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  • Man-Made Disasters

    RadiationMankind – always in such a hurry to destroy ourselves. War is always a concern, radiation from the ever-present concerns about nuclear holocaust, but what about combination natural/unnatural disasters like the earthquake and tsunami that resulted in the Fukushima nuclear accident (and resultant radiation poisoning scare) in 2011? Some Man-made disasters, such as Global Warming are not sudden, and we as a species have time to plan and adjust, others are more sudden, but with some warning (wildfires, flooding due to dam failure) and then there are the sudden ones like plane crashes, train derailments, mine and pipeline explosions, and structural collapses. How does one prepare for these? Well, there are some things people acquire like potassium Iodide pills and hazmat suits when they are truly afraid of contamination, but being generally “prepared” is usually the most reasonable thing to do – just make sure your home, work, school, car, and family are ready to evacuate if necessary, or shelter in place with food, water, warmth, shelter and communication if need be.


    Learn About Other Specific Types of Disaster Preparedness


    10 Worst Man Made Disasters of All Time according to Disasterium

    • London's Killer Fog.
    • The Al-Mishraq Fire.
    • The Nuclear Power Plant Explosion in Chernobyl, Russia.
    • The Kuwait Oil Fires.
    • The Destruction of the Aral Sea.
    • The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.
    • Dioxin Pollution.
    • The Love Canal.
    • The Union Carbide Gas Leak.
    • The Three Mile Island Nuclear Explosion.
  • National Prep for your Pet!

    Halfway through National Preparedness Month, we'd like to ask you "If a natural disaster strikes, what will happen to your pet?"

    Be prepared: make a plan and prepare a disaster kit for your pet.

    Pet Emergency & Disaster

    Image of Pet Guardian Cat Survival Kit

    Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Supplies For Dogs, Cats and Horses

    Forgetting the furry family members when making your evacuation plans can put pets, pet owners, and first responders in danger.

    Learn more:

    ?     Preparing Your Pet for Evacuation
    ?     Pet First Aid
    ?     Pet First Aid Awareness
    ?     Pet Thoughts

    Even if you try to create a safe place for them, pets left behind during a disaster are likely to be injured, lost, or worse. It is your responsibility as a pet owner to find out what type of shelters and assistance are available in your area to accommodate pets and to include pets in your disaster plan to keep them safe during an emergency.

  • Neighborhood READY

    Is your neighborhood ready? One form of neighborhood readiness is participation in CERT, but along the lines of this year's National Preparedness Month Theme (“Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”) we'd like to suggest a more simple with of preparing with family and neighbors.

    Don't Wait. Communicate. Make a family emergency plan today. Share the Plan with Neighbors, too! Don't Wait. Communicate. Make a family emergency plan today. Share the Plan with Neighbors, too!

    After you have planned and supplied for your Family Preparedness, share the plans with your neighbors... plan a dinner or cookout to share plans with one another - they may have some great ideas you have missed and vice-versa - moreover, share your communication information... perhaps you can reach one another in an emergency when you can't reach your own family ... this is a great way to get updates on the safety and well being of those you cannot reach. has some great ideas Planning with Neighbors  in their Community Preparedness Toolkit, as well.

    NPM_NeighborsPlan with neighbors to help each other and share resources.

    Almost half of Americans expect to rely a great deal on their neighbors after a disaster. Start the conversation now with these Neighbor Helping Neighbor strategies.

  • Hurricane Preparedness?

    You can't stop a tropical storm or hurricane, but you can take steps now to protect you,  your family, your business, and your community. Atlantic Hurricane Season is not over, and as we head into National Preparednes Month in September think about this year's theme “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”and how it applies to you and your readines... Hurricanes are not just a coastal concern, they can, of course batter the coasts with winds, rain, and storm surges, but they can also strike interior states, and can cause severe inland flooding.

    If you live in coastal areas at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages you to begin preparing yourself for hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 through November 30 each year.

