The Survival Mom » Preparedness http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:48:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Book Review – “Preppers: History and the Cultural Phenomenon” by Lynda King http://thesurvivalmom.com/book-review-preppers-history-cultural-phenomenon-lynda-king/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/book-review-preppers-history-cultural-phenomenon-lynda-king/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 06:00:27 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18881 Preppers: History and the Cultural Phenomenon is a non-fiction book written by Lynda King, a freelance writer and community preparedness educator. The book was published in 2014 by Prepper Press and is available in paperback and e-book formats. OVERVIEW: The Read More

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Prepper book review postPreppers: History and the Cultural Phenomenon is a non-fiction book written by Lynda King, a freelance writer and community preparedness educator. The book was published in 2014 by Prepper Press and is available in paperback and e-book formats.

OVERVIEW:

The book begins with a quote by General George S. Patton: “Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.” This is exactly what Part One of the book accomplishes as it provides a history lesson of US and world events (weather, political, cultural, economic) that give the reader an understanding that “preppers” are not a new phenomenon in our culture.

Part Two is titled “A Look at Modern Preppers.” Several chapters include topics such as how technology (like internet access) has influenced preparedness, a look at different events that people are prepping for, how people prepare, and the booming preparedness business marketplace.

The book is 306 pages long, but the last 50 pages make up the extensive list of references, a complete index, a basic prepper jargon glossary, a list of related websites, and information on prepper expos and conferences held around the country.

COMMENTARY:

Many people think that “prepping” is a new thing, brought about in 1999 with the Y2K scare. The history as presented in this book shows that people have been preppers since at least Biblical days. Though I found the history presented fascinating, the direct link between the historical events and prepping were not directly made.

For example, the discussions of the Victory Gardens or the creation of the Civil Defense Councils were informative, but it is up to the reader to make the connection that these people should be considered early preppers. A few times, Ms. King mentions that those who were already living self-reliant lifestyles faired better than their less prepared counterparts, but I would have preferred a more specific link to be made in the text.

What Part One does very nicely is show the reader that our history is full of proof that bad things can and do happen, with alarming regularity. If someone ever asks why you are preparing for bad times, you’ll be armed with myriad historical facts to show that it’s not a possibility, but an inevitability that bad times will happen again.

The content of Part Two that discusses multiple aspects of the modern prepper was mostly filled with information that I, as an experienced prepper, felt like I already “knew” in my head, but hadn’t necessarily seen presented all in one place before. Fully understanding this content will make the reader more able to have articulate and intelligent discussions about the prepper movement.

BOTTOM LINE:

This book reads like a textbook. That’s not to say it is boring or dry at all, but with the amount of historical content, inserted quotes and references, a lot of statistics, and a huge range of sources, I found it to be a much more intellectual read than the vast majority of other non-fiction preparedness books.

I recommend this book to the following people…

  • To the reluctant newbie who would benefit from the historical content as proof that the world is predictably unpredictable and being prepared for hard times is essential.
  • To the prepper-curious who wants to learn more about the subculture and motivations of the prepper community
  • To the left-brained preppers who enjoy scholarly reads and want an excellent reference book on their shelf.
  • To any preppers who are looking for a high quality book that is truly different than all the others in the non-fiction preparedness genre that seem to get churned out by the hour.

 

 

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Common Sense Strategies for Teaching Gun Safety: Never Underestimate the Stupid Factor http://thesurvivalmom.com/instant-survival-tip-sensible-strategies-teaching-gun-safety-part-3-7/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/instant-survival-tip-sensible-strategies-teaching-gun-safety-part-3-7/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 06:00:49 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18377 Our 2 kids began learning how to shoot a .22 rifle when they were 7 and 9 years old. Our approach to the shooting skills and gun safety was very casual and low key. You might have thought we were Read More

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gun safety

Our 2 kids began learning how to shoot a .22 rifle when they were 7 and 9 years old. Our approach to the shooting skills and gun safety was very casual and low key. You might have thought we were teaching them how to use nail clippers for all the excitement we displayed!

They learned and had plenty of time to practice basic safety rules. My son was corrected by a range officer more than once for forgetting the safety procedures. Never once have they indicated a worrisome level of curiosity or obsession with our firearms.

Still, I remain cautious with our use of guns for one reason, and this is my third tip in a series of 7:

#3 Never under-estimate the Stupid Factor

In spite of an Eddie Eagle education and constant reminders, kids are kids. They act impulsively. They sometimes make poor and stupid choices.

Sooner or later, most kids will encounter a real live gun somewhere.  The gun may or may not be supervised by an adult.  It may or may not be loaded, and my kids may or may not be inclined to use the common sense God gave them.  As parents, we increase the chances our kids will do the smart thing and stay safe when there’s a gun around when we train, educate and remind, remind, remind.

Recently a few parents voiced their complete confidence in their kids’ safety around guns because they had been trained and they are very aware of the damage that can be done when a gun is played with or misused. I believe that assumption is a bit naive. We may know what our kids are like when they are around us, but we don’t always know what they’re like when they’re around their peers or someone they want to impress.

My advice? Continue training and educating but remain cautious. If you choose to keep a loaded firearm in one or more locations around the house for home defense, they should be out of sight from the kids. I’m not a believer in storing firearms and ammo separate from each other — what’s the point in having a firearm for home defense??

However, do be smart about where you place those loaded weapons and very choosey about the people who know those locations. Something like a gun magnet can be used to store a gun under a desktop or tabletop. Something like The GunBox can contain a handgun and open with the touch of a finger. SentrySafe makes gun safes that can be purchased in many stores around the country. Guns can be concealed in specially designed furniture — hidden but at the ready when needed.

