Thursday, September 28, 2017

After the hurricanes in Texas, Puerto Rico and earthquakes in Mexico, it's important to remember these are the most important things you can have on hand BEFORE and emergency.  Food, Water, Fuel, Power, and Cash. 

We like to think disasters are a temporary event and most of the time they are.  But when they don't or the after effects are so great, the time to prepare and stock up is too late.  Recomitt to your storage today.  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Tornado Safety

Grace from sent over this incredible website with some really great resources and knowledge.  If you are reading this and saying I already know all about tornados, it's helpful to be reminded that others do not and are just getting started and need help getting ready or recognizing the signs of bad weather/tornados.  I encourage each of us to take a look.  Thanks Grace!  Well done.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sweet Tea Anyone?

As I sit here all warm and toasty while the storm rages outside, I can't help but reflect on what I learned this week with two winter storms including Winter Storm Jonas (January 22, 2016).  When the storms were less than 12 hours away I went to the store.  I had never been to a store in the South (Kentucky/Tennessee) before a storm, but two thoughts came to my mind, hurricane and Black Friday.  (photo courtesy of

While everyone was polite (Southerners are just that way-bless their souls), waiting in line is not how most of us envisioned spending our evening.  There was a hint of impatience in the air.   I've never spent a winter in the South.  They can have bad ice storms.  Snow removal isn't as frequent so they don't have as many snow plows.  Drivers used to the beautiful southern climate can be surprised when driving in snow.

But the lesson that was reinforced in my mind was when you are prepared, you experience peace.  Everyone will experience the same storm, but the journey can be very stressful for some while others can sit back, enjoy a glass of southern sweet tea or a cup of hot cocoa.  We decide our destiny.

Have a wonderful and warm cup of cocoa.
Your friend, Gist 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Simple lessons for peace of mind and emergency preparedness

The last few weeks I've improved our level of preparedness (peace of mind).  Got a new Power of Attorney, new Will, and a Living Will.  Basically the living will let's my wife decide what to do in the event I am unable to make decisions about my health/life.  Also scanned in the documents and emailed them to her so she has a soft copy.  Contacted a couple of companies that I am primary account holder and wanted them to have a copy of the POA.  The paper copies are kept with our important papers where SHE wants them so she knows where to find them.

The power went out in the neighborhood and some of us discovered when we tried to get in, the garage doors didn't work.  Many of us don't us keys anymore-just the garage door.  Our family went out and bought a key-less door lock for the front door from a local hardware store.  My family loved it so much we replaced all the locks now with these.  They automatically lock after 30 seconds so we don't have doors accidentally left unlocked!  Very easy to install.

I spent some time over the last week updating our list of emergency numbers, accounts, and other important numbers the family would need if I was unavailable.   Made copies of the contents of our wallets in case they were lost/stolen.  I specifically added a page to our emergency numbers with a list of all the life insurance policies with account numbers, company names, when they are due, how much, phone numbers, web sites, and how much they pay out.  This way if something ever happened, my wife or someone she asks to help, can instantly go to one page and start the task of working with insurance companies.  Other things we did were we went out and bought some things on sale at Costco.  Set up a brokerage account for my 16 year old son to help him learn how the stock market works (investing and compound interest).  A few months ago we helped our two older children get credit cards (22 & 23) to help them continue building their credit.

Sometimes emergency preparedness isn't great big purchases of wheat, water, or flashlights.  Just doing what you always do and passing the lessons you've learned on to the next generation can be just as important.  Many of the things mentioned in this article didn't take money.  Just time.  The biggest thing I try to help my children understand besides honesty and values is to teach them importance of having others pay them interest instead of them paying others.  Also to choose good careers that will take care of them in the event there is a death, divorce, or disease in the family.  Of course we teach out children correct principles and let them follow them as they are ready. 

May you have a wonderful 2016 New Year.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Snowstorm Reminder - Winter Storm Echo - 2015

December 14, 2015 - Winter Storm ECHO

We had about 4-5 inches in the valley overnight and the power went out.
              a) Do you remember how to open the garage door when there is no power?
              b) Can you heat your house?  Fortunately we use a gas fireplace and kerosene heater.
              c) Can you provide light.  It was during the daytime, but we use flashlights around the house and headlamps.
              d) Do you have the phone number for your city power company in your phone?  I didn't!
              e) Your phone battery will eventually get low on power.  Do you have a battery charged up for your phone?
              f) Can you cook?  We use a natural gas stove.
              g) How can you find out if school has been canceled?
              h) Travel time takes MUCH longer.
              i)  Do you have an old fashioned radio for information when the internet is down? I didn't!
              j)  Best to fill up the cars with gas when you know a storm is on the way.  Someone used all the gas yesterday and I didn't have any stored.

Water wasn't an issue for us, but it's suggested to store water.  Hope these are helpful reminders!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Over the last few weeks I have been updating the family list of important information.

-Personal Data on each family member:  social security numbers, birth dates, phone numbers
-Employment contact information
-List of friends
-Life insurance companies, phone numbers, Policy numbers, payment dates and amounts
-W2s and Tax information to include websites and access information
-Banking information
-Credit card information
-Car information to include license plate, VIN, color, Car insurance info and fav mechanic
-Router information
-Emergency information such as light, gas, water, internet, city, car insurance co
-Bills info to include account numbers and phone numbers
-Screen names and passwords to important information
-Medical, dental health insurance information

I didn't go in a lot of detail and you may want to do more or less based upon your circumstance.  Basically, if I wasn't around, would my family have everything they needed.  Same with me, could I pick up with minimal interruption.   

Of course you have to be careful having this all in one spot.  Decide how that best works for you.  It takes a long time to get it all together, but you will use it reference it frequently once it's done.   I pulled off three examples from the internet.  Basically the same thing by three people. 

Have fun! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ways to Save

Creative Ways To Save

I was asking people how they save money and wanted to share their ideas with you. When they go shopping, when they pay with their debit card, they will pull out an extra $5 or $10 and keep the cash at home and let it build up over time.

1. Every pay check they have $5 sent directly to their savings account.

2. When they shop with cash...when they get $1 bills back, they take the $1 bills and put them into their savings bottle. Others have done the same with the change they get back.

                                                               3. One child said when I asked them how they save money and they said, “I don’t spend it.”

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Fiction, Fallacy, Fibs, Fables, and Fantasy- the real story of hoarding to barter.

In the last 100 years, how many times have you had to barter? What about in the last 50 years? When was the last time you had to barter with gold, silver, or chocolate? Yet there is a segment of the population that believes there will be a day in their lifetime when there will be no money and everyone will need a stash of ammo, weapons and toilet paper to barter and survive. A Mad Max scenario.

I am not here to change anyone’s minds. But while I do encourage all to store food, water, fuel, and chocolate :) I would much rather see you put your time, money, and resources to those things that will give you more “bang for your buck.” Let’s take a look back at major disasters and see if bartering occurred.

