Emergency Preparedness

These are a series of articles I have posted on different websites:

Why Should We Prepare?

Belonging to several emergency preparedness websites and blogs, a question has presented itself many times from many different people: Why should anyone do any kind of preparing for the future? What’s the purpose?

From television shows to major food chain stores, emergency preparedness has become more popular than ever over the last ten years. Emergency preparing has now “morphed” into a whole subculture of people in our society called “Preppers”.  

Years ago before the turn of the century, (1940) members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were encouraged by their church leaders to stash away a year supply of food and water. Self reliance and thrift had always been taught from the pulpit but this push for storing food and water had a purpose.

From a talk given in 1980, Ezra Taft Benson, one of the twelve apostles in the LDS Church leadership at the time, encouraged members to renew their resolve in self-reliance and to be prepared for any emergency.

Trials and tribulations were definitely foretold in helping members to realize the wisdom of being prepared for anything thrown our way. And boy, are we thrown trials our way: terrorist attacks, economic recessions, natural disasters and the list goes on.  Not to be a Debbie Downer but the reality of life in these modern times has its challenges. So why not be prepared? Anyone who knows the boy scouts know how helpful they are when they follow their motto “Be Prepared”. We should be too and be prepared for all contingencies. It just makes sense.

If we want to be self sufficient and not have to depend on anyone else but ourselves to be fed, clothed and comfortable at home, then stashing away supplies in case of an emergency can be the only answer to the reality of our modern life.

Creating a plan for our safety and supplies for storage makes good sense and we can be prepared during difficult times. Whether we lose our job and have no income for an extended period or find ourselves in the middle of a category five hurricane, we can be prepared for the worst.

So the next time someone asks why you are keeping extra canned food in your pantry, extra toilet paper in the cabinet or bottled water in the closet, just tell them it’s the sensible thing to do…. and you know it is.

25 Must Have Survival Foods: Put Them In Your Pantry Now

From www.readynutrition.com
Stock up on the following items today to get your prepper pantry ready for the next extended emergency:
1. Canned fruits, vegetables, meats, and soups
2. Dried legumes (beans, lentils, peas)
3. Crackers
4. Nuts
5. Pasta sauce
6. Peanut butter
7. Pasta
8. Flour (white, whole wheat)
9. Seasonings (vanilla, salt, pepper, paprika, cinnamon, pepper, taco seasoning, etc.)
10. Sugar
11. Bouillon cubes or granules (chicken, vegetable, beef)
12. Kitchen staples (baking soda, baking powder, yeast, vinegar)        13. Honey
14. Unsweetened cocoa powder
15. Jell-O or pudding mixes
16. Whole grains (barley, bulgur, cornmeal, couscous, oats, quinoa, rice, wheat berries)
17. Nonfat dried milk
18. Plant-based oil (corn oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, olive oil)
19. Cereals
20. Seeds for eating and sprouting
21. Popcorn (not the microwavable kind)
22. Instant potato flakes
23. Packaged meals (macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper, Ramen noodles, etc.)
24. Purified drinking water
25. Fruit juices, teas, coffee, drink mixes

Six Areas of Emergency Preparedness

Families are important — we all know that. So what happens when a natural disaster or some other emergency hits our home and we have to think fast? Being prepared for emergencies is a process and takes time. Whether you live in the city or out in the country, from east to west there are emergencies which require families to be prepared.
Emergency preparedness is sometimes called disaster preparedness. There are numerous websites and books on being prepared and it is easy to be overwhelmed and do nothing.
When organizing for emergencies, think about where you live and what emergency your family could experience in your area. The information here is about the physical aspect of being prepared.
There are generally six areas of preparedness that everyone has to think about:

1. Food Storage: This part of preparing is probably the most time-consuming task. In planning for food, determine who you are feeding and estimate for how long. Start with planning a three month supply and purchase necessities first. Budget food storage money each week and purchase a little at a time to be built up.
What ever your family eats, you need to store. It’s no good storing 500 pounds of pinto beans if your family refuses to eat it. Plus families must also consider the food collected from growing their own garden can help in the storing process.
List meals for two weeks and break down on paper what is needed to shop for those two weeks. Families might find that what they eat regularly are not storage friendly. Packing a freezer full of chicken nuggets and tator tots will not last long, especially if your power goes out, so changing your eating habits now can help you prepare better for an emergency. Meals made with whole foods are easier to put into food storage.
There are numerous websites, books and other resources which have lists to guide families to store food. The more conventional food storing idea is to buy certain foods in bulk which are used to prepare meals. This method requires monthly menu planning to rotate and use foods bought for storing. These items would include (amounts taken from LDS Preparedness Manual):
Grains: (400 pounds per adult per year)
Beans and legumes: (90 pounds per adult per year)
Sugars: (60 pounds per adult per year)
Milk/Dairy Products: (75 pounds per adult per year)
Meat and Meat Substitutes: (20 pounds per adult per year)
Fruits and Vegetables: (90 pounds per adult per year)
Fats/Oils: (20 pounds per adult per year)

When storing food, proper food storage containers need to be considered. There are #10 cans, mylar gallon bags or plastic air tight bags which can be sealed with heat. All are good sources of packing but families can decide what would be best for them. Cans last through mice and moister and sit on a shelf wonderfully but they do rust after a while out in the elements. Mylar bags and strong plastic bags don’t hold up to mice but can be easily stored anywhere.
Create your own calendar for organizing and purchasing food as well as other items discussed so as to not overload your budget or time and don’t forget to include a few “treats” in your storage for emotional well being.