Here’s my own true story. When my brother was an older teen, he became part of the drug crowd at high school. At times he would be angry and combative with my parents, especially my Dad. In his wisdom, one day my Dad took the entire collection of family guns out of the house and placed them elsewhere. My brother was in a place in his life that we couldn’t be certain of his mental or emotional stability at any given time. Removing all guns in that scenario was the smartest thing my Dad could have done for our protection and that of my brother.

Think twice about assuming that your kids would never do something stupid around guns.

This gun safety tip has been sponsored by The GunBox, a revolutionary product that gives gun owners rapid access to their firearms while keeping the guns safe.

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Halloween Book GIVEAWAY: Zombie and Dystopian Books http://thesurvivalmom.com/giveaway-zombie-book-giveaway/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/giveaway-zombie-book-giveaway/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 19:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18016 I have never been a fan of horror in any form. But somehow, like so many other people, The Walking Dead drew me in, and I became of fan of zombies. Well, zombie books and movies, at least. I’d rather Read More

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Halloween Book GiveawayI have never been a fan of horror in any form. But somehow, like so many other people, The Walking Dead drew me in, and I became of fan of zombies. Well, zombie books and movies, at least. I’d rather not have any actual zombies show up in my life! And the dystopian books followed naturally behind the downturn in the economy.

In celebration of Halloween, The Survival Mom is doing two book giveaways, one with zombie books and one with dystopian books. As an indie author, I love helping to promote other indie authors, but really the best thing about them (in my honest opinion) is that indie authors bring a lot of different points of view.

In addition, the winner of each giveaway will receive a copy of the book The Survival Mom by Lisa Bedford, the Survival Mom herself.

Zombies

Like any genre, the books can start to run together when you’ve read a lot. These books are particular favorites of mine in the zombie because they each have a unique take on the zombie apocalypse, making them memorable. One features a virus that doesn’t turn everyone into a zombie. One is about a group of survivors in, of all places, Manhattan. And one shows us exactly how the whole virus spirals out of control, starting with where and how the very first patient became infected.

All three zombie authors will sign their books for the winners. The giveaway includes Slow Burn Volumes 1 – 5, volumes 1 and 2 of Zombie Killing Stoners, and OMG! Not the Zombies! and a proof copy of the short stories in Swept Away, as well as The Survival Mom.

slow burnThe Slow Burn series by Bobby Adair features a zombie virus that doesn’t turn every single person who catches it into a zombie. This isn’t about immunity per se, it’s about how severely the virus infects each person. Just as one person can catch the flu and not much symptom-wise other than the sniffles, there is a continuum of how badly infected people are by the zombie virus. Main character Zed Zane (yes it’s his name; no he’s not a zed) is one of the lucky ones who didn’t turn. The series follows him and his fellow survivors on their adventures throughout the Austin area and beyond.

As a reader, one of my favorite things about this series is that Bobby Adair doesn’t keep you waiting for new books. This Giveaway is for books one through five (five was released in July) and the next one is in the final editing stages – but that doesn’t mean he skimps on editing to ensure a professional final product!

The first two books in the Zombie Killing Stoners series by C. Che Bhalin and B.T. Mienoré, Rescuing the Samoan Princess and The Coming Storm, are definitely not for kids, but they have a wicked sense of humor. What other zombie book features a Samoan drag queen? None, but the ZomPoc has hit New York City and all her very varied citizens, including a Samoan drag queen and pot-smoking stoners, “like the ‘A’ train plowing into a baby stroller.”

A high rise at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in Lower Manhattan has become the center of the universe for a group of survivors who think outside the box. Everyone understands the smoke signals from inside the bowl. These two books pack in: Lots of Zombies (it’s the Big Apple, after all). Explosions. Awesome Views. Big Guns. Big Samoan Drag Queens. Kind Bud. Hot Babes. Mormons. More Zombies. Laughs. Musicians. Thespians. Millionaires. Dogs. Anyone and anything is fair game for us to poke fun at; absolutely nothing is sacred. So sit back, relax, and don’t take this too seriously!

OMG!_Not_the_Zombies_Cover_for_KindleOMG! Not the Zombies! is by me, Liz Long, and is a YA book (no scary or gross descriptions of death and dismemberment). Unlike most zombie books, it tells you exactly where and how the outbreak takes place and really focuses on how it takes hold in one town and spreads, starting with Patient Zero. The group of teens who accidentally start the Zombie Apocalypse use the preparedness skills they learned in Scouts to save as many as they can, including their own families. After setting up an expanding community in an Arizona cliff house, they start looking for a way to find the CDC and make a real difference in ending the ZomPoc. It’s not easy being a teenager in the zombie apocalypse, especially when you and your friends accidentally started the whole disaster.

Swept Away includes three short stories set in the same universe as OMG! but focuses on how natural disasters – a lava flow, a sandstorm, and a hurricane – affect both the living and the undead in the zombie apocalypse.

