Community Challenge 25: Share your emergency preparedness tips

As the first hurricane of the season moved through NC in early August, we were reminded how important it is to be prepared for emergencies. Tell us your preparedness plan, or nominate a friend who lives in an area where hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes or other natural disasters are a reality, and tell us how the friend stays prepared. We’ll select four “staff picks” based on staff votes of the best tips. Each of the four staff pick winners will receive a prize pack consisting of:

  • One Nite Ize Radiant 300 Rechargeable Lantern
  • Nite Ize RunOff waterproof phone pouch
  • One Ventev 10000 mAh PD Portable Battery

We’ll also select three “second chance” winners by random drawing to receive One Ventev 10000 mAh PD Portable Battery.


Eligibility

To be eligible to win a prize, you must:

  • Reply in this topic before 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 13, 2020
  • Tell us your emergency preparedness tips or nominate a friend in a high-risk area by telling us how that friend stays prepared.
  • In your own words, include details that provide meaningful information about being prepared for emergency situations, drawn from your (or your nominee’s) personal experience. Links to, or pasted content from, emergency preparedness websites will not count as an eligible entry without your additional personal insight.

Sorry, Republic Wireless staff members, Experts, Ambassadors, and their families are not eligible to win. :disappointed:


Winner Selection

Staff Picks: Eligible entries will be presented to our staff who will vote on the emergency preparedness tips they find to be the most helpful. The four entries that receive the most staff votes will be selected as staff picks to win the staff pick prize pack.

Second Chance Drawing: All remaining eligible entries will be added to a random drawing to take place in Community. Three entries will be randomly chosen to win a second chance prize.


Prizes

Four Staff Pick Prize Packs will include one Nite Ize Radiant 300 Rechargeable Lantern, one Nite Ize RunOff waterproof phone pouch, and one Ventev 10000 mAh PD Portable Battery,

Three “Second Chance” prizes will consist of one Ventev 10000 mAh PD Portable Battery, shown above.

1 Like

First think: Food, Water, Shelter.
Where I live, it is unlikely my shelter is going to be unusable in an emergency situation. So I stock up my food and water in my shelter.
Then think: Level of catastrophe. If it is minor like a power outage for a day, that is a different level of preparedness than a full-scale armageddon.

There is water that lasts years in a mylar pouch, but are a LOT more expensive than buying bottled water every 2 years (technically it is the plastic bottle that expires, not the water!). So every 2 years, I get a new round of bottled water. 1 gallon per person per day is the rule of thumb.

Food on the other hand, when dehydrated, is good value to get the emergency food that has a shelf life of 25 years (technically, some food inside lasts only 10 but they’ll mark the outside with an expiration of 25 years later).

Then, I think about the shelter. This includes a renewable power source (solar, hand crank), emergency radio that can pick up the weather broadcasts (NOAA), home defense (baseball bat?), 20 year shelf life AA & AAA batteries (for flashlights which you should also have).

Then finally, consider the armageddon scenario. This is where further equipment is needed like a water filter. Then if I have to go out into the wasteland, I have a box of N95 masks and a box of N95s (small size for children) masks (Yes, I was ready for COVID because of this!!!). I would have more things, but I have run out of space for more emergency equipment!

4 Likes

look at what types of disasters may hit you area (hurricanes, floods, high wind storms/tornados, earthquake, blizzards) and plan accordingly
up here there are lots of full/part home natural gas generators hooked directly top the home natural gas line (most homes are heated with natural gas in the area)

we keep enough food to feed each person for about a month in case we get snowed in (are think to make that 3 months per person after the shortages seen at the start of covid-19) also include personal items like soap, Toilet paper, and other items used)
we also have a 5 Gallon jug of drink water per person (note this is about a 5 day supply but I live across from a lake so where we can filter and boil water to get more )

being a scout family helps as we have lots of camping gear (flash light/lanterns, camp stoves)

3 Likes

We have tried to focus on some basic things we can do in advance to make sure that we are prepared.

First, we have our 72-hour emergency kits that we’ve prepared. We put them in hiking backpacks so if we need to go someplace we will be able to pack them around fairly easily (vs. storing them in a tote or something like that).

Second, we have tried to put together a little bigger storage of food and basic supplies. When COVID-19 hit it was really easy to see how quickly some of the basic things we take for granted can disappear. We were ok because we had our storage that we were able to use. It’s important to make sure your food storage is made up of things that you actually know how to use. I’ve known people who buy a bunch of wheat for food storage, but have no idea what to do with it if an emergency happens. It’s also important that you have stuff in your storage besides just food. Soap, water, toilet paper, anything you use on a regular basis you want to make sure you have a small supply of. The nice thing about this is it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Each month, when you go shopping, you can just buy a little extra of something already on your list. It will stock up fast and you’ll have a good little storage before you know it.