2. Water Storage: Water is a very important item in emergency preparedness. Most people might do okay with little or no food but no one cannot live without water. Storing enough water for all family members is very important. To give you an idea, just the drinking water alone for one adult is 14 gallons for two weeks. That doesn’t include bathing or cooking water either.
Water storage can be clean water from a well (providing you have energy to retrieve it) or catching rain off the roof into 50 gallon drums. Water storage can be tricky as some plastic will deteriorate and start to leak as in milk cartons. Other plastic containers as in Clorox and soda pop bottles make better water storage containers which keep their integrity. Water should be kept in food grade containers and rotated. It is also important to have several forms of water purification on hand such as Chlorine drops, purification tablets, boiling pots or hand held purifiers. There are many ways to purify and store water.
There is an older couple (in their sixties) living close to me who devised a way to catch the water off of their roof, store it into 50 gallon drums and then piped into their home for use. There was a filtration system used as well and the cost was minimal. Last year the water in their area was accidentally contaminated with sewer water and their system was put to the test. They were happy to report that their water supply lasted through the week of no water from the city. As human beings we are very resourceful and with the importance of storing water, we can accomplish this task.

3. Shelter: Most people don’t have to worry about where they live. Their place of residence is a safe haven should be treated as one. Homes should be organized with emergency preparedness tools within easy access in multiple areas as this can be a blessing in times of hardship. But what if emergencies require you to leave their homes, then what? This type of preparing should be considered as well. Are there tents or temporary portable shelters available to your family? What supplies are needed to leave your home? Every county has temporary shelters but this should only be considered in an extreme emergency with no other options. Large enough disasters which require families to leave their home take much preparation and planning. Start now to make an emergency plan if your family would have to evacuate and where a safe place would be to go. Remember leaving your home has its drawbacks as you cannot pack everything and you always need more than you realize.

4. First Aid: First aid is an important part of preparing for emergencies because of the need to stay healthy and whole. A basic first aid kit is a must along with any medications a family might need. If any family member is on regular medication, then it is greatly advised to have a month supply of this medication for emergencies. Confer with your doctor in order to receive the necessary extra prescriptions to keep at home. Collecting books on how to medically treat illnesses is very useful as well. It is also helpful to be trained in simple first aid as this will help keep everyone calm in an emergency as well as save lives.

5. Communication: Communication is always important especially in an emergency. If radio and TV is knocked out then other forms of communication can be used. Cell phones are great until the battery runs out or towers are damaged. A land line is one of the best forms of communication as it is under the ground and does not need electricity in house to work. Walkie-talkies are a great source for close range communication in neighborhoods. The best form of communication in long distance would be a shortwave radio. Shortwave radios receive wavelengths in a certain bandwidth which are shorter than 1500kHz. In broadcast terms this is under the “broadcast medium” wave band so armatures radio operators can communicate with other shortwave operators. This type of radio can be expensive and a test is required for a license to use. The area of emergency preparedness is not always taken seriously but if you are going to leave your house a good set of walkie-talkies are good to have.

6. Protection: Living in the gulf coast area of Alabama, we are accustomed to regular emergencies due to hurricanes. When Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast there were many reports of theft and aggression. For example, those families who stayed in their homes along the Louisiana and Mississippi coastal areas and were prepared with food, water and other items were approached by neighbors who were not as prepared. There were at least seven cases of criminal activity reported from attempted assault to theft and there were at least two people shot because of it. No one is expected to share what they have but by the same token, everyone should understand that they will need to protect themselves when food and supplies become scarce. Whatever means of protection we have, this needs to be considered and studied.
This information is just the very tip of what has been published or discussed in classes. There is so much more information needed to really have an understanding of what needs to be done. The more research and information learned by families the better prepared and stronger they will be in an emergency, but don’t be overwhelmed. There is still time to learn and prepare.

Beginning Food Storage: A Blessing in Time of Disaster

Food storage is one of the most important parts of being prepared. In planning for food, you must know who you are feeding and for how long.  There are several sources where people can find food to store:

Start a Garden: Though this requires quite a bit of start up time and preparation, gardens can be the most fulfilling way to eat fresh food. This food can stored by canning and preserving in the kitchen. Whether it’s a small plot of land in the back yard or buckets on the balcony, a home garden is well worth the time. Aquaponics (the system of bringing fresh fish and plants together) is rapidly becoming a popular source of home grown food and is worth a good study for those who would like to be more independent in supplying their own food.

Grocery Store: This source is the most popular way families can buy their food storage. Either through a warehouse store or a simple grocery story, a written plan of what is needed and buying weekly food items to store is an easy way to start a successful food storage program.

Food Co-Ops/Farmer’s markets: This kind of food buying is very helpful as well.  There are food co-ops where families can trade and purchase in large bulk the food they need to store.  Also farmer’s markets many times have sales on large food items in season as they need to keep their items fresh. Search online for your local food co-ops and farmer’s markets.

Freeze Dried/Dehydrated: Most of the buying with this process is through large companies who sell this kind of food in bulk. Anyone can order online, through the phone or regular mail order to have food shipped to your home. This can be a helpful way to store long term food but try tasting some of these products in your family first before ordering large quantities.

