Posts tagged: disasters

How To Prepare And Survive In Case Of A Hurricane

How To Prepare And Survive In Case Of A Hurricane

The U.S. has had its fair share of hurricanes in these past decades. Hurricanes Sandy, Rita and Katrina have hit pretty hard. They took so many lives and the process and produced massive infrastructural damage. No matter how far we’re willing to go as far as preparations go, we will never be completely safe from nature’s wrath. But every precaution can be a small battle won and +1 when it comes to our chances to survive in case of a hurricane.

In order to beat the storm and come out on top, we must understand what a hurricane actually is. Hurricanes are immense storms that cover great areas. Because the winds blow in a swirling motion, powerful air currents are created that can be strong enough to pull out trees out of the ground, lift cars and even lay whole cities to the ground. Wind speed is a major factor in considering how devastating the hurricane is going to be; according to wind speed, hurricanes fall into the following categories:

  • Category 1: winds reach speeds of 74 mph – 95 mph
  • Category 2: winds reach speeds of 96 mph – 110 mph
  • Category 3: winds reach speeds of 111 mph – 129 mph
  • Category 4: winds reach speeds of 130 mph – 156 mph
  • Category 5: winds reach speeds of speeds of over 157 mph

Hurricanes will most likely form over warm ocean surface, and they sometimes have the tendency of going towards land. When this happens, it also sends a wave formation (storm surge) towards land alongside heavy precipitation. These two combined can cause major flooding to urban or rural areas. Even though hurricanes cover large areas at a time, the intensity of the storm is not constant throughout the entire area, but it’s rather varied from zone to zone. Based on intensity, hurricanes are comprised of the following parts:

  • Zone 1: the eye of the hurricane is the portion in the middle of the stormy area (central zone); it’s the zone that’s least affected, where wind and precipitations are at their lowest
  • Zone 2: the eye wall is a circle of thunderstorms that swirl around the central zone (the eye); the wall is where storm activity is at its highest, with heavy precipitations and strong winds
  • Zone 3: rain bands stretch from the eye wall towards the outside; they’re a weaker reflection of the eye wall, comprised of storm clouds, precipitations and possibly tornadoes

Preparing for an incoming hurricane

As I’ve said before, there is nothing you can do that is 100% hurricane proof, but every measure of precaution you take might just be enough to save you or your property. First and foremost, my main advice is to consider of building your very own underground bunker or disaster-proof room somewhere in the vicinity of you home and have it filled with as many provisions as you can. Just be sure to consider flooding and the need for oxygen. If such a room would be too much trouble, you can also reinforce a room in the house (possibly the basement), turning it into a safe room and hope for the best. If you want to save as much of your property as possible and limit the damage, cover your windows with special, permanent storm shutters; if you can’t find any in your vicinity, just use some plywood instead. Roof straps will reduce the damage and maintain the structure of the house as whole as possible. Trimming your bushes, trees and shrubs around the house will make them less likely to fly off and damage or even kill somebody; the trimmer they are, the less “grabby” their surface will be when it comes in direct contact with the wind. Rain gutters should be unclogged, in order to fight off flooding.

What to do during the storm

If there’s a massive storm coming your way, you need to stay informed. Follow any sort of alerts and directions the authorities issue on the tv, radio or internet. Secure your house as best as you can by closing all the doors, even those inside the house. The less the air flows through, the safer you’ll be. Any sort of small object left in your shed or front lawn should be moved in the house. If they get picked up the storm, they could become serious projectiles that can do permanent damage or even kill. When the storm hits, turn off all the utilities and keep away from the phone as much as possible. Propane tanks should be switched off, as well as the refrigerator. If things get serious, go to your panic room or your provision room. Keep enough food and water supplies. You cars should be fully fueled, because if the opportunity should arise, you must be able to drive without stopping as far as you possibly can. Also keep cash on you; banking and ATM systems will most probably be shut down. If you’re eager to evacuate, take a moment and think things through; acting on impulse might cost you your life. Wait for things to settle down a bit and listen to the directives given by the local authorities.

Dealing with a hurricane is a stressful and life-threatening situation. Take all the necessary precautions you can in order to limit the damage, but remember that nothing’s more important than saving your life. You safety should come first, before everything else. So if you’re taken by surprise, flee for safety and don’t waste any time in securing your property.

