Category Archives: Emergency Preparedness

What You Should know About Electrical Safety

Electrical hazards can cause burns, shocks and electrocution. Here are some resources on electrical safety you might find helpful.

Downed Power Lines

What to Do If You See a Downed Power Line

Never, ever touch a downed power line or go near one. Power lines are not insulated like power cords. Always assume the power line is live. Read more

Electrical Safety – Basic Information

Utility Shut-Off: Electricity

Electrical sparks have the potential of igniting natural gas if it is leaking. It is wise to teach all responsible household members where and how to shut off the electricity.

Locate you electrical circuit box. For your safety, always shut off all the individual circuits before shutting off the main circuit. Read more 

There are handouts about electrical fire safety available on the FEMA website.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Electrical Safety

Each year, thousands of people in the United States are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires, accidents, electrocution in their own homes.

The current economic downturn has inspired more homeowners to tackle do-it-yourself projects than ever before. Faced with declining home values and aging properties, homeowners may choose not to pay for the services of a licensed electrician.

However, most do not have the training or experience needed to safely perform home electrical work, increasing the risk of immediate injuries and electrocutions and potentially introducing new dangers into the home. Read more

How to Work with Electricity Safely

If you don’t know how to work with electricity safely, you can injure or kill yourself. Following basic electrical safety tips is crucial — after all, you never know who worked on the wiring before you. Read more

Electrical & Lighting How to’s

To learn more, click here…

Electric Generator Safety

Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage.

A portable generator is an internal combustion engine that exhausts a deadly gas called carbon monoxide or CO. CO is odorless and colorless, and you can be overcome if the generator is indoors.

Be sure to place the generator outside where exhaust fumes will not enter into enclosed spaces. Only operate a generator outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home. The generator should be protected from direct exposure to rain and snow. Read more

Electric Vehicle Safety Training

NFPA’s Electric Vehicle Safety Training project is a nationwide program to help firefighters and other emergency responders prepare for the growing number of electric vehicles on the road in the United States. See NFPA’s online resources including research, articles, newsletters, interim guidance, and videos.

NFPA is collecting safety information from hybrid and electric vehicle manufacturers. To access these documents, visit our manufacturer web pages, click here

 Electrical Safety for Children

toddler-playing

Using Electricity the Right Way, What Your Children Should Know

Teach your children these 10 rules for electric safety, click here…

Switched On Kids is a site that teaches children about electricity safety.

Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRRs): Prevent Shocks and Burns

Each year, approximately 2,400 children suffer severe shock and burns when they stick items into the slots of electrical receptacles – that is nearly seven children a day.  It is estimated that there are six to 12 fatalities a year related to this.  Nearly one-third of these injuries are the result of small children placing ordinary household objects, such as keys, pins, or paper clips into the outlets with disastrous consequences. Read more

Photos from the public domain

Q & A about Water Storage

WATER STORAGE animated gif ldsintelligentliving.org3

We encourage all of you to make it a priority to have

a two weeks supply of water in your home.

Having an ample supply of safe, clean, purified water is a top priority in an emergency.

For more information, visit these sites:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

National Terror Alert

Amateur Radio Exam Help (Ham)

For those interested in becoming an Amateur Radio Operator (Ham Radio), the Cascade Amateur Radio Society (CARS) has added their training slides to the CARS website in the form of PDF files.  These files can help you either review the information before taking the exams, or perhaps even help you enough that you can skip the class and just show up and take the exam.  You can find the files here.

Earthquake Safety “Triangle of Life”

m6340297_514x260-logoIn the horrific and unbelievable aftermath of major earthquakes, such as the 9.0 that recently struck Japan, public interest in earthquake preparedness understandably increases.  While there are several reliable sources to turn to for accurate earthquake preparedness information Ready.gov and American Red Cross), there are also plenty of sources with inaccurate information as well.

One such source of inaccurate information is an email which circulates after every major earthquake.  The email is entitled the “Triangle of Life” by Doug Copp.  Mr. Copp presents a very convincing argument as to why we should revamp our earthquake survival techniques; unfortunately, Mr. Copp’s theories have been refuted by several major earthquake research organizations, including the American Red Cross.

Here’s the response from the American Red Cross to Doug Copp’s “Triangle of Life” theory:

American Red Cross response to “Triangle of Life” by Doug Copp
9/11/2004

Sent from
Rocky Lopes, PhD Manager, Community Disaster Education American Red Cross National Headquarters

Recently it has been brought to my attention that an email from Doug Copp, titled “Triangle of Life,” is making its rounds again on the Internet. “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” is CORRECT, accurate, and APPROPRIATE for use in the United States for Earthquake safety. Mr. Copp’s assertions in his message that everyone is always crushed if they get under something is incorrect.

