Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/91/7341091/html/wp-load.php(1) : eval()'d code:1) in /home/content/91/7341091/html/wp-includes/feed-rss2.php on line 8
PreparedBlog.com http://preparedblog.com Your source for emergency preparedness and emergency communications information Mon, 05 May 2014 00:41:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Smart Phone, Dumb Me http://preparedblog.com/smart-phone-dumb-me/ http://preparedblog.com/smart-phone-dumb-me/#comments Sun, 03 Jun 2012 22:19:55 +0000 http://preparedblog.com/?p=706

I left my phone at home the other day. I didn’t get a good night sleep the night before, and was so groggy in the morning, I simply didn’t remember to take it with me. This happens once every few years. But instead of turning around to go back home and get it, I decided to make my first meeting on time and to see what it would be like navigating my day without constant email, text messages, phone calls, games, GPS, Twitter, Facebook and RSS feeds… you get the picture.

What If…?

My first thought was “What if I need to call home?” Then I remembered I had a desk phone (:-0), and gave my wife a quick call. Win! Now she knows my office number. In the last decade or so, I guess she’s never needed to call it, since I always have my cell phone. Now she has a backup number for me, so that’s good. But it’s not the most interesting part.

I also thought “But what if it’s an emergency and I’m not at my desk?”  Then I thought about our personal emergency communication plan, and realized that the only way it was going to get used is if we both have the same emergency at the same time, e.g. something catastrophic like an earthquake. I didn’t think to ask her to turn a radio on, set to monitor throughout the day. Our plan clearly needs more tweaking. Since my commute isn’t that long, it’s really not a big deal. And if you remember back in the <gasp> 20th century, there was a time when nobody had a cell phone, and somehow we survived… But that’s still not the most interesting part.

Oblivious

The most interesting part of my day was what I noticed about the people around me.

Stop looking at me.

I work at a high-tech company where most employees have smartphones, the kind that consume lots of data and have many, nifty apps, in addition to being used for work and personal email.  Can you guess what it looks like on an elevator, walking between buildings, or in the cafeteria?  The thing I noticed most is how many people were oblivious to the world around them because they were heads-down, focused on their phones! Even driving, when waiting at a light, I looked around more than before, and saw many drivers taking a break to surf the Internet or send a text message in the seconds between lights. Of course, it wasn’t everyone. But a lot of people were heads-down. Take a good look around, next time you’re in a crowd, or waiting at a light. What do you see?

 

How Aware Are You?

And I lied. While that was definitely interesting and got me thinking, it wasn’t the very most interesting part. The most interesting part was… you guessed it: all about me. I hadn’t noticed this before because my head was always buried in my phone! Fail. That’s what you call “inadequate situational awareness” or “condition white” for the more martial among you. If you leave your phone at home for a day and suddenly you notice some big, different things, you definitely weren’t paying enough attention before. Just like me. So don’t fail. Pay attention.

Set down your whiz-bang phone, tablet, iPod, or other gadget for a minute and look around. You may notice something you never noticed before.

Stay safe.

-Andrew

]]>
http://preparedblog.com/smart-phone-dumb-me/feed/ 6
Better Disaster Prep Recommendations – 7 is the new 3! http://preparedblog.com/better-disaster-prep-recommendations-7-is-the-new-3/ http://preparedblog.com/better-disaster-prep-recommendations-7-is-the-new-3/#comments Tue, 22 May 2012 05:20:51 +0000 http://preparedblog.com/?p=669

Imagine my surprise when I saw that our local government upped the ante in their disaster prep recommendations! What appears to be a loose coalition of Emergency Management Offices here in Western Washington (“Make it Through” – see link below) is making more extensive recommendations than you’ll see at the federal level.

Good advice from FEMA, but you can do better!

No longer are they recommending the minimal three days of food, water, and other emergency supplies. They’ve more than doubled the recommendation to seven days (actually “seven to ten”). Good for them!

They must have seen my previous article, and realized that three days of food and water just isn’t adequate.

New! Now with… Help Each Other

But that’s not all. They’ve altered the FEMA guidance of “Make a plan, build a kit, be informed.” And it’s a critical twist I wholeheartedly endorse. If you go to http://makeitthrough.org/, you’ll see this guidance:

  • Make a plan
  • Build a kit
  • Help each other(versus FEMA’s “be informed”)

Assuming that people will be informed anyway (if they have a radio in their kit and pay attention otherwise), helping each other is far more important.

New and improved advice!

In many disaster scenarios, most people won’t have access to the standard array of government emergency services, so we must assume that police, fire, medical and other services will not be available. So who will be available? Each other.

And how can you become more useful, or help others become more self-sufficient?

  1. One great way is to run a “Map Your Neighborhood” program or something similar, depending on what resources are available in your area. (If you’re not sure how to do this, learn how here.) If you don’t know your neighbors, you should probably get out and say hello. This program is a great excuse to meet people you should already know (and will help you learn other important information…).
  2. Another great option: take a CERT course with some friends. It will probably go something like this (see installments 1-9).
  3. And you can’t go wrong by taking Red Cross First Aid and CPR classes, or better yet, one of their First Responder courses.

Back to the latest, greatest government guidance. As it turns out, unfortunately, their “Make a family emergency communication plan” is the typical “write down some phone numbers, including an out-of-area contact” advice. It’s not bad advice, but you can do far better with very little effort. Check out www.emergencycommunicationsblog.com for more details, or if you want the best communications-focused, disaster prep resource out there, get my book! On sale now at Amazon.com :-).

Stay safe!

-Andrew

]]>
http://preparedblog.com/better-disaster-prep-recommendations-7-is-the-new-3/feed/ 1
Contest – Free book, AMK First Aid kit, enter now http://preparedblog.com/contest-free-book-amk-first-aid-kit-enter-now/ http://preparedblog.com/contest-free-book-amk-first-aid-kit-enter-now/#comments Mon, 21 May 2012 04:38:55 +0000 http://preparedblog.com/?p=665

The new contest is here! Here’s the link — all the details are on our sister site here: http://emergencycommunicationsblog.com/free-book-free-first-aid-kit/.

Happy posting, and good luck!

-Andrew

]]>
http://preparedblog.com/contest-free-book-amk-first-aid-kit-enter-now/feed/ 2
Personal Emergency Communications – Now on Sale! http://preparedblog.com/personal-emergency-communications-now-on-sale/ http://preparedblog.com/personal-emergency-communications-now-on-sale/#comments Sat, 05 May 2012 05:38:06 +0000 http://preparedblog.com/?p=645

I’m happy to announce that my next book is now available! If you have family, friends or anyone else you care about and want to be prepared to weather the next power outage or even a natural disaster, Personal Emergency Communications is a must-read.