    Hurricane & Tsunami: Hurricanes, Tropical Storms, Cyclones, Storm Surge and Tsunami… Whew! First let us point out that Hurricanes are not just a coastal concern. Hurricanes cause serious harm inland as well. Don’t think that you won’t be impacted by hurricanes just because you are many miles from the coastline. You are not necessarily immune to the ravages of Hurricanes and Tropical Storms. Tropical cyclones often produce widespread, torrential rains in excess of 6 inches, which may result in deadly and destructive floods. In fact, flooding is the major threat from tropical cyclones for people living inland. Flash flooding, defined as a rapid rise in water levels, can occur quickly due to intense rainfall. Longer term flooding on rivers and streams can persist for several days after the storm, and a Storm Surge (water from the ocean that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the hurricane. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides and can increase the water level by 30 feet or more) can back up rivers and estuaries that normally flow freely to sea – creating overrun riverbanks upstream. Preparedness for these onslaughts includes raingear and ponchos, standard preparedness supplies and evacuation plans – plus all the flood considerations and extra attention to communication devices as landlines and mobile phones will almost certainly be out after major winds.

    Are you READY? Are you READY?

    Please follow these important hurricane preparedness tips from CDC:

    After you have read these tips, please review the other resources available on the CDC Hurricanes website.

  • Family Preparedness

    With National Parents’ Day this Sunday, we thought this would be a good time to remind you to take specific actions to prepare your family for emergencies.

    Some of these actions include:

    • Family PlanCreating a family emergency communication plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it’s important to plan  ahead about how you will connect with each other;
    • Building a disaster supply kit.  A disaster supply kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. You may need to survive on your own after a disaster. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days; and
    • Practicing your emergency response plan. Making emergency plans is great, but practicing your plan by conducting drills will help your family’s response time when seconds count.

    Disasters can be stressful for kids. Try to make emergency planning fun for children in your family! Visit for exciting games, quizzes, and other resources to help young children and teens understand the importance of being prepared.


    ? Planning for Emergencies

    ? Family Emergency Readiness

    ? Make a Fire Escape Plan

    ? Blackouts & Brownouts: Prepare for Power Outages

    Disasters also impact older adults. Visit to learn more about preparing older Americans for the unexpected.

  • Disaster Kit Storage

    Where will you be when Disaster Strikes? FEMA reminds us that you never know where you’ll be when an emergency occurs, so it’s a good idea to be ready wherever you are.  That means preparing supplies for your home, work, and vehicle. We always say Tip #1: Prepare your car before you prepare your home. Learn Why..

    The Ready Campaign has information about creating a disaster supply kit for each location.

    Preparedness and Survival Gear: Here. Preparedness and Survival Gear: Here.

    For your home:

    • Create a kit containing enough food, water, and supplies to last at least three days; and
    • Keep the kit in a designated place and make sure family members know where it is.

    For your work:

    • Be prepared to shelter in place for at least 24 hours;
    • Include food, water, and other necessities like medicines in your kit. Keep the kit in one container and be ready to grab and go; and
    • Have comfortable walking shoes in case an evacuation requires walking long distances.
    Auto and Vehicle Roadside Survival Kits – Bug Outs, Auto Emergency Tools & AAA Emergency Survival Kits Auto and Vehicle Roadside Survival Kits – Bug Outs, Auto Emergency Tools & AAA Emergency Survival Kits

    For your vehicle:

    • Include jumper cables, flashlights, clothing, and a first aid kit; and
    • Consider having a fully charged cell phone and phone charger, flares, baby formula, and diapers if you have a small child.

    Learn About Specific Types of Disaster Preparedness:

  • Updated National Planning Frameworks Released

    National planning frameworkToday, FEMA and its partners released the updated National Planning Frameworks for each mission area: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery. The National Planning Frameworks, which are part of the National Preparedness System, set the strategy and doctrine for building, sustaining, and delivering the core capabilities identified in the National Preparedness Goal. They describe the coordinating structures and alignment of key roles and responsibilities for the whole community.