There are several ways to start a food storage program. First would be to list meals eaten for two weeks and break down on paper what is needed to shop for those two weeks. Families might find that their meals are not storage friendly.  Packing a freezer full of chicken nuggets and tator-tots will not last long so some changes might be in order. Budget food storage money each week and purchase a little at a time to build up your supply. A year’s supply is good but first start with a three-month supply. To think a year can be over whelming. What ever your family eats, you need to store.  It’s no good storing 500 pounds of pinto beans if your family refuses to eat it.

There are numerous websites, books and other resources which have lists to guide families to store food. The more conventional food storing idea is to buy certain foods in bulk which are used to prepare meals. This method requires monthly menu planning to rotate and use foods bought for storing.  These items would include: (amounts taken from LDS Preparedness Manual)

Grains: (400 pounds per adult per year) This includes, whole wheat, rice, oats, barley, pasta and dried corn for corn meal.  If families are accustomed to eating complete whole wheat bread then store more wheat. If not then storing white flour to supplement bread making can be added. Brown rice has too much moisture content to store safely for more than three months without becoming rancid so this food is discouraged.

Beans and legumes: (90 pounds per adult per year) If families eat more beans, then store more beans. Pinto, kidney, split peas, lentils, black beans, navy beans. But remember the amounts of sauces needed to consume this kind of food.

Sugars:  (60 pounds per adult per year) Honey is a great storage item but if you are not used to using it then sugar is the way to go. Brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup or cane syrup are all viable sources of sweeteners.

 Milk/Dairy Products: (75 pounds per adult per year) Mostly this would include powdered milk but there is also powdered sour cream which lasts longer when frozen. Canned milk can also be store. Eggs can be used after freezing.

Meat and Meat Substitutes: (20 pounds per adult per year) Dehydrated, freeze dried or canned meats are great options for storing meats.  If families are used to eating more meat then plan to have more in your storage than 20 pounds.

Fruits and Vegetables: (90 pounds per adult per year) This is where it gets really interesting.  Canning fruit and vegetables over a season has been a popular family undertaking for many years. A family grows their garden and eats what they are able, shares with neighbors and then cans the rest. This lifestyle is making a comeback in modern society and is a very nutritious way to go.  Dehydrated, freeze dried or canned fruits and vegetables are all great sources.  Fresh fruits and vegetables can even be stored in a root cellar if available.

Fats/Oils: (20 pounds per adult per year) This product usually needs to be rotated regularly. Oils and fats become rancid after 6 months. All types of oils, butter, margarine, lard, or shortening can be stored for this group.

When storing food, proper food storage containers need to be considered. There are #10 cans, mylar gallon bags or plastic air tight bags which can be sealed with heat. All are good sources of packing but families can decide what would be best for them. Cans last through mice and moister and sit on a shelf wonderfully but they do rust after a while out in the elements.  Mylar bags and strong plastic bags don’t hold up to mice but can be easily stored anywhere.

Create your own calendar for organizing and purchasing food as well as other items discussed so as to not overload your budget or time and don’t forget to include a few “treats” in your storage for emotional well being.

You will find much peace of mind with the completion of your food storage which will help you to concentrate on other areas.

Emergency Water Storage

Emergency preparedness also includes water storage. One gallon per person per day is required for drinking and cooking. The best way to have enough water is to store it but this can be difficult in small living areas. Finding creative storing places for water can be a fun way for children to be involved.   Store water in food safe containers such as soda bottles or buy already processed water in bottles to be stored in different places including the trunk of your car. When water supplies run out, there are other places in your house in which water can be found for safe drinking. 

A good place to look in your own home is the hot water heater, toilet tank, or ice trays/ice maker. During hurricanes in the South, we would fill the bath tub up with water which can be a great way to store extra water in a pinch. Make sure the tub is cleaned first which usually hold 60 gallons.

When there is no more water from storage then there are other ways to acquire safe drinking water. There are potential water supplies from moving sources in rivers, streams, underground springs or rain water but these should be tested to be sure they are drinkable. Keeping some sort of infiltration system at home will guarantee safe drinking water.
 (Also note when treating water, consider infiltration systems which will remove four water pollutants 1. Bacterial 2. Protozoan  3.Viral and 4. Chemical)

  1. Boiling: This is a preferred treatment and only takes two full minutes at full rolling boil to treat water before drinking.
  2. Iodine: These tablets can be purchased where you would find emergency preparedness items but follow the directions carefully on the box. Vitamin C tablets can help the bitter taste of iodine flavor once the water is treated.
  3. Bleach: Use two drops of plain bleach per liter of water can be used and then set for 60 minutes to ensure clean water. (Eight drops in a gallon)
  4. Filtration System: These come in many sizes from portable thermos size to large barrel home size depending on what you want. It is encouraged to have several different types of filtration systems on hand in case you cannot get to one or are away from home. The Berkey filtration system (http://www.berkeyfilters.com/ ) seems to be the best at removing all pollutants and is very portable which makes a great item to be stored in your vehicle.
  5. Distilling Process:  This process creates clean water by using a vapor system or a distilling system which can be purchased to be hooked up to your home water system.
  6. Solar Disinfection: In the last resort, setting clear one liter bottles of water in the sun for six hours (in full sun and two days for partial sun) can clean the water enough to drink. This is very time consuming but if planned well, solar disinfection can be used when all other options fail.  There is an interesting instrument which can help to know whether the water has been cleaned enough to drink. A WAPI (Water Pasteurization Indicator) works like a thermometer to indicate when the water under the sun has reached pasteurization temperature and is safe to drink. (http://solarwapi.blogspot.com/ ) It’s a small tube with a little wax piece inside which will melt in the sun and drop to the other side of the tube when water is ready to drink This affective instrument has been used all over Africa as good water sources are scarce but they have plenty of sunshine. 

