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Disaster Preparedness Planning
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Disaster Preparedness Planning

Just a few thoughts on disaster planning. Any other input welcome.
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144586_tn?1284669764
The end of the year is coming around and everyone is thinking of holiday gifts for the kids. And the budget. One of the things I truly believe in is setting aside a portion of the family budget specifically to prepare for disasters.  You don't have to get everthing at once. But there is that saying "better to light one candle than to curse the darkness". Then there is something called "existential paranoia".You suspect the neighborhood may be enveloped in a life threatening catastrophe and you are right! One of the rules of themilitary since the age of Hannibal, is that when more than one person uses the battle cart pulled by the elephant nobody takes care of it. So for holiday gifts, think of giving your individual children gifts that could help them survive. And in the process be helpful to the entire family. An example would be a high quality compass. A military style flashlight. (These have red lenses that don't bother night vision and clipon the belt and have a head that is at 90 degrees to the body).  A two quart camping canteen.  A good pair of military boots. Swimming lessons. A good sleeping bag that will protect against ultra-low temperatures. (Wiggies makes the ones used by many Special Forcesd) A good book on survival. The army and airforce survival manuals are availablein hard and soft cover at Barnes and Noble and make excellent reading. Although I own a K-bar from my military days I am not a big fan of knives. If you get one you also need to purchase a sharpening stone. I am a big fan of the so-called "Swiss Army Knife "that has a small scissors and a tweezers to  pull out splinters. And a small Buck pocket knife. A gift certicate to a CPR course would be a good idea if they are old enough. And at the risk of being called a "gun nut" an inexpensive iron-sighted single shot.22 may someday be worth it's weight in gold. Good gun for a kid? I got mine when I was eleven.
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144586_tn?1284669764
I might ad a visit to the Wiggys website will reveal a wealth of information regarding fabrics, the different choices of footwear, ways to insulate yourself from cold, and survival in the wilderness. Interestingly, Wiggys also sells fire resistant underwear! Wiggys is a favorite choice of many in the special operations groups of all the U.S. armed services.
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144586_tn?1284669764
So we should be thinking about gifts that are suitable as "presents" and  have utility for survival for the individual and family. Binoculars are a great idea. I think the small Tasco ones are wonderful to have around. Think about a nylon strap military diffle bag for every member of the family. These large durable  bags have adjustable shoulder straps and can not only be used for household laundry, but may be be the only way you can move things in an emergency when evacuation is imminent. Think fishing poles, line and gear. Fun too. Suitable for fish found in your area. Ask for advice. Small-two way radios. The kids love them. The boy scouts have a store and a catalog of booklets on merit badges. These books are written for children and most contain information on survival skills and first aid. The scout store also has a number of camping items, such as small hand axes.
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377600_tn?1225167036
You have very good suggestions.  I've always wanted a crank radio.
I learned CPR and have taught it to my family. I also teach them about wound care and things like that.  I was trained as a medic in the AF, but I mainly just read a lot.
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144586_tn?1284669764
Thanks. There are many problems with the way CPR is taught by the Red Cross and American Heart. If the person is in arrest after drowning in ice cold water the code should be continued for hours, regardless of pupilary reaction. They teach the brain cells die in minutes, which is not correct. There have been resuscitations without brain damage after hours of submersion in ice cold water.  Similarly, an arrest secondary to carbon monoxide exposure should be worked for hours, and preferably continued in a diving chamber. You can give quite adequate CPR for extended periods using your foot, removing your shoe. If you have many casualties, or are alone, this will not sound like such a bad idea. When I would give CPR I would carry a magic marker and make an "X" at the point where the compressions should be and write the depth of compressions and the frequency on the patient's chest. You can enlist a lay bystander to provide compressions. The ventilations are the difficult part. Vomiting is common with CPR and in an emergency kit you really need a suction. There was a quality single use suction available using an aerosol can, however the friendly environmentalists at the Montreal conference banned the product, which has not been replaced. Thank you chigirl29, for your service to the country. I am proud of you. The crank radios are worthwhile. Solar cells are now available to use to recharge ordinary batteries at reasonable prices.
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312330_tn?1245180352
This past December, my home town was hit by what they are now terming a hurricane...(home is back in the Pacific Northwest).  It's sad, but a lot of times it takes a disaster hitting for a community to focus on disaster preparedness.  Transportation was a huge issue with this storm.  Our area is two small cities...separated by a bridge....the problem being that the bridge was unaccessible...ultimately both areas were isolated from each other, and from the rest of the state.  In the same respect, there could be no helicopters during the storm for the safety of the helicopter and crew.  Power was out in the outlying areas for up to 2 weeks....and even those who are lucky enough to be on the same electrical grid as the hospital were out for 3 days....which means, yes, even the hospital had to rely on their generators for that length of time.  We don't have a trauma center, which was really needed during the storm. There were issues with what buildings would be used by the red cross for disaster shelters.  The one group that was organized throughout the ordeal was the group that maintains the "meals on wheels" program, which even throughout the storm managed to get a meal to each of their people each day (granted it wasn't "on time", but they DID get a meal each day, which is a lot more than some people got)...what have we/they learned through this?

--once a disaster has started, it's too late to think of preparedness...at that point one has to think of survival....the time to prepare is before it happens.

--we need to have supplies on hand...water that is safe to drink (many places had a boil advisary due to damage to the water lines)...food that won't spoil (canned foods)....and foods that don't need to be cooked in order to eat, as there is no guarantee for power to use to cook.

--generators are great things...as are propane heaters...BUT they both have their risks...especially of carbon monoxide poisoning....without power, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors don't work....the same goes for using a vehicle for its heater...very dangerous.

--it's very important to have a radio with batteries...during this ordeal, phone lines were down...cellphone batteries don't last very long...knowing what is going on is very important.

--simply for sanity purpose...make sure that you have non-power dependent activities for children to do...I can say from experience that boredom doesn't take long to set in when there is no video games, televisions, computers, etc.

--also make sure that you have some extra of any medicines that need to be taken on a regular basis, as it's impossible to get a refill in the midst of a natural disaster...and have a first aid kit that is well stocked and on hand.
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144586_tn?1284669764
Generally, diesel generators are preferred because they do not generate significant quanties of carbon monoxide in contrast to gasoline generators. It is also difficult to gang generators and not always possible. Thus, a hospital should have the electrical grid within the emergency area separated so a single small generator could supply a single room properly. In most hospitals the lines are conected in such a way that if you don't have an extremely large standby generator you cannot supply a single room. Unfortunately, the "blue sky" environmental regulations do not exempt emergency generators and many perfectly serviceable units that would have been available to the community have been scrapped because they do not meet emissions requirements. Good information and input, ramblingseminarian!
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246464_tn?1249455747
On the Red Cross Web Site you can buy Preparedness kits. We have 2. one for the house and one for the car.

I think everyone should get at least one!
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