Category Archives: Shelter-in-Place

Shelter-in-Place: the ability and capacity to seek out and remain in a safe place

Brexit, personal preparedness and why being sensible actually rules the day

This post was originally published 15 January 2019 (re-instated here after a major site upgrade)

Brexit, personal preparedness and why being sensible actually rules the day … and that’s despite considerable media efforts to the contrary. Hello and welcome to another preparedness blog after a long period of quiet. I’ve been repeatedly asked to comment on Brexit and personal preparedness, e.g. this recent exchange on twitter 

https://twitter.com/MonikaAlMufti/status/1075033430277140481

Now, official guidance on personal preparedness has not exactly been forthcoming.

This is a shame and a hugely missed opportunity, one that’s all too easily filled by those willing to exploit the fear and confusion of people such as Lynda, 61 from near Wakefield, quoted by the BBC as saying

“I’m not worried about Brexit, I’m worried about the aftermath”

In yesterday’s article titled Hundreds stock up over food supply fears. A few hours later, to my dismay, this was surpassed by the Guardian upping the ante with I don’t trust the government to look after me and my dog.

Such headlines are but the tip of a highly visible iceberg of months and months worth of articles, blogs, twitter and facebook feeds about Brexit and stockpiling – one gigantic project fear! Once again, as I’ve discussed in the Shelter-in-Place post back in 2016 written as a contribution for the #30days30waysUK campaign, the media hypes the issue without bothering to really look deeper or wider.

Yes, there may be hundreds (according to the BBC) or just a few (as reported in the Guardian) amongst a UK population of nearly 67 million people who are ‘prepping’ and good on them to have a few extra food and medical supplies they absolutely cannot live without for a certain amount of time.

From a personal preparedness point of view, Brexit is hardly on par with a disaster such as major and widespread flooding, an earthquake or an industrial accident which may paralyse or wipe out crucial infrastructure and systems.

I’m thoroughly disappointed once again in how approaches to better personal preparedness are being (mis-) represented, adding to the confusion rather than ameliorating it .

At least the BBC made one attempt at balance by speaking to Prof Tim Benton, an expert in food systems from the University of Leeds, who said he did

not foresee the UK running out of food but believed there could be “situations where we cannot reliably get what we expect to see on the shelves on a daily basis“.

I’ve added emphasis there because in my view this is exactly where the crux of the matter lies: it’s all about expectations.

What exactly is it that we are expecting here with Brexit? What are your assumptions? Just what are you personally preparing for and how?

Yes, there will be some delays and potentially shortages in certain areas for some time but the UK is certainly nowhere near facing a doomsday scenario. Yet, media interest is intense, so much so that for months, EVAQ8 have received continuous enquires from as far as Japan and Denmark, for example this TV2 clip (from 0:45 – yes they had a somewhat increased interest in long-shelf life nutrition products in the greater scheme of things) aired in November.

That’s why EVAQ8 keeps reiterating, e.g:

So, you may have seen this breaking news story that the UK Government is to tell citizens to start preparing for no-deal…

Posted by EVAQ8 on Tuesday, 18 December 2018

 

If you feel you must stockpile – whatever exactly that looks like and means to you personally and please (!!) assess your situation rather than jumping on a hyped bandwagon – then take a good look at blog Modern Emergency Food Storage especially if you are short of storage space and explore some of the links from there.

Personally, for many years and irrespective of where I live, a well stocked pantry is simply part of every-day life and not because I was brought up in Switzerland with a ‘bunker’ in the basement and lived in Egypt for many years almost entirely off grid.

If push came to shove, my family here in the UK (including a fussy cat) could probably live off what’s in the cupboard and freezer for about six weeks and that is just normal, irrespective of Brexit. Add to that some self-heating food and a tin or two of long-shelf life nutrition as well as a few other choice ‘prepper’ items if that’s what you want to call a comprehensive first aid kit with additional meds, some water purification products, sleeping bags (we camp) and head torches on top of our GoBags. Interesting then will be the dinner conversations, especially when everyone starts missing their favourite foods and treats; in the UK, we are all so very spoilt for choice often without fully realising it.

What do I expect? Personally, I expect change, to explore some products new to me rather than relying on what I regularly buy in the shops. What I do NOT expect is finding empty shelves for extended periods of time, nor massive power outages, nor drinking water issues, nor civil unrest… especially if everyone, including the media, can stop obsessing and the government steps up with much better public Emergency Risk Communication.

Monika

If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

thank you for sharing!

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+ discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube

Cold Wave – beyond Cold Weather Action to Personal Preparedness

Have you seen some of the lovely snow and ice pictures floating around on social media since yesterday? This blog about Cold Weather Preparedness is the exact opposite from my earlier post on Heatwave – beyond Heat Health Watch to Personal Preparedness back in June. Since we are pretty firmly on a path where we need to Prepare for a world that’s more than 2°C warmer  which translates into more frequent and severe weather events, personal preparedness really does make a lot of sense. You can take pro-active steps to be better prepared and stay well and healthy also with regards to being #WinterReady.  So….

What is personal preparedness for a cold wave?

