Monday, July 5, 2010





Natural disasters, or any type of disaster, are a frightening experience to live through. Since you cannot prevent them your only alternative is to be as prepared as possible if they do occur by having your 72 Hour Emergency Kits and Family Bag ready, extra food and water stored in a safe place, items to build a shelter (with sleeping bags or blankets) and a way to cook. These simple tips can help you if you ever find yourself in this situation. Read them, print them out and put a copy in your 72 Hour Emergency Kit or Family Bag for reference, your computer may not be available to look them up at the time. Be aware of your surroundings and what you should and should not do to protect yourself and your family.

1. Check for any injuries first. Give first-aid or get help for the most serious injuries first. If someone is trapped do not attempt to remove them, they could be injured more or you could be injured from falling objects. If possible, wait for professional help. If the person is in further danger, then remove them carefully and quickly to a safer place.

Remember that children, seniors and the handicapped will take longer to evacuate if necessary. Children will become stressed quickly. Assure them you are doing everything you can to protect them. The 72 Hour Emergency Stressor Kit comes in handy here to occupy them.

2. Check for damages - If a disaster occurs while you are at home, check for damages using a flashlight. Do not light matches, candles or turn on the electrical switches until you check for gas leaks. Check for fire hazards, broken glass, unstable objects, and other household hazards. Stay away from downed power lines and wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants and sturdy shoes if possible for protection. Do not try to pass or go around them, especially down power lines. Check the house foundation and for any major cracks in the walls. Do not stay in the house if the house is off the foundation, the foundation is damaged for their are major cracks in the walls.

3. Check utilities - Check for water and gas leaks. Places to check include your water heater, stove and heater. Leave natural gas service ON unless local officials advise you otherwise or you smell gas. Sniff for gas leaks, start at the water heater, then the stove, then the heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas value, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly. Do not turn off the gas if there are no gas leaks detected--You may need gas for heating and cooking, only a professional can restore gas service in your home once it's been turned off. In a disaster situation it could take weeks before a professional can turn it back on. But be safe, if you smell gas, turn it off at the main gas meter. Keep a Gas Shut-off Wrench/Tool strapped to your meter or close by for easy access. Do not light matches, candles or turn on electrical switches to check for gas leaks, use a flashlight. Gas leaks can be detected by a "rotten-egg-like" smell.

Note: You can purchase a Gas Shut-off Wrench/Tool at Home Depot, Lowe's, other hardware or home improvement stores and online. Cost, about $5.00.

4. Water heater - Turn off the water value where the water goes into the water tank to prevent the water from becoming contaminated. The water in the tank can be used to wash with and drink, and cook with if filtered. Note: Keep your water heater securely strapped to the wall. Boil the water before drinking it.

5. Turn off all gas appliances - To prevent damage to appliances, turn gas off at the appliance value and unplug them. The gas value is located between the wall and the appliance. If you are not able to shut the gas off at the appliance valve, then you should shut it off at the main gas meter. But only shut off if you smell gas, see #3 above.

6. Once your family is OK and safe, check on neighbors - Especially those who are elderly or disabled. If you have been assigned families in the Ward please check on them as soon as possible.

7. Check on pets - Don't forget about pets. Be sure they are safe and confined so they don't run away. Remember, because of health regulations, animals are not allowed in emergency shelters. Make some kind of arrangement for your pets. The link below gives great advise regarding how to handle your pets during a disaster.

8. Turn off electricity - To prevent damage to appliances, unplug them and turn off electricity at the main electrical panel. Warning: Never touch a circuit breaker while standing in water or with wet hands.

                                                   WARNING:  If you have a gas generator, do not use it in your home to run applicances and lamps, it will KILL YOU! There are fuel less solar generators you can use inside your home. See the links below...

9. Unplug all power appliances - This includes, microwaves, TV's, DVD's, VCR's, radios/stereos, computers, washers, dryers, etc. This will reduce the risk of an overload and prevent damage from any surges when power is restored.

