Category Archives: Information / Public

Your home’s survival in a wildfire – and your survival too – is not a matter of chance

Not a matter of chance

After reading our title, are you thinking: “It’s spring! This isn’t wildfire season. Why is this newsletter about wildfires?” Well, we are discussing wildfires for a couple of reasons. First, as has recently been evident in Colorado, wildfires can happen any time of year. Second, spring is generally a time for yard cleanup and adding new plants. Wildfire prevention can guide you in these tasks and help protect your home and family.

Fire experts have long recognized three basic components of wildfires: weather, fuel, and terrain. Together, these three items affect the likelihood of a fire starting, how fast it will move, and how difficult it will be to control.

Dry, hot, windy weather increases the likelihood of a major fire. In a wildfire, fuels are usually vegetation (trees, shrubs, brush and grass), homes and other buildings. Of all the types of terrains, the steepness of the grade is the most influential on fire behavior. The steeper the slope, the faster the fire will spread.

How to Better Protect Your Home and Family from a Wildfire

1. Creating a defensible space will help protect your property against the spread of wildfire. Use the three “Rs” of defensible space to evaluate your home’s landscaping and surroundings.

Removal – eliminate entire plants, particularly trees and shrubs, from your property. Example: cutting down a dead tree or cutting out a highly flammable shrub.

Reduction – remove plant parts, such as branches or leaves. Example: pruning dead wood from a shrub; removing low branches; mowing dried grass.

Replacement – substitute less flammable plants for more hazardous vegetation. Example: removing a dense stand of shrubs and replacing with an irrigated, well-maintained flower bed or fire resistant plants.

2. Install a non-combustible roof that meets the classification requirements of your community. Check with your building department or fire marshal for more information.

3. Use non-combustible materials for the exterior surfaces of your home. Does your home have a flammable deck, fence or staircase attached to it? If these items catch on fire, they can act as a wick, bringing fire to your home.

4. If you can, build your home away from ridge tops, canyons, and areas between high points on a ridge.

Evacuate when Instructed to Do So by Emergency Personnel

During a wildfire, evacuations are put in place to save lives. Property can be replaced, but your life cannot. Wildfire fatalities most often occur when people wait to leave their homes. Leave early enough to avoid being caught in fire, smoke or road congestion.

Preferably, don’t wait to be told by authorities to leave. In an intense wildfire, they may not have time to knock on every door. If you are advised to evacuate, don’t hesitate. Remember, by evacuating early, you give your family the best chance of survival.

What to Do if You Are Trapped and Cannot Evacuate

When Trapped in Your Home:
1. Stay inside your home. It is safer than being outside or in a vehicle.
2. Close all exterior doors including the garage door after putting your car inside.
3. Call 911 and inform the dispatcher that you cannot evacuate.
4. Fill all sinks and bathtubs with water.
5. Close all interior doors, leaving them unlocked.
6. Shelter in rooms opposite the approaching fire.
7. Stay away from perimeter walls.
8. Stay as calm as you can and keep your family together.
9. Fire fronts can take 5 to 15 minutes or longer to pass.
10. As hot as it gets inside your home, it is 4 to 5 times hotter outside.

When Trapped in Your Car:
1. Try to drive to an area clear of vegetation, away from wires and trees.
2. If on a winding road, try to park where the road curves out, not in.
3. Close all windows and keep the doors unlocked.
4. Turn on the air conditioner, keeping it in the “re-circulation” or “max” mode.
5. Cover yourself with a wool or cotton blanket or natural fiber clothing. No synthetic fabrics; they melt!
6. Attempt to call 911 and inform the dispatcher of your location.
7. Wait for the front to pass. Keep in mind that there will probably be smoke in your car.
8. If you see flames in your vehicle after the fire front passes, wrap yourself in clothing/blankets and exit.
9. Do not attempt to out run a wildfire.

Staying with your property should be considered only as a last resort. Each year, professionally trained fire fighters are killed while fighting wildfires. Make educated decisions on when to evacuate. Don’t put your life or the lives of your loved ones at risk.

For all of your emergency preparedness needs, please visit

Managing Stress; Part II


What You Can Do 

You can manage stress by taking care of yourself while you are helping others.

 Manage Your Workload:

 • set your task priorities with realistic work plans.

• Recognize that “waiting” and “not having enough to do,”

  alternate with being “overwhelmed.”

 Balance Your Lifestyle:

 • Eat healthy foods and drink water.

• Avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.

• Set adequate sleep and rest.

• Get physical exercise.

• Talk to your family and friends frequently.

 Stress-Reduction Strategies:

 •Reduce physical tension frequently by methods that work for

  you. Take deep breathes, gentle stretching, meditation, wash

  face and hands, use relaxation techniques.

• Pace yourself between low and high stress activities.