Personal Emergency Communications – get your copy now!

Written for the layman (no radio interest or expertise required!), I’ll walk you through the technology, the equipment you’ll need, and how you can make your own realistic, simple emergency communication plan, far more advanced and useful than the insufficient “have an out-of-area-contact” plan you’ve probably heard before.

I wrote this book for my friends and family, and for anyone who *isn’t* interested in radios at all, but who is interested in taking care of loved ones when the chips are down. Have you have ever wondered “What will I do if my cell phone, land-line phone, and the Internet don’t work?” or “How will I call [insert important people here] to know they’re safe?” Or do you only wonder now, since I asked the question? :-) In any case, this book is for you!

Here are comments from Ward Silver, author of “Two-Way Radios and Scanners for Dummies” and “Ham Radio for Dummies”:

This is a very useful book for someone interested in communicating in a disaster or emergency but who has little or no experience with using radio equipment… I like the book’s approach of “you can do this” and how it emphasizes thinking about what you want to accomplish, having several backup plans, and the need to practice. Andrew manages to explain the basics of different radio technologies while keeping a lot of the technical details from obscuring the basic points. To be sure…to get the most out of your radio and communicate effectively you’ll need to learn some of the technology but not all at once right at the beginning. The sections on personal prep and “go kits” is welcome and can’t be repeated enough. Going though his provided templates will help anyone think about planning and their personal circumstances which is a good thing – not enough people do it and are then unprepared. He provides on-line resources that will help the reader learn more about whatever technology they wind up deciding to use. This keeps the book from becoming an encyclopedia and makes it easy to read all the way through instead of getting sidetracked by details.

Give it a read and be much better prepared for an emergency.

-Andrew

 

]]>
http://preparedblog.com/personal-emergency-communications-now-on-sale/feed/ 4
Your Disaster Sleep Plan http://preparedblog.com/your-disaster-sleep-plan/ http://preparedblog.com/your-disaster-sleep-plan/#comments Sat, 05 May 2012 05:37:51 +0000 http://preparedblog.com/?p=608

Is sleeping part of your disaster plan? I’ll bet it’s not. Of course we can’t predict when we’ll be able to sleep in a life-or-death or otherwise high-stress situation. But we will all need to sleep eventually, so how will you ensure you’re able to get a minimum amount of rest?

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

We all know what happens if you don’t get enough sleep. At first, you get a little… stupid. You can’t do simple things as well as before. Your short-term memory starts to fail. You get clumsy and irritable. And you start making mistakes. Worst case, you make big mistakes. Long-term sleep deprivation is even worse, eventually resulting in mental breakdown and worse.

What do you think will happen after a day or two in a long-term emergency or disaster situation? Not only will you have a lot of additional problems to stress over, you will probably also have a compromised sleeping situation. Why? Maybe it’s because the rest of your family is not sleeping regularly, your home is damaged, you have unexpected guests, loud disturbances (sirens, gunfire, voices dogs barking) in your area, or any of the many other things that could make it difficult to sleep. And that’s not assuming you’re pulling a night watch shift because looters are busy in your neighborhood.

Sooner or later, you must sleep.
Sooner or later, you must sleep!

We can make one assumption safely, however. You must eventually sleep. If you don’t proactively decide when to sleep, you will fall asleep at the worst possible time, according to Murphy’s Law. This is one of the most troubling scenarios to the single person in an unsafe environment, so if that’s your scenario, you better find a place to hole up. But for most of us, we will have someone in the area we can trust to not plunder (or worse) while we sleep. And in that case, the goal will be at least a few (ideally several) hours of rejuvenating, uninterrupted unconsciousness.

Tips For Quality Sleep

  • Darkness will help. When I was in Army basic training, I was sleep-deprived like everyone else. One day on KP (Kitchen Patrol), things slowed down temporarily at the pots and pans station where I had been busy scrubbing bacon grease and other gunk off of large trays, and I took the opportunity to crawl under the sink, curl up and crash out for about an hour. It wasn’t as nice as a full night’s sleep, but it was better than nothing. And since I was so tired, I didn’t even notice that the bricks I lay on were hard, cold and damp, and that the pans getting cleaned in the stainless steel sink above me were clanging loudly. Darkness is all I needed at that point.
  • Another option that may help in your situation is a simple sleeping mask, especially if you’ve used one before and aren’t going to be distracted by something touching your eye area as you sleep. I remember many times after a 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM night shift, when I’d get home and put a large (and clean) sock over my eyes to help block out the light as I drifted away. A sleeping mask would have stayed on better.
  • A quiet environment will certainly help get you an extended chunk of sleep time. A surefire way to help with that: earplugs. I carry a pair in my backpack, so they’re around every time I travel. It’s not often I encounter unexpected, continuous noise, so that’s not my concern. But being able to shut out the world and sleep is a big deal. They’re small, inexpensive, and easy to find in bulk. Make sure you find a brand that fits comfortably, or you may wake up too early because they fell out, or because your ears are getting sore.
  • Along those lines, a cool environment will probably help too. Although it’s probably not likely you’ll have all of your common climate control options available in a real disaster, if you have the option to sleep in an environment that’s about 68 degrees F, you’ll probably sleep better than at 75 or 55 degrees.
  • Take some ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Not the the “PM” kind (like Tylenol PM), which contain antihistamines (which can cause undesirable side effects, especially if used repeatedly). All the little aches and pains you picked up during the day will be relieved and allow you to rest more comfortably. They might not seem significant as you doze off, but they may prevent you from really relaxing for an extended time.

If You Want to Sleep, Avoid These:

  • Alcohol may help you feel drowsy, but after you process the alcohol, you will probably go through an alert phase, and unless you’re really drunk (which is not a good idea, because drunkenness and subsequent hangover are also not helpful in an emergency situation), you’ll probably wake up long before you get as much rest as you need.
  • As stated above, antihistamines like Tylenol PM, while they may cause drowsiness, aren’t a great approach. Other sleeping medications (unless prescribed) probably should be considered only as a last resort.
  • Caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, “NoDoz”, etc.) consumed within a couple hours of when you need to sleep will decrease your sleep quality, if you’re able to get to sleep at all. The same applies for nicotine in cigarettes, depending on how you’re addicted (since it relaxes at some times and stimulates at others).