As a society, we take clean water for granted which will always be there for us.  But in times of emergency, that might not be the case. Water is an essential element to survival and you must ensure your family has enough to last through several months of emergencies. Start now by stashing away water for drinking and cooking use.

Home Canning 101
Home Canning: A great way to preserve what you grow in your garden!!!
Tools: Water Bath or Pressure Canner, Lids, rings/bands, jars, butter knife or plastic spatula, lid holder, plastic funnel, paring knife, towels, measuring cups, Recipe ingredients, small pot with water to boil.

Water Bath                                      Pressure Canning
Pickles, Relish                                   Pumpkin/Squash
Pickled vegetables                               Corn
Tomatoes                                          String Beans
Pears                                                Peppers
Peaches                                             Meats-Chicken/Fish
Apples                                               Most Vegetables
            Online Sources

Home Canning 101-page 2
Points To Remember:
1.   Wash all jars, lids and bands. Boil lids only for 3 minutes.
2.   Always wipe top of jar before placing lid and band on jar.
3.   Always start timing  water bath at rolling boil an inch over jars
4.   Slide butter knife inside jar against glass to remove air bubbles
5.   Never run cold water over hot jars.
6.   Always invert jars to cool over night on towel.
7.   Make sure lids are on “down position” to keep stored on shelf.
8.   Always label jars with date and contents.
9. Remember to follow recipe exactly for correct preserving.

Christie’s Pepper Jelly                      Directions: Add all
1-1/2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar          ingredients in pot and cook
6-1/2 Cups Sugar                               for 45 minutes.  Have hot
5 to 7 cups minced                             pint jars and lids ready and
    Hot and Sweet Peppers                   pour into jars.
Craisons                                            WaterBath jars for 10
Orange Zest                                       minutes. Take out and
                                                        Place upside down on towel

Valerie’s  Strawberry Fig Jam   Directions: Place all ingredients
3 Cups smashed Figs                  dutch oven pot and stir well.
3 Small Boxes Strawberry Jello    Heat to boil and cook 3 minutes
3 Cups of Sugar                         stirring occasionally.  Turn off
                                                heat and pour into hot pint jars.  
                                                Water Bath jars for 10 minutes.

Communication through all Emergencies

In an emergency, communication is one aspect which becomes very important when disaster strikes but is forgotten most other times. With the advance of technology in our modern world, communication has the ability of instant results. Satellite phones, cell phones and Ham Radios are invaluable in contacting members of the family all over the world. In an optimum situation, families need to have a plan set and reviewed every so often to keep fresh in their minds so when emergencies do occur, you can be ready.

The real purpose of emergency communication is to establish the safety for all family members and recover those who have not returned home. A family plan is essential to instill security and calmness among family members when an emergency arises.

An excellent commentary in this topic can be found at http://graywolfsurvival.com/1179/how-to-family-emergency-communication-plan/ online. One suggestion from this website which helps us to remember what to include in our communication plan is to use the acronym: COMMUNICATE.

C- Create a family communication plan to keep in touch with all family members to get home.
O – Options are available: land line phones, cell phones, or email.
M – Make sure you know the emergency plan at your child’s school.
M – Make a decision of where you will meet just in case you cannot get home.
U – Understand that in some situations getting an answer back can take time. Be patient.
N – Needs for your pets should be considered. Keep a pet carrier for easy transport.
I – Inform yourself. Even if you are prepared for emergencies, keep informed by watching news broadcasts, read online news updates or listen to the radio.
C – Copies of your emergency plan should be kept in your emergency supply kit in case there is a need to leave in a hurry. Also a copy needs to be in a central location at home.
A- Ask your children if they understand the family emergency plan and see if they have any concerns or fears.
T – Take your children to the emergency meeting spot area so they can familiarize themselves and feel comfortable finding it on their own.
E – Emergencies take different forms. Think of possible emergencies which might arise in your area and discuss what action can be taken.

Along with this idea, remember to keep an emergency plan for daytime activity and night time activity. This might seem like too much planning but in the end, parents will be glad they are prepared.  A good place to find emergency plan documents is here:

With the use of cell phones, a landline is usually disregarded but in all honesty a landline at home is very effective in communication especially when satellites and cell phone towers are damaged or electricity is down.  If at all possible keep a landline at home for emergencies. Also remember cell phones are now equipped with emergency features and can be used even if the phone is unable to call out.

A good set of walkie-talkies with multiple channel capability (and extra batteries) is a valuable tool and should be a part of your emergency kit. Not only will you have the availability of communicating with others in your range but if necessary, walkie-talkies are great when cell phones are down for a close range area.

Ham Radios/Amateur Radios: A good two-way radio to communicate with others is not required but good to have available.   To maintain contact with the outside world is helpful in recovery and sharing of goods. This is a more costly item and not everyone has the opportunity to be trained as a Ham radio operator as this requires taking a test and receiving a license. Website for more information: http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=service_home&id=amateur

With a plan for your family and some tools to help keep communication open, emergencies will be easier to handle and you shall not fear.

