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How Much and What Types of Food and Water for Emergencies

Living in Earthquake Country requires a bit more attention to the possibilities of natural disasters than in other parts of the country.

How Much Food and Water?
If you’re someone who wants to be prepared for the major earthquake in our future, you’ve probably done something about having food and water available for you and your family. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Some disaster preparedness groups recommend having 3 days worth of food and water (1 gallon per person per day). I agree with the ones that say be ready for at least a full week, 7 days (think Katrina).

2.Except for the Premium Home Emergency Kit offered by The Disaster Supply Center, I’ve never seen an emergency kit that has enough water. You really need to supplement the kits with extra water.

3. The best plan for storing water is to use a food grade water storage container, sizes range from 2.5 gallons to 55 gallon water barrels with either a siphon or spigot, which you treat with 5 year water preserver so it will remain stable and last for up to 5 years.

Many people mistakenly believe that adding bleach to their stored water will keep it stable for 5 years. This is not true, in an emergency it will help purify your water for the short term so you can drink it but it will not stabilize water for long term storage. Remember bleach is not designed or approved for human consumption.

Another thing to consider is that the plastic used for water containers that is sold in supermarkets and other stores are not designed for long term storage and will start to leach into your water within the first six months.
You should replace your stored water every 6-7 months to avoid both leaching from plastic containers as well as bacterial build up.

4. Have plenty of long term foods on hand like 5 year food bars, MRE’s (5-10 year shelf life) and other similar foods with a 5+ year shelf life.
Most canned foods have a 12-24 month shelf life and need to be replaced often in addition they are heavy and not ideal if you have to move your supplies. Also most canned foods contain a high level of sodium and are thirst provoking, requiring a larger supply of available water. Go with the lightweight 5 year foods.
Starting off with food and water that have a 5 year shelf life is a lot easier than replacing these items every 6-12 months. However good our intentions are to replace these items once or twice a year.

Fortunately in Marin county people are able to take advantage of the GET READY MARIN training, provided by the local Fire Departments and volunteer Disaster Councils that help people understand what to do and how to prepare for earthquakes and other emergencies/disasters.

Supplies should be arranged, stored and located where personnel will be able to access the materials quickly and easily after a disaster strikes. Preferably in your car or in a shed outdoors. Supplies should be stored in backpacks, duffel bags and other containers with a high degree of mobility in case you have to move to another location.

The Disaster Supply Center offers a large selection of Emergency Kits for your car and home.

While most people think about the importance getting prepared, the majority know it’s a good idea and something that they should do but they don’t.
For some people it is an overwhelming task to assemble all the supplies they need and so they do little or nothing.
The Earthquake Supply Center is a one stop shop for getting prepared with all the supplies you need in one location. The people there are knowledgeable and able to advise you on a wide variety of subjects and preparedness needs. Check out their website at http://www.disastersupplycenter.com

Preparedness is an act of love.

The time to prepare for a major disaster is now.

Michael Skyler, Owner and Founder of the Disaster Supply Center

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How Healthy Is Your Water Bottle?

Should you be uneasy about that refillable water bottle you’ve been using? Maybe. Health-news headlines are yelping about bisphenol A (BPA), a suddenly scary component of plastic that’s hiding in plain sight in polycarbonate water bottles, water pitchers, baby bottles — even liners in canned foods. What’s so bad about BPA is that animal studies have linked it with cancer, miscarriage, fertility, obesity, immunity, and sexual-development problems. But that doesn’t mean you have to toss half the contents of your kitchen into a toxic-waste dump. Here’s our advice on staying safe. And sane.

How to Recognize the Real Thing
Bisphenol A is found in clear, hard, shatterproof plastics. Often, the letters PC (for polycarbonate) and/or the number 7 will be stamped in the little recycling triangle on or near the bottom of the container. But not every plastic stamped with a 7 contains BPA; your biggest clue is to look for hard, see-through, unbreakable things. Disposable soft drink and water bottles and liquid-medicine containers (like cough syrup bottles) are not polycarbonate and do not contain BPA. So while everyone is having a fit about disposable bottles for environmental reasons — and rightly so — it’s only the rigid refillable kind you need to worry about for health reasons. Make it easy by remembering the numbers: Only drink from those with numbers 4 and 2 in their triangles, or if need be, 5 and 1. In our opinion, you should avoid any with 3, 6, or 7 (not just for BPA reasons).

How Risky Is It, Really?
Not everyone agrees, even though low levels are estimated to be in the bodies of 9 out of 10 Americans. The FDA, the plastics industry, and the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis have all concluded that BPA levels are probably too low to be hazardous for adults. But some prominent BPA researchers say harmful effects begin at levels lower than those the government says are safe.

