Monday, February 8, 2010

How To Survive When Disaster Strikes

We don’t like to think about them, but catastrophic events such as fires, car accidents, and plane crashes kill tens of thousands of people every year. Experts believe one-third of those deaths can be prevented if you know what to do. So add a few things to your shopping and to-do lists, and take a little time to make sure you, and your family, are ready for anything.


Almost all fatal fires occur in a home with no smoke alarm, because the #1 threat from a fire is not heat or flames, but smoke, which can suffocate you in minutes. Follow this guide to get out quickly and safely.

How to Prepare

Smoke detectors: Check with your local fire marshall to learn the laws about how many you must have. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends having one in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every floor. Change batteries twice a year when you change your clocks.
Fire extinguishers: Like smoke detectors, the more, the better, but the NFPA advises that they should only be used for small, contained fires. To use, pull the pin, stand back, and spray in sweeping motions over a large area.
Escape ladders: Every bedroom above the first floor should have a folding escape ladder. They’re inexpensive, but fire departments often give them out to families who can’t afford them.
Home escape plan: Create a floor plan with all doors, windows, and escape ladder locations clearly marked. Convene a family meeting twice a year to review the floor plan, practice turning the thermostat off while blindfolded (AC systems feed fires and spread smoke), and discuss your escape plan.
What to Remember

Check the door: If it’s hot, step away. If the door is open and you see smoke or fire, close it.
Block the smoke: Using blankets or towels, cover the bottom of the door to slow the smoke’s entry.
Get low: The temperature near the ground can be 600 degrees cooler than near the ceiling and the air is clearer.
Crawl to the window: A room can fill with smoke in as little as 3 minutes, so move quickly. Stay low, crawling on knuckles and knees (the synthetic fibers of rugs can burn your palms). Open the window, and if you’re on the first or second floor, jump (a broken bone is better than the other option). If you’re higher, stay crouched below the windowsill—it’s the first place rescuers will look for you.
If You or Someone You Love Catches Fire

Stop, drop, and roll if it’s you. If it’s someone else, smother the flames with a wet towel if you have one, a dry one if not, and put the flames out.
Get them down if the person is panicking, you may need to use a leg sweep, but get the person on the ground and the fire out.
Call 911.
If you can, gently remove the burned clothing. If it is sticks to the skin, keep it cool and wet and leave it alone, then wrap the wounds in a clean sheet.
Watch for shock. If the person is uncommunicative, delirious, or looks pale, they may be in shock. Use blankets to warm them and elevate their legs to bring blood back to their head.


Car accidents are the disaster you are most likely to face. In 2008, they claimed the lives of 34,000 people. And yet, for most of us, driving is something we do without thinking. But, with just a little forethought, you can prepare yourself for the unthinkable.

How to Prepare

Stock your glove compartment with small water bottles or pouches of water.
Snacks with a long shelf life such as energy bars (replace them with fresh ones when you change your smoke alarm batteries).
Light sticks and string to attract help. If you are trapped in the vehicle, you can use the string to swing the light outside the window. Other signaling devices include the rearview mirror and the backs of CDs.
The Lifehammer, an all-in-one tool that includes a blade to cut seatbelts and a double-sided hammer to easily and safely break side windows if the doors are stuck or the car is submerged.

More than 95% of passengers in plane crashes make it out alive. Here’s what you can do to make sure you’re one of them.

How to Prepare

Dress for egress: Wear comfortable, loose, thin clothes made of natural fibers. Synthetic clothing (including pantyhose) will melt in intense heat and burn you. Pack your heels in your carry-on and wear comfortable, flat shoes that allow you to move easily.
Know your exit: Scope out the emergency exits when you board the plane and count the rows between your seat and the nearest one. If smoke fills the cabin and you can’t see, you can count your way out.
Pay attention: Flight attendants don’t give the safety talk for fun; they do it so you know what to do when it matters. Give them a few minutes of your time, and it could save your life.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Year Supply of Food Plan for $10/week

Set aside $10 a week to buy the specific items each week for your long-term food storage. Take an envelope and that becomes your "food kitty". Use a zippered bank bag envelope, that way you don't have to worry about losing the change. Put in the $10 and don't use that money for anything but purchasing your one year supply of food.

