Disaster Preparedness and My First Giveaway Ever!

by Wendy on April 15, 2009

Read to the end to get to the giveaway!


Living in an area of California that’s prone to natural disasters (Hi earthquakes! Wild Fires — I’m looking your way!), there’s frequently a paranoid little voice in the back of my head telling me that we need to be prepared for some horrible, catastrophic circumstances. Zach and I have always been pretty good about having a first aid kit around, but it wasn’t until we had kids that we started thinking about disaster preparedness a little more seriously. Throw in Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of my home town last summer and we actually went out and did something about it. Zach downloaded a list of suggested contents for a “go bag” from the internet, he bought a couple of cheap backpacks and we threw some energy bars, water bottles, a space blanket and some more serious first aid items in them.

But then some other stuff came up in our lives. The backpacks were taken down to the basement and the project fell by the way side. How many of you have projects like that? Are they important projects? Do you feel guilty about them? Does that make you finish them up? Yeah — me neither. Because really, who wants to prepare for your state falling into the ocean when you can check in on your social network sites?

So with all this in mind, I was psyched to get an invitation to attend an event put on by the California Volunteers at Rookie Mom Heather’s house. The California Volunteers folks told us about a couple of new service on their web site — a fill in the blank disaster plan form and a kids book that allows you to customize it with your child’s name and helps teach disaster preparedness in a non-threatening way.

They also talked to us a bit about some of the things we can do to prepare for a disaster. Erica, the friendly firefighter told us the most important thing to do is to assemble some supplies. She did a quick run-down of what is most essential to have on hand and we also talked a bit about how to store the supplies. The list on their site is a great guide for what to pack. Here are some other points I took away from this part of the discussion:

  • Any preparation you can do is better than no preparation. Those partly assembled backpacks in our basement aren’t half bad. Now we just need to add a few more things to them and we’ll be in good shape.
  • Put your kits in backpacks, rolling suitcases, etc. so that you can grab them and throw them in your car if you need to or you can carry them if you’re on foot.
  • Store food you kids will eat! If they don’t like peanut butter don’t put that in your kit. I loved Whitney’s suggestion to put shelf stable chocolate milk in for the kids.
  • Make sure you refresh your kits every six months — rotate food and water, make sure your kids’ clothes and diapers still fit, check freshness of medications, etc.
  • Even if you breast feed have formula for your baby! This never would have occurred to me, because I just assume that I’ll always be able to feed Augie when he’s hungry, but what if  I was off somewhere else (or worse, injured!) and Zach needed to care for Augie when the Big One hits? In goes the formula!
  • Be sure to include some cash in your kit and make sure you store it in small bills. It’s going to be tough to find someone who’ll break a $100 bill when you want to buy a loaf of bread.
  • Arrange a neighborhood meeting spot to meet. Choose a spot where the kids don’t have to cross the street if they’re small.
  • Don’t let your gas tank go lower than half-full. If there’s a big disaster the gas stations might not be able to pump so you won’t be able to fill up to get to your out-of-state meeting or evacuation point.

We also did a walk-through of Heather’s house with the firefighter so she could point out some of the places we could improve on safety in our homes. We all have these images in our heads of neighborhoods that were turned to rubble by an earthquake — and the photos of the recent earthquake in Italy don’t help with that — but over and over one message came through and that was that in an earthquake, falling objects are most likely to cause injury, not collapsing buildings. With that in mind, here are some of the things I learned on our tour of Heather’s house:

  • Strap heavy things to walls — shelves, tv’s, big framed art — anything that might fall down and crush you. This is just good sense when you have little kids around anyway.
  • Try not to put your beds under windows so you aren’t showered with glass while you sleep. Also, don’t hang framed art over beds.
  • Keep shoes, rubber soled slippers or even flip-flops by everyones’ beds. If there’s an earthquake in the night, the first thing you’ll do is jump up to check on your kids and you don’t want to run into their rooms and shred your feet on broken glass.
  • Consider putting child proof latches on upper kitchen cabinets as well as lower cabinets to keep dishes and glasses from falling all over your kitchen.
  • You can drink the water out of your hot water heater if you need to. Drain the sediment out of it yearly.
  • Buy a wind-up flashlight and always store it in the same spot. That way you can always find it and you don’t have to worry about your kids playing with it so much that your batteries run out.
  • Have a land-line and a corded phone! A lot of people are going to cell phones only these days and even those who have land-lines tend to use cordless phones (like us). Cell phones can’t be counted on to work in a disaster and if your power goes out, your cordless phone won’t work either. Erica  suggested keeping an old, cheap corded phone in a drawer somewhere so you can pull it out when you need it.