What has people really freaking out is that babies and kids may be at higher risk, according to the U.S. National Toxicology Program. BPA acts like a hormone in the body, and studies suggest that at the levels young children may be exposed to, there could be a danger of early puberty, hyperactivity, immune-system changes, and low sperm counts. Moms-to-be can protect their kids even before they’re born by not getting any mercury or composite dental fillings during pregnancy (use gold). Many experts believe these materials release high concentrations of mercury and BPA during application.

What You Can Do Right Now
Even if you can’t dodge exposure to this ubiquitous plastic the way you can dodge a playground ball, you can minimize your contact.

Don’t heat anything that might have BPA in it. BPA is in plastics because it makes them lightweight, shatterproof, extremely clear, and heat resistant. But when these plastics are warmed up, BPA leaches out of them 55 times faster than it does at room temperature. Rates stay high even after the contents cool. So:

· No microwaving in hard, clear, plastic containers — use ceramic or glass.
· No heating cans of baked beans (or cans of anything) on the grill.
· No pouring hot tea into your polycarbonate water bottle.
· No preparing baby formula with hot water directly in a polycarbonate baby bottle.

Replace your clear, hard, refillable plastic containers. Our recommendations:
· Serve hot foods and drinks in glass or ceramic containers.
· Get babies BPA-free plastic bottles (safer than glass).
· Get older kids and yourself BPA-free plastic water bottles — more and more are in stores. We also like the stainless steel and aluminum bottles that are now available.

For now, buy mainly fresh or frozen food. Currently, as many as 80% of cans contain BPA. Some brands are BPA-free, which is good news if you don’t have time to make black beans from scratch tonight. But if cans aren’t labeled BPA-free, think twice. This is particularly true for the two types of canned foods that leach the most BPAs from their liners:

· Fatty foods, such as coconut milk, salmon, creamy soups, and tuna packed in oil
· Acidic foods, such as tomato products and some juices.

Go fresh whenever possible. But that’s our advice in general.

Source: Real Age Inc.

Mandatory Four “Under the Bed” Preparedness Items

These are the Mandatory Four “Under the Bed” preparedness items suggested if any disaster takes place, besides the obvious Emergency Kit.

1. Pry bar – To open jammed doors or remove windows to escape.

2. Spare Shoes – Wrap a spare pair of shoe in a plastic bag. Broken glass and debris may be present on the bedroom floor or other floors as you search for others and check for the smell of gas indicating a gas leak.     Cut feet are the most common injury after an earthquake

3. Light – Keep a lightstick (mine safe- non-sparking flashlight) available and use it as you check for gas leaks around your home. DO NOT use a regular flashlight which  could cause a spark and explosion until you are sure there is no gas leak.

4. Heavy Duty Work Gloves – To brush away glass and debris.

How to Prepare for a Flash Flood

With the east coast still reeling from the effects of super storm Sandy,  and a typhoon has just ravaged the Philippines, we now, more than ever, should be prepared for disasters that are out of our control.

Here are a few of the most important things you can do make sure you’re safe in the midst of flooding:

Purchase an Emergency Kit, and customize it for Your Needs.

There are many emergency kits available on the market, so make sure that the emergency kit you purchase have good quality items. Keep in mind you should personalize yours according to your individual or family needs. For example, if you have kids or elderly living with you, you should have medicine and diapers in the kit.  And what should be mandatory in your kit are bandages, money, identification cards, flashlight, battery-operated radio, mobile phones, few photos, extra batteries, ready-to-cook and long-lasting food, light clothes, underwear, and important papers. It’s all about what you and your loved ones will need if ever you are forced to evacuate and leave your home.

Store important items up high.

Place important items in elevated space in your house in case the flood gets inside your house.  If you have a second or third floor, utilize those for electric-powered appliances and old and fragile furniture.  Invest on rubber boots so you can walk in water without getting infected. Make sure to tie curtains and drapes so they won’t touch the flood.  Keep in mind that your goal is to minimize water damage especially to appliances that are prone to fire.

Glue your ears and eyes to the news.

If you still have power, keep yourself updated about the track of the storm and the condition in your own area.  Install weather apps on your Smartphone or laptop or tablet to get minute-by-minute relevant weather information. It would also be smart to invest in a hand crank radio, in case there is no power and you need to listen to emergency broadcasts. Know your geography. Also, communicate with your neighbours and even family members in another city or state to check if they’re safe and serve as a secondary location where you can go to in case your home is submerged.

Sleep light.

A cold and rainy weather maybe conducive to sleeping good but is not really an option if your area is in the path of a strong storm. You can lie down but that should be it.  You should be on high alert and be ready for anything.  Before lying down in bed, make sure you have done the first three steps so that you will not panic during a worst-case scenario.  Keep everyone in the house close to you so you are all accounted for in the event that water has reached the interior of your home or you have to leave altogether.

