While thinking about natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, Gulf of Mexico oil spill, tornadoes and viral outbreaks it seems to be a great time to share some simple strategies and suggestions for emergency preparedness.

The Boy Scout motto is: Be Prepared. This is great advice and definitely a worth while investment for a few hours of your time each year to insure you are prepared for those potentially destructive and unexpected events. Having taught emergency preparedness to soldiers and Boy Scouts and weathering many hurricanes and tropical storms on the Texas gulf coast you can be certain these tips are extremely helpful for dealing with disasters and emergencies.

Accidents and disasters can happen at any time and any where. When they strike you may be caught off guard and unprepared and not have much time to respond. A train or highway spill of hazardous material could require instant evacuation. A local winter ice and snow storm could confine and isolate a family, area or entire community for days or weeks. An earthquake, tornado, flood or similar natural disaster could cut off basic services we take for granted such as telephone, gas, electricity and water for many days.

Be PreparedWhile relief workers, public safety officials and various agencies will respond as soon as possible, they cannot be counted on to reach everyone immediately. It may take help hours, days or weeks to arrive and restore the situation back to normal. How prepared are you and your family to cope with various emergencies until help arrives and things return to normal?

Your family will be able to better cope with whatever disaster that occurs when they follow the famous Boy Scout motto – Be Prepared. This means investing some time well before a potential disaster could strike. Now would be a great time to review your disaster plans and supplies to ensure adequate awareness, effectiveness and readiness.

Once disaster strikes you will not have the luxury of a calm mind and adequate time to develop a family game plan. You will also not have time to search or shop for important and in many instances essential potentially life saving supplies. When you are prepared with your disaster supplies in advance you and your family can endure an evacuation or home confinement with more comfort and confidence.

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1. A Family Plan: Create your plans, procedures & preparedness checklists. Have digital and printed copies of addresses, communications process, email address, family financial, medical and personal information, maps, phone numbers, website address (i.e. Facebook posting). Create a list and inventory of first aid supplies, non perishable foods, resources, special supplies, vehicles. Be sure to invest time to drill and rehearse with your family, friends and even fellow employees to insure comfort and confidence should the time come to deal with a significant problem.

2. Water: Water is essential so be sure to store enough water to provide each person in the household for 1 week plus enough for one guest. On average you need to store a minimum of 3 gallons of water per person per day. (5 gallons is ideal) Have a quality water filter on hand and quality water storage bottles and containers. Calcium bentonite clay can be used to purify water easily and quickly. Also round clear glass bottles can be used to purify water if there is adequate sunlight available. Bath tubs can be used to hold water for toilet use and only 1 tub or shower should be used for bathing (when public water supplies stop use strict water rationing and limit bathing to a sponge bath only as needed.

3. Backpack with supplies: Provide and pack one back pack for each family member with most appropriate and most important items: medicine, small first aid kit, toiletries, hat, waterproof jacket, water bottle, non perishable snacks, cell phone (charger), wireless device (charger), rechargeable flashlight (hand crank), money (quarters and bills), small radio, batteries, LED flashlight, bowl, cup, pocket knife, spoon, tools, cord, folding saw, waterproof matches.

4. Change of clothing: Also pack a change of clothing (bathing suit, pants, shirt, shoes, shorts, socks) and possible protective clothing (long sleeve shirt, long pants, quality footwear, socks, waterproof jacket & hat with brim). For colder weather add insulating gear such as boots, gloves, hats, jacket, polar fleece, socks etc. to keep you warm.

5. Food: Foods are obviously one of a families and individuals top priority. When emergencies strike you can not depend on grocery stores and food establishments to have power and remain open therefore you must be self sufficient. There are two main categories of non perishable food items to have on hand for great emergency preparedness. The first are delicious and nutritious items that are simple and require no preparation.

These include:

  • Dehydrated flax seed crackers, nut and seed bars, Eziekel crackers,
  • Dried fruits (apples, apricots, bananas, blueberries, cherries, craisins, currants, dates, figs, goji berries, mulberries, papaya, pineapple, plums, raisins, strawberries)
  • Natural energy bars or raw bars.
  • Natural granola (bars or cereal) or Muesli (natural multigrain cereal)
  • Nuts (almonds, brazil, cashew, hazel, pecan, walnut), (cashew, almond butter)
  • Seeds (chia, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower)
  • Super Green Powders and super food supplements,
  • Miscellaneous items that are also calorie and nutrient dense include: brown coconuts, coconut oil, dried coconut, dried sea weed, grape seed oil, honey, olive oil,
  • The second group requires some basic and simple preparation such as soaking in room temperature water or heated water is optional.
  • Grains (oatmeal, quiona, black wild rice, amaranth can be soaked and eaten)
  • Legumes (lentils for sprouting)
  • Avoid buying excess canned fruits and foods as they are very heavy if you travel and provide low quality nutrition.
  • Avoid buying junk food like candy, chips, cookies, crackers, pretzels, sodas, as they are most often loaded with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and table salt which are not healthy and will dehydrate you.
  • Avoid buying foods that require a freezer, ice or refrigeration such as beer, ice cream, lunch meat, milk, orange juice and sodas. These are not really healthy foods during an emergency situation as they are a waste of money, space and time to maintain in an already difficult situation. You will very likely be dealing with quickly consuming many of these from your freezer and refrigerator if the power goes off.

6. First Aid Kit: First aid book, band-aids, gauze, tape, Tea tree oil, baking soda, calcium bentonite clay, prescription medicines, medical devices (blood pressure cuff, blood sugar meter and other essential supplies.

7. Gas: Be sure your vehicle gas tank is full and the trunk or a roof rack is packed with key supplies. A basic tool kit and other supplies is essential. A bicycle and carrying rack could also come in very handy.

8. Cooking Grill: A outdoor gas cooking grill is also very handy. (One with a direct gas line may be good for use at home but a smaller camping stove with a portable liquid fuel or propane tank plus extra fuel is better in the event of travel.

9. Generator: A portable generator and extra fuel is a luxury on one hand yet could be a super asset to save the food in your refrigerator and freezer. Be sure to have a long extension cord also. For six days after hurricane Ike we shared a generator with our neighbor which allowed us to keep the refrigerator/ freezer running and recharge electronic devices. We experienced first hand what a blessing this can be.

10. Camping Gear: Camping and outdoor gear can come in very handy at home or if you must evacuate and travel. (rain gear, poncho, sleeping bag, tent, camping stove (white gas or propane)[/colored_box]

One of the most important aspects of emergency preparedness is to remain as calm, collected and cool in your actions and thinking during the risky situations that occur with natural disasters. During stressful times many people panic and experience shell shock which causes them to have clouded judgment and impaired thinking.

Fear, panic and shock can cause even an intelligent person to experience unnecessary problems that could turn a potentially dangerous situation into a life threatening one. Therefore emergency preparedness is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself, family and friends from many of the potential risks of unexpected natural disasters. Remember while we cannot predict or prevent many emergency situations from occurring we can take positive and progressive steps in order to Be Prepared.

Our next blog post will share: Eating Healthy for Less