What Can You Do Now, and What Can You Stock Up On?

Ensuring you are able to get to sleep after a disaster, short-term emergency, or even a stressful day is critical for your mental and physical well-being. Consider these options as part of your planning.

  1. Be healthy and fit now. Healthy people who exercise regularly sleep better than those who don’t. Fitness is money in the bank.
  2. Get enough sleep now, so you’re not in a deficit when the major stress hits. Get it while the going is good!
  3. Buy some earplugs, a sleeping mask, and a bottle of ibuprofen or acetaminophen (which you should already have).
  4. Test your sleeping mask and test your earplugs at night. See if you need to try something different. Don’t wait until you’re stressed out to test your plan.
  5. If you’re concerned your bedroom may not be available when you need it, get a cot and try sleeping on it one night. If you don’t lose your bedroom, a guest who gets to use it will thank you profusely.

We all think about shelter, food, water, and other “basics” in a disaster preparedness context, but also make sure you give some thought to how you’ll maintain your sanity! You can thank me later. :-)

Stay safe!

Andrew, AB8L

]]>
http://preparedblog.com/your-disaster-sleep-plan/feed/ 5
Interview with the Author of Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family http://preparedblog.com/interview-with-the-author-of-handbook-to-practical-disaster-preparedness-for-the-family/ http://preparedblog.com/interview-with-the-author-of-handbook-to-practical-disaster-preparedness-for-the-family/#comments Thu, 15 Mar 2012 17:30:50 +0000 http://preparedblog.com/?p=577

Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family, 2nd Edition” is one of the best disaster preparedness books on the market and I interviewed the author, Dr. Arthur Bradley.  He generously agreed to answer some questions I think we all care about, for example:

  • What is the most important aspect of disaster preparedness?
  • What is the easiest thing I can do to be better prepared for disaster?
  • What is the least expensive thing I can do to be better prepared for disaster?

These and other interesting practical prepping questions and answers await you below.  Enjoy!

Dr. Bradley, if there was a single, simple preparedness message you wanted people to understand, what would it be?

My message would be to keep your preparations simple and effective. Avoid getting caught up in hype or paranoia. Start with a simple threat assessment, identifying the disasters that you are most worried about. This assessment might be drive by likelihood, severity, or special vulnerabilities. Once you have identified the threats that are of greatest concern, determined their impacts (e.g., food shortages, loss of electricity, lack of medical care, etc.). With the impacts clearly understood, it then becomes possible to take steps to mitigate their effect on your family. For example, if you’re worried about losing electrical power during a hurricane, then equipping your home with a backup system (such as a generator or battery/inverter system) would be near the top of your list of preparations. By working through this logical process of threat assessment, impact identification, and targeted preparations, you can effectively prepare your family for a wide range of disasters.

What inspired you to write your books?

One of the best disaster prep books currently available.

I’ve always been interested in disaster preparedness and wilderness survival. When I was a child, my father was a big survival advocate. I remember sitting around as a family studying maps of probable nuclear blast zones and discussing where we would retreat to. What really drove me to action, however, were the terrorist attacks of 9/11. As I watched the Twin Towers burn, I decided that my family was terribly underprepared for the kinds of dangers that we might face. This led down a long road of reading every book on the market, taking appropriate training, assessing my own family’s needs and preparations, and then taking concrete steps to get ready. It also motivated me to put my research together into a handbook that I hope others will find useful.

What is the most important aspect of disaster preparedness?

The most important aspect is to consider the needs of your entire family. Too many people forget about their family’s special needs, whether they are the needs of children, pets, an elderly parent, or someone with a medical condition. A disaster preparedness plan should be tailored to each family. A family with five kids that lives in rural Nebraska is very different than a retired couple living in a high rise apartment in downtown Los Angeles. There is no one right answer that fits everyone.

How can I explain to my wife, husband, parents, kids, or friends why disaster preparedness is important? What is the easiest way to give information to others without sounding crazy, “doom & gloom”, or paranoid?

I find that it’s easier than most people think to invite others to join the cause. The hard fact is that we all want to survive. When people see a viable threat, they pay attention. A clear, level-headed proposition to get better prepared is usually met with some understanding. Nearly all of us have been affected (or know someone affected) by widespread disasters. That often serves as a good jumping off point for forming a disaster preparedness network.

I personally think that there’s a movement underway in the US (and perhaps globally) to get better prepared. It’s likely due to the unprecedented number of disasters that occurred in 2011. Consider that in 2011, there was over 265 billion dollars worth of damages globally! Just within the US, there were nine disasters that caused at least 1 billion dollars of damage, not to mention the horrific loss of life from tornadoes.

What is the easiest thing I can do to be better prepared?

I tell people to start by storing 30 days of food and 14 days of water. Next would be to set up a backup heating system (if appropriate to the climate). These simple steps can help families get through many commonplace disasters.

What is the least expensive thing I can do to be better prepared?

Simply to start paying attention. My motto is Stay Alert = Stay Alive! Getting a weather radio is a good example of a paying closer attention to the threats around you.

What is the most important training I can get for disaster preparedness?

I’d start with first aid training. Everyone should know life-saving first aid, whether it be how to stop bleeding, recognize the symptoms of a stroke, or administer CPR. CERT training, firearms instruction, and HAM radio licensing are also valuable.

Concerning disaster preparedness, what is our biggest cultural weakness in the US?

Like many parts of the world, we’ve grown fat, dumb, and happy. Many people are complacent and live under an imaginary umbrella of protection that our government provides. I feel that we need to return to our roots and recognize our own responsibility for our family’s safety. More grit, less handouts.

What is our biggest infrastructure weakness in the US?

Arguably, it’s the electrical power infrastructure. The electrical grid serves as the lifeblood for nearly every other infrastructure (i.e., food harvesting and distribution, water processing and distribution, banking, transportation, telecommunications, petroleum and natural gas, emergency services, and government). If it goes down, everything else quickly fails. By all accounts the power grid is old and prone to systemic failure. Consider the widespread and lasting effects of a long term failure – such as from an EMP attack or solar storm.

What’s your next book about?

As you know, I currently have two books out. The Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family is a comprehensive book that helps individuals and families understand the process of getting better prepared. The newest book that I have out is Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms. As the title would imply, it hopes to address these two very important threats by analyzing the likelihood and ramifications of the events. It also outlines how individuals can prepare and protect themselves from these dangers. My next book will likely be an Advanced Prepper’s Manual, discussing more advanced topics when preparing for truly world-changing events.

