down on your living costs. Those by-the-week suites might be less expensive as well.

Clean out your suitcases and fill up all the little bottles in your toiletry kit.

Bring food and water with you in the car. Lots of it - enough for a couple of days. Don't pack the food (or your meds) in the trunk, since you may need easy access to them if you're in stop-and-go traffic for hours at a time.

LEAVE EARLY! As we learned from Hurricane Rita (back in '05), it is basically impossible to evacuate 3.5 million people out 5 highways in a single day. Be packed and ready to leave the minute you're let off of work.

COMMUNICATIONS:

Do you think that Twitter is one of the most useless, silly, self-indulgent things ever? Well here's a good use for it! Since Hurricane Ike, people have regularly discovered that communications systems get overloaded and their mobile phone becomes almost useless. However, frequently people have been able to get text messages out, even though calls couldn't get through.

SO: Get yourself a Twitter account. Tell all your friends and family (especially any who are likely to call you every 45 minutes and run down your phone's battery) the URL for your twitter stream. Tell them you'll update every hour or as needed ... I-10/Sealy exit. Been stopped 50min, no a/c. Cats yowling continuously (surely they'll go hoarse soon?!) PBJ for dinner! #HurricaneSimona ... and presto! One message, everybody updated, no mother freaking out at you on the phone.

AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING:

Stuff is replaceable, but people aren't (yeah, okay, pets too). TAKE ONE CAR. (Choose the one that's in the best shape and gets the best gas mileage.) There is nothing more horrible than taking two cars and leaving at the same time, but having the other get caught in heavier traffic and fall further and further behind. It is agonizing to realize that after 15 hours of travel, the most important person in your life may not even make it out of the city, and may be forced to make it through the hurricane with no better shelter than a compact car. Really. Never mind your fears about looking like the Beverly Hillbillies. Wedge your grandmother and two cat carriers in the back seat, rope your luggage on the roof, and have a nightmare trip together.
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TheIms3
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Joined: 10 Aug 2006
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Location: Twin Cities, MN,USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys have some great information! I had actually not given too much thought to actually evacuating my cat--I guess I always pictured picking him up and running out with him, but I suspect that the stress might cause some claw issues, also, I think it could get tiring holding a 15 lb animal after a bit! So I'm thinking I ought to invest in an emergency harness, just in case.
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17mars
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Location: Underground Seattle

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When my sister's house burned down last month, she was not able to save any of her pets. The dogs and cats ran and hid and would not come out. She had to finally run out herself and leave them. sad Of eleven pets, she only was spared one that ran outside.
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TheIms3
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's really awful. sad We get so close to our little animals.
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bruja
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've no pets these days,or children either, so we have to worry only about us. But our house is the designated meeting place for all the family, because we have a wood stove, a pond plus a dug well shallow enough to pull up buckets of water if the electricity and therefore our deep well pump, is out.

Thanks for all the tips and links. I've found a few things that I hadn't thought of, even though I have years of preparing for 3 month trips to places where I can't count on being able to buy things.

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