OK, enough lecturing! Time for the giveaway! I have twelve — TWELVE! — disaster kits to give away, courtesy of the California Volunteers. Your chances of winning one of these are pretty good! Each kit contains drinking water, a block of survival food, a glow stick, flashlight and some first aid supplies. These are a great size to keep in your car, or they could be used as a “starter kit” for assembling your own back pack kits.

Diaster Kit Giveaway

To win one, share a safety tip or something your family has done to prepare for a disaster in the comments below by the end of the day on April 20.  I’ll choose 12 winners at random. You don’t have to live in California to win, but you do need to live in the U.S.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • Cathy Courtney

    I go to Costco and buy canned foods I know I won’t eat, ie. Dintymore Beef Stew, spam and some soups. Every year when they are having food drives I donate them all to the food drive while they are still good and replace them. I also keep lots of Dog food around. Before Katrina I thought a couple day supply of food and water was more than enough, now I think in terms of weeks.

  • Cathy Courtney

    I go to Costco and buy canned foods I know I won’t eat, ie. Dintymore Beef Stew, spam and some soups. Every year when they are having food drives I donate them all to the food drive while they are still good and replace them. I also keep lots of Dog food around. Before Katrina I thought a couple day supply of food and water was more than enough, now I think in terms of weeks.

  • http://SunahWeb.com/ Sunah Cherwin

    We have spare water, a flashlight that comes on when power goes out, the furniture earthquake strapped, the foundation bolted, no second story, adequate exits, and I think that is it? We always have Luna bars. I hope I win a kit! Thanks!

  • http://SunahWeb.com Sunah Cherwin

    We have spare water, a flashlight that comes on when power goes out, the furniture earthquake strapped, the foundation bolted, no second story, adequate exits, and I think that is it? We always have Luna bars. I hope I win a kit! Thanks!

  • http://www.handmadejig.etsy.com/ Alyssa Coberly

    We are BIG believers in preparedness (evident by our tiny chicago apartment stuffed with food storage under beds and in closets) one of the big things that people dont think about is cash and documents …

    we keep $40 in $1 bills in each of our 72 hour kits (important to do it in both in case you get seperated)

    also we have scanned every single important document (marriage license, passport, credit cards, health insurance info) and along with picture disks for the last 5 years we sent a copy to each of our parents to put in their safes … this way we know that we dont have to try and dash around our home worrying that we didnt get our marriage certificate or something … just worry about getting out of the house safe!

  • http://www.handmadejig.etsy.com Alyssa Coberly

    We are BIG believers in preparedness (evident by our tiny chicago apartment stuffed with food storage under beds and in closets) one of the big things that people dont think about is cash and documents …

    we keep $40 in $1 bills in each of our 72 hour kits (important to do it in both in case you get seperated)

    also we have scanned every single important document (marriage license, passport, credit cards, health insurance info) and along with picture disks for the last 5 years we sent a copy to each of our parents to put in their safes … this way we know that we dont have to try and dash around our home worrying that we didnt get our marriage certificate or something … just worry about getting out of the house safe!

  • http://caleyadams.wordpress.com/ Caley

    Wow, what great tips! I am ashamed to say that I am nowhere NEAR prepared for disaster. But that is definitely going to change pronto!

  • http://caleyadams.wordpress.com Caley

    Wow, what great tips! I am ashamed to say that I am nowhere NEAR prepared for disaster. But that is definitely going to change pronto!

  • http://talesfromthecarpool.com/ Lori

    I’ll add one of my favorite emergency tips, but it’s also a convenience tip. It’s creating electronic health records for your family. Rather than worrying about the paper versions (or even those handsome immunization records we’re all toting about for our kids), having an EHR available that you can immediately access is invaluable, especially if you have a child with a chronic condition, like my daughter, who has asthma. That way, in the event of an emergency, all of your valuable data is stored and is password protected, so you can share it with the doctors should you find yourself in an emergency room, or that all of your documentation has been destroyed by fire, flood or tornado. And you don’t have to rebuild that data again. I use Microsoft HealthVault. It has a lot of great features, and I am so relieved to know my family’s health data is in a safe place.

