Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Questions and Answers and a Couple of Tips and Tidbits

It’s time for another blog of questions and answers and a couple of tips and tidbits. You have sent the questions and I will provide some answers and those tips and tidbits.

Q. LS from Raleigh, NC says, "In trying to be prepared, how do I store adequate sizes of clothing for a growing family?

A. When considering clothing to be kept in an emergency kit; or to be set aside in case of a disaster, it is important to realize that warmth and protection are more important than style. (Yeah Mom, that's what she says.") If children and other family members are made aware of this principle beforehand, there is less likelihood of future problems, called contention in the middle of a crisis. Choose the kind of clothing where one size fits all. Sweats are a terrific item in an emergency wardrobe, as are drawstring pants and large T-shirts. Buy clothing a size or two bigger than each child’s current size. If it’s a tad too big or a tad too small, it’s still wearable in an emergency. (Yes it is! Even if it doesn't have a designer label! Have you ever heard of a Designer Disaster that you needed to have labels on your clothes as you ran for cover? I just thought I'd ask.)

For our personal “emergency wardrobe” I went to a discount warehouse-type store that sold seconds and irregulars. (For sure, no fancy label there!) I bought each of us two pair of sweat suits and matching extra large T-shirts. This way they would be suitable in a variety of kinds of weather. I keep them in a plastic tub that is labeled in the shed with our emergency equipment.

Q. As a Mom, I spend a lot of time in the car carpooling kids from one place to another. How would I cope if there were an emergency while in the car? I don’t mean an accident, I mean something like an awful storm or landslide or some such thing. Mary J., San Jose, CA

A. One solution is to keep one or two large plastic tubs with a snug fitting lids in the back of the car/van. Fill the tubs with some basic items. Water is the most critical item to have in your car. Individual water bottles work best for cars. For kids, try to have nutritional treats, tissues and scratch paper and crayons. Don’t forget a roll or two of toilet paper and a few baggies! The main objective is to occupy their minds and hands to keep them calm. A battery-powered radio would allow you to keep up on the progress of the situation without draining the car battery. A cell phone and cell phone charger is a wonderful blessing in such a situation. However, you must control yourself to limit phone calls for the emergency situation and not “just conversations”. This will help insure that what battery power you have can last as long as possible. Another important item to have is blankets. It could prove to be a good thing to have several of the inexpensive fleece throws. The number would depend on the number of children you usually have in your carpool as well as the size of your tubs. Blankets are important as first aid items as well as providing security and warmth.

The food in car kits does not store well because of the intense temperature changes that occur in a car. Make sure that you mark your calendar to change the foodstuffs about every six months. Note: The food in your car kit does not classify as a casual “snack”. It is in the car to meet a specific need in an emergency.

Other items to consider might be:
Several cyalume sticks. One per child if possible. (Not a reusable item.)
Hard candies – sucking on them could help relieve stress.
(Be aware of diabetics)
Moist towlettes
A storybook to read to younger children.
Word puzzle books and pencils for older children.

A Couple of Tips and Tidbits:

During lag-time after an earthquake or severe storm, a small tent might prove to be one of the most desired types of shelter to be found. One firefighter reported that in the aftermath of a
Los Angeles quake that many people were so frightened that they could not remain inside shelters – or even homes that were safe. As the ground continued it’s relentless shaking, they persisted in remaining outside and unsheltered. A small tent could have made a world of difference.

In one of my last blogs it was mentioned that the time had come to change our clocks and check our equipment. Here is one more reminder.

If you have put together evacuation kits and have seasonal clothing in them, now is the time to replace the clothing to fit the coming storm and weather patterns for your area. (You just might want to know if it fits you - who cares about the ocming storm !)

Once you open those kits it is also a good time to see if you have well fed families of weevil enjoying the food that you have provided for them. If so, you may need to convince them to move and replace your food while you have the chance.

Can you believe it? I wrote an entire blog without mentioning how important chocolate is. :-)

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