By My Family Survival Plan

Keep Breathing: Some Of The Best Gas Masks You Can Afford

Keep Breathing: Some Of The Best Gas Masks You Can Afford

We’re all aware of what a gas mask is; at least we have some idea about them. Gas masks (aka. respirators) are heavily used in society. The Police force has them, the Special Forces have them, the firefighters have them, spray painters have them etc. The basic use of a gas mask is to serve as filter for the air you’re breathing in and to stop possible irritants and noxious substances from getting into your respiratory system and affecting you general state your health.

The best gas masks (or respirators) are based on the same principle: the air is pulled into the canister that has a filtering system (on 3 layers: aerosol filter, charcoal filter and dust filter) and then is released towards the interior of the mask; the filtered air is safe to breathe.

The air is sucked into the canister as the wearer breathes. There are also battery operated gas masks, equipped with a fan, that will syphon air inside, but become useless when the batteries die out. There are also some that work just like a scuba breathing system: they don’t have a filtering canister, but a pressurized air canister, that is completely sealed.

A gas mask is a real asset for any serious prepper. It’s an absolute must-have in case of a chemical or biological attack. Works just as well in a combat zone, as it’ll filter out heavy smoke and even dust clouds. There two main types of masks: half masks and full mask. I half mask will cover your mouth and nose only; they’re used in spray painting and are recommended only if you know what contaminant you’re dealing with. In case of an extremely dangerous contaminant or if you simply don’t know what you’re facing, a full gas mask is the way to go. Not only will it cover your respiratory system, but I’ll also protect your eyes and face from dangerous agents, like Anthrax etc.

Israeli Civilian Gas Mask

This gas mask was issued by the Israeli government, is NATO approved and it’s perfect if you consider the quality / price ratio (it costs about $80). Because of the relatively low price and good features, it’s regarded to be as the standard gas mask for civilian protection. It’s best used in an evacuation scenario from a contaminated area. The mask itself is made out of a soft but durable rubber that covers the whole face (full mask); it offers great protection not only for the respiratory system, but also for the entire face. It has extremely efficient filters (NBC filters) that will keep you safe from almost everything, from nuclear and biological agents (like Anthrax) to chemical agents. This particular gas mask comes in both adult and child versions.

M61 Finnish Gas Mask

The MA61 model was developed in Finland and it’s meant to be used as a heavy-duty gas mask. It’s a side-mounted mask, which means the filter is screwed into the side of the mask, rather than in the font. The rubber it’s made from is extremely durable, but rather soft flexible at the same time. Its flexibility means that the mask will incase the face of the wearer perfectly, making it airtight, so that noxious fumes or chemical agents won’t find their way inside. It uses a twin goggle system rather than a single visor. The exhalation system has a plastic valve with an integrated speech diaphragm, for better communication.

ADVANTAGE 1000 CBA-RCA Gas Mask

The 1000 CBA-RCA mask is 100% American and it was developed based on a US Military design that was used by the USAF during the Operation Desert Storm. It has a Hycar face piece which is about 40% lighter than most full gas masks and also a customizable fit. There’s also a standard nose cup to eliminate visor fogging and a mechanical speaking diaphragm. The visor is a one piece that’s extremely tough and offers great field of vision. The canister can be mounted on both the left and the right side and it’s effective against all sorts of biological and chemical agents, like Mustard, Lewisite, GA, GB, GD etc. The head harness is adjustable and stable. There’s also an ID tag attached and it includes a CBA-RCA canister. The whole package comes at about $300.

There are plenty of models that are available on the market, it’s only a matter of personal choice. The price of a certain gas mask does not necessarily reflect its quality, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money for a good product that will filter well and fit great. But you’ll need to educate yourself in the matter a bit so you won’t throw your money out the window. Luckily there’s many manufacturer’s and sellers and price ranges vary from one to the other. So keep hunting for bargains, you’ll most likely find them.

By My Family Survival Plan

How To Survive a Plane Crash At Sea

How To Survive a Plane Crash At Sea

Your worst nightmare and first thought upon boarding a flight (or even purchasing the tickets) is not to crash! It’s a possibility. One that you have to come to terms with. There is no such thing as a 100% safe flight, like there is no such thing as a 100% safe walk in the park. Disaster can strike at any time and any place. The chance of a plane crash however, studies show, it’s not that high. And even when it happens, a large portion (even 100%) of the passengers on board survives.

But as long as the slightest chance of danger exists, best be prepared. Follow all the procedures and unwritten rules in order to help your chances of survival. Crashing in water is serious business, and even if you survive the crash, the struggle is far from over.

