Friday, January 31, 2014

LHITS Prep-Along: Step #2 Make a Plan

Here we are at Step #2! Make a plan. I've printed the relevant sheets and I finally found the hole punch, so I placed them in my binder. I do have special considerations - my mother, who is living with us, is 78 years old, and my son is currently 18 months. So I need to prepare for both ends of the spectrum in that regard. The good thing is, a great deal of the preparations for them are the same.

My son with my mother last year.

Extra water and slower movement capabilities are always two things I think of when planning for my mother and son. Comfort as well. For example, as I was going through the FEMA worksheets, I realized we did not have a neighborhood meeting place. Unfortunately where we live, there is often miles and miles of residential area, with no good stores around. Luckily we do have a little plaza close by with a restaurant and a grocery store. I still had to consider whether or not my mother could get my son there in an emergency. Best way to find out? Try it ahead of time. So this weekend we're planning a little trip. She says she can manage it, but I would like to make sure that while I'm at work, they can escape safely.

We also have pets (though the dog in the picture above isn't ours). Dogs are easier as they'll come when called and walk on a leash. The cat is harder. He has a leash but there is no way 'm getting him to walk on it. We have a carrier for him, so I'll have to work that into our plans.

One thing I did want to share with everyone is the family 'emergency code.' Stay with me, it's probably a little different than what you're thinking! We have a rendezvous point that my husband and all his siblings are to meet at. If, for some unknown reason, we arrive and everyone else has been forced to leave in a hurry, they are to scribble the code phrase on a wall somewhere in 2 different colors. The phrase is two short words, and contains the letters N, S, E, and W. They just write these letters in a different color to tell us what direction they had to leave in. Way more paranoid than most people would think of, but we really like having that sort of 'secret code.' We also have family colors. Every one of his siblings, as well as his mom and her husband have two colors. Each of us have green, and then a different color. So my husband and I have green and red. We use it to label things when we go camping together for easy dispersal when we get to the campsite and when we pack up. In an emergency, it would be easy to just grab the appropriately labeled bags and go.

So we're a little more crazy than you thought. But having a secret code is fun, and in an emergency can tell you more than you think, along with keeping people safe. Would you consider adopting a secret code of your own?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Getting Ready for Summer

The drought conditions here in California.

Since I live here in SoCal, we're pretty much the opposite of Alaska. We spend all winter (short as that might be) prepping for summer. At least that's how it feels to me. I know it's January, and our rainy season has not officially ended yet, but I can already feel a bad summer on the horizon. It's a given it will be hot. But we haven't had any rain, so it would have to rain hard once a week or something to catch us up to where we need to be. Something I can do right now to prep for summer: pray for rain! I don't actually hold with the idea that California has too many people and therefore we deserve our drought. Or any other problem that befalls us. I do, however, blame bad water usage and bad management in some places. So that's my next step: start better management of my household water usage right now!

For me, that involves a little web research. Doesn't everything? I'm currently investigating my local utility company's website for possible water an money saving measures, as well as reading and planning on implementing much of what the Red Cross recommends under their drought section. Sadly my utility company is not very helpful. The Red Cross has many more suggestions that I plan to implement. However, my current worry is my garden. I was hoping to start a Victory Garden this year, but I'm uncertain of how to conserve water and still have a thriving garden. I know a big part of it will be using the right irrigation - soaker hoses and mulching to keep the water from evaporating. I'll also be doing a lot of research into different kinds of fruits and veg to see if there are any that naturally use less water (no GM here).

Does anyone have any suggestions that aren't on the Red Cross Page? Or specific suggestions for gardening?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

LHITS Prep-Along: Step 1. Be Informed!

Prepping over Breakfast! Mmmmm.... Eggs, cheese and avocado!

Well, since I've never really used this blog, might as well put it to good use! I'm starting a prep-a-long over at Little House in the Suburbs. I've been wanting to make sure I have an emergency plan in place, but honestly I've always felt like I've been fumbling around in the dark. There are so many things to know! So many supplies to get! So when I saw the prep-a-long, I jumped at the chance. 

This week's assignment is: Be Informed!

  1. What hazards are most likely?
  2. How will I get alerts and warnings?
  3. Does my municipality have emergency plans (shelters, evacuation routes)?
1. Hazards.
I checked PrepareSoCal, FEMA, my county and city pages. Whew! Lots of info, but PrepareSoCal had it in the most concise format for my purposes. My hazards are (in no particular order):
Home Fire
Heat Wave
Power Outage
Space Weather

11 tings?! Wow! Technically I knew of all of them, its just shocks me that the list gets so long. I added drought, which the website doesn't have, because I think of it as a really long problem that can reach emergency status quickly and then stay there.

The probability for all of these? Anything to do with heat is ever present. I know this year is going to be really bad for water. A tsunami? I don't live by the coast, but I would be affected by it, and I would worry for my friends. Some of them may even need to come stay with us or close by. Earthquakes? The probability is high. We get some everyday, technically. You just can't feel them. So a plan for that is necessary, but kind of off the radar. Pandemic and terrorism? Hard to say. We live close to many airports (ONT, LAX, and a bunch of small ones) so I feel like that brings the threat closer. Terrorism would affect us, but through traffic and panic. Pandemic? I'm honestly not sure, but I'm ranking it low. On to the next step!

Printing the "What to do before, during, and after" pages for my binder. Bleh. I chose The American Red Cross printouts since they also run the website I'm mostly working with. After printing them I realized I needed a hole punch and my garage looks like this..... I just stuck them in the binder for now.

2. Alerts and Warnings
I'm not real keen on having alerts on my phone. Whenever I sign up for something, it tends to go off waaaay more than I like. I did sign up for the wildfire alerts from County Fire. Because honestly? That's the real threat. And they don't call you with weird things. The rest of it I'll get through regular news sources and the great network that it my family and friends.

3. Community Plans
So far I can't find concrete community plans for emergencies. If FEMA recommends it, I would think the city or county would have this information available, but sadly not. Just like over at Little House, I'll be calling my fire department to see if they have that information. I'll edit later if I find out anything useful. Now I just need to find the number.....