Earthquake Preparedness and Apartments

Just a few days ago, an earthquake woke my husband and me up at five in the morning. This was a very unusual event for us because we don’t live in a state that usually experiences earthquakes. Although the tremor only lasted about a minute, I was already mentally planning how we would get our children and where in our house we would go to be the safest. After the earthquake had passed, I looked up what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advises to do during an earthquake. I was surprised to find that earthquakes can happen anywhere. In light of this information, here are some tips to prepare yourself in case you experience an earthquake in an apartment building.

Renter’s insurance for an earthquake may seem like a waste of money, especially if you live in an area that is not prone to earthquakes, however, if you live east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, renter’s insurance may be a good idea since earthquakes travel further and do damage to a wider area in the East. If you live elsewhere in the United States you can check FEMA’s website to find a map showing your earthquake risk by state. This can help you determine whether you consider the risk to be high enough to warrant purchasing insurance in case of an earthquake. Most regular renter’s insurance policies do not cover earthquakes, so you will either need to buy a separate policy or rider.

FEMA suggests putting together a plan for an earthquake before one ever happens since it is much more difficult to come up with a plan during an earthquake. I definitely agree with this advice since I couldn’t remember what the best thing to do in an earthquake is. “Go to the basement? No, that’s a tornado. Go outside? Crouch in a doorway?” Just so you know, the official recommendation for an earthquake is to “take cover under a sturdy desk, table, or bench or against an inside wall, and hold on. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building. Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.”

Another piece of information I learned was to put together a 30 day emergency supply since severe earthquakes can damage water, sewer, and power lines badly enough that they take quite some time to fix and stores may not be open due to damage. Some items you may want to include in your supplies include: “water in pouches, containers and a water filter, canned foods, pain killers, creams, first aid kit, prescription medications, vitamins and supplements, entertainment items (books, board games and coloring books and activities), lights (flashlights, lanterns, candles and oil lamps), AM/FM weather radio (hand-cranked, solar powered or battery operated).” An earthquake can be a very frightening event, especially if you have never experienced one before. Being prepared can make it a less stressful and safer for your family in your apartment.

What’s the Difference Between "Lockdown" and "Shelter in Place"?

With a new “event” occurring all too frequently in the news, a lot of the terms seem to get confusing. If you have children, they need to now do “lockdown drills” in school. What is a lockdown? What does it mean to shelter in place? What’s the difference between the two? Well, here’s the official word on the subject.

DISTINCTION BETWEEN “LOCKDOWNS” AND “SHELTER IN PLACE”

1. LOCKDOWNS: A lockdown occurs when occupants of the facility are directed to remain confined to a room/area with specific procedures to follow regarding locking of doors, closing of windows/shades, seeking cover, etc. This procedure is implemented when a criminal element is believed to be on the premises and officials expect that these measures will minimize risk exposure of the occupants to the criminal element. Lockdowns necessitate a law enforcement response and immediate intervention. While responsibility for determining a school district policy regarding lockdown rests primarily with that school district, both the school officials and the law enforcement officials are strongly encouraged to confer with one another when drafting their respective policies. This will help ensure safe and efficient handling of school lockdown events.

2. SHELTER IN PLACE: Sheltering in place is similar to lockdown in that the occupants are to remain on the premises, but may require that they be moved to a different part of the facility due to an environmental event taking place outside of the facility, for example the release of a chemical cloud from a nearby plant. To evacuate the occupants may put them at greater risk then sheltering them within the facility. However, it may be prudent to move all of the occupants to another part of the facility to further minimize the risk of exposure.

Due to the increase of these type of events in schools, many schools throughout the country are now equipping their classrooms with Classroom Lockdown kits. These kits are to prepare and provide for the students in just this type of situation. They supply emergency food, water and sanitation basics.

Emergency Evacuation & Fire Extinguishers

In the circumstance of a of fire, the first and the foremost step to be taken by the occupants are to immediately evacuate the place. Every building owner should follow an evacuation plan that includes both primary and a secondary evacuation passage. Sometimes the life of the occupants is at stake and it completely depends on the rescue team on how to implement the entire operation while fire engulfs an area or building. But in the case of the initial absence of a rescue team, you need to be abreast with the basics of evacuating an entire building, establish a designated area to meet outside the building and maintain the primary safety procedures. Be sure the safe spot selected is familiar with everyone and is far away from the affected zone.

Moreover, your evacuation plan should incorporate a warning call announcing the initiation or completion of evacuation procedure. Following a proper evacuation plan and having a reliable fire extinguisher, some smoke marks, a couple fire blankets, flashlights, communication devices, trauma kits, an a few search and rescue items to back you up. These emergency emergency supplies do not cost a lot but can certainly save a priceless life.

Evacuation Tips: Immediately leave the building after the call or alarm is sounded. Do not take risk of an immediate investigation if you are not trained enough. While leaving close all doors preventing the smoke, flames or choking odor to spread out. Never run, but walk swiftly to the closest exit out of the building. Do not re-enter into the fire-affected area before it is subdued. Assemble at the designated area. Never use the elevator in a hurry to exit the building as that may prove even more disastrous. Once the all residents leave the place the entire responsibility turns over to the first responders.

Nevertheless, proper training on the part of your team is highly commendable. The training should include fire safety basics along with a detailed knowledge on the types of fire extinguishers and their proper use. The training should also include the discretionary use of extinguishers with a controlled fire. The building owners and managers should go through the emergency evacuation and safety measures making sure that a safe escape has been provided to all. It depends on individual discretion on how efficiently we meet a challenging situation. It is also true that only a smart thought out process cannot help every time unless there is adequate safety equipments available to you.

8 Survival Kit Myths That Are Your Worst Enemy

Simply having a survival kit will not ensure or guarantee your survival. Once understood, your risk of making unnecessary mistakes will go way down. The result will be fewer negative surprises. With that in mind, you’ll put more efforts into your skills and knowledge. The benefit? If you caught without your kit, your survival kit will be in your head.

Here are the 8 survival kit myths.

Myth 1 – My kit will always be with me

This thinking is unrealistic. For instance, imagine being at work and your kit is at home. An earthquake hits and your gear is out of reach. The highways are clogged, and the bag is out of reach and of no use to you.

Your Plan: EDC kit, keychain, carbag. The idea is to pack a smaller bag in your car. It doesn’t have everything your normal bag has, but its good enough. An EDC is also know as an Every Day Carry bag. Its small enough to carry with you every day, in the trunk of your car.

Myth 2 – My survival kit will get me through the disaster

The problem with this: but what if the disaster is 7 days? Its good to have a kit. But how long is your survival kit supposed to support you? 1 day? 3 days? 4 days? Or maybe just a few hours? How do you even figure out how long it will last? And how long is the aftermath of the disaster going to last?

Your Plan: plan for 72 hours, and have a cache kit ready to take you beyond that first 3 days. The idea here is to pack something that’s light and that will get you through the first hours. Then from there, it will get you to a second/backup kit. In a way, you could chain a bunch of these together. Of course, this all assumes that you are not able to get home.

Myth 3 – The gear in my kit is appropriate for my expected disasters

The problem with this: something off the wall might come up. The problem here, is that most kits that are premade have generic contents in them. Let me give you an example. The other day I was looking at Ebola survival kits. I found one online. It had a mylar tent, a survival whistle and some gloves. I can assure you, that this wouldn’t save anyone in an Ebola outbreak. This comes at the price of lives that depend on the gear.

Your Plan: Don’t rely on someone else’s kit. If you are expecting a specific kind of disaster in your area, then plan things out. Do your research and learn what’s necessary to come out alive on the other side. Then slowly start acquiring the items and gear that you determine is necessary. Naturally, you’ll choose higher quality gear, and the payoff will be when the disaster hits. Your gear will stand up to any disaster.

Myth 4 – my survival kit gear is rugged enough to withstand tough use

The problem with this: if you have a premade kit, you might be surprised. A number of people have reported that pieces of gear have broken in their hands after light use. The survival kit manufacturers source out the cheapest gear just to fill the bag.

Your Plan: Just like the previous myth, research for your own gear and check out product reviews. If its a piece of gear that’s expensive, then save up a little each week until you get the full amount. Good quality reliable gear is more assuring in a disaster than something that fall apart in your hands.

Myth 5 – I don’t need any clothing in my kit. I’ll just wear what I’ve got.

The problem with this: what if you get wet and its cold? Wearing wet clothing in the cold is a recipe for hypothermia. Without question.

Your Plan: Bring very light clothing in your Bug-Out Bag. One brand that I’m impressed with is Frogg Toggz. Although they primarily make rain gear, some of the shells are worth wearing as light pants or a jacket/shell. They pack very tight because they are similar to Tyvek or Kevlar.

Myth 6 – I’ll just use my phone, so I don’t need alternative communications gear

The problem with this: what if the cell towers go down? If you are relying solely on your phone and the network goes down, then you have no backup. Now its true. If the lines go down, there’s a chance that SMS will still be working. But even that can go down.

Your Plan: signalling mirror; ham radio. A mirror can signal for 10’s and even 100 miles away. If you are in an urban area, then a radio like a CB or a ham radio would be much more effective.

Myth 7 – A survival kit is a survival kit. I don’t need to practice with it.

The problem with this: The problem is that you are assuming that your survival depends on your gear. You are thinking that if you have the right gear, then you’ll be in good shape. But there’s a crack in this kind of logic. The crack is this. What if the gear breaks down? Then what?

Your Plan: To get around this, you will want backup plans. Back up plans for all of your critical gear. For instance, if you have battery operated items, do you have chargers? Do you have solar chargers? Or what if there’s no sun? Do you have alternatives to generating power?

Myth 8 – I need a bug out bag, because I’m planning on bugging out.

The problem with this: most people think that they will be bugging out. But the reality is that there’s a high chance that you will be bugging in.

Your Plan: it’s good to have a bug out bag, but don’t ignore the supports that you have at home.

Survival shows and gear can be deceiving. They lull you into believing you can survive anything. But its not true. Read through these 8 myths one more time and learn what not to do the next time a disaster hits.

Urban Survival Skills – Preparing For the Unexpected

Survival situations can occur just about anywhere. Contrary to what most of us think, survival is not limited to getting through rough outdoor situations. You can be stranded a thousand miles from civilization in the most hostile desert, left floundering in the open sea, or simply just struggling to survive in your own attic, and the only thing that is going to help you overcome the threat to your life is having the necessary skills and the necessary tools.

The last decade has seen a rapid deterioration of the global economic climate. Political, military and legal mismanagement has given rise to increasing violence and crime, and countless countries face a near-constant threat of civil war. In general, the growing disparity between the rich and the poor has doubled the threat to the life of an average citizen. Thus, even your very home may turn into a battleground for a tussle between life and death, anywhere in the near or distant future. In such a situation, it pays to be prepared, mentally and physically, to fight for your own and your loved ones’ lives.

Therefore, to ensure that you are well prepared to meet any survival situation head on, follow the simple, four-step procedure outlined in this article.

Step 1: Prepare to Meet Your Food and Water Needs:

Food and water are probably the most urgent needs of a human being, particularly in an urban survival situation. Hence, you must ensure that you store sufficient food and water in your house for any unexpected situation. At least a month or two’s supply of food for each family member is generally a safe amount to have, for you never know how long you may have to stay trapped in your house. Store canned and other non perishable food items, preferably those that require minimum cooking. Also, the foods should be high calorie, so that in case your stay becomes unexpectedly long, a small amount of food can keep you going. Try to store items with a long shelf life, and those that do not need electricity or cooling to keep them from expiring, because they would become very tiresome to store.

Step 2: Keep Shelter in Mind:

Given the alarming rate at which lethal, destructive weapons are being invented, the threats of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare are very real. The only safe place to go to in case of such attacks is underground. Make sure that you and your family know of such shelters in your neighborhood, and that you are ready to take refuge there at the shortest notice. If such a place does not exist, the best idea is to work together with your neighbors to build a shelter that can hold a large number of people safely. This would divide the cost and effort involved and would benefit many more people than just you alone.

Step 3: Develop Survival Skills:

No matter how much food and water you manage to hole up, no matter how good a shelter you build, none of these will help you in a real survival situation unless you know how to live long enough to access them, and how to use them most wisely and efficiently. Knowing how to do these things is what we call survival skills. The first and foremost skill is to keep your thoughts straight and avoid panic and fear in such a situation. Also, knowing how to deal with children, neighbors and friends in such stressful situations is very important. Secondly, you need to know some key skills such as making a fire for purifying water and cooking food, making improvised weapons for self defense, and building a temporary shelter. The best way to equip yourself with all the necessary skills is to enroll in a survival course. There are countless survival camps and training schools that you can join to get priceless knowledge which may one day save your life. Also, keep yourself updated on the latest survival books, articles and online publications, which can teach you a lot in the way of little bits and snippets of knowledge.

At the end, survival is going to be more about what you know than what you have, so do not become complacent about the great survival gear that you have stored up. Go out there and learn everything you may need to know, and only then will you be ready to face life threatening circumstances that can accost you anytime, anywhere.