Hurricane Sandy (2012)-no barter
Hurricane Katrina (2003)-no barter
Fires in California (2007)-no barter
Sept 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack-no barter
Freezing rain in Oklahoma (2007)-no barter
Joplin, Mo. Tornado (2011)-no barter
Housing crises and unfolding unemployment (2008 to at least 2013)-no barter
Historic flooding on the Mississippi (2011)-no barter.

If you feel hoarding bullion, bullets, and beer is your thing, more power to you. But if you really want to help your family in a disaster that will most likely effect all of us sometime in our lives, then food, water, fuel and learning to save will bring greater peace of mind when disasters strike.

This year, I am encouraging everyone to learn to save. Save $5 every opportunity you can. Some can do more, others may have to be creative, but start saving.  In 2012 I started to pull out $5 here or $10 there. I didn’t spend it. By the time Thanksgiving came around I had saved several hundred dollars. And when the after Thanksgiving sales arrived, I had some money.  I looked at the newspaper adds and I knew I could get most anything, but I resisted because I didn’t want to give up the spending power I now had. Please start saving.

About 20 years ago, my wife and I opened a savings account for each child. They didn’t earn any interest, but when the children got Christmas money, Birthday money, did chores, earned money or we paid them based on their grades, they gave 10% to God, 50% into their savings account, and the 40% they got to keep. They could not touch their bank account money until they went to college or on a church mission.

This doesn’t have to be your family’s pattern, but 20 years later three of my children paid for their own missions and are have no student debt in college. My daughter can buy a car any time she wants with cash. We taught our children to save at a very early age. Almost monthly my wife would take the children to the bank and they would make a deposit in their bank account and would come home to show me, their dad, their account balances. They loved having all that power.

We encouraged our children to get good grades when they were younger with a little bit of incentive cash. Sometimes we would offer to match a deposit. Sometimes when the children would buy something and then pay back mom and dad, we would take that and deposit into their account. But they know how to save.

Walk into a bank or credit union with your child and open an account with them.  Help them understand that when you put money into their savings account the bank pays them.  

What they do with that money and knowledge is up to them. Some may squander it, but as parents we have taught our children good principles and let them choose their way. Yes, sometimes it’s hard to let children make small mistakes, but it’s easier for them to recover from small mistakes when they are younger than to have freedom all at once and not be prepared for it with wisdom and knowledge gained from simple choices and sometimes mistakes.  Make 2016 your year to save some money

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Stake/Ward Theme Ideas for Emergency Preparedness

I am the Stake Emergency Preparedness Specialist. I went to my church and asked them what they wanted to focus on for each month.  This is an example of what we are doing.  I will teach them (or get someone more exciting) to teach our specialists who will then go back and teach their wards. 

Based off your emails and requests, the calendar lists by month and subject what we will train on. With this information you can either train up your ward on that month's theme or one of your own choosing based on the the Ward/neighborhood's needs or Bishop's request.

In other words, November's training will be on Finances and you will use that for the month of December.

In December we will learn about Lighting and then you can take that back as a theme for training in your wards for January and so on. Hope these examples make sense.

Occasionally we may need to adjust the monthly themes as circumstances change.

The stake is providing a foundation of resources. It is up to you to decide how you wish to adapt the monthly theme and teach your neighbors. Feel free to use as many as you can to reach the widest audience possible.

Ways of communicating the message are:

- Facebook
- Emails
- a training class
- on a website
- bulletin boards
- displays in church
- in the church program
- a one page document handed out on door steps
- an hour in your home to invite your neighbors to see, hear and learn.

Ward Monthly Themes

December-Finances (budgeting, saving accounts, emergency fund, retirement)
January- Light
February- Heat
March- Gardening
April- 3 month supply of food
May- Water storage and preparedness
June- Evacuation, 72 hour kit, meals in a bag
July- Car care
August- Communications
September- Documents, Insurance, home inventory
October- CERT
November- First Aid
December- TBA

Other ideas:

· Physical Fitness
· Resources of the Bishops Storehouse
· Canning

Other ideas that will be done at the same time as the monthly themes.

· Identify case lot, great deals
· Cooking with food storage
· Blood Drive
· CERT training

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Power Outages from Sandy

Power outages always last longer than wanted                

This is a day by day record of power outages in the Northeast, 2012.  While the numbers reach into the millions, remember that only one home without electricity (heat, cooking, light) is an emergency.  Will you do what is necessary to prepare your family from becoming even that one family?  It was only a Category 1 hurricane.  But just like hurricane Katrina, the secondary effects were worse than the actual storm.  Power was not completely on line until 23 days later.

Oct 25, 2012 – Thursday afternoon- NEW JERSEY declares mandatory evacuation for Cape May barrier islands

Oct 26 – Friday, 8am – NEW JERSEY declares mandatory evacuation for all of Cape May County 750,000 residents

NEW YORK CITY, Mayor Bloomberg considers an evacuation for 375,000, but will make up his mind late Saturday.

Oct 27- Saturday, 9am- DELAWARE - mandatory evacuation in coastal areas

                    NEW YORK STATE, Nassua County declares mandatory evacuation of storm surge zones.
Oct 28 – Sunday, 5,000 without power

                     NEW YORK CITY - Mayor Bloomberg orders evacuation of Zone A

Oct 29 – Monday, 316,000 without power. Sandy makes landfall 8pm.

Oct 30 – Tuesday, 8.5 million without power

Oct 31 – Wednesday, 6.2 million without power

Nov 1 – Thursday, 4.6 million without power

Nov 2 – Friday, 3.6 million without power

Nov 3 – Saturday, 2.5 million without power.

Nov 4 – Sunday, 1.9 million without power.

Nov 5 – Monday, 1.3 million without power. 

Nov 6 – Tuesday, 930,000 without power.

Nov 7 – Wednesday, 650,000 without power, AM. Nor’Easter hits - Increase to 672,000, PM.

Nov 8 – Thursday, 761,000 without power

Nov 9 – Friday, 434,000 without power

Nov 10 – Saturday, 289,000 without power

Nov 11 – Sunday, 167,000 without power

Nov 12 – Monday, 89,000 without power
Nov 13 - Tuesday, 25,000 without power.  Next update was not until Nov 16 per Dept of Energy

Nov 16 - Friday, 2,100 without power.  (20 days after the hurricane made landfall).
                                                              Next update was not until Nov 19 per Dept of Energy.
Nov 19 - Monday, " there are no impacted states which have more than 1,000 customers without power due to Hurricane Sandy or the Nor’easter."  23 days later.

All statistics are from the Department of Energy (

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Car Preventative Maintenance

Check your car battery terminals to see if they have become corroded.