Can you tell us a little more about yourself, a quick bio?

Dr. Arthur Bradley is an Army veteran, father of four, martial arts expert, and dedicated homeschooler. He is active in volunteer youth organizations, including the Boy and Girl Scouts of America. He holds a doctorate in engineering from Auburn University and currently works as a senior engineer for NASA. Having lived all across the United States, Dr. Bradley writes from personal experience about preparing for a wide variety of disasters, including earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, floods, house fires, and massive snowstorms. He prescribes to the philosophy that preparedness should always be motivated by love and concern, never by fear and paranoia. His practical approach to family preparedness has received widespread praise from individuals, emergency preparedness experts, and religious organizations.


Thanks for your time, and illuminating comments, Dr. Bradley!

-Andrew

]]>
http://preparedblog.com/interview-with-the-author-of-handbook-to-practical-disaster-preparedness-for-the-family/feed/ 3
Your “Go to a Government Shelter” Disaster Plan – Think Again! http://preparedblog.com/your-go-to-a-government-shelter-disaster-plan-think-again/ http://preparedblog.com/your-go-to-a-government-shelter-disaster-plan-think-again/#comments Sun, 22 Jan 2012 18:56:41 +0000 http://preparedblog.com/?p=547

Do you have the “recommended” three days of food and water set aside for an emergency or disaster? Is your plan to go to a government shelter after a disaster, even if you have your own shelter or your home is still habitable? If so, you should think again.

You can find recommendations on emergency food storage from the Red Cross, your local government, disaster preparedness gurus, and many others, and the recommendation looks like this: “Set aside three days of food and water in case of a disaster.”

Of course, it’s not difficult to put this much food aside, and it’s definitely not a bad thing to do. Many people already have more than three days of food in their cupboards and pantries (although the usual recommendation is to have this three days of emergency food set aside in a separate location, ideally in a box that’s easy to move, so that you can take it with you if you need to evacuate). Please note one more issue that is occasionally addressed: You can take that box of food and (since it’s portable) simply give it to someone else who needs it (e.g., an unprepared neighbor), assuming you have enough yourself.

But is three days of food and water for an emergency a realistic amount for you and your family? I can’t answer for you and your family, but I’ll give you the answer for me and mine: “No!” Why do I think three days of reserve food and water insufficient? When I’ve heard this recommendation in the past, the logic behind it (which I only recently heard called out explicitly) is that three days of food will give you enough buffer to get by until you are able to get to a government shelter. What is your plan in a serious emergency or natural disaster? Do you not have a plan? Uh oh! Let’s back-track for just a moment. While this article isn’t about creating a full disaster plan, let’s look quickly at the angle. If nothing else, ask yourself these questions:

  1. If the power goes out for over a week (since power outage is the result of most disasters, e.g. earthquake, hurricane, nuclear reactor meltdown, regional flooding, tornado, etc.), what will you [and family, friends, as applicable] do? Is your goal to go stay at home (assuming it’s habitable) or is your plan to go to a government shelter? By the way, if you don’t have a plan for more than a couple days of food and water, your default plan is to have the government take care of you!
  2. If your local gov’t is your plan, let’s ask one more question: Are you confident that within three days, your local government will have a clean, safe, stocked shelter ready for you and your family (but not pets – not allowed) to move into? Once you’ve given at least a moment’s thought, let’s focus more on self-sufficiency and ask the next question…
  3. How long do you want to be able to comfortably eat and drink (more on water storage in a separate article) if you can’t leave your home?
Mountain House freeze-dried food

Mountain House is a high-quality, easy-to-prepare and tasty option for bulk, freeze-dried food storage.

Three days is a minimum, and of course you should have that ready to use or give away. But let’s look at some better, convenient options. Quickly, let’s review the types of food you can store. Of course, fresh food isn’t an option for a power-out situation, unless it’s coming from a local farm or garden.

  • Bagged/boxed food: it can often last up to a year or more, and needs to be regularly rotated into your everyday food stores.
  • Canned food: it can also last a year or more, and needs to be rotated in order to prevent needing to throw away expired food each year.
  • Dehydrated food: Dehydrated fruits & some other products can last up to a few years.
  • Freeze-dried food: This is my favorite option, though more expensive than the next option. You can get canned or bagged freeze-dried food that will last 20-30 years, and if you prefer, you can get meals that only need to add water, vs. raw ingredients (next option), which will require more preparation.
  • Raw foods: Wheat, rice, beans, corn, and other grains are easy and relatively inexpensive to store in cans or larger containers, and they can last 20-30 years, and in some cases longer. Preparation is more labor-intensive (e.g. grinding wheat), resource-intensive (e.g. baking bread), and time-consuming (e.g, soaking beans overnight vs. simply adding water to freeze-dried food).

The easy way to set aside one, two, or three weeks (which should be the minimum, in my opinion) worth of food is to regularly set aside a small amount of canned and boxed food (even if it’s just one can or box), every time you come back from the grocery store. If you don’t have a big budget to set aside food right now, this approach allows you to gradually grow your emergency food supply, maybe only an extra day of reserve at a time (or even less), until you reach your goal.

Wise freeze-dried food in a bucket

Wise brand has some great advantages: the portions are individually-wrapped (whereas an opened can may go stale/bad if not used soon), and the storage is quite compact. There are 84 servings in this bucket, with 10 different types of entrees and break fast options. This single bucket may be your (individual) 28-day backup food supply. It's that simple!

Another way, if you have a little more cash set aside, is to buy free-dried.  In my opinion, this is the easiest option for long-term, “buy-and-forget” emergency food storage. You can buy a one-week, one-month, or even one-year (if you have the $, space, and that much concern) supply, store it and be done with it for the next 20-25 years. That is convenient! Freeze-dried food is my favorite option for those reasons:

  • Long term storage: Canned, freeze-dried food is usually good for 25 years, sometimes longer.
  • Easy to prepare: All you need to do is add hot water (or even cold water if you want to wait longer for it to reconstitute), wait a couple minutes and eat a prepared entree (e.g., spaghetti and meat sauce, beef Stroganoff, chicken teriyaki).
  • Easy to organize: Take your bucket or box of #10 cans and stick them on a dry shelf. Mark the date on them and come back every couple years to make sure they haven’t been damaged.  No rotating necessary. If you store canned/boxed food, you’ll need to rotate (still not a big deal). And if you store canned, raw ingredients, you’ll need to make sure you’re storing enough of the components to make a meal later. E.g., a ton of wheat will go a long way, but you’ll be sick (figuratively and possibly literally, depending on your innards) of eating hot wheat berries for breakfast and bread for lunch after about one day. You’ll need a wider variety of ingredients.