    The National Planning Frameworks, one for each preparedness mission area, describe how the whole community works together to achieve the National Preparedness Goal. The Goal is: “A secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.” The Goal is the cornerstone for the implementation of the National Preparedness System.


    The National Planning Frameworks are part of the National Preparedness System. There is one Framework for each of the five preparedness mission areas:

    The updated National Planning Frameworks incorporate cascading edits from the Nation Preparedness Goal refresh, including lessons learned from real world events and continuing implementation of the National Preparedness System. Additionally, FEMA and its whole community partners focused on clarifying linkages between mission areas; science and technology efforts within the mission areas; and format revisions to ensure alignment among frameworks as part of the update effort.

    FEMA is also hosting a series of 60-minute informational webinars with interested stakeholders to discuss the updates to the National Planning Frameworks. These webinars look to provide information regarding changes and updates as well as to answer questions related to the Frameworks.checklist

    Advanced registration is required due to space limitations. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis. To register, please visit:

    For a copy of the documents go to:

    Direct questions to FEMA at:

    For more information on national preparedness efforts, visit:

  • Know about Dangers of Chemical & Biological Agents

    With concerns over Terrorism as a very real type of possible Disaster Emergency to prepare for, you need to know a bit about Chemical & Biological Agents which could be used to harm our population.


    Chemical agents are poisonous gases, liquids or solids that have toxic effects on people, animals or plants. Most chemical agents cause serious injuries or death.

    Severity of injuries depends on the type and amount of the chemical agent used, and the duration of exposure. Were a chemical agent attack to occur, authorities would instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately.

    Exposure to chemical agents can be fatal. Leaving the shelter to rescue or assist victims can be a deadly decision. There is no assistance that the untrained can offer that would likely be of any value to the victims of chemical agents.


    Biological agents are organisms or toxins that have illness-producing effects on people, livestock and crops. Because biological agents cannot immediately be detected and may take time to grow and cause a disease, it is almost impossible to know that a biological attack has occurred. If government officials become aware of a biological attack through an informant or warning by terrorists, they would most likely instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately.

    A person affected by a biological agent requires the immediate attention of professional medical personnel.

    Some agents are contagious, and victims may need to be quarantined. Also, some medical facilities may not receive victims for fear of contaminating the hospital population. Some potential threats include smallpox, botulism, anthrax, and the bubonic plague.

    More information on bio-terrorism preparedness and response is available online from the Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control.

    Are you READY? Are you READY?
  • Bomb Threats and Explosions


    The use of explosives by terrorists can result in collapsed buildings and fires. People who live or work in a multi-level building can do the following:


    Bomb-ThreatIf you receive a bomb threat, get as much information from the caller as possible. Keep the caller on the line and record everything that is said. Notify the police and the building management.

    After you've been notified of a bomb threat, do not touch any suspicious packages. Clear the area around suspicious packages and notify the police immediately. In evacuating a building, avoid standing in front of windows or other potentially hazardous areas. Do not block the sidewalk or streets to be used by emergency officials.


    In a building explosion, get out of the building as   quickly and calmly as possible. If items are falling off of bookshelves or from the ceiling, get under a sturdy table or desk. If there is a fire:

    • Stay low to the floor and exit the building as quickly as possible
    • Cover nose and mouth with a wet cloth
    • When approaching a closed door, use the palm of your hand and forearm to feel the lower, middle and upper parts of the door. If it is not hot, brace yourself against the door and open it slowly. If it is hot to the touch, do not open the door--seek an alternate escape route.
    • Heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling. Stay below the smoke at all times.
  • By way of the Manteau (Via Poncho, not Pancho Villa)

    OK - So much for the clever title... We're here to talk about the all-in-one, really inexpensive (alright, darn it - cheap!) wonder tool for emergencies, survival and comfort: The Poncho.

    For as little as 74¢ each, these thingamajigs can be your salvation in a storm, and much more.