Dystopian Books

Both Bobby Adair and Steven Konkoly will autograph their books. This giveaway includes all three books in the Perseid Collapse series by Steven Konkoly, the first two books in the Coming Global Collapse series by John Wesley Rawles, and Ebola K, the first book in a new series by Bobby Adair, as well as The Survival Mom.

ebola kBobby Adair wrote most of Ebola K before the current outbreak and based parts of it on his son’s recent experiences in Africa. When the current outbreak became big news, he updated his book to reflect current events. It is the first book in a trilogy and the descriptions of the diseases effects are extremely detailed. Of course, no one would enjoy reading a book that simply chronicled the effects of such a horrifying disease, so it’s a great thing the story is so compelling.

n 1989 the Ebola virus mutated to into an airborne strain that infected humans for the first time on American soil in Reston, Virginia. Through belated containment efforts and luck, nobody died. Now, in the remote East African village of Kapchorwa, the Ebola virus has mutated into another airborne strain without losing any of its deadly potency. In this thriller, terrorists stumble across this new, fully lethal strain and while the world fearfully watches the growing epidemic in West Africa as Sierra Leone goes into country-wide lockdown, only a few Americans are aware of Ebola K and the danger it poses—to be the deadliest pandemic in the history of mankind. Can they do anything to protect themselves from this killer disease? Can they stop the terrorists?

expatriatesLiberators and Expatriates by John Wesley Rawles are novels about the coming global collapse. After the United States suffers a major socio-economic meltdown, a power vacuum sweeps the globe. A newly-radicalized Islamic government has risen in Indonesia and—after invading the Philippines, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea—sets its sights on Australia. No longer protected by American military interests, Australia must repel an invasion alone.

In the thick of it all, Peter and Rhiannon Jeffords, American Christian missionaries in the Philippines, and Chuck Nolan, a Texan petroleum engineer in Australia, find themselves adrift in a world in flux. Chronicling the Jeffords’ and Nolan’s fight against Indonesia’s merciless advances, Expatriates is a riveting thriller and a powerful depiction of the authentic skills and techniques needed to survive the collapse of modern civilization.Perseid Collapse

Author Steven Konkoly of Jakarta Pandemic fame has donated a set of his series, The Perseid Collapse. The Perseid Collapse chronicles the first 48 hours “post-event,” as the characters navigate a hostile landscape to reach their destinations. Event Horizon, book two in the series, picks up where book one ends, completing their arduous trek and unveiling a harsh, new reality for Alex Fletcher.  Point of Crisis, the final book in the trilogy, shows Alex face his most difficult decisions ever as the world unravels in the aftermath of the “event.”

This series is getting rave reviews on Amazon and with good reason. All of Steven’s books are well-researched, fast paced, and realistic. After you enjoy these, don’t forget to pick up Jakarta Pandemic, which introduces the courageous and long-suffering Fletcher family featured in this series.

These giveaways are open to all legal residents of the United States who are 18 years of age and older at the time of entry. The giveaway starts October 28th 2014 at 2:00 pm (CDT) and ends on November 2nd, 2014 at 2:00 pm(CDT). We will choose a winner randomly for each giveaway at the end of the giveaway and that person will be notified by email.  They will have 48 hours to respond. If they do not respond we will choose another winner.  Good luck to everyone and here’s to enjoying a great bunch of books!
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Try It Today: Make Your Own Dryer Balls! http://thesurvivalmom.com/dryer-balls/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/dryer-balls/#comments Sun, 26 Oct 2014 06:00:07 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18877 I got tired of spending $10+ for boxes of dryer sheets that then ended up being something else I had to pick up and throw away. So, being a good prepper, I went online to find something that lasts longer, Read More

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dryer ballsI got tired of spending $10+ for boxes of dryer sheets that then ended up being something else I had to pick up and throw away. So, being a good prepper, I went online to find something that lasts longer, costs less, and is better for the environment (since it doesn’t end up in landfill).

The solution I found are wool dryer balls. I bought a six pack, but instructions to make your own are included in this post.

Fabric Softener and Static Control

The fabric softener claim was easy to believe. After all, I now have six tennis-ball size balls bouncing around in my dryer beating things softer. And it really does work.

The static control I found harder to believe, but (so far) it really does work and I’m not having the static problems I expect without the dryer sheets I normally use.

The Cons

Neither of these are major, but I am the only female in my house. Any directions involving the word “balls” (leave the balls in the dryer when you take the laundry out, for example) leads to fairly typical howls of laughter, misdirection, and a general lack of things getting done.

I’m used to just grabbing all the laundry and dumping it in the basket. Now, I need to be careful to pull out all the balls and leave them in the dryer for the next load. Also, since our washer / dryer are in the mud room, I want to be careful they don’t fall on the very germy floor near the litter box.

Right now, I have one ball that mysteriously disappeared. I believe it will show up in a load of socks and underwear that my children need to sort. Others have gotten tangled inside sleeves and other parts of clothing, so you do need to check as you pull out your clothing.

Making Your Own

Wool dryer balls are made of felted wool. So essentially, you start with a ball of 100% pure wool, then felt it. Your yarn can come from an old thrift store sweater or scarf, but you need to be certain is it not 99% or less wool. Any blends will affect how well it works.

Start out with a small bundle of yarn that you can wrap the rest of the ball around. Then proceed to wrap it up with the rest of the yarn until the ball is somewhere between the size of a tennis ball and a softball. When it is large enough, tuck the end through, making sure it won’t pull out and cause the whole ball to fall apart before you finish. You can use something with a small hook like a crochet hook or something like a bodkin to pull it through under at least several strands of wool.

Put the balls in an old stocking, with knots separating each ball from the other so they don’t felt together. Also make sure not to use wool knots to separate them because it will just felt everything together.

Basically, “felting” the wool makes all the wool stick together and it will never come apart again. To do this, you will need to wash the dryer balls in hot, rinse them in cold, then dry them in hot. You may need to repeat this several times until the wool all sticks together.  If you can pick the bits of wool apart easily, the balls need to repeat the process again.

DIY Naturals has a great article on this, including very clear pictures and more details.

