Friday, May 26, 2017

Disaster Prepredness Class #3

(This picture is just one of many scenes of Huricane Matthew's devestation to our area that I'll be sharing throughout this class.  I do not remember where I got this picture so I can't give credit.  I took many photos myself and others were shared with me so please understand if I can't give the proper credit for each photo I'll be sharing.)

I loved reading about your first ‘disaster day’ survival!   Looks like everyone purred through it without any trouble, things however, are going to get a bit more interesting today ….

You’ve got 2 feet of water standing in your yard, more in others and it’s still raining.  It’s been 48 hours since the storm started and it has finally moved out of your area but not before dumping plenty more rain onto an already saturated ground.  You can see that water has gotten into your neighbor’s house and you fear that yours will be next as there are warnings that the rivers have not crested yet and it will get worse.  You look down the road and see what was once a parked car being swept off the road by running water flowing over the road.  Before you can react, you hear a knock on the door and it is the sheriff telling you that you have to evacuate NOW due to rising water.   They will wait for and escort you and your family out of your house.  You have 15 minutes.  You are feeling overwhelmed and panicked!  What are you going to grab?  Where are you going to go?  How are you going to prevent the things you are carrying out of the house from getting wetWhat’s your weather like today, are you evacuating in cold weather, hot weather or mild weather? 

For those whose homes are situated on a hill or hillside above what 2 feet of water and continued rising of another possible 2 feet could reach, you do not have to evacuate but you do have to continue to deal with no electricity and being trapped on your property.  The same goes for those whose weather means they have snow or ice instead of rain?  How are you managing if you are staying put?  What does your day look like?  How are your resources holding up?  Are you running out of anything yet?

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  1. Well I don't have a bug out bag (bob).. the backpack bob that I keep in my car has been sitting in the family room waiting to be updated with fresh and season items. So I will have to quickly throw meds into something and spend the next 12 minutes chasing and enticing two cats into their carriers and ziploc up some food. Wow.. I am seeing how unprepared I am. If I can drive out it will be easier to load the SUV and I keep a sleeping bag in it. But if I am walking out...there is a lot to carry and I am unprepared for me and my pets needs. I need to organize something for them to have in their carriers to help meet their needs and fix up my backpack again. I think I want to make a list of what to grab because I am going to be nervous and afraid and will forget things. Also I need to have things ready to go so I wont have to think so much and can just grab. I would prefer to stay in my home..I am better prepared this way but if I have to leave... I can see I need to better prepare. -- Julie

    1. Julie, having a list to refer to would be a great time saver and as you said it would prevent you from forgetting something.

  2. So far, I think I'm holding out OK. I'm about half-way up a hill, with a retention pond across the street, so I'd need at least 10 ft. of water before my residence would be directly impacted. If this were winter, it would be snow and cold temps would begin to be an issue. By now, my cell phone is likely dead (hmmm … may want to look into a solar charger), so controlling the Nest thermostat (if operational on battery) now has to be done manually. All bedroom / bathroom doors would be closed (and those rooms not in use would remain closed, with furnace registers closed); blinds are shut at night with extra blankets to cover them during the coldest of the night, to prevent heat loss, and they are reopened during daylight hours. If snow, I’d want to insure that the front exit, parking slab, and deck (where grill is located) remained clear, so shoveling every hour or two would become a necessity. I’d also set out buckets, to collect a water supply for the bathroom (or collect snow and let it melt in the lower level / garage, for non-potable uses).

    Assuming I can’t get into work via public transportation, my day would be spent taking care of household chores that I’ve let slide (organizing closets, etc.), reading, and doing a visual monitoring of the weather. I'd begin to become concerned about items in the freezer, and may take a very quick peek to check. If things were still frozen fairly solid, I’d leave everything in place, opting to eat from non-frozen inventory – my thinking is that leaving frozen items in place (at least at this point) would help retain coldness.

    I maintain an ample supply of bottled water (at least 2 24-packs) and other beverages, so if stuck in the house, that’s covered. For meals, I’d have something that provided energy, but didn’t require significant cooking – PB&J, other items in the refrigerator that would need to be consumed (unless snow, and I’d have put refrigerated items in a bin on the deck, to stay cold). If the power remained out at nightfall, I’d begin to start planning on cooking freezer foods the following day, to maximize use of propane (one tank hooked up; a full spare in the garage).

    Candles in jars and other enclosed containers will insure evening light. If this continues, may need to think about hosting a “get to know the neighbors” card / game party tomorrow night, to fight boredom and add extra body heat – despite sharing a wall, townhouse living in a metropolitan area is not as friendly as single-home living. Most in my community keep to themselves, so I know names of neighbors, but there’s little interaction. So, an event like this may offer an opportunity to get to know one another.

    At this point, I think my biggest issue would be getting out to walk the pup (and insuring that I had enough pet food on hand). A couple of other things I now know that I need to have include a manual can opener, for those non-home canned commercially prepared items in my pantry (mine broke last summer and I haven’t felt the need to replace it), and a battery-operated radio (with a supply of spare batteries).