    Here are some interesting uses for a poncho:

    Use the poncho as a bag: Ever find yourself in need of a bag? We're not just talking about in an emergency - what if you are out and about, then the bag you are carrying precious cargo in bursts? Or you find a pile of free "what-evers" you want to collect? Well if you have your emergency ponchos stashed in your purse, backpack, glove box, desk, wherever - just tie off the neck and arms and BAM! You've got a large plastic bag!

     In an emergency, these are great for water collection, portage, and storage: Water is the most essential survival need. It can be scarce in survival situations. A poncho can be used to collect night-time dew, rainwater, or you can fashion it into a bladder for carrying or storing fresh water from a clean water source.

     A Poncho as a Tarp: Whether you need it to catch fallen items or protect from moisture below, or avoid dropping items or rain from above, what is a poncho but a sewn ‘sealed up tarp? Well... if you need to spread it out, just it open and just it flat!

     A Poncho can be Shelter: Open up and drape over a cord as a makeshift tent or shelter!

     Protection from the cold and wind: Warmth is critical to life and comfort - wind can pierce the warmest woolens, but these ponchos block the breeze and keep you snug as well as dry.

     First Aid: with a poncho - while everyone should have a good first aid kit with them at all times, there are situations one may find where improvisation is critical to first aid care giving.  A poncho can be used for a great number of first aid purposes, you can use as a sling, swathe, wrap, or tourniquet. If you must move the injured person, you can use it as a stretcher/drag/tow thingy. You can even make the same water bag mentioned above and fill with cold stream water to use as a cold compress!

     Emergency Signaling: Ponchos are often obnoxiously bright and can be used for signaling your location, waving or placing in a high location (on a peak, up a tree) to alert overhead searchers to your whereabouts,  and can also use to send smoke signals, or even as a trail marker.

     Cord/Rope: Ponchos materials have great tensile strength when twisted into a rope! Since quality ponchos are made from rip-resistant nylon or PVC, they are strong enough to turn into cords you can use for anything that needs to be tied. Just use scissors to cut them into long strips and braid if you need thicker/stronger!

     Shade: We typically think of ponchos for rain - but they are really useful protection against sun, too... set up a lean-to, canopy, or just hold over your head for protection from the sun's heat and UV rays.

     Bedding: Yep - in a pinch you can use a poncho as a pillow or mattress. Just stuff with leaves or extra clothing. Ponchos can also serve as make-shift Sleeping bag, or as a Sleeping bag cover, or bag liner!

     Sail: Sound far-fetched? Not really - a sail can be used to help float your way to safety on the raft you just lashed together with the poncho-made cording above, or can add a sail to a sled or drag you've fashioned to help bear the weight of your supplies or an injured person you are pulling along as you send your way to safety.

    While we can't spend a week writing this article, there are many, many more creative uses for a poncho. We've listed some here for you to use your imagination... if you don't "get it", write to us and ask us to explain how you would use a poncho for any of these in particular:

    Bear-proof food storage (tie in a tree using rope), Bellows for fire, Blanket, Body Bag, Bug-out bag cover, Gather fruit, berries and nuts, Gear raft or float, gloves / Hand Protection, Greenhouse, Hammock, Haul / Drag firewood, Insulation, Latrine bag (bucket liner), Mask (as in dust/protective, not Halloween - although there could be some fun ideas for that, too!), Mattress, Minnow trap, Padding, Papoose, for Patch and/or repair, Privy privacy, Sandbag, Scarecrow, Seat cushion, Shoe liner / Shoe Repair / Waterproofing  shoes, Sled, Sling seat, Solar shower/water heater, Splint padding, Waste or trash bag, Window covers... we could go on...

    Oh, yeah - you can use it as a poncho, too.
    Wow - what do you think? A good investment for 74¢?

    One-Size-Fits-All Disposable Rain Ponchos serve a myriad of uses - Rain Suits, too!

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