Recently, the American Red Cross became aware of a challenge to the earthquake safety advice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” This is according to information from Mr. Doug Copp, the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of American Rescue Team International (a private company not affiliated with the U.S. Government or other agency.)

He says that going underneath objects during an earthquake [as in children being told to get under their desks at school] is very dangerous, and fatal should the building collapse in a strong earthquake. He also states that “everyone who gets under a doorway when a building collapses is killed.”

He further states that “if you are in bed when an earthquake happens, to roll out of bed next to it,” and he also says that “If an earthquake happens while you are watching television and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.”

These recommendations are inaccurate for application in the United States and inconsistent with information developed through earthquake research. Mr. Copp based his statements on observations of damage to buildings after an earthquake in Turkey.

It is like “apples and oranges” to compare building construction standards, techniques, engineering principles, and construction materials between Turkey and the United States.

We at the American Red Cross have studied the research on the topic of earthquake safety for many years. We have benefited from extensive research done by the California Office of Emergency Services, California Seismic Safety Commission, professional and academic research organizations, and emergency management agencies, who have also studied the recommendation to “drop, cover, and hold on!” during the shaking of an earthquake. Personally, I have also benefited from those who preceded me in doing earthquake education in California since the Field Act was passed in 1933.

What the claims made by Mr. Copp of ARTI, Inc., does not seem to distinguish is that the recommendation to “drop, cover, and hold on!” is a U.S.-based recommendation based on U.S. Building Codes and construction standards. Much research in the United States has confirmed that “Drop, Cover, and Hold On!” has saved lives in the United States. Engineering researchers have demonstrated that very few buildings collapse or “pancake” in the U.S. as they might do in other countries. Using a web site to show one picture of one U.S. building that had a partial collapse after a major quake in an area with thousands of buildings that did not collapse during the same quake is inappropriate and misleading.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which collects data on injuries and deaths from all reportable causes in the U.S., as well as data from three University-based studies performed after the Loma Prieta (September, 1989) and Northridge (January, 1994) earthquakes in California, the following data are indicated: Loma Prieta: 63 deaths, approximately 3,700 people were injured. Most injuries happened as a result of the collapse of the Cypress Street section of I-880 in Oakland. Northridge: 57 deaths, 1,500 serious injuries.

Most injuries were from falls caused by people trying to get out of their homes, or serious cuts and broken bones when people ran, barefooted, over broken glass (the earthquake happened in the early morning on a federal holiday when many people were still in bed.) There were millions of people in each of these earthquake-affected areas, and of those millions, many of them reported to have “dropped, covered, and held on” during the shaking of the earthquake.

We contend that “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” indeed SAVED lives, not killed people. Because the research continues to demonstrate that, in the U.S., “Drop, Cover, and Hold On!” works, the American Red Cross remains behind that recommendation. It is the simplest, reliable, and easiest method to teach people, including children.

The American Red Cross has not recommended use of a doorway for earthquake protection for more than a decade. The problem is that many doorways are not built into the structural integrity of a building, and may not offer protection. Also, simply put, doorways are not suitable for more than one person at a time.

The Red Cross, remaining consistent with the information published in “Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages,” (visit http://www.disastereducation.org/guide.html) states that if you are in bed when an earthquake happens, remain there. Rolling out of bed may lead to being injured by debris on the floor next to the bed. If you have done a good job of earthquake mitigation (that is, removing pictures or mirrors that could fall on a bed; anchoring tall bedroom furniture to wall studs, and the like), then you are safer to stay in bed rather than roll out of it during the shaking of an earthquake.

Also, the Red Cross strongly advises not try to move (that is, escape) during the shaking of an earthquake. The more and the longer distance that someone tries to move, the more likely they are to become injured by falling or flying debris, or by tripping, falling, or getting cut by damaged floors, walls, and items in the path of escape. Identifying potential “void areas” and planning on using them for earthquake protection is more difficult to teach, and hard to remember for people who are not educated in earthquake engineering principles.