Recently my friend was leaving work and his truck wouldn't start. We looked under the hood and instantly I knew. His car battery terminals had become corroded. We took the battery down to the local auto parts store and had it checked out. The battery was just fine. He bought a wire brush for about $3 and we went back to the truck. Loaded the battery back in, scrapped off the corrosion from the terminals and the wires (the corrosion is a light blue/green and white dust that collects around the battery). And sure enough his truck started up without any problem.
 I went home and looked under my hood and I could tell my battery was starting to corrode. For $3 from Wal-Mart, I bought a battery wire brush they sell in the automotive department. Went home, put on safety glasses and then took off the cables to scrub them down. It was amazing the car was even working; the cables ends were covered in corrosion.  Cover the battery to prevent you touching anything of metal while you are removing or working around the battery.

The other thing you can do to help prevent this is once the battery cables are reattached is to apply WD-40 to the terminals. The oil will minimize the amount of oxygen, slowing down the process.

Doing a little preventative maintenance can keep you from being stranded at always the most inconvenient times.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Key Point:  Store gas and rotate it through your car tank every six months.

How Important Is It To Store Fuel?

We have seen from Hurricane Sandy (Oct 29, 2012) that storing some fuel is important for a generator or car. We have also seen how many people don’t keep their gas tanks topped off before an emergency or travel with less than ½ a tank. I have compiled a list of phrases or headlines from TV and Internet. If you haven’t experienced the feelings of helplessness and frustration from not being able to take care of the most basic of needs such as heat, cooking or the ability to evacuate to safety because there is no gas, then I encourage you to read through the experiences of others and learn from them.

Lines are long and patience is short (frustration)

Tired, hungry, fed up waiting in line for hours to catch a bus.
Waiting in line for 6 hours for gas. Restricted to 10 gallons. Gas rationing.
Long lines for basics. Long lines test patience.

Tensions occasionally flared as people waited for the chance to pump gas into cars or gas cans.
Forced to hoof it. Gas stations lacking power to run pumps
People desperate for gas, power. Hoping to get that power really soon.

Millions still in the dark, cold. Long term power outages.
Patience running thin and tension running high
People are desperate to get resources.


Lines stretching for miles. Long lines. Gas shortage could ease soon.
Tempers are starting to flare. People cutting into line.
Only taking cash. Wanted gas for generators. Wanted gas for cars.

“In order to ration and decrease wait times, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order Friday tying whether a driver gets gas to his or her license plate number. It goes into effect in 12 counties at noon Saturday.

On days that end in even numbers -- such as November 4, 6 or 8 -- gas station operators can sell gas to only those with license plates with a last digit that is even. On odd-digit days, such as November 3, only those with plate numbers ending in an odd number or those with specialty plates can get gas. In New Jersey, only station attendants can pump gas.”

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

“I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” Joseph Smith

Here are some principles to becoming self-reliant:

1. Employment:

2. Food Storage:

3. Finances:

4. Emergency Preparedness:

5. Gardening:

6. Physical Health:

7. Education:

72 hour kit, Go Bag, Bug-Out Bag (BOB), Get-Out-Of-Dodge (GOOD) Bag or Emergency Supply Kit

Key Point:  Put together a kit of important needs and wants to help you live if you needed to evacuate.

I am reluctant to post about this subject. People get complacent and focus on building a kit instead of a long term strategy of saving 3 months of everyday food, storing water and saving money. But a kit can be a step in the right direction.


Whatever you call your emergency kit, it seems we need it more frequently. The most recent example is Hurricane Sandy Oct 28, 2012-no power, heat, water or transportation). This Frankenstorm combined Hurricane Sandy CAT-1 strength with high tide and a cold front with Canadian arctic air hurling it into the most densely packed population centers in the U.S.A (between Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and Boston). A storm that ranged 1,500 miles across that resulted in 2’ of snow in some places, 5’ of water in other places and many people disregarding or unable to comply with State and Federal Authority’s demands to evacuate.

1. The first order of effects were snow, rain, inland flooding, fires, storm surge, high winds and blocked roads.

2. The second order of effects were people not evacuating causing resources to be diverted to rescues, loss of power, contaminated water, loss of gas for homes to heat, loss of transportation from flooding in subways and roads, limited gasoline for cars, and no power meant phones could not charge.

3. The third order of effects were loss of power to phones with a loss of communications. Flooding resulted in loss of subway and taxi transportation resulting in lost time at work. No home heating and no way to cook means hungry, cold children and elderly. A crumpled crane that hung precipitously hundreds of feet over city buildings and apartments that required evacuation and shutting off of adjoining building utilities.  Rain water collecting in the streets mixed with fuel, garbage and sewage.

The point of this example is you need a bag, container, back-pack, whatever you want to carry out of your home in a time of emergency that is pre-packed. Grab and Go. What should you put in your kit? That depends on your circumstances but generally consider:


1. A flashlight with spare batteries

2. A bottle of water

3. Comfort snacks such as nuts, jerky, M&Ms, unsalted crackers, granola bars, hard candy)

4. Ear plugs (so you can sleep in a shelter)

5. Hand crank radio with batteries

6. First Aid (Band-Aids, Pepto-Bismal, Motrin)

7. Non-electric entertainment (book, puzzle, toy)

8. Socks and underwear

9. Toiletries (toilet paper, wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, towel, hygiene products)

10. Medicine, eye glasses

11.  Cell phone charging cord

You may want to consider other items such as:

1. Hand warmers

2. Dust masks

3. Baby formula

4. Blanket

5. Documents


Ultimately the kit is as heavy or light as you want to make it. Variables include how many are in your family, their ages, season of the year and type of emergency. Each kit is unique to a family.  I don't recommend a compass, flint and steel or other types of gear because I am not outfitting you for a Scout campout or survivalist training.  This is to make evacuation away from home more peaceful and give you time, food and peace of mind to get to your family or hotel room.  Don’t get overwhelmed with all the good advice. Just make one and periodically replace batteries, food and cloths as situations and seasons change. Don’t spend a lot, just do it.

Links you may want to look to for additional information:

1. LDS Church and 72 hour kits:

2. FEMA:


4. NYC:

5. California:

6. Florida:

7. Wiki:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Save Money and Stay Cool.

Key Point:  Change out your furnace filter, especially in dirty air conditions, summer or winter.

This may sound obvious.  We had problems with our new home Air Conditioner (A/C) this summer.  Twice it stopped cooling and the line became frozen.  Discovered our air filter was blocked, probably from all the wildfire smoke this year.  So I wanted to encourage everyone to look at their furnace filter to keep your A/C and furnace working right.  Ask your family, friend or coworker to show you where your filter is, how to change it and get the right size if you don't know how.  A little message of preparedness. 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Who's in charge?

Key Point:  Expect confusion in emergencies, evacuate quickly, and be prepared.

