Posts tagged: natural disaster

Testing Your Emergency Plan

Testing Your Emergency Planphoto source:

If you read my column regularly, you know the importance of an emergency plan as an integral component of your overall urban survival skills. Yes, it’s great if you keep a first aid kit, MRE and water on-hand, but unless you’ve mapped out how you plan to use your supplies, you’ll be a lot less effective in helping yourself, your family or your neighbors to get through a natural disaster or civil emergency. An emergency plan is vital, and testing that plan is equally critical.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, we were within the projected path, giving us a chance to really test our emergency plan. We went through all the details that I’ve mentioned to you in previous blogs, and guess what? We found holes in our own emergency plan! Thankfully, we didn’t get hit by the storm directly, and this valuable experience has helped us identify the changes that needed to be made.

How concerned should you be about an emergency plan run-through? I’ll give you some examples of situations that people have found themselves in, and let you be the judge:

• During a power outage, the homeowner retrieves a flashlight, only to discover that the batteries, which were stored inside the flashlight, have gone dead. (Tip: To keep batteries from discharging, don’t insert them into your flashlight until you need them.)

• Emergency supplies were stored in different areas of the house, making it difficult to find them during a power outage, slowing evacuation.

• The backup generator has been stored for years without being used, causing the fuel inside to spoil and making it impossible to start.

• Critical emergency supplies were stored in the basement and were flooded before they could be used.

Testing your emergency plan doesn’t require you to wait for a massive storm. Simply set up scenarios that you could likely face in a real emergency. I’ll give you three possible drills you could test against your emergency plan, and this will get you thinking about others practice runs you could create for other potential situations you could face.

• High winds snap tree branches, plunging your town into darkness. You need to be able to find your generator in the dark, get it started and run the appropriate extension cords to critical appliances.

• A tanker truck crashes on a nearby road, emitting a toxic cloud. You need to have your go-bag (including food water, spare clothes, insurance papers, ID, prescriptions and any other items) and your family in the car within five minutes, ready to evacuate.

• You’re alerted to a surprise snowstorm while at work. You need to plan out an effective route home, both by your normal route and by a secondary route in case the roads are clogged. You also need to contact all family members, arrange transportation home, and ensure that there’s enough food in the house to endure multiple days stuck inside.

If you have kids, you certainly don’t want to scare them with doomsday scenarios, but teaching them age-appropriate preparedness skills will make them better equipped to face the realities of life. Many stories have been told of children who saved the family from harm by knowing what to do in an emergency. And instilling your family members with the idea that you’re all a responsible for each other’s well being is never a bad thing.

Be safe and stay alert,

By Thomas Sciacca –

Emergency Food Recipe Of The Week #9: Artichoke And Chickpea Salad

Emergency Food Recipe Of The Week #9: Artichoke And Chickpea Saladphoto source:

As puts it: “Did you ever think you could eat gourmet food during a natural disaster?” Honestly, no. The way I imagine cooking in times of disaster or crisis is trying as much as possible to keep your regular meals, perhaps a bit less tasty because you have to replace some fresh ingredients with canned foods or dry vegetables and fruit.

But never have I thought you could cook fancy gourmet meals with the things you find in your stockpile. Well, now I know it’s possible and I want to show you how to make an amazing artichoke and chickpea salad, too. Best thing about this recipe: you don’t have to use all the ingredients on the list, so if you’re missing a couple of things, it’s ok.

But first, let me show you why this salad is worth preparing. Here are just some of the benefits you’ll get from the main ingredients:

HealthDiaries give us 8 good reasons to eat artichokes:

1. They’re High In Antioxidants

A study done by the USDA found that artichokes have more antioxidants than any other vegetable and they ranked seventh in a study of the antioxidant levels of 1,000 different foods.

2. They Prevent And Even Treat Cancer

Studies done with artichoke leaf extract have found that they induce apoptosis(cell death) and reduce cell proliferationin many different forms of cancer, including prostate cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer. An Italian study found that a diet rich in the flavanoids present in artichokes reduces the risk of breast cancer.

3. It’s Good For The Liver

Thanks to cynarin and another antioxidant, silymarin, artichokes are very beneficial to the liver. Studies have found they may even regenerate liver tissue. Artichokes have long been used in folk and alternative medicine as a treatment for liver ailments and the scientific studies are now proving them to be correct.

4. It Reduces Cholesterol

Ingredients in artichoke leaves have been shown to reduce cholesterolby inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase. They raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL).

5. They’re High in Fiber

One large artichoke contains a quarter of the recommended daily intake of fiber. A medium artichoke has more fiber than a cup of prunes.

But what about chickpeas? Can they keep up?

Elements4Health give us 3 BIG reasons to include chickpeas in our meals:

1. They Reduce Cholesterol

The fiber in chickpeas helps to decrease blood cholesterollevels. 47 participants took part in a study to compare the effects of a chickpea-supplemented diet and those of a wheat-supplemented diet on human serum lipids. The inclusion of chickpeas in the diet resulted in lower serum total and LDL cholesterol levels.

2. They Prevent Diabetes

Preliminary evidence suggests the consumption of chickpeas may be beneficial for correcting dyslipidaemia (when the concentration of cholesterol or lipids in the blood exceeds normal limits), and preventing diabetes.

3. They Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

Regular consumption of pulses such as chickpeas may reduce risks of coronary heart disease.

However, if you’re prone to developing kidney stones, try not to eat chickpeas too often, as they contain oxalate.

Now let’s get to the recipe. According to, here’s what you need for 4 servings:

• 6 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley OR 1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
• 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
• 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
• 2 (18 oz.) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Now drain the artichoke hearts, but keep the liquid in a separate bowl. Slice the artichokes thinly and set them aside. Then, whisk the liquid with parsley, vinegar, oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.

It’s time to add the sliced artichoke hearts, the chickpeas, and Parmesan cheese. Gently toss.

That’s it. You’re done with the preparation. Now you can eat it as a salad or as a sandwich filling, as you wish. Enjoy!

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