Remember Emergency First Aid Preparedness

Emergency preparedness to many people means food and water but there is a third important element in being prepared. It is having the knowledge and materials of first aid.  There are safety measures we must follow in everything we do but more than likely we all injure ourselves in some way or another.  Whether it’s a simple cut from a knife or a broken leg, we must prepare ourselves and learn how to treat our families in these times of emergency as there might not be medical help nearby.

We should first realize that our own personal makeshift doctoring does not take the place of a professional medical provider. We should always try to find someone who is trained in first aid first before we try to help someone with injuries above our level of expertise.

When accidents occur we should be prepared to help in some way, especially in our own families. Keeping a full first aid kit can provide this help. There are two places we should have basic first aid supplies. One would be at home where we can store a more thorough kit and the other place would be to have a kit in the car.

Home First Aid Kit: Besides the normal Band-Aids, gauze and antiseptic wipes for supplies we should remember to keep other items in our home kit for emergencies. From http://www.disasterfirstaid.com/firstaidkits.html there is quite a list:

٠ The Disaster First Aid Handbook (an invaluable tool for information)
• Latex or vinyl gloves, 20 to 30 pairs
• Cloth advesive tapes 1” and 2” wide (2or 3 rolls)
• Plastic advesive tapes 1” and 2” wide (2or 3 rolls)
• Large & Medium sterile gauze pads 4x4 and 8x10
• Extra-Large band-aids 2”x4” or larger
• Box of sanitary napkins or adult diapers (These make good
absorbent dressings or pressure dressings)
• Large packages (100 non-sterile 4"x4”gauze) (2 or 3 pkgs)
• Roller bandages Kling /Kerlix, or make your own (12 to 25)
• Triangle “cravat” slings, or make your own (several)
• Tongue depressors and/or cotton swabs
• Lots of extra-large safety pins
• Mild disinfectant (“Green Soap” or Betadine scrub)
• Hydrogen Peroxide (to use, dilute with water 50/50)
• Antibiotic ointment (Polysporin, Bacitracin)
• Sterile water or sterile Normal Saline
• Plastic baggies and heavy garbage bags
• Plastic sheeting ground cover 12x25 ft roll
• Mylar “space blankets” (6-12 or more)
• Clothesline-type rope or sash-cord
• “Duck” Tape (good for everything)
• Blunt-ended or “EMT” scissors 2 or 3 pairs
• Kitchen rubber gloves for general mess
• Pocket knife or folding lock-blade knife
• Consider a clean plastic spray or squirt bottle
• Keep 2 weeks supply of needed prescription medications you or your family usually take. If Diabetic include medicine & snack foods for them.
• Tylenol or aspirin for fever
• Anti-Diarrhea medicine
• Clean water

I would add several bottles of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and hydrogen peroxide, some wooden splints, tweezers, a whistle and a pack of baby wipes to the list.
For more advanced first aid there are triage kits which include supplies for surgical procedures which might be used in an emergency.
Start small and build up your supplies by buying weekly and find a good container or several containers to hold your supplies.

Car First Aid Kit: A car first aid kit would just be a smaller version of what you would have at home. There are “already made” first aid kits that would fit nicely in a car space but check those to make sure there are enough supplies or add to them so you won’t be caught without. Remember to keep a whistle and baby wipes in the car too.

There are other alternative types of first aid which can be helpful for some.  Essential oils have grown in popularity over the last five years and can be included in home first aid kits. For example, Lavender oil can help relieve and heal burns on skin. Rubbing a small amount of peppermint oil on the temples can relieve headaches. Herbs and natural oils have been known to help in healing for thousands of years and are worth some time in research.

A great way to get the first aid training you need is to attend classes.  Both first aid and CPR classes are essential in learning how to proceed in an emergency. If you have already taken these kinds of classes think about the last time you attended and it might be a good time for a refresher.  CPR procedures are updated all the time and new information is added so it is good to stay informed.
Amazingly enough there are now first aid and CPR classes online free.  The Red Cross provides some: ( http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/program-highlights/cpr-first-aid )
Also helpful classes are listed here: http://www.firstaidweb.com/

There are also local classes in every county of the country through the American Red Cross. To find a class close to you. Find http://www.redcross.org/ and then click on “Find Your Local Red Cross”.  There is also the National Safety Council who provide classes as well: http://www.nsc.org/products_training/Training/firstaidandCPR/Pages/FirstAidTrainingPrograms.aspx#.UxYG-84WOcc

First aid training is invaluable knowledge especially in emergency situations. You never know what will happen to your family, neighbors or co-workers where you will be called upon to save someone’s life. Being prepared for first aid emergencies is part of emergency preparedness.

Bugging Out vs. Staying Home

When a warning of impending doom or disaster is announced, families have to make a quick decision.  Do we leave our home to find other shelter or do we stay?  That is the million dollar question but there are many variables which will help decide what is best to do. This decision should not be taken lightly.  It’s a part judgment call and part inspiration. Consider these variables with your decision:

Hurricane Warning: Are you located at the beach or low lying areas or are you at a higher elevation?  Hurricane watch lets you know that the weather conditions are favorable for a hurricane to occur. Hurricane warning means the storm is imminent and requires immediate action. Many times the National Weather Service will encourage state officials to declare an emergency and depending on where you live will determine what you decide.