The main concern though for surviving a crash at sea is to survive the crash itself. The numbers are good in this case, showing that about 95% of the passengers involved in plane crashes survive the initial plane crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Experts have agreed that in order to improve their chances of survival, passengers should be adequately equipped for survival. The clothes you’re wearing in the moment of the crash could make the difference on whether you survive or not. “Imagine having to run away from a burning plane. If you have to do that, how well are your flip-flops going to perform? How well are your high-heeled shoes going to perform?” asks Cynthia Corbett, human factors specialist at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Recent studies and research have proven that the passengers sitting behind the wings of the plane are more likely to survive the those sitting in front of it by well over 40% and that the seats situated near the exit row are the safest on the plane.survivors

After the impact with the surface of the water, the first 90 seconds are the most crucial. It’s essential to keep calm and react swiftly, greatly increasing your chances of survival. NTSB reports that because of overcoming panic or crippling fear, many crash victims are found placed in their seats, with their seat belts still on. Others just sit back and wait for instructions until it’s too late. Cynthia Corbett says that knowing what to do and how to cope in such a scenario is imperative. Act accordingly to survival procedures and don’t wait for instructions. They might never come and it will cost you dearly.How To Survive A Permanent Power Outage

Surviving the open sea is next and it’s the real struggle. Plane crashes at sea present special circumstances than other types of crashes, because the survivors face the adversities of the open ocean, whether they’re alive in life rafts or floating on pieces of debris on open waters. The life raft is the best survival tool for a plane crash survivor lost at sea. They are equipped with medical first aid kits, some drinking water, flares to help you signal your location to passing planes or boats, and a canopy that serves as shelter from the burning sun or incoming rain. It will greatly reduce the fatigue you face, as you can float at ease, without having to constantly kick the water, burning energy and attracting sharks. The bright colors and shape of the rafts might also attract fish and birds, which are the best source of food available. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), life rafts are mandatory for most commercial aircrafts that fly extended over-water operations (distances of over 50 miles offshore). However, if aircrafts don’t fly above 25,000 feet and provides life vests for everybody on board, the life raft ceases to be a necessity.

Fully-inflated life raft

Getting into a life raft doesn’t mark the end of all your troubles. You still have life threatening situations to overcome, dehydration and starvation especially. The human body can go for weeks without food, but only for days without water. Some have been known to survive even over a week without it, but it all depends on individual overall health and general temperature and humidity. You can rely on the surround faun (fish, birds, amphibians) as a source of sustenance. According to Dr Claude Pintadosi (professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Centre), most of the animals found offshore are safe to eat, because toxins among them is a highly uncommon thing. The flesh of the animals is a great source of protein and minerals, while the blood can be drunk fresh. Harvesting and drinking rain-water is also a good method to stack up on vital fluids.

Hypothermia is the main reason for concern, especially if you find yourself in waters of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You can fight hypothermia as long as you’re in a life raft. Simply remove the wet clothes and cover the victim with dry pieces of clothing blankets. For crash survivor that’s permanently in contact with the water, hypothermia is fatal. Contrary to popular belief, sharks are the least of your worry.

As long as you’re not bleeding in the water in order to alert and switch on their predatory instincts, there is very little reason to fear and actual shark attack.

If you ever happen to find yourself in such a situation, don’t be surprised: it happened before, and it will happen again. Just keep calm, keep your wits about you and most likely you’ll survive to tell the tale.

by My Family Survival Plan

Home Essentials You Need for Survival

Home Essentials You Need for Survival

With so many daily work, family, and personal distractions, it’s no wonder so many of us remain unconcerned and unprepared for a potential disaster to strike. But they do strike often, all around the world, and assuming you and your family will be exempt could endanger your lives.

Even though it takes thought and investment, preparing your home and your family for unexpectedly harsh conditions is well worth the sacrifice. In fact, the peace of mind alone might be worth it. If you don’t know where to get started, Modernize offers up a list of home essentials to build off of as you collect survival supplies.


Flashlights, Lanterns, and Backup Batteries
When anticipating a disaster, the last thing you should rely on is electricity. And there’s nothing more frightening than thinking of trying to keep your family safe in total darkness. Make sure flashlights and lanterns are handy in several rooms of the house, and always keep a good stock of backup batteries and bulbs. Solar flashlights are also a great addition, especially if you’re going to need to be on the move.

