Author Topic: Basic Emergency Preparedness  (Read 10574 times)

rab-bit

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #100 on: December 19, 2017, 06:24:01 AM »
PTF. Planning to read the whole thread when I have time.

nereo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #101 on: December 19, 2017, 01:08:27 PM »
PTF. Planning to read the whole thread when I have time.

Something about that phrasing for an emergency preparedness thread.  Yeah... been meaning to get around to it... someday...

lifejoy

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #102 on: December 19, 2017, 06:13:00 PM »
PTF. Planning to read the whole thread when I have time.

Something about that phrasing for an emergency preparedness thread.  Yeah... been meaning to get around to it... someday...

It helped me to start small: food, water, first aid kit. I’m now filling in the blanks.

nereo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #103 on: December 20, 2017, 09:38:23 AM »
PTF. Planning to read the whole thread when I have time.

Something about that phrasing for an emergency preparedness thread.  Yeah... been meaning to get around to it... someday...

It helped me to start small: food, water, first aid kit. I’m now filling in the blanks.
Like most things, I suspect that you’ll get ~80% of the benefit/preparedness doing the most easiest and most basic things. Most people don’t even do that much (and inevitably suffer somewhat when disaster strikes).  Each successive ‘level’ takes a much bigger amount of resources and is less likely to be needed.

RidetheRain

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #104 on: December 20, 2017, 10:47:06 AM »
PTF. Planning to read the whole thread when I have time.

Something about that phrasing for an emergency preparedness thread.  Yeah... been meaning to get around to it... someday...

It helped me to start small: food, water, first aid kit. I’m now filling in the blanks.
Like most things, I suspect that you’ll get ~80% of the benefit/preparedness doing the most easiest and most basic things. Most people don’t even do that much (and inevitably suffer somewhat when disaster strikes).  Each successive ‘level’ takes a much bigger amount of resources and is less likely to be needed.

Really, most people just don't know how to use what they have or don't know where to put it. No need to spend money when you already have what you need. If you have a spare set of gym shoes you should probably throw them in the trunk of your car. If you plan to hide in a closet for a tornado make sure you keep a blanket in there. Don't play the eat everything in your house challenges and you have a fresh food supply of things you eat right in your house at all times. Learn how to macgyver a temporary oven if you're a hot food house. Knowledge is really more important than stuff in a disaster.

Suzanne

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #105 on: December 21, 2017, 04:53:23 AM »
I just carry the FIRST AID  kit in my vehicle for urgent needs.

nereo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #106 on: December 21, 2017, 08:28:53 AM »
Really, most people just don't know how to use what they have or don't know where to put it. No need to spend money when you already have what you need. If you have a spare set of gym shoes you should probably throw them in the trunk of your car. If you plan to hide in a closet for a tornado make sure you keep a blanket in there. Don't play the eat everything in your house challenges and you have a fresh food supply of things you eat right in your house at all times. Learn how to macgyver a temporary oven if you're a hot food house. Knowledge is really more important than stuff in a disaster.

Reading the above - this is one of those comments where if read a certain way I can find myself nodding along, but if read another I vehemently disagree.  I certainly concur that there's little need to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on specialty disaster gear, and that much of what you already own can be put to good use during a disaster.  But to think that a pair of gym shoes in your car or a blanket in your closet are sufficient preparation for a real disaster is fool-hardy, and sounds like advice from someone who's never really been through an event which knocks out all services for several days.

RidetheRain

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #107 on: December 21, 2017, 09:33:34 AM »
Really, most people just don't know how to use what they have or don't know where to put it. No need to spend money when you already have what you need. If you have a spare set of gym shoes you should probably throw them in the trunk of your car. If you plan to hide in a closet for a tornado make sure you keep a blanket in there. Don't play the eat everything in your house challenges and you have a fresh food supply of things you eat right in your house at all times. Learn how to macgyver a temporary oven if you're a hot food house. Knowledge is really more important than stuff in a disaster.

Reading the above - this is one of those comments where if read a certain way I can find myself nodding along, but if read another I vehemently disagree.  I certainly concur that there's little need to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on specialty disaster gear, and that much of what you already own can be put to good use during a disaster.  But to think that a pair of gym shoes in your car or a blanket in your closet are sufficient preparation for a real disaster is fool-hardy, and sounds like advice from someone who's never really been through an event which knocks out all services for several days.

