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The Emergency Preparedness
Tip o'da Week

A Collection of Tips for Emergency Preparedness

The material presented on this page is intended to start you thinking about what you can do today that might someday save your life. If nothing else, our "Tip o' da Week" might just make your life a bit easier when a disaster strikes. We do not present topics that cost a lot of money (like structure reinforcement.) These are "do it yourself" projects and are relatively inexpensive.


FireBox stove in use with fire powered pan charger - Hatsuden Nabe

Introducing the Hatsuden Nabe

The Fire-Powered USB Thermoelectric Generator and the Firebox Folding Stove

Google
 

A Collection of Tips


Our first tip is in response to a question submitted by Carolyn Burton. The TheEpicenter.com crew wanted to share our response with our visitors.

Notes on Water Storage

Carolyn Burton  wrote:

"Last year we placed three 55 gallon drums filled with water & appropriate amount of bleach at the kid's school for eq preparedness.  Do these need to be changed every year?
Thanks
-Carolyn
"

Carolyn, as you know, water is the most important supply you can store away for disaster use!

I'll trade you a pound of food for a pound of water anytime (after a disaster).  If you play your cards right, you might even be able to trade for a pound of flesh (when supplies are short)!

To best answer your question:

  1. Were the 55 gallon containers new, and food grade?  If they were used, make sure they were used for food related products only!
  2. What was used to treat the water?
  3. Where / how was the water stored? Light can help bacteria grow.

In general...

There are water preservatives on the market that will treat the water to be safe for a five year period without rotation.  The treatment is not too expensive, but plan to spend about $12-$15 for enough chemical to treat 55 gallons.  The advantage is that you don't need to rotate the water for 5 years, the downside is the expense.

55 gallons of water is much less expensive to just replace, but you will need the discipline to rotate untreated water (depending on storage conditions) on a regular basis.  Untreated water should be rotated every 3-6 months.  If you can keep the barrel covered by black plastic, you can extend the "shelf life" of the water. I have no data available, but expect a 30-50% increase in shelf life if no light reaches the water.

If you want to treat the water with less expensive chemicals, you can extend the rotation cycle to 1 year.  Use 5.5 Teaspoons of 5% sodium hypochlorite (unscented Clorox).

--Bryan Nelson, TheEpicenter.com


Building Your Own 12-Volt Generator

The following tip comes from David Hooper from Vancouver, BC:

lawn mowerYour comments about the use of a power inverter powered off a 12V (car) battery for standby power are right on. I agree that it is stupid to use you car to try to recharge the battery.

Anyone can find a used lawnmower for free or nearly free, and a car alternator can be had from an auto parts store (or even a junkyard) at a very reasonable price. A couple of pulleys, a few minutes of having a mounting bracket made up, and VOILA - a gas powered 12V power supply at VERY little cost, that runs about an hour on about a litre (quart) of gas!

My concept came from the need for a generator (at least cost!) for recharging the batteries on my travel trailer when we are in "primitive" (unserviced) campsites and are using the battery power for all lights etc.

I recall seeing in your comments that you are into old cars - so am I.  The "hotrodders" (the original recyclers!) approach appeals to me.  Use what ya got!  By using things "on hand" (street rodders tend to have spare alternators, pulleys and steel for brackets etc.) costs can be kept to essentially zero.  This unit is "dual purpose" as it can keep the travel trailer supplied OR (using the trailer's batteries) supply minimal power for the house.

I find the GM-style alternator with built-in regulator seem to work best.  CAVEAT: Make sure you have things set up to turn the alternator the same way it turns on the car, or else things won't work either well or long!

A 70 amp alternator gives about 850 watts @ 12 volts (actually a good alternator puts out about 14.25V) so the power is there.

Happy building!