First, it’s about being informed which then means you can get better prepared. Let’s break this down and a good example here is this post from the Northamptonshire Emergency Planning Team. Take a closer look at the graphic:

The UK’s MetOffice issues Cold Weather Action alerts as part of ‘Cold Weather Health Watch’.  This system operates in England from the 1 November to 31 March every year and runs in association with Public Health England. Currently there is a level three AMBER warning in place which for the authorities means that social and healthcare services must execute specific actions with regards to high-risk population groups such as the very young, the elderly or those with certain chronic health conditions. What exactly happens on the government side, you can find out on the Cold Weather Plan for England. Importantly, you can take personal steps to be better prepared. Cold weather can mean snow and ice which, if you’re out may look like this

Naturally, it makes a lot of sense to prepare yourself and your vehicle properly before setting out. Stay updated on the weather and road conditions and allow for plenty of time. This blog, naturally, recommends proper winter driving preparedness, for example:

Personal #Preparedness matters | https://t.co/KIqCuQazkD#RoadSafety #HealthandSafety #WinterReady #car #travel #weekend #driving #snow #ice #RTC #crash #delays #weatheraware #prepared pic.twitter.com/G9l6GHlDNk

— EVAQ8 Emergency Kits (@EVAQ8_news)

… and listen to Dave, he has excellent advice for the enthusiastic:

 

In addition, preparing properly for a Cold Wave also concerns your home; for example see our info page on severe winter preparedness.  Keep in mind that freezing temperatures, snow and ice have other consequences, such as power cuts  which may also impact your home food safety .  Therefore, you may want to consider some basic shelter-in-place measures and stocking the right emergency food which you can prepare and enjoy even when utilities become disrupted.
Keeping warm is key during a cold weather alert. There are easy and simple steps you can take to stay safe at home and when going out:

  •  keep your main rooms heated, use extra blankets
  •  take extra care with electrical items and be #FireSafety aware
  • dress in layers and keep active
  • take extra care when out and about to avoid accidents
  • stay #weatheraware, have the right kit and supplies

Finally, a super

TOP TIP for Cold Weather preparedness

… and you will laugh for it’s a very small thing. Carry an emergency foil blanket in your backpack or handbag. It’s cheap, hardly takes up space nor adds weight and is a potential life saver. And that, by the way, applies for business too which should always stock emergency blankets as part of their business preparedness.

 

And so I leave you with a couple of lovely winter images and wish you a warm and prepared rest of the week and a cosy and safe weekend #StaySafe #bePrepared.

Monika

 

If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

thank you for sharing!

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+ discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube

It pays to be #winterready and  better prepared. Avoid being stranded! Check out our info page What goes into a Winter Car Emergency Kit .

 

UK Emergency Preparedness: hygiene and emergency sanitation

So, you have hygiene covered in your emergency grab bag and your shelter-in-place kit.  You know about water purification and can tick all those boxes in your personal emergency preparedness plan. That’s great …. but actually not quite good enough aka not quite right, a familiar ‘Goldilocks’ reference for those that are regular visitors to this blog.

Let’s take a closer look. Hygiene and sanitation during emergencies or disasters have been in the news (again!) lately. Abigail Brown asks the right question:

.. and here is why this is important: flood waters carry and then deposit dangerous bacteria and toxic chemicals

tragically, for some, these problem can seem never ending and, unbelievably, it’s not just a developing world problem

https://twitter.com/ALT_uscis/status/907807813476515842

Contamination raises very serious concerns:

Now you may think these things don’t happen ‘at home’ here in the UK. Cholera (and typhoid, dysentery, diarrhea…illnesses from molds)  is a threat of the past in the UK you may say. In that case I recommend you take a closer look at Cholera and the Thames so brilliantly put together by Westminster Archives with the help of interns and volunteers.  Back when and I quote “Bazalgette’s foresight provided a sewage system that has served London well up to now. Today, however, the system is struggling to cope with the demands of 21st century London.” And that’s in good times, not during an emergency or disaster such as security threats, serious storms and flooding.

Listen to Mary Dhonau, she has been there, she knows:

Now, while the best sanitation system does not exist (do explore that link!) it does not mean that household preparedness is powerless. On the contrary. It is crucial that households are better prepared precisely so that there is less of an overall impact when an emergency or disaster occurs.

Household preparedness for emergency sanitation is easy

US Homeland Security News has some of the best advice online while the CDC compares immediate term sanitation solutions. In summary:

  • water flush toilets cannot be used when water service is interrupted
  • do not flush toilets or dig holes; untreated raw sewage is a serious health hazard
  • store a large supply of different size heavy-duty plastic bags (min 1 bag per person per day), disinfectant, toilet paper
  • consider portable camp toilets, small trashcans or sturdy buckets with tight fitting lids lined with heavy duty plastic bags are an alternative
  • safe disposal; wait for collections and/or instructions of the authorities

All the above applies during emergencies and disasters but also in their aftermath. Recovery can take (a lot of!) time depending on the severity. Cleaning up safely is hugely important and will be covered in another blog. For now I wanted to share this tweet from the NYtimes which has a useful summary so check out their article and further resources links:

Why am I writing about all this? Well, because from where I stand I see UK households woefully unprepared and that’s why the topic ‘hygiene’ in this year’s 30days30waysUK campaign #prep2017day20 has been expanded to include emergency sanitation for household preparedness.

September is Preparedness Month is now in full swing. 30days30waysUK is a brilliant FREE campaign on twitter and facebook you can join anytime. Check it out!

Be #prepared – not scared:  #WinterReady

Have a great week!

Be prepared, not scared.

Monika
If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

thank you for sharing!

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+ discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube

 

 

Emergency Preparedness and Food Safety in the UK

The last thing you need after an emergency such as severe weather and flooding which has knocked out your power supply is food poisoning.  Knowing what to do before, during and after a powercut, brownout or blackout is important to avoid potentially serious health problems.

Food Safety in an Emergency: it’s all about time and temperature control

Know your numbers for safe food:

  • +5C fridge setting or less to keep food cool (40F)
  • -18C