We recently had an emergency here in Eagle Mountain, Utah. A fire raced across a mountain side with smoke pouring down into parts of the city that required evacuation. That is the short version.
Here is the rest of the story.... A brush fire started in an adjoining city (Saratoga Springs). Their fire dept responded. Then the fire burned onto BLM land. And the BLM responded. Then the fire crossed into Eagle Mountain City land and Eagle Mountain Fire Department responded. All the while Saratoga Springs Police department and later Eagle Mountain Sheriff's Dept became involved. Then County resources and later State resources and their incident command took over. The Red Cross came in and set up an evacuation center at a local high school. Then you have multiple news stations all trying to report information, updates and evacuation maps. So to recap...we have at least 8 agencies, each in charge at one time or another AND then you have the Red Cross who people default to for information. They may not be in charge, but they are looked to as having answers. Multiple news agencies all trying to report but getting their information from different sources. So....who's in charge? And as a citizen, how do we know? Then, the question is, what is the role of the city, once they have been replaced by a larger agency or authority? Do you evacuate because the Sherriff says to, but the City hasn't said anything? Then, each news agency seems to have different sources and then different maps for evacuation.

But if you want to know even more....

The HAM radio team had to jerry-rig their antenna in a tree because the city had not approved them to set up a permanent antenna for emergency communications (see the city planners office for validation). The HAM radio team had to borrow equipment from volunteers (power source) because equipment had not been tested. The city equipment did not work and needed some major tweaking (that's what the HAM volunteers told me, I don't know the extent that entailed). Then the city had the city department heads in a building, 10 miles away (City Center offices) with the main Eagle Mountain fire fighting operations in another building (10 miles away-The Ranches Fire Station #2) with no way to communicate (there is a mountain on fire that separated them and HAM radio cannot reach the other side of the mountain and phone lines were jammed) AND the Mayor was at the 3rd location - a main Incident Command operations center for all the fire fighting agencies in another city (Saratoga Springs High School). The Eagle Mountain City did not have a dedicated Emergency Preparedness city official; therefore, no one owned that responsibility. City official’s day-to-day jobs were different than for an emergency and were not clearly defined. Now remember, this real emergency happened in July 2012, only 3 months after the Great Shakeout exercise where the city officials were supposed to have practiced for a real emergency.

Then a city official sent out a call for food and volunteers that were needed right away and tons of people and resources started pouring in; too much, too many and not always the right stuff. (Thank you Wal-Mart in Saratoga Springs and Chevron in Eagle Mountain, I heard they were incredible and donated supplies immediately and on the spot. I will make sure I do business with them for a long time). Then when FEMA or the State (not sure which) came into the picture, they had food catered for the fire department crews so all the work done by volunteers was not needed or not as greatly needed as originally requested.  Basically the Federal Govt has different funding sources so they didn't need to use what had been donated.  But the citizens did an outstanding job supporting their awesome firefighters and sheriffs.

The city's phone lines were jammed from so many calls inside and outside of the city inquiring about evacuations, home conditions and the status of families in the city. Then, news stations were putting out a phone number (no one knows where it came from) for people to call that was not set up as a public service number (think one person and one call at a time when there are hundreds of calls all simultaneously) and the news that was put out was often hours old. That’s the way the noon, 5 o'clock news or the updates-on-the-hour works.

Communications between the Mayor, City Public Affairs, and other city officials who were in charge of pushing out information was scarce. I have the greatest regard for our city officials. It is just my understanding of what happened after talking to my sources which were the City Safety Committee (July 2012 meeting I attended), the Eagle Mountain Ham Radio Team and volunteers who participated during the emergency. I was not personally involved and realize I do not have the whole picture.

In the end, the average citizen only knows: no lives were lost, no homes were lost and no power was lost although cell phones were jammed from time to time due to the huge volume of calls. Again, I have nothing but praise for our Fire Department and cooperation between local, state and federal agencies. I look forward to an After Action Review or Lessons Learned from the City. But until then, this is the story as I have it reported to me.

Here are some key things to consider. First, Eagle Mountain has a very young and educated population. Almost all information put out by the City was through Social Media (Facebook and Twitter). They did use a reverse 911 for evacuation I heard, but I don't know enough about that to talk about it. So lesson number one. Involve social media. The caveat here is, make sure you trust the source (city officials) and not just anyone who posts. Social media works if its from the right source.

Number Two. Who is in charge? For localized emergencies that should be straight forward but as the emergency grows in size, expect confusion AND expect to receive conflicting information not just from the news/TV but also from the respective agencies. Each tries to do its best but there is confusion. Bottom line, sometimes, who is in charge, is very fuzzy, but when in doubt, get out.

Number Three. It doesn't matter who tells you to leave/evacuate. Do it, do it now. If the city is silent, but someone with a badge (Fire, Sheriff, Police) says get out of there. Don't delay. There are people who need help evacuating and you delaying your departure may affect others who need the assistance but aren't getting it because you are slow or unprepared.

Number Four. Have you checked your insurance coverage to make sure it covers Fire and if so, how much. Does it cover staying in a hotel while you are evacuated or while the house is being cleaned from smoke damage? Do you have an up-to-date home inventory that is stored away from the home? What will you take if you have 30 min or less? How will you contact your spouse if the local phone lines are jammed? Hint: call a long distance family number and they can relay messages. If you have no power, how will you get your information if the internet is down? Have you created a fire break between your home and the field.

Number Five. The population and local businesses were incredible by responding with large amounts of food and water and hours volunteered. But they weren't needed or not in such volume. The Public Affairs person was not getting any information from the Mayor to share with the citizens in a timely manner (it was spotty-again, as reported in the safety meeting, not my words). City officials who were unavailable had not trained their subordinates what to do in the event they needed to assume their role in an emergency.

Number Six. It is not always the disaster that affects people but the secondary effects. In this case, the fire did not cause evacuations. But the huge plume of smoke that descended upon parts of the city made it hard to breath and a fire hazard from embers descending on homes. Just because the fire or emergency seems far away, don't be surprised if you feel its effects. Another example is some homes could lose power because power lines were destroyed. No electricity, no hot water, sometimes no water from the pump, no fan in the furnace to blow heat or air conditioning. No fridge and sometimes no stove.
While people are too busy passing the buck or patting each other on their backs, I wanted you to think on these views. They may not all be accurate, but they have all been supported by those who were there. If anyone takes exception with them, then tell me and I will amend this.

1. Use social media for emergency communications. It works.

2. Expect confusion the larger the emergency. Hence, be prepared.

3. Know what to take in the event you need to evacuate in 15-30 minutes.

4. Expect to be affected by the immediate disaster or its secondary effects.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The First Weekend of October

Key Point:  Small decisions of preparedness bring peace of mind.  Batteries in smoke detectors, flashlights for everyone and having a scraper for ice in your car.

The first weekend of October we change out the batteries in the smoke detectors and test them (by pushing on the button), and buy flashlights (with batteries) for each of the rooms and cars. 

We also fill up the car tires (air) to make sure they are ready for winter.  Simple, economical and safe.


Don't forget to find your ice scraper and put it in the car!