All in all, I definitely recommend wool dryer balls. They cost less than a few boxes of dryer sheets but last far longer. They contain no chemicals, and they don’t go in the landfill. And if they stop working in the dryer, I know the cats will just love them!

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Ebola Has Unnecessarily Come to America…And I Am Livid! http://thesurvivalmom.com/ebola-in-america/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/ebola-in-america/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18896 I am horrified at what has been unfolding in the U.S. in regards to the Ebola virus. From 2003-2005, I was the Team Leader of a U.S. Government Disaster Medical Assistance Team, a 120+ member group of volunteer physicians, nurses, Read More

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Ebola in America

I am horrified at what has been unfolding in the U.S. in regards to the Ebola virus. From 2003-2005, I was the Team Leader of a U.S. Government Disaster Medical Assistance Team, a 120+ member group of volunteer physicians, nurses, medics, and supporting personnel able to respond to disaster sites at a moment’s notice to save lives.

My team worked their butts off to train, prepare, exercise, and deploy to disasters. We made a difference in Americans lives, and even though I’ve left the team, it continues to fulfill its’ mission: “Catastrophic Care for the Nation.” My team is part of the 70+-team National Disaster Medical System, a public-private partnership that silently prepares 24/7 to come to the aid of stricken communities in the midst of disaster and chaos.

But as hard as the teams may work to save lives and alleviate suffering, when people who are supposed to be on our side can’t seem to get anything right, it makes us understandably upset, even angry.

Our Health System is the Envy of the World

I have incredulously watched the slow-motion train wreck that is the reaction of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to the Ebola crisis, and all I can do is cringe. As a country, we are incredibly fortunate to have the best health care system in the world. Leaders of other countries routinely fly here for care because there is no finer care available. Cedars-Sinai, the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts General, all of these hospital names are familiar and bring to mind quality and excellence.

So Much Potential, Such Little Results

Sadly, our Federal public health infrastructure hasn’t kept up with the excellence found in local primary care and hospital systems. In particular, the CDC has played fast and loose with the containment of incredibly dangerous infectious pathogens, most recently in 2012 and earlier this year.

Even more disturbing has been the attitude of CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, who testified before Congress on October 16, and said, “We remain confident that Ebola is not a significant public health threat to the United States,”

Quickly following that statement he then said in written testimony submitted before he appeared before a panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “We know Ebola can be stopped with rapid diagnosis, appropriate triage and meticulous infection-control practices in American hospitals.”

Does this guy sound like he’s taking things seriously?

This is part of the reason I’m livid.

Open Borders and Airways

All the while, Frieden and President Obama are in deep denial over the utility of travel bans or restrictions of persons traveling from the three most affected countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. Such restrictions are favored by many in the health field, notably by Dr. David Samadi, M.D. and others.

The Associated Press noted that, “border closings may also be helping halt the spread of Ebola” in a region where 4,500 people have died of Ebola and over 200 medical professionals have passed away as well. According to an NPR report, Ebola is referred to as the “nurse killer” in Liberia because it has killed so many caretakers.

Ebola, as the Associated Press noted, has ravaged, “Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, overwhelming their health systems,” and countries like Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal that share a border with one of these affected countries “have closed those borders.”

International SOS, which has been actively monitoring Ebola in Africa for its member organizations, compiled a list of nations that have instituted, “entry restrictions” for land, air, and water travel. In addition, “health screening has also been implemented at ports of entry and departure in various countries throughout West Africa.”

At a House hearing on Thursday in which Centers for Disease Control director Tom Frieden refused to answer whether his agency has discussed travel restrictions with the White House, Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) referenced the International SOS list. Frieden said he had not seen it yet but would take Griffith’s word that numerous African nations have been successfully combating Ebola with border restrictions. Frieden, in a statement, admitted that “porous land borders” initially worsened the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.”

Unfortunately, the travel restriction issue has been conflated with our ongoing “open borders” immigration issue, so our Ebola medical strategy is now politicized.

Are you beginning to get angry?

CDC Slow to Help

We now know that the CDC was slow to provide support to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan was admitted as America’s first confirmed Ebola case. Duncan died on October 8, and left a legacy of infecting at least two of his nurses. The two nurses who contracted Ebola, “demonstrate the need to strengthen the procedures for infection-control protocols which allowed for exposure to the virus,”Frieden admitted.

The nurses who treated Duncan made a statement through their union that is worth reading.

It’s enough to piss anyone off!

Ebola Travels from Texas to Ohio, and Takes a Cruise

The CDC’s passivity next led to one of the infected nurses, Amber Vinson, to take a flight to Cleveland, Ohio, while under “voluntary self-monitoring” for Ebola symptoms. Even when she began to feel symptoms in Ohio and she inquired of the CDC whether she should take her flight home, she was cleared by the CDC official to fly.

A review of the circumstances has led the airline, Frontier Airways to decontaminate two of their aircraft and notify about 800 travelers of their potential exposure due to Vinson’s travel. Even more ridiculous, the public learned that a Laboratory Supervisor who had handled Duncan’s blood samples was on a Carnival Cruise Lines ship, and subsequently the countries of Belize and Mexico refused to allow the ship to dock due to the health risk.

Thousands of pissed off travelers and the Ebola story here in America continues to unfold with a new case in New York City. How many more will we learn about in the days and weeks to come?

This didn’t have to happen!

What We Could Face if We Don’t Get Our Act Together

“The doctors and health workers of Médecins sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders, have done so, in heroic, lonesome fashion. The group has been fighting Ebola in the villages of West Africa, where the entire social structure has broken down, since well before the West cared, and with desperately few resources.”

