Stuff You Should Know – Ready For Anything

If You’re Ready For Zombies Your Ready For Anything

4 Things To Hoard For An Emergency
Some people call it hoarding. I just call it smart. Devastating natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, the Asian tsunami, and the catastrophic earthquake in Japan have awakened many to our vulnerabilities. Add to that a teeter-tottering housing market, jittery economic climate, and large swaths of unemployed Americans, and it’s no wonder there’s growing interest in emergency preparedness (and stocking up on emergency disaster supplies) among families.

Here are four emergency disaster supplies you should store up—hoard, if you like—to better face the unexpected:

Fuel
Whether for cooking, driving or heating, a backup supply of fuel sources is a necessity (if you have a generator, you know how vital a fuel supply can be). According to the American Petroleum Institute, gasoline can be safely housed in approved containers of less than five gallons each and rotated through every few months. Gasoline should be stored in capacities of 25 gallons or less, should be stored at room temperature, away from sources of heat and ignition, and in a building separate from the house or place of occupancy. Diesel fuel is an even safer option when it comes to storage. If you have a propane-powered grill, good news: Propane is one of the easiest and safest fuels to store. A supply of seasoned wood is also a necessity if your emergency plans include the use of a fireplace, wood-burning stove or cooking over a campfire.

No-Cook Foods
Emergencies and gourmet meals aren’t exactly compatible, but you can still eat well when the power goes out or grocery shelves are bare. Just store foods that do not require refrigeration: items like tuna, dried fruit, granola bars, peanut butter, jerky, and V-8 juice provide energy without any preparation. Few people feel up to the challenge of cooking hearty meals when a crisis hits, so the simpler the better.

A few additional items to consider: pudding cups, seeds and nuts, packets of instant milk, and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), which can be purchased online and in emergency supply stores. By the way, if you store canned food, don’t forget to also keep at least one manual can opener at the ready!

Light Sources and Batteries
It’s surprising how many emergencies bring power outages with them. Earthquakes, thunderstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes are just a few ways that nature can take down power lines, plunging homes and businesses into darkness. Have a supply of flashlights (LEDs provide the longest battery life), headlamps and lanterns along with plenty of batteries.

You can also bring solar pathway lights indoors when the sun goes down. Be careful about using candles with open flames as a light source, though, especially with young children around.

Water
The most basic of the basics, clean water becomes more precious than gold when it’s unavailable. You’ll need stored water for drinking, cooking, sanitation, bathing, and, at some point, laundry. (Yes, neither storm nor sleet nor dark of night will put off the need to do laundry for very long!)

Store plain tap water in cleaned out 2-liter soda bottles and stock up on cases of bottled water. If space allows, larger water containers can be store outdoors.

In addition to water, be sure to also have at least two ways to purify water. Unscented bleach is a good option: it takes just eight drops of bleach to purify a gallon of water, 16 drops if the water is cloudy. But be forewarned: bleach has a shelf life of just one year, and begins to lose potency after just a few months. Buy a new bottle every six months and begin using the old one for laundry and cleaning purposes.

Another easy way to purify water is to boil it, but this requires a fuel source. Plan ahead if you choose this option. A third easy alternative is the SteriPen, which uses UV light to purify water, a system that has long been used in hospitals.
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How To Communicate With Loved Ones In A Disaster
After a major disaster, it can often be difficult to communicate with loved ones. Hurricanes, tornadoes and other emergencies can cause power outages and result in overwhelmed cellular services, sometimes making normal lines of communication nearly impossible.

There are steps you can take to be prepared. Consider these tips on how to communicate in a disaster.

BEFORE A DISASTER STRIKES
The Federal Communications Commission offers suggestions on how to prepare to communicate, before disaster even strikes:

Make an emergency contact list. Keep an updated emergency contact list on your cell phone (e.g., police and fire agencies, power companies, insurance providers, co-workers, friends, family, etc), and store a hard copy on or near your home phone. Include at least one out-of-town contact in case the disaster is widespread; and consider adding a few names under the listing “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) on your cell phone. Many emergency responders are trained to look for this in the event that you’re physically unable to use your phone.

Keep a non-cordless phone at home. If you have a traditional landline at home — one that isn’t cable- or internet-based — make sure you have at least one corded phone connected; in the event that there’s a power outage, your cordless model, which requires electricity, will not work.

Subscribe to text alerts. Subscribe to text-based weather alerts to stay updated on inclement weather, and reach out to local government and school officials to find out about other emergency alerts available in your community.

Keep car chargers handy. Get in the habit of keeping your cellphone’s batteries fully charged, and keep car Communicate in a disasterchargers available in the event of a power outage. You might also consider buying additional batteries and solar or hand-powered chargers for your devices.