Hand Crank Radio
Staying tuned in to what’s going on could mean the difference between life and death. Procure a solar hand crank radio that will keep you updated on the news and weather while you keep your family locked up safe.

How To Survive A Permanent Power Outage


Solar Oven and Freezer
Nobody hopes that the aftermath of a disaster will be long-term. But it’s best to prepare for a longer time without electricity than you would like to imagine. Solar ovens are simple, effective, and can cook food in a variety of ways. Ready-to-go, just-add-water meals are very handy for a short term emergency. But a solar oven and a solar freezer to store your food stock could work in tandem to keep your family eating well in spite of the circumstances.

Coats and Boots
Being prepared for inclement weather is essential. Heavy-duty raincoats, winter coats, hiking boots, and rain boots will help keep them warm in dry in case of flooding or freezing weather. It will also help them travel more easily if traveling becomes necessary.

Water Purifier
Aside from shelter, water is the most immediate and vital need in many emergency situations. If you are not prepared to convert unsafe water into potable water, you’re not truly prepared at all. You need to both have ways to filter and purify it. While you’re thinking of your water needs, it never hurts to set up a rain catchment system that will allow you access to running water—though you will still need to treat rainwater to make it potable.

First Aid Supplies
A well-stocked survival first aid kit will include gloves, surgical shears, antiseptic wipes, bandages, pain relieving medication, antibiotic ointment, cotton-tipped applicators, sterile
gauze pads, a thermometer, tweezers, and several other items.

Make sure to thoroughly research and go beyond the basics for your first aid kit.


Pet Supplies
No one overlooks their kids when they plan for a disaster, but a pet isn’t always foremost on everyone’s mind. Pets need their own survival supplies including food, blankets, bowls, a leash, their own first aid supplies, and anything else you determine your individual pets’ need.

Sanitary Supplies
While weather disasters are more common in America these days, epidemics also pose a danger—as do unclean condition potentially caused by natural disasters. Supplies that would come in handy during a dangerous outbreak include: adhesive sealing masks with eye shields, anti-bacterial and anti-virus lotion, anti-bacterial wipes, bio hazard bags, bio hazard suits and gloves, and a supply of antibacterial soap.


Hygiene Essentials
Comfort and cleanliness isn’t usually the first thing on your mind in a survival situation. But if you prepare ahead, you can be more thorough about what your family needs and wants. Items like soap, toilet tissue, toothbrushes and toothpastes, feminine products, deodorant, and razors will come in handy even after just a day of relying on your survival supplies.

Sleeping Bags
Reflective sleeping bags that are cushy and can withstand harsh weather could mean the difference between a safe and good night’s rest and many sleepless, anxious nights. To protect your family from hypothermia, select sleeping bags that offer heavy insulation, fully waterproof materials, and low temperature ratings.

70 howtos for your preps


Emergency Preparedness Guide
No matter how much you prepare yourself and your family, any type of emergency or disaster is bound to come with surprises. Instead of relying completely on your supplies and knowledge, make sure you have the educational resources anyone in your family would need to know how to deal with in difficult disaster-related circumstances.

Multi-Tool Knife
Weapons are certainly an important aspect of a home survival kit, as are tools. Combine them into one item for optimum efficiency and ease of use. You never know when a screwdriver, pliers, or a mini saw could come in handy.

These are simply the foundational items for a home survival kit. Build off of your family’s anticipated needs and show them how to use the supplies in case of an emergency.  

By Mary Saurer


Mary Sauer is a writer who has been published by Babble, Mom.me, and What to Expect. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two young daughters.


5 Upcoming Disasters That Will Take America By Storm

5 Upcoming Disasters That Will Take America By Storm

Every year the world’s foundations are shaken by natural disasters. Whether we’re talking about hurricanes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, forest fires etc., it’s vital to know in advance and to be prepared. Being caught off guard might be the difference between surviving and not. Recent scientific studies have confirmed some upcoming natural disasters for the whole spam of the 21st century in the US (in both the near and distant future). Here are 5 of the most important calamities to be aware of.

The Wildfires

wildfiresHarvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) finest have concluded their research in the field with a grim prediction: by 2050, natural wildfires will become even more dangerous! Wildfires are bound to last 3 weeks longer compared to today’s rate, will release twice the amount of smoke and will engulf a large portion of West coast per each passing year. In the last 15 years, the territorial range afflicted by wildfires has grown from 2.2 million acres (starting 2000) to 6.5 million acres annually. According to Dr. Loretta J. Mickley (senior researcher in atmospheric chemistry – SEAS), the root of “all evil” regarding wildfires is gradual climate change. The climate changes have raised the Earth’s temperature, creating optimal conditions for out-of-control wildfires. The greater the temperature, the graver the danger. It’s been predicted that the range of forest fires will vary between 30,000 to 50,000 per year. This one is close to home as 4 of my friends lost their homes in 1 wildfire in California last summer. It’s a reality.

