Archives : emergency supplies
Can you imagine being able to impact an entire community with the simple gift of clean water? Tis the season of giving and in light of recent natural disasters, it’s important to give back to those who are in need this precious gift.
Last year, Berkey Filters had the opportunity to help ROWAN (Rural Orphans & Widows AIDS Network) in Eastern Uganda. The network exists to help Orphans & Widows through; education, medical care and treatment, and business training. We were happy to provide Berkey systems as well as Berkey Sport Bottles, to deliver clean water. This year we partnered with the program again.
The thing I love about ROWAN is that they work closely with Ugandan widows, caregivers & community members – most of whom lost their spouse to AIDS.
The pure joy and health provided to these widows and orphans is priceless.
Here at Berkey Filters, we are also working closely with relief organizations like the Salvation Army to help in aiding recently affected hurricane communities with clean water.
What would you do if you could help?
The Berkey system can help people across the globe. Recently our friends at the Blinded Veterans Association of Puerto Rico were able to provide blind veterans access to clean water with the Berkey systems.
“Angel Reyes, President of the Blind Veteran’s Association, along with Sergeant- Major Ruben Sanchez, the Secretary-Treasurer have organized a team of workers, many of whom are blind or legally blind, to prepare, assemble and load the filters into private vehicles that are able to get into areas where larger relief vehicles can’t go,” explained Walt Gallaway in an email to Berkey Filters.
Walt has been the middleman in helping us ship systems to Puerto Rico.
He goes on to explain, “These guys, are using their own money and vehicles to get filters to the most remote and needy areas. They go into smaller remote neighborhoods where a blind veteran lives, organize the neighborhood to share one or more filters, teach a responsible person how to maintain and keep the filter producing.”
What’s so extraordinary about these men is Sanchez, himself, is legally blind and his son drives him on filter deliveries. Can you imagine what it must be like to hand a filter to someone who has had nothing but rainwater to drink for over a month!
It’s because of these selfless organizations like Rowan and the Blind Veteran’s Group that so many without access to clean water can now confidently provide such a vital human necessity to those in need. Gallaway described it perfectly in saying, “These filters are making a huge difference in the mental and emotional health of the people delivering them as well as those who are using them.”
So, in the season of giving back, we applaud these organization for spreading the Berkey love!
As we saw with Hurricane Sandy back in October, a disaster situation can leave a family helpless for days with little assistance from rescue teams. Some people, who regularly practice emergency preparedness, had stockpiled basic emergency supplies months in advance and “weathered” the storm. Countless others, however, did not prepare until the last minute when supplies were running low, causing a frenzy at local grocery stores. A natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, after which approximately 8 million people were left without power for days and thousands had to be rescued from their homes, makes us wonder if Americans will be prepared for the next disaster. A national poll sponsored by the Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation suggests that the answer is no.
The Adelphi Natural Disaster Survey, conducted in May 2012, questioned more than 1,000 Americans and, based on the results, estimated that approximately half of all Americans are not adequately prepared for a disaster or other emergency situation. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed do not have any emergency supplies stockpiled and 53% do not have at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food and water. Even more shocking, 44% of the individuals surveyed do not even have first-aid kits!
Aside from the more basic emergency essentials like food, water, and first-aid supplies, there are other items that people should have in their emergency preparedness kit but do not. For instance, 37% of survey participants do not have a list of drugs used by family members and 52% do not have copies of their health insurance documents readily available, which would prove useful if someone is injured or becomes ill during the disaster event. In addition to the emergency preparedness kit, FEMA and the American Red Cross recommend that families designate a meeting place in the event that they become separated during an emergency. Unfortunately many Americans do not consider this a priority since 52% have not established a family meeting place for emergency purposes.
So why are Americans not preparing for disasters or other emergencies? Recently, FEMA conducted a poll, asking the question, “What makes disaster prep hard?” and respondents provided a variety of explanations. The top five reasons were:
- Complacency: Many Americans are not concerned that they will ever find themselves in an emergency situation such as a natural disaster.