Very true! I lived in tornado country growing up where there was little danger of services being out for days at a time. When we were hit only some places had trouble and others were perfectly fine - that's the nature of tornados. Now I live in earthquake territory and my emergency plans look very different. My examples were simply easy things that I found useful in both locations. I certainly wouldn't suggest that you stop there. Shoes in the car are for everyday emergencies not the end of your preparations for something bigger!

My point was that there are a couple of points you want to hit for preparedness and they might be things you already have. Food, water, sanitation, communication, etc. I bet most people have food in their houses, probably a lighter of some kind too. Anyone with a young child probably has some wet wipes on hand which can be useful as well as spare garbage bags. Lots of women keep whistles on their keys (although pepper spray is replacing this useful item) and I hope everyone has a first aid kit. All of these things can double in an emergency leaving you to purchase extras like a power inverter for your car.

Fitzy1

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #108 on: December 21, 2017, 12:34:10 PM »
For anyone seriously interested, I would recommend checking out the preppers sub-reddit. There's a lot of good information on there, even if you just read a few pages in. Info on long term water storage, long term food storage. Emergency communications. Living in the Northeast of the US, I lose power at least a couple of days every winter, so I try to have enough food and water to last me that long.

If it's food/water that you're planning on storing in a vehicle/garage/closet; not looking at it again until it's time to use it - remember that temperature flux not your friend. Over time, heat will negatively impact the shelf life of most things you'd be looking to stock up on. Likewise don't let the water become ice and bust open your containers.

I recommend NOT storing water in empty/cleaned out milk jugs for more than a year before replacing. Something about the way the plastic is made, the gallon jugs end up busting at the seams after 1-2 years, even when stored correctly. Water is fairly high on the pH scale, so that may have something to do with it.


Imma

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #109 on: December 21, 2017, 12:49:11 PM »
My smoke detector has had an empty battery for a week. This thread is actually reminding me to put new batteries in it - I actually have them at home, I just put off replacing them. Something simple as this can save lives.

I also wanted to put new batteries in the flashlight I have on my key chain, but I'm out of that size of battery. I will put them on the grocery list to buy Saturday. The keyring flashlight was a freebie from some company years ago and it's a very powerful light. I also have one of them on my nightstand. I'm from a family of farmers, even though I live in the city now, and many companies in agri hand out these super useful good quality freebies.

moof

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #110 on: December 21, 2017, 01:15:12 PM »
An emergency here is likely to mean an Earthquake without warning. Wood frame houses should likely do all right, but if not I expect to have to dig myself and my supplies out from under a pile of drywall and 2 x 4's. As a person who also does camping/backpacking I don't really do anything special to be prepared for emergencies.
...

I'm in a similar boat.  We do have a dedicated bucket of freeze dried food that would last a few days separate from the pile of backpacking stuff.  Our creek is a 10 minute walk away, so with any number of my accumulated filters we'd be OK there.  Somehow I have accumulated about 7 tents, a heap of sleeping bags, a half dozen camp stoves, a few weeks worth of camp fuels, etc, etc.  With the non-perishables we commonly have on hand I am guessing we could go for about 2 weeks as long as we didn't have to deal with neighbors or looters.

I've been meaning to stash some water to cover a few days, but otherwise see no reason to add to our stash of existing backpacking junk.

Urchina

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #111 on: February 11, 2018, 05:43:29 PM »
The most likely emergency for any of us are job losses or extended illnesses / temporary disability / family emergency that disrupts our ability to work for some time. Most of us will experience all three at some point in our working lives. Money fixes them.

As far as natural disasters go, we are in wildfire, earthquake and mudslide country.
We keep water, food and medicine for seven people for one week, plus standard camping gear (friends would join us in a natural disaster, since I am a Disaster Service Worker and would be called out).
And, our best preparedness plan is to help, and be helped by, our neighbors. We develop social and trust ties with our immediate neighbors, with our neighborhood, and in our larger community so that we can rely on each other when we need help.

We are just coming off the combination of the worst wildfire in California history coupled with the deadliest flood/debris flow in nearly a century. It hit our community hard. Thoughts on this thread on retrospect:

1. Emergency Funds are king. These natural disasters disrupted normal commerce, commuting, and work schedules for thousands of people in a 2-county area. People were out of work because they couldn't get to work, or nobody was out shopping (disaster hit during the Christmas retail season), or because their workplace was knee-deep in mud. For people displaced by the fires/mudslides, either temporarily through evacuations or long-term through home/neighborhood loss, an emergency fund (or lack thereof) made a huge difference. People who had insurance still had to wait days and sometimes weeks to get living expenses covered. Have easily-accessible cash, people.