    1. A manual can opener is a must from a preparedness standpoint and a battery operated radio would be helpful.

  3. We don't have to evacuate. Where we're located, it would take a flood of Biblical proportions to get into our house. As the waters began to rise, Dad moved my sister's and my cars from their carports (low ground) to his shop (high ground). Also, the chickens, whose coop is on low ground, are now living in the shower. For us it would be far more difficult to leave than to stay because of the hilliness of our area. (Thankfully, the crews finished grading, paving, and fixing the drainage on the road up the very steep hill by our house the day before this disaster hit!)

    Most of our time is spent preparing/preserving food. We have so much food in our freezers and right now, we're focusing on preserving ALL. THAT. MEAT! Any meat that won't work for canning, we're eating first.

    We have two battery-operated lanterns, several flashlights, and a radio that CAN be run on batteries. I know we have quite a few batteries, but I don't know how many and of which kinds. Some are stored in Dad's shop and some in the garage, which is inconvenient in an emergency. We also own many candles and candlesticks of various kinds. I found during the last power outage that grouping several taper candles together makes enough light to read or cook when a single one does not. However, days are long enough in May that we go to bed not long after the sun goes down to save on batteries and candles.
    The fist food that we'll run out of is bread because we were due to go grocery shopping today. We do have tortillas thawing in the freezer and a few hamburger buns, but I'll probably soon be experimenting with baking bread in my cast iron Dutch oven in the coals of our fire pit since we have plenty of flour and yeast.

    Fresh produce also will only last a few more days, but we still have some of the basics like carrots and apples. We also have enough tomato products for several days and a little cherry tree that's just ripening a few dozen cherries that will be eaten with gusto! Sadly it's too early in the season for most of the fruit trees and garden veggies. Does last year's home-canned jam count as fruit?? We have plenty of dry goods to last for quite some time.

    Drinking water will soon be a problem since the only drinking water storage is the two 2-gallon and one 3-gallon bottle that we fill from our reverse-osmosis system for the water-cooler. They are now almost gone. We're using water from the storage tank to fill the canners and reusing it to wash dishes. We can also use tank water to wash clothes in the utility sink and take sponge-baths when these things become necessary. We also have part of a bottle of bleach that could be used for purifying water from the storage tank.

    The weather has been unseasonably mild these last few days (we're usually pretty hot and dry by now). So we haven't been uncomfortably hot or cold. However, this weekend hot weather is supposed to return.

    -Susan O

    1. Susan, that's a good tip on grouping taper candles together to give off more light. Dealing with foods in freezers is a real issue. No one wants to see all their hard work go to ruin.

  4. Most likely we would still OK to stay in our home. In the event that we need to evacuate, it would be a scramble to pack what we need quickly. There are 3 adults to divide and conquer. My priorities are medications, some clothes for each person thrown quickly in a bag/suitcase (lots of undergarments/socks,a few shirts and pants, plus PJ's), grabbing the cats and food for them, basic personal care items (if I think of it, washcloths and 4 towels), cash/purse/wallets, the tent, bottled water and some easy food items with can opener (if not taking vehicles, food and water may have to stay). Our autistic daughter can pack some personal items to help her stay calm (stuffy, blanket, etc.). Our area has emergency plans in place, so there would most likely be some temporary shelter to go to, like a local arena The tent is to provide a safe place for my daughter to go into, to help her feel more secure in the temporary shelter setting.

    If still in our home and no hydro, we are still battling a flooding basement, no water and possible septic back-up. We have enough bottled water (both purchased and jugs of tap water) for a few days, plus soda in storage to drink as well. Rain/ground water can be used to flush toilet as needed. The BBQ and a camp stove can be use for cooking. We keep a backup BBQ tank in the garage.

    The pantry and freezers are packed with food. We're more likely to run out of water than food. We have 2 upright freezers, one with meat and one with other items (extra bread, butter, frozen fruit, etc.). We may need to spend some time today checking what is still OK to consume from the fridge. If milk is spoiled, powdered milk can be made up as needed for cooking. Fresh fruit and veggies will still be fine. Eggs and cheese should be fine as long as they stay slightly cool. Items of concern are mayo and some cold meat.

    Candles around the house can be used for light in the evening. I would try and limit use of battery powered lights to conserve batteries. We have solar garden lights that can be used as well. Spring evenings can be cool, so blankets can be used to keep warm. I might try a trick I saw on Pinterest. You place a few tea light candles in a 9 X 11 cake pan, then place a ceramic crock pot insert upside down over the candles. The ceramic will heat up and supposedly radiate heat.

    During the day, we would spend time making plans on what to do with the freezer meat if hydro continues to be out, plan out meals and keeping on top of other problems. If boredom sets in, we have books, board games and playing cards to entertain. We have a portable cell phone charger, so we may still have use of our smart phones. Our 3 vehicles have radios to get updates.