The Earthquake-Tsunami Effect In Oregon

The Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisor Commission has conducted various experiments throughout 2009-2010. The scientists and volunteers involved in the project have determined through scientific research and calculus that a at some point in the next 50 years, an earthquake of 8.0-9.0 Richter magnitude will hit the coast of Oregon, that’s soon to be followed by a tsunami. The exact date hasn’t been determined yet, the all the measurements seem to point to the inevitable disaster. The predictions seem to estimate that there will be around 10.000 dead and if portions of the West Cost get split from the main land, estimated damages can go up to $32 billion!

The source of the unforgiving earthquake-tsunami combo is considered to be the Cascadia subduction zone, an 800 mile crack in the Earth’s crust 60 miles offshore from Oregon, created by the Juan de Fuca and the North American tectonic plates.

The submersion of the East Coast

NASA’s scientific research program have suggested that wind activity and sea level trends are bound to leave a great portion of the East Coast underwater by 2100. John Boon, an emeritus professor of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science has shown that sea level has constantly been increasing by 0.3 millimeters per year ever since 1987. This will gravely affect the East Coast from Key West (Florida) to Newfoundland (Canada). A group of scientists from Florida that recently ran a US Geological Survey confirmed that East Coast sea levels are rising up to 4 times faster than usual.

In 2013, the ex-mayor of New York (Michael Bloomberg) proposed a $20 billion flood system before leaving office, but the proposal was refused. His intention was based on studies that showed that the north-western coastline is mostly at risk. The sea level in the New York City area is expected to rise 31 inches by 2050. In the present 25% of New York is exposed to a watery calamity, but by 2050, it might be around 95%.

The “Big One” earthquake in California

earthquakeCalifornians have been holding their breaths, waiting for that one serious earthquake for decades. And they will get it, sooner or later. The USGS division, UCERF3 (Third Uniform California Rupture Forecast) stated that an 8.0 Richter magnitude earthquake or above is bound to hit the West Coast sometime in the next 30 years. The chances of smaller quakes (6.5 – 7.0 Richter magnitude) are as high as 30%! There are differences of opinion as to where the “Big One” will originate exactly. Some scientists believe that the shockwave will commence from the breaking of the San Andreas Fault, while others consider the point of origin to be the Hayward Fault (near San Francisco).

Regardless the point of origin, the effects will be more then devastating. A group of scientists created a computer simulation of the outcome. The shockwaves will travel at speeds of approximately         7,200 mph, reducing highways and main roads unusable instantly. The White House is currently funding the Earthquake Early Warning System that is able to pick up seismic activity and give pertinent warning one minute in advance of an actual earthquake. $5million have been invested so far, but the alert goes off only 10 seconds before the shockwaves hit, which is nowhere near enough.

The solar storms

Solar storms are the worst natural disasters that can hit us in the near or distant future. There’s no running from them, there is no escape.

It’s important to understand that the Sun’s activity is cyclical, inconstant and ever-changing. The cycle consists in alternating the periods of low nuclear activity with periods of full energy outburst.

Such outbursts result in spewing CMEs (coronal mass ejections). These are massive clouds of magnetized plasma that acts as an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) on all human-made electronics. The circuits get burned instantly, rending useless everything that’s electrical. Such solar storms also contain high level of radiation (mostly UV), solar flares and more. In 2012 a solar flare hit the space station TEREO-A, but it came dangerously close to hitting the Earth instead.

Pete Riley, a scientist for Predictive Science Inc. analyzed the solar storm phenomena recorded in the last 50 years and concluded that there is a 12% chance of the Earth actually getting hit by a solar storm by 2030. When this happens, it will firstly disrupt radio signals, GPS coordination units and satellite communications. Next it will disable power grids, as the alien energetic particles causing the breakdown will ultimately be responsible for the ultimate worldwide blackout! The costs of the ordeal are estimated to $2.5 trillion and a full recovery (if possible) will take longer than 15 years.

No matter what’s in store for us, we can’t avoid it. Be prepared for what’s to come, take all the precautions needed and in case of calamity, make sure you are fully stock. Because in the end, it might come down to pure survival.

