Monday, October 30, 2017

Disaster Preparedness for Families

Hi mamas and friends,

disaster preparation

I attended a disaster training recently and wanted to share some of the things I learned. We live in Southern California, so some of these things may be more Earthquake centric.

In this post I cover:
~Overview notes
~Things to do in the event of an emergency
~What to stock for your emergency supplies
~Fire proof safe
~Create a family disaster plan
~Earthquake Tips
~General Fire Safety
~Gas, Water and Electricity
~Preventative maintenance things to do around your home
~Classes to take
~Other disasters

~Overview notes~ 
~ For any disaster, be prepared to be on your own for 5 days with water, food, supplies etc.
~ Always know the escape route of any place you are at. Try to look for two escapes
~ I.c.e. In case of emergency phone numbers. Keep an emergency list, medical information and key identification on your phone ~ Daylight savings. Use this opportunity as a reminder to - change batteries for carbon monoxide smoke detectors. Change batteries for all items twice a year. Update your flashlight batteries.
~Identify an out of state contact that everyone calls in the event of a disaster. Try to memorize this number. Signals might be jammed for calling local numbers but may be able to call outside to another state.
~ If you have children, what are their school emergency plans?

~ In the event of an emergency~
1) Remain calm. Take a deep breath.

2) Check for injuries. 

3) Listen to the radio.

4) Evacuate if advised. (If you don't, the first responders need to use their resources to evacuate you instead of fighting a fire, for example).

5) Check your meters in your home.

6) Shut off utilities (See Gas, Water, Electricity section below)

7) Clean up spilled chemicals

8) Secure pets.

9) Call out of state family contact.

10) Check on neighbors and stay away from downed lines. Anytime you see wires down, consider them charged.

11) Drive or stay away from an emergency - this causes more work for first responders and people trying to help the situation

~Stock an Emergency/Kit Supplies -

Put somewhere you can gain access easily. Garage or somewhere accessible by two ways.

1) First and foremost, if you don't have time to put together an emergency kit, We bought the 4 person survival kit. I also bought the 4 person backpack kit for my car.

2) Radio, if not included in your emergency kit

3) Battery Operated Lanterns (if not included in your emergency kit) instead of candles (sometimes may cause fires)

4) Children's or elderly's medicine: For those with little ones, add some children's motrin and/or tylenol and a thermometer to your kit. Extra diapers and wipes, onesies, clothes.

5) Water, One gallon per day per adult.

6) Clothing, shoes and supplies near bed (even in a hotel too). Sturdy shoes (in case glass shatters, your feet will be protected).
7) Flashlights/Whistle near bed

8) Hide unopened package of glow sticks between mattress and box spring

9) Can opener for food

10) Pet food/water

11) Fire extinguisher

12) Gloves

13) Glasses

14) Blankets or sleeping bag for each person

15) Hand sanitizer

16) Cold packs

~Fire proof safe~
Place for important documents.
1) Passports

2) Identification

3) Titles

4) Cash, keep smaller bills - when there is an emergency, some of the system at the stores or atms will go down so you may not be able to use credit cards or withdraw money. If you are at the store and they might not have change for large bills.

5) Other legal documents

~Create a Family disaster plan~

1) Identify a meeting place outside of your home for everyone to meet in case you cannot communicate

2) Identify escape routes for your home

3) Who will get the kids? Pets?

4) Identify a "shelter place" in your home. A safe, accessible room, sealed windows, away from windows.

5) Make sure everyone knows where the emergency supplies kit is.

~Earthquake Tips ~ 
~Make sure everyone is ok. Don't run outside when it's shaking. Before you charge outside, assess outside. If there is fire nearby don't go outside. Use your judgement. Don't run out during actual event.

~Stay away from windows.

~Take cover under a strong structure. Cover your head and hold onto the structure.

~Avoid books or anything over your head near your bed or desk.

~Strap things down. Use L brackets to hold all of your furniture to the wall. Secure anything over your bed. Glass and mirrors and implode and move your bed away from the windows.The wire hangers aren't secure enough for mirrors/paintings on wall.

~Doorways are safest but put your foot in your doorway so it doesn't hit you in your face.
~If you are sleeping in the middle of the night. Hide on the floor next to the bed. Roll out on the floor and take all of your blankets next to your bed and cover up.
~Prepare flashlights and glowsticks by your bed

~Stay away from downed power lines. Assume they are charged.

~Stay away from large structures, 100 feet away from building.

~Run outside of the parking structure. Stay away from hazards while you are exiting.

~Assess the safety of where you are. Is it better to be outside or inside?

~General fire safety~

1) If your pan is on fire, cover the pan with the lid. 2nd thing is to use baking soda. Don't put water, salt or flour on it. Could cause a flash fire.
2) Fire extinguisher as long as the pressure needle is full. Every few months you have to invert and then fluff the powder. They can last a long time. As soon as you use it you have to replace it.

3) Fire. You hear the fire alarm, evacuate right away. Get out of the building immediately.

4) If someone tells you to evacuate, please do. If you stay and then end up needing to be rescued, you are taking the first responders away from helping someone in need or fighting the fire.

5) If you live in a 2 story place, buy a fire escape ladder. They sell the kind of ladder that goes out about 4-6 inches from the wall so that is supposed to be easier to climb down. Can keep it right under your bed. To use it: Open your window. Remove screen deploy and climb down. Can also do a practice drill and Carry baby in pouch and have your child grab your chest and shoulders. Bind him to you and then take them down. They do have three story fire ladders.

6) Do a practice run. Exit drills in home. For the fire escape ladder, go downstairs and practice climbing up a ladder. Make everyone comfortable.

~Gas, Water and Electricity~
~Turn off gas valve at your house. - DO NOT turn on the gas valve by yourself. Only the professionals should turn it back on.

~Gas meter
Usually outside on the side of the garage. if you have subterranean parking, probably in that area.

1) Purchase a non-sparking utility wrench to be able to turn off and on the gas valve.

2) Can't stress the importance of carbon monoxide detectors - Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless.

3) If you come outside to your meter, it smells, turn it off. If meter is spinning or it smells, turn it off.

4) If the valve is parallel then it's on. If it's horizontal, it's off. Don't turn it back on yourself. This is the only utility you have to let the professionals turn back on.

5) Exercise your valve. If you can't move it and it's stuck call gas company to have them loosen or replace it.

~Water shut off main - this one you can turn off and on by yourself

Water shut off main. In the street parkway down by the street. Has a lid and cement cover. Bring gloves, can be dirty in there.

1) Buy a T hammer wrench. $20. Put on valve and turn it a quarter turn. In line, parallel, it's on. Horizontal it's off.

2) Turn water back on gradually. Righty tighty left loosely. Open things slowly because pipes can break.

3) Shut off your water if you leave your house for more than one day.

~Electrical panels

Shut off the circuit breaker. Can kill all of the power by shutting it off.

1) Turn your power off if you aren't sure. Don't mess with the seal. It's high voltage.

2) Turn it off slow, don't shut off the main first. Shut off all the little guys first and then the main line.

3) Turn it back on - Turn on main first and then all of the little ones.

~Preventative maintenance things to do around your home~
1) Change washer/toilet (underneath) lines to stainless steel graded lines (approximately $30 at home depot). Will more likely prevent hoses from rupturing and water damage.
2) Home hazard hunt. See what you can clean up.

3) Dump hazardous wastes at hazardous round ups.

4) Check your insurance coverage

~Classes to take~
1) CPR/First aid

2) Fire extinguisher

~Other Disaster Notes~
If wires land on your car. Stay in your car until it becomes a life threatening situation. If you can't wait. Open your door. Turn sideways in your car with both feet inside, place feet on car sideboard and jump with both feet out, key is to land with both feet at the same time so you are creating a circuit between the car and the floor. Then duck walk (sliding walk without lifting your feet) so you don't draw a charge.

Tsunami- go 50 miles inland and highest elevation possible.

Tornado- interior room on lowest level of building away from windows. Bathroom center of house.

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