10. Turn on your radio for Disaster information - Know the emergency radio stations for your area. Follow all local officials instructions and laws.

11. If you have a fireplace - Do not use it until inspected. It could cause serious health injuries to those in the house.

12. DO NOT, DO NOT use a charcoal BBQ inside the house for heat, they are toxic and will kill you.

13. If a large seismic earthquake - There will be large after shocks. Stay in you house if safe. If not safe, stay clear of the house and other houses around you that could fall. If a house is 20 feet high, and the walls come down, they may fall out 20 feet from the wall. Stay clear.

14. If you can stay on your property. If you are not able to stay in your house, set up shelter outside. If not, go to a local government site where emergency shelter and first-aid has been set up. Check your radio for those locations.

15. If you are trying to cross a roadway where water is across the roadway, DO NOT, do not cross it through the water. You do not know how deep the water is and if there is a large sink hole under the water. Go around the water carefully, giving your self enough room to pass or take a different road.

16. If you come to a stream that appears to be low, DO NOT cross it--You could be carried away in the water or the water could be deeper than you realize and your car could become submerged.

The rule--NEVER, NEVER take a chance crossing standing or moving water, you never know how deep or safe it is!!!

17. If during an earthquake--Click on the link below reagarding earthquake preparation and safety.

18. If you are driving through a state and there is tornado - If in your car, do not try to out run the tornado, get out immediately, go to the lowest floor of a sturdy building or storm shelter. If in the country, no buildings around, find a gully or ditch to lay down in. Do not go under a bridge or freeway underpass. The force of the tornado will pull you out. Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries. If in a building or house, go to a tornado shelter cellar if available. If there is none, go to the basement, middle of the house or bathroom (cover yourself with a mattress or heavy cushion if time). If in the bathroom get into the bathtub and cover yourself with a mattress or heavy cushion and hold onto it. Or go to an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not go outside or stay in your car. Turn on your portable radio for emergency procedures and information. Important: If you have a cell phone on you during a tornado, discard it, lightening can be attracked to it and you can become electrocuted.

See the link below for great torando safety tips.

19. What to do if there is a hurricane - Watch the link below for information and safety tips on hurricanes.

20. What to do if there is a snowstorm while driving - Pull over and stay with your car. Maintain at least a half tank of gas, and make sure your windshield washer fluid and oil are topped off. If you get stranded, you will need to run your engine for just a few minutes to stay warm, and you'll need every drop of gas you can get. Run your car for about 10 minutes each hour. If you run it to long you will die from carbon monoxide posioning. Turn off the lights and radio when the car is not running to avoid running the battery down. If you have a portable radio in your 72 Hour Emergency Kit listen for the weather updates. If you have to leave your car for any reason, tie one end of the rope (in your 72 Hour Emergency Family Bag Kti) to the car, and tie the other end to your waist to ensure you can find your way back to safety. Raise the hood of your car to signal an emergency or post a flag or handkerchief to the antenna to signal you need help. Ration your supplies. Eat small snacks every hour or so to give your body an energy source with which to generate heat. Drink about 4 ounces (half cup) of water every hour or so to prevent dehydration. Do not eat the snow. It can deplete your body of energy, lowering its core temperature. Allow the snow to melt, and then drink it. If going on a trip always tell someone else your route and destination before leaving. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and your gas tank is full. Carry tire chains in your car if you know you will going through a moutain pass while snowing.

See the link below for great tips on preparing and during a snowstorm:

21. What to do if there is a sandstorm while driving - If the visibility drops to less than 300 feet, pull off the road (exit the freeway if possible), set your parking brake, turn off your headlights, and make sure brake lights and turn signals are also off. In many cases, if your exterior lights are on, other drivers will use the taillights of the person in front of them as a guide to help navigate the road and they will hit you. If you are unable to safely pull off the road, keep your headlights on, turn on yor hazard lights, slow down, and proceed with caution, sounding your horn periodically. Use the highway's centerline to guide you if you can't see in front of you. Pull over at the nearest safe spot. Stay in the car, if not protected by sufficient clothing, you can become injured. Sandstorms are usually accompanied by high temperatures, drink water to stay hydrated. If a winter sandstorm, keep warm, you can quickly experience hypothermia.