It is recommended to take pictures of your home's contents and store them on a thumb drive, cd, etc, away from the house.  This will help with insurance adjusters if you have to file a claim.  All it costs is your time. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Preparation of All Kinds, Blesses Saints in Joplin, Missouri

Water, food and light Oh My....
I read this article and it really brought out three main points: Account, Assess and Report Promptly.  The article also points out the importance of faith in God helps people overcome the unexpected challenges of being in a disaster.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Just some thoughts to help you relax.

Key Point:  Take a pillow and toiletries in an evacuation.  Sleep better with a pillow and feel clean.

Maybe you haven't ever thought about preparing and now you don't have time.  Some quick things you need to get you on your way.
Water bottles, full tank of gas, a place to stay and tell your loved ones how to reach you. Pet food if you need it. Favorite blanket or toy for children. Call now to reserve a room at a hotel if you need to get away. Have a flashlight. Don't listen to rumors. If you are staying home, plan on not having electricity for 9 days. Could be faster, but plan long.

Have toothbrushes, clean underwear and socks and other toiletries as needed.

PILLOW. A disaster can be stressful, but having your usual pillow relaxes you when you can sleep.  Take documents such as Birth, marriage, financial information and passwords.  Don't forget your medicine too. If you are doing ok, perhaps check on your neighbor who is sick or poor or old or widow or a single parent. Take them a meal or cookies or just drop buy to let them know they were thought about. And don't forget to smile. The sun comes up morning. Things are always better in the morning.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Family Meeting Place i.e. evacuation plan

Free idea....You don't have any money, but you want to do something that can make a difference in making your family more self-reliant.  How about sitting down at dinner tonight and coming up with a place that if everyone in the family is not able to come home due to some disaster or evacuation, snowstorm. flood, etc... can head to.  If cell phones are busy or out of service and you can't get home, you know automatically to head there.  Place #1. 

Pick a spot everyone can easily get to, might be grandma's house, a church, store, somewhere convenient.  Then, if that spot is unavailable, select another location.  Place #2.  This way, you always know where to meet.  Its free and you have greater peace of mind.  Try it out and let me know how it works out. 

With two earthquakes, a hurricane headed up the east coast, cell phones jammed due to too many people and flooding etc..all in the same week, makes for a good time to make sure you know how to find your family if the unexpected happens.  But then, that will never happen to us......right.  :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Earthquake in Northern California and no power or water for days.  The devastating earthquake in Haiti.  The government is not functioning, the US govt is trying its best with no existing infrastructure and aid agencies are squabbling over who gets what, where.  The common denominator is water, food, medicine, gas/diesel and communication .  And gratefully they live in a warm environment.  The lessons learned for all of us is to be more self-reliant.  I have provided resources that are only suggestions.  Each person, family and community should adapt the principles to their own circumstances and not take these as rules!

The one thing Haitians don't have that we do... is time.  Disaster WILL strike all of us sometime.  It may be unemployment, a change in family circumstances (death, divorce, illness), natural disasters and any number of other events.  Resolve to do something today, don't wait. 

A great resource is

Sunday, November 29, 2009

CPR, take a look

I recommend attending a Red Cross class for CPR. Use this refresher until you get to a class.  Take a look at this short video and the article found on CNN!


Read more on CNN here:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Light is the most important need in an emergency. It provides the psychological assurance of normalcy and safety.

There are many ways to provide light. Here are a few:
  1. Flashlight
  2. Candles
  3. Light Sticks
  4. Hurricane lamp
  5. Battery booster unit
  6. Coleman propane lantern
  7. Solar powered yard lights
  8. Generator

Flashlight is the preferred method immediately during an emergency and short term lighting needs. Suggest you have them in the same place with extra batteries. A flashlight for each person is a good idea. At home I have the usual hand held flashlight ($5-$10). In the car I carry a headlamp that can be worn on the head to provide hands free use while changing a tire ($10).

Candles are to be avoided. They are the most common and inexpensive. But they have the potential to cause house fires and casualties. If you must, keep out of reach of children, on a surface that is not flammable (stove), and away from an arm or cloths that can accidentally brush it (cost is just a few dollars).

Light Sticks from Wal-Mart cost a couple of dollars. They don't really do a great job of making light, but they are wonderful to have when children have to go to bed scared at night without power and they each have their own night stick. Make sure they don't have the rope that hangs from the neck as they go to sleep.

Hurricane lamps are great because they produce a lot of light. Does require storage of lamp fuel which stores for years. They can cause a fire if left unattended, or knocked over. The flue is fragile and can break easily, but they will bring the peace you need when the batteries are dead. They are nostalgic and bring back memories of the “old days.”
We bought ours at Wal-Mart (Oil lamp $10, oil $8 Wal-Mart).

Battery booster unit is the best short term solution. This is the WOW in your preparedness kit. Buy a battery power unit (the one with the battery jumper cables attached). You can get them from a car parts store for $50-$100. If you get one with an outlet (three prongs “AC”), when it is fully charged it can provide light for around 6 hours depending upon usage (battery recharging unit $65, light bulb $1). You can plug it directly into a lamp in your home!

We bought a unit with the plugs designed for cigarette lighters in a car. We bought a power inverter (Wal-Mart or auto parts store $50-$100) which plugs into the unit, then, (here comes the good part) we plug in the lamp. Viola…..Light. Just like normal. What we did was to buy a florescent light bulb of 25 watts. This way it puts out normal light while using less energy than a normal light bulb and will extend the battery unit.

This means if you have as short term power outage (day or two which is what most outages are) you can have light at night for a couple of hours while you are getting ready for bed and then light in the morning and evening of the next day.

Coleman propane lantern is a great resource to have on hand. Great for camping and emergencies and its safe (propane lasts indefinitely) but it is so bright indoors that we use this as last resort. But you pick it up, attach the canister, flip the switch and instant light. ($25 for lamp and $12 for a six pack of fuel)

Solar powered yard lights are something to consider. The lights recharge outside then at night you can bring them in and provide minimal light (great for kid’s room – similar to a night light). Especially great for a bathroom where you don’t need a lot of light. For as little as $4 at Wal-mart.

Generators are an option. Considerations are noise, price, maintenance, used once a year, take up a lot of room, heavy, and if not used correctly, lethal. We don’t own one. But those in the hot and humid South (hurricanes) love them for running the fridge, fan, TV and lights ($200 + not counting fuel).

I found this link to a wonderfully written and easy to understand page that outlines lighting, heating and fuel options.  Encourage you to take a look!

Heat Your Home


Small portable Coleman PROPANE heater (below)

That is referred to as a catalytic heater. That means it burns at such low temperatures that it’s safe to operate indoors without a flame. We still feel it is safe to open a window a little bit ($75 outdoor store). Burns up to 7 hours on one 16 oz propane canister. This won’t heat a home, but rather a room or tent.

Kerosene heater (below)

We encourage the use of a kerosene heater. Some people have fireplaces or wood burning stoves which are great. We have adapted our solutions to our needs. For heat we have selected a kerosene heater (about $100 from Home Depot). I am not advocating one brand over another.