A further couple of comments:

  1. Don't expect a 70 amp alternator to put out 70 Amps continuously - it will overheat and burn out.
  2. The alternator will drag down the speed of the mower engine - "There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch" (TINSTAAFL) so the actual power you get depends on the size (power) of the engine in the first place.  However, we aren't trying to get 4,000 watts out of this rig anyway.
  3. You are NOT going to wind up with a professional-looking rig.  Just one that works.  If "pretty" counts, go buy a complete generator.
  4. Your "friendly neighborhood" RV store (trailers and motorhomes) has 12v lights, water treatment stuff, sewer treatment stuff, voltage inverters, etc, BUT.... The price tends to be high, as they seem to have the mindset that "if you can afford an RV, you can afford to charge whatever we damn well want to charge for this stuff".
  5. Since it is ABSOLUTELY crucial that the alternator turn the right way, (in my application, this resulted them being offset, with the entire alternator "facing the opposite way to the engine."  This wasn't important, to me, but...  I am therefore looking into the issue of "what kinds of cars had alternators that turned the other way ; there must be some front wheel drive cars that have the engine installed the other way!)

For "foraging" for pieces, the Seattle Swap Meet (At Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, Wa, as well as the Portland Swap Meet) are prime places to find "stuff" like brackets, used alternators, etc.

But then, since you are into old Jags & things, you already knew that.

--David Hooper

About the submitter:

"I am a Canadian Civil Servant, with the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, in the British Columbia Region. Part of my job responsibilities involve Emergency Preparedness for First Nations Communities."

A note from the webmaster:

We will work on a set of plans and a parts list to do the job above, and hope to have it ready this spring. Sounds like a great tip don't you think? We only wish we knew who sent it!


Space Bags versus Space Blankets

The submission below was sent to us from Bruce Ramsey of REDS (Rescue Extrication Delivery Specialists).

When purchasing a "Space Blanket" look for the ones which are bags not blankets.  Typical space blankets are 3 ft wide and 6 ft. long.  I seldom lie perfectly still and a 3 ft wide blanket does not allow much extra to wrap around or under me.

A space blanket costs about $6.  A space bag costs about $10.  The space bags are the same width and length but now you can get inside and roll around while sleeping and not worry about coming uncovered.  You will have a blanket over you and a vapor barrier underneath you. You can punch a hole in the end for your face and wear it as a rain poncho.  It can be split down the side and be twice as wide as a normal blanket allowing it to become a tarp.  You can split it down all three sides and have a second blanket for your friend.  It will reflect your body heat from all sides, not just one side, keeping you warmer and drier with less effort. One bag is slightly smaller than two blankets when new so storage is usually not a problem.

A bag costs about twice as much but you are getting twice as much use from it.  Always look for products which can be used in more than one way so that when the need arises, you have more options to choose from.

Until you find your new space bag, pack a couple of lawn sized garbage bags.  They can be used in all the same ways as listed above except they have less reflect quality. They are very inexpensive and easy to find. I normally fold mine up neatly and store in a sandwich sized ziplock.  It keeps it from opening up in my pack and making a mess. It also provides me with an additional ziplock bag in an emergency.  Garbage bags can also be used as ... garbage bags.

About the submitter:

"I am a member of an all volunteer, technical rescue team which provides trench, building collapse, confined space, water, rope and search rescues. Each member trains a minimum of 200 hours per member per year in the various disciplines as well as hazardous materials and emergency medicine. I have been a volunteer fire fighter, EMT and currently am a member of a rescue team. Emergency preparedness is a hobby of mine which is an out growth of my scouting experiences and public safety positions.

The information I submitted is based on my own personal experience and opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any organization to which I belong.

I enjoy your website and look forward to reading new information at your site."

--Bruce Ramsey


The submission below was sent to us from (outdated E-mail)

I live in Los Angeles and am fairly close to the 17 january 1994 quake. I also create newsletters for post graduation high school classes.

Securing items in quake zones:

HOPE YOU LIKE SOME THESE IDEAS!!!
--From earthquake city: Los Angeles.


The submission below was sent to us from Richard Hall:

Richard Hall's Emergency Supply List

At the end is my list of items I have in the car/home/office that I feel are necessary for living/surviving in Los Angeles during the Earthquakes, Riots, Flooding, Fires, Traffic Accidents and General First Aid.  I have read extensively on First Aid for emergency situations and would like to train for EMT volunteer work some time in the future.