Third, we have picked out meeting places in case of an emergency. My family and I are normally not together all day (work, school, home) which means if an emergency happens odds are we won’t all be together when it does. So we have picked out a couple of different locations to meet up. Our first location is for if something were to happen just to our house (i.e. a house fire). We have little kids in my family who don’t have cell phones yet, but they all know if something happens at the house that puts just our house at danger where we are suppose to meet up. The second meeting place we’ve picked is if something happens that affects our whole neighborhood or city. It’s a little further away from our home but a place that we could still get to on foot if we needed to (but it will help to have our 72-hour kits in backpacks so we aren’t trying to drag a tote where ever we go). Earthquakes are a real possibility where we live and if we were to have an earthquake odds are we wouldn’t have cell service, so it’s important to have pre-planned places picked out so you aren’t panicking without any idea where your loved ones are.

Fourth, we have made sure that we know where the turn-off switches are for the power, water, and gas that runs to our house. If an earthquake does hit us it will be important to get the gas and power turned off quickly, just in case there is a leak.

So we have our short term storage (72-hour kits) that we can take with us if we need to go somewhere, and we have a little bit longer-term storage that we can use if we are staying at our house (shelter in place). We’ve also planned out two meeting spots, one of if it’s a smaller emergency just at our house, and one for if it’s a bigger emergency that affects a larger area. We also have made sure we know where the power, water, and gas shutoff valves are at our house so we can turn all of those off if needed.

4 Likes

When it’s 20 below and the power goes out it is necessary to keep the toes warm. This is what I do:

The meter pedestal on the left is for my home. It is been modified to include sensors, a transfer switch and load management controls. In the lower right corner you can see a tube where propane is fed to the Briggs generator. It operates like this when the power goes out:

After 30 seconds without power the controller decides this is not a momentary outage and starts the generator.

It lets the generator warm up for 50 seconds and then transfers power to my home from the pole you see in the background to the generator.

It examines the load and operates load management equipment in my house to make sure it isn’t overloaded. The loads in my home are prioritized to insure I always have water from my well, heat from my geothermal furnace (or air conditioning), lights and refrigeration.

Every Wednesday it starts up, runs for 5 minutes, and shuts down just to keep it limber. Once each year my power company comes by to change oil. spark plugs, oil and air filters and run tests. That costs $100.00/year.

5 Likes

Fill gas tank before event if possible, bottled water, fill propane tanks for grill if you have one, portable gas burner & extra fuel, instant ramen &/or cand food, Natural Gas whole hose generator if you have the money or portable gas gas generator to keep fridge/freezers running, med kit, batteries for flash lights/lamps & portable batteries

4 Likes

Emergency preparedness sounds big and scary, and therefore hard to get going on. (How does one buy a bunker, and can you put anything in it that you’d really want to eat anyway?) But you can get pretty far with some advance thinking and buying supplies a little ahead of time if you can.

You might not live where there are hurricanes or wildfires expected now, thankfully! But there is some kind of emergency that can happen in any location. Like maybe some of these:

  • Severe storm (rain, hail, snow, tornadic, etc.)
  • Too much or not enough rain (flood/drought)
  • Fire (just a regular old house fire)
  • Extreme cold or heat
  • Loss of power or water
  • Job loss/loss of income
  • Illness/injury in household
  • Transportation failure (car totalled, bus strike, etc.)
  • Pandemic lockdown (again)

So think about what is reasonably likely to happen to you, and then think about what you would have to do to handle everyday life under those circumstances, for the people and animals in your household. If emergency X happens, will you be physically safe? If not, how can you fix that? Will your household be able to breathe, eat, drink, keep clean, handle (er) bathroom waste, maintain your medical condition, treat illness/injury if needed, attend work/school as needed, keep your home intact and safe, entertain yourselves…? And if not, how can you adapt to the situation or what can you do to be able to overcome the problem? How can you make life easier if this ends up happening?