When there is no power; the furnace doesn’t work, even if you have natural gas (it takes electricity to operate the starter as well as run the blower). It smells a little when you light it and when you turn it off. Kerosene fuel (1-K fuel) is much safer than gas. The inside air is not contaminated as it burns, but you must crack the window ¼ inch because it uses oxygen. Fuel storage should be outside-cold does not hurt it. Remember to refuel outside as well.

It can be stored for years, best in a plastic blue container (red is for gasoline). Some people recommend using a fuel additive to increase storage life. The five gallon metal containers from Home Depot work fine for short term storage 3 to 12 months.

Some recommend buying a heater that can double as a cooking surface. I have other ways to cook, but having a product that can do multiple tasks only makes sense.

Some say about 50 gallons would suffice through a winter. It all depends on usage. Keep in mind local ordinances when considering how much to store.

Finally, keep your paper work that deals with maintenance of your heater with your important papers and don’t forget to periodically dry burn your wick. Consider buying a battery operated pump to siphon from fuel container into the heater – you will thank yourself every time you fill. Make sure you buy a pump specifically designed for pumping fuel, not water! Above all, like all heating devices, never leave it unattended or run empty.

Fire Safe

A small, fire and water proof box that costs around $40 at Wal-Mart. We have included some very important things in case we evacuate. It is a great resource in the event a wallet is stolen or someone is incapacitated or passes away to have all the important papers in one place. It an easy target in the event the house is broken into. Exercise wisdom here.

It includes:

  • Hard copy of emergency documents: you don't get access to a printer or computer in the FEMA line when applying for Govt assisstance

  • Accounts and passwords

  • Maps (for evacuation)

  • Cash as well as quarters for phone calls and parking in distant cities.

  • Extra set of keys for each car

  • Recent pictures of the family as well as photos of the cars

  • CD of important documents, a thumb drive works too

  • The outside has a copy of our evacuation plan with important phone numbers.

    I also added my last three years of tax returns, medical records with immunizations and allergies.

List of Resources

So you are in charge of making a list of resources for your church or community, start with this list:

Resources to Identify in Wards/Communities

  • Skills
    • CERT Trained
    • Counselors
    • Funeral
    • Pharmacist
    • Dental
    • Electrical
    • Flooring
    • Roofing
    • Plumbing
    • Financial
    • Legal
    • Engineer
    • Handyman
    • Auto Mechanic
    • Security
    • Nurse/Doctor/PA
    • Welding
    • Painting
    • Sanitation
    • Languages (Spanish, German, Sign Language, etc…)
    • Those with access to or know how to run large equipment (backhoe, etc)

  • Vehicles
    • Pick up trucks
    • Vans
    • Trailers

  • Cooking equipment
  • Camping equipment (cots, tents)
  • Generators
  • Wet Vacs
  • Swimming Pools
  • Wood burning stoves/Fire Places
  • Portable  heaters with fuel
  • Chain saw
  • Ham radio


Purchase ahead of time:
  1. 1 to 2 buckets (used for flushing toilets or cleaning
  2. Bleach
  3. Lysol
  4. Pine-sol
  5. Ajax
  6. Rags
  7. Liquid hand soap
  8. Liquid dish washing soap
  9. Liquid laundry detergent
  10. Toilet paper
  11. Garbage bags
  12. Water for washing clothes, dishes, bathing and drinking
  13. Alcohol based hand sanitizer
  14. Feminine supplies
  15. Shampoo and shaving cream with razor
  16. Kitty Litter, to sprinkle in bucket when done, helps with odors

Bury refuse 12-24 inches below ground
Keep refuse at least 200 feet downhill from water sources such as wells or springs
Wash hands before eating and after toilet use


Hurricane (June to November Hurricane season)
Best to evacuate (evacuation plan)
Most important things wanted in a hurricane: ice/water, gas and cash
Suggested to have on hand a large tarp (to cover roof damage) nails, hammer and battery operated clock and radio
(for news updates)
Stock up on high energy food
Hygiene supplies: soap, liquid detergent, feminine supplies and bleach
Do not leave pets behind
Fill tub with water
Close all doors and stay in an interior room
Hazards include: storm surge, high winds, tornadoes and flooding

Decide ahead of time, when you will leave, three days before a disaster (hurricane) is the best. Let others know when you leave and destination and leave a note at home telling others where you can be found.
Do not listen to rumors
Keep at least half a tank of gas in the car at all times
Become familiar with alternate routes. If your primary route is jammed, so will your secondary route (because everyone else is using that) so have a tertiary route planned and take that first!
If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if you have to.
Take your 72 hour kit
Close and lock all house windows and doors and take your pet
Don’t drive through flooded areas
Avoid electrical wires
Take extra fuel containers, preferably full (ahead of time)
Take clothing and bedding (sleeping bags)
Lessons learned

When evacuating - DON'T DELAY EVACUATION. It took Houston residents 12 hours to travel 45 miles. When everybody leaves at the same time, nobody leaves.
In an evacuation, no gas is available, the wait may be hours long or gas is used up in an evacuation due to stalled cars on the evacuation route.
In Rita (hurricane), if you left Thursday (three days before land fall), by the next day, you are still on the belt way-not out of the city.
Many sick or elderly have no transportation; the poor have broken down cars and no money for gas.
No gas is available for rescuers (police, ambulance and fire)
No gas to return home

Don’t wait to purchase flood insurance, it takes 30 days for the policy to go into effect. Purchase through your insurance agent. Consider purchasing flood insurance in February (before the spring snow melt).
Move valuables such as papers, pictures, furniture, and electronics to upper floors.
Fill bathtubs with clean water.
Turn off electricity at the main power switch.
Move to a safer area
Do not drive through flood waters.
Throw out foods and medicine exposed to flood waters
Boil water until local authorities indicate water is safe to drink.
If you have suffered a loss, call FEMA to register, if the President declares your area a federal disaster area
Document flood damage. (videos, pictures)
Look out for animals and snakes that have moved into your house.
Do not use match or any open flame until an electrician and gas company inspector has inspected your house.
Remove debris from storm drains.

Immediately notify county officials if streams become blocked by debris.

Request sand bags from county officials BEFORE flooding.