• Use time off to decompress and: re-charge batteries” – get a

   good meal, read, listen to music, take a bath, and talk to


• Talk about your feelings to co-workers at appropriate times.

 Self Awareness:

• Recognize and heed early warning signs of stress.

• Accept that you may not be able to self-access problem-

  matic stress reactions.

• Recoginize that over identification with or feeling

   overwhelmed by victims’ and families’ grief and

   trauma mat signal a need for support and consultation.

• Understand the differences between professional helping

   relationships and friendships to help maintain approp-

   riate roles and boundaries

• Examine personal prejudices and cultural stereotypes.

• Recognize when your own experience with trauma or

   your own personal history interferes with effectiveness.

• Be aware of your personal vulnerabilities and emotional

   reactions and the importance of team and supervisor





Planning for a Flood

Planning for a Flood.

Yes, they happen everywhere in the United States!


Flooding threatens all regions of the United States, high and low. Even the smallest waterways are susceptible. Flooding can occur on its own or accompany many different types of natural disasters. Rivers overwhelmed by rain wash out waterfront property. Slow moving hurricanes trigger flash floods and storm surges, both of which hurtle a wall of killer debris before them. Levees and dams burst in earthquakes or heavy storms, submerging entire neighborhoods or towns.  In fact, floods are among the deadliest and costliest natural disasters.


Most floods in the West are triggered by snowmelt and rainstorms. In the East, hurricanes and thunderstorms are the primary culprits. Regardless of where you live, when a deluge is rushing your way, you can be certain of a few things: the water will be contaminated; it will vanquish any car; and when it reaches your front door, it won’t knock first.


They claim about 140 American lives each year, primarily due to in-car drowning. Damages to roads and structures average $6 Billion annually. Because of this, floods are the only hazard to be covered by federal insurance: FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. 


What’s Your Family’s Flood Plan?


Because floods can happen anywhere, every family should make advanced plans for such an emergency. Teach your family about survival techniques when stranded in water. In your plan, include which items to move to upper floors before a flood. These will include large appliances and valuable furniture. Store them in the highest place possible, away from windows and wrapped in blankets. If you have enough warning, you may want to consider a storage unit out of harm’s way.


Then, make a sandbagging plan. Sandbagged walls, which absorb incoming water, can be a life and property-saver. Decide who will build your wall and where you will obtain supplies. Even better is to store the supplies in your basement or garage at all times. A one-foot high by 20-foot long wall of 100 sandbags will take two people about an hour to construct.


Minor flooding may not lead to evacuation. In these instances, plan to sanitize bathtubs and sinks, then fill them with clean water in case the water supply is later contaminated. Finally, turn off all utilities (except natural gas) and secure outdoor items before heading to the highest level of your home. Have a portable radio, a whistle to signal, flashlight and first aid kit.



5 Steps to Prepare Your Home for a Flood


1.      If you live in a floodplain, reinforce your home now to keep your property as high and dry as possible.

2.      Use waterproofing compounds to seal the walls of your lowest floors, especially the basement, where most flooding occurs.

3.      Be sure your sewer drains have check valves, to keep floodwater from coming into your house through sinks and tubs.

4.      Raise your water heater, furnace and electricity panel above floor levels. This is common today.

5.      Build physical barriers around your house such as levees and flood walls to keep waters at bay.



Why You Should Stay Out of Your Car during a Flood


·         Flooding is the number one weather killer in the United States.

·         More than 50 percent of flood deaths occur inside vehicles.

·         A mere six-inch flood can cause a car to hydroplane.

·         A foot of water can flood a car.

·         Two feet of water can wash away a SUV.



What to Do if You Are Trapped at Home


·         Avoid touching floodwaters, which may tainted by sewage or chemicals.

·         Disconnect electrical appliances only if you are dry, never if you or the floors are wet.

·         Collect drinking water.

·         Turn off gas and water.

·         Grab your 72-hour kit, warm clothing and first aid supplies.

·         Collect flashlights, signaling devices, and emergency radio.

·         Move to the highest point of your house.

·         Wait for help.

·         Do not try to swim to safety.



What to Do When You Return Home After a Flood


·         Only return to inspect your home after local authorities give the okay.

·         Wear sturdy shoes and clothing.

·         Before entering, turn off outside gas lines.

·         Open all windows (there may be gas fumes).

·         Have an electrician inspect all wiring.

·         Have a serviceman inspect and repair your septic tank, cesspool, pit, or leaching system.

·         Have an engineer or mechanic check for structural damage.

·         Cover broken windows or holes in the roof.

·         Throw away all food touched by flood water even if it was in a sealed package, such as a can.

·         Boil all drinking and cooking water for ten minutes until authorities clear your supply.

·         Disinfect items that touched flood waters.

·         Document and photograph all damage.


