Sunday, July 31, 2011

Are we in store for more weather disasters?

 With so much being written and said about the disaster in the other Washington, its easy to forget about other types of disasters that may affect us (Plus I didn't want to add to the flurry).
In a recent article published by Reuters, the whole spring weather flurry of disasters was brought into focus. Not only have we had tornadoes, wildfires, droughts and floods this spring but the impact of each of those disasters spawns another disaster.
Tornadoes besides the obvious terrible death toll and the economic impact, there is also an environmental impact of  the debris removal and disposal.
Wildfires create a earth prepared for flooding since there is nothing there to slow the water as it runs down the hillsides in the rain to follow.
Droughts decrease our food crops grown in those areas as well as drying up the aquifer that provides water to those crops, animals and humans.
And as noted in the article the floods (which are still going on today)while not only causing local  flood damage and economic lose will cause the dead zone off the coast to grow as pollutants and fertilizers run down the rivers to Gulf.

How does this relate to preparedness?

Even if you are not directly affected by one of these disasters this spring, you will be. Higher cost of food as the cost rise to produce the food both in the drought areas and seafood will have to be caught farther out in the gulf.
Think about your choices in the store, look for vegetables and meat prices to rise? Stock up with sales when they show up, especially canned foods (they will last longer) 
What would really be a good idea is to have a garden and learn to can and freeze foods.  Even if you live in a apartment/condo (like me) there are pea patches, community gardens to grow your own.
If we become a little more self sufficient every day we become more prepared.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Is your house as prepared as Waffle House?

Is the Waffle House open?

This article reminded me of arriving in Beaumont, TX. after Hurricane Ike and finding Waffle House, IHOP, McDonald's as the only open restaurants.  Why not the local restaurants?  Supply Lines!  The large chains have supply lines (ordering process, warehouses, trucks,etc) that operate almost automatically.  So how can we as individuals take this example from big business and make ourselves more resilient?

  1. Don't have an empty pantry/refrigerator!  If something happened and you were told to "shelter in place" how much food do you have? Toilet Paper? Water? Medication? Cat Food? (nothing like a whiny cat to make the disaster worse)
  2. Don't let your car's fuel tank ride below 1/2 tank. How far can you drive on that 1/2 tank?  If the power is out and you are leaving how far could you get? Or imagine a snow storm at 5PM on a week night and the freeway home is crowded and you have 1/8 of a tank.  How long will it be before you are out of gas...
  3. Know where your "supply points" are You may have a favorite grocery you stop at on the way home. What else is near you where you may be able to pick up supplies? 7-11, independent grocer, independent gas station.  It may not be your first choice, but back-up plans are needed.
Do one thing today to become more prepared

Disaster Dave

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More on Financial Planning for disasters

Another story on the same subject.  We as individuals have to plan, in the words of a famous FEMA administrator " FEMA won't save you". While Brownie is no longer around and we have a more competent FEMA (IMHO) you still have to take personal responsibility.

Make it so
Disaster Dave

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why having a financial plan is important

Hi everyone,
In light of the multi-part disaster in Japan, read how the government is handing the financial side. 
So lets review, the quake/Tsunami/Nuclear incident happened on March 11, and in answer to "when would you start dealing with claims? " the answer was "I don't think everything will be ready in a month (even if the guidelines are completed in July). You would most naturally expect it to begin in early autumn. We will make the utmost effort to do it as quickly as possible." http://
So the question is if you were in that situation what would you be doing while you waited?
Where would you be living?
How would you be paying your debts? Buying groceries?
So if you haven't finished yet, refer back to the article "Can you find your documents" and do a little bit today

Disaster Dave

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WHERE WILL YOU BE WHEN IT HAPPENS- some of the answers

Some of the answers are:
1-      You are on vacation out of the area.
·         Call or text your out of area contact that you are okay and not at the epicenter
·         Extend your stay (you can cancel later, but you may not be able to go home right away)
·         If you are an EM worker, text your boss you are alright
·         Find others from your area and give support

2-      You are in your car on the way home from work
·         Get safely off the road- don’t become a casualty now
·                     Evaluate the situation (radio, etc)
·         text your out of area contact that you are okay 
3-      You are at work
·         Drop Cover and Hold on
·         Follow your office emergency plan
·         text your out of area contact that you are okay

4-      You are at home
·         Drop Cover and Hold on
·         Check on others in your home, condo, apartment building
·         Check on neighbors
·         Follow your home emergency plan
·         Text your out of area contact that you are okay

So this is some place to start. Go for it

Disaster Dave

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I spend a lot of my time in my job planning for what we would do during a major disaster (for us an Earthquake seems most likely). I used to comment during the planning we have to think about this as if we were casualties of the quake; but this put a damper on the meeting.  So now I just say we are all on vacation when it strikes. :)

Which brings me to our first question- Where will we be when ______ (fill in the disaster) strikes?   

