A Surefire way to improve your chances of survival – Emergency Kit

 

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It’s a wake up call.  One humungous wet, windy wake up call.  When hurricane Harvey blasted into southwest Texas leaving extensive damage and flooding, the scale of which is all most beyond comprehension.  Then hurricane Irma took the spotlight unleashing her fury on the Caribbean and Florida.  This is very sad and horrible on so many levels of loss and human suffering and now people who decided to ride out the storm in the keys are stranded, cut off from the world without food, water or power.  I’m sure when most of you heard that, you said to yourself, “Really need to put that survival kit together.”  A fabulous thought that will unfortunately fade along with the coverage of the epic catastrophes until it becomes “Texas, Florida a year later” and then again you’ll say, “Really need to put that survival kit together.” and then one day, the dam breaks, the fires burn rampant, the earth shakes, rattles and rolls.  No kit!!  Now, did you have a plan B?

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Did you notice how fast conditions on the ground changed, from dry to chest high water and did you also notice how with a slight change in direction, Irma hit areas that thought there were originally safe?  That’s how natural disasters work.  No warning, no how do you do, no pleased to meet you, just HERE!  If you think I’m going to use these disasters to motivate you to prepare and give yourself and advantage to survive something like this, well, you would be correct!  You never know when an earthquake is going to hit, you don’t know how bad it’ll flood, you don’t know where the twister will touch down,you just don’t know.  That’s why we buy insurance, hoping to never need it, but very happy that it’s there and by preparing an emergency chest/barrel/kit will give you insurance to be able to survive the first week of an event, but hope you’ll never need it.

A lot of cities, of all sizes struggle daily with their budgets and the cost of firefighters, police, infrastructure repair & maintenance, parks and recreation, public transit, administrative staffing, courts, pensions and lawsuits.  The level of city services are not what they once were and that includes the number of police and fire on duty at any given time and in the event of a natural disaster they would be immediately tied up responding to the hundreds of calls they would receive in the first few hours, (In Houston area alone they had over 75,000 emergency calls in the first four days).  They will triage the calls and handle the most serious including bleeding and severe trauma first, those with minor injuries will have to wait or treat themselves.  Depending on the conditions of the roads in and out of town, additional off duty first responders could be greatly delayed if at all able to report to work in the city or town they serve. 

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That’s why a survival kit comes in handy especially if you are able to stay in your home after the event.  After checking on those in the household the first thing you’ll do is a walk around your property and check to make sure it is still structurally safe to stay in and there is no smell of gas.  Now you can stay put and you have supplies to wait the few days until power and water come back online and life come back to normal.  Putting your survival kit together can be a fun family project and learning experience.  It’s also a great opportunity for a team building exercise for a company or safety committee.

My Survival Chest – This is what I used and put together for our home of two adults and one dog.  I was able to purchase just about everything on Amazon.com.  Use you imagination when it comes to the container and what you want to stash for an emergency. 

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A Rubbermaid 50 gallon capacity container, water proof and made of sturdy plastic, it’s durable and on wheels in case you have to move. Yellow so it can easily been seen.

 

 

 

Now, what and how much to put in your survival chest.  Base the amounts to store on a worse case scenario for your location.  How isolated are you?  Are you in city limits?  Are there bridges?  How many people and pets are you planning for?  You should also plan on 72 – 96 hours before all utilities and services are restored so a 3 – 5 day supply of food and water should be adequate.  

 

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WATER – Plan on 2 gallons per person per day. One gallon for drinking and one gallon for hygiene, sanitation and other.  Multiply 2 gallons with the number of people in the home and don’t forget to include water for your pets.  I have a mixture of bottled water and packaged sterilized water.  I would also add one or two of the straw water filter tools just in case things don’t get back to normal right away and you begin to run low on bottled water.  You can also boil water to sterilize it and if fire isn’t possible, keep a small bottle of bleach in your kit.  It can be used for purifying water for drinking, 8 drops for a gallon of water, shake and wait thirty minutes.  

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FOOD – Any combination of what you enjoy of prepared camping meals, fruits and canned goods (make sure to include a can opener) as well as some of your favorite snacks, power bars and chocolate which will come in handy to help with the stress.  Don’t forget to store emergency food for your pets as well.