Purchase and test monthly a smoke and C02 detector
Purchase a fire extinguisher (ABC) and practice using (PASS). Point, Aim to the base of the fire and sweep Side to Side).
Always know of at least two ways to leave a room in a fire.
Before opening a door, with the back of your hand feel if it is hot, if so, do not open.
Crawl, crawl, crawl (smoke is higher up)
Select a location to gather when everyone is out
Call 911
No candles
A fire doubles in size every 60 seconds
Never leave the stove unattended. If there is a pot on fire, cover it with a lid or throw baking soda on the fire.
Teach children to Stop, Drop and Roll

Clear at least 30-50 feet safety zone from away from structures
Plant tress and shrubs less flammable such as hardwoods, avoid pine and evergreens
Have an emergency supply of water such as above ground tanks and swimming pools
Keep matches away from children and comply with firework regulations
Have your evacuation plan in place
Clean the roof and gutters of leaves and other debris
Have a ladder that reaches the roof
Keep tools available such as rakes, shovels, buckets, leather gloves and chainsaw
Listen for news updates

Crawl under sturdy table
If trapped, don’t yell, tap against an object (avoids inhaling dust)
EVACUATE a building as soon as possible, if outside avoid buildings and power lines
Evacuation plan has all your important phone numbers (phone lines will be down or jammed, texting will probably work better.
Strap water heater and bookshelves to wall studs.
Expect after shocks.
Don’t turn off gas unless you smell or hear it. Must be turned on by a professional.
Stay away from beaches due to potential of tsunami.
Open cabinets carefully, glassware and pots have shifted.
Falling debris around the exterior of buildings represents a serious potential for injury. Exercise caution when entering and exiting a building.
Avoid using the phone for anything other than an to call 911. Likely 911 will be jammed. Listen to the news to know other ways to report urgent emergencies. Calling city hall to get life or death information through may be another option. Structure damage is not life threatening. Avoid calling family members, texting is preferred for a method of getting assurance of your family safety.
Check out the After Disaster Plan
Check water, sewer and gas lines, do NOT turn off unless damaged
Expect after shocks
Avoid travel to keep roads clear for emergency vehicles
Phone lines will be busy, communicate with text
USGS provides real-time and accurate information.

Watch - Weather conditions are just right for a tornado to form.
Warning –Tornado has been sighted. Seek shelter immediately
Tornados can occur any time, but most often occur during late spring and early summer. (4pm-8pm)
Best shelter is in interior rooms and hallways, if outside lay in a depression or ditch and cover head.
Seek shelter in the lowest place (basements and bathrooms)
Cover yourself with a mattress or other heavy soft item to protect from flying debris
Listen to the radio. Take a flashlight, sturdy boots and leather gloves
Do not stay in a mobile home or car during a tornado

Do not use the telephone (land line) or electrical equipment (hair dryer or electrical blankets) during a storm
Disconnect electronic devices (computer, TV)
Avoid tall objects such as trees.
A car is safer than standing outside. Inside a building is better
If your hair starts to stand on end, crouch low on your toes, don’t lie flat
If on water, go to land immediately

Pandemic means a sickness that spreads through the population very quickly. The sickness (of whatever kind) causes people to have flu-like symptoms for long periods of time. It comes in waves of 3-4 months or longer. It results in people not being able to go to work, shopping, church or other places where people congregate. It overwhelms clinic and hospitals. Delivery of food, utilities, and other essential services could be disrupted due to illness, fear of exposure, and travel limitations. Flu shots take up to two weeks for protection to develop after vaccination. Flu season funs from November to March with peaks in January or February. Vaccine is good for three months.  Avoid large crowds (church, school, work, store).  You are contagious up to 8 days AFTER the onset of syptoms.  H1N1 affects youth more than elderly.  The seasonal flu tends to affect the elderly more than youth (generalization).
Exercise, eat healthy, drink plenty of liquids and get plenty of sleep.
Wash hands frequently with soap and water, if not available, use alcohol based hand cleaner.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If no tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve.

Stay home when you are sick (i.e. church, school, work shopping).

Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes

Avoid close contact with sick people

Those at greatest risk are elderly and children and you are contagious for 8 days after on set of symptoms.

Pandemic History

1918-1919 estimated 675,000 US deaths (Spanish Influenza)

1957 estimated 69,800 US deaths (Asian Influenza)

1968 estimated 34,000 US deaths (Hong Kong Influenza)


Flu is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person. Most people have some immunity, and a vaccine is available.

Avian (bird) flu is caused by influenza viruses that occur naturally among wild birds. The H1N1 variant is deadly to domestic fowl and can be transmitted from birds to humans. There is no human immunity and no vaccine is available.

Pandemic influenza is virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily form person to person. Source: Department of Health and Human Services.

Never waste water (get leaky faucets fixed)
Take shorter showers and install a low volume shower head
Run washer and dishwasher only when full
Water lawns during designated hours (see local government guidance)
Avoid misting sprinklers and keep grass at least three inches or higher
Learn micro or drip irrigation
Follow water conservation rules especially washing cars and watering lawns
Plant drought resistant plants

Heat Wave
Do not drink soda, caffeine or alcohol.
Drink plenty of water or Gatorade.
Young people and elderly are especially susceptible to heat injuries.
Watch for clammy skin, no sweating, dizziness and seek help
Avoid jogging or hard work during the hottest part of the day.
Slow down, stay indoors, and wear light clothing.
Never leave a child or animal in the car on a hot day
Wear a hat and sunscreen lotion to help prevent sunburn

Winter Storm
Winter storm watch – possibility for bad weather, take precautions such as having water, food and light available (heat and light)
Winter storm warning- severe weather, stay home, have fun, relax.
Dress in layers especially head (75% of body heat lost through head).
Protect ears and nose with scarves and mittens.
Broken pipes, necessary to know where to turn off water valves.  
Prevent frozen pipes and plumbing by covering outdoor faucets; let water drip slowly from indoor faucets.
Most people drive the same in good conditions or bad, plan on the other driver being unsafe.
Carry a shovel and kitty litter or sand
Count on bridges and road curves to always have black ice.
Prepare to loose power and heat. Have a way to heat the house with kerosene or catalytic (propane) burners (heating). Pull out flashlights and blankets. To conserve heat sleep in one room. If heating with kerosene or propane, ensure ¼ inch window open to allow oxygen into room.
Car kit should have hand warmers (car kit)
Do not cross ponds/lakes in the winter (thin ice)
After the storm, check on neighbors and remove snow. Don’t over exert
Remove snow near mail box and fire hydrants to assist mail carriers and fire departments
Close off rooms not being used to keep heat in key rooms
Fill up car with full tank of gas before the storm
If stuck in a car, don’t leave. Run car for 10 min every hour, put up a bright rag on the antenna and keep moving arms and legs.
Do not remove snow from roof. Most roofs are designed to hold 18 lbs of snow per square foot. Keep in mind the danger of a collapse occurs when snow melts and pools on the roof. Best to hire someone rather than risk personal injury.