The Red Cross is not saying that identifying potential voids is wrong or inappropriate. What we are saying is that “Drop, Cover, and Hold On!” is NOT wrong — in the United States. The American Red Cross, being a U.S.-based organization, does not extend its recommendations to apply in other countries. What works here may not work elsewhere, so there is no dispute that the “void identification method” or the “Triangle of Life” may indeed be the best thing to teach in other countries where the risk of building collapse, even in moderate earthquakes, is great.

Source: Letter from American Red Cross

More information can be found at: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/triangle.asp

Emergency and Public Alerts

In case you didn’t know, with today’s technology it is easier than ever to stay informed about public safety announcements and alerts.  Many organizations, cities, and states are utilizing this technology to allow you, the user, to subscribe to the alerts or messages you want and best of all you get to determine where you receive the alerts (on your mobile phone, email, twitter, etc).

Here’s a list of some of the alert services that I use:

Self-Defence-A Responsibility

by LDS Intelligent Living

When it comes to personal safety, most of us don’t give it much thought until there is a need. Self-defense is a responsibility and knowing how to defend yourself is the best way to prepare for the possibility of an attack from an aggressor.

Remember that violence can happen anywhere, anytime, anyplace. Learn skills to protect yourself and teach them to your children so they too can defend themselves.

Self-Defense Moves Every Women Should Know

Personal Safety Training Group – Parking Lot Safety Tip Video

Women’s Self-Defense: Soft Target

Women’s Self-Defense Frontal Choke

Defense against a Choke from Behind – Women Self Defense

Photo source: public domain – Rebecca Johnson, Wichita Police Department patrol officer and department defensive tactics instructor, demonstrates self-defense maneuvers during a women’s self defense class June 27, 2013, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Johnson and other presenters stressed the importance of situational awareness and preparedness and to maintain a survival mentality in the instance of assault. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Laura L. Valentine)

 

Emergency survival

Dr. Stan Brewer

With the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, my family has decided to try to be more prepared for potential disasters.  We have started putting together emergency survival (72 hour) kits.  An important thing to think about in any emergency is any medical needs you may have. Every emergency kit should have a first aid kit in it.  Make sure that it has some basic first aid items and that you know how to use them.  A few things to think about are:

  • Sterile gauze
  • Medical tape
  • Scissors
  • Disposable gloves
  • Cleansing agents: soap, baby wipes, hand sanitizer
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Burn ointment
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Eye wash solution
  • Over the counter medications: pain relievers, laxatives, anti-diarrhea medicines, antacids, allergy medicines, etc
  • Thermometer
  • Face masks

If you haven’t already; consider taking a first aid and CPR class.  These courses will teach you the basics of saving a life in an emergency situation.  The Red Cross and American Heart Association both offer classes as well as a variety of local groups. It is also important to consider medical needs that are unique to your family.  Are there medications that you take regularly (such as blood pressure meds) or might need (such as epinephrine pens for allergic reactions)?  Is there medical equipment you will need such as diabetes monitoring equipment?   You may not be able to store this in the container with your emergency kit (for example if it needs to be refrigerated), but be sure it is easily accessible and you know it is something you need to take with you in an emergency.  Also always make sure you have at least a few days worth of your prescriptions as you may not always be able to get more in an emergency. There may be other needs for your family.  For example, do you have infants who need formula, baby food, or bottles?  Don’t put foods in your kit that you are allergic to or cannot eat.  Dehydration and hypothermia can also be real medical dangers.  Make sure you have plenty of water and a simple method to purify water If you need more.  Also be sure you have warm clothes and sleeping bags or blankets that you can take with you.  Finally, it is also important to consider psychological health.  An emergency situation can be stressful so something to help calm and comfort you can be helpful.  There may also not be a lot to do (especially for children) so consider packing a few books, toys, simple games or other activities.  However, being prepared will be best defense against the stresses of an emergency situation – “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30).

72 hour kit

To read more on 72-hour emergency preparedness, click on the following articles:

“The Food in your 72 Hour Kit”

“Evacuation” “First Aid Kit – Contents”

Startling Facts You Should Know About Disaster Preparedness

Gather Emergency Supplies

Featured image: public domain – workers sort rubble in Port-au- Prince, Haiti public image

Emergency kit photo by LDS Intelligent Living

Earthquake Proof Your Home

By Becca

Here in the Pacific Northwest our biggest natural disaster concern may very well be earthquakes.  As part of our preparation in the event of an earthquake, it would be wise to do a walk-through of our homes.  Are large and heavy bookshelves strapped or bolted to the wall?  Is the water heater strapped in to prevent not only damage to it but also water damage to other things?  Hardware kits for this are readily available at any hardware store. For the water heater they average just under $15. For bookshelves you can get a kit that will secure 2 or 3 pieces of furniture for around $5.  For just a little money and a few minutes of your time you can make your home more secure for yourself and your loved ones in the event of an emergency.

