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Friday, November 26, 2010

7 Special Survival and Preparedness Situations

There are a number of situations for which you may need to alter the "standard" preparedness information you read or learn.  Not every piece of survival advice applies to every family or each individual, and some can even be dangerous in certain situations.  Here's a list of 7 of the more common "kinks in the plan" you may need to consider in your preparations.  Remember these don't just apply to you, but to those you will be caring for also, especially your family members.

1. Food allergies or inability to process certain foods.  This includes things like gluten intolerance and nut allergies. I know a guy who cannot eat green peas or corn.  It causes all kinds of gastrointestinal distress, so guess what's not in his extended food plan.

2. Medical needs.  Is there a medication you need to take every day?  Specific foods you have to eat to keep your body functioning?  Are you or someone you love on oxygen?  Diabetic?  Take medical needs into consideration when you are making your emergency plans.

3. Mobility issues.  Crutches? Wheelchair? Make sure there's a plan in place for emergencies if you have specific limitations on where you are able to go and how you need to get there.

4. Pregnancy.  Expectant mothers need extra food, more frequent meals, and proper vitamins to keep those babies growing right.  Do you get sick much when pregnant?  Crave specific foods?  And the ability to do strenuous work (like cleaning up after a disaster) could be pretty limited from a pregnant lady.  Remember guys, this list applies to your family--you'll likely be the one having to pick up the slack here. ;)

5. Infants.  Babies require a lot.  They need specific foods for proper nutrition and growth.  They are more susceptible to illness and they need protection from the elements in a way that adults don't.  Oh, and they need diapers.  Lots and lots of diapers.  I know that's just a short list, but you get the idea.

6. Toddlers/small children.  These little folks need some special care in your preparedness plans also.  They'll need parents/guardians who can help them remain calm.  They'll only eat certain foods (if they are your kids, you'll probably know their favorites) and don't understand that if you don't eat you don't live, so may be willing to not eat your magical food storage creation because it is strange or different.  They also need protection from the elements similar to babies.  And you may have diaper needs here or potty training regressions in an emergency situation also.

7. Elderly.  A lot of elder care will fall into the medical/mobility sections, but they can also have problems after a disaster with food changes and will to survive.  If you care for an elderly person, make sure to figure their special needs into your emergency plan.

So there are some of the more common special situations that you'll want to consider when you're making your survival plan.  I know we just touched lightly on each of these--we'll probably discuss them in more detail in another post.  And you may have other issues you will need to deal with.  What are your family's special preparedness considerations?

Shelter in Place

Whether you are at home, work or elsewhere, there may be situations when it's simply best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside.

There are other circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as "sealing the room," is a matter of survival. Use available information to assess the situation. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you may want to take this kind of action.

The process used to seal the room is considered a temporary protective measure to create a barrier between you and potentially contaminated air outside. It is a type of sheltering in place that requires preplanning.

To "Shelter In Place And Seal The Room"
  • Bring your family and pets inside.
  • Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.
  • Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems.
  • Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated.
  • Go into an interior room with few windows, if possible.
  • Seal all windows, doors and air vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Consider measuring and cutting the sheeting in advance to save time.
  • Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to seal gaps so that you create a barrier between yourself and any contamination.
  • Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.
information from Ready.gov

"Bugout Versus Hunker" Short Story by Christopher Young - Chapter 5

Butch decided this was a good time to kindle a fire,
and get everyone warmed up. The twins had gone a
couple paces farther into the woods, to perform the
morning piddle. The came back, looking a bit cold
and pale. The daughter asked where was the bathroom.
Butch told her there wasn't a bathroom, and she
would have to play camper. So, where's the TP. Butch
replied that it is in her bug out bag. She knew there
wasn't any. She had used the roll of TP for applying
make up. She went and started to unzip Butch's bug
out bag. He knew there was some left over after his
hunting trip, so he didn't say anything. She'd been
through a lot. She didn't find any TP, but did find
a couple McDonalds paper napkins. Well, better than
being stinky.