So let us play a game I was introduced to earlier this year.
  1. Take an envelope (or cup, pan, sack) and a sheet of paper and pencil.  Tear or cut the paper into 1-2 inch squares (it doesn’t have to be exact) and for a family of four make sure there are at least four squares, each with one of the following numbers 1, 2, 3, 4. On each. (for a larger group just randomly add the numbers 1-4).
  2. Place all in the container and shake.
  3. Have each person pick a number from the bag, then put the envelope away.  Now if you pulled the number:
a.       1- You are on vacation out of the area.
b.      2- You are in your car on the way home from work
c.       3- You are at work
d.      4- You are at home
    4. Next, imagine a major earthquake hits. 
    5.   After taking that in for a moment, go around the table and whoever drew number one should talk about what they would do in their location.  Then go to the next number drawn, and so on until you are done with #4.  Now allow anyone else to add ideas to the numbers they didn’t pick. No wrong answers!

What you have done is begun your disaster planning and involved the whole family (or office). 

*So let’s be interactive; pick a number and comment in this blog on what you would do; we can learn from each other. Your comments will part of the next page in this string!

Disaster Dave

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Northwest Quake - where will you be

This article speaks about our likelihood of a quake in the next fifty years.  Take a moment to read  on this lovely summer day, then take 15 minutes to write down the following big areas:
  • Where will we be when it happens
  • Where will we go (to escape or meet)
  • Who will we help
  • Who will help us
 Over the next few weeks (not today, too sunny) we'll work through these questions.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Who will help you 2

Neighbors to help

A story of neighbors helping neighbors from NPR. A great point made about why its important for us to help each other is "The problem isn't that experts are dumb. It's that communities are not the sum of their roads, schools and malls. They are the sum of their relationships." 

So who knows your community?  You?  Or someone from the opposite coast?  As someone who has responded to disasters in other peoples communities, it is the communities that plan together and respond together who recover the quickest.
What are you doing in your neighborhood? Community to prepare?

Disaster Dave

Monday, July 4, 2011


For many Americans our pets are no longer just hunting or working dogs, they are companions and well... part of the family. But the fact is pets are not allowed in Red Cross shelters, and while some governments and cities have worked to ensure their is a pet shelter available, like everything else in the disaster world you can't depend on that.
So what can you do to make sure your four legged family member is ready? Many of the same things you do for yourself.
  1.  A picture -Of you and your pet together
  2. Does your pet have ID? - are they chipped and/or do they have a collar and license.
  3. A go bag packed? - food, medicine, leash, litter (for cats) , brush, toys...
  4. A plan for where to take your pet if you can't take them with you
  5. A list of hotel chains that allow pets
 There are more great planning tips at the Red Cross
 There will always be situations beyond our control, but we can make sure we exercise some control by preparing our little family members for a disaster.



This is a heartbreaking story of pets left behind and the difficulty of reconnecting them with their families in Japan after the disaster there. And why you should read the next post!

Japan missing pets

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Neighbors as Responders

Happy 4th of July,
 This is a feel good article that reinforces what I said in the beginning, there aren't enough First Responders (Police & Fire).

The first person to help you (besides family) is going to be a neighbor!  So take a step and meet your neighbors.
How,we are all so busy.

In Seattle (and around the country) August 2nd is National Night Out.  Designed to get you out to meet your neighbors (and the police).
Invite a few neighbors over for drinks and a snack (they might return the favor).
Don't be so self involved in the elevators or at the grocery store (me too, our crackberrys will wait a few minutes) say hi, connect.
In Emergency Management we have a saying "all disasters begin and end locally". For you, locally is your front yard, your neighborhood.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Can you find all your important documents...

 ... while your house is shaking?

Me either! Take a moment to read this short article and come back and answer some questions, I'll wait....//

Imagine you are in that situation, in a hotel or friends home hundreds of miles away watching your neighborhood as the scene of a disaster:

Where is your insurance policy?

Your Insurance agents phone #? Their national office phone #?

Lease or Mortgage information?

Doctors numbers? Prescriptions?

1.    So take a tip from the article, buy some gallon zip locks and put important documents in the bag to protect them.
2.    Or use a thumb drive(password protected) to copy all your documents into and put in your go bag.
3.    Scan the documents and upload to a website. 

In our house, we attacked this problem two ways.

First, we have a file with our passports, checkbooks and some cash. Then in my web-mail account I have a file that has scanned copies of important documents (prove who I am and what I own and what I have insured) along with an extensive list of contacts and website passwords.

GO Kit as it sits in file cabinet
Contents- Passport, CC, Cash, Insurance Policy, Birth Cert,Military 214,etc.
Your turn- pick one start today!

Disaster Dave