Preparedness Tip Wednesday: Tips for Families

As a prepper with a family to worry about I thought these were some great tips to help you and your family be prepared.

Emergency Preparedness Tips for Families

Don't wait until an emergency to have an emergency preparedness plan. There's nothing like an emergency to reveal how prepared - or unprepared - you are for situations beyond your control. September is National Preparedness Month, and the Home Safety Council (HSC) is urging families to have plans, contact information and supplies in place for emergencies, such as floods, major storms, fires or other disasters.
The HSC recommends that all families have a communication plan in case of an emergency that separates family members. Write down the following information on individual cards and give one to each member of your family to keep with them:
• Places both in and outside of your community where your family can meet;
• Phone numbers of people in your community that you can contact in an emergency; and
• An address and phone number of an out-of-town friend or relative.
Be Ready to Go
Keep two sets of emergency supplies ready: one of things you'll need if you have to stay in your house, and another of things you'll need if you have to leave home.
HSC and others recommend keeping the following "Ready-to-Go Kit" items in a backpack or duffel bag in case you're forced out of your home:
• One gallon of water per person
• Food that doesn't have to be refrigerated
• A manual can opener
• Plastic/paper plates, cups and silverware
• Flashlights and extra batteries
• Battery-operated radio
• A change of clothes
• A card with your contact information and the number of someone out of state to call
• Pet food and supplies for one or more days (if you have pets)
• Small first-aid kit
• Personal hygiene items, soap and hand sanitizer
• Needed medications (store these near your Ready-to-Go Kit so you can access them quickly)
• A list of other things to grab that you use every day, such as your cell phone, wallet, eyeglasses, etc.
Be Ready to Hunker Down
If an emergency forces your family to remain at home, or be confined to a portion of your home, for a lengthy period of time, keep the following "Ready-to-Stay Kit" supplies in a plastic tub or special cabinet:
• Three gallons of water for each family member (note the expiration dates on purchased containers of water)
• Canned food and snacks for at least three days
• Manual can opener
• First-aid kit
• Medicine you routinely take
• Toilet paper
• Clothes for each family member
• Blankets
• Books and games to keep you busy
• Paper and pencils
• Pet food and supplies for three days
• Unscented bleach
Talking to Your Kids
HSC recommends that you talk with your children about the different kinds of weather or other emergencies that could affect your community. Reassure them that you or another adult, such as a firefighter, police officer, neighbor or physician, will be there to help them in an emergency. And put a list of emergency numbers, and the work and cell phone numbers of family members, by each telephone in your house.


Preparedness Tip Wednesday: DIY Water Filtration

I found this DIY on making a cheap, effective water Filtration--100 Gallons per Day and I thought I would share it with our readers.

DIY Water Filtration

Homespun Environmental is pleased to present an unpowered water filtration device that can generate over a hundred gallons of potable water per day from just about any fresh water source (pond, lake, stream, or river) using a single 5 gallon bucket and ceramic water filter cartridges.  The amount of water produced works well for multi-family, church group, or commercial/barter applications. 


If you’ve got a Big Berkey sitting around your house, you’re well aware of the high cost associated with it.  I own one, and I love it.  However, I don’t love the $60 price tag on the Berkey filters.  I have two sets of black ceramic filters that came with my Berk, but I have 3 kits on my shelf from Homespun Environmental as replacements and bartering items.  The cost of Homespun’s ceramic filters are only about $17, with the entire kit costing about $24.  You do the math.  I enjoy the convenience of using my Berkey as the standing unit that holds water, but I love the fact I can purchase 3 kits from Russ at Homespun for the cost of ONE set elsewhere.  Had I met Russ before I purchased my Berkey, I would have simply ordered the entire kit from him and made my own counter-top water filter.  He now stocks FLUORIDE and ARSENIC filters, plus a new, mini-filter for camping and hiking!
System Description 
The water barter system is made from 3 ceramic filter cartridges mounted in a 5 gallon bucket (as shown here).  It is also equipped with a Schrader valve and a lid that is capable of maintaining a small amount of air pressure.   The air pressure is applied by means of a manual bicycle tire pump that comes with the kit.  Siphons also come with the kit that can be used to increase the capacity of the system without the need for manual air pumping   The bucket can be hung using the handle or a stand to set the system on can be custom made by the end user.  If a stand is used it should be tall enough so that water containers can be placed under it while they are being filled.   Pre-filter socks are also supplied with the kit for use with water with lots of particulates in it. 
How does it work?
The ceramic cartridges provide a triple filtering capability in a small package.   First, the outer sock will filter out particulates in the water such as sediments, eggs, feces, etc.   The sock can be rinsed out and reused indefinitely.   Second, the ceramic shell filters out smaller biological elements such as bacteria and cysts.  It is effective as long as the shell remains intact.  The shell can be cleaned off using semi abrasive materials (e.g. Scotchbrite pads).  Third, inside each ceramic shell is enough activated carbon to last for roughly 3000 gallons (9000 gallons for the system).  The activated carbon adsorbs chemicals in the water but it cannot be replaced and thus sets the lifespan of the filters.