2. Natural disasters wreak havoc on your personal life and work schedule. As a Disaster Service Worker, I found myself utterly unable to predict my work schedule for nearly a month. The disaster consumes you and your life. Even those not affected directly felt substantial effects -- we were all distracted, had a hard time making decisions, and were filled with fear and worry and grief. The whole community suffers significant trauma. Having a financial cushion and your household secured means you're available to help others when they most desperately need it. Emergency preparedness is not just about you. It's about being able to help your neighbors, too.

3. Voluntary evacuation isn't just a suggestion. Many of the people who died in our area were in voluntary evacuation areas and could not get out quickly enough when the flash flooding hit in the middle of the night. We all learned that horrible lesson, and everyone I've spoken to has taken it to heart and now says that they will evacuate without delay.

4. We are responsible for our neighbors and community. We are responsible for ourselves, and we are responsible for each other. After this experience, I have to say that any emergency preparedness that doesn't take your larger community into account isn't complete. And it's not going to be convenient or even easy. It's awkward and tiring and hard and it's what you do as part of a civil society. You move over and make room in your home for people who need a place to stay, or at the table for people who need to eat, or at your job for people who need a place to work. Being prepared for emergency means being prepared to change what we are comfortable with in order to help everyone move forward with as little trauma as possible.

5. Use media carefully. It's invaluable when getting critical information (evacuation notices, routes, resources, etc.). But watching the disaster play out over and over and over and watching images of it just deepens the shock and stress. We turned off the TV as often as possible to help protect our psychological health. We need to be able to be emotionally and psychologically available to listen to and help each other, and we found that watching TV coverage of our disaster rapidly depleted our ability to do that. TV was emotionally expensive. My Mustachian mindset kicked it to the curb once I figured that out.

So yes, an emergency fund and a stash of bottled water and food, a first aid kit, and a plan are essential. But you will not experience the disaster, whatever it is, in a vacuum, and you need to be prepared to help your community, just as they need to be prepared to help you.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #112 on: February 11, 2018, 06:31:35 PM »
@Urchina thank you so much for sharing your experiences and thoughts on that. Did you find your food/water/camping gear stores to be sufficient? Was there anything you wish you'd had that you didn't, or thought would be invaluable that turned out to be useless? Thanks.

PKate

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #113 on: February 11, 2018, 06:33:51 PM »
There is so much great info in this thread and here is my two cents. 

Here are some things that will make a power outage easier. 

Power invertor are great to have.  You can run one off an idling car and run one appliance like a fridge or chest freezer.  We also use the power invertor to  charge cell phones and lap tops and other small rechargeable items.  It is far less work than firing up the generator.

Storms are the biggest issue for me.  We have well water and when the power is out we have no water.   There are things I do before a storm is coming to make my life easier.   While I am on a well now I did many of these things when I lived in an apartment in a area that gets hit with hurricanes.  If the whole city loses power odds are you will lose water too. 

When a storm is predicted I fill my 2 giant stock pots with water and cover them.  This way I have water on hand and ready to go in the morning. 
 
I also have a pair of 5 gallon solar showers.  I fill them up and hang them in the shower and over the kitchen sink.  This way I can easily wash my hands. 
I also keep baby wipes and wet wipes on hand for when we have no water. 
I refill gallon vinegar bottles with water and keep enough on hand for my husband and our chickens. 

We have a small camp stove and plenty of fuel for it.   If you have a camp stove, fuel, tea kettle/thin walled pot, and a french press you can have coffee during a power outage.  This is an essential preparedness item in terms of keeping my DH happy. 

I tend to keep containers with ice in them in my freezer chest.  I move the to the fridge when the power is out. 

We also have Mr. Heater indoor propane heaters for power outages in the winter.  We got the adapters to use them with 20 pound propane tanks. 

We keep paper goods on hand to reduce dishes piling up. 

Also if a storm is predicted  fill the gas tanks in your vehicles, catch up on laundry and dishes. 

A small battery operated fan is great for keeping the DH when it is hot and there is no power.




 

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #114 on: February 12, 2018, 12:39:16 AM »
3. Voluntary evacuation isn't just a suggestion. Many of the people who died in our area were in voluntary evacuation areas and could not get out quickly enough when the flash flooding hit in the middle of the night. We all learned that horrible lesson, and everyone I've spoken to has taken it to heart and now says that they will evacuate without delay.