 

 

 

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RADIO/CHARGER/BATTERIES – There are several radio choices but the ones that come with a hand crank/battery/solar powered are fabulous.  You can leave it in the sun all day to charge or use the hand crank.  It also can be used to charge your phone if you don’t have a portable charger.  The radio is both AM and FM as well as _________  

 

 

 

 

Flashlights/batteries/Candles and matches/fire starter – With no electricity you’ll have to rely on flashlights, candles and lanterns to illuminate the area.  This is very important for everyones safety especially if there is debris on the ground.  Never leave candles unattended.  Check the battery size requirements of all your items and store extra batteries in your kit.   

First aid kit/non latex gloves – A first aid kit can help you greatly for treating minor injuries.  If you need to treat a neighbor or stranger, the non latex gloves will help protect you.

Sleeping bags/tents – If your home is not safe to stay in but you have a large yard in the front or back you may want to set up tents for protection from the elements.  Even if you can stay in your home, to help get the kids through this, set the tents up and pretend you’re on a family camping trip.  Also keep a tarp in your kit as well to help protect from rain or use to keep you off the ground or help move someone who can’t get around on their own.

Blankets/warm clothes – Natural disasters don’t care what time of year it is so be prepared and keep some extra sweatshirts, jackets in the kit along with blankets to those chilly nights.

Make sure to keep an inventory of what’s in your emergency kit along with the expiration dates of those items so you can replace them when needed.  Also designate a meet area so you know everyone who was in the house or apartment is out.  In the event of an emergency, phone traffic will be crazy as people call 911 for assistance, family members calling to say they’re fine and family members calling to find out if loved ones are fine not to mention the possibility of downed cell towers.  I suggest you designate a family member who lives in another state as the contact person you can call to say you are fine and then let them contact everyone else about your status.  

You can get more information about how to prepare for a natural disaster or other emergencies by going to the FEMA web site at fema.gov and get stuff like a Earthquake Safety Checklist and other great information.  Check it out but don’t wait too long as it’ll be hard to research and prepare when you’re in the middle of a disaster.  Really, do it now!

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Hanukkah Candles and Christmas Tree Lights-Festive Dangers

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Reduce Home Holiday Risk – Don’t Kill Santa

As we show you how to make your home a safe haven for the holidays are there any other potential hazards that may exist?  What about that nice cozy fireplace that Santa will use to deliver presents?  When was the last time you used it and even more important, when was the last time you had the chimney cleaned?   Each time you use your fireplace, deposits  of ash, water vapor and other debris build up within your chimney and if not cleaned out can fuel a fire in your chimney that could spread throughout your home.  Be sure to keep flammable liquids and materials away from your fireplace, you don’t want to give the fire any added fuel to spread with and please avoid overloading your fire with too much wood.  Keep the fire manageable.  In addition here are 3 more tips for a safe fireplace.

1 – Don’t leave a fire burning in the fireplace when you go to sleep.  All it takes is one little spark to create a house fire.

2 – Don’t close the flue in your fireplace until all ambers and smoke is extinguished and out.  Closing it too early can cause dangerous carbon monoxide to spread throughout the house.

3 – Place all ash in a metal container, never in plastic or paper as any live ambers can burn through and create a house fire.

4 – Most important, test and make sure your carbon monoxide detector is operating.  

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Reduce Home Holiday Risk

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year Day are fun and joyous but they can be dangerous as well.  As people are gathering, visiting, traveling, cooking and eating, make sure your home is a safe haven for everyone during the holidays and not a house of horrors.