  • http://talesfromthecarpool.com Lori

    I’ll add one of my favorite emergency tips, but it’s also a convenience tip. It’s creating electronic health records for your family. Rather than worrying about the paper versions (or even those handsome immunization records we’re all toting about for our kids), having an EHR available that you can immediately access is invaluable, especially if you have a child with a chronic condition, like my daughter, who has asthma. That way, in the event of an emergency, all of your valuable data is stored and is password protected, so you can share it with the doctors should you find yourself in an emergency room, or that all of your documentation has been destroyed by fire, flood or tornado. And you don’t have to rebuild that data again. I use Microsoft HealthVault. It has a lot of great features, and I am so relieved to know my family’s health data is in a safe place.

  • Dan S

    I make sure that I keep all of my bins of Burning Man stuff packed year round. Since I am chronically over-prepared at Burning Man, this means I have everything from emergency blankets to first aid kits to wind-up toys. In the event of an emergency, I can just load up the bins into the car and head to the desert to ride out the apocalypse.

  • Dan S

    I make sure that I keep all of my bins of Burning Man stuff packed year round. Since I am chronically over-prepared at Burning Man, this means I have everything from emergency blankets to first aid kits to wind-up toys. In the event of an emergency, I can just load up the bins into the car and head to the desert to ride out the apocalypse.

  • http://www.GoBag.org/ Patty Brooks

    A Family Earthquake drill that will help prepare & educate your family.

    By Patty Brooks

    Having a plan is a good idea. Actually testing that plan is even better. Knowing your children could survive without you after a disaster because you have prepared an emergency kit and they can locate the kit, food, water, shelter, and call a relative they haven’t seen in years and give them the appropriate information, now that’s a great plan.

    Here is a drill I created to help prepare my Family for an emergency in the event an earthquake should hit and they are alone. Knowing my children have been drilled helps me feel for comfortable that my children could survive on their own (for a while) after a disaster. I run this drill every six months.

    I will be honest with you, because my kids are teens and money is their currency, I bribe them with this drill. I tell them that anyone who gets 400 points will receive $20.00 and anyone who earns 300 points will get $10.00. Nothing less pays. You can choose your own reward system. What ever your reward system costs you, rest assured it will be worth the education in the long run.

    (Preparation): First, you should read through this drill and prepare an emergency kit with all the items listed in this drill for your family, store it in an outdoor place that is safe and dry. By the end of your preparing for and going through this drill your family will be better prepared in case of an emergency.

    When you run this drill you must follow three rules.

    1. This drill must have the element of surprise just as an earthquake, give no warning.

    2. Drill each child individually. (No one is to watch or listen).

    3. Unannounced, ask the first child to step out to the driveway and say the following.

    There has just been an earthquake; (your town) is the epicenter. The magnitude is a 7.1. You are all alone. It is daylight outside. Your parents are at work. The house is off its foundation, the frame is tweaked. The windows are unsafe because of the broken glass, the doors won’t open. You cannot go back inside.

    Now think, what are you going do first?

    Ask them “Do you smell gas?” If they say “yes”, tell them that they must leave the area, ask them where they plan to go? (Remember your answer for future reference)

    If they say “No” continue below.

    Tell your child: I hope you have your cell phone with you. Because you will need to make 3 phone calls. Do you know who to call? And do you know what to say?

    (Preparation) The two calls should be to one out of state relative and one out of town relative. This is a great opportunity for the kids to get used to speaking to long distance relatives and make sure they have the numbers they need with them. If they don’t have a cell phone, keep a list of numbers with the family emergency kit. Ask them if they know where the nearest phone booth is located? (Place a phone outside they can use if necessary.

    (Preparation)) You will need to call the relatives first and clue them in on the drill and the information they should receive during a call, this will give your relatives practice as well.)

    (Parents)The information they should give is: Their name, their location, what their current condition is, who else is there with them and what they know about the event and when they will check in again.

    (example)Their call should sound something like this: “Hello Aunt Sherry, This is Austin, I am at my house, I am okay and have no injuries, I am alone, and there has been an earthquake. I will call back in 2 hours.” You get 20 points for each correct person you call and 10 more for giving the correct information.

    For more points find a water supply: There are 2 sources. You will need to find them. Each source is worth 25 points

    Now find a food supply so you will have food to eat for 50 points.

    How will you prepare it? Find a cooking source and the fuel to operate it to collect another 10 points.

    So you found the Stove. Remind your child that he/she must be in an open area to do this. Remember Safety first.

    After you have shown me that you can make the stove work I will give you another 50 points.

    Now lets pretend that you have burned your finger…Do you have a first aid kit? If so, show me how you will care for your injury for 20 points.