A downside, at least at first glance, is price.  However, give it a little thought anyway. Storing a significant quantity of freeze-dried will probably look quite a bit more expensive at first glance, but when you compare to a can or bucket of wheat, rice, beans, spices, etc. and factor in the cooking time and facilities necessary to make them edible, the additional water and other ingredients you’ll need to consider, weight (if you ever need to move your food), etc., the option that seems less expensive now may feel much more expensive later when you need to use those supplies.

Note: Canned freeze-dried food will last far longer than mylar pouches by themselves (with the exception of the Wise foods mylar bags that are sealed again inside a plastic bucket). The Mountain House, Alpine Air, or other brand mylar-bag-packed food you can buy at your local sporting goods store usually lasts five to seven years, whereas the same meal in a #10 can (the usual size, typically Mountain House brand, but there are others) will usually last 20-25 years.

Of course, three days of food is a nice start, but regardless of how you want to store emergency food, consider at least three weeks. It’s easy!

]]>
http://preparedblog.com/your-go-to-a-government-shelter-disaster-plan-think-again/feed/ 0
How to Set Up and Run a Map Your Neighborhood Program – Part 2 http://preparedblog.com/how-to-set-up-and-run-a-map-your-neighborhood-program-part-2/ http://preparedblog.com/how-to-set-up-and-run-a-map-your-neighborhood-program-part-2/#comments Mon, 19 Dec 2011 00:07:01 +0000 http://preparedblog.com/?p=522

If you haven’t read my first article on Setting up and Running a Map Your Neighborhood Program, you should read it first, here.

The quick version: the Map Your Neighborhood is a program designed to help neighborhoods prepare for disasters, with a specific curriculum and workshop materials.  I tracked down and reviewed materials, invited neighbors, offered dessert, and…

After all of the preparing I did, the program went just fine.  Most neighbors showed up on time, and some even brought their own chairs (as I had requested).  And even though we had prepared pie and ice cream for everyone, people brought more desserts anyway!  We had a lot left over, and nobody left hungry.  How can you go wrong with extra dessert?

Map Your Neighborhood participant handout and American Red Cross preparedness materials

We walked through the Map Your Neighborhood standard content, which was quick and easy, and had a little bit of Q&A along the way. We briefly walked through additional Red Cross content I had brought.  I demonstrated a water and gas shutoff wrench, showed some food storage options, showed a water can when talking about water storage, etc. I also mentioned some of the content in the CERT class I was taking at the time. Unsurprisingly, there was some significant overlap. And given my background, I probably spent a little extra time on emergency communications.  You can expect an article later if I am able to set up the emergency communication plan I have in mind for the neighborhood. :-)

What went well?

  • One neighbor brought their three teenagers, and they were all engaged.  Wow!  I didn’t expect any young folks to be interested, but I’ll take it.
  • Everyone cared about the content, and had good questions.
  • Everyone followed up with my request for additional contact info, so that I was able to prepare a useful map.
  • Everyone said “OK” when I asked (and you must ask) if I could share our contact information
  • We finished quickly, less than two hours.  If I recall correctly, we were done in about 1.5 hours, which is very quick for all of this content.

What could have gone better?  We had a couple of false starts as people trickled in, but I guess that is to be expected.  Also, I didn’t use the training DVD.  Why not?  Personally, I thought the program went much quicker without it, and not taking a lot of time was one of my goals.  I wouldn’t recommend that for everyone, however.  One of the benefits of the DVD is that the training is standardized — everyone sees the same material.

Also, two neighbors couldn’t make it, and I could have tried to reschedule again, but I was getting tired of trying to pin down a date that would have worked for everyone.  I did drop off the materials with both neighbors afterward, and they did provide me with contact info for our map (see below), so that ended up OK.

About a week later (it should not have taken that long, but I was busy!), I sent out the map, which I put together as a PDF.  It looks something like the picture below.

You’ll note that I asked for certain key pieces of information:

  • Names of everyone living in the residence, even if part-time
  • Names and types of pets
  • Land-line and cell phone numbers for everyone
  • Email addresses for everyone

What I didn’t ask for:  Emergency contact number, especially out of area. I’ve been thinking about this and think it’s a good idea, although I’m a little concerned that people might find the request invasive.  Maybe I’ll ask what people think when we all get together next.

Sample Map Your Neighborhood map

You can see how it turned out.  It looks a lot like the sample I made, which you can see to your right.  Here’s how you can make your own map:

  • Go to Bing or Google maps, find your location, and zoom in as far as you can.
  • Use the “Snipping Tool” (in Windows, or whatever for Mac/Linux) to capture the view you prefer
  • Copy it
  • Paste it into your desktop publishing application.  I used Microsoft Publisher.
  • Add text boxes with contact info, and lines that point to houses
  • Save as PDF and send out to your neighbors (but you’re not done yet!)
  • Get corrections (guaranteed to be a few), make changes, and send out again
  • Follow up by handing out paper printouts to each neighbor (they may not have a printer or may forget to print it out)

If you would like a larger copy as an example, I saved one as a PDF for you to review:  Sample Map Your Neighborhood PDF map.

What I didn’t put on the map:  Resources, like chainsaws or generators.  It seemed like it would be more work and I was running out of room on our map, although I do have notes from the meeting.  The good news is that we neighbors all know each other well enough now, and the group is small enough that I think we would all be relatively comfortable asking for help from the guy who’s good at plumbing, construction, first aid, etc.

What’s next?  We had a neighbor move away just a couple weeks ago.  When that house is occupied again, I’ll introduce myself, try to get a read on the new neighbors, see if they’re interested in reading some disaster preparedness materials, and when it feels comfortable, I’ll ask them for some contact info.  If the other neighbors are sufficiently comfortable with the new neighbors (or trust my judgment), we can share all of our contact info.  I won’t give anyone’s contact info to anyone else without permission.

Another thing I’d like to do when the weather is better is to have a simple “block party” type of gathering  – a pot-luck or barbecue or whatever.  Even though we’re neighbors and even though we’ve met each other, had conversations, and even shared some stories, there is still a lot of opportunity to get to know each other better and ideally increase our mutual trust and comfort level. This is what I think will make the biggest difference in a pinch.

I hope you found this useful.  If you have any questions or comments, please post below!