One Year Supply of Food
After buying the items for the week from the one year supply of food list, put the remaining change back into the envelope. Because two cans of tuna don't cost $10, there will be change left over. That way when the week where you are to buy 10 pounds of powdered milk arrives, you will have enough in the envelope to make your purchase. Weeks 38 and 44 you will have "off" to replenish the kitty. By the end of the 52 weeks, you should have a one year supply of food, that includes: 700lbs of wheat, 240 lbs sugar, 40 lbs of powdered milk, 13 lbs of salt, 10 lbs of honey, 5 lbs of peanut butter, 45 cans of tomato soup, 30 cans mushroom soup, 15 cans tuna fish, 10 macaroni and cheese dinners, 500 aspirin, and 730 multiple vitamins. 

It is suggested that you add 6 lbs of dried yeast and 6 lbs of shortening to your one year supply of food and this should be enough to sustain 2 people for a year.

Only buy food that you will eat. Just because lima beans are on sale, doesn't make them a good buy if you can't stand them!

For every 2 people you have in your family add $10 more and double or triple the amount of whatever you are buying that week. Also it is possible to speed up your preparations. instead of taking one year to complete, spend $20 per week, and accomplish it in 6 months, or $40 per week, and accomplish it in 3 months. With a permanent marker write the date purchased on the can or box. When stacking the items on the shelves, always put the newest items to the back and on the bottom. That way it will be easier to rotate the foods out, in the order they were bought after accumulating them. The first item purchased in your one year supply of food is the first to be used.

  • Week 1: 2 cans tuna fish, 2 boxes salt
  • Week 2: 5 boxes of Macaroni and Cheese 4 cans tomato soup
  • Week 3: 3 cans mushroom soup,1 2.5 lb peanut butter
  • Week 4: one bottle 365 count multi-vitamins
  • Week 5: 4 cans tomato soup, 1 10 lb powdered milk
  • Week 6: 1 bottle aspirin (500 tablets)
  • Week 7: 1 100 lb container wheat
  • Week 8: 1 5 lb powdered milk
  • Week 9: 1 5 lb honey
  • Week 10: 4 cans tuna, 4 boxes macaroni and cheese
  • Week 11: 1 10 lb sugar, 1 box salt
  • Week 12: 4 cans mushroom soup
  • Week 13: 1 bottle 365 count multi-vitamins
  • Week 14: 1 100 lb wheat
  • Week 15: 1 box macaroni and cheese
  • Week 16: 1 5 lb honey
  • Week 17: 2 cans tuna, 4 can tomato soup
  • Week 18: 1 10 lbs sugar
  • Week 19: 1 100 lbs of wheat
  • Week 20: 2 10lbs of sugar
  • Week 21: 1 10lb powdered milk
  • Week 22: 1 can mushroom soup, 1 10 lb sugar
  • Week 23: 1 can tuna, 4 cans tomato soup, 1 10 lbs sugar
  • Week 24: 1 10 lbs sugar
  • Week 25: 2 cans tuna, 2 cans mushroom soup
  • Week 26: 1 100 lb wheat
  • Week 27: 3 10 lbs sugar
  • Week 28: 1 10 lb sugar
  • Week 29: 1 10 lb powdered milk
  • Week 30: 2 10 lb sugar
  • Week 31: 1 can tuna, 3 cans mushroom soup
  • Week 32: 1 can tuna, 4 cans tomato soup
  • Week 33: 1 100 lb wheat
  • Week 34: 2 cans tuna, 1 box salt
  • Week 35: 1 10 lb powdered milk
  • Week 36: 2 10 lb sugar
  • Week 37: 4 cans tomato soup, 2 boxes salt
  • Week 38: Stash $10 in the kitty
  • Week 39: 1 100 lb wheat
  • Week 40: 1 10 lb powdered milk
  • Week 41: 3 10 lb sugar
  • Week 42: 2 cans tomato soup, 1 10 lb sugar
  • Week 43: 2 cans tomato soup, 2 cans mushroom soup
  • Week 44: Stash $10 in the kitty
  • Week 45: 1 10 lb powdered milk
  • Week 46: 4 cans tomato soup, 4 cans mushroom soup
  • Week 47: 1 10 lb powdered milk
  • Week 48: 4 cans mushroom soup, 1 10 lb powdered milk
  • Week 49: 7 cans of tomato soup
  • Week 50: 7 cans of mushroom soup
  • Week 51: 2 10 lbs sugar, 1 box salt
For items like flour, powered milk and other powered items can be stored in large five gallon buckets and sealed using those oxygen-removing packets, to increase the storage time. You may also want to add some dehydrated foods to your one year supply of food. When you have purchased your year’s supply of food, move on to other necessities like soaps, detergents, toilet paper, toothpaste, vitamins, etc. etc. Don’t forget to store some water. 55 gallon drums are relatively inexpensive and will sustain your family for a couple of weeks if needed. Even if all you have room for is  a couple 5 gallon jugs, that’s better than nothing and will sustain you for a few day s in a survival situation.