By My Family Survival Plan

Volcanic Ash Makes for Unfriendly Skies

In 1980 the Mt St. Helens volcano in Washington State erupted, sending 540 million tons of ash into the air. The ash caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage to the environment, agriculture, transportation and infrastructure. The ash darkened the sky and caused eye and respiratory irritation in humans and animals.

Mt. St. Helens is one of 600 volcanoes in the world, 40 of which are super volcanoes. The ash cloud emitted when one of these volcanoes erupts is called a “pyroclastic cloud.” It is violently pushed up into the air following the movement of lava down the sides of the mountain.

Damage to agriculture and the environment. The combination of darkened sky and thick ash accumulation from an eruption like Mt. St. Helens destroys crops in a wide area. The thick ash causes destruction of fish hatcheries and interruptions in the movement of fish in the rivers and lakes. The environment around the caldera after such eruptions has been likened to a moonscape (looking like the moon). Millions of board feet of timber can be destroyed, as well as all animal life in the area.

Damage to infrastructure. Volcanic ash falling from the sky onto towns and cities within several hundred miles of an eruption causes widespread infrastructure damage. Water treatment and sewage disposal systems become contaminated and the filtration equipment is clogged by the gritty ash, which is small enough to get into almost any opening. These systems have to be shut down until the completion of the difficult and expensive cleanup.

Damage to the population.   Volcanic ash is easily inhaled and can cause respiratory compromise, skin and eye irritation and throat and nose irritation. Children, elders and people with asthma and other respiratory conditions are especially vulnerable to the effect of inhaling the ash. Anyone venturing out into heavy ash fall should wear goggles and masks of at least the N-95 level (fit-tested for each individual).

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Damage to transportation.  Planes are at risk of stalling if they fly through a volcanic ash cloud. In 1989 a British airways jet almost crash-landed after flying through an ash cloud from the eruption of a volcano in Alaska. The plane stalled out in mid-air and for several minutes it careened towards the ground before the pilot regained control. In the interest of safety over a thousand flights were cancelled after the Mt. St. Helens eruption when airports were closed.

Ground transportation is also affected by ash accumulating in internal combustion and other mechanical and electrical equipment. The ash fall is often so thick that the reduction in visibility causes street and highway closures for days.

The effect of the ash fall from a volcano like Mt. St. Helens is widespread. The effect of the eruption of a super volcano like the one in Yellowstone would be 2,000 times greater. The sky would be blackened for years.

By MFSP Contributor

Prepare Your Mind For The Coming Crisis – Part 10: How To Explain Disasters And Crises To Children

Children
photo source: thistimeimeanit.com

Last time, we started talking about helping children deal with a disaster or a crisis (whether they were directly involved or just saw it happening, even on TV).The article was dedicated to understanding the way a child perceives such an event, according to his or her age.

Today, we’ll talk about how you can identify post-traumatic stress disorder in your kids and what you can do to help them overcome this difficult time.

First, let’s see the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the FEMA website:

  • Refusal to return to school andclinging” behavior, including shadowing the mother or father around the house
  • Persistent fears related to the catastrophe (such as fears about being permanently separated from parents)
  • Sleep disturbances such as nightmares, screaming during sleep and bedwetting, persisting more than several days after the event
  • Loss of concentration and irritability
  • Jumpiness or being startled easily
  • Behavior problems, for example, misbehaving in school or at home in ways that are not typical for the child
  • Physical complaints(stomachaches, headaches, dizziness) for which a physical cause cannot be found
  • Withdrawal from family and friends, sadness, listlessness, decreased activity, and preoccupation with the events of the disaster

Keep a close eye on your kids and notice any strange behaviour, even when they’re alone, playing. If they present any of the symptoms above, give them all your support and love, talk to them about their feelings and even look for specialised help. This kind of experiences might traumatize kids for life, if the problems stay unsolved.

But even if your children seem fine, you should still take the following measures during and after a disaster or crisis:

According to Divine Caroline (a blog I discovered while looking for some info onthe Haitian earthquake), here’s what you need to do:

“Focus On The Positive”

This doesn’t mean you should paint this rosy-pink picture about disasters. But when a child is face to face with let’s say an earthquake that shattered an entire city and killed millions, their whole world goes upside-down. And they will most likely suffer a great shock.

And a good way to keep the shock to a minimum is to focus on the positive: how lucky they are they’re alive and well, how great it is to be with your family and have your loved ones around.