EXPERT TIP: Floods usually result from heavy or prolonged rain, rapidly melting snow, or broken dams. Flash floods can occur with little or no warning and are dangerous because their swift currents and unpredictable nature. [Girl Scouts]



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What’s In Your Grab-and-Go Kit?

Use our checklist to help you put together a potentially life-saving
kit today

The recent natural disasters throughout the world and in the United States
remind us that any of us could be in a similar situation.
We may not experience a flood, hurricane, earthquake or tsunami, but no
part of the world is exempt from natural disasters.

If you had to evacuate your home quickly, what would you do?  Are you prepared with a grab-and-go kit?  If you have one, great!  Be sure to inventory the contents to make certain you have all you need, that the food and water is not out of code, and that every item is in working condition.

If you don’t have a kit, let’s get started. You may wish to have a separate kit for each member of the family.  Determine what will work best for you.  We have ready-made kits, which offer a quick and easy way to begin.

The container should be easy to move and waterproof if possible.  A backpack, a rolling suitcase, or a wheeled trash can hold a lot and are easy to carry, roll or drag if necessary.

Your basic kit should include:

o 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least three days

o At least 3 days of food that is ready to eat or requires minimal preparation

o Manual can opener and other cooking supplies

o A change of clothes, sturdy shoes, and rain gear for each member of the family

o Medications/eyeglasses plus copies of prescriptions for each

o A minimum of $50 cash that is in small bills

o Personal hygiene items (teeth, hair, body, feminine)

o Identification

o First aid kit

o Radio & extra batteries

o Flash drive or external hard drive with copies of important documents, such as

  • Contact list with phone      numbers
  • Insurance policies
  • Home inventory with photos
  • Family photos
  • Birth and death certificates
  • Backup of computer files
  • Medical records
  • Passports, visas
  • Banking and investment  information
  • Wills and trusts
  • Pension and employee benefits information
  • Court documents
  • Mortgage records
  • Tax returns
  • Business records

o Gum and hard candy

o Flashlight & extra batteries

o Basic tools, such as work gloves, pry bar, N95 masks, duct tape, sheet plastic

o Lotion, sun block, lip balm

o Pocket knife

o Waterproof matches

o Cards, games, books, etc. for entertainment

o Extra house and car keys

If you have children, seniors, pets, or disabled members of your family,
make sure that any special items they may need are included in their kits.

If there are items that you may wish to take from your home, such as family
keepsakes, be sure to make a list so you know just what to quickly grab.  Keeping that list inside your kit means that you know exactly where it is, saving you precious time.

For all your emergency preparedness needs, see

Now, Are You Prepared?

Credit toMeridianMagazine,  Carolyn Nicolaysen


Here are some headlines from the past several days:

“2011 Tornado Season has seen increase in Storms, Record Death

  • “Missouri River Flood of 2011 one for the
    History Books”
  • “The recent floods and tornado outbreaks mark
    the most costly disaster in American history”
  • “Food price shock ahead”.

All of these are headlines seen in the past few days in June. Is
the time for preparing past? No, but it will now be much more expensive than it
would have been just a few months ago.

The National Weather Service has announced the forecast for the
coming hurricane season. Although the prediction is for more named storms this
year, that alone is not the most interesting part of the story. What we should
really be taking note of is the fact that we are returning to the weather
patterns of the 1950s and 1960s. During those years there were serious weather
conditions which hit the northeast coast of North America, the jet stream
lowered its path, and temperatures were confused – it was much colder in
normally warm areas, and much warmer in normally cool areas.

We have seen the results this spring with tornadoes not only in
the Midwest “Tornado Alley”, but also in diverse places such as California and Massachusetts.
All of this news means we can expect to have weather only our parents and
grandparents remember well. The time for preparing has not passed, but the
urgency has increased.

The winter of 2010-2011 has seen record snowfall in all the
mountain ranges west of the Mississippi.
Spring in these areas has been colder than normal, setting up a disastrous
scenario for the remaining weeks of spring and summer. Rivers and reservoirs in
some places are overwhelmed, and heat waves may follow the cool spring weather
in many areas. Hot weather will eventually come to the West, and when it does
there may be severe flooding. Four states not part of the Mississippi River
system, where horrific flooding and loss of life and property have already
occurred, – Montana, Idaho,
Wyoming and South Dakota – have already declared a state
of emergency due to flooding.

Are you prepared to remain out of your home for a month or more?
Are you prepared to be without grocery and pharmacy supplies for weeks? This is
already the case in some areas. Do you really still believe natural disasters
can’t happen to you?

We have heard so much about flooding and tornadoes this year that
it should come as no surprise that some North American crops have been
destroyed or not planted at all. The logical conclusion: prices will go up.

On the other hand – are you aware that in some regions there is
still a drought?