Because your loved ones may be separated when disaster strikes, make sure to also develop a communication plan that’s specific to your family.

Ready.gov recommends identifying a designated neighborhood meeting place and an out-of-neighborhood meeting place, and detailing how you plan to contact each other (for instance, designate an out-of-town contact for everyone to notify that they’re safe, or set an “on air” time where you’ll each power up your phones and call or text with your status). It’s also a good idea to work with your children’s school or daycare to understand their emergency communication procedures.

DURING AND AFTER A DISASTER
There are also important steps you can take to improve the likelihood of communicating with loved ones during a disaster, and in the immediate aftermath:

Call, don’t text, 911. If you have a life-threatening emergency, you should dial, not text, 9-1-1. Emergency systems are not currently set up to receive 911 texts, the FCC says.

Text and use social media. Cell service can become congested during an emergency. Instead, try text messaging or emailing, which, the FCC says, are services that are less likely to experience network congestion. Also, consider posting your status on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, or registering on the American Red Cross’ Safe and Well website, so that loved ones who may be searching for you know that you’re OK.

Forward your home phone. If you have a land line and call-forwarding at home, Verizon Wireless suggests forwarding your home phone number to your cellphone if you’ll be away, or if conditions warrant an evacuation.

Conserve cell battery life. You can extend the life of your cellphone battery charge by reducing the brightness of your screen, turning off Wi-Fi service (unless a cellular signal isn’t available), closing apps that aren’t critical, and putting your phone in airplane mode. Additionally, if you’re able to make a call, consider updating your voice mail message so that, even if inbound calls go to voice mail, you’re able to offer loved ones an update on your well-being.

Practicing these tips can help you stay informed, in touch and safe throughout an emergency. If a disaster results in normal modes of communication going down, you’ll be glad you took the time to be prepared.
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The 4 Survival Skills Every Kid Should Know
Some of outdoor adventurer Bear Grylls’ biggest fans are kids. Their eyes widen at his derring-do, and boys and girls alike admire his survival skills and savvy. But the survival skills that are more likely to keep our kids safe and sound are actually far more mundane! Here are four survival skills that every kid should know, along with a few tips for parents.

What to do if lost
A lost child is a scared child, and usually their first instinct is to begin searching for their family. Train your children to stop and sit as soon as they realize they are lost. Assure them that, no matter how scared they might be, you are searching for them at that very moment; but also that, if they keep moving around, it will take longer to find them. Consider equipping your children with an inexpensive cell phone and when venturing outdoors, a few survival items tucked in a backpack or their pockets. Items such as a whistle, a bright bandana and a bottle of water are the makings of a kids’ survival kit that will go a long way to helping them be found more quickly.

How to answer the door when home alone
Usually the best strategy is to not answer the door! Yes, the person knocking could be a burglar scoping out the neighborhood. But once the door is opened, it’s that much easier for an intruder to enter. And children are easily overpowered. Train your child to enforce home security: Keep doors and windows locked and blinds and curtains closed. Noise from a TV or radio is fine. Someone with questionable motives will think twice about entering a home if they hear noises inside, even if the house is closed up and no one answers the door.

What to do in a medical emergency
From a young age, kids can learn how to dial 911 and report an emergency, but this takes practice. Spend some time rehearsing phone calls, teaching your children to relay detailed information to an operator, follow his or her instructions, and then stay on the line until help arrives. If possible, children should also get the home ready for the arrival of EMTs by putting pets in closed areas and, if it’s nighttime, turning on both indoor and outdoor lights. Summer is an ideal time for children to take first aid and CPR classes, that are typically suitable for kids age 9 and up.

How to maintain situational awareness
When driving in the car, for instance, ask your kids to describe a building or vehicle you just passed. Teach them to pay attention to the route home by asking them to give you driving directions!

This one skill can help your child avoid many dangerous situations. The concept is simply for children to be aware of the people and events around them. Parents can help their children become more observant and aware—not by scaring them, but by playing games to teach and practice this skill.

When driving in the car, for instance, ask your kids to describe a building or vehicle you just passed. Teach them to pay attention to the route home by asking them to give you driving directions! Tell them to close their eyes and describe what someone in the room is wearing. Encourage them to check out the license plates of passing cars: Which states are they from? What is the sum of the numbers on the license plate?

Being aware of their surroundings will help them avoid predatory people and other dangerous scenarios. Simple to teach. Fun to practice. And, quite possibly, a life saver.
Lisa Bedford is the author of Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios and editor of www.thesurvivalmom.com blog.
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