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Warehouseflow’s Tip of the Month – October

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15 Safety Things You Should Have Learned as a Child

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The very first safety meeting and training you ever had was not at your first job, it was done at home.  It was delivered by either mom or dad and could have gone any which way from a nice gentle reminder to a loud shattering awakening as dad smacks you upside your head for being, “so stupid!”  I grew up, in what may seem by today’s standards, as dark and medieval as we didn’t have seat belts in cars, didn’t wear helmets when biking, spent most of the day outside without sunscreen, most of our fresh fruits and vegetables came out of cans,  had no color television let alone HD, no mobile phones or video games. We communicated on a primitive level, face to face.  We were exposed to many things in groups, so we could get each disease, the chicken pox, measles, german measles and mumps, together at the same time.  I was a very hyperactive young boy with an enormous curiosity that drove my parents crazy with constant trips to our Doctor, whose office was very fortunately on the ground floor of our apartment building.  At least once a week I was there with cuts, fractures, scrapes, for stitches or X-rays and tetanus shots and once, hit by a car.
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Through trial and error, many bumps and bruises, observing others, I began to learn what posed a hazard, and developed an ability to see them before they happened. I admit some of the lessons I learned were at the expense of others, like Tom.  Tom was a first rate car mechanic and a very good friend of my dad, so he’d allow me to occasionally hang around the garage after school, I was in 5th grade.  He was an interesting man, missing 2 fingers from his right hand, that a fan blade removed for him because he wasn’t paying attention.  He also was of the rare breed that would wash the grease and grime off his hands with gasoline.  “Great stuff” he would tell me, “universal solvent”, even then I knew he was wrong.  Tom also smoked unfiltered chesterfields by the pack full and one day, after he cleaned his hands and lit-up, as fate would have it, I got to witness the entire event and believe me, it’s not something that you soon forget.
In Ireland, their research has found that 16% of 3 year olds wind up in hospital from injuries when there are 2 parents and it jumps to 46% for 3 year olds with only 1 parent. Makes sense, when you have an active child it’s much easier to control when there are 2 of you doing the job.  (Read more here)    Over the years, our society has put many, many policies into place to help protect guys like Tom from themselves and to protect young children from accidents and yet, we still want to put more into place.  But is that a smart idea?  All parents have the natural urge to want to keep their children in a protective cocoon but does that help them prepare for the real hazards of life?  Even with all the new ways to protect children, they are still finding their ways into accidents, so have we done a disservice by not exposing them so they can learn first hand and understand the nature of a hazard and why it’s a hazard?  I really  don’t know the real answer, to me children need a certain amount of freedom to grow, explore and thrive and yet somehow still protect them from accidents but then, I also believe all the reliance on technology is dumbing us down. Schools are abandoning the teaching of cursive, children can no longer read the hands on a clock, common sense is not as abundant.  Very glad to see the U.S. Navy recognized this and is teaching ship navigators how to use a sextant.  Always good to know the analog way as a backup.  I’m sure everyone has their own opinion on this topic and how to protect their child.  With that all said, may I share with you the 15 safety things I learned as a child.
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1 – When building your own stairway to heaven, make sure it’s sturdy.  Stacking different types of furniture with other household items presents challenges in stability and engineering. Remember, the fall usually looks worse than it really was and sure hope that treat was worth the risk.
2 -You can tell if your dad is a baby boomer by the scar on his forehead. Before backyard trampolines us apartment dwellers used our parents bed as a trampoline for entertainment, to see if we could hit the ceiling but you must be aware coming down, those headboards dispensed many cracked foreheads.
3 – Playing with matches may burn more then you want, especially when you use dad’s lighter fluid and pour it all over your sister’s dollhouse.  Wow, that went up fast.
4 – Dad’s double edged razor blades come out of the dispenser really cool but much harder to put back in even if you can hold them steady enough, where’s that blood coming from, didn’t feel anything.  Oh wait, It’s me!
5 – Crossing on the green light and only in the crosswalks is not as much fun as dodging out from behind parked cars but apparently most drivers don’t appreciate it or see the humor.
6 -When playing around with your erector set motor for the crane you built, the gears stop turning when your fingers are caught in the gears. 
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7 – Grabbing handles of items on the stove to pull yourself up to get a better view is not a good idea, especially if they have hot liquids in them.
8 – Electric outlets can be fascinating with those little slits.  Can’t quite get the dinner knife in there but dad’s screwdriver on the other hand.  Whoa, that felt weird.
9 – Mixing cleansers found under the sink, do not make cleaning twice as  easier or faster but can create a deadly poisonous toxic cloud for the whole house to enjoy.
10 -Before you jump from anything, rock, hill, billboard sign, check that there are no boards with nails sticking up waiting for your foot to land.
11 -Running with scissors or any sharp object is not good but even worse when it’s pointed your way.
12 -Plastic bags don’t make for really great masks or astronaut helmets.  It’s difficult to breath and keep from passing out.
13 -Drowning was not one of the options I had in mind, especially after lying to everyone how well you can swim.
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14 -Cans of goodies came with a key you’d use to wind around the can to remove the band of steel sealing the can.  The challenge to getting the key was removing the steel band and did I mention how sharp the steel was.  Oh, bleeding again.
15 -Listening to the tracks to see if a train is coming, like in the movies is not the best idea as railroad tracks make for a poor playground.
Join the conversation.  No matter what generation you are part of, what safety things did you learn as a child you’d like to share?