Texas, Arizona,
New Mexico, Florida,
Oklahoma, Colorado,
Kansas, Georgia,
Louisiana, South Carolina
and Alabama
all have areas of extreme drought or worse “exceptional drought.”

This is also the case on other continents:

“Several submerged sections of an imperial tomb of the Ming
Dynasty (1368-1644) have resurfaced in east China’s
Jiangsu Province as a result of a severe drought
that is still affecting the region. The tomb was built for the ancestors of Zhu
Yuanzhang, founder and the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, in AD 1386, on
the west bank of the Hongze Lake in Xuyi County of Jiangsu.

“The mausoleum was flooded in 1680, when the Yellow River broke
its banks, changed course and converged with the nearby Huaihe River.
Now local residents have got to take their first look at the tomb, which hadn’t
seen the light of day in more than 300 years.

“Stone arches and other parts of the tomb emerged on Thursday as
the lake’s water level continued to recede because of the recent drought. Local
residents also got a look at a paved path leading to the tomb.”¹

In China,
725,000 acres of land are drying out causing not only enormous crop loss but
leaving 820,000 people in the region without sufficient food and water. Where
will the food come from to feed these people? Will China
purchase crops normally sold to industrialized nations such as the United States, Canada
and Australia,
leaving them short?

Food riots have already occurred around the world. The United
Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is warning the drought conditions in
China, Europe and Great Britain may lead to the worst food inflation we have
seen to date. Combine this with the loss of crops in Japan
due to the earthquake and tsunami and flooding, plus drought and tornadoes in
the United States
and the outlook is not good for food supplies and food prices. The fear is food
shortages will increase the frequency and intensity of food riots in many more

The price of oil has already gone up making the cost of petroleum
based items rise. The price of cotton has soared making the cost of everything
from clothing to camp tents rise.

Has the time for preparing passed? No, but maybe the time to ask
what we are preparing for has. It is here. Now is the time to gather your
family and to discuss your priorities for the coming year. Summer is almost
here and it is not too late to plant a garden. It is not too late to plan a
stay-at-home vacation to save money for self reliance goals. Summer vacations
from school are the perfect time to clean out used items and sell them at a
garage sale or online.

There will never be a less expensive time to purchase preparedness
items or to learn skills that will save you the money you are now spending on
them. Now is the time. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this won’t affect
you. It will. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it can wait and looking back
months from now and wishing you had taken action when prices were lower.

Check out my Website

Warning Signals

Do You Know How Emergency Personnel Will Notify You

When There’s an Emergency?

 When disaster strikes, information is a two-way street. Authorities will be trying to reach you, but you’ve got to help them do so. Communities may use different methods of communication, from low-tech approaches (sirens, loudspeakers mounted on poles and police cruisers outfitted with bullhorns) to sophisticated systems (automated telephone-alert networks that dial 2,000 households per minute with messages and instructions). Some communities issue a text message to cell phones, pagers, or other devices. The Federal government is working on similar technology for national emergencies.

 The Emergency Alert System – a national public warning system better know for that piercing test tone over radios and televisions – sends information over major television and radio networks. So, don’t forget your battery-powered or hand-cranked radio or television!

 A more targeted technology is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) weather radio, sometimes generically called a “tone alert” radio. The NOAA broadcasts forecasts and warnings for dangerous weather, natural hazards, such as earthquakes, and dangerous incidents, such as chemical spills, 24 hours a day from almost 1,000 transmitters across the country. When one of these events threatens your local area, the system sends a signal that activates your NOAA radio to sound an alarm tone.  After the alarm, the NOAA will broadcast a message with information and instructions to safeguard you and your loved ones.

 Find out in advance which method your community uses. If it offers special services, such as text messaging, sign up for those services. If they broadcast community specific information over a particular radio station, mark that station on your radio dial. During a disaster, turn on your television or radio. Also, consider purchasing a NOAA radio. It’s a great resource if disaster strikes in the middle of the night.

University of Arizona- New CPR Method

Video of new method. via U tube.

Non-Profit Organizations

The AD Council The country’s leading producer of public service advertisements (PSAs) since 1942. Click this link to view all of the Ready Campaign’s PSAs.

 American Medical Association Disaster Preparedness and Medical Response.

American Red Cross  Terrorism – Preparing for the Unexpected

Boy scouts of America

 Disaster Relief Library – preparedness

 Girl Scouts of the USA Http://

Go Direct Avoid financial disruptions during disasters by considering direct deposit of your social security or SSI payments by calling Go Direct tool-free at 800-333-1795 or sign up at

Home Safety Council

 National Safety Council

 Neighborhood Watch Safety Tips

Operation Hope Emergency Financial First Aid Kit  English   Spanish

 Personal Disaster Preparedness Guide  English    Spanish

Points of Light & Volunteer Center National Network Organization Coordinating Unaffiliated Volunteers in Disasters