Are You Prepared?

fireI was in my kitchen yesterday and smelled smoke, but I wasn’t cooking. From the window I could see black clouds billowing down our street. I rushed outside to find the house several doors down engulfed in flames!

Fortunately, the family was out at the time so no one was injured. But it started me thinking…we take all sorts of precautions to prevent these kinds of disasters, but we aren’t in control.

The last thing we want to think about is a losing all that we own, but it happens. Are you prepared? Read more

Top 10 Tips For Emergency Preparedness on a Budget

Scouts-emergency-badgeAs some of you already know, September is emergency preparedness month. As I was doing some research on the topic, I came across a great website with some fantastic info on this very subject: FoodStorageMadeEasy.net. Here is a portion of one of their emergency preparedness posts:

Top 10 Tips For Emergency Preparedness on a Budget:

This list was put out by BeReadyUtah.gov but we have included our own links and comments in italics along with it.

1 – Plan for specific disasters: Read more

Foreclosure Crisis: Affecting More Than People

pup-and-kittenWith a home foreclosure crisis sweeping the nation, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is disturbed by reports that some residents forced out of their homes are simply leaving their pets behind. The HSUS urges all pet owners faced with foreclosure to take their pets with them when they relocate.
"Abandoning pets, for any reason, is not only irresponsible – it is illegal," said Stephanie Shain, director of outreach for companion animals at The HSUS. "Pet owners may feel financially unable to care for their pets or are overwhelmed by a sudden move, but there are many alternatives to leaving pets behind. For those in need of help, we offer tips on easing the financial burden of pet ownership and finding pet-friendly housing." Read more

A Prescription for Disaster

pill-sortersA disaster doesn't have to have a long duration to create dire needs in a family. There are those among us who can do without food for a day, but can't get along without medication on a regular schedule. In some cases, the consequences could be quite serious, as pharmacies can't open if there is no power.

Medicine should always be a part of a disaster supply kit. If it is critical enough, you may want to consider keeping a second stash of doses in your secondary kit, like in your car. But those pill bottles can be fairly bulky and you don't have unlimited space for storage in a kit… Read more

New Credit Card Scam & How It Works

credit-cardsI received this email in my box a couple of days ago and figured I’d treat it as a public service announcement and pass it on to all our faithful readers…

This one is pretty slick since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want. Note: the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it. This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself. Read more

Stay Connected

One of the biggest frustrations many people had in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was the loss of communications. In many instances, victims were scattered among several states and it took weeks to reunite families.

Now the American Red Cross has teamed up with several other agencies to create the Safe and Well website, providing a central database for disaster victims to register and their loved ones to search. However, not every disaster rises to that level, and there are steps you can take in advance to organize your communication. Read more

Stock Your Disaster Supply Kit

Red Cross Disaster Supply KitBeing prepared for a disaster is just as much mental work as it is physical. A mindset of preparedness is one that is less likely to panic, because obstacles have already been anticipated. However, it’s not enough to “think” your way to being Red Cross Ready – there are some significant actions you can take right now to “organize your disaster” and have that peace of mind.

The first big piece of “preparedness” is “Make a Kit.” Every family has its own unique needs in a time of crisis, but there are some constants that are recommended for every household. Your Kit should be stored someplace secure and accessible, and should provide for your household for a minimum of three days. You can buy a kit to get started, or just use this as a shopping list, adding any additional items that might pertain to you: Read more

What Do You Take In An Emergency?

flood2What is the first thing you will grab from your home if your house floods, catches on fire or comes tumbling down in an earthquake?

Whether your answer is the family photo album or your grandmother’s quilt, most of us wouldn’t even think of our medical and financial records, the very things we would need to rebuild our lives. And yet, who keeps their files in something so compact and portable it can be grabbed in a moment’s notice?

There are also a number of technology solutions for backing up all of your data on flash drives (can’t get more portable than that!) that are quick and practical and can be completed over a weekend. A regularly updated flash drive can be kept with your emergency supplies for a quick departure. Read more

Emergency Preparedness: Plan for your Pets

Pet First AidA Family Disaster Plan needs to take your pets into account. Many of the same guidelines for people apply to pets, but there are a few differences you need to consider in your plans. Your pet needs its own supplies, its own food, its own first-aid kit, and maybe an alternate shelter.

Here are some suggested items for a Pet First Aid kit:
   • large and small bandages
   • scissors
   • tweezers
   • cotton swabs Read more

Emergency Preparedness: Where to Take Fido and/or Felix in an Emergency

take the dogAs Ike Pigott points out in his post today, many shelters won't accept pets.

I had to evacuate my apartment two blocks south of the World Trade Center on 9/11, and there was no way I was leaving Benny's predecessor, my wonderful Yellow Lab, Sam, behind. We stayed with friends for a couple of nights but eventually spent nearly two months in a wonderful hotel that accepts pets.