    It’s almost night fall. You will need shelter for a place to sleep, a way to stay warm & a flash light. Explain to me what you will do for shelter and for a bed, show me a blanket and show me a flash light. For 20 points each.

    Total possible points at this point is 300 points

    If you own an emergency generator there is one more step. Locate and start the generator for 100 points bonus points.

    CONGRATULATIONS YOU HAVE SURVIVED.

    Talk as a family about the experience and what could have been done differently, make changes to the drill to meet the needs of your family or to be more in depth, have fun with it and learn from it.

  • http://www.GoBag.org Patty Brooks

    A Family Earthquake drill that will help prepare & educate your family.

    By Patty Brooks

    Having a plan is a good idea. Actually testing that plan is even better. Knowing your children could survive without you after a disaster because you have prepared an emergency kit and they can locate the kit, food, water, shelter, and call a relative they haven’t seen in years and give them the appropriate information, now that’s a great plan.

    Here is a drill I created to help prepare my Family for an emergency in the event an earthquake should hit and they are alone. Knowing my children have been drilled helps me feel for comfortable that my children could survive on their own (for a while) after a disaster. I run this drill every six months.

    I will be honest with you, because my kids are teens and money is their currency, I bribe them with this drill. I tell them that anyone who gets 400 points will receive $20.00 and anyone who earns 300 points will get $10.00. Nothing less pays. You can choose your own reward system. What ever your reward system costs you, rest assured it will be worth the education in the long run.

    (Preparation): First, you should read through this drill and prepare an emergency kit with all the items listed in this drill for your family, store it in an outdoor place that is safe and dry. By the end of your preparing for and going through this drill your family will be better prepared in case of an emergency.

    When you run this drill you must follow three rules.

    1. This drill must have the element of surprise just as an earthquake, give no warning.

    2. Drill each child individually. (No one is to watch or listen).

    3. Unannounced, ask the first child to step out to the driveway and say the following.

    There has just been an earthquake; (your town) is the epicenter. The magnitude is a 7.1. You are all alone. It is daylight outside. Your parents are at work. The house is off its foundation, the frame is tweaked. The windows are unsafe because of the broken glass, the doors won’t open. You cannot go back inside.

    Now think, what are you going do first?

    Ask them “Do you smell gas?” If they say “yes”, tell them that they must leave the area, ask them where they plan to go? (Remember your answer for future reference)

    If they say “No” continue below.

    Tell your child: I hope you have your cell phone with you. Because you will need to make 3 phone calls. Do you know who to call? And do you know what to say?

    (Preparation) The two calls should be to one out of state relative and one out of town relative. This is a great opportunity for the kids to get used to speaking to long distance relatives and make sure they have the numbers they need with them. If they don’t have a cell phone, keep a list of numbers with the family emergency kit. Ask them if they know where the nearest phone booth is located? (Place a phone outside they can use if necessary.

    (Preparation)) You will need to call the relatives first and clue them in on the drill and the information they should receive during a call, this will give your relatives practice as well.)

    (Parents)The information they should give is: Their name, their location, what their current condition is, who else is there with them and what they know about the event and when they will check in again.

    (example)Their call should sound something like this: “Hello Aunt Sherry, This is Austin, I am at my house, I am okay and have no injuries, I am alone, and there has been an earthquake. I will call back in 2 hours.” You get 20 points for each correct person you call and 10 more for giving the correct information.

    For more points find a water supply: There are 2 sources. You will need to find them. Each source is worth 25 points

    Now find a food supply so you will have food to eat for 50 points.

    How will you prepare it? Find a cooking source and the fuel to operate it to collect another 10 points.

    So you found the Stove. Remind your child that he/she must be in an open area to do this. Remember Safety first.

    After you have shown me that you can make the stove work I will give you another 50 points.

    Now lets pretend that you have burned your finger…Do you have a first aid kit? If so, show me how you will care for your injury for 20 points.

    It’s almost night fall. You will need shelter for a place to sleep, a way to stay warm & a flash light. Explain to me what you will do for shelter and for a bed, show me a blanket and show me a flash light. For 20 points each.

    Total possible points at this point is 300 points

    If you own an emergency generator there is one more step. Locate and start the generator for 100 points bonus points.

    CONGRATULATIONS YOU HAVE SURVIVED.

    Talk as a family about the experience and what could have been done differently, make changes to the drill to meet the needs of your family or to be more in depth, have fun with it and learn from it.

