Organizing for Natural Disaster - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 09-02-2005, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This week's disaster has me thinking about whether we are prepared. I have some items collected, but I don't think my husband even knows what's there or where to find it. I have a "mental list" of what I would take if I had to evacuate, but I've had to evacuate before and I made some irrational decisions, so I think I need more than a mental list. It seems important to have some emergency supplies in the cars. I was thinking that I could probably put my "garage" kit in the car, on the theory that my car is usually home when I am. Anyway, does anyone have any advice for getting emergency supplies organized?
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#2 of 13 Old 09-02-2005, 05:11 PM
 
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There have been a lot of tips on the news over the past week.
One tip I though was particularly helpful: keep all important papers together, like your insurance policy, phone number etc. together and in a ziploc storage bag, to keep them from getting wet.

I have been thinking about this a lot this week and realized that this is one of the reasons it's SO important to have a clean, organized home. You don't have time to be searching for things in an emergency.
I went through our filing cabinet and made sure everything was in order (birth certificates, insurance, etc) so that it's all together.
All photographs, etc, should go right into the photo album when you get them back (I'm notorious for putting this off).. that way you can just grab your photo albums if you have to leave quickly.
I always try to keep a stock of bottled water in the house and a few in the car, for emergencies.

I'd love to hear some tips from others! :

~e, wife to my sweet T partners.gif, mama to my turtleman (8) , sunshine (6 vbac.gif), and monkey (2)
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#3 of 13 Old 09-03-2005, 01:59 PM
 
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We have an organization in town the works topward bring and settling refugees in town (the deal pridominately with Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Bosnia, Korea, Vietnam and Russia) and she took us through a proces that helped us understand what was really important. all the mamas said diapers. we wuickly learned what a waste or precious space that was.

make or get a certified copy of everything. it might help to shrink it down. birth certificates, SS cards, drivers liscences, any degree or lisences you will need to work (some of those people will never be going home again - the sooner they can get a job and prove thier qualifications the better) current pictures of everyone, passports, and other documents you may need. put them in a ziplock bag. She also recommended a small Bible and to tape these things in the pages. perhaps a loose set and a taped set that way if someone steals one you wil have the other. Also a month supply of any medications anyone is on and copies of your perscriptions. rotate medications and keep everythign else current every 3-6 months.

survival - water purifiation pills and the super heating pills. i forget what they are but you break them and they can boil water almost instantly. several emergancy blankets and a small first aid kit. maybe even some MSR packs. pack it all in a small sturdy pot. If flods are in your future life jackets might be appropriate.

If you have a baby a carrier, front pack or back pack.

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#4 of 13 Old 09-03-2005, 11:40 PM
 
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Oh this kills me that the reason we are discussing this is because of others having this happen this week

DH & I discussed this a few times this week. A few times it happend after watching the news. I even started crying once or twice becuase this could happen to any one of us. It dosen't help that 9/11 anniversary is in a few days and I always gets really upset this time of year anyhow because of this.


We have this passport carrier that we use when ever using the pports. Its a shoelace style necklace with a pocket the size of passports that goes inside you shirt (dh wears it). We were saying how it would also have birth cert and other things like the deeds for house, car, will, etc. if we had to evacuate.

One thing you can do now this week is make copies of all these things or get actual certified copies and mail them to a trusted relative or friend in another part of the country and they can put it in their safe deposit box. Or when visiting put it in a safe deposit box.

I already carry an psuado emergency pack in the car for everyday emergencies. It was a backpack being handed out for the local hospital. It has basic first aid stuff, a change of clothing for each of us and extra panties for dd for accidents etc. Also wipes. During the summer we carry a coldpack w bottled water, power bars, and fruit leathers. We also have a little potty in the trunk which is very useful for little potty learners who have to go at the park, etc. We just used it yesterday for another friend who's little one had to use it.

I think the best thing you can do now is be organized and have all your affairs in order. Look around your house right now. Can you honestly say if an emergency came up today I am prepared? If not figure out why and solve it.

Its very obvious we cannot rely on the govt to get us thru anything like this right now and in the future. None of them watch tv or listen to the radio since they "only received word on thursday that they all those people were in dire straights" -this would be the head of FEMA telling Ted Koppel. : So I think its best to be prepared for this happening again. Have a meeting of the minds with trusted friends and relatives. Let them know your wishes if this was to happen to you or them for that matter.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#5 of 13 Old 09-04-2005, 05:12 AM
 
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good thread!

here is another thread that has some good ideas that you may want to tap off of.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=337272


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#6 of 13 Old 09-05-2005, 11:04 PM
 
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: keep it comin' mama's!

Liz~A wife and homeschooling mother to two gifts from God!
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#7 of 13 Old 09-07-2005, 04:19 PM
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We're in a seismically active area (and subject to fires, etc.). We have 10 days of compact durable supplies (food, water, climber stoves & fuel, solar oven, solar rechargers--for cellphones, batteries, and laptops--medkits, spare clothing, tents, lights) in a wheeled lid-lockable 50 gal. garbage can.