It's unfortunate that it can take a tragedy before people are willing to listen to emergency services.

In Australia, RFS, SES and other emergency services have come up against the blasé atittudes of locals who refused to heed emergency warnings because they had seen it all before.

"You should have seen the floods in 2010/bushfires in 2002/bushfires in 1998/floods in 1990, and we didn't evacuate then."

In 1990, Nyngan residents ignored warnings to evacuate, despite rising floodwater. Then the Bogan River breached its banks. Emergency services had to call in army and news choppers to evacuate the entire town.

I was three when this happened, but a couple of years ago I interviewed SCAT paramedics who worked dozens of natural disasters over the years, including Nyngan floods, and they said complacent, ignorant, proud or stubborn residents were the biggest threat they faced.

That dynamic has improved over the years, but there’s still room for improvement. A coronial inquiry was just announced into communication and co-operation between RFS and farmers during bushfires in the NSW Central West last year.

Have the car loaded and ready to go, and if someone tells you to get out, get out. By the same token, if warnings change to “too late to leave”, you can’t panic and decide you’d really rather be somewhere else.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 01:00:43 AM by mustachepungoeshere »

Villanelle

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #115 on: February 12, 2018, 01:46:24 AM »
The most likely emergency for any of us are job losses or extended illnesses / temporary disability / family emergency that disrupts our ability to work for some time. Most of us will experience all three at some point in our working lives. Money fixes them.

As far as natural disasters go, we are in wildfire, earthquake and mudslide country.
We keep water, food and medicine for seven people for one week, plus standard camping gear (friends would join us in a natural disaster, since I am a Disaster Service Worker and would be called out).
And, our best preparedness plan is to help, and be helped by, our neighbors. We develop social and trust ties with our immediate neighbors, with our neighborhood, and in our larger community so that we can rely on each other when we need help.

We are just coming off the combination of the worst wildfire in California history coupled with the deadliest flood/debris flow in nearly a century. It hit our community hard. Thoughts on this thread on retrospect:

1. Emergency Funds are king. These natural disasters disrupted normal commerce, commuting, and work schedules for thousands of people in a 2-county area. People were out of work because they couldn't get to work, or nobody was out shopping (disaster hit during the Christmas retail season), or because their workplace was knee-deep in mud. For people displaced by the fires/mudslides, either temporarily through evacuations or long-term through home/neighborhood loss, an emergency fund (or lack thereof) made a huge difference. People who had insurance still had to wait days and sometimes weeks to get living expenses covered. Have easily-accessible cash, people.

2. Natural disasters wreak havoc on your personal life and work schedule. As a Disaster Service Worker, I found myself utterly unable to predict my work schedule for nearly a month. The disaster consumes you and your life. Even those not affected directly felt substantial effects -- we were all distracted, had a hard time making decisions, and were filled with fear and worry and grief. The whole community suffers significant trauma. Having a financial cushion and your household secured means you're available to help others when they most desperately need it. Emergency preparedness is not just about you. It's about being able to help your neighbors, too.

3. Voluntary evacuation isn't just a suggestion. Many of the people who died in our area were in voluntary evacuation areas and could not get out quickly enough when the flash flooding hit in the middle of the night. We all learned that horrible lesson, and everyone I've spoken to has taken it to heart and now says that they will evacuate without delay.

4. We are responsible for our neighbors and community. We are responsible for ourselves, and we are responsible for each other. After this experience, I have to say that any emergency preparedness that doesn't take your larger community into account isn't complete. And it's not going to be convenient or even easy. It's awkward and tiring and hard and it's what you do as part of a civil society. You move over and make room in your home for people who need a place to stay, or at the table for people who need to eat, or at your job for people who need a place to work. Being prepared for emergency means being prepared to change what we are comfortable with in order to help everyone move forward with as little trauma as possible.

5. Use media carefully. It's invaluable when getting critical information (evacuation notices, routes, resources, etc.). But watching the disaster play out over and over and over and watching images of it just deepens the shock and stress. We turned off the TV as often as possible to help protect our psychological health. We need to be able to be emotionally and psychologically available to listen to and help each other, and we found that watching TV coverage of our disaster rapidly depleted our ability to do that. TV was emotionally expensive. My Mustachian mindset kicked it to the curb once I figured that out.

So yes, an emergency fund and a stash of bottled water and food, a first aid kit, and a plan are essential. But you will not experience the disaster, whatever it is, in a vacuum, and you need to be prepared to help your community, just as they need to be prepared to help you.