- Procrastination: Americans do not consider emergency preparedness to be a high priority.
- Time: Americans do not want to take the time necessary to make adequate preparations.
- Cost: An emergency preparedness kit requires an initial expense.
- Unknown Disaster: Despite the fact that most emergency preparedness kits are very general and can be used for any situation, many individuals say that they do not know what type of disaster to plan for.
Number eight on the list of reasons for lack of preparedness is the thought that the Government will be available to help everyone if a disaster strikes. Interestingly, the Adelphi Natural Disaster Survey also received a similar response in their poll where 55% of participants believed that local authorities will rescue them following a disaster. This is a dangerous assumption. Depending on the situation, relief workers may not reach survivors for hours or even days which can have fatal consequences.
We all must be prepared to be self-reliant during any emergency. Unfortunately it seems that a large portion of Americans are not concerned about emergency preparedness for a variety of different reasons. Remember, a disaster can strike at any time so putting together an emergency preparedness kit should be a top priority. Preparation will require some time and an initial expense but the peace of mind that comes with having an emergency supply kit is priceless.
Many Americans enjoy watching the wildly popular television show “Doomsday Preppers” on the National Geographic Channel and musing over the elaborate disaster preparations that were created to aid in surviving in a post-apocalyptic world. Meanwhile the hands of human civilization’s hypothetical Doomsday Clock are hovering closely to midnight. The Doomsday Clock symbolizes humanity’s susceptibility to destruction and at the stroke of midnight; our civilization’s time will run out.
Created in 1947 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Doomsday Clock’s time setting is based on the current state of nuclear weapons, climate change, and other emerging technologies, and can change based on current events. A team of experts, including the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists board members, several Nobel Prize recipients, and leading authorities on nuclear weapons and other threats, determine the clock setting. At its inception, the clock was set at 7 minutes to midnight as a result of the recent creation of the first atomic bombs. This historical event resulted in the potential for universal destruction through the use of nuclear weapons.
In the past 65 years, the clock’s setting has changed 20 times. In 1953 the clock was set to 2 minutes to midnight, based on the decision of the United States and Soviet Union to create the hydrogen bomb. Earlier, and more optimistic, settings have been announced in the past, though they were not as hopeful as one would like. The earliest setting ever on the Doomsday Clock was 17 minutes to midnight in 1991 and resulted from the end of the Cold War between the United States and Russia and the subsequent Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
On January 14, 2013 it was announced that the current clock setting is 5 minutes to midnight. Adjusted from the previous setting of 6 minutes to midnight, this setting signals the increase in destructive means available to the world population. Since some of the most powerful nations are still armed with nuclear weapons and it is estimated that 20 to 30 more countries intend to create an atomic bomb, nuclear weapons still provide the potential for world-wide destruction. But intercontinental ballistic missiles and the like are not the only weapons available that bring us closer to a catastrophe. The potential for widespread use of biological weapons that can cripple a nation force the hands of the Doomsday Clock slightly closer to midnight as well. Concerns about possible climate change events, like sea-level rise, that may also wreak havoc globally, also influenced the clock setting.
Is the Doomsday Clock an accurate depiction of the state of humankind? Are we teetering on the edge of destruction? The figurative clock’s setting is merely subjective, based solely on the opinions of a small team of experts. Nevertheless it is a little unnerving to think that the fate of humanity can be represented by the simple image of a clock nearing its final hour. Perhaps preparing for an apocalypse or other catastrophic event isn’t such a bad idea. Take the time to put together an emergency preparedness kit so that you are ready to survive any disaster but remain hopeful that in the near future the human race will find a way to turn back the clock.