Feel free to spend your $10 weekly allowance any way that you feel is appropriate for your family. Buy foods that you will eat, but always remember the main sustenance items, like wheat, rice, beans, etc. They are cheap and will keep you alive and well nourished for quite a long time. Freely interchange other items as you see fit.
If you don’t think you have enough room, always remember that you can store items in closets, under beds, behind sofas, and other similar areas. If you can’t afford, or have the room for a year’s supply, start with a 3 months supply.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

From Border Community Service on Hati

Dear Border Community SERVICE Volunteers and Partners,

We know each other because of our shared interest in promoting emergency preparedness and in helping others during the aftermath of disaster. Several volunteers have called to ask how they can help with Haitian relief efforts. We’ll know more soon; but, at this time, I’d like to offer the words of New York State Governor Patterson who stated:

“I also know that New Yorkers are caring people. They want to do something. They want to help. But with the extensive damage to the Haitian infrastructure, the best way New Yorkers can help right now is to donate what they can – one, five or ten dollars – to credible organizations who can get the goods and supplies that are needed into the hands of the people who need them.”

Some of these organizations, and information on how to donate, are listed below, and posted on

(Note: Additionally, members of the Niagara University community have been encouraged to consider donating to Catholic Relief Services at those who attended our August conference and listened to the powerful message of David Campbell, founder and CEO of Hands on Disaster Response, may wish to consider contacting that organization at to offer your help now and in the future.)

We have been asked to share the following advice: Cash donations avoid the complicated, costly, and time-consuming process of collecting, sorting, packing, transporting, unloading, resorting, storing, repackaging, and distributing donated goods and cash donations also help get the local economy back on its feet.

As another day passes into darkness, the frightened, injured, homeless and desperate people of Haiti are in all of our thoughts. I am deeply grateful to have met many wonderful, generous people during my five years with Border Community SERVICE and hope you will accept this message with the spirit in which it is sent.

Nancy Brennan Blundell
Director, Border Community SERVICE
PO Box 2040, Niagara University, NY 14109-2040
Phone: 716 286-8304; FAX: 716 286-8016; Cell: 716 390-9676  

The American Red Cross
Yele Haiti
        • To make a donation, visit;
        • You can also text “Yele” to 501501 and $5 will be charged to your phone bill and given to relief projects through the organization.
Operation USA
        • To make a donation, visit;
        • To donate by phone call 1-800-678-7255;
        • Send a check to:
Operation USA
3617 Hayden Ave, Suite A
Culver City, CA 90232
Partners In Health
Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps Haiti Earthquake Fund; Dept NR
P.O. Box 2669
Portland, OR 97208
Direct Relief
International Medical Corps