Butch's wife woke up, with much the same question.
She had used her roll of TP for the twins, when they
the bad cold a couple months ago, and she ran out of
kleenex in the house. She wordlessly tramped off into
the woods, behind her daughter. They would make the
most out of it, until Dad came to his senses.

Butch reached into his already open pack, and pulled
out a Piney Woods fire log. Slipped out his Buck one
handed opening knife, and cut off a big chunk of wax
and sawdust. Reached into his pocket again for his
Zippo ligher. Knelt down to sweep some snow away and
get the fire started. Surely, a fire and some warmth
would make the family's mood improve. About 50 sparks
later, he realized his Zippo was dry. Back to the
pack, and look for the squirt bottle of Ronsonol, to
fill the lighter. The Ronsonol bottle was dry. Well,
the stuff does evaporate. Butch returned to the tent,
to search for another lighter. He didn't have one, he
remembered it ran out of butane  while he was hunting,
and planned to get another one. The kids weren't allowed
to have matches or lighters. He opened his wife's pack.
Plenty of sandwich fixings, but no lighter. She probably
used it for the gas grill at home. Well, never mind. He
had some gas in the gascan at the truck, and probably
another lighter.

Charles family was enjoying the day home from school
and work. Charles was nervous, he had seen it blowing
in the wind for a while. The government and the world
was getting more unstable as time went on. The govern-
ment kept promising to fix all the various things that
were wrong, but nothing seemed to be gettting better.
They were spending more and more money on recovery, but
there seemed to be precious little recovering going on.
Early in the crisis, Charles had bought a bunch of
canned food. He had brought some home a few cans at
a time. His wife wasn't sure if that was a good idea,
money was tight. He had also encouraged her to bring
home extra food each time she went to the store. They
built a secret room in the cellar, it was behind a
piece of panelling, so it wasn't ovbvious. From what
he could figure, he had about six months food in the
cellar. If they used everything carefully.

The Samurai Sam web site had focused mostly on weapons.
Of course, Sam was interested in the Martial arts. Ninja
techniques, and swords and so on. He had also encouraged
all his web page readers to buy any and all fire arms, and
plenty of ammunition. Charles found this interesting. He
had bought a .22 caliber rifle, and a couple boxes of
ammuntion. But, most of his prep money went into food.

Charles took a moment to mentally review the preps
that he had in the house. The wood stove took a couple
thousand dollars to have it installed. But, it had
provided a bit of heat for the house. He wasn't sure
if the fuel bills were cheaper, after all he did have
to pay for the fire wood to be delivered. He calculated
it one time, and found out that he'd been saving about
$500 a year in fuel bills. Enough to pay for the wood
stove after a few years. And it was so much fun, the
kids said it felt warmer when the wood stove was going.
In that regards, it was a real benefit. The food would
hold out for a while. The water was a concern. He had
filled the couple barrels. and there was the creek that
ran a couple hundred yards from the house. They would
be okay if the mutant zombies didn't come to town on
motor cycles.

Butch as also mentally reviewing his preps. The tent had
saved them last night. The snow had continued to fall,
about another two inches. They had a couple days of MRE,
if he could get a fire started. Yeah, they could be
eaten cold. But, they were so much better when warmed.
And the twins were looking rather cold and pale. He
decided to go back to the truck, and see what else he
could salvage. Some fuel for the lighter, and any other
things like sleeping bags.

Butch turned to his wife, and told her that he was
going back to the truck. The twins perked up. Going
home, now? No, Butch explained. He needed some more
stuff out of the truck. The twins were both pale and
starting to shiver in the cold. He explained to them
that he had to go back and get some stuff to light
up the fire. Hot food in a few minutes. The boys
looked a bit more encouraged, at the thought of
hot food.

