Friday, August 17, 2018

Prepping for the Elderly

As we get older and our bodies break down, there are several extra things we need to take into consideration when prepping:

  • Medications--do you have at least a month's medications in reserve in case you have no access to a pharmacy?  Also keep paper/digital records of all of your prescriptions.
  • Eye glasses--if you can't see without them, consider getting a second pair to have in reserve.  Also have a copy of your eye glass prescription on hand.
  • Hearing aids--keep your old ones just in case the new ones get lost/broken and have lots of spare batteries for both.
  • Mobility--whether you need a cane, walker, wheel chair, or scooter, consider how you would evacuate/maneuver around your home during a disaster (earthquake, extended power outage, etc).
  • Dentures--your old dentures won't fit after a month or so with new dentures so be able to fix the new ones if they break (Super Glue works for this).  Keep denture cleanser as well as denture adhesive in reserve. Other options may include permanent dentures or implants.  Dentures have a limited lifespan so plan on replacements as your dentist recommends.
  • Evacuation--if you no longer drive or rely on public transit, consider how you would evacuate in the event of a disaster (call a friend or family member for a ride?).  Plan how you would evacuate from your home during a fire.
  • Critical medical needs--if you rely on a ventilator, oxygen, dialysis, etc. and will die without these things, consider what would happen during a disaster.  Do you need to evacuate prior to a disaster?  Do you need a generator and spare fuel?  Does your community have a plan for oxygen delivery?
  • Are you doing as much as you can everyday to keep your health in check such as eating well, strength and balance exercises, etc?
  • Do you have assistive devices to meet your needs (such as smoke detectors that flash if you can't hear well, grab bars if you are unsteady on your feet, medical alert devices if needed, etc)?
  • Do you have a plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to help you during a disaster?  
  • Do neighbors, friends, or relatives have a key to your home and is their name/number posted on your front door/window with an "in case of emergency" notice?
  • Are all of your important papers in order (and digitally backed up) including a Will, Medical Power of Attorney, life insurance, a pre-planned/pre-paid funeral, all financial documents, a list of passwords/access codes, etc?
  • Do you have enough food, water, and supplies to stay in your home for up to a month without assistance from the outside (water should be rotated and easy enough for you to pick up, food should be easy to cook or able to eat cold if necessary, supplies should include toilet paper/adult diapers if needed/wet wipes/hand sanitizer/first aid supplies/etc).
  • Do you have a plan for alternate heating/cooking/water supply/cooling without assistance from the outside?
  • Has your home been "disaster proofed" in regard to the most common type of emergencies in your area?  Don't forget to "fall proof" your home as well.
  • Do you have an emergency evacuation bag (BOB) that you can "grab and go" at a moment's notice?
  • What will you do with your pets during a disaster?  Do you have extra food/supplies/gear for them on hand?
  • Can you shut off your utilities during a disaster by yourself?
  • Do you have several ways to communicate with friends/neighbors/relatives before, during, and after a disaster?
  • Does your community have a way for you to register for additional assistance during a disaster (sometimes Senior Centers, Area Agency on Aging, the Red Cross keep a list of vulnerable people in the community)?
  • Have you researched disaster prep options in your community (what do emergency sirens sound like, where are local emergency shelters/cooling stations, what are the best sources of local news and disaster alerts, etc)?
  • Have you considered volunteering in your local community to prepare for a disaster (senior centers, the Red Cross, CERT teams, etc can always use more volunteers)?
  • Do you have extra cash on hand (hidden of course) to use during a disaster?
  • Are all of your insurance coverages up to date and paid for?
  • Are you aware of what to do after a disaster (how to file insurance claims, how to apply for FEMA assistance if available, how to avoid scams, how to seek medical/psychological assistance if needed, etc)?
There's a baseline that everyone should have for being prepared but if you or someone you love has additional needs such as being elderly, ill, infirm, a small child, etc. additional preparedness should be done ahead of any possible disaster.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

10 Modes of Emergency Transportation

During a disaster, you may need transit either out of or into your home area.  Be prepared with these modes of emergency transportation:

  1. Walking (free, slow, can get through places no other sort of transportation can in a disaster area).
  2. Scooter (cheap, low maintenance, requires balance, quicker than walking, only really works on pavement).
  3. Bicycle (cheap, DIY maintenance, can travel 100+ miles a day, can use on/off road).
  4. Community transit (cheap, no maintenance, usually not available in rural areas, may not be usable during certain types of disasters).
  5. Motorcycle (cheaper than a car, more agile in disaster zones, better gas mileage).
  6. Mass transit--bus, train, airlines, ferry (useful to leave an area quickly, may be overcrowded during a disaster, require infrastructure such as roads/intact tarmac/intact rails, etc).
  7. Water craft (useful in flooding disasters, useful in areas with large bodies of water to cross, can be somewhat expensive, possibility of drowning if it fails).
  8. Car (can be expensive, requires fuel that may or may not be available, can travel far, requires roads to be in somewhat good condition, can provide shelter as well as transit).
  9. Animal--horse, donkey (requires continual care and feeding, more agile in disaster zones, can't travel very far in a day).
  10. Unusual modes of transit--private aircraft, sled dogs, skates/skateboard, Uber/Lyft, snowmobile, etc (if it works in your area, definitely keep these as an option).
Your emergency transportation plan should include most if not all of the above, depending on the disaster.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

About Pirate Radio

I actually hadn't heard much about pirate radio since the late 1960s until today when I saw an article about Alex Jones' pirate radio station which was shut down by the FCC.  For people who haven't heard about pirate radio, here is a quick overview.  Pirate radio is steeped in tradition (example here) and apparently it is still somewhat of a popular thing in San Francisco, on shortwave radio, and even on YouTube.

Digging a bit deeper, there is no shortage of information on the internet on how to set up your own pirate radio station (info here, here, and here).  Needless to say, setting up a pirate radio station is illegal and the FCC will not be pleased (info here, here, and here).  Fascinated yet?  Find more info on pirate stations here, here, and here.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Two Minor Disasters in a Span of Four Hours

Yesterday was somewhat eventful.  First we were coming back from our errands intending to stop by one more store before hitting the freeway when not one but more than a dozen cop cars came racing past us--lights, sirens, and well over the speed limit.  That usually means one of two things in this city, either an officer down call or an active shooter call.  Unfortunately the city's police radio has been encrypted so I couldn't listen to Broadcastify to find out what was going on.  We headed toward our destination only to find a perimeter set up around the entire shopping center that we were going to go to.  Since that means something big is happening we just kept going to the freeway.  A quick Twitter search told us that there was an active shooter incident and we were apparently minutes from having been in the middle of it.  Fortunately the only person shot was the shooter (by the police) and the many people in the shopping center did the right thing (hiding, running out of the back of the stores if possible, and taking cover).

A few hours later we were watching TV and an emergency alert came in both on the TV and on our cell phones about getting inside of a house/building because a massive wind storm/dust storm was set to hit in a few minutes.  Usually we shrug off these sorts of alerts as they are pretty common during monsoon season.  Also there was no wind at all and it had been a very calm day, weather-wise.  But after the newscaster broke in reiterating the warning and checking social media for the next town over which was in the middle of the storm (per posts by apparently everyone in town talking about the destructive winds), I high-tailed it outside to secure the garbage cans and patio furniture...basically anything that could fly away was brought into the garage.  Only minutes later, winds of more than 50 miles per hour hit our area.

In both of these incidents, situational awareness was key.  What's happening (by observation, using social media, listening to the news, etc) and how should we respond (stay away from the action in the case of the active shooter, and quickly prep for the wind storm).  Pay attention...react...respond.  That's what we prep for.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Daily Preparedness Tip: Know The Universal Edibility Test

If you come upon a plant (or berry or tree fruit or underground vegetable, etc) and do not recognize it, how do you know if it is edible?  In most cases you would take a photo or ask someone or otherwise confirm that it isn't poisonous before eating it.  In an emergency you may have no one to confirm whether it is edible or poisonous and be just hungry enough to eat it.  First, however, perform the universal edibility test which will give you a better idea if the plant is safe to eat.