My kit is also geared for hiking/camping in the remote wilderness where emergency care is often miles, and possibly days away.  These items are necessary if you need to perform more "long term" first aid.

Some of the items on the list my be unusual for some people but I've learned from experience that they can be very useful in an emergency situation.  All of these items are arranged in waterproof resealable bags.  Each bag has items grouped according to their use. Earthquake, Auto Accident, First Aid, etc.

I am trying to convince my upper management it would be beneficial for everyone to have a small kit in their desk when the big one hits LA. Keep in touch! and Enjoy the list !

Cheers,
--Rich

===================================================================
    FIRST AID MEDICAL KIT SUPPLIES
===================================================================
 + = basic (must have) item,   OPT = optional

First Aid - Bandage and Wound - Surgery package
-----------------------------------------------
+    1  - first aid book with emergency surgery coverage
+    3  - bandages, 2" X 2" gauze
+    2  - bandages, 3" X 3" gauze
+    2  - bandages, 4" X 4" gauze
     1  - bandages, ACE Elastic  - 4"
+    4  - bandages, COVERSTRIPS CLOSURES 1/2" X 4"
+    2  - bandages, Elastomull Rollergauze - 2" and 3" X 10 yd
+    2  - bandages, Large wound 18" X 36" gauze
     1  - bandages, oval eye patch
+    2  - bandages, SPENDCO Second Skin 3" x 3 1/2"- burns
     4  - bandages, TEGADREM 2 3/8" X 2 3/4"
+    10 - bandaids, assorted small and medium sized
+    1  - cold pack
     6  - cotton tipped swabs - long
+    2  - gloves, rubber surgical
     2  - hemostat, clamp, one straight, one curved 
     1  - needle, probe, large 6"
     2  - sutures 6-0 - nylon
     1  - scalpel, surgical
+    2  - scissors, EMT style - heavy duty, &  small iris, surgery
+    1  - soap , liquid, bio-degradable 1 oz. or cleansing swabs
+    2  - splints,small - tongue depressors
     1  - SAM Splint 
+    1  - tape, waterproof 1/2" x 10 yds
     2  - thermometer, disposable
+    1  - Tweezerss, w/sharp point - splinter removal
     1  - water, purified  1 qt. - (OPT)
     1  - blood pressure cuff - (OPT)
     1  - stethoscope - (OPT)
     1  - surgical tubing 10 ft - (OPT)

Non-RX Medicine Package
-----------------------
     10 - ACTIFED tablets - decongestant
+    10 - ADVIL - headache, pain or tylenol
+    10 - BENADRYL 25 mg tablets - antihistamine,allergy
     10 - BISACODYL 5 MG - constipation relief
     10 - DIASORB - diarrhea
     1  - DIBUCAINE Oint. 1 oz - itching
     10 - DIULOSE tablets - antacid
+    1  - HYDROCORTISOME Oint. 1 oz. - burn treatment
     10 - MECLIZINE 25 mg tablets - nausea, motion sickness
     10 - MOBIGESIC Tablets - pain, fever
+    4  - NEOMYCIN Oint. - 1/10 oz packets - antibiotic
     10 - ORNEX - nasal decongestant
     1  - POLYSPORIN Oint. - antibiotic
     1  - VISINE eye drops, clear eyes 

RX Medicine Package
-------------------
     10 - ATARAX 25 mg tablets - nausea, antihistamine, pain
     10 - BACTRIUM DS tablets - antibiotic

     10 - DECADRON 4 mg tablets - allergy, acute mountain sickness (ams)
     10 - DIAMOX 250 mg tablets - acute mountain sickness (AMS)
     10 - DOXYCYCLINE 100 mg tablets - antibiotic
      1 - KENALOG IN ORABASE 5 mg tube - mouth sores
     10 - NAPROXSYN 100 mg tablets - pain, muscle relaxant 12 hr.
      1 - PONTOCAINE ophthalmic ointment - eye & ear anesthetic
      1 - TOPICORT .25% ointment 1/2 oz tube - skin allergy
     10 - TYLENOL #3 tablets - pain, diarrhea, cough
     
