Planning for an emergency…Week 13

Well, summer has certainly arrived. I hope we have all 'thought through' our cooling needs a few weeks ago and taken some action. Whether it is ensuring the air-conditioner works in our house or car, bringing in the circulation fan from the garage or moving the dog's water dish out of the sun, taking some action ahead of time is always a good idea.This week let's get some things done that don't require us to do much physical work in the heat. If only we had practiced this concept of staying cool yesterday! I couldn't help but laugh at myself while I worked with one of the Downey CERT volunteers as we did inventory work on the Emergency Supply and CERT equipment containers in Downey. Did we have to pick one of the hottest days in the last couple of months? Could we have started sometime before 2 p.m? The answer to both questions is 'yes', but sometimes schedules and meeting get in the way. Then, to top it off, the car I drive wouldn't start after we finished our last stop of the day. To make matters worse, the car was parked in a spot that was difficult to access for the mechanic. So I pushed it a ways down an alley and made it easier to access. The moral of the car breakdown story is 'do your best' to keep your car serviced (especially when its hot outside !). Of course parking your car with consideration for how you may want to leave the location is always helpful too. This week let's focus on buying or obtaining some supplies for our food cache. Remember to always write the date on your emergency supplies before you add them to your existing supplies. It is a good practice to use (and replace) your emergency food supplies every 12 months. This week let's assemble the following goods: -one can of fruit for each person in the family (remember, something they will want to eat !) -one can of meat per person -one can of vegetables per person - enough eating utensils, bowls, plates and cups for the family to last a few days (could be plastic or metal utensils, any kind of plates/ bowls/ cups/ glasses) - a sufficient supply of napkins and paper products to support the 3 days of eating - a notepad with a pen and a pencil (good for making lists of needed items and things to do) - a blanket or a sleeping bag for each family member (for those times when it does get cold around here!) - a plastic, food-grade barrel for the storage of water for drinking and other uses As mentioned in previous columns, there are lots of ways to buy or gather emergency supplies. Camping and picnic supplies are great ways to get 'dual-use' from a purchase. If we maintain an awareness of our needs for emergency supplies and equipment we may find that sales at local retail outlets or even neighborhood yard sales can be other ways to economically fill these needs. For our training and planning this week, let's talk to our network of friends and neighbors and share what we think we may need from them if an emergency were to occur. This conversation could occur in a number of settings. Maybe it's a visit to your neighbor's house or a phone call. With the heat of summer upon us, perhaps the visit could include some cold drinks in the shade of a patio. Remember, our 'pre-planning' should include such issues as: -how can we communicate with our neighbors during and after an emergency? -how can we check on their family and property? -do they have special needs that we could meet, after we ensure the safety of our own family? -do we know how to shut-off our neighbors utilities? -can we offer care to our neighbor's children and pets? Stay safe and cool this week. Any questions or comments can be directed to

********** Published: July 15, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 13