  • Lisa G

    Does nepotism work here? I need one of those! Safety tips for the lackadaisical:
    - own a flashlight
    - keep a blanket or coats in the car
    - have jumper cables
    - be a food pack rat like me. also remember liquid will be necessary if you are trapped in your home.
    - don’t drive on unnamed backroads in the snow
    - take lots of anti-anxiety meds
    - get your kid implanted with one of those gps thingies on a chip
    - don’t pick up hitchhikers
    - teach your kid to dial 911 on your cell phone (surprisingly hard on an iPhone)

    I have a feeling I am not nearly as safety conscious as I should be. Bravo, again, Wendy!

  • Lisa G

    Does nepotism work here? I need one of those! Safety tips for the lackadaisical:
    - own a flashlight
    - keep a blanket or coats in the car
    - have jumper cables
    - be a food pack rat like me. also remember liquid will be necessary if you are trapped in your home.
    - don’t drive on unnamed backroads in the snow
    - take lots of anti-anxiety meds
    - get your kid implanted with one of those gps thingies on a chip
    - don’t pick up hitchhikers
    - teach your kid to dial 911 on your cell phone (surprisingly hard on an iPhone)

    I have a feeling I am not nearly as safety conscious as I should be. Bravo, again, Wendy!

  • http://createwindgenerator.info/ Assonyoriesee

    Great web site, Will definitely come back again…

  • http://createwindgenerator.info/ Assonyoriesee

    Great web site, Will definitely come back again…

  • Pingback: New Contest: Send In A Preparedness Tip, Something You Have Done To Prepare, Or A Suggestion To Improve Community Preparedness. Prizes: 10 Disaster Kits Furnished By CaliforniaVolunteers Office

  • JHarris

    Good tips. Since so many people are dependent on cell phone, we often don’t know phone numbers anymore. I keep an address book with key phone numbers. I keep all important documents- insurance, car titles, birth certificates in a safe box that is water and fireproof.

  • JHarris

    Good tips. Since so many people are dependent on cell phone, we often don’t know phone numbers anymore. I keep an address book with key phone numbers. I keep all important documents- insurance, car titles, birth certificates in a safe box that is water and fireproof.

  • http://www.GoBag.org/forum Patty Brooks

    Everyone here seems to love this topic, It is great to see this happening. I have a brand new forum for this type of discussion with many many topics at http://www.GoBag.org/forum. If anyone is interested in talking about various areas of disaster preparation & personal preparation
    I’m not trying to take anyone away from here, just trying to share resources.

  • http://www.GoBag.org/forum Patty Brooks

    Everyone here seems to love this topic, It is great to see this happening. I have a brand new forum for this type of discussion with many many topics at http://www.GoBag.org/forum. If anyone is interested in talking about various areas of disaster preparation & personal preparation
    I’m not trying to take anyone away from here, just trying to share resources.

  • Pingback: Send Me A Preparedness Tip, Win A Disaster Kit — Call For Contest Entries

  • http://www.flashlightz.com/ led flashlight

    I think one of the post important things you can carry with you, in case of an emergency, is an led flashlight, and a small first aid kit. I cant tell you how many times I’ve needed both of those!

  • tammy g

    I have three boys so we role-play a fire in our home. With the assistance of our neighbors (who are our safety meeting place), we imagine and go thru our escape route. One of the scariest things I was told by a firefighter, is that children hide from them because they are afraid of the respirators on the fireman's air tanks (sounds kind of like Darth Vader). To prepare for this, we've gone to the fire department and have the kids watch them crawl up to them in their full fire gear.

  • rachelcaron

    what are we going to prepare… I'm entering this contest so I can hopefully win a disaster kit. :) thanks

  • http://healthcampus.net Health_Campus

    Very very interesting post..I like this one. gotta bookmark this one.

    Cheers, :)

  • max191

    Loved to read your blog. I would like to suggest you that traffic show most people read blogs on Mondays. So it should encourage bloggers to write new write ups over the weekend primarily.
    regards
    charcoal grill

  • max191

    Loved to read your blog. I would like to suggest you that traffic show most people read blogs on Mondays. So it should encourage bloggers to write new write ups over the weekend primarily.
    regards
    charcoal grill

  • amywill5918

    We make sure to have canned goods and other shelf items on hand during winter months just in case we're snowed in or other disasters occur.

  • amywill5918

    We make sure to have canned goods and other shelf items on hand during winter months just in case we're snowed in or other disasters occur.

  • http://portablegeneratorsforsale.net/ Portable Generators

    What a great giveaway!

  • Pingback: Has everyone here assembled an emergency preparedness kit? “preparedness kits” | Survival food supplies

Previous post:

Next post: