The Survival Mom » Evacuation http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Sun, 14 Dec 2014 08:10:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 16 Non-Traditional Containers For Your Bug Out Bag/Emergency Kit http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-non-traditional-containers-for-your-bug-out-bagemergency-kit/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-non-traditional-containers-for-your-bug-out-bagemergency-kit/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 15:37:28 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10665 When it comes to selecting a bag for an emergency kit, many of us veer in the direction of tactical looking backpacks, or any type of backpack at all. And, it’s no wonder. A good backpack will have multiple pockets Read More

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A backpack might not be the best choice for an emergency kit. Check out this list of non-traditional containers! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com

When it comes to selecting a bag for an emergency kit, many of us veer in the direction of tactical looking backpacks, or any type of backpack at all. And, it’s no wonder. A good backpack will have multiple pockets and pouches to help organize your gear and supplies, they can be carried on your back, leaving hands free, but they aren’t always the right solution for every scenario.

Here are a few non-traditional containers for your bug out bag or emergency kit that maybe you haven’t considered.

A rolling suitcase on wheels

Look for sturdy wheels because if one breaks off, you’ll be carrying that suitcase. Not fun! Some of these suitcases also have backpack straps.

A Rubbermaid container with lid

You select whichever size suits your needs and space. These are a good choice because the bin itself can be used to hold water, kindling, and a lot more.

Under the bed storage container

Mine fits perfectly in the back of my Tahoe and the transparent plastic lets me see the contents.

Trash can on wheels

These hold a lot, are very sturdy, and have an attached lid. They will also be heavy and difficult to load into a truck. However, if a trailer is part of your bug out/evacuation plans, you could store a trash can, fully packed, in the trailer. Include a box of heavy-duty black trash bags to keep the interior of the trash can clean if you ever have to use it for actual trash!

Space Bags 

Great for use with softer items, such as blankets, coats, jackets, and pillows.

5-gallon buckets with lid

Again, these buckets have multiple uses besides holding your emergency kit contents. A product like the Bucket Backpack would provide an alternative way to carry the bucket longer distances.

Multiple milk crates

My husband swears by these! They are extremely durable, stack easily, but do not have lids. They’re also free if you can find a grocery store that will give you one or more.

Military duffel bag

Soft-sided means you’ll be able to shove this bag behind and between things, and they come in several sizes. Their muted colors are also a plus.

Ziploc Flexible Tote 

Inexpensive, can easily see inside the tote, and lightweight. Not heavy duty, though, if your evacuation includes trekking through the wilderness.

Diaper bag

The waterproof lining could be very helpful, especially if you have small kids and/or a baby.

Tool box

Not lightweight but could be very useful for protecting fragile items.

Metal bucket with lid

I have this one and it’s definitely a multi-purpose container.

A storage locker, preferably one with wheels

Heavy-duty black trash bags

Be sure to the buy “contractor” bags. These are amazingly resilient, stretch a bit as you stuff more into them, and are very cheap. They would be useful for packing soft things like bedding, clothing, and sleeping bags.

A messenger bag with shoulder strap 

Anything with a shoulder strap will leave both hands free and might be easier to carry than a backpack for someone with back problems.

A fisherman or photo vest 

Obviously this won’t carry as much as these other containers, but with all the multiple pockets, you could keep the most essential items close at hand.

When planning for an emergency evacuation, I recommend dividing the contents of your emergency kit into 2 or more different types of containers. For example, a 5-gallon bucket can hold food and cooking supplies and will provide an emergency toilet, a large water container, and a handy tote for firewood. Then use a Space Bag to hold sleeping bags and cold weather clothing and finally a large backpack for everything else. You’ll have 2 multi-purpose containers and a backpack large enough to hold all the essentials in case you have no choice but to continue your evacuation on foot and have to leave the bucket and Space Bag behind.

When choosing your containers, keep in mind that they might be in for a pretty rugged future. Look for:

  • Extremely durable fabrics
  • Sturdy construction
  • Heavy-duty zippers, snaps, or other closures
  • Colors that blend in
  • Non-tactical appearance. This may cause you to look too prepared and a potential target.
  • Tight fitting lids

Also keep in mind the different ages and physical capabilities of your family members. Even young kids can carry small backpacks, easing the load for parents and teens.

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Enjoy road trips with kids? I do … now http://thesurvivalmom.com/enjoy-road-trips-with-kids-now/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/enjoy-road-trips-with-kids-now/#comments Sun, 07 Dec 2014 08:24:37 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19606 Did you know that there is a dinosaur museum in Hays, Kansas? There’s also a huge duck pinwheel at an exit near the Missouri/Nebraska border. A bridge dedicated to the old wagon trail spans over I-80 in Kearney, Nebraska. Also, Read More

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road trips with kidsDid you know that there is a dinosaur museum in Hays, Kansas? There’s also a huge duck pinwheel at an exit near the Missouri/Nebraska border. A bridge dedicated to the old wagon trail spans over I-80 in Kearney, Nebraska. Also, if you can spare an hour, a detour to Wamego, Kansas, takes you to the Wizard of Oz Museum.

I found these all on road trips taken over the past few years – with my children in tow. I actually look forward to our adventures across the country, but it wasn’t always like that.

When we lived in Alaska, I had air travel down pat. I flew out of there with three children and a cat and all went well. Flying was a necessity, though, since driving more than a week just to get back to the U.S. wasn’t appealing to a mother of young children.

Living down in the continental U.S., airfare has to be combined with a minivan rental and it’s just cheaper to drive us wherever we want to go.

I dreaded car trips with the children at that point. We were in the midst of potty training. I’ve learned that is one of the two child stages where road trips aren’t so fun. The other one is the first year when they are nursing or drinking bottles every few hours – it makes for many, many stops along the way.

Getting to FUN Family Road Trips

Then we started to have some enjoyable road trips with kids: New Mexico to Colorado, Colorado to Nebraska, Nebraska to Missouri and back and back and back, Missouri to Virginia, Missouri to Colorado, Missouri to Ohio, Ohio to Colorado.

We get to stop wherever we want along the way and see the tourist stops. We get to visit family and friends without breaking the bank.

The fun part also comes from being prepared. I always a case of water and basic emergency supplies in the car (for more on that, watch this video). I also always try to stop for gas when the tank gets half empty in case we end up on a long stretch with no gas stops. If you have a concealed carry license and plan to carry on your trip, make sure to check if you have reciprocity in the states you will travel through.

Here are a few of my tips:

  • The children wear tennis shoes on travel days so their feet are covered in case we encounter weather, a playground or a great place to walk around.
  • I bring a whole bag of snacks and food in case the next restaurant is farther away than we planned.
  • Water bottles (including mine) are brought in at every stop and topped off.
  • The children each have a bag of toys and books.
  • I have a list of road trip games we can play (like the license plate game).
  • If you put papers (like a homemade bingo board) in plastic sleeve protectors,  you can use dry erase markers on them for reusable, personalized game boards.
  • I check out books on CD and some new movies from the library before we leave to use on the trip.
  • I pack a medicine bag, including essential oils, so we’re prepared for any kind of sickness.
  • Each child also has a pillow, blanket and stuffed animal for comfort.
  • Every seat has a grocery bag nearby in case someone feels sick (a bag with towels, wipes and deodorizing spray is tucked in the bag, just in case, too).

One of our latest tricks was to buy a headphone splitter for our portable DVD player and headphones for each girl. When we did put on a movie, the adults could then listen to the radio, which made everyone happy.

What do you look forward to on road trips? What makes them enjoyable for your family?

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5 Uses for an Indoor Tent http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-uses-indoor-tent/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-uses-indoor-tent/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:21:44 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19515 PEST FREE During a family vacation and faced with an unexpected storm, we decided to rent a small unfurnished cabin at a state park. As soon as we had our sleeping bags spread on the floor, our pillows fluffed, and Read More

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DOMETENTHelenCates

PEST FREE

During a family vacation and faced with an unexpected storm, we decided to rent a small unfurnished cabin at a state park. As soon as we had our sleeping bags spread on the floor, our pillows fluffed, and the room dark, a million feet started crawling over our faces and legs. Oh, the horror when we switched on the lights.

Every conceivable, imaginable creature had crawled out of the woodwork. I had never seen so many bugs in one place. On top of that, we had several raccoons circling around the cabin.

Then I remembered our tent. Not wanting to sleep indoors or outdoors for that matter, we decided to set the tent up inside. Thankfully, it was one of those easy pop up dome tents that didn’t require stakes.

After zipping ourselves inside the tent, we were finally comfortable.

We quickly learned the value of owning an indoor dome tent, and I’ve since added a smaller one to our preps for this type of emergency. During a crisis and without power, an indoor tent would also be helpful when dealing with mosquitoes or even bedbugs while on travel.

QUARANTINE

What to do in limited living conditions when a family member is sick? An Indoor tent enables you to set up a sick bay on a porch, or somewhere off to the side where they won’t be disturbed.

An indoor sick bay is especially helpful when you have children sharing a room with siblings. Having the sick child “camp” to the side of the room would not only separate them from being contagious, but they could turn it into a fun camping experience.

Worst case scenario, dealing with something highly contagious or a pandemic, having a means to separate family members in their own living space is critical.

EVACUATION

Having an indoor dome tent stashed in your bug out bag or vehicle is essential. Whether you plan to bug in or you have another destination in mind during an evacuation, a dome tent can provide you with some privacy whether you are camping inside a public emergency shelter or staying with friends and relatives.

A tent would help you to claim your space and make your temporary living conditions more bearable, especially when forced to sleep in a brightly lit, high traffic area. Being able to keep your belongings enclosed will also add just a tiny bit of security against thieves. (I’m not saying a lot, but at least they can’t just reach out and grab something off the cot behind you.) Indoor tents use little space, are usually cheap, and set up quickly, making them ideal for use as a temporary emergency shelter.

SLEEPOVERS

Just like evacuations, an indoor tent could provide a sleeping spot for visiting relatives. Many times when we’ve had family over, there would be children and adults using the couch or floor to make their beds. A tent would easily keep them sheltered off to the side of the room. An added benefit is that they would be less disturbed when family members are staying up late, or early risers. The tent would also come in handy for those surprise visitors who end up at your house during an emergency.

Are your kids looking for  an adventure? Let them “camp” in the house. An indoor tent with a mattress pad (or sofa cushions) and sleeping bags can be a source of tremendous joy for kids.

HEAT

Indoor tents have been flying off the shelves in South Korea. Millions have sold to families trying to stay warm. With surging blackouts and rising utility costs, many Koreans claimed they’ve saved over half on their utility bills.

During a blackout and severe winter storm, an indoor tent could be a life saver.

When shopping for an indoor tent, keep the house size in mind. For inside, I purchased a 4X5 dome tent. Anything larger would have taken up too much space. I wasn’t concerned about it being waterproof for reasons I hope are obvious. This type of tent is relatively cheap and can usually be found for $25 or less., especially during seasonal sales. The Monodome Tent for 2 Persons is an inexpensive option from Amazon and even comes with its own carry bag.

For outside, I purchased a 7X10 dome tent with excellent reviews about how rainproof it was. Although much larger, it could also be used indoors if needed.

A true canopy bed with heavy curtains all the way around and across the top can serve the same purpose in trapping heat in the winter. (The princessy ones with something akin to tulle floating across the top with “panels” on each corner that wouldn’t reach more than about a foot in any direction won’t do anything to keep you warm.) That is why people originally had canopy beds with big heavy curtains on them – to stay warm in bed when the house was cold. But I still find value in the dome tent as it allows us to be more mobile, and there just aren’t that many real canopy beds around anymore.

Do you have any other ideas on the uses of an indoor tent? We would love to hear your experiences or ideas.

 

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5 Halloween items to buy for your safety (it’s not what you think!) http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-halloween-items-buy-safety-think/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-halloween-items-buy-safety-think/#comments Sat, 01 Nov 2014 06:00:02 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19103 Did you know there are several Halloween props that can be useful for your safety? I’m not talking about glow sticks and paper products (although those are great to have) – I’m talking about the makeup, body parts and costumes. Read More

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halloween

Did you know there are several Halloween props that can be useful for your safety? I’m not talking about glow sticks and paper products (although those are great to have) – I’m talking about the makeup, body parts and costumes.

Imagine a long power outage where people start scavenging for food. Imagine a long-term lockdown or quarantine where supplies might be in demand or confiscated.

Dress Up for You and Your Home

There could be a time and place where you might want to stage your house to deter unwanted visitors and by scouring the after Halloween sales, you can come up with quite a few supplies for cheap that could be useful.

  • Costumes, wigs, and temporary hair coloring
  • Makeup
  • Fake blood and body parts
  • Caution tape and cobwebs
  • Spray paint

Caution tape and a little makeup could make your house an instant quarantine area.

Various body part decorations could make your house look like it’s already been attacked. Coupled with some caution tape, it’s a crime scene.

Spray paint and cobwebs can make a house look abandoned. And costumes, along with wigs and makeup, can change how a person looks.

Makeup and fake blood could also be used to create various medical conditions that could keep people away or help you get whisked to safety.

Use your imagination …

I’m not advocating out-right lying or deceiving people about serious situations for fun. I’m also not advocating anything criminal, like impersonating a police officer, but how many doctors do you think actually have things like scrubs or a lab coat – “doctor-y clothing” – with them outside of the office? It is entirely possible that you, someone you know, or a stranger you shelter could be an off-duty professional and a few select items could give them some instant credibility for their profession.

A few prop weapons, and you could fake an attack on someone that scares off would-be intruders without actually hurting anyone. Some glow-in-the-dark hair spray, body paint, etc. and it’s suddenly easier to find the kids or follow each other on a path in the darkness. Of course, it’s also easier for others to find you without you seeing them.

If we ever did face desperate times, it could call for desperate measures to keep our loved ones and property safe. If  you needed your kid out of school right now in an emergency and wearing a simple costume like a lab coat or gas mask would make it happen, would you really hesitate?

By making your house look abandoned and already rifled through or already searched by authorities, people may steer clear and move on to another area, keeping you safe. If you wonder why this would be good, just think about what happened in New Orleans post-Katrina.

Go take a look at the Halloween supplies and imagine what ways you could change the look of your home, and possibly even your loved ones.

Have you thought about staging your house? What supplies do you have on hand or would you recommend people getting to change its look?+

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Shelter Life: How to Thrive and Survive in a Red Cross Shelter http://thesurvivalmom.com/shelter-life-thrive-survive-red-cross-shelter/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/shelter-life-thrive-survive-red-cross-shelter/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:00:57 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18657 During disasters like wildfires and floods, we’ve all seen TV news reports that the Red Cross is opening a shelter at such-and-such High School or other public building. It’s hard not to feel sorry for people who are either temporarily Read More

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red cross shelterDuring disasters like wildfires and floods, we’ve all seen TV news reports that the Red Cross is opening a shelter at such-and-such High School or other public building. It’s hard not to feel sorry for people who are either temporarily or permanently unable to return to their home, who may have lost precious pictures or other possessions. But have you ever imagined yourself in that place?

The need for an emergency shelter can be anticipated in some cases, such as a forecasted hurricane. In larger wildfires, fire officials can sometimes predict the need for additional evacuations requiring a shelter be opened. But in most cases, a shelter is opened with little or no notice. Similarly, the evacuated residents have a sudden need to leave their homes for an unfamiliar environment and an uncertain future. Fortunately, you can prepare in advance for an unexpected stay in a Red Cross shelter.

What is a Shelter?

A shelter is an improvised group dwelling with an organized support staff, established as the result of a disaster or local emergency. American Red Cross Chapters across the country have cots, blankets, and other supplies standing by in case a shelter needs to be opened in an emergency. They also have volunteers and staff trained as Shelter Managers, Shelter Staff, and supporting services provided by Nurses and Disaster Mental Health counselors.

In most cases, the Red Cross has identified the location, such as a school or community center, has inspected it and has entered into an agreement with whoever runs it far in advance of the need for a shelter. That way they can be sure how many people it can accommodate and that it has adequate restroom facilities and other requirements in advance.

However, not all shelters are operated by the Red Cross. Sometimes a church or local government will open and operate a shelter without the help (or knowledge) of the Red Cross; there’s nothing wrong with “spontaneous” shelters, but they may not be as organized or well-supported as a Red Cross shelter.

The Red Cross

Red Cross Shelter

Shelter, Santa Barbara CA, 2009

The American Red Cross is a non-profit organization with a unique relationship with the Federal Government and most state and local governments. For the most part, they rely upon the generosity of the American people’s donations to fund their operations.

Here is their description in the National Response Framework, the Federal Government’s emergency plan: The American Red Cross is chartered by Congress to provide relief to survivors of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. The Red Cross has a legal status of “a federal instrumentality” and maintains a special relationship with the Federal Government.

The “Red Cross Shelter” is the gold standard of what Emergency Managers call “Mass Care.” Mass Care is the provision of group shelter, feeding, and supportive services to disaster victims. Images of school gymnasiums, cots and Red Cross volunteers handing out sandwiches come to mind. The Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, and many other non-governmental organizations have important parts in the effort. But we all expect the Red Cross to be there when we need them.

Finding the Shelter

So you’ve been evacuated, and need a place to stay, where do you go? Your local officials advertise the locations of shelters on TV and radio news stations, via their mass-notification systems, and on their web pages, Twitter feeds, and Facebook pages. The Red Cross also notes the locations of open shelters on their web page, http://www.redcross.org/find-help. They also have several “apps” for Android and Apple smart phones with great emergency and preparedness information.

What is an “Evacuation Center?”

In some cases, especially if evacuations occur earlier in the day, an Evacuation Center will be opened instead of a full shelter. An Evacuation Center is basically a shelter without the cots. Evacuees can get information updates, snacks, and a place to hang out away from the danger. Some Evacuation Shelters convert to shelters if the need is there, but some don’t.

What about My Animals?

Shelters have to accommodate legitimate service animals, period. Beyond that, the difficulties surrounding sheltering people with their household animals led to the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-308), also known as the Pets Act. The Act direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure that emergency plans “take into account the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals prior to, during, and following a major disaster or emergency.”

In other words, take your pets with you when you evacuate. They are part of your family. Local governments are required to provide them shelter, just as they must provide you shelter. But understand that they may be sheltered away from the Red Cross shelter, especially at first. You may be temporarily separated.

Larger animals like horses will probably be sheltered elsewhere, like at a nearby fair ground, but help should be available. Registering with a local large-animal rescue group in advance will greatly facilitate getting help for them.

Arrival

All shelter residents are required to register and agree to adhere to the shelter rules. You will be screened for health issues, disabilities, access and functional needs, and medications. You should have shown up with your needed meds. If you don’t have them, alert the staff as soon as you arrive. They may be able to facilitate replacements. If you arrived by car, leave any valuables locked in the car out of sight. Your locked car is more secure than inside the shelter.

Can You Really Prepare for Life in a Shelter?

You absolutely can prepare for a temporary stay in a shelter. In many ways, it’s like preparing for a camping trip. You can have a small “shelter kit” prepared in advance. Examples:
• They will provide a cot, but you can bring your own, which you can choose yourself.
• You can bring bedding for your special cot as well as good pillows.
• Pack a nice towel and small versions of favorite toiletries, brush/comb, toothbrush, etc.
• If you have special dietary needs or follow a certain diet (gluten-free, Kosher, etc), you need to bring your own food. They may not be able to accommodate your needs.
• Pack a small security container (like a pistol safe) that has a way to attach to something solid, to keep your wallet, meds, etc. Theft is sometimes a problem in shelters.
• Throw in a couple of paperback books, cards, puzzles, or toys for the kids to pass the time.
• Invest in extra phone and tablet chargers, an extension cord, and a multi-plug adapter. Outlets are few!
• Pajamas are a must, even if you don’t wear them at home. A robe might be a good idea, too.
• Pack earplugs and an eye-shade if you have difficulty sleeping.
• Anything else in your daily routine you or your family members would miss, such as coffee or tea.

The Bottom Line

Prepare. Talk it through. Practice. You have more control than you think.

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My Story: Lessons we learned from hurricane evacuations http://thesurvivalmom.com/hurricane-evacuations/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/hurricane-evacuations/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 06:00:44 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18008   These evacuations tips are excellent, even if you don’t live in hurricane country. Pin this for later! On August 28. 2005, My family did something we had never even considered doing before. We evacuated for a hurricane. After seeing Read More

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hurricane evacuations

 

These evacuations tips are excellent, even if you don’t live in hurricane country.

Pin this for later!

On August 28. 2005, My family did something we had never even considered doing before. We evacuated for a hurricane. After seeing the path of devastation Hurricane Katrina did to our beloved city of New Orleans and in particular our home, we know we made the right choice.

Hurricane evacuations are different from many other types of evacuations. If you live near the coast, every year you should make a plan to evacuate at the beginning of hurricane season. We are preppers. This should be on your list of preparations.

Most people are safe to shelter in place for most hurricanes, but you need to have a plan in place if you are facing an above average storm.

What we did right in both hurricane evacuations

  1. If you are going to evacuate, DO NOT just go to Aunt Betty’s house an hour or two down the coast. These areas are going to take some damage as well, and the cities do not have the infrastructure to care for evacuees in addition to their own citizens. Go inland. Not just an hour inland either. Go at least a 4-5 hour drive inland. And that’s a normal-traffic 4-5 hour drive, not 4-5 hours in painfully slow evacuation traffic. (See #8, below.)
  2. Honestly, I suggest you plan it as a forced vacation. Go to a city that you have never been. Explore the town. See the sites. It will give the everyone something to do besides worry about their home. For Hurricane Katrina, we evacuated to the home of family in North Louisiana. We explored Ruston and Monroe. The kids considered it a grand adventure and enjoyed hanging out with their cousins. For Hurricane Gustav in 2008, our family no longer lived in north Louisiana, so instead we headed to Memphis and had a great family vacation there.
  3. Of course, grab your BOB, important papers, and family photos, but assume you will be gone for a few weeks. Don’t reach for those pretty suitcases. Grab a laundry basket or two. Pack your clothes in there. Why? If you are stuck somewhere for more than a day or two, you are going to have to do laundry. It is so much more convenient to do laundry with a hamper than a suitcase. A laundry hamper will also provide easy cushion for any breakables that you decide to take with you. While we are talking clothes, grab your favorite expensive perfume and a nice outfit. After a while, you will want to go to a nice dinner or church.
  4. If you have kids, take their school work with you. If you are homeschoolers, you can keep them busy during the long hours of waiting by getting school done. If you aren’t homeschoolers, you can always use it as an opportunity to do some review with your kids or study something they find interesting that school doesn’t cover.
  5. Grab everyone’s favorite blankets, pillows and loveys. When we are scared and worried, even the adults want the comforts of home.
  6. With the exception of fish, take your pets with you. If it isn’t safe enough for you, it isn’t safe enough for them. Your snake may only eat once every week or so, but your grandma doesn’t want to find it crawling around the house when she helps you clean up (This happened to a family I know). Our tropical fish did fine.
  7. Grab your prescription medications. Don’t just grab a couple out of the bottle. Take the prescription bottle from the pharmacy with you. There were people who didn’t even know why they were taking medications, and doctors were left matching pills to a PDR.
  8. Leave either very early or late at night. Very few people are ready to leave quickly. Even less want to drive at night. We left our home early in the contra flow process, but left around 11 p.m. We had no traffic the whole time on the road. Being prepared to begin with will reduce the amount of time needed to leave your home.

What we did wrong

  1. When you are grabbing the family photo albums, do NOT ignore the family photos hanging on the wall. They may be too big to take with you, but take them off the wall, put them in trash bags and put them somewhere high and safe. While our home did not have flooding (we had a 2nd and 3rd floor condo), we had significant roof damage. Pictures were knocked off walls and sat in moldy puddles.
  2. Empty your refrigerator. Do not assume you will be back in a day or two. The ketchup and pickles in the door may be fine. They shouldn’t leak. Everything else? Either take it with you when you evacuate, freeze it, or throw it out.
  3. Do you have a separate chest freezer? Great! Empty out your refrigerator’s freezer and squeeze everything into your chest freezer, and lower the temperature as far as possible. There is no way to get the smell out of a rotten refrigerator. We tried everything for a year while we rebuilt our home. We finally gave up and just bought a new one. The rotten food juices drip into the insulation. The chest freezer is worth the risk. If the power is out too long, tape it up and wheel it to the curb, still full, for trash pick-up. If the power isn’t out too long, you might still be in luck. It’s pretty much a break even point for most of us. Quick Check to know if the freezer contents are a loss or not: Put a bag of ice cubes in the chest freezer before you leave. When you return, if the ice cubes are still separate, your freezer is fine. If they have formed a solid block, consider the freezer a loss.
  4. If you have multiple reliable cars, do not take the best one. Take the most valuable, roadworthy one that has the least insurance coverage. We took our best vehicle, which was fully insured and left our vehicle that was in good condition, but was paid off and had liability only insurance. Liability insurance doesn’t pay for flood damage.

Both of our evacuations were major growth points for our family. Our family grew closer and stronger, knowing that we were in this mess together. Thorough preps were a big bonus, and made our evacuations more comfortable. I hope that you never suffer the major damages that we did, but I hope that this will help you.

Guest post by Suzi Champagne.

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Six maps you need for an urban evacuation http://thesurvivalmom.com/six-maps-you-need-urban-evacuation/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/six-maps-you-need-urban-evacuation/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:46:15 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16595 Let’s assume an urban disaster scenario, and you must leave quickly. How will you find your way? What maps do you need? We’re talking about the printed, paper in hand type. Don’t plan to rely on a GPS. They are Read More

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maps you needLet’s assume an urban disaster scenario, and you must leave quickly. How will you find your way? What maps do you need?

We’re talking about the printed, paper in hand type. Don’t plan to rely on a GPS. They are as reliable as their batteries, and constant use could mean the unit is soon powerless. Also, any electronic device can break or just quit working.

So before you worry about maps, get a good compass. I prefer one with a clear baseplate that is designed to work on maps. Invest in a good one with declination settings, and then learn how to use it. The smaller compasses that come with some survival kits are only useful as backups and for giving a general direction.

Here are the maps you need:

City map: Your evacuation will start with this map, so get one with the finest detail possible. This map can help you figure out alternative street evacuation routes if bridges and/or overpasses are closed. Also, gridlock on major highways and freeways is a given, so you might need to plot a course around them.

Topographical map: A topo map is a three-dimensional view of an area. Looking at it, you can get an idea of the terrain.

According to the Geospatial and Analysis Cooperative of Idaho State University: “The concept of a topographic map is, on the surface, fairly simple. Contour lines placed on the map represent lines of equal elevation above (or below) a reference datum.

Topographical maps show the terrain features of an area.

Topographical maps show the terrain features of an area.

“To visualize what a contour line represents, picture a mountain (or any other topographic feature) and imagine slicing through it with a perfectly flat, horizontal piece of glass. The intersection of the mountain with the glass is a line of constant elevation on the surface of the mountain and could be put on a map as a contour line for the elevation of the slice above a reference datum.”

I have the National Geographic mapping software for Oregon, so I create a custom topo map for every outing. I print them out on standard-sized letter or legal-sized paper. These sizes fold nicely in half and fit in a quart Ziploc plastic bag. This bag, in turn, rides in the thigh pocket of my BDU pants. The map is easy to pull out and check, which means it will be.

During an urban evacuation, you might need to go cross-country through a park or open space to avoid crowds or other potential dangers. The city map gives street details, but it may not show water obstacles or other physical barriers. With your topo and compass, you should be able to plot a course effectively.

State Highway map: This gives the big picture of your situation. It shows major highways and roads, and gives general directions. It could be useful for figuring out where to go once you get away from the urban scene.

Forest Service map: I carry this in my car in central Oregon. Commonly referred to as a fire road map, this is a large overview of the national forests and public lands. Most importantly, it shows fire and logging roads. The map doesn’t show if the roads are improved or not, so don’t depend on this map to tell you if you can drive on it. In some instances, the roads may have overgrown into trails. You may be able to hike or ATV them in the summer, or, in the winter, snowshoe or operate a snowmobile.

These maps help you figure alternative routes in wilderness areas. Assuming you make it to a wilderness area, a good compass, this map, and the appropriate topos will be worth their weight in gold.

These four maps should help you get out of town.

Here are some others that could also prove to be useful:

History maps: I buy any historical map I come across. Some of them, such as the Oregon Trail or Lewis and Clark maps, show routes used by historical figures. While the trails may be obscure right now, that doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. Overland pioneer routes were established because wagons or pack trains could travel on them. Those trails might be a good thing to know at some point.

River charts: My fishing obsession and map nerd-ism combine again with these charts. Every navigable river in the United States has detailed charts showing river terrain, danger areas, and topography of the stream. These charts allow a traveler to plan a river evacuation or trip. I carried a set of Mississippi River charts on my end-to-end journey in 1980. It was easy to plan overnight stops, or decide where to pull out.

On smaller streams, the maps can show take-out points, landings, and water dangers.

Hunting maps: Put out by your state fish and wildlife departments, these are useful to anyone who goes into the wilderness areas. I carry one to see the boundaries of my hunting unit, road closures, and the terrain, to some extent.

None of these maps are of any value if you don’t know how to read and use them. A good training activity including some exercise could be to take your compass and maps, create a possible evacuation scenario and practice navigating somewhere using alternate routes, streets and cross country travel.

So check out these maps, practice with your compass, and give some thought to how you might get out of town if you had to.

For more info on land navigation, visit Staying Found

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How to establish multiple safe houses in times of need http://thesurvivalmom.com/multiple-safe-houses-times-need/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/multiple-safe-houses-times-need/#comments Mon, 04 Nov 2013 22:57:37 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12568 A few years ago I had the opportunity to speak before a large group of first responders and emergency planners for the state of Arizona. As I was leaving the conference room, a gentleman came up to me and began Read More

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image by the queen of subtle

image by the queen of subtle

A few years ago I had the opportunity to speak before a large group of first responders and emergency planners for the state of Arizona.

As I was leaving the conference room, a gentleman came up to me and began explaining to me the plans for evacuating Phoenix.

There are none.

Phoenix, like many American cities, is massive in size, both in population and geographically. Rather than trying to get everyone out of Phoenix, which would be impossible, the plan is to move one endangered neighborhood to a safer place within the city.

For example, if major flooding hit the southern part of the city, only those residents would need to be evacuated and they would be sent to shelters in other parts of the Phoenix area. If those evacuees have friends or relatives in safer areas, they have a “bug out location.” If not, they’ll be farmed out to any shelter that has room to house them.

Considering the size and scope of even a small evacuation, having plans to evacuate to multiple safe locations within your big city seems like the best possible option for those of us who haven’t yet bought the dream Bug Out Location.

Bug Out Locations are expensive and hard to come by

Many survivalists and preppers plan on bugging out when everything hits the fan or darn near close to it. However, most of these same people simply have nowhere to go.

A true Bug Out Location, as defined by survival experts, is just another name for A Second Home. If the average American could afford a second home, there would be no problem if/when a bug out becomes a necessity.

Instead, though, what if we took a lesson from the Phoenix emergency planner and rather than insisting that a Bug Out Location in the wilds of Montana or Idaho as the only option, establish a network of safe houses within easy walking or driving distances?

Here’s how this might work.

Assess the weaknesses of your home and area

Assess the most likely crises that might affect your neighborhood or city. How bad would conditions have to be before you would need to evacuate? Ask yourself:

  • How might this disaster affect the structure of our home? If the structure is no longer safe, evacuation becomes a necessity.
  • Will it cut off access to/from our home?
  • Might it generate looting and other forms of crime?
  • Do I live near an area that is likely to attract criminal activity?
image by nicola since 1972

image by nicola since 1972

Something else to consider is whether or not your home and neighborhood has been able to weather similar disasters in the past. If not, this might give you some direction on being better prepared. If so, are you just as prepared last time? What if this next big event is even worse?

Having criteria for evacuating is a really important first step. Often, people  second guess themselves over this decision and some end up making the fatal mistake of waiting too long.

The second step is to consider each possible event and determine how far you would have to go in order to be safe. This is a key consideration.

Take into consideration man-made disasters

Along with natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes, it’s important to consder man-made disasters. Which of the following are most likely in your area?

  • Riots, civil unrest — These bring with them arson, looting, random violence
  • Terrorist attack — What, specifically, might be targeted? A sports stadium? Military installation? A dam or water treatment plant?
  • Nuclear event
  • War
  • Chemical leak or explosion
  • Pandemic
  • Biological warfare
  • Economic collapse
  • Electro Magnetic Pulse or a long term power outage
  • Wildfires — Many are caused by arson or by careless campers.

How far would you have to evacuate to be safe from these events? That will give you an idea of where to start looking for a safe house.

Include personal disasters in your planning:

  • Job loss or reduction in hours
  • Sudden death of a loved one
  • Diagnosis of a serious illness
  • Debilitating injury
  • House fire
  • Bankruptcy
  • Home foreclosure
image by DRB62

image by DRB62

Not all of these will necessitate leaving your home, but many will. For example, if a bankruptcy and home foreclosure is likely, sooner or later, you’ll need to find somewhere safe to live. If you start planning ahead, even if it’s a far-fetched scenario, you won’t be as panicked if it does become a reality.

In the case of a wildfire or a nuclear event, you’ll want to be on the road to safety as quickly as possible.

So where are those safe locations?

At this point, you’ll need a map in order to start listing multiple safe houses. These should be located far enough away so they are not be in the same type of immediate danger as your home. For example, if you live in an area that is susceptible to flooding, make sure you have a safe place to go that is out of the danger zone.

For each most-likely scenario, determine how far away is far enough to be safe and start your safe-house search there.

Possibilities:

  • The homes of family and close friends
  • Commercial buildings you own, have permission to access, or are owned by friends/family
  • Churches
  • Extended family, even those you may not know well
  • Contacts through any organizations you belong to
  • Timeshares — If you have any banked weeks, these could come in handy.
  • Hotels — Make sure they allow pets, if you have them.
  • Campgrounds

Keep a list handy of all these possible “safe houses”, along with phone numbers. Discuss your plans with any individuals involved and offer your home as a refuge should they be the ones having to flee.

Get prepped before you have to

I don’t know about you, but if beloved family members showed up at our doorstep in need of a safe place to stay, we’d make it happen. That’s what family is all about.

However, if the crisis dragged on, eventually we’d have to start thinking about the expense of providing room and board to these extra people. That’s not being selfish, just realistic.

You’ll be far more welcome at safe houses if you’ve, first, asked permission to stay there in case of a disaster, and second, if bring cash to help with expenses or you’ve stored food, medicines, bedding, and other survival supplies in the corner of a garage or spare room.

If a disaster gives notice of its imminent arrival, a hurricane, for example, you have time to make a trip to your safe house, deliver food, supplies, bedding, etc., just in case you have to make a run for it.

In other words, don’t plan on being a freeloader!

Survival has never been a “one size fits all” venture. It’s all about being flexible and thinking on your feet. Multiple safe locations will give you maximum flexibility when the going gets so rough that it’s time to get out of Dodge.

Join in the discussion on this topic over on Facebook!

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Welcome to National Preparedness Month! http://thesurvivalmom.com/welcome-national-preparedness-month/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/welcome-national-preparedness-month/#comments Tue, 10 Sep 2013 18:50:56 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12433 A note from Lisa: This month was the big do-or-die month with the sale of our house, and I’ve been playing catch-up with the blog as well as a book project. Yes, National Preparedness Month kicked off on September 1, Read More

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A note from Lisa: This month was the big do-or-die month with the sale of our house, and I’ve been playing catch-up with the blog as well as a book project. Yes, National Preparedness Month kicked off on September 1, and this article is a bit late, but Happy National Preparedness Month, anyway!  :o)


survival-mom-button-prepared
Every year, with the blessing of FEMA and other emergency-related government and non-government agencies, the United States observes National Preparedness Month with TV ad, drills, and other activities.

So few Americans even have dinner planned for tonight that it’s no wonder they are so poorly prepared for when a real emergency hits.

 

My tips for covering the basics of emergency planning:

  1. Buy my book. It’s readable, entertaining, and covers the basics, plus a lot more. I recommend the print version versus the ebook because you’ll probably want to fill out the planning forms and utilize the checklists.
  2. If you have a smart phone, download apps related to first aid, the Red Cross, survival, food storage, a weather radar, and even a police scanner.
  3. Prepare for an emergency lasting at least 2 weeks with stored water, water purifiers, enough shelf-stable food for the duration, supplies and equipment to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  4. Pack an emergency kit for each vehicle.
  5. If you work away from home, have a plan for getting back home, no matter what.
  6. Make plans for emergency evacuations. (See Chapter 11 in my book.)
  7. Have a family meeting to talk about a potential emergency and what each person should do if it happens. You may have multiple emergencies in mind, but limit this first meeting to just a single scenario.

There’s a lot more to being fully prepared, but these steps should keep you busy for a while. Remember to do a bit of planning and preparing for loved ones, such as college students and elderly relatives, that they probably won’t do on their own.

I have more to come, including prepping lessons using my book as the textbook!

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The importance of having a Last Minute Packing List http://thesurvivalmom.com/the-importance-of-having-a-last-minute-pack/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/the-importance-of-having-a-last-minute-pack/#comments Tue, 13 Aug 2013 16:08:21 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12346 I know you’ve heard more than enough about packing emergency kits, Bug Out Bags, Go Bags, or whatever else they may be called. I even have a list here on my site for what should be included. However, in a Read More

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I know you’ve heard more than enough about packing emergency kits, Bug Out Bags, Go Bags, or whatever else they may be called. I even have a list here on my site for what should be included.

suitcase

image by emmamccleary

However, in a scenario in which you’re running out the door, that pre-packed kit is going to be missing something. A lot of important somethings, actually, because many items can, and should, only be packed at the last minute.

Another consideration is that whatever you leave behind might end up in the hands of criminals. Homes left vacant after evacuations are targets for thieving low-lifes. Just know that whatever you leave behind may not be there when you get back, so plan ahead as to what you must take with you.

Click HERE for a downloadable checklist you can print out.

Cash. You may already have packed a few dollars in your emergency kit, but if you have cash stashed around the house, be sure to take it with you! A vacant home is more likely to be burglarized, plus that extra money will come in handy for travel expenses and food.

Medications. Any prescription or over-the-counter medications that you regularly take should be packed at the last minute. If it needs to be kept refrigerated, have a small ice chest and several cold packs in the freezer.

Medical equipment, such as a wheelchair, walking aids, diabetic meters, or nebulizer.

Special equipment or supplies for a special needs family member.

Firearms and extra magazines/ammo. If you have a collection of guns, decide now which you will grab at the last minute. No one likes to leave these behind, but in the case of a house fire or oncoming tornado, you’ll waste precious minutes lugging them to your vehicle.

If your gun safe is portable, then be sure you can transport it out of the house. A furniture dolly would come in handy for this task.

The right clothing for current weather conditions. Your emergency kit probably doesn’t contain heavy duty winter clothing or rain boots. In order to stay warm and dry, know ahead of time where these items are located.

Heirlooms, valuables. If the house is on fire, you’ll have to leave these behind, but other than the direst emergency, you’ll be glad you packed these along.

Photo albums. Over and over people say how glad they were that their photos survived a calamity. Place your most valued photographic treasures in a fire-proof safe.

Small safes and/or strong-boxes. If something is valuable enough to be kept in one of these, remember to take these with you.

Precious metals. If you have been buying gold and silver coins, please don’t leave them for burglars or for Mother Nature to wash away with flood waters! They can be heavy, so you may want to store them in smaller containers to make transporting easier.

The right shoes. Sometimes we have to leave our house in a hurry and in the middle of the night. Plan which shoes each family member will grab, along with socks. (Have extra socks and some moleskin packed in your emergency kit.)

Vital electronics. If you keep personal and financial records on a computer, and most of us do, you’ll want to have a plan for securing that information and, if possible, taking it with you.

At the very least, someone should be trained to download information to a thumb drive. It might be easier to just grab the laptop or unplug the desktop computer and make a run for it.

Your Grab-and-Go binder.

Perishable foods. If you expect to be on the road a while and you have the time to pack it, a cooler filled with food will eliminate the need to stop at fast food joints or restaurants. This will help you get to a safer location more quickly.

Comfort items for family members. These could be stuffed animals, favorite pillows or blankets.

Family pets and their supplies. Read this Pet Emergency Checklist to help you prepare for your animals’ needs.

Camping supplies. If there’s a chance that you may not reach a hotel or other lodging, a tent, sleeping bags, and a few other supplies will provide shelter and rudimentary living quarters, temporarily.

Click HERE for a complete list of FREE downloads that will help you be better prepared for any emergency. And, my book, Survival Mom: How to prepare your family for everyday disasters and worst case scenarios is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com, and in local bookstores. It contains a multitude of checklists and planning helps.

 

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