Great post.  While thankfully I and my direct community were not directly impacted by the Japanese quake and disaster, it did touch us and eventually I was evacuated.   I'll echo a lot of these things.  One reason my emergency kit has a book, despite that taking up precious space in the go-bag, is that I found it was very easy to obsessively take in any and all information about the event.  It was on every news venure--even those outside this country--24/7, and I wanted to know every thing.  Every.  Thing.  All the time.  I couldn't turn it off because it really was an obsession.  But it wasn't healthy. 

And to add to point 1, have actual cash on hand.  Even with an ATM card, while you will surely be able to get cash eventually, when everything is disrupted, machines may not be filled, and even when they are, they empty quickly.  Having at least a couple hundred dollars in actual cash may make the first few days far less painful for you. 

Astatine

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #116 on: February 12, 2018, 04:07:59 AM »
Just found this thread, quite belatedly. The only natural disaster that I have to prep for where I live is summer bushfires. I don't think we're going to have any major fires this summer but the past week there have been a couple of biggish suburban grass fires, one of which had a WATCH AND LEAVE warning for it for a while which I haven't seen for a long time.

This summer my prep has been for evacuating from a small local fire. Our prep so far has been:

1) Always carry a spare battery pack for our phones, one each (small urban fires are unlikely to take out the mobile phone system but local blackouts can happen with fires or even a bad storm). If nothing else, phones can be readily used as backup torches if you have spare battery power.

2) DH carries spare insulin for me in his backpack in a Frio bag, and I always take my handbag with me everywhere which has my diabetes supplies, phone, Betadine, bandaids and 1 week's worth of my meds (insulin is the only must-have - I'd be uncomfortable without my other meds but going off them for a while won't kill me).

3) Kitty carrier gets left out in the lounge room all during summer in case kitty needs to be grabbed at short notice for an evacuation.

4) Talk to DH about where we would evacuate, what we'd need to take etc.

5) Make sure the wind up torch is next to the front door and easily findable.

6) Our place isn't set up to be fire safe (I'm in medium density housing with shared walls and none of us are) and I'm not particularly mobile or agile. So we'd evacuate, not stay and defend. But, there are functioning hoses permanently attached to the front yard and back yard taps, so anyone can use them to try to save our place/hose down rooves/themselves etc.


But... I haven't packed a bug out bag this summer because the fire risk was low for suburban areas. We haven't had a day above Very High Fire Danger this summer, but we still had two recent alarming urban fires happened on High Fire Danger and Very High Fire Danger days! which is nuts, fires on those days usually aren't that dangerous. I usually only pay close attention to fire danger warnings on Severe and Catastrophic days.)

To do in the next day or so:
- pack a bug out bag with 1 days worth of water for 2 people, packet of muesli bars, jelly beans, wind up torch, heavy duty gloves, long sleeve cotton t-shirts and jeans. Leave heavy boots out in the lounge room for ease of access (fire appropriate footwear).

- buy another Frio bag to keep spare insulin cool out of the fridge (been procrastinating this one for ages because I don't want to support the place I bought the first one from - it's a looong story)



A question for the Aussies:

What bug out bag/prep stuff do you leave in your car over summer? I'm really hesitant to leave anything much in our car as backup prep because the car gets SO hot in summer. We do park under cover whenever we can but at least a few times a week the car gets left out in full sun. We use a sun shield on the front windscreen but the car still gets ridiculously hot. So obviously meds would be destroyed, and I'm not sure how long things like lollies and muesli bars would last in the car (I'm even a bit dubious about first aid kits - I left a pair of Crocs in the boot of the car one summer and it really trashed the rubber just from the heat in the boot)
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 04:31:27 AM by Astatine »

Villanelle

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #117 on: February 12, 2018, 05:22:13 AM »
Just found this thread, quite belatedly. The only natural disaster that I have to prep for where I live is summer bushfires. I don't think we're going to have any major fires this summer but the past week there have been a couple of biggish suburban grass fires, one of which had a WATCH AND LEAVE warning for it for a while which I haven't seen for a long time.

This summer my prep has been for evacuating from a small local fire. Our prep so far has been:

1) Always carry a spare battery pack for our phones, one each (small urban fires are unlikely to take out the mobile phone system but local blackouts can happen with fires or even a bad storm). If nothing else, phones can be readily used as backup torches if you have spare battery power.