    DH would probably be checking with MIL to see how she is doing. She might even end up at our house, since we have an abundance of food and she most definitely wouldn't. His two brothers in the area, may be helping her as well.

    Biggest concern? Running out of gas for the generator. At this point, we would accept that damages may occur, and some food may be lost. It's to be expected when things like this happen. Crying over it won't help. Material things can be replaced! In the mean time, we may need to move important items upstairs that we don't want to loose, if not already done.

    1. Rhonda, you have a good attitude! You're right, there's no need in crying over things you can't help.

  5. 2 more feet will keep us from the cattle via vehicles. Other neighbors are closer so they will help by checking on ours. Generator will keep the Fridge & Freezer foods good for now. We will continue to be frugal with the water usage as we will have to run the generator for the well also. We will probably put the fat calves in a small pasture with a running creek instead of in their pen so we can save running water from the well for them. Thankfully it's warm here now so we will be fine temperature-wise. With it just being Dh & I we will be fine. He'll keep an eye on cattle and neighbors and I will try to keep us well fed (yay Grill!) and clothing washed (by hand for now). Drying them might be a chore in this weather so I might have to wait until the weather breaks to wash them. We will re-wear them as much as we can and handwash undies for now. My biggest concern will be son & family (with a 5-month old) in the city. If they can get here, we'll host them. If not, we will keep tabs on each other for now. He's been raised to keep a full pantry. Water will be a concern for them. Guess I'd better have a chat with him on being prepared. :)

    1. Kay, sounds like you have a good network going with your neighbor and that is so very important in a disaster situation. Yes ma'am, your son needs to be prepared with a 5 month old in the house. You go girl!

  6. We don't have to evacuate either--that is unless we were unprepared and hadn't been stocking a pantry, etc. But I'm staying put and I can because we can still cook on our gas grill because we are well above flood waters. We can heat up the contents of our canned goods (or in the case of fruit-eat out of can), and we still have plenty of bottled water (I am going to go buy a couple more cases) but we are being cautious with our other water. We're probably just washing our hands, or using sanitizer, and sanitary wipes after toileting. I think the toileting issue would get serious fast... maybe we'd be digging holes in the yard for waste. We are good to go as far as toilet tissue goes. Since we do not have a generator, the food in the freezer and fridge would have to be used up right off the bat. Then we get to enjoy the canned goods and whatever we can mix up with water. I do have powdered and evaporated milk. Husband will be a great help in all this, as he is very resourceful and we are of the age that we remember how our thrifty and prepared parents and grandparents made-do, even when there wasn't a crisis. As for being bored... I think we might be too concerned about the present situation to be bored. If by some miracle we are able to relax, I have plenty of books and handwork to do (and we can continue to prepare for the situation if it gets worse). We can used our hand-cranked radio for updates and to charge our cell phones. I think the only clothing we'd be washing would be underwear and I have plenty of soap/detergent and wash containers for that. It can dry on a line inside. This is no time for pride! Bread is a staple, so I will most likely be trying to bake some in my cast iron dutch oven over coals as a commenter above mentioned as I also have plenty of yeast and flour. I might be wanting some junky food by now, so having granola bars or such on hand is a great moral booster!

    1. Joy, you are one prepared woman!!!!

  7. In this scenario, the flooding scenario, we would not have to evacuate as we are not anywhere near any area that floods. But if we did have to evacuate--and I can see this as a possibility if a tornado came through, or more likely in my town, a chemical spill from a train that goes through town just 7 blocks away--then I KNOW I have been lax on preparing a bug-out bag. I do have one, and it does have a few changes of clothing in it, a few other needs, but where I am lacking is having all personal info/records in one place to take with me. I know where the info is, but it's in various files in a file cabinet. I have written down actual phone numbers from my phone in case it got lost, but as for our files---well, I just hope they survive.

    1. Joy, this is the kind of situation where a BOB would definitely comein handy!

  8. With this level of flooding we will not need to leave our home. By this time we will have used up most of our fresh items and be using things from the pantry. We will be cooking on our gas grill, which my husband hooked to our house gas line years ago. So as long as the gas stays on I will cook outside to help keep the house cooler. We will have the blind, curtains and windows closed most of the day. I will open all the windows once it cools off for the evening.

    We have plenty of things to keep us busy during the day time. I think this would be a good time to keep working on my decluttering project while I have help from my husband and youngest son.

    And I would also be working on plans for some bug out bags, which we do not have. I'm not sure I could get everything together we would need in under 30 minutes. So, that is something I'll be thinking about and taking care of ASAP.

    We should be OK for food, most canned items but I don't think I have enough water on hand so I'll also be stocking up on that soon.


  9. I went through our bug out bags last night as I couldn't sleep. renewed some meds that were out of date and made up one for the dogs too. They are by the front door ready. We are already to go if needs be, but we are ok as there is no water around here, but I worry more about civil unrest or looters. Just after we moved here, we had riots throughout the UK and it was frightening. Local youths barricaded both ends of our street and set fires. Ever since I get a bit ansty about everything being locked up and us ready to get out at a moments notice.


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