]]>
http://preparedblog.com/how-to-set-up-and-run-a-map-your-neighborhood-program-part-2/feed/ 0
Using One of Your Critical Everyday Carry Tools: Folding Knife http://preparedblog.com/using-one-of-your-critical-everyday-carry-tools-folding-knife/ http://preparedblog.com/using-one-of-your-critical-everyday-carry-tools-folding-knife/#comments Wed, 23 Nov 2011 16:49:00 +0000 http://preparedblog.com/?p=494

Aside from your brain, one of the key every-day carry tools is the popular folding knife.  Most of us can use one effectively to open boxes and bags of chips, but how can you use a knife for self-defense purposes?  Take a course like “Defensive Folding Knife” – then you’ll know.

Do you carry a folding knife?  Have you thought about carrying a folding knife but just aren’t ready yet?  And why do/would you carry one?

If your reasoning includes self-defense, in a very bad situation, keep reading, because I learned some things you should know too, at the Defensive Folding Knife course at Insights Training in Bellevue, WA.

A few basics for those of you who aren’t sure about why you’d carry a defensive knife (credit to Ralph Mroz for his article in Tactical Knives magazine) in the first place:

  1. Anyone can use one, old or young, fat or skinny, weak or strong, man or woman
  2. A knife is easy to use very quickly
  3. A knife is very easy to carry – pocket, waistband, etc. (more on that below)
  4. A knife is legal to carry almost everywhere (research your local laws before you carry!)
  5. Depending on where you live, it may not be legal to carry a gun, and for you a knife may be the next best thing
  6. If you travel, a knife is relatively convenient, and legal in many more places, especially internationally (do even more research here – some countries carry stiff penalties for silly things)

As you read further, you’ll learn even more about why a knife can be very handy in a pinch.

Let’s start with a couple things:  1) Why I took the course and 2) Who are these Insights folks?

I took this course for a couple reasons.  I took a similar course previously several years ago, from Eric Remmen.  It was good stuff.  When I saw one of the InSights Training Center flyers at the  local gun store, it looked like similar curriculum, already knowing that their training would be very high quality, I decided to give it a go.  That’s one reason – because I like to learn, am interested in self-defense stuff, and I knew this instruction would be good.  How good?  Here are the bios for a couple of their instructors:

Greg M. Hamilton, Chief Instructor:  “Greg  is the Founder and Chief Instructor for InSights. He is internationally recognized as one of the best firearms and tactics instructors in the world. He is a veteran of the US Army Rangers and Special Forces, and is certified by the Army as a Close Quarters Combat Instructor and Anti-Terrorism Instructor.”  And two more paragraphs with more details…

John Holschen:  “John Holschen is a frequent guest instructor with InSights. John served for over 20 years in the Special Operations and Intelligence branches of the U.S. Army. He is a former US Army Special Forces Weapons Sergeant and Special Forces Medic. John taught at the JFK Special Warfare School and was the Senior Hand to Hand Combat Instructor/Master Instructor for 1st Special Forces Group.”  And two more paragraphs with more details…

They are bona fide bad-asses, and at the same time, easy-going (at least with this civilian crowd), excellent teachers.  How could I help but learn a lot?

The other reason for taking the course is that I often carry a folding knife, and use it to open boxes, bags, bubble-packed stuff, and the hundred other things that seem to come up regularly when you have such a tool available.  The techniques used to open & cut stuff in this context are relatively easy to acquire intuitively.  However, when it comes to using a knife for self-defense purposes, critical behaviors and actions are not so intuitive for many (even for some martial artists, who are taught some wacky concepts sometimes).  I thought I had a good foundation with what I learned in my previous course, but wanted to be a little more sure, since I would be relying on this training to potentially save my life or the life of a loved one.  I wanted to be able to use this tool to protect myself, at least somewhat effectively.

So I showed up at about 8:00 A.M., ready to go, wondering what I’d find.  You may be a a little surprised.  While there were a few more men than women, the class was not full of ex-military, muscle-bound, buzz-cut-sporting, tough guys itching to fight, but “regular folks”, from the overweight woman in her late 60’s and her 30-something daughter to the couple in their 20’s who wanted to take better care of each other.  And my wife.  I dragged her along.  She loves to learn too, and is generally a real trouper when it comes to indulging me.  (Thanks Baby.)  Essentially, it was a little cross-section of society.  I wondered how they would be able to tailor their curriculum to fit this group, most of whom were not “fighting-fit”.

One of the wonderful things I learned about a simple folding knife in a life-or-death, self-defense scenario is that it can be used very effectively by weak and strong, tall and short, young and old, with devastating effects.  And Insights set up the class so that anyone could take it.  Kudos to whoever owns the training plan – it seemed to work well for everyone.  Their fitness level didn’t matter much.

Let’s talk about what we learned.  I’m not going to give you a minute-by-minute description, even though the course was sufficiently content-packed to do that.  You’ll need to take the course yourself to get that level of content (and I recommend the course to anyone interested in taking care of him-/herself).  We covered the following topics (and other stuff I don’t have room to include):

  1. When to use deadly force
  2. Color codes of awareness
  3. Mental conditioning
  4. Techniques/Skills
  5. Equipment

You’ll notice something that our instructors didn’t actually call out in the class (that I recall).  The listing above is generally covered in order of importance, from most to least important.  For those of you who think having the super-cool knife is all you need to defend yourself in a life-or-death situation, you are dead wrong.  You should know when it makes sense to use a knife, practically and legally, what your mindset should be, how you can avoid a dangerous situation and using a knife altogether, the basics of how to use the knife in a variety of situations, and lastly, some good knife options.  All of the information leading up to which knife you want is much more important.

Again, this material will NOT replace taking this course or a similar course.  THIS ARTICLE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, and anything you decide to do with this information is at your own risk.  Consult your doctor, lawyer, local law enforcement, law-books, etc. before you do anything with a knife where you live.

Let’s go over some things I learned.