2) DH carries spare insulin for me in his backpack in a Frio bag, and I always take my handbag with me everywhere which has my diabetes supplies, phone, Betadine, bandaids and 1 week's worth of my meds (insulin is the only must-have - I'd be uncomfortable without my other meds but going off them for a while won't kill me).

3) Kitty carrier gets left out in the lounge room all during summer in case kitty needs to be grabbed at short notice for an evacuation.

4) Talk to DH about where we would evacuate, what we'd need to take etc.

5) Make sure the wind up torch is next to the front door and easily findable.

6) Our place isn't set up to be fire safe (I'm in medium density housing with shared walls and none of us are) and I'm not particularly mobile or agile. So we'd evacuate, not stay and defend. But, there are functioning hoses permanently attached to the front yard and back yard taps, so anyone can use them to try to save our place/hose down rooves/themselves etc.


But... I haven't packed a bug out bag this summer because the fire risk was low for suburban areas. We haven't had a day above Very High Fire Danger this summer, but we still had two recent alarming urban fires happened on High Fire Danger and Very High Fire Danger days! which is nuts, fires on those days usually aren't that dangerous. I usually only pay close attention to fire danger warnings on Severe and Catastrophic days.)

To do in the next day or so:
- pack a bug out bag with 1 days worth of water for 2 people, packet of muesli bars, jelly beans, wind up torch, heavy duty gloves, long sleeve cotton t-shirts and jeans. Leave heavy boots out in the lounge room for ease of access (fire appropriate footwear).

- buy another Frio bag to keep spare insulin cool out of the fridge (been procrastinating this one for ages because I don't want to support the place I bought the first one from - it's a looong story)



A question for the Aussies:

What bug out bag/prep stuff do you leave in your car over summer? I'm really hesitant to leave anything much in our car as backup prep because the car gets SO hot in summer. We do park under cover whenever we can but at least a few times a week the car gets left out in full sun. We use a sun shield on the front windscreen but the car still gets ridiculously hot. So obviously meds would be destroyed, and I'm not sure how long things like lollies and muesli bars would last in the car (I'm even a bit dubious about first aid kits - I left a pair of Crocs in the boot of the car one summer and it really trashed the rubber just from the heat in the boot)

You could consider leaving everything in a small cooler in your trunk.  That would help protect against temperature extremes while parked in sun. 

Astatine

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #118 on: February 12, 2018, 05:55:41 AM »
Just found this thread, quite belatedly. The only natural disaster that I have to prep for where I live is summer bushfires. I don't think we're going to have any major fires this summer but the past week there have been a couple of biggish suburban grass fires, one of which had a WATCH AND LEAVE warning for it for a while which I haven't seen for a long time.

This summer my prep has been for evacuating from a small local fire. Our prep so far has been:

1) Always carry a spare battery pack for our phones, one each (small urban fires are unlikely to take out the mobile phone system but local blackouts can happen with fires or even a bad storm). If nothing else, phones can be readily used as backup torches if you have spare battery power.

2) DH carries spare insulin for me in his backpack in a Frio bag, and I always take my handbag with me everywhere which has my diabetes supplies, phone, Betadine, bandaids and 1 week's worth of my meds (insulin is the only must-have - I'd be uncomfortable without my other meds but going off them for a while won't kill me).

3) Kitty carrier gets left out in the lounge room all during summer in case kitty needs to be grabbed at short notice for an evacuation.

4) Talk to DH about where we would evacuate, what we'd need to take etc.

5) Make sure the wind up torch is next to the front door and easily findable.

6) Our place isn't set up to be fire safe (I'm in medium density housing with shared walls and none of us are) and I'm not particularly mobile or agile. So we'd evacuate, not stay and defend. But, there are functioning hoses permanently attached to the front yard and back yard taps, so anyone can use them to try to save our place/hose down rooves/themselves etc.


But... I haven't packed a bug out bag this summer because the fire risk was low for suburban areas. We haven't had a day above Very High Fire Danger this summer, but we still had two recent alarming urban fires happened on High Fire Danger and Very High Fire Danger days! which is nuts, fires on those days usually aren't that dangerous. I usually only pay close attention to fire danger warnings on Severe and Catastrophic days.)

To do in the next day or so:
- pack a bug out bag with 1 days worth of water for 2 people, packet of muesli bars, jelly beans, wind up torch, heavy duty gloves, long sleeve cotton t-shirts and jeans. Leave heavy boots out in the lounge room for ease of access (fire appropriate footwear).

