What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Emergency Preparedness

My goodness over the last few years we have seen a rather dramatic increase in violent weather that is reeking havoc world wide.  Haiti is still recovering from a devastating earthquake,  China is still doing search and rescue from a recent earthquake, now the volcano eruption in Iceland is creating even more problems due to the ash cloud.  On the home side the spring season has yet to become violent with severe thunderstorms and/or tornados.  Just on the basis of weather it is extremely important that Canadians help themselves. 

The Canadian Red Cross recommends recommend all Canadians have and maintain a 72-hour emergency kit that include food, water, clothing, candles and other emergency supplies.  The kit should have enough to cover the needs of all family members and should include any necessary medications or special needs items.  The kit should be kept close to an exit to take with you should the need arise. This allows the Canadian Red Cross to focus those most in need first.  We take emergency preparedness a bit further.  At one time we had a large, self contained travel trailer that had all the amenities of home so when the hydro was out for 4 days we simply used all hydro related and some cooking needs out of the trailer.  Anyone with this option can easily last about 10 days for electricity and heat but drinkable water will be needed after about 3 days.

Essentially if we had to go an extended period of time in and around our house without being able to get out for food or other resources we could do so for well over a 6 month period.  If we had to vacate our house for a safer area we have enough for a good 1 month period along with whatever else we could hurriedly toss into the vehicles.  We have also made provisions to help our neighbours if needed.  Here is our emergency preparedness plan:
  •  well stocked emergency first aid kit - Actually we have 4 well stocked emergency first aid kits, one for the house, one for the boat and one for each vehicle.  These are checked every 6 months to be sure any medications and salves are not expired.
  • a six month emergency food stock in addition to to our normal 18 -24 month food stock - Emergency food items include those not normally used for day to day cooking.  Each list will differ depending on the family.  Our emergency food items include: powdered milks, powdered cheeses, powdered butter, dried fruits and vegetables, dried meats, water purification tablets, 20 L filled water bottles, instant and rice noodles, additional beans for sprouting, yeast, dried sour dough starter and that type of thing.  In addition to the food I also keep a good stock of items such as mason jars, canning jar lids, and that type of thing.
  • a 6 month supply of personal hygiene items - This includes the basics of soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper.
  • emergency equipment - This includes: candles, lamp oil, replacement wick, rechargeable batteries,  solar battery chargers, solar lights, wind-up/solar radio, butane flame lighter with extra cartridges, filled gerry cans of gasoline, back-up heat source.  While we do not have a generator we have access to generators on each side of us and we are considering buying our own.
  • survival equipment - This includes: fishing equipment, cloth bags/equipment necessary for any edible plant foraging, and seeds to re-establish a garden. Food preservation equipment is necessary to replenish used food supplies.
  • emergency escape routes planned - It is important to have more than one route of escape from your dwelling but also from your location if necessary.  A GPS is ideal however having paper road maps is a good back-up in case the GPS system is knocked out.
  • alternate phones and communication - It is important to keep a rotary dial phone to replace cordless ones that will not work during power outages.  It is also important to have at least one working cell phone but realize that you will need solar powered charging capabilities for longer term outages.  It is also advisable to have 2-way radios for each family member in the event they get separated from other family members.   A CB radio located in your home is also a good idea if you need emergency help and the phone lines or cell phone transmission lines are down.
  • good neighbours - I honestly cannot stress the importance of good neighbours in time of an emergency.  Get to know your immediate neighbours and foster a good relationship with them.  Do what it takes to nourish a good neighbour relationsip.  In times of emergency or disaster your neighbours are your biggest assets when it comes to preparedness!

Garden Gnome