For Immediate Release: January 14, 2010

Web-Based Survey, Toll-Free Phone Lines Go Live at Noon Friday

Hotline Telephone Number Established for Those Who Don’t Have Access to the Web
Governor David A. Paterson today announced that he has established an online registry of New York State citizens in Haiti at the time of Tuesday’s horrific earthquake. The creation of the registry is the first step in what may be a lengthy process of locating New Yorkers. Both the web-based application and a toll free telephone hotline will be activated at noon Friday.

“Presently there is little information from Haiti because the earthquake caused extensive damage to Haiti’s infrastructure,” Governor Paterson said. “Although there is a massive international relief effort under way, it will take time until Haiti’s infrastructure is restored and systems are in place to help locate and identify individuals. 

“However, collecting information now about New York citizens in Haiti will help locate them once information becomes available,” the Governor added. “Once the massive response to this catastrophe is in place, I am sure a number of organizations will work to reunite loved ones. This registry will be of vital importance to that effort.”

To access the online registry, go to the Governor’s website, and click on the New York State Registry of New York Citizens in Haiti. You will be asked to provide the name of the individuals you have not had contact with and provide some essential contact information. The information collected will not be used or shared for any purpose unrelated to locating and identifying family and friends in Haiti.

For those who do not have access to the web, the Governor has established a hotline – 1-888-769-7243 – staffed at the Department of Taxation and Finance which has provided this same service during responses to the World Trade Center attack in 2001, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and the recent emergency closure of the Lake Champlain Bridge in October 2009. The hotline will be operations from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Governor Paterson said that New York State agencies continue to work with federal and City officials identifying resources that may be requested by the Federal government in this massive relief effort. The Governor has pledged all available State resources to this effort.

“Once again, let me express to the Haitian community overseas and here in New York that the thoughts and prayers of all New Yorkers continue to be with you in this darkest of hours.”

I also know that New Yorkers are caring people. They want to do something. They want to help. But with the extensive damage to the Haitian infrastructure, the best way New Yorkers can help right now is to donate what they can – one, five or ten dollars – to credible organizations who can get the goods and supplies that are needed into the hands of the people who need them.”

Monday, January 18, 2010

Other Haiti Earthquake Information & Resources - for parents and school staff

Additional useful information for parents and school staff can be found at:

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Resources and updates will be posted on the nctsn website (

Donations for Haiti

NJ/NY Disaster Human Services network:
Federal, state and voluntary agency information statements on  assisting Haiti have been stressing the strong preference for cash donations. Possibly for diplomatic reasons, the actual harm that can be done by collection and shipping of unsolicited household donations has not been sufficiently emphasized.
As the brochure states:
3. Do not begin collecting, packing or shipping until or unless you have a known recipient to accept it. Please use to guide your donation and support activities. Click on “Public Service Announcement: Making a Donation”
Ken Curtin
Voluntary Agency Liaison
FEMA Region II, NY & NJ
26 Federal Plaza, 13th Floor
NewYork, NY 10278
o - 212-680-3664
c- 202-294-3522

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spotlight on: Provident Living is a great place to start if you are looking for LDS resources on self-reliance, emergency preparedness, adoption, employment and and many other topics. There are links to other resources as well. Take a look!

Spotlight on: Buffalo Red Cross

Want to know how to volunteer for the Red Cross? Looking for a Blood donation location? Want to know more about heating your house safely? Care to learn how to stay healthy? Need a job in Emergency Preparedness? Want to get trained in CPR, Babysitting Safety or Lifeguarding? You can do all this and more by visiting the American Red Cross website at:

Or visit our local Red Cross website at: You can find out about local events, classes and sign up to volunteer in your own part of town. You can also sign up for their free monthly newsletter and get some great tips straight to your inbox!