 

Can You Access your Water Storage in an Emergency?

by Becca

Water, water everywhere, but how to get to it? Hopefully, all of us have some water stored in case of an emergency.  There are many reasons and ways to store it. This article focuses on how to access water stored in 10-gallon or larger water barrels.  So, you have taken the time to fill up your barrel, excellent!  The next question is do you have a way to access this water in case of an emergency?  If you are not around, is your spouse or are your children able to access it?   There are a few options available. One is to buy a pump cap (about $15).  Another option is to drill a hole near the base of the barrel and install a spigot (around $5 for parts at a hardware store). If you choose this option you’ll need to install the spigot before filling the barrel (or you’ll have to empty and re-fill).  Or another option is to get a fluid siphon (about $6).  This is two tubes connected in the middle by a hand pump similar to those found on a blood pressure cuff.  When choosing your method the strength and ability of the weakest person who would need to be able to access the water should be your primary concern.  Can you or your spouse tip the barrel?  If not, an access method will prevent unnecessary water loss in a time of emergency. For information on storing water for an emergency, click here

A Time to Act – Fire Prevention

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Deaths from fires and burns are one of the most common causes of unintentional injury deaths in the United States. There are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of fire-related injury and death in the home. These include installing and regularly testing smoke alarms and practicing a fire escape plan at least twice a year.

Fire prevention articles:

National Fire Prevention Association

Fire Safety and Prevention from the Red Cross

Photo source: public domain – Firefighters attacking a house fire. Location is 1411 Third Avenue in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, United States, seen about two hours before upload time; the residence was constructed in 1910.

How to Use an N95 Respirator

by LDS Intelligent Living

I have N95 respirators stored in a cupboard with the rest of my emergency preparedness gears. Now, I have to confess that when I got these respiratory protective devices, I looked at them, felt better for having them, and promptly put them away. However, I kept thinking that I needed to learn the proper way to use these masks. I found this great video produced by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). I encourage those of you who have these respirators, and don’t know how to use them or think you know how to use them properly, to watch this video.

General Instructions for Disposable N95 Respirators  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The US Department of Health and Human Services published the following information: N95 Respirators for Use by the Public An N95 respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. In addition to blocking splashes, sprays and large droplets, the respirator is also designed to prevent the wearer from breathing in very small particles that may be in the air. To work as expected, an N95 respirator requires a proper fit to your face. Generally, to check for proper fit, you should put on your respirator and adjust the straps so that the respirator fits tight but comfortably to your face. For information on proper fit, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ‘N95’ designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95% of very small test particles. If properly fitted, the filtration capabilities of N95 respirators exceed those of face masks. However, even a properly fitted N95 respirator does not completely eliminate the risk of illness or death. N95 respirators are not designed for children or people with facial hair. Because a proper fit cannot be achieved on children and people with facial hair, the N95 respirator may not provide full protection. People with chronic respiratory, cardiac, or other medical conditions that make it harder to breathe should check with their healthcare provider before using an N95 respirator because the N95 respirator can require more effort to breathe. Some models have exhalation valves that can make breathing out easier and help reduce heat build-up. ALL FDA-cleared N95 respirators are labeled as “single use”, disposable devices. If your respirator is damaged or soiled, or if breathing becomes difficult, you should remove the respirator, discard it properly, and replace it with a new one. To safely discard your N95 respirator, place it in a plastic bag and put it in the trash. Wash your hands after handling the used respirator. FDA has cleared the following N95 respirators for use by the general public in public health medical emergencies:

  • 3M™ Particulate Respirator 8670F
  • 3M™ Particulate Respirator 8612F
  • Pasture Tm F550G Respirator
  • Pasture Tm A520G Respirator

These devices are labeled “NOT for occupational use.”  

For more information about flu pandemic preparation, visit the following websites:

Preparing for a Pandemic Influenza Outbreak click here to read

Seattle and King County has a comic book on pandemic flu, good for readers of all ages, click here to access the site 

Photo source: public domain

Be Prepared, Don’t Run Out of Gas

Never let the gas tank in your car get below half a tank. If you do this, you won’t have to worry about running out of gas, AND if you had to evacuate, you would be ready.

Read more about it here

Know what to do if you need to evacuate, click here

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