Pierre Trbovic, an M.S.F. volunteer from Belgium, wrote a few weeks ago about taking on what was regarded as the most awful job at an Ebola center in Liberia: telling people that there were no more beds. “The first person I had to turn away was a father who had brought his sick daughter in the trunk of his car. He was an educated man, and he pleaded with me to take his teenage daughter, saying that while he knew we couldn’t save her life, at least we could save the rest of his family from her. At that point I had to go behind one of the tents to cry,” he said. The center couldn’t admit more without putting all the patients at risk; there was a constant struggle to keep the tents clean of human excrement, blood, and vomit, and to remove the dead bodies.”

In August, M.S.F. had six hundred and fifty people in the field. Now, it has three thousand, in six locations in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. “Now we have reached our ceiling,” Brice de le Vingne, the director of operations, said on Tuesday, according to Reuters. The same day, the group noted that sixteen of its workers had tested positive for the Ebola virus, and nine had died.

That here, with our bright hospitals, we would allow the disease to spread through simple carelessness feels like a betrayal. At last count there are only 9 hospital beds in the entire U.S. prepared for Ebola patients!

Ebola Czar? He Wouldn’t Know a Virus if He Tripped Over One

I conclude with the latest madness to befall us, the appointment of Ron Klain: “Facing renewed criticism of his handling of the Ebola risk, Obama will make Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, his point man on fighting Ebola at home and in West Africa. Klain will report to national security adviser Susan Rice and to homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco, the White House said. Klain does not have a medical or a health care background.

Now I’m REALLY pissed! It’s time to hold our elected officials accountable and to let our voices be heard. Ebola has come to America unnecessarily and left us with a scarier and more uncertain future than ever.

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Picking Group Members for the Long-Haul http://thesurvivalmom.com/picking-group-members/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/picking-group-members/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 06:00:10 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18661 By now, or at least, hopefully by now, you have figured out the lone wolf approach doesn’t work well in survival situations. Despite numerous fiction novels featuring the protagonist as a lone wolf survivor, having a team, group or MAG Read More

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Picking Group Members for the Long HaulBy now, or at least, hopefully by now, you have figured out the lone wolf approach doesn’t work well in survival situations. Despite numerous fiction novels featuring the protagonist as a lone wolf survivor, having a team, group or MAG (Mutual Assistance Group) dramatically increases your chances for survival.

The key to a good group is having a people you can trust. Unfortunately, finding trustworthy people can be a difficult task.

There are no simple rules to finding and picking group members, and you’re cautioned to be very careful. The average human is made up of a complex mixture of emotion and logic. While this makes us smart and compassionate, it also makes us dangerous. Compounding the issue even more, someone you deemed as stable  in normal circumstances can turn into either a basket case or a threat to the members of the group under pressure.

Finding group members is a lot like finding a spouse: you won’t know how compatible they are after only a few meetings. Likewise, the success of a group is partly determined by everyone’s willingness to work hard at it. There will be differences of opinions, arguments, heated discussions, and many emotional conflicts. This is all normal, but it all needs to be properly addressed, especially since this group is supposed to be like a second family.

What Makes A Good Group Member

The best advice here is to listen to your gut instinct. If you haven’t developed your gut instinct yet, you’ll be at a distinct disadvantage but you might as well start developing it now.

Dogs can be helpful with this, as they can pick up on your subtle clues, even if you’re not aware of them. By watching the dog, you can get a better idea of signals your subconscious is picking up on, though you need to be familiar with the dog and his or her tells.

Keep in mind you’re looking for someone willing to put the group’s needs in front of their own, but you also don’t want a martyr. How many cool toys someone owns should have no bearing on whether they are let into your group. It’s far better to have a stable, hard-working person who has nothing than it would to have someone who constantly argues every point and can’t agree to anything.

A common set of values and morals is a god place to start, including their perspective on preparedness. If you are of the mind to help all that need it, you won’t get along well with someone whose preparedness plan is to kill preppers and take their stuff. There’s a lot to gain by having members having a different skill set from yours, but having a common core of beliefs is fundamental to a good group.

A Snake in Your Midst?

The two attributes you should look for in a perspective member are loyalty and trustworthiness. People having these traits are low security risks before, during and after they becoming members of your group. Group members will learn sensitive information about everyone in the group, and the time to discover someone cannot be trusted is before everyone has divulged their secrets.

Realizing the true nature of someone isn’t easy. Most people put on some form of mask when they are around others. You need to engage potential members in activities that will drive their true nature to the surface. It can take years to get to know someone, but there are activities and discussions you can engage in to help this along.

Stressful situations can also bring out someone’s true nature. Of course, at no time should they feel like they are under scrutiny, as this tends to make people behave differently.

While it would seem nearly any preparedness-orientated person would be a good fit for your group, the truth is the majority will turn out to be incompatible with your goals, plans, opinions, and ideas. Starting with that common set of values gives you a platform with which to begin.  Knowing this common base also gives you the opportunity to see if they uphold those beliefs they say are important to them.

When someone leaves the group is not the time to find out they have a criminal history, are revenge driven, or have violent tendencies. A spiteful person who has learned your sensitive information can make your life miserable, particularly if they are sociopathic. Imagine trying to operate as a group knowing there is someone out there who knows all of the group’s information and has a large amount of animosity towards everyone in the group.

Once your group decides to have communal property for a bug out location, it’s likely this property will be unoccupied most of the time. If a disgruntled ex-member knows its location, it will be difficult to use that property for storage or caches. Even when there is an amicable separating of ways, unless you change everything about the group, ex-members will know this information.