- buy another Frio bag to keep spare insulin cool out of the fridge (been procrastinating this one for ages because I don't want to support the place I bought the first one from - it's a looong story)



A question for the Aussies:

What bug out bag/prep stuff do you leave in your car over summer? I'm really hesitant to leave anything much in our car as backup prep because the car gets SO hot in summer. We do park under cover whenever we can but at least a few times a week the car gets left out in full sun. We use a sun shield on the front windscreen but the car still gets ridiculously hot. So obviously meds would be destroyed, and I'm not sure how long things like lollies and muesli bars would last in the car (I'm even a bit dubious about first aid kits - I left a pair of Crocs in the boot of the car one summer and it really trashed the rubber just from the heat in the boot)

You could consider leaving everything in a small cooler in your trunk.  That would help protect against temperature extremes while parked in sun.

Hmm. We’d have to be very organized and make sure we replaced the ice blocks in it daily (and I’m not sure how they’d last on really hot days). I just looked it up and car temps can go up to 60C to 75C even on days of 30-33C (And obviously hotter on the really hot days).

I think I answered my own question and I won’t bother keeping anything temperature sensitive in the car as part of my emergency prep.

Urchina

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #119 on: February 15, 2018, 10:28:47 PM »
@Urchina thank you so much for sharing your experiences and thoughts on that. Did you find your food/water/camping gear stores to be sufficient? Was there anything you wish you'd had that you didn't, or thought would be invaluable that turned out to be useless? Thanks.

@Bracken_Joy, we were fortunate in that our house was out of the debris flow areas, and while we lost power intermittently during the wildfires, we did not experience an interruption in water, gas or power during the debris flows. Having said that, the debris flow areas had no natural gas, a boil water notice (if they had water at all, as the flows destroyed multiple critical water distribution pipes), no electricity, limited cell phone service and unknown sewer functionality for a minimum of two weeks and in some cases closer to three. Thinking about this, we've decided to alter our emergency preparedness plans as follows:
1. Have a much larger emergency fund than previously planned. Being in a disaster zone is expensive. Money gives you options. We no longer feel that six month's worth of living expenses is sufficient, given that we could easily have blown through three month's worth in a week or so if we'd lost our home and had to stay in a hotel and then sign a new lease on a rental to live in (signing a lease on a new place requires first, last plus deposit and this is a very HCOL, so that could easily be upwards of $10k).
2. Have way more water than previously planned. We've got a little over a week's worth at the house. Two is going to be our new minimum. Storing it is a challenge. We have no local surface water and do not receive rain for months at a time, so cannot depend on those sources for water.
3. Evacuate immediately if we're in either a voluntary or mandatory zone. Both the fire and debris flows were really unpredictable. That seems likely to continue. "Wait and see" no longer sounds like a reasonable approach to evacuation.
4. Update and keep copies of our essential papers (identity, banking, insurance) in an out-of-town location. Our town is small enough that the fire could have wiped out huge swaths of town (like what happened in Santa Rosa); the debris flows nearly took out an entire community. If this had happened in our neighborhood, it would have destroyed our house AND our bank, where our safety-deposit box is.... so we need to get copies of critical papers out of here.
5. No power, no cell phone service = really hard to get information. An emergency radio with solar/hand-cranking capacity is crucial.

More later, I'm sure.

Rosy

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #120 on: February 16, 2018, 03:11:03 PM »
We live in hurricane country which means I check and refresh my supplies by June 1st every year.
Hurricane Irma was the scariest thing I ever lived through - hunkering down in a small block built bungalow - in the dark, with the windows boarded up was traumatic.
The uncertainty of knowing whether we would be in the storm's path - well, it was the first superstorm to cover an entire state, so really there was no place to go and hide from the storm.
Didn't help that a storm surge was predicted as well, but nobody really knew if and to what extent it would affect where we live. Hell, the receding waters in the Tampa Bay were terrifying to watch.

Anyway - lessons learned:
1. Get the hell out of dodge - there is no way I'm staying put when there is another superstorm coming! That means serious emergency funds because you can't just drive over to a friends house or hope to ride out the storm in South Carolina or Georgia.

We had friends who ran out of gas halfway to Georgia and ended up weathering the storm in the parking lot of a Walmart.
Mr. R. had a colleague at work who thought he'd escaped only to get hammered and flooded in Jacksonville - completely on the other side of the state.
Our neighbors took their 94 year old mother and drove to South Carolina then couldn't get back, because the roads were impassable for a couple of days and their funds were about to run out and they couldn't get gas to get back home - not to mention their hotel room there got flooded.