Winter storms can produce adverse driving conditions that could leave you in an emergency situation. Poor driving conditions like blowing snow and icy streets can cause your vehicle to slide off the road. Other vehicle problems like dead batteries, flat tires, and low fuel can also leave you stranded on the side of the road as well. If the weather conditions remain hazardous, rescue crews may not be able to reach you for hours or even days. Every year thousands of stranded motorists are rescued but there are always a few unfortunate individuals that do not survive.
It is recommended that if the weather may potentially become hazardous, you do not leave your home. But it is important to prepare a car emergency kit to keep in your vehicle so that if you must venture out in harsh road conditions, you will be prepared for survival. Here are some essential supplies that you should definitely keep in your car emergency kit. These supplies are so small they can fit in a backpack which is easy to carry and will not take up a lot of space in your vehicle. The supply list is partly based on the American Red Cross Emergency Supply Kit.
- Water: A 3-day supply is recommended. You will need about 1 gallon per person per day.
- Food: It is recommended that you keep a 3-day supply of non-perishable, high energy foods that are easy to prepare.
- Manual can opener
- Glow stick: A one-time use, short-term light source.
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Multi-purpose tool
- Rain gear
- Work gloves
- Duct tape
- Candle: For emergency heating
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Emergency blanket: These thin, metallized plastic blankets, though extremely compact, are waterproof and windproof and can prevent heat loss.
There are some additional supplies that you might want to add to your car emergency kit as well. These supplies include:
- Water Filter: In the event that your water supplies run low.
- Red bandana: You can tie this to your car antenna to indicate you need help.
- Medications: A seven day supply is recommended.
- Copies of personal documents
- Cell phone with charger
- Emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Map of the area
- Extra clothing, hat, and sturdy shoes: Remember, loosely woven cotton and wool trap warm air and resist dampness really well.
- Plastic sheeting
- Sleeping bag
- Baby and/or pet supplies, if necessary
- Booster cables for starting vehicle
- Fire extinguisher
- Tire repair kit and pump
- Sack of sand or kitty litter: These items will help you get more tire traction.
- Windshield scraper and brush
If you become stranded, it is important that you stay with your vehicle. Remaining in your vehicle helps rescuers find you and protects you from severe exposure to the elements. In order to conserve gasoline, only run the engine for 10 minutes every hour. During this time you can run the heater to take away the chill. You can also turn on your interior light at night which helps rescuers find you and provides a small amount of heat. Before running the engine, make sure that the exhaust pipe is not clogged with snow, ice, or mud as this could cause carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment.
The car emergency kit can be used for any emergency, not just during a winter storm. Gather your supplies and keep your kit in your car at all times so that you are better prepared to survive any type of crisis situation.
Recent events like Hurricane Sandy have shown us that a disaster can strike at any time and it is important to be prepared so that you can be self-reliant during an emergency situation. If you have read our advice about emergency preparedness and take this topic very seriously, you probably are in the process of putting together an emergency preparedness kit. Even if you have a water filter, food supplies, and emergency essentials, you may not be completely ready for any type of crisis situation yet. What if you need help suppressing a small fire or searching for loved ones, and emergency responders have no way of getting to you for several hours or even days? You may want to consider training to be on your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) prior to any disaster.
Humans naturally have a way of coming together in a time of crisis to help one another. CERT, a partner with the federally funded program Citizen Corps, builds on this concept of neighbors helping neighbors. The CERT training program provides emergency response training for groups like community organizations, neighborhood watch, communities of faith, scouting organizations, and workplace employees. The training is typically given in seven weekly sessions with each session lasting about 2 ½ hours. The sessions cover the following topics.
- Disaster preparedness: Participants learn about actions to take before, during, and after a disaster. They also learn the types of disasters that may potentially affect their community and the laws that apply to volunteers in the area.
- Fire Suppression: Participants learn how to assess a fire situation, control utilities, properly use a fire extinguisher, and suppress a small fire. Participants will also receive basic training on hazardous materials and fire hazards.