If they just see the disaster on TV, talk about how organizations are raising money for the victims, how people help their neighbors or even drive from miles away to bring clothes, food and water and help them rebuild their homes.

This way, they’ll feel better knowing there’s always someone there to help them, even people they’ve never met. And it’s also a great way of teaching your child to help others in need, too. Which brings me to the next step:

“Get Them Involved In The Relief Efforts”

You don’t have to pay hundreds to charity organizations to help families in need. If you can and you want to do so, then let your kids participate. Let them send the money or at least watch you sending it. Tell them how the money will help people in need.

If you can’t afford to donate money, you can send clothes you don’t need, blankets and even canned food. Tell your kids to choose a few of their things they’d like to donate to children in need: clothes, toys, shoes, whatever they don’t wear anymore or they’re willing to give away. Explain them what happened to those children and how donations will make them feel better.

“Encourage Them To Ask Questions”

Let your children ask as many questions they want. This way, they’ll express their fears and doubts and you’ll find out what’s going on in those little heads of theirs. When answering their questions, make sure you:

  • Use words and concepts your child can understand. Make your explanation appropriate to your child’s age and level of understanding. Don’t overload a child with too much information.
  • Give children honest answers and information. Children will usually know if you’re not being honest.
  • Be prepared to repeat explanations or have several conversations. Some information may be hard to accept or understand. Asking the same question over and over may be your child’s way of asking for reassurance.
  • Acknowledge and support your child’s thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Let your child know that you think their questions and concerns are important.
  • Be consistent and reassuring, but don’t make unrealistic promises.
  • Avoid stereotyping groups of people by race, nationality, or religion. Use the opportunity to teach tolerance and explain prejudice.
  • Remember that children learn from watching their parents and teachers. They are very interested in how you respond to events. They learn from listening to your conversations with other adults.
  • Let children know how you are feeling. It’s OK for them to know if you are anxious or worried about events. However, don’t burden them with your concerns.
  • Don’t confront your child’s way of handling events. If a child feels reassured by saying that things are happening very far away, it’s usually best not to disagree. The child may need to think about events this way to feel safe. (aacap.org)

Now here are a couple more techniques you can use to comfort your kids. I got these from elev8.com, I find them very useful:

“Try to keep your emotions stable as you talk with your child”

Don’t let your kids see how upset, afraid or disoriented you are. Tell them how you feel, but don’t break down and cry for hours, because that will make your kids break down as well. Especially when they don’t understand why you’re having these feelings. So no matter how strong your feelings are, be patient enough to answer your children’s questions and ask them how they feel. Always be connected with their minds.

Also, if it helps calm you down, say a prayer together with your kids. Sometimes, it all it takes.

“Take them out of the house and enjoy being out

This is ok only if the area you live in is safe. Getting out of the house helps you disconnect from the negative feelings and reconnect with your family. Don’t feel guilty for having fun. Life has to go on and you need to keep your family happy.

“Turn off the television”

From time to time, turn off the TV. Even if you don’t go out, just play with your kids, cook something yummy or just talk to your loved ones about anything else but the disaster. Relax and try to have a good time.

These moments are crucial, because they keep you away from depression and they reassure your kids that life will be good again.

You can find more practical information on how to overcome any crisis or disaster on www.myfamilysurvivalplan.com.

By Anne Sunday

Survival Medicine 101 Part 5: How To Treat A Bullet Wound

bullet
photo source: stock-clip.com

This week, Joshua Piven’s book “The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook” inspired me to write an article entitled How to survive if you’re in the line of gunfire” . Most survival manuals don’t cover this subject and I think it’s an important topic, especially when disasters and crises often lead to violent riots and street shootings (as it happened after hurricane Katrina, in 2005).

Now, as much as I’d like to think I won’t live to see this happening, I’ve got to be realistic and admit not only that I might see it, but that I’ll also get caught in the middle of it. You may never know…

So now I know the basic survival measure to avoid getting shot, even if I’m the primary target. However, what happens if I do get shot? Or if someone else gets hurt right beside me? What do I do then?

I found the answer on firstaid.about.com, and I want to share it with you. So here’s what you need to do if you or someone close to you gets shot:

1Stay Safe. If you are not the victim,practice universal precautions and wear personal protective equipment if available. Any situation that involves a gun is potentially dangerous, and rescuers are no help to a victim if they get hurt.

