Monday, August 29, 2011

Password II

So of course I just wrote a blog post about passwords and I found this article.  It is a funny article, but a really scary one in this on line world when you consider how much of your personal info is online..  Take a few minutes and read the article, then go to the second link and try your password.

password article

How strong is your password

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Out at dinner this week we were talking with a EM friend and mentioned go kits, I proudly said we were pretty set. My wife gently reminded me that it had been some time since I had updated my password file for her.  She is right (she always is), I had let this slip, while I may not change my passwords as frequently as I should I do change them.  And in this world of online, if anything ever happened to me i want to make sure she can access all the important things. Like:
  • Any savings accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Insurance(house,car,life)
  • My retired military account
  • my Blog and email accounts
So now of course how do we save them without making them easy targets for someone other than us.
I place the passwords in an Excel sheet and turn on the password protection.  Then I only have to remember ONE password and it protects the others.  Then I email it to her(of course I tell her the password) and she puts it in a folder in an online email account. So now its protected by two different passwords, and available from anywhere in the world should she ever need it.

Got my check mark for the day, and you?


Preparedness & CNN

I have been watching the storm track on all the channels, flipping channels like a junkie.  And while I must admit I am taken in by the "storm porn" on CNN and other channels.  I also want to give Kudos to those channels for elevating the conversation around both preparedness and using social media in a disaster, they have followed the new message. 
Those of us in EM have seen the change in message/conversation coming since Craig Fugate took over the reigns at FEMA.  He made two interesting changes, one internal and one external. 
The second (external), he changed the conversation from the public being dependent to being a partner. FEMA is not a rescue machine; we as the public need to take charge of the aspects of a disaster we can which releases FEMA and the other responders to do the things we can't.
So now we have seen a spring of tornadoes and floods, and a fall of quakes and a hurricane where we don't expect them.
Its time for those of us in the public to become the partner we are and get prepared. For what? for everything!  Its called self reliance.
Take 15 minutes from whatever you are doing this weekend (watching "storm porn" like me) and do one step of preparedness.
I'll blog about my step later today


Friday, August 19, 2011


"Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness. That feeling can create its own reality".

In a recent Op-Ed in the New York Times, Warren Buffett writing about the debt and taxes included the above sentence and he wasn't talking about disaster preparations.  And while I am not going to get into a political discussion here; I have given a lot of thought to that one sentence; in fact it's been bugging me, following me to meetings and to my work on planning for disasters.
One of the things we in Emergency Management discuss is the feeling that due to the media coverage, a large part of the public expects up to snap into action ASAP and fix everything, saving you, grandma and the kitty in the tree.

When disaster happens, the immediate action you expect may not happen.  Why not? We have spent millions since 9-11 and Katrina preparing for disaster you might point out.  Yes the government has spent millions (I have no idea how much), but what have you spent ?
Consider if you will the emergency management folks (Fire, Police, Public Health, Non Profits) who live in your community will be affected by the same disaster.  Their houses will be as damaged as yours, their families suffering the same things your family does. 

So lets review "Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial By you!  will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness.Caused by not having a plan that feeling can create its own reality"Helplessness.

Okay I feel better now; believe me there is more we in Emergency Management can do to help and we do every day (well most everyday, you need day off once in awhile). I know that you have started your preparation, so move it forward this weekend.

Disaster Dave 


Twice in my career I have deployed to disasters outside my area for the American Red Cross and among all the feelings and emotions of serving a community in need is one that came back to me when I read this
I remember after the first week feeling sore and by the second week feeling bloated and over fed. Dining on a disaster scene is not exactly a meal for your health, its a meal (often very good) high in calories and something quick.
So think about that as you prepare for disaster in your home, your office and with your family.  If the worst happens, it will be like nothing you have experienced. Lots of stress, lots of unfamiliar food, sleeping arrangements and feelings.
 So take the time now make it part of your preparation! Exercise! As we used to do in the Army, build your upper body for carrying a pack.  Build your leg muscles to walk long distances. Build your ability to persevere.
If the worst happens, it will be while before you can jump on the tread mill.

Disaster Dave

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Getting your financial house in order

 I wanted to point you to another blogger (the Survival Mom) who writes about preparedness that I read often.  I think she is very prolific and while I think some of her advice is a bit too far out there for me, we all have our views and education of the public is her goal.  This article gives some good advice on preparing financially.   It does seem that the mainstream media is spending a lot of time talking about wall street, and not much time about those of us not wall street traders.  So take a look at her advice, and get your financial house in order. I'm all over #2,3 & 7; but can't quite do #8 yet :).

13 ways to prepare for hyper inflation

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Build your supplies

One of the reasons people don't prepare a disaster kit is they think it costs so much.  What I want you to do is change the way you think about your kit.  
Yes you can spend several hundred dollars to buy survival food; freeze dried, packaged and ready.  So when some folks see that they think "I can't do that, why bother?"  Now before the hard core preppers write me, I'm not saying this isn't a good idea, but if the alternative is to do nothing...

So lets change our thoughts, how about just doing a little when it makes sense.  First lets focus on having food and water to keep you comfortable for a three day shelter in place (snow storm, civil unrest, short attack form outer space).  For instance in the northwest QFC, our local grocery chain is offering two 24 packs of bottled water for $5.00 with their store card.
Small step, and doesn't cost much, and you build muscles carrying it home.
Next week look for some canned food on sale.
The next week, food for your pet.

Just take it slow but do something.

Disaster Dave

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Resilient SF

In a recent post by the Emergency Manager of San Fransisco, he listed out his beliefs of which I pretty much agree.
People are more prepared than they think- Do you typically keep food in your cabinet beyond this weeks menu? Are you a camper? Backpacker? Fisherman or hunter? If yes  then you are on the way.
Strong Communities are strong after a disaster- I have talked about knowing your neighbors, its important.  Reach out and meet them. 
Relationships are the key to everything - Know your local shop-keep (they might sell to you for cash when the power is out, your local repairman, police officer, pharmacist. It is easier to ask for a favor or help if you know someone
the only people that can drive change are people themselves -  if you want to be more resilient its up to you. No federal programs available, look around your community, are there things that would make it more resilient? Look at your neighborhood level first and work out from there.

It is up to you