Earthquakes and Tornadoes: These are two of the few natural disasters which don’t have much warning ahead of time which does not give much time to leave when  touch down or eruptions occur. There is not much anyone can do but keep emergency supplies at home. This will help in the aftermath and clean up depending upon the devastation.

Tsunami: This type of disaster is coupled with earthquakes under large bodies of water and though there might be some kind of warning to leave quickly, there might not be enough time. Back pack emergency kits are helpful here and can make the difference in comfort for the first few days of survival.

Other disasters might include mud slides, snow storms, volcanoes, and civil unrest.  These kinds of disasters will catch you off guard if there are not emergency supplies already on hand.

Of all the emergency preparedness discussion there is online or at meetings, bug out bags (or emergency kits formally called 72 hour kits) are the most talked about items.  There are so many kinds of emergency kits and lists of what is considered most important to pack, so there needs to be some time in study and thought for each particular situation.

Of course food and water are the first in essentials but also consider other items. First aid kits, extra change in clothes and shoes, toiletries and towels and if you have babies, young children or elderly they have their own list. Medicines, sleeping bags, and battery powered radios.  The list goes on and on which is why leaving home must be carefully considered. Remember you cannot take everything with you.  If there is transportation, then you can pack more.  If you have to walk, then you have very limited space.  Here are some links to complete lists on emergency kits:

Some families pack their emergency kits in individual back packs for easy transport on foot.  Some use small tubs or 5 gallon buckets. These are not as easy to carry but store well at home and in the car.

There are also transportation issues to consider like how far can you travel on one tank of gas? If filling stations are down you won’t be able to refill your tank and you will be stuck. A good road trip plan can help to make it to your destination but consider mass traffic and refill stations.

Also know that once you leave home when a disaster strikes and clean up begins, national guards or military might not let you back into your own home even with proof of identification because of a safety issues. You might have to take shelter elsewhere.

By the same token if emergency agencies declare a state of emergency and tell the public to stay home, then by all means stay home.  A heavy snow storm would fit in this category.

Preparing for any emergency can be difficult if we are not sure what we are preparing for. All of these disasters have occurred over the last 10 years and disaster planning has been tested all over the country. Plan for several options and keep supplies in an easy access place at home.  You will be glad you did.

Emergency Survival for Women on their Own

Emergency preparedness is a universal necessity for families facing any kind of difficulty. Everyone needs to be prepared and have a plan, but what if women find themselves alone with little support for an emergency? There are ways to help themselves so they will not be as vulnerable when disaster strikes. Here are a few:
1. Don’t Panic: When emergencies arise there is no time for panic. Practice breathing exercises or relaxation methods when you feel the need to panic in small life situations. Prayer always helps as we need to remember to keep our heads. A good way to remember this is with the word SURVIVAL.
                   S — Size up the situation.
                   U —Undo haste makes waste.
                   R — Remember where you are.
                   V — Vanquish your fear and panic.
                   I — Improvise.
                   V — Value everywhere.
                   A — Act like the natives.
                   L — Learn basic skills.
If you live in a tornado area, learn what steps to take before the siren sounds so you will be calm, which will help everyone else around you to stay calm. Another good way to avoid panic is with the word STOP. Stop, Think, Observe and Plan. The practice of keeping calm may save your life.

2. Store emergency supplies: Just as in all emergency situations, there is always a need to have emergency supplies. Ready to eat food, water and a filtration system to clean more water, a way to cook food (camp stove, fire starting kits), emergency shelter if necessary, and a good first aid kit. Practice using emergency items so you can think clearly in a pinch. This will help calm you when an emergency arises. Learn from other women which can help keep you informed. There are many internet links which can help.
3. Communication is important: We know we have cell phones in case of an emergency where ever we go, but what if all normal communication systems are down? Battery-powered radios with extra batteries are handy, as well as whistles, a small mirror or battery-powered walkie-talkies. This can be a life line for help. Even starting a fire when lost can help searchers find you. Keep these items in an easy to reach place or in multiple places. 
4. Remember self-defense and safety: This aspect of emergency preparedness is probably the scariest. All women need to know some form of self-defense.  http://www.datehookup.com/content-a-free-guide-to-womens-self-defense-and-self-protection.htm There are classes and workshops which can help teach the basics. Always lock your car and house door. Remember wasp spray can keep attackers away. When facing an attacker remember to never let anyone (or anything) that threatens you get closer than arms length. Never say, “I’ve got a gun” as an empty threat because eventually they will know you are bluffing. Know how to stay on guard when necessary and practice good safety as a rule.
The number one motto for survival is: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Preparing ourselves emotionally, spiritually and physically will always help in times of disaster. With so much to learn about survival, there are places women can go to practice what they need to know. The internet and emergency preparedness groups are good places to start learning how to be prepared.
There is a difference between surviving and living. Surviving requires skills developed for a short-term event in times of crisis. They will eventually lead back to living. Living requires developing a set of skills for a long-term life style regardless of changing environments, conditions, events or economics. Building our emergency preparedness knowledge base will help us with living and not just surviving. With these suggestions, women can develop a living standard which will keep us independent and safe regardless of what we experience in a survival setting.