Additionally we have a fireproof safe for all original vital docs and a monthly updated paper copy (in a binder) and a CD-ROM of all our financial and property lists/ledgers & address books. An out-of-state relative has certified copies (not merely photocopies which sometimes FEMA and other "officials" won't acknowledge as evidence--believe me, all compassion dies in the hand of bureaucrat with sudden authority over you) of all our vital docs in their firebox. They have a copy of our updated disaster plan (revised every six months) so if someone freaks out during a disaster and forgets where or when to rendezvous, who's getting the kids, the beasties, etc. the out-of-state relative can coordinate via the plan's hardcopy. In the wheeled can and in the car backpacks, there are regular photocopies of vital docs and photos of each family member. All papers are in drybags, all radios are in Pelican cases.

I began to park in a 6-story parking structure and have added a basic rappel/ascent kit to my truck's backpack (which can keep me mobile, fed and watered, sheltered, medically stablized, and in communications reach for up to five days if need be). That gear is two 9.5 mm x 120 m lines, a pair of ascenders, a belay device, harness and locking biner, four slings and two firehose canvas sleeves--for dropping rope over narrow edges if I need to rap off stuff, and a pair of spare shoes (if I'm wearing Birks that day, I'm not about to be stuck trying to climb or rapell off things in those!).

Basically, my theory and experience has been to be self-sufficient and have the ability and skill to help others immediately in a crisis. Everything we stock is lightweight, portable, and easy to use (with intructions in print or audible for kids to use in the god-aweful event that something should leave them without one of us). We have annual disaster day where we use all the gear and practice reciting the plans. People don't like to do a lot of work for something that might never happen, but it only takes getting caught with your pants down once to overcome our inhibitions.

Sounds geeky and extreme, but after Northridge in '94 and having to rap off the roof of a damaged bldg I don't mind seeming overprepared. A good shaker is terrifying enough (you never get "used to" them) so we'd rather have everything else prepped and accounted for so we can deal with the inevitable fear and trauma the always follows.

I know water purifying tablets are frequently recommended but, they go bad especially in humid climates. Invest in a high quality backpacking water filter for every disaster kit (smaller ones for car packs, bigger ones for home kits). You should be able to filter out chemical contaminants, organic and microbials. Yes, it'll cost you $200 or so but again, after Northridge when folks were gagging down iodine treated water we were passing out clean unadulterated water. (We baked pies in our solar oven in the park and passed them out until the flour and dairy ingredients were gone. Nothing tastes better than homemade pie when you're freaking out from the ground just wiping out your home.) Besides try convincing a picky two year old to drink chemically treated water when they're already traumatized by a disaster experience.

A word about mementos and so on. I suppose it's a personal thing but, frankly no tangible item is worth bothering taking time to fetch when you need to evacuate or get outta dodge. The only thing that matters is your family. Photos, mementos, that priceless or sentimental heirloom, it might seem important but when the ground is moving or flames are coming (and I imagine floodwaters or hurricanes) it just won't mean jack compared to your mate, your kids, your pets. I'll take the loss of stuff over the loss of my blood-folk.
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#8 of 13 Old 09-07-2005, 05:17 PM
 
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In addition to what's above, lessons learned after Loma Prieta:

*Keep walking shoes in the car for each member of the family.
*Have a family "check in" person that's out of the area. Generally after an earthquake (or presumably any other regional disaster) the local phone lines get overloaded, but you can still call long distance.
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#9 of 13 Old 09-07-2005, 05:19 PM
 
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ok:
We're in a seismically active area (and subject to fires, etc.). We have 10 days of compact durable supplies (food, water, climber stoves & fuel, solar oven, solar rechargers--for cellphones, batteries, and laptops--medkits, spare clothing, tents, lights) in a wheeled lid-lockable 50 gal. garbage can.
Additionally we have a fireproof safe for all original vital docs and a monthly updated paper copy (in a binder) and a CD-ROM of all our financial and property lists/ledgers & address books. An out-of-state relative has certified copies (not merely photocopies which sometimes FEMA and other "officials" won't acknowledge as evidence--believe me, all compassion dies in the hand of bureaucrat with sudden authority over you) of all our vital docs in their firebox. They have a copy of our updated disaster plan (revised every six months) so if someone freaks out during a disaster and forgets where or when to rendezvous, who's getting the kids, the beasties, etc. the out-of-state relative can coordinate via the plan's hardcopy. In the wheeled can and in the car backpacks, there are regular photocopies of vital docs and photos of each family member. All papers are in drybags, all radios are in Pelican cases.



A word about mementos and so on. I suppose it's a personal thing but, frankly no tangible item is worth bothering taking time to fetch when you need to evacuate or get outta dodge. The only thing that matters is your family. Photos, mementos, that priceless or sentimental heirloom, it might seem important but when the ground is moving or flames are coming (and I imagine floodwaters or hurricanes) it just won't mean jack compared to your mate, your kids, your pets. I'll take the loss of stuff over the loss of my blood-folk.