So yeah - I'll hunker down for a hurricane, but if it is another superstorm the next flight is mine!

2. Water - normally, I rotate three cases of 24 bottles, but in the future if there is even a whisper of a storm I'll triple that amount immediately. Two days before the storm hit water was scarce and literally guarded by a store security guard who allowed one case per person.
Yes, I filled the bathtub and all the big pots and buckets with water and about six big bottles of empty orange juice jugs. It helped to stay busy instead of watching the weather channel and totally freaking out.

3. Didn't really have a good rainproof, moisture proof, lightweight protective cover or box for papers and jewelry. Realized Mr. R. had no idea where two of his important documents are, mine were ready to grab and organized - fixed that since.
4. I spent the last few hours before the storm hit on finishing up a video and pics of the interior of all closets, cabinets and close-ups of the jewelry etc. Should have had that on a chip and cloud already, at least I now have the inventory we need. 

5. Did not doublecheck that the flashlight-radio combo still worked - radio worked in June, but didn't work when I needed it.
Then I discovered that the second big lantern Mr. R. meant to take to work and order a battery for was not working either. It is the kind that looks like one solid chunk of battery, well he never took care of it.
Thankfully, I had a short wave radio and batteries for it, but I was surprised at the poor reception and am wondering if I could have improved reception if I knew something about SW radios.
We had enough flashlights and battteries, but it would have been prudent to have some that are solar and/or hand-crank.

6. It takes a lot longer than you think to board up all the windows and I was glad my son came to help with the big windows. Those boards are bulky and heavy.
Best thing we did was leave the proper screws etc in the wall of the house around the windows and marked each board.

7. I had all the components for a bug out bag - but it was not assembled and that cost time and caused anxiety.
8. We didn't have a dedicated box of food and water to just grab and take with us either. Having food on a shelf is great if we stay, but we almost left and it would have taken more time to put together a box for the car.

9. We only have two small gas cans - we should have had at least one big gas can. We filled up way before they ran out of gas - one of the simplest and most important preps.
10. Needed boots to wear in flood water and into debris - for safety. Flip flops don't cut it and all my other shoes are heels or good leather shoes.

 In general - I was glad to have a kitty carrier, extra food, emergency cat litter and box and garbage bag liners - stored all together in an easily accessible place so I can set it up in the house or throw it in the car.  (he is an indoor/outdoor cat so we don't normally need it)
Poor kitty was spooked too, tentatively explored all the damage outside the day after.

Irma brought massive destruction, but we got lucky, this time. Only minor property damage, but weeks of clean up from debris and trees. Our neighbors were not so lucky. We have friends who are just now finishing up with the cleanup.

I may not care for our governor, but I was sure glad that he got seriously involved in procuring tankers of gasoline for all of Florida.
Old people in nursing homes are screwed - the power failed, the caretakers left - no food-no meds, many deaths due to the heat and no air conditioning.

Voluntary evacuation - just go - don't wait or it may be too late. I truly wish I'd bought a plane ticket, but couldn't convince Mr. R. to leave in time.
 
On my list to do or buy for this year:
1. Boots to wear in a flood or piles of debris. Wish I had those during Irma!
2. Inflatable tube and a pump for it.
3. One of those bathtub liners to fill with water, that can be closed and preserved - debating.
4. Have a to go bag already packed.
5. Research and buy a solar radio and a crank radio and lantern. Already picked up a 250 lumens hybrid solar flashlight (holds a charge for years) that can also charge mobile devices. 
6. Check marine supply store for a watertight container that will work well for holding papers.
7. Considering a generator.
8. Have a box of food ready to go in the car. Started on that.
9. Adding masks and a box of gloves and potassium iodine tablets to my list.
10. Considering buying emergency ready meals - enough for two for one week.
11. I want two of those silver emergency blankets for the car.

All in all, I think our prep was OK we had enough food, water, first aid and tarps, duct tape, camping gear to deal with all sorts of potential emergencies. Let's hope we don't have to test it again this year.

The biggest problem in the aftermath of the storm was that you could not get ice and gas was still scarce. Food spoiled because there was no power and it took a couple of days before the stores were open and fully stocked again.
No AC is bad enough but no power and no hot water for over a week was no fun. Some of our friends were without power and water for ten days. We never lost power - I suspect we are on a grid that supplies something to do with emergency services.