1. When to use deadly force in self-defense

As I referenced above, you must know the laws in your city, state, province, and/or country.  And aside from what your local laws allow, what’s covered in this course is only defensive in nature.  Do your research – your and your family’s well-being (at least) could depend on it.  You can’t defend your loved ones if you are in prison, and your opinion of what’s right and wrong may not matter to your local lawmakers, law enforcement & judges.  According to many laws, the following conditions must exist before you can use deadly force (which you should also learn in any self-defense-related shooting course):

  • Ability – the attacker must be able to use deadly force against you (or someone else – the same applies to “you” below).
  • Opportunity – the attacker must have the opportunity to carry out the attack.
  • Jeopardy – the first two aren’t enough.  The attacker must use the opportunity and ability to actually put your life in danger by doing something.
  • Preclusion – Bonus points!  While this is not a legal requirement in most states, it may be a good idea nonetheless (and while you’re busy “precluding”, you may have extra time to call 911 and let the police show up.  They get paid to risk their lives for stuff like this, and you can avoid the liability and probable civil lawsuit hassles).  Essentially, it means that you try every other option to get out of that situation.

2. Color codes of awareness

Most firearms courses out there teach these color codes, or one of the few variations on them.  Here is the quick version.

  • White: unaware – you should only be here when you are asleep
  • Yellow: relaxed and alert – you are aware of your surroundings
  • Orange: you are alert to a specific danger or potential danger
  • Red: a fight is imminent – you are in danger and ready to deal with it
  • Black: you are fighting – retreat is not an option, you are in danger and actively dealing with it

We spent a solid chunk of time on this material – what you see above is only a basic outline.  Go learn this material and the accompanying scenarios from a pro.

3. Mental conditioning for self-defense

This was the most fascinating part of the course for me, and that’s saying a lot, because the whole course was fascinating!  The instructor obviously knew what he was talking about, and the amount of information he had to offer made me feel like I was drinking from a fire-hose.  This was all about psychology.  But not the psychology you’d get from your textbook in Psych 101.  Instead, this was the psychology of behavior on the street, in a bar, wherever you put alphas and betas.  We discussed submissive vs. aggressive behavior, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), verbal and non-verbal communication.  Here are some key pieces of info I remember.  (And there was a lot more content we covered that I’m not going into.  This part of the course was well worth the entire cost.)

  • If you look like food, you should expect to get eaten.
  • Aggressive/dominant behavior can often attract other aggressive/dominant behavior (which is presumably not desired).  In other words, you need to be the gray man.
  • Do you want to change your mental state?  Raise your chin one inch.  You just became more assertive and at least slightly changed your attitude.  Oh yeah.
  • Let go of your big, fat ego.  If someone cuts you off, let them go ahead of you and be on their crazy way.  If you make a mistake, admit it and apologize sincerely.  If someone flips you off, don’t do it back – pretend you never saw it.  Allow their ego to stay intact.  This type of an approach will help you avoid all kinds of hassles in the first place!
  • And much, much more…

4. Techniques

We started with drawing and deploying from the front pocket or concealment (I describe my personal preference below), learning how to do it quickly and under stress.  Then we did about 100 other things.  We were busy, and did wreaked some real havoc with our training knives.

I won’t attempt to describe what grip to take, where you should target, how to cut, or the variety of techniques you can use for knife retention, escape from grabs, chokes, locks, holds, how to use a knife when ground-fighting or how to integrate knife and handgun.  Not only am I not qualified, but reading won’t matter.  Doing will.

I will say one more thing about technique:  If you’re wondering what it’s like using your knife on something made of real meat – you’ll get to experience that too.  (No people or animals were harmed during this course :-).)

5. Equipment – Folding Knife Considerations

Spyderco Delica

Spyderco Delica - Simple and Effective

This is the fun part for many folks, especially the gear-heads and people who use the words “everyday carry” :-).  I said it before and I’ll say it again: the knowledge is more important than the gear.  You need to get out of your recliner and go get the knowledge and hands-on, what-it-feels-like training.  But of course, the gear angle is still fun.

The quick version:  Get  a Spyderco Delica or two.  Why?  A few reasons:

1)  The quality is high.  The steel is good, the grip is easy to hold, and the ergonomics are great for most hands.
2)  A Delica is easy to retrieve and open – that hole in the blade is patented for a reason.  They made it very easy to open quickly with one hand, with no extra springs or gadgets – simply functional.
3)   The blade length is appropriate, and the blade length (approx. 2 7/8”) is legal in most areas (do your research).
4)   It is lightweight and slim – will not weigh down one side of your body, pull down your running shorts when you run, or cause unusual bulges.  The slim clip is sturdy and positioned in the right place on the handle to make it easy to conceal.  In addition, the clip is reversible two ways – top or bottom, and left or right side, which makes it easy to carry any way you chose, whether your right- or left-handed (see #2).
5)  They are not very expensive as compared to many high-quality folders: $50-$60.  You won’t have to give up meat for a month to afford it. If you lose it, you won’t be crying for a week.
6)  And if you care, you can get a variety of colors and steels (e.g. blue or green with ZDP-189), versus the plain black body with VG-10 steel.  Of course, the fancier versions cost more.  I got one with a medium blue handle, which matches the color of most of my jeans.  Not because I care about the color of my socks matching my shirt, but because I want it to not be very visible.  There’s a difference!

Of course, you may prefer another brand or style, which is fine.  If you can conceal and retrieve it effectively, the blade is legal, it can be opened under stress with one hand, and you can afford it, you’re set!  There are many great, solid folders out there from Benchmade, SOG, Kershaw, Gerber, and Emerson, just to name a few.  And Spyderco makes many other folding knife variations.

Gray man tip:

This is something they didn’t teach in class, that I have personally found to be convenient.  I carry my pocket-knife* in my waistband.  Why?  It isn’t easy to see by everyone and their brother.  I can go to work, out for a jog, to the grocery store, or wherever, without identifying myself as “the guy with the knife in his pocket.”  You know who they are (if you notice it once, you’ll always notice it), and may be one of those people yourself.  The clip is easy to see on the front of someone’s pocket.  And much of the time, that may be perfectly appropriate for you.  But I prefer to keep it low-key.

Here’s another reason.  Often you can use that visible knife clip that’s on the front of someone’s pocket as an indicator to look a little further, for the accompanying bulge of a concealed handgun.  Gun guys are also often knife guys.  Am I wrong?  Please send me an email and let me know what you think. :-)

Note:  If you have a big belly, keeping a knife on your waistband will probably not work for you.

*Did you notice the non-tacti-cool, unobtrusive, tool-focused words I used?  It is just a tool after all, not a “combat-folder” or “zombie-stopper” or any kind of “dangerous weapon”.  It’s just a tool.  Along those lines, here’s another tip (from class): if you’re out in public and need to open a bag or box or delicately slice off a piece of Camembert to go with your crackers, consider slowly retrieving your knife, opening it slowly with two hands, versus going for the speed-draw and seeing whose attention you can draw with the sudden “snick” of the shiny blade locking open.  Gray.