Use OpSec

Whether you are just starting to look for members on your own, or already have other members, always use OpSec, or Operational Security, when meeting with potential members. Don’t brag about what you or the group has, where it’s located, or any personal information. Even when it’s been decided to let someone join the group, you should maintain a level of OpSec and only reveal a little info at a time.

Groups like Meetup.com make it easy to find like-minded people and interact with them on a comfortable level. No need to divulge personal information and you can see how people interact with different topics and people. Once you’ve identified someone with potential, you can start to do things together and begin the learning process.

I recently did a podcast which delved into this topic more deeply. Listen to that podcast here.

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Common Sense Strategies for Teaching Gun Safety: Guns Are a Big Deal http://thesurvivalmom.com/instant-survival-tip-sensible-strategies-teaching-gun-safety-part-1-7/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/instant-survival-tip-sensible-strategies-teaching-gun-safety-part-1-7/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 06:00:33 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18375 As a new mom, I was wary of having guns in the household. My husband was a lifetime member of the NRA and quite the gun enthusiast but I had never even fired a single shot. Never even used a Read More

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As a new mom, I was wary of having guns in the household. My husband was a lifetime member of the NRA and quite the gun enthusiast but I had never even fired a single shot. Never even used a BB gun.

My kids, on the other hand, know all about guns and gun safety. They’ve attended rifle summer camp, an Appleseed Project weekend, and dozens of trips to both indoor and outdoor shooting ranges. I mentioned in Tip #1, they’ve learned that a firearm is nothing more than a tool. they’ve also learned something just as vital:

A gun is a huge deal

A gun can take a life.  That’s a huge deal. The biggest, really, and it makes owning a firearm a serious responsibility.  Our kids have been taught to never put their finger on the trigger until they are ready to shoot. They know to always keep the barrel of the gun pointed in a safe direction, which is never at another person, and guns remain unloaded until we are actually at the range.

An important part of their firearms education has been that safety always comes first. When we talk with them about guns, we always use a serious tone and convey a no-nonsense attitude. Guns are never playthings. They aren’t for showing off.

A gun can take a life.

Reality vs. Glamor

A challenge parents face in this process is helping kids understand the difference between the glorified gun fights they see on TV and in the movies and what a real gun can do to a person.  When a person is shot, there is no, “Take two!”  The injured person doesn’t pop up so they can appear in the next scene.  Gunshot injuries are real, painful, and can cause massive injuries and death.

But guns, in all their glory, are a foundational piece of thousands of movies and TV shows. Ironically, many of the actors and actresses who make anti-gun statements and commercials owe their fame and fortune to the very thing they claim to detest!

Raising kids is hard enough, but it certainly doesn’t help when there’s a steady flow of exciting shoot ‘em up shows and movies. Video games? Same thing.

How well do you know your kid?

Teaching kids to respect firearms and follow gun safety rules is just the starting point. Perhaps limiting the amount of time spent watching violent entertainment and playing violent video games is another step to take.

Above all, though, is knowing your own kid. Some kids are more likely to obey safety rules than others. Some just can’t resist trying to outrun a train or take the cinnamon challenge or see how many shots they can drink without passing out.

In one household, a loaded gun left in a dresser drawer will remain untouched and most likely forgotten, while in another, a child can’t resist touching it and playing with it.

Regardless of which side of the fence your child falls, compliant and accepting of boundaries versus contrary and always pushing the limits, you know him or her best. Their age and level of maturity are additional factors to consider.

Err on the side of gun safety

We have never worried about our kids and having guns in our home. They’ve learned how to safely handle them, there’s no glamor attached to them, and, frankly, my 15 year-old daughter finds them boring.

Even so, we have taken steps on the side of caution where our guns are concerned because it makes sense. More on that topic coming with Tip #3, using layers of safety.

This gun safety tip has been sponsored by The GunBox, a revolutionary product that gives gun owners rapid access to their firearms while keeping the guns safe.

 

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Preparedness on the High Seas http://thesurvivalmom.com/preparedness-high-seas/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/preparedness-high-seas/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 06:00:45 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18879 In 1997, I went on my first cruise and loved it. In September 2014, I went on my 13th cruise. Cruising is a fantastic way to vacation but there are some safety and preparedness issues that are unique to this Read More

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Cruise the High SeasIn 1997, I went on my first cruise and loved it. In September 2014, I went on my 13th cruise. Cruising is a fantastic way to vacation but there are some safety and preparedness issues that are unique to this kind of travel.

Everyone knows the story of the Titanic, and many know the story of the Costa Concordia or the Carnival Triumph. These cases, while they got a lot of attention, are rare. But obviously, they do happen and you need to be prepared in case an emergency happens during your vacation.

Know your cruise ship and the emergency procedures.

Some people find it difficult to find their way around a large cruise ship. It is sometimes easy to get turned around and not know fore from aft. Each ship has a pocket sized deck plan you can carry with you. Get one and study it so you will know your way in an emergency.

LifeBoatAttendance at a “muster drill” is mandatory onboard a cruise ship. At the designated time (almost always before leading the embarkation port), the ship will sound the alarm and passengers must go to their assigned muster station. Pay attention and memorize where to go and the instructions of the crew. This information is also printed on a sign on the back of your cabin door. In an emergency, don’t wait! Get your life jacket from your cabin – if it is safe to do so – and go straight to your muster station.

Remember that these ships are floating cities!