How much water?   

Click to Enlarge
If the system is set up for maximum output with pressurization and siphons it is possible to get over 200 gallons/day (with steady pumping and refilling of the bucket).   A more practical assumption is no pressurization/pumping but with siphons installed and a steady refill.  This configuration would deliver roughly 100 gallons per day.  The table below gives some estimates with different configuration options.   Note again that these life spans are for the chemical adsorption portion of the filters, the bacterial filtering will last as long as the ceramic shells are intact.

Community Applications   
This system is designed for small group applications as it can create a lot more water than is typically needed by an individual or family.   In emergency situations such as has been seen with recent hurricanes and other natural disasters this could be used to provide water for neighbors or church members as well as yourself.   Basically this device goes beyond the typical individual survival thinking and looks to community service and missions outreach in crisis situations. In case of an “end of the world as we know it” event, this device can be used to create a valuable commodity that can be bartered for other goods and services that you lack (or run out of).  Other derivatives of this idea can also be created; for example using larger containers such as barrels to decrease the amount of refilling required.  Larger containers would also allow for even more filters to be installed and more water to be produced.
This paper has presented a low tech water filter device that enables daily production of 100 or more gallons of potable water from fresh water sources.  A kit to create this device is available on the internet at
Homespun Environmental is a small business catering to the DIY ‘prepper’ market for ceramic water filters.  DIY (Doing it yourself) allows for much lower prices and systems that can be customized to particular circumstances and needs.    They offer individual components, affordable, emergency water filter kits, and systems for the outdoor sportsman.


Preparedness Tip Wednesday: How to Prepare for Power Outages

It is a wet rainy week here in the DFW area this week. Any time there is a storm of any kind there is a risk of losing power. 

Here are some tips for how to prepare when power outages are a concern:
  1. Save important phone numbers to your phone, or write them down, especially for your power company. They will sometimes have a separate number to call in times of emergency so make sure you have the best number to reach them.
  2. Make sure you have a battery powered radio so you can stay updated on what is going on with the weather and what else you can expect.
  3. Stay away from any downed lines that you may come across. 
  4. Do not use candles for a light source as they are a fire hazard. Use flashlights or other battery powered light sources. Make sure to have plenty of extra batteries on hand.
  5. If you lose power, turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. This will prevent damage to appliances and possible overloads when power is restored.


Preparedness Tip Wednesday: Emergency Prep for Diabetics

Emergency Prep for Diabetics 

We have always needed to be ready for emergencies. Wherever you live, there is the chance of something happening to disrupt your daily life, whether it's a hurricane, an earthquake, a tornado, or a blizzard.
Recent concerns about terrorist attacks have simply increased our awareness of the need to be prepared if a disaster strikes.

Have a Plan

Everyone is now advised to have a plan in place in the case of an emergency, and people with diabetes must consider proper diabetes care when they make emergency plans.

Emergency Supplies

Consider storing three days worth of diabetes supplies, which, depending on how you take care of your diabetes, could include oral medication, insulin, insulin delivery supplies, lancets, extra batteries for your meter and/or pump, and a quick-acting source of glucose. You may also want to have an extra glucagon emergency kit.
All these items should be kept in an easy-to-identify container, and stored in a location that is easy to get to in an emergency.

Emergency Contacts

Your emergency supply kit should also contain a list of emergency contacts and, if you are a parent of a child in school or daycare, physician's orders that may be on file with your child's school or day care provider. As always, it is a good idea to wear medical identification that will enable colleagues, school staff members, or emergency medical personnel to identify and address your medical needs.
If you are a parent of a child with diabetes, it is important that your child's school has clearly identified the school staff members who will assist your child in the event of an emergency evacuation.
For those who are away from home, consider informing your colleagues, friends, and family members about your diabetes and where your emergency supply kit is kept.
Taking a few minutes right now to gather supplies and inform those around you about your diabetes, may make a world of difference in maintaining blood glucose control and staying healthy under stressful circumstances.

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