Just Putting It Out There – A Survival Chest

Power returns to the iconic light fixtures outside the U.S. Post Office on Second St. in Napa, Calif., five hours after the South Napa earthquake Sunday morning, Aug. 24, 2014. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

(Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

At 3:20 a.m. on Sunday, August 24, 2014 we were suddenly shaken out of a sound sleep as our bed transformed into a wild carnival ride. For what seemed like eternity the abrupt shocks of the Napa quake felt and sounded like a car repeatedly slamming into the side of the house.  It knocked over lamps, toppled pictures and moved furniture.  As it turned out we were less then 10 miles from the quake center and  were very lucky as our only losses were a flower vase, a candle holder and 4 beer bottles from my bottle collection. However closer to the epicenter in the city of Napa many weren’t as lucky as some homes and businesses were red tagged and quite a few older chimneys bit the dust.

After living in California for 38 years, I’ve experienced many small tremors but only 2 major earthquakes.  The 6.0 Napa quake and the 6.9 Loma Prieta quake in 1989, each one different from the other in it’s motion and length yet both destructive.  The thing about when a disaster strikes, you are never really ready for it but you can be prepared for it and can increase your chances of survival by putting together a survival chest just like many workplaces have.  I know Survival Chest sounds worse than it really is, the truth is earthquakes don’t make appointments and can strike at any time and odds are you may never have to use the contents of your survival chest, but you never know how severe and wide spread a disaster will be.  When Loma Prieta hit, the Marina section of San Francisco was hit pretty hard while other areas had slight to no damage.  Where I live, 35 miles Northeast of San Francisco we felt a slight rolling sensation with no damage at all but the Bay Bridge lost an upper section.

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This can be a fun family project and learning experience for you and the kids. It’s also a great opportunity for a team building exercise for a company or safety committee or if your are In the process of forming a safety committee.  It’s always best to be prepared and have a plan that the entire family knows to follow and should be based on the worse case scenario for your location.  How isolated would you be?  Are there bridges?  Are you within city limits or in the country?   First Responders may not be able to get to your location for quite some time as they will tackle high priority emergencies first so you should plan on 72 – 96 hours before all utilities and services are restored and help can get to you. Through brain storming create a list of items you think are needed and the quantities for the number of people that will be depending on this chest and don’t forget to include your furry friends as well.

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What is suggested to be included for your survival chest for those days without electricity and running water?  A portable radio, flashlights, batteries, bottled water, food (if you include canned goods make sure to include a can opener), candles, matches or other fire starter, blankets, warm clothes, sleeping bags, first aid kit, pet food.  What else would you include for your survival?  I would also include a wrench in the chest so you can shut off the gas and/or water lines if needed.

Make sure to keep an inventory of what’s in the chest and what items if any have expiration dates and when to replace and that responsibility can be rotated among the family.  Also designate a meet area so you know everyone who was in the house or apartment is out.  You can use this for all emergencies.  Also remember in the event of an emergency phone traffic will be crazy.  People trying to call loved ones that they are fine and safe and people trying to call those impacted by the disaster to see if they are fine and safe not to mention the possibility of downed cell towers. It maybe good to plan on calling a little while after the disaster.

Then you can also decide where to keep the chest and who in the case of the workplace, holds the key to it. In a recent survey conducted by Staples’ only half of employees felt their company is prepared for a disaster. I’m sure it’s even more for households.  Put your employees and family at ease, and make sure you’re ready for that unexpected disaster.