Home-made old time cures

Category : First Aid, General Cures
CORNS: quarter an onion and soak in strong vinegar until pickled.
Bind a fresh slice of the pickled onion to the corn for three nights to remove the soreness and the corn. Another remedy is to work equal parts of beef tallow, sugar and ordinary kitchen soap into a salve. Bind on corns with a small piece of adhesive tape. The second is more effective than the first and deer tallow and lye soap may be substituted
For BOILS: Boils are caused by an infected pore, usually from rubbing of dirty clothing these can become severe and turn into worse things. Lancing the boil is the first line of defense, after that any drawing agent, salt/soda paste, herbal drawing remedies, antibiotic
cream, soaks of vinegar etc… the key is to keep them dry but clean and rinsed at least 4 times a day with what ever agent you have.
NAIL WOUNDS: or Inflammation of any kind, make a poultice by stirring
buttermilk and flour to a very thick batter. Cover a cloth with this and bind to inflamed area. Buttermilk will become a luxury item, see above for options for infected wounds, with punctures it helps to push astringent agents into the wound, I keep non – needled syringes for just such purposes.
LICE and EGGS:  Drink a glass of warm water with a half teaspoon of salt dissolved in it every morning before breakfast for a splendid TONIC. Two or three applications of sassafras oil will destroy both head other lice. Just rub the oil over the infected parts. Coal tar and or any oil that will smother the parasites will kill them, in a couple days comb with tight toothed comb to remove as many eggs as possible and repeat Spearmint oil, cooking oil, lard, tallow whatever if it can’t breathe it cant live.
BURNS: make a paste of flour and water as quickly as possible and spread over the area. Also honey rubbed directly on a burn will keep it from blistering. Vanilla extract will take away soreness and keep it from blistering. Water is best for initial treatment of burns, any other substance has a lower boiling point and can increase the underlying burn, once the skin is cooled, keeping it moist by application of burdock -grated, chopped, minced etc with water, and or aloe if your fortunate, as well as just plain tallow better if it has mashed up rose hips as those are natural emollients.
WARTS: put two parts of mutton suet, one part of turpentine, and apply to warts every other night. The sap from milkweed, dogbane or dandelion will work too, apply regularly, like every couple of hours, use fresh juice, warts are caused by viruses and they have to breath also, duct tape and electrical tape work also, however these remedies do not work for planters warts, that takes heat and a great amount of it.

CRAMPS IN THE LEGS: Take two teaspoons honey at each meal to relieve cramps in legs. Calcium products are more efficient and quicker, especially if you have Mylanta.
SINUS: Chew a piece of honey comb about the size of a piece of gum for about fifteen minutes every few hours for a week, or take two teaspoons of honey at each meal.
Honeycomb contains the pollen of the plants that are causing the problems, it should only be used if it can be obtained within 2 miles of your location, buying honeycomb from CA when you live in FL will not be effective as you will be desensitizing yourself to plants that live in CA, this method is good for those with allergies also, honey alone doesn’t contain enough pollen to help, REMEMBER NO HONEY TO CHILDREN UNDER 1 YEAR OF AGE PERIOD.
HAY FEVER: Take one tablespoon of corn oil at each meal. Mix two teaspoons vinegar and two teaspoons honey in a glass of water and drink at each meal for
ARTHRITIS: Salve made from Poke Root is much more efficient for arthritis, as is good calcium.
PNEUMONIA: Take six large onions, chop fine, put in a pan over the fire, and add enough corn meal and vinegar enough to make paste. Stir thoroughly and let simmer for about ten minutes. Then put in two cotton bags and apply to chest as hot as can be borne. As soon as one cools, apply the one which has been kept hot in a steamer. Keep changing, making fresh poultices from time to time. Mustard seed infused with the above is more effective, using mints any kind in there as well helps to open bronchial passages, heat on the chest is good as is moisture in the air, vapor baths using
mints and cherry help to open breathing passages.
LAMENESS: Here are some remedies using apple vinegar that Marie Smith told me.
Add one tablespoon vinegar and one tablespoon turpentine to a beaten egg yolk. This is for horses or cows and is applied externally and effective, turpentine on animals 50/50 with water will also kill parasites (on humans too)
FOOD POISONING: drink one teaspoon vinegar in a glass of water every five minutes.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: Take two teaspoons vinegar and two teaspoons honey in a glass of water at each meal for. Add the vinegar and honey to Hawthorne berry tea and your blood pressure will surely drop and stay down.
TARTER ON YOUR TEETH: put a teaspoon of vinegar in a glass of water and sip slowly. Strawberries have more effect on tartar than any other available remedy outside of a dentist.
NOSE BLEEDING: Take two teaspoons vinegar in a glass of water. Dried spaghnam moss used in the nostril will stop the bleeding; the vinegar will help prevent new bleeds.

SORE THROAT: Gargle a teaspoon of vinegar to a glass of water every hour. As soreness goes away gargle every two hours. Cover two large chopped onions and a whole head of garlic with water boil until only half the water remains, gargle and swallow the
liquid every hour, eat the onion/garlic with any soup stock you have on hand, onions and garlic are known weak antibiotics.
 RINGWORM: Apply vinegar six times a day directly on infected area.
Ringworm is a fungus, vinegar has sugars in it, funguses thrive on
those, inside or out, ringworm is best smothered like warts and parasites.
These remedies are a good place to start but in a primitive situation, cows, apples and the time to make vinegar may not be possible, and then in those days folk didn’t know what caused what. Hoping I added a bit of modern knowledge to your home remedies.