2Call 911as soon as it is clear a gun is involved. Surviving a gunshot wound depends greatly on how quickly a victim gets to a hospital. Ideally, a gunshot wound victim should be on the way to a hospital in an ambulance within 10 minutes of being shot.

3Do not move the victim unless his or her safety is in jeopardy.

4Follow basic first aid. If the victim is unconscious but breathing, keep the airway open and clear. If the victim is not breathing, beginCPR.

5Control any bleeding.The classic way to do so is applying pressure on the wound until the ambulance takes the victim to hospital.

6Seal gunshot woundsto the chest with some type of plastic to keep air from being sucked into the wound. This helps prevent the development of a collapsed lung. If the victim begins complaining of worsening shortness of breath, remove the seal.

7Let conscious victims sit or lie in a position most comfortable for them.

8Unconscious victims should be placed in the recovery position.

9Do not elevate legs to treat for shock if the gunshot wound is above the waist (unless the gunshot wound is in the arm). Gunshot wounds to the abdomen and chest will bleed more quickly once the legs are elevated, making it harder for the victim to breathe.

10Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink, including water!

I also found a great video that shows every step you need to take to keep a bullet wound in control until the doctors arrive. I found it very helpful, I hope so will you.

That’s it for today. I’ll be back next week with more survival medicine methods and techniques. Until then, stay safe!

Also, don’t forget to check out more articles on www.myfamilysurvivalplan.com.

How To Survive A Wildfire

How To Survive A Wildfire

photo source: science.howstuffworks.com

In recent years, wildfires have eaten up our country like never before. In 2012. nearly 7 million acres across the USA burned down, a number that breaks 2006’s previous record, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The situation got out of control, because too many fires were spreading too fast for firemen to stop them. At some point in August, there were 39 fires all burning at the same time! Eight brave firefighters lost their lives trying to put an end to this disaster.

But they alone can’t fight this battle against nature. Because it’s just begun:

scientific american

Scientific American warns about future wildfires, more frequent and much more powerful. And if our firefighter teams could not deal with this year’s fires… then what will happen to our lands and our homes next year? Or the year after that?

How many firefighters do you think will join the crew? I’ll give you this answer: Not enough. So we’ve got to learn how to protect our own families from these coming disasters. And the first thing you should know is what to do before a wildfire, as safety measures:

Safety Measure #1: Prepare bug-out bags for all your family members.

72-hour kits are a must in every home and you should keep them in a place where you’ve got easy access. They should contain food, water, a change of clothes, basic hygiene items, a lantern, batteries and meds (according to every person’s needs). Unless it’s a child’s bag, you should also include a weapon, like a knife or even a small gun.

Safety Measure #2: Assess your house for fire-hazardous materials

Try to replace them with safer materials or keep the hazardous objects as far from your house as you can (like a wooden storage room). www.ready.gov advises a selection of “materials and plants that can help contain fire rather than fuel it”.

Also, they promote the usage of “fire-resistant or noncombustible materials on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling”. If you can’t replace the existing ones, you can treat them with fire-retardant chemicals. They won’t stop your house from catching fire, but it will slow the process down until the firefighters arrive.

One more thing: don’t forget to clean the gutters and chimneys twice a year.

Safety Measure #3: Surround your house with fire-resistant materials

Whether it’s a tall, resistant fence or a line of hardwood trees, it’s your choice. The fire won’t stay on the other side forever. But you get more time to save your family and call 911. That extra protection around your house could make a difference between bugging out on time and getting trapped in a burning house.

Safety Measure #4: Install fire alarms in your home

If you’re in a fire-hazardous area, you should invest in the best fire alarms on the market. Don’t be sorry about the money spent. It’s an investment in your family’s future. An alarm near the bedroom is an absolute must. This way, you won’t get any unpleasant surprises when you’re asleep at night.

But even if you’re not threatened by wildfires every summer, you should have fire alarms in your house. You may never know when an accident happens. And prevention never hurt anyone.

Safety Measure #5: Get a fire extinguisher for every room

You don’t have to get them all at once. Just get one at a time, when you’ve saved some money. Learn how to use it, if you don’t know that already. And show the other members of your family how to do it, too. Maybe you won’t be home when it happens, so it’s best if everyone knows basic survival measures.

Next time, we’ll talk about what you should do during a wildfire. We’ll cover bugging out, escaping a burning house and assessing injuries. Until then, stay safe!

Don’t forget there are more articles on survival topics on : www.myfamilysurvivalplan.com.

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