So let’s say you have kids to feed and the power goes out before dinner. So maybe Taco Tuesday isn’t happening with no power to the electric stove, but you can feed the kids PB&J from the pantry if you have the supplies, or make a what’s-going-to-go-bad-in-a-few-hours-without-power-to-the-fridge charcuterie board. Or if the kids are spooked, you could take them out for Chick-fil-A in an area with power for a treat to cheer them up. (I have done this pre-pandemic. The play area was a lifesaver.) Or if you have some extra flashlights and batteries somewhere they can be found (admittedly a challenge with kids), maybe they can play flashlight tag and run around screaming in the dark until bedtime (while you sample a calming beverage and wish you could find the earplugs). As you think about this, you might realize that you need to add a few things to the shopping list, for when there’s room in the budget (batteries, earplugs, adult treat beverages, extra pantry food the kids will eat). For example, we keep peanut butter, crackers (will keep longer than bread!), raisins, and Capri Sun pouches as all-purpose, shelf-stable food for the small, somewhat-picky eaters in our house.

Then maybe think about overlapping challenges - one of your kids gets hurt and needs minor medical attention, or it’s really cold (or hot) and you’re uncomfortable, or your well water won’t work without power so now you’re trying to manage without that, too. There are lots of scenarios to think through.

In 2020, I’d particularly highlight: What if you needed to evacuate to stay safe, for whatever reason? Where could you go? What would you pack? What would you need?

The “buying supplies ahead” part particularly means that you try not to run out of anything you really must (or want to) have. Can you refill that important prescription early and work on getting some extra days’ padding? Can you get an extra box of diapers or can of formula to put on the shelf, if those are things you need, and buy more when you get down to that extra, pretending that “one is none”? And if you do run out, can you think of a way around it? (Do you know how to fold a raggy old T-shirt into a cloth diaper? Gonna try that commando potty training weekend method you heard about? :joy:) If that sounds awful, maybe keep a little more extra on the shelf? We also discovered during the shutdown that Walmart delivers reasonably priced diapers quickly, if you get caught short.

There are a few emergency-specific supplies you probably do want on hand: a decent portable radio that can get weather band broadcasts, a decent first aid kit, some decent flashlights and batteries … the government has a good list of basics. There is a lot of information out there on the internet about getting ready, from all kinds of people. I like this one as a starting point.

Also, your phone can help you out with some of this. FEMA has a weather alert app that will let you track multiple locations for watches and warnings. The Red Cross has a first aid app. Your utility companies may have text alerts you can sign up for. Your community may have a text warning system you can sign up for, too. There are emergency services scanner apps. People post local specifics on hazards to social media. Data is nice for all kinds of situations.

2 Likes

Here are some thoughts in regards to the sort of disasters that force communities to flee quickly. It seems most everyone else is focusing on how to survive the disaster itself, so I’ll take a slightly different approach.

In previous years, people might try to gather some irreplaceable items like photo albums and home movies on their way out the door. Now most people take and store photos and movies digitally, but it would be a good idea to digitize any old photos and movies and either store them in the cloud or on physical media (DVD) off-site. (Services like Legacybox can help with this, though that isn’t an endorsement.)

It would also be a good idea to store copies of important documents in a fire- and water-proof safe or at a secure off-site location (in a bank security box, for example). Such documents might include passport numbers (or passports themselves, if you don’t travel often), car titles, and recent tax returns. These documents are not irreplaceable, but with identity theft on the rise, communicating with various governmental agencies will always go more smoothly if you already have all the information you need.

Finally, if you have valuables such as jewelry that you do not wear often, or items that have great sentimental but little monetary value, you may want to store those items securely as well. In case of total disaster, you have at least some mementos of a former life.

4 Likes

Thank you to everyone who was willing to share some very insightful emergency preparedness tips! I sincerely hope that no one here ever finds themselves in a situation so dire that some of these more extreme tips would be necessary, but being prepared is wise.

We have six eligible entries.

First we’ll announce our Staff Picks Winners, who will each receive:

  • One Nite Ize Radiant 300 Rechargeable Lantern
  • Nite Ize RunOff waterproof phone pouch
  • One Ventev 10000 mAh PD Portable Battery

These four winners are listed in order by their post number here in Community, not by their rank in the Staff Picks.

@larikdee with a very organized approach to preparedness, shared in post number 2

@jaminb who focused on the basics in post number 4

@rayalan who breaks down preparedness into a manageable approach in post number 8.

and

@AUser.Resau who thought about preserving items that matter to you in post number 9.

Congratulation to each of you!


Since we had so few entries, we won’t need a drawing. @billg and @JaseYANG will each receive a Ventev 10000 mAh PD Portable Battery.

I’ll be in touch with each of you privately to confirm shipping details.

3 Likes
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