  • The United States has more than 15,000 towns with populations smaller than the capacity of the larger cruise ships.
  • The largest ship of them all, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, can hold 6,296 passengers and crew at full capacity. Most of the larger ships are in the 2,500-4,000 range.
  • You need to behave on the ship the same way you would walking around a city on land. That includes your children. If you wouldn’t let them wander around an unfamiliar city on their own, they shouldn’t be left with the run of the ship.
  • Overall being on the ship is very safe, but crimes and accidents do happen. Many of the injuries and deaths that occur onboard are related to alcohol consumption. The same can be said for some of the crimes committed. Too much alcohol leads a person to make poor decisions (going back to the cabin of a crew member or other passenger, allowing others into your cabin, etc). I know you’re on vacation, but be smart about your alcohol intake.
  • Bottom line, you don’t know your fellow passengers. I have met some wonderful people on cruises but I have always maintained a level of safety while onboard, just as I would on a land vacation.

What should a prepper pack?

It is unrealistic, and in most cases impossible, to carry your whole BOB* with you. Boarding the ship requires a security check similar to TSA at the airport. The rule of thumb is that if you can’t carry it on an airplane, you won’t be able to carry it on the cruise ship, so many of your EDC* items will likely have to be left at home. Be sure to check with your cruise line for a list of prohibited items. With these restrictions in mind, here’s a recommended list of preparedness items to carry on the ship with you.

  • Whistle and FlashlightSmall flashlight and a whistle. If you take nothing else from this list, bring these two things. You will receive a card that works as your identification, cabin key and charge card while on board. Consider bringing a lanyard to have an easy way to carry that card with you when you don’t have pockets and don’t want to carry a bag. Attach the flashlight and whistle to the lanyard as well to have them with you at all times. Ship interiors are very dark if the lights go out. (There are lighted strips similar to on an airplane along the halls and stairs.) A whistle will allow you to be found more easily by rescue workers, if needed, and will also get attention if you should find yourself in a dangerous situation with another passenger or a crew member.
  • Protein or meal replacement bars. You may likely eat more food on a cruise ship than at any other time in your life! Cruise ships have a very precise calculation of how much food they need and they get close to running out toward the end of the cruise. If there is an emergency that requires the ship to be delayed from returning to port, plans are made to stretch the food out. Having extra calories in your cabin just in case is a smart idea.
  • Emergency radio. Depending on where the ship is, you might not pick up any radio, but you could. Also, my radio has a flashlight and electronics charger. I can recharge my devices using solar power or a hand crank. I may not be able to make calls but I can use the camera, play games, read my eBooks, etc.
  • Small lantern, battery operated candles, or light sticks. Without power, interior cabins without windows are darker than the inside of a cow. If the ship loses power, having these items will allow you to be in your cabin safely.
  • Hand Sanitizer. Because of past cases of norovirus onboard, most cruise ships have multiple hand sanitizer dispensers available near the dining rooms and buffet lines. There are other times you may want to disinfect. Having your own on you or in your cabin keeps you from having to find a dispenser.
  • N95 masks. If norovirus does break out on your hip, a mask may help keep you healthy when in the common areas or when helping to treat a sick travel companion.
  • CruiseMedsMedications. Each ship has a medical clinic and one or more doctors onboard. In an emergency or in a large norovirus outbreak, the clinic may be quickly overwhelmed. Having the ability to self-treat in your cabin will be beneficial. Also, while you can get cold medications, motion sickness, and other OTC drugs onboard, they are expensive. Carry a minimum of one extra week of any prescription medication you must take daily.

Stay safe in port.

  • Don’t carry your passport off the ship. Use the in-cabin safe to store your passport and other valuables and carry the copy of your passport with you. It, along with a drivers’ license, will be sufficient for use as citizen identification if there is a problem. Not carrying your original prevents it from being stolen if you are mugged or pick-pocketed.
  • Just as on board the ship, control your alcohol intake. Make good decisions and do not take ride offers from strangers, go to a different location with a stranger, or flash around a lot of cash.
  • You will be provided information on how to contact the ship from shore in case of emergency. Be sure to carry it with you.
  • Take a photo of your family and friends as you get off the ship. If anyone gets lost, you will have a current photo and description of the clothes they are wearing.
  • Each person in your group should have a sheet of paper in their wallet with their personal information on it. Include name, address, emergency contact at home, the names of those traveling with you, ship name, and important medical information. If you are injured, a quick look through your wallet will provide plenty of information for emergency responders.

Cruising is a wonderful vacation option, and I fully intend to travel by ship many more times in my future. But like any other activity, you need to be smart, be prepared, and make good choices. Bon voyage!

*BOB = Bug Out Bag; EDC = Every Day Carry

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Shelter in place without going crazy, Part 1 http://thesurvivalmom.com/shelter-in-place/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/shelter-in-place/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 19:21:37 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18905 There’s nothing like the word “Ebola” to get people to finally pay attention to preparedness. When you have a well stocked pantry with enough food to last a couple of months, stored water and a couple of ways to purify Read More

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Shelter in PlaceThere’s nothing like the word “Ebola” to get people to finally pay attention to preparedness. When you have a well stocked pantry with enough food to last a couple of months, stored water and a couple of ways to purify tap water, if need be, plenty of cleaning and sanitation supplies, and the knowledge and skills to use them, you are likely not panicking at all. If anything, you’re looking around to see if there’s anything you can add that might put you and your loved ones in an even better position if you do need to shelter in place.

You can read some of my recommendations for that here.

Collecting supplies is the easy part, though. Even if you don’t have the money, garage and estate sales, dollar stores, and thrift stores are full of items that will be on your must-have list.

What is often overlooked, among all the lists of what you absolutely must have in order to survive Ebola or some equally terrible crisis, is the disruption to your daily life that will occur.