- Medical Operations: This topic is broken into two sessions. The first session focuses on rapidly diagnosing and treating the “three most common killers”: airway obstruction, shock, and bleeding. The second session teaches participants how to set up a medical treatment area, assess an individual, and provide safe and sanitary first aid.
- Light Search and Rescue: Participants learn about planning a search and rescue operation as well as search and rescue techniques, with a primary focus on rescuer safety.
- Disaster Psychology and Team Organization: This topic helps participants understand how victims and workers react emotionally to disasters. Team organization and management principles are also covered.
The last session involves a take-home test and a disaster simulation so the participants can practice the skills they learned throughout the course.
Currently, there are more than 1100 CERT volunteers in the US. Some of these groups were utilized during Hurricane Sandy. For instance, CERT volunteers assisted the Red Cross in staffing a regional shelter in Camden County, New Jersey and groups in Virginia helped provide sandbags to residents. During previous disasters, CERT volunteers have assisted in countless other ways as well.
You never know what can happen in a disaster situation. Do not be unprepared or the consequences may be quite severe. Prepare an emergency preparedness kit and consider CERT training. If you are part of a group that would like CERT emergency response training, you can search for CERT programs near you on the CERT website.
The concept of the zombie apocalypse has had a major impact on pop culture recently. Hollywood has capitalized on this idea, creating numerous popular movies and television shows about the eventual collapse of society due to an infectious agent that transforms people into undead corpses with a voracious appetite for human flesh. If you spend a few minutes searching on the internet, you will find a wealth of information available to help prepare for and survive a zombie apocalypse. Though most of us do not think a zombie apocalypse is possible, it’s not a bad idea to incorporate the basic concept into your emergency preparedness plans.
In most scenarios, zombies are typically the end result of a pandemic which is an outbreak of an infectious disease that has spread throughout the human population of a country or even the entire world. While a zombie-producing infectious disease is not expected to ever occur, pandemics like influenza and tuberculosis have occurred in recent history with devastating effects and continue to pose a threat. For instance, the influenza pandemic of 1918 to 1919, known as the “Spanish Flu”, infected approximately one-third of the world’s population, killing 675,000 in the US alone and 50 million people worldwide. Nearly half of the total deaths were in the age group of 20 to 40 years. If another pandemic of the same magnitude and severity were to occur now, scientists estimate that 51 to 81 million people would die. While scientists would attempt to develop a vaccine, there is no guarantee that proper treatment will be available.
In the event of any type of pandemic, you will need to be completely self-reliant. To avoid getting sick, you will want to stay inside your home which will limit your access to supplies. A spreading disease that is infecting a large portion of the population will also halt production and supply of basic necessities. Basic utilities like water and electricity will probably not be available in this situation either. Being unprepared in a situation such as this could have serious, even life-threatening, consequences. Adopt emergency preparedness practices and start planning for a pandemic now. Below is a list of the basic essentials especially important for a pandemic. This list is based upon recommendations from CDC and FEMA.
- Water is necessary for survival. If possible, have a 2 week supply of at least one gallon per person per day. A water filter that allows you to create drinkable water from any source is also good to have as a back-up in case your water supplies run out.
- Non-perishable food items like rice, pasta, crackers, and dried fruit. A 2 week supply is preferable.
- Prescription drugs
- Non-prescription drugs such as pain relievers, fever-reducers, cough and cold medicines, etc.
- Hand soap and sanitizer
- First aid kit
- Hand crank radio or battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Multi-purpose tool
- N95 dust mask for filtering contaminated air
- Local maps
- Cell phone with charger, inverter, or solar charger
- Emergency blanket
- Copies of personal documents (birth certificates, passports, important medical information, insurance policies, etc.)
More emergency preparedness supplies and tips can be found on our previous blogs about emergency preparedness kits, emergency water storage, and emergency preparedness applications for your mobile phone. A pandemic is a serious threat that could have devastating effects. Whether you are preparing for zombies, influenza, or other infectious disease, the basic supplies are very similar and will help you survive any situation.