Please check now to see what hotels and motels in your area accept pets and keep that list with your emergency supplies. Many large chains welcome pets, including: Read more

Product of the Week: Double-Duty Battery Case for Disaster Preparedness

batterycaseMost disasters allow very little time to sort through batteries, let alone test them. If you're like me, you probably have a bunch of batteries rolling around in a drawer. But with disaster preparedness on my mind, I realized that if the batteries are not easy to access, or not working, they certainly won't be any help in an emergency situation.

So, as you’re crossing off items on your “emergency to-do” list, consider this battery organizer and tester case where you can store batteries safely:
   • It will store multiple sizes securely in the case
   • A built-in LED tester lets you can check in periodically to make sure your batteries are charged.

Disaster Preparedness: Storing Vital Documents

emergency-file2The Red Cross will tell you that the first step to being prepared for a disaster is to get a kit. The Red Cross sells back packs full of supplies for $49.95 and $64.95. But I was curious about how to store all of the vital documents needed in a crisis. I’ve found three kits in different price ranges:

Smead’s Emergency All-in-One is available at Office Depot during hurricane season. Unfortunately it’s not available nationwide but if you live in the southeastern states or Texas, you may be in luck. Read more

Product of the Week: A Generator That Controls Clutter

powerdomeInstead of cluttering up my disaster kit with multiple emergency appliances, I went hunting for an all-in-one product that does everything I need and found the Power Dome Portable Power Station.

Talk about disaster preparedness! This compact generator's features include:
   • a light for when the power’s out,
   • air in case tires are flat,
   • a cell phone charger,
   • and it can even jumpstart the car. Read more

Disaster Preparedness: Know Your Disaster Readiness Level

spongebob-readyJust how "ready" are you to deal with a disaster? Here's a quick, 10-step quiz that will help you find out. The Council for Excellence in Government is sponsoring the "What's Your Readiness Quotient" test.

Not only will it help you gauge your "RQ," but the C.E.G. is also comparing and compiling these results on a regional and local level. The data should help emergency preparedness organizations learn more about where, when, and how to target the messaging that gets people to actually prepare.

Take the quiz, and post your results below. You'll help yourself, and you'll help so many others in the future!

Disaster Preparedness: Keep Medication and Perishables Up to Date

Stinky_OdorYou wouldn't drink milk past its expiration date, would you? Then why take any chances during your next disaster or home emergency.

There are any number of reasons you might dip into your disaster supply kit, such as an ice storm, power outage, water disruption, or neighborhood evacuation. The last thing you want is perishables making your preparations worthless. Read more

Product of the Week: Quakehold Putty

puttyLiving in California always gets me thinking about earthquakes during Disaster Preparedness Month.

My mom survived the 1989 Loma Prieta quake in Northern California. The damage to her home and her stuff would have been much worse if it weren't for this nifty little item.

She had stuck it to the bottom of all her collectible items around the house. Most of her items stayed on the shelves and she lost very few things to the quake!

There's more than one way to "Be Prepared"

reminder_2Being prepared is really just thinking in advance and being proactive.

I keep an ongoing shopping list posted on the fridge, so I'm ready to shop at a moment's notice. I stock up on supplies so I don't have to worry about running out of them. When I buy gift wrap or school supplies or laundry detergent, I buy a little extra. When I have a few minutes to kill, I go to the card shop and pick out a few birthday cards. While I'm there I get a few sympathy cards or thank you notes to keep on hand.

Another way to be prepared is to make a list of important phone numbers and keep it in a prominent place. I list every obscure number I can think of, for instance: the dentist, phone company, insurance agent, schools, neighbors, doctors, favorite take-out restaurants and the gas company. It saves me from looking these numbers up in an emergency. Plus it's helpful info for a babysitter. Read more

Preparedness: Earthquake Kit … and Kaboodle

earthquakeWhen I travel, and people find out that I'm from California – I inevitably get the same two questions: "Do you know any celebrities?" and "Aren't you scared of earthquakes?"

In answer to the first question, sadly – no (unless you count my friend who used to dress like Clo the Cow for the county fair). As for earthquakes, the best way to alleviate fears is to be prepared! Ease your own fears about disasters by having an emergency kit – and kaboodle. Read more

Disaster Preparedness: No Batteries or Electricity Needed

dynamoradioAs I’m putting together an emergency kit, I’m thinking in terms of worst case scenario. No batteries needed.

And the problem with most emergency appliances is that they either require batteries, or if they’re rechargeable, you need a power source to charge them. You may think you’ve prepared yourself by packing batteries in the kit, but what do you do when the batteries are gone?

The Dynamo Radio Flashlight solved both of my dilemmas. It does have a rechargeable battery, but uses a hand crank to charge it. I feel better knowing that if something disastrous happens, I can get weather reports, signal an alarm, find my way in the dark, and even charge my cell phone – no batteries or electricity needed!

Preparedness Month: have an up to date household inventory

boyscout.pngThe Boy Scout motto can also be valuable organizing advice.

It's storm season: a time when damage to your home could be sudden.

Having an up-to-date household inventory would be invaluable when dealing with an insurance agent. Photos, videos and receipts go a long way toward getting fair compensation.

If you make "Be Prepared" your mantra, you‘ll start thinking in advance.