Imagine suddenly not being able to visit family, friends, or neighbors. Grocery stores, the post office, gas stations, school, the hair salon, even the dog park will be off limits. Venturing out might mean taking the risk of bringing a terrible violence back home with you or encountering life-threatening violence from predators looking for easy prey.

Stuck at home

You’ve decided that sheltering in place, which sounds so much better than “stuck at home”, is the smartest thing to do in order to stay safe. Maybe you’ve been keeping track of publicized accounts of a terrible epidemic and realized they are a little too close to home for comfort. Maybe The Weather Channel is predicting the storm of the century. For whatever reason, sheltering in place is your plan of action.

You have enough supplies to get by for several weeks, but 10 hours into your self-imposed, or maybe mandatory, quarantine, you are about to climb the walls.

The kids are bored. The spouse is home from work and causing all kinds of trouble, and there you are. Thinking, “I have at least 30 more days of this.”

The key ingredient is routine

If you think about sheltering in place as an enclosed summer vacation, literally a stay-cation, it becomes obvious that the first thing to establish is a routine. I’ve heard stories of prisoners of war who created their own daily schedules in order to stay sane. You’re going to do the same thing, sans the bona fide prison cell and smirking, armed guards.

Start thinking about your current daily, weekly, and monthly routines, and jot down all of your current activities, appointments, and chores. Keep track of what you do and where you go every time you leave the house. In a time of Shelter in Place (SIP), you probably won’t be able to do any of this.

Here’s what my list looks like:

  • Take daughter to college class on Mondays and Wednesday.
  • Son goes to Trail Life on Mondays.
  • Husband has weekly trip out of town.
  • Husband works downtown every day.
  • Walk the dog each morning.
  • Chess club for son on Wednesdays.
  • Internet writing class for son on Fridays.
  • Internet writing class for daughter one day each week.
  • Homeschool co-op each Friday.
  • Grocery shop on Thursdays.
  • Date night Thursday nights.
  • Church on Sundays
  • Math tutor for daughter, once/week.
  • Monthly craft class for daughter.
  • Baseball practice for son, Tuesday and Friday.
  • Monthly hair appointment for mom.
  • etc.

You get the idea. Once you have listed everything that takes you out of the house, it’s time to analyze that list. You want to continue with your current routine as much as possible. What will help your family adjust to their temporary, new normal is having a routine that continues to provide a similar level of interaction, learning, and entertainment as before.

Looking for substitutions

With list in hand, look for anything that can be replicated at home. For example, my son takes French lessons at our homeschool co-op. We could access online lessons and I could start looking for an English-French dictionary and even a Level 2 French textbook at used bookstores. His French lessons could continue without interruption.

My daughter could continue with her math tutor by phone or Skype but would have to give up her college ASL class. It wouldn’t be prudent for the two of us to drive into central Houston twice weekly in a true worst case scenario. There are plenty of ASL resources online, so her education wouldn’t have to stall.

My husband’s employer would have to determine if he could work from home or not. In some cases, businesses would shut down. I see this as being the biggest, negative impact of a SIP scenario, and one of the biggest reasons to find ways to earn money online or providing necessary services to your community. In a pandemic, think Ebola-gone-crazy, leaving the house to earn money at all, won’t be possible.

Continuing to use my list as an example, I realize that I’ll have to eliminate my monthly hair appointments. Stocking up on a few bottles of Clairol Nice and Easy might be a good idea, or maybe I’ll just find out what I look like with white hair!

Date nights? It might actually be fun to come up with creative ideas for that.

Walking the dog? This is where a treadmill might be a worthwhile investment. It would provide excellent, aerobic exercise for us humans and our little dog, Moxie-the-stray (I shared her story on Facebook a while back) would enjoy the activity. If I could somehow project a film of a running squirrel on the wall in front of her, she’d never want to get off the treadmill!

Other substitutions that come to mind:

  • Baseball practice —> Shadow pitching and batting. Watching tutorial videos on YouTube.
  • Craft class —> Use supplies around the house to learn something new, such as crochet or quilting.
  • Grocery shopping —> Re-create this by looking for new recipes that use what is already in the pantry.
  • Chess club —> There are online chess clubs and games.
  • Trail Life or Scouting —> Refer to the manual and find skills that can be learned right at home.

What is on your list that might not have to become a thing of the past, after all? When we think of hunkering down or being quarantined or sheltering in place, at first it seems that life comes to a halt, but as you can see from my examples, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Re-create your routine as you SIP

Once you’ve reviewed  your family’s current routines and have figured out ways to make substitutions, it’s only a matter of setting up a SIP schedule of those activities, and maybe adding a few new ones, and posting the schedule. You could add things like:

  • Family read-aloud time
  • Family game night
  • Casino night — Everyone learns how to play poker!
  • Movie schedule — Just like the regular theater, post a schedule of the week’s movies. Make a big deal of “going to the movies” with popcorn or some other treat.
  • Campouts — Put up the tent in the living room or basement and camp out!

It’s a lot like taking a cross country trip with little kids. You have scheduled stops, times when you break out snacks, little surprise gifts you’ve wrapped, and a selection of car games — all meant to make the time go faster and give everyone something to look forward to.

A time of sheltering in place is going to be stressful. Life as we have known it will have come to an end, at least temporarily.

Plan now how you could alleviate a large amount of that stress simply by looking for ways you could substitute current activities with an at-home version. These suggestions assume that you will have electricity, so you might also want to consider the type of routine you would have in a long-term power outage.

Coming next: More tips for sheltering in place.

 

 

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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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