Keep calm and stay alert.

This is probably then wisest thing you can do during a super storm.  Panicking will get you nowhere safe.  Avoid pacing around. Preserve your strength in case you need to flee from your home to a shelter or to a family or friend’s house.  Appearing frantic will also cause alarm to everyone who is with you in the house.

This can be a resource for everyone who is into disaster-preparedness and those who are doing essay writing about it.

Are You Prepared for Hospital System Failure?

Where would we be without the hospital system that we have grown accustomed to? One in ten Americans are admitted to hospital each year and many more receive assessment and treatment as an outpatient. However, as unlikely as it may sound, we need to be prepared for the day when our hospital system fails. Whether it is the result of poor management, its inability to cope with a surge in population growth or the result of an epidemic which spreads across the United States and leaves hospitals unable to treat vast numbers of seriously ill people, failure of the hospital system will always remain a possibility. With this in mind, it pays to be organized now should the worst happen in the future. Here we consider three steps that we can all take to ensure that we have the necessary skills and equipment to hand should we be unable to receive hospital treatment.

Take an advanced first aid course

Although basic first aid courses do at great job at teaching you how to manage cuts, sprains and broken bones, and to give basic life support to maintain someone’s breathing and circulation, if you don’t have access to hospital care it’s vital that you have a working knowledge of managing a greater range of medical situations. This will prove invaluable if family or friends suddenly take ill or are involved in an accident; hopefully they will also invest in this training to provide assistance to you should you need it. During advanced first aid you will learn about identifying and managing injuries to the head, chest, abdomen, pelvis, spine, bones and soft tissue; monitoring symptoms and injuries will also be dealt with. Additionally, treating casualties in a rescue situation will be covered, as well as managing shock and fluid replacement. These courses can last up to five days and carry a significant cost, but having the peace of mind that you would be able to cope in the worst case scenario is priceless.

Purchase a medical first aid kit

We probably all have a first aid of sorts at home, even if it is just a collection of band-aids, a triangular bandage, a thermometer and some antiseptic. With the knowledge and skills developed during the advanced first aid course you will be able to make use of the items included in an enhanced first aid kit, designed to include everything needed to deal with a medical emergency. Although the content of medical first aid kits does vary, along with a wide range of dressings and bandages they will often contain more high-tech equipment such as a blood pressure monitor, a handheld suction device, an oxygen cylinder and mask. Defibrillators can be purchased separately, which talk you through step by step how to use this life saving piece of equipment. Many first aid kits come in emergency kits as well. Make sure that you not only have a first aid kit but also food, water, and other tools that will help you survive in an emergency situation.

Familiarize yourself with over the counter medication

While the range of over the counter medications that can be purchased is a lot smaller than those on prescription, failure of the hospital system may result in difficulty obtaining prescriptions and therefore increased reliance on those we can purchase ourselves. There has already been talk of taking widely used drugs that treat conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes off prescription. It is wise to be aware of which drugs are readily available and what they can be used for. Medications that are currently available off prescription include those to treat pain and fever, colds and flu, asthma, allergies, skin and sleep problems. Anti-sickness, antacids, anti-diarrheals, laxatives and medications to help quit smoking and aid weight loss are also available without a prescription. Although prescription drugs are commonly available over the internet without a prescription, there is no guarantee of their quality and there are safety issues around the lack of a thorough assessment before they are dispensed.

Despite following these steps it would still be essential to maintain your insurance, as even if the hospital system fails in your area, you may still be able to obtain access to a primary care physician for treatment, which your medical cover will help to pay for. The insurance company may also be able to arrange for you to have treatment elsewhere.

Could Your Business Cope With Extreme Weather?

Extreme weather is becoming an increasingly prominent problem for businesses all over the world.  From Hurricanes Sandy in the USA, to the flooding and unexpectedly heavy snow in England, it seems that the planet is eager to remind us that there are some things that we cannot control.  Is your business prepared for the forces of nature?