Home-Baked Bread from Potato Water

Ideas taken from Mother Earth News                                                                                                  By Miriam Bunce
November/December 1973

Here are the nine steps farm-housewives use to make home-baked bread by this old-fashioned method.
[1] To establish the starter, save the water from boiled potatoes...or better, cook a potato and mash it in its own liquid. Pour the water into the container you plan to use permanently (a quart jar is good).
Next, dissolve a package of dry yeast in a quarter of a cup of warm water and pour the solution into the potato liquid. Add two tablespoons of sugar and fill the jar with warm water, leaving an inch or more of empty space at the top. (Remember that warmth causes the yeast to work rapidly, but too high a temperature will kill the organisms.) Stir the mixture.
[2] Let the starter stand for about eight hours.
[3] Just before bedtime, mix your sponge: Pour the starter into a deep pan or pail, leaving a little (a layer about 1 1/2" deep) in the bottom of your quart jar. Add two cups of water to the mixture in the pan and stir in flour to form a thin batter about the right consistency for pancakes. Cover the sponge and let it stand all night.
Before you put away the starter that remains in the quart jar, add a tablespoon of salt (as preservative) and two tablespoons of sugar (as food for the yeast). Keep the container in a cupboard, not in the refrigerator.
[4] Its a good idea to mix your bread early in the morning so that it'll have plenty of time to rise during the day.
Four loaves of bread require two and a half pounds of flour. Some types make better bread than others...each farm wife experimented until she found a brand that worked well for her. Whatever kind you use, buy it when you find it on sale to keep costs to a minimum.
Like the old-time housewife, you can mix your dough in a dishpan. After pouring the flour into the container, add a rounded tablespoon or more of lard for each loaf followed by two tablespoons of sugar and one of salt (for four loaves). Then wash your hands thoroughly and use your fingers and thumb to rub the lard into some of the flour until the fat is in flakes.
Make a rounded, bowl-shaped impression in the powder and pour the sponge into the hollow. Stir the flour mixture into the sponge, pulling the flour in from the edges of the pan and trying to keep the sponge away from the sides and bottom as long as possible to prevent sticking.
As the mixture begins to stiffen, dust your hands lightly with flour and start mixing with a kneading motion. (Pick up the edges of the paste, fold them toward the middle and press them into the mass with the heels of the hands.) A light flouring on the sides and bottom of the pan will relieve the stickiness, and dough that clings to the bowl and your fingers can be rubbed off with flour and kneaded into the main mass.
In the past, mothers taught their daughters the desirable consistency for bread dough. Those of you who missed out on that kind of instruction should bear in mind that the final ball must be just as soft as possible and yet smooth on the outside. A mixture that's too soft will be sticky and won't form into a sleek glob.
Your efforts toward shaping up a smooth ball of dough will be helped if you continue to dust the mass lightly with flour as you work. Until the ingredients are thoroughly blended they'll stick to the pan and yet feel stiff to the hands. In the course of the mixing add warm water as needed—about half a cup a at a time—by making a small basin in the dough to receive the liquid. Then fold the edges of the mound into the water from all sides. Avoid getting the outside of the ball wet, as this will cause further sticking.
Although much has been said about the importance of kneading for long periods, farm wives made very good bread without timing the process. The goal was—and is—to mix the ingredients well and to coax the dough into a soft, smooth ball. When you begin to feel air in the mass, it's approaching the right consistency.
After the paste has reached the desired state, turn the round over—the smoothest part will be underneath—grease it with cooking oil or melted lard to prevent drying and cover the dishpan with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise until it's two or three times its original size. This is likely to take about three hours...perhaps longer.
[5] When the dough has risen, punch it down by kneading it briefly to restore it to approximately its original mass. Again form it into a smooth ball and grease the surface. Cover the bread-to-be and let it rise a second time for about two hours or until it's once more two or three times its original size.
 [6] Punch the dough down again, shape it into four smooth loaves and grease the outsides. Place the bread in baking pans...two 8" X 10" X 2" containers, with two loaves in each, will be about right. Let the dough rise as before.
[7] If you want to make rolls or cinnamon buns, reserve as much dough as would go into one loaf of bread and knead in two tablespoons of melted lard and two tablespoons of sugar.
For rolls, shape the paste into balls about the size of a small egg and place them in a pan to rise. To make cinnamon buns, spread the dough half an inch thick with a rolling pin and sprinkle it generously with sugar, cinnamon, butter or margarine. Curl the sheet up like a jelly roll and cut it into slices one-half to three-quarters of an inch thick. Place the little spirals in a greased pan to rise.
[8] When the bread dough is quite light, bake it in an oven preheated to 350° for about an hour (20 minutes at 375° in the case of rolls). Adjust the heat as the baking proceeds...reduce the temperature if the crust seems to be browning too fast, raise it if you see that the loaves won't be well browned at the end of an hour.
[9] When you remove the loaves or rolls from the oven, grease them with butter or margarine, cover them with a dish towel and let them stand until they're cool. Then store them in a bread bin with a tight cover, or in plastic bags.
When you want to bake again, fill the starter jar with potato water, add two tablespoons of sugar, let the mixture stand for eight hours and proceed as before. That's the advantage of homemade leavening: It's always on hand, ready to serve you whenever you decide to spend a satisfying day with warmly bulging dough and the fragrance of newly baked bread.

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