West Nile Virus
Use mosquito repellent high in DEET 23% or higher
Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds (standing wter)

Call power company (See your list of important numbers) 
Turn off air conditioner and unplug electrical devices (computers, TV, microwave)
Avoid opening the fridge and freezer.
Freeze plastic soda bottles ahead of time to help keep fridge cold.
Use food from fridge first, then the freezer, then the pantry
Be patient
Utility crews may need access to your yard, tie up your pet.
Use a generator outside.
Back up computer programs regularly.
Buy a surge protector and UPS (uninterruptible power supply)
Have an old fashioned rotary phone (does not use electricity)
Know how to open the garage door with no power (some people don’t carry a key to their house because they rely on the garage door, recommend carrying a house key)
Leave one light on, to know when power is restored.
Avoid travel - traffic signals out
In a blackout, children like having light sticks that glow in the dark when snapped. It doesn’t really produce a lot of light, but it helps them sleep in their beds more quickly because they have their own special light stick. Remove the rope from the stick so it does not get tangled while they sleep. Light
Flashlight with extra batteries (no candles)
Use an oil lamp
Purchase a battery booster used to recharge car batteries.
It will provide about six hours of light for a lamp with a 25 watt bulb.
Battery or hand crank radio
Southern climates get very hot and humid. A car booster unit will run a fan for a few hours.
Coleman propane stove with extra propane bottles. Great for cooking and heating water.

If you want to go the extra mile, consider a portable instant hot water shower unit ($150) and power inverter $50-$100 that can be hooked up to a car battery to supply light and power to other electrical devices.

If the water recedes on the beach unusually far, seek high ground immediately
If near a large body of water (ocean, lake, pond) and an earthquake occurs, seek higher ground immediately
A tsunami is caused by forces sometimes thousands of miles away, listen to and heed news reports.

Carry dust masks or breath through cloth
Carefully remove large accumulations of dust on the roof, may collapse roofs
Snow may melt from heat; evacuate low lying or canyon areas.
Close windows and doors
Avoid driving, dust clogs air filters
Use goggles to protect eyes

Stay in one place, unless you can see help. (Scouts hug a tree)
Answer noise with noise, keeps critters away and helps searches find you
Build a fire
Make a monument of rocks, spell a name
Take steps to stay dry and warm
Drink water

Hunker Down
Hunker down means no fuel, no escape, no assistance for days or weeks, no electricity or running drinking water.

Disaster During a Vacation
Know evacuation routes away from the city
Know several ways how to get out of the airplane or hotel
Have bottled water available and high energy food (granola bars)
Know where your family will meet if separated
Have emergency phone numbers on each person (especially out of town contact)
Contact Red Cross for assistance and to let them know you are accounted for
When going on vacation shut off the water into the house.
Ask a trusted neighbor to look after your home while away.

Identity Theft

Contact each of the three credit bureaus fraud departments.
Experian 888-397-3742
Equifax 800-525-6285
Trans-Union 800-680-7289

For any accounts that have been fraudulently accessed or opened, contact the security department of the appropriate creditor or financial institution. Close these accounts. Put passwords (not your mother's maiden name or Social Security number) on any new accounts you open.

File a report with local police where the identity theft took place. Get the report number or a copy of the report in case the bank, credit card company or others need proof of the crime later.

Call the ID Theft Clearinghouse toll-free at 1.877.ID.THEFT (1.877.438.4338) or TTY (1-866-653-4261) to report the theft. Counselors will take your complaint and advise you on how to deal with the credit-related problems that could result from ID theft. The Identity Theft Hotline and the ID Theft Website ( give you one place to report the theft to the federal government and receive helpful information.
Know what to do, if it happens to you.
Check your statements monthly for charges that you did not make.

Financial Disaster

Save for an emergency (put away something, even if it is only a small amount)

Check your auto and home insurance BEFORE a disaster

Make copies of important documents

Conduct an inventory of your home belongings including model and serial numbers, the best way to document your inventory is through video

Recovery will take years

You may live in temporary housing

Seek out assistance from local, state and federal resources (loans and grants)

Small Business Association (despite the name, homeowners apply for disaster aid through the SBA)


Local city/county government

Red Cross

Other volunteer organizations

File insurance claims (insurance link)

Auto Accident
Do not move an accident victim ESPECIALLY THEIR HEAD.
Dial 911
Don’t admit fault or offer to pay damages
Keep victims calm and still. You need to be in control as well. Hold back your emotions.
Ask the victim if they have any medical problems.
Treat for shock (blanket)
Move the vehicle, if possible, to a safe location out of the flow of traffic (right side of the road).
Exchange drivers license information and insurance information
Write down license plate number, state, appearance of driver and appearance of car, if the other car tries to leave.
Fill out police report at police station (keep a copy)
Contact insurance agency immediately
Get a second estimate

Preplan written instructions separate from your will.

Name of the mortuary

Burial (embalmed) or cremation

Type of casket or urn

Where remains buried or scattered

Will there be visitation (open or closed casket)

What prayers, songs or poems

What you want on the grave marker

Cemetery where you wish to be buried

Leave survivors with all your important papers such as:

Life insurance

Real estate holdings

Banking information

Account numbers, passwords and pin numbers

Pet Preparedness
For health regulations, most shelters do not accept animals.
License your pet and have them wearing their id tags at all times.
Store extra food and water for pets.
Pets should not be left behind. Take to a family members home (animal shelters will already be closed).
If left behind, leave a large container of water that can’t be tipped over and plenty of dry food. If necessary, leave some water in the tub or a facet dripping.
Do NOT tie or cage your pet.
Post a sign on the window to alert rescue workers of how many pets were left behind.
Disaster supply kit for pet
Pet first aid kit
Pet carrier
Leash or harnesses
Food and water for one week for each pet
Photo of pet
Large plastic bags for pet cleanup

Tips for Elderly
Keep a whistle to signal for help
Find two people who will check on you.
Hearing aids and batteries
Medications along with list of allergies
Equipment (canes, walkers, wheelchairs)
Copies of insurance cards and Medicare cards
Emergency contacts
Because taking medicine usually requires water, have at least two weeks of water on hand
"how important is water?"
If an evacuation were to happen, pre-arrange to have someone pick you up.

Tips for Infants/Children
Have on hand for a minimum:
Powdered milk
Moist Towelettes
Diaper rash ointment (Desiten)

Do not place cribs near a window or book shelves that may topple or break during an earthquake

Teach children to recognize the smell of natural gas

Teach children to crawl when they smell smoke, leave a building immediately during a fire and introduce them to firemen in their full fire uniform so they will not be afraid in an actual event

As part of your evacuation plan, include blankets and a wagon or stroller

WOW Ideas
Buy a manual can opener

Buy a breaker bar and socket that match your vehicles tire nuts exactly. Store it in the trunk. This way if you need to replace your tire you aren’t relying on a six inch car tire tool that comes form the manufacture to loosen nuts that are stuck and purchase some work gloves and a tarp to throw on the ground when you need to retrieve the tire under the car in the snow, dirt or mud.

Water storage for a year using dry chlorine

Go to a cheap dollar store, buy a wrench, match it to the right size of your gas meter, coat it in WD-40, put it in a zip lock bag and tie it to the meter. This way if you need to turn it off, the shut off wrench is already the right size in case water rusts it.

Buy a medicine dropper (can be used to add liquid bleach to contaminated water). Put it in your first aid kit.

Become familiar with alternate routes. If your primary route is jammed, so will your secondary route (because everyone else is using that) so have a tertiary route planned and take that first! Carry a map of local and state roads.