Butch tried to remember which direction was the truck.
It had been dark when they arrived, last night. And
the  snow had covered their tracks. He guessed, and
went out in one direction. After about a hundred feet,
he followed his foot prints back to the tent. He then
went out in a different direction. By the next 100
feet, he was panting with exhaustion. The heavy boots,
and uneven terrain were wearing him out. His wife
noticed, and suggested he take one of his heart pills.
He said no, he'd be all right. What he didn't say was
that he had left his prescription medicine home. He
had an older bottle of pills in his bug out bag. But,
he'd taken them on the hunting trip, and the bottles
were empty.

A third trip out to find the truck went in the correct
direction. He traveled slowly the 100 feet to the edge
of the woods. Looking out over the snow was blinding.
The scatter from the sunshine made it nearly impossible
to see. What was that? No! It couldn't be!

Surviving Your Fears - A Walk in the Dark

Darkness creates a fear that is unique. It seems that we always fear that which we cannot see and when it is hidden by darkness our fear grows even more. Many people seldom experience true darkness but it can be discomforting all the same. With the darkness can come danger, many of these dangers are real and some are merely products of our own imagination. The darkness can also be your friend.
The darkness signals the end of the day and the beginning of a time for rest so that our bodies can renew their energy. It can also come in the form of shade that protects us from the harsh light of the sun. It can also hide us from unwanted attention and allow us to remain unseen and undetected when the need arises. There is a quiet comfort that can be found in the darkness, darkness which is a part of nature and one that is often misunderstood.
Our natural instincts make us seek a source of light almost immediately when the darkness suddenly comes upon us. We don’t see very well in the dark and will quickly seek any source of light available to banish that darkness. A candle, a flashlight or the simple flip of a switch is used to turn the darkness into light. Yet many times we fail to realize our own unique abilities. We have a very unique ability when deprived of one of our senses.
There are a lot of people known as “night owls” who seem to thrive and are often most comfortable at night. They seem to prefer the darkness of night and find it a more comfortable place for them. They embrace the darkness as a part of nature and have become comfortable with its presence. While some people stumble around in the dark, others will quietly move through the darkness as if it were a walk in the park.
Our other senses will begin to compensate for that which we lack. What we cannot see can often be heard or smelled as our other senses becomes more acute so that we can banish the darkness and overcome our fear.
The next time the power goes out or you can’t find your flashlight try taking a walk in the dark.
Got dark?
Staying above the water line!

Preparing for Winter

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten,
and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow"
"With winter right around the corner, it's never too early to start preparing for snowstorms, icy roads, and other types of severe weather," says FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  "Whether you live in an area that is used to severe winters or not, there are three simple steps all Americans should take to get ready: put together an emergency supply kit, develop a family communications plan, and stay informed about the risks and emergencies in your community." For helpful tips and recommendations see http://www.Ready.gov/america/beinformed/winter.html.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) outlook forecast is that the Pacific Northwest could have a colder and wetter than average winter, while the South may be warmer and drier than usual.  Severe winter weather can include snow or subfreezing temperatures, strong winds and ice or heavy rain storms.  An emergency supply kit both at home and in the car will help prepare people for winter power outages and icy or impassable roads.

According to FEMA, an emergency supply kit should include a three-day supply of food and water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra flashlights and batteries.  Thoroughly check and update your family's emergency supply kit and add the following supplies in preparation for winter weather:
  • Ensure your home and car are prepared for the winter weather
  • Buy rock salt to melt ice on walkways
  • Buy sand (we use kitty litter) to improve traction on ice or snow when the car is stuck
  • Purchase snow shovels and other snow removal equipment (keep a small shovel in your car trunk)
  • Have adequate clothing and blankets to help keep you warm.
  • Update your family preparedness plan and contacts list
  • Test your family plan
  • Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government and your children's schools
Bottom Line

Keep informed of weather alerts via TV, radio, email, blackberry, etc. Ensure that you follow at least one of these to get advance notice of the following winter hazards:
  • Freezing Rain creates a coating of ice on roads and walkways.
  • Sleet is rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes roads to freeze and become slippery.
  • Winter Weather Advisory means cold, ice and snow are expected.
  • Winter Storm Watch means severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two.
  • Winter Storm Warning means severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon.
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