RX Injectionable Medicine Package
---------------------------------
     1 - ANAKIT - 2 use .6 ml syringe (.3 ml per dose) - allergic reaction
     1 - DECADRON 4 mg/ml, 5 ml multi-use vial - allergy, AMS
     1 - LIDOCAINE 1% 10 ml multi-use vial - local anesthetic, pain
     1 - NUBAIN 20 mg/ml, 10 ml multi-use vial - pain
     1 - VISTARIL 50 mg/ml, 10 ml multi-use vial - analgesic, pain
     4 - 3 1/2 ml syringes with 25 gauge 5/8" needles
     
===========================================================================
EMERGENCY SUPPLIES KIT - EARTHQUAKE, FIRE, FLOOD, RIOT
===========================================================================

+    1  - backpack for supplies
+    1  - book, survival handbook
+    1  - blanket - wool
     1  - blanket, mylar emergency, silver reflective 
+    3  - calume light sticks - 12 hr green, orange, white
+    1  - candle
     1  - canteen, 2 qt. w/carry strap
+    1  - cash $200.00 and $4.00 in quarters and change for phone
+    1  - clothes - shirt,pants,socks,shoes,sweater
     1  - compass, tritium night illumination
+    1  - dust mask
+    1  - eye goggles, clear plastic w/snapon dark lens
     1  - fire start kit - magnesium block & flint & fire cubes
+    1  - flashlight, large & small, w/extra batteries 
+    1  - food ration, survival/emergency - 1 person 6 days
+    1  - gloves, heavy duty work
+    1  - ground cloth, clear plastic
     1  - handgun, 9mm, lightweight & 20 rnds ammunition, or MACE
     1  - insect repellant - cutter spray
+    1  - knife, multi-purpose, w/pliers, file, and screwdriver
     1  - lighter
     1  - lip balm
+    1  - map, local area, and U.S., geological survey style
+    20 - matches, waterproof 
     1  - mirror, signal
+    4  - paperclips, large and small
+    1  - pencil stub,pen & small pad of paper
+    1  - phone numbers - ambulance, hospital, friends out of state
+    1  - rope, nylon 50 ft, 550 lb test
+    8  - safety pins, large & small
     1  - saw, wood and metal
     1  - soap, liquid, bio-degradable
     1  - stove w/extra fuel
     1  - sunglasses w/ keeper strap
     1  - sunscreen, 25 protection 
+    1  - toliet paper, small roll flattened
+    1  - water purification, (chemical or filter)
+    10 - water ration pacs, 3 day supply @ 1 qt / day
     1  - whistle, signal
-----------------------------------------------------OPTIONAL ITEMS--------
     1  - axe - (OPT)
     1  - binoculars, small - (OPT)
     6  - bouillon cubes - beef & chicken  (OPT)
     1  - camera, single use disposable - (OPT)
     1  - cooking kit w/utensils and cup - aluminum - (OPT) 
     1  - fishing kit, emergency - line hooks and sinkers - (OPT)
     3  - flares, aerial  - 300 ft and up (pencil type) - (OPT)
     3  - flares, road, 20 min red - (OPT)
     6  - foil sheets, cooking - (OPT)
     1  - food, spam canned ham - (OPT)
     1  - jacket, medium/light weight - (OPT)
     1  - lantern - using same fuel as stove - (OPT)
     6  - plates or bowls - paper - (OPT)
     1  - rain gear poncho - (OPT)
     2  - razors, single edge - (OPT)
     1  - relective tape marker - (OPT)
     1  - shovel, collapsable - (OPT)
     1  - snake kit and extractor - (OPT)
     1  - spices kit - salt,pepper,garlic,hot pepper,etc - (OPT)
     1  - strobe signal light (xenon bulb) w/extra batteries - (OPT)
     1  - tape, 2" roll of silver duct - (OPT)
     1  - water bag, 5 gallon - (OPT)
     1  - windscreen,foil - for stove - (OPT)
     1  - wire spool - 25ft small gauge - (OPT)

We are your one-stop source for all your Emergency Preparedness and Survival Supplies!
Our inventory is constantly changing, so visit us often. We update our website regularly.

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