22. Discard all food that has been exposed to flood water except those hermetically sealed in metal cans. Wash them with soap and clean warm water. Then immerse in a solution of 3/4 cup 5.25% sodium hypochlorite liquid laundry bleach per gallon of water for two minutes to disinfect the outside of the cans. Rinse immediately in clear water. Chlorine may discolor some metal cans. Do NOT treat aluminum cans, such as soft drink cans with chlorine solution.

23. Check the radio for information about your public water source. If contaminated, do not drink, only drink purified or water stored in your large water barrels.

24. If you leave your home - Leave a note on the door where you are going, who is with you, if you are ok and those injured. Contact your out of state family and friends to let them know your status, where you are, if you are ok or if there are any injures. Give them a contact number to call where you are going.

25. Remember in a natural disaster cell phones may not work but texting may. Try texting first and keep the cell phone lines open for emergencies only.

26. If you have to evacuate - EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY, DO NOT QUESTION OR HESITATE!!! Make sure you wear pants, long sleeve shirts if possible with sturdy shoes. Take your 72 Hour Emergency Kits and Family Bag with you. Use only approved evacuation routes instead of shortcuts which may be impassable. Take along a street map of the local town areas in case you have to take an alternate route. Listen to your portable radio for government and local shelters that have been set up, go there is possible. Only if you have time...take along personal documents, valuables, family photos, genealogy, heirlooms, computer tower (important discs), laptops, things you cannot replace.

27. If you cannot evacuate--After checking your home for damages and you determine you cannot stay inside, first set up shelter. Set up an area and a way to cook away from structures and your shelter. Check your water barrels to make sure they are ok. If the air is contaminated or hard to breath use your masks in your 72 Hour Kits. Listen to your portable radio for emergency instructions and warnings, like contaminated water and blocked roads.

28. Use perishable food from the freezer first then the fridge. Use meats, veggies and other food items before using your canned foo9 or Food Storage items.

29. Sanitation and waste - Set up a toilet area, use your portable toilet and put up a tarp around it for privacy if possible. Dispose of human waste properly. See the Sanitation posting on this website for this information. See the Sanitation posting on the right of this blog.

Note: For some medical reason the production of human waste is slowed down when the diet is reduced and stressed is increased. This is normal. May be have some laxatives in your 72 Hour Kit or Family Bag.

Click on link below for inforamtion on Sanitation


30. As soon as you can, contact your insurance company to report any damages to your home or car. Most insurance companies have a disaster team that goes to work right away to handle the many claims and to provide assistance to you as soon as possible. Insurance company claim trucks will be in your area as soon as they are allowed in.

31. As soon as you can contact your mortgage company and other credit card companies regarding your situation. They will help you handle your bills due regarding the situation. 

Remember, it may take days or even weeks before the Federal or Local Govenment can give you assistance with injuries, shelter, food and water.

***Here are some great videos regarding preparing for a disaster and what to do during a disaster

1) This first one is in Spanish, great information, there are subtitles in English...

2) The one below has actress Jamie Lee Curtis speaking for the Amercian Red Cross regarding Emergency Kits and how to handle a disaster, like an earthquake...

3) The one below is a very good. There are 8 sections (hurricanes, smoke alarms, home fires, emergency checklist, preparing for hurricanes, emergency car kit, earthquake safety, what to do in case of a disaster.

Updated 02/2013


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    1. I have taken the above person's advise and have update this posting since orginally written in 2010 with photos and video clipls. Hope you enjoy the new updates. Will do this with my other postings too.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. A good introduction to a complex subject. Worth a look if you're new to prepping, there are also lots of other blogs which provides very efficient information… keep on sharing!!!