Summary

There you go – this was the very quick version, which will certainly not be sufficient for you to adequately defend yourself with a folding knife, but will give you an idea of what you should be able to do with one, if you can find good training in your area.

If you live in or travel to the Pacific Northwest, I highly recommend InSights Training Center.  I’ve taken a few classes from them, and they’ve been top quality.  Their website is here: http://www.insightstraining.com/

It’s hard to go wrong with a folding knife as part of your everyday carry, because these tools are so versatile.  If you want to have your knife realistically available as a self-defense tool also, please get some training.

Stay safe,

Andrew

]]>
http://preparedblog.com/using-one-of-your-critical-everyday-carry-tools-folding-knife/feed/ 6
How to Set Up and Run a Map Your Neighborhood Program http://preparedblog.com/how-to-set-up-and-run-a-map-your-neighborhood-program/ http://preparedblog.com/how-to-set-up-and-run-a-map-your-neighborhood-program/#comments Sun, 20 Nov 2011 15:42:10 +0000 http://preparedblog.com/?p=472

How to Set Up and Run a Map Your Neighborhood Program Where You Live

I decided to run this program in my neighborhood, and decided to provide you with my personal experience and resources that will make it easier for you to do it too!  But what is it?  Why do it? Keep reading.

What is it?  “Map Your Neighborhood” is a program designed to help neighborhoods prepare for disasters.  With it you can increase your odds of survival in a disaster.  It covers these topics and more:

  • The 9 steps you should take immediately following a disaster
  • How to identify skills and equipment available in the neighborhood
  • How to create a neighborhood map
  • What should be in your contact list
  • How your and your neighbors can start working together as a team!  (If nothing else, you’ll know who you can go to for help, versus who will probably need help.)

Why do it?  As you can see in one of my first CERT classes, the question is raised – “What can I do about helping my neighbors?”  And I add the second part of the question – “So that they can take care of themselves versus relying on my resources?”  In addition, you may have neighbors with special needs, and these should certainly be identified before an emergency.

Here are the steps I followed to Map My Neighborhood:

  1. Find materials
  2. Check for general  interest with neighbors
  3. Send out invitations (invited in person and with paper taped to doors)
  4. Prepare some examples of kits, etc.
  5. Get dessert ready (added incentive for those who need a little more motivation :-))
  6. Make a map to hand out
  7. Get some additional materials from my local American Red Cross

Finding the educational materials wasn’t as simple as I thought it should be. I had to look around for a couple weeks to find what I needed. Although some resources were available online for download, there was no clear description of what specific resources were actually needed to do the training.  And when I did eventually determine what materials were needed (it took a couple phone calls), I wasn’t able to find them in one place.

How did I do it? We don’t have this program in my city, so I didn’t have a local contact. I tried the county emergency management office, and found nothing. I tried the state, and they put a DVD in the email for me, along with one sample handout. At the time, I didn’t ask for more copies, although I probably could have.

And then, since I was taking a CERT course in a neighboring city (since my city also doesn’t do CERT :-(), I asked about finding the Map Your Neighborhood student handouts and found some.  You may need to be creative, and don’t hesitate to check with neighboring emergency management offices!  People in these roles are usually (and certainly should always be) very helpful and generous with educational resources.

Here are the materials you need to run the Map Your Neighborhood program:

  • Attendee/Student handouts:  I had to get these locally from a neighboring city’s emergency management office, since my city’s office couldn’t help for whatever reason.
  • Training DVD:  I had to get this from the state emergency management office. I may have been able to get a copy locally, but I didn’t know who to ask at the time.  This will give some useful tips, but as you will be able to see later, I didn’t use it directly in my presentation.  I probably broke the rules there, so don’t tell anyone.
  • Instructor discussion guide/manual:  I downloaded the discussion guide here: http://www.emd.wa.gov/myn/documents/myn_discussion_guide.PDF. (Thanks to Washington State Military Department Emergency Management Division for making this available!
  • Anything else you want to give out:   I found good handouts from my regional American Red Cross on disaster preparedness and more.  I suggest you go to your local chapter and ask for some materials to give y our neighbors.  You’ll probably walk away with your hands full.

Map Your Neighborhood handout (center) and Red Cross handouts

Additional materials are available here: http://www.emd.wa.gov/myn/myn_resources.shtml

I reviewed the video, handouts, and teacher’s guide ahead-of-time.  The good news – I learned a couple things.  That’s the great thing about teaching/guiding a group – it’ll force you to learn things yourself!

Now that I knew the basic curriculum, I knew how to summarize with neighbors over the next week.  Whenever I saw one of them, I mentioned “Expect an invitation taped to your door soon, for the disaster preparedness program we’ll be running at our house.  It won’t take long and you’ll learn something!”  I also tried to get a feel for when they would be available, so that I could propose a time/date that would get the best attendance.

One of the neighbors was clearly interested in what it was about, so I gave a few more details.  Aside from wanting to help him out with the information, I wanted to gauge his reaction, so I’d have a better idea how other neighbors would react.  He was quite interested, and also didn’t know how to do some of the things we discuss, e.g., turn off his natural gas line.  Just the type of student I’m looking forward to working with!

Later that week, I finished drafting and printed out a “Howdy Neighbors” letter, and handed it to the neighbors in person in the evening, or taped it to the door of the couple that weren’t home.

I got a variety of responses:

  • “Great, looking forward to it.”
  • “Thanks, this is a good thing you’re doing”, and shook my hand.  He appeared to be very interested. Later I learned otherwise (see Part 2.)
  • “Yeah, OK”, and shut the door quickly.  Maybe I was interrupting dinner…
  • “Great.”  Short and sweet.  I knew this guy was already well-prepared.

I had a few concerns at this point.  Could I get them to show up?  Can I fit them in our living room?  Can I keep them comfortable?  Will they find the material interesting?  Will they ask a bunch of questions I don’t have answers to?  And worst of all, by doing this, would they now view me as their “disaster plan” for an emergency, instead of preparing for themselves?

Do you want a template to use for your neighborhood?  Free for my readers – you can use this one or modify it as you see fit: download doc here.  Simplly fill in the [bracketed] areas and you your own, personalized letter, ready to go.

To see how the meeting went, read Part 2!  (coming soon :-))

Stay safe,
Andrew

 

]]>
http://preparedblog.com/how-to-set-up-and-run-a-map-your-neighborhood-program/feed/ 2