I also agree with this statement as well. I always say there are 3 things I would take with me in an emergency- DH,DD, and me. But I do have all the papers ready to go.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#10 of 13 Old 09-07-2005, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dov, you are a stud(ette).
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#11 of 13 Old 09-07-2005, 07:29 PM
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DW takes much much credit. She & I were climbers pre-kids and lived through the Northridge quake relatively unscathed (although we were pretty dang scared throughout). A lot of the modifications to our kit(s) came from the lessons of ours and others' experiences. Our kit then was better than a lot of folks' in terms of portability and useability but our Japanese neighbors had us beat and they had kids. That's where we got the idea for writing out instructions and having an audio cassette for pre-reading kids just in case. Threads like this one are great because you can combine everyone's tricks and tweaks to develop a lot of really well prepared folks.

I especially liked the suggestion about shoes in the car... that was something we didn't have at the time and when we saw people running through glass barefoot, we went back into the damaged building to retrieve our own. We now have little shoe racks beside the bed for our shoes and a set of clothes every night. Another little trick we learned from our Japanese neighbors.

I also liked the lifejacket inclusion for flooding, tsunami or hurricane prone folks. I would add, toss in one of those small emergency rafts canyoneers use and throwbags like kayakers use. You can float gear or people and use the throwbags to execute rescues.
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#12 of 13 Old 09-07-2005, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, this sounds like a really picky question but it's bothering me ... Like many others who read this forum, I'm trying to reduce clutter, get rid of duplicates, etc. But now, for preparedness, it seems like there's a lot I need - extra shoes and clothes for every family member, multiple first aid kits, and various other supplies. Plus, ideally I would have a set of this emergency stuff in several places- the house, each car, etc. Is there some obvious solution that I'm missing, so that I don't end up with a ton of extra stuff stowed everywhere in our (small) house and cars? I was feeling so proud of myself for getting every family member down to 1 pair of sneakers, but now I'm wishing I had a couple extra pairs for everyone!

Also, I've been reading lots of great tips this week in the newspaper for how to decontaminate water, deal without plumbing, etc., but I know I'd forget them in an emergency. Can anyone recommend some sort of survival guide book that I can stow with our preparedness stuff?
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#13 of 13 Old 09-15-2005, 03:28 PM
 
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Take the juicepops and ice cream out of the freezer! And anything else that will melt and make a horrendous mess in the fridge or freezer that looses power.

After watching all of the coverage of Katrina, it makes me realize how very lucky we were last year to only have to deal with being displaced, loosing power for a few weeks, and having minor home damage. At least we still had a home to come home to.

My kids and I evacuated twice last year (Frances and Jeanne) and we learned a little with both. First, I learned that you sometimes have to drive very far away from a hurricane to not feel at least some of the devastation. The center of both storms made landfall not too far from our house so we figured we would be fairly safe evacuating to my mom's place on the other side of the state. We were correct in the "safe" part, but my mom's town and the surrounding towns were still without power for many days or weeks and also did have some flooding.
Next time, I will probably evacuate us as far away from the path as possible. While we were evacuated, once the storm hit, it was impossible to buy anything for many, many days. We had brought about a weeks worth of clothes/water/food/diapers and ran out of many things before the stores were open. We luckily had enough diapers but the food thing was a bit annoying. The grocery stores did not have power and even when it did come back on, they had nothing fresh available so we ate alot of canned fruit and tuna cracker ready made packs. Luckily, my kiddos were still nursing so I didn't have to worry as much about them. But I did worry about my mother. MRE's are not so vegetarian! IT's hard to be picky during a disaster but my mom has her principles. We were so excited when the grocery stores got their first shipment of fruit in! We were rationing water out towards the end but finally got the all clear that the tap water was at least ok to drink. We also had all of the food and water in the car with us while we were evacuating in case we hit the massive evacuation traffic. Luckily, we left a good 8 hours before everyone else decided to so we got to my mom's and saw the pictures on the news of the people sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.

I do have very important items that I evacuate with us. IF a tsunami was coming right at us and I had to run us out of the house in the blink of an I? Of course I would leave all of the "important items" behind. But evacuating, at least in our case, gave me time to pack up things and choose what was important. And actually, for the second hurricane last year, we hadn't even unpacked from the first :

Some documents and pictures just cannot be replaced. I am working on scaning everything and making copies on cd to give to family that doesn't live in hurricane zones. That way, if we loose the originals we at least have copies on cd in safe places.

ooohhhhh.....CASH! We chose to take out cash before both hurricanes and were very thankful that we did since power was out for many weeks in the various places we were.

My husband was in charge of gathering our important financial documents last year while evacuating and I was in charge of everything else. He still makes fun of me, telling people that he was frantic and not sure if he had found all of the documents that we needed but "Don't worry, Judy got all of her organic produce out ok." I say HAY! Organic is expensive and if I have to eat 4 bags of kale and a box full of fruits and veggies on my way to wherever I am evacuating, I will do it rather than loose it to the power going out! :
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