Developing an Extreme Weather Plan

When bad weather hits, everyone in the area suffers. It is important that you work with your employees and other businesses in your area, to minimize the disruption, and keep everyone safe.  Consider drawing up a contingency plan that covers the most likely bad weather scenarios for the area where your business is based.  Here are a few things that you may want to think about in your plan:

  • Put employee safety first.  If there are bad weather warnings, consider letting people leave work early so that they can get home before the roads get dangerous.  If you wake up to find that it’s treacherous outside, advise employees to stay home.
  • Weatherproof your office building before winter sets in.  A small investment in insulation, double glazing, and other improvements will pay off massively in the long run.
  • Have a plan for office closures. If one of your senior employees lives within walking distance of the office, consider giving them a small annual bonus for being the person responsible for checking the status of the office during periods of bad weather.  Make sure they know that they should not put their safety at risk while making the journey, however.
  • Support remote working. Many employees can do their jobs from home as long as they have a laptop and a mobile phone.  Encourage people to stay safe and work from home during periods of bad weather.
  • Test your contingency plan regularly. If you already have several remote workers, it’s easy to get complacent.  During periods of bad weather, the number of people working from home may double or triple.  Will your systems hold up?  Do your office based employees know how to use the remote working solutions you provide, or will your IT support team end up getting dozens of phone calls? Test your system on a good day, so you know it won’t fail you when you need it.
  • Have a plan for getting people home. The recent flooding in Northern England was sudden and unexpected.  Many people left for work thinking that the weather was going to be perfectly normal, and found themselves under dressed and ill-prepared for the torrential rains.  Some were forced to abandon their cars on flooded roads and walk home.  Don’t leave your employees stranded.  Have a plan for getting your employees home, or at the very least putting them up somewhere safe for the night.
  • Have Emergency Kits and Supplies on hand. Make sure that your company has emergency kits and supplies for your employees if needed. You do not know how long you may be stuck inside your building. Suggest that your employees have emergency kits at their home location as well so they may be prepared for any given scenario.

With luck, you will never need your extreme weather contingency plans; however having them will give you and your employee’s peace of mind. Keep an eye on your local weather forecast, and be ready with your laptop and a hot cup of tea, just in case!

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of <a href=”http://www.maintel.co.uk/solutions/remote-working”>Maintel</a&gt; who are experts in remote working technology and business continuity planning.

Disaster Survival Food: 5 Helpful Tips

Disaster Survival Food: 5 Things to Know

Natural disasters are real and could happen anytime. It is a reality that the world knows too well. We have seen on television the wrath of Mother Nature in the form of floods, hurricanes and earthquakes that can cause devastation and even power outages. People that are used to experiencing extreme weather have been preparing disaster survival food for years now. No matter where you live, it’s so important that you learn how to prepare the necessary food.  To help you, here are some tips that you may be able to use.

Not just canned food

Canned food is the most logical choice for survival food during a disaster. Why not, it has a very long shelf life. However, if you use canned foods that are commercially available it is important to know about its harmful effects on the body. Most of these canned goods have high concentration of sodium that can exacerbate stress, which is something you don’t want to have in an already stressful situation. Other sources of food include MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) and Emergency Food Bars. These have a higher shelf life, sealed in material that will not contaminate the food, and are approved by the military.

Water is crucial

Any emergency food plan should consist of ample supply of safe drinking water. The water supply should be a priority in any disaster food plan. Each person in your household should have at least three gallons or about 11.3 liters of drinking water supply. The water supply is enough to survive for three days until help arrives. It would be great to store for a seven-day ration since no one really knows when relief comes around. There are a few ways to keep clean, drinkable water on hand. Water Pouches are the best ways to keep small amounts of water in case of an emergency. It is not suggested to use water bottles for the plastic seeps into the water over a period of time. Make sure to use sturdy, BPA Free plastic containers when storing water for long periods-up to 5 years.

Build a food bank

Even NASA initiated a program for preparedness to meet potential disaster situations among its staff. One of the modules calls for building a food bank. Unless you have a thousand dollars lying around, it would be wise to build the food bank little by little. You can pick freeze-dried food that can be stored for long periods of time. The key is to pick an item each week to add to your bank.

Create a list

The most important thing about having an emergency food plan is to have a solid list. Concentrate on building your list with food that can be stored for a long time. You need to also pick food that has high calories. Pick foods that will help you survive the crisis and enough to last for seven days at a minimum. One of such foodstuff is rice. Buy at least ten pounds of rice each time you visit the grocery. If you store rice correctly, it can last up to ten years. It is high in carbohydrates which will fuel your body especially during a disaster.

Buy lots of dry plastic buckets

Make sure you store the food items in dry, air-tight plastic buckets. You can buy food-grade plastic buckets at your local hardware. Salt can help remove the oxygen when placed in open plastic bags at the bottom of the bucket. Label each bucket appropriately with the time and date of the storage and place it in your cellar.

Best Solution, Buy an Emergency Kit!

There are many emergency kits out there that have the food that is suggested for you and your family to survive for however many days you feel you should prepare for. Emergency kits not only come with food and water you would need to survive, but also may come with extra tools to help with building a fire, keeping warm, hygiene, communication and much more.

Kathy works for the website <a href=”http://www.howmuchisit.org”>How Much Is It</a> — A larger resource that can help you find out what thousands of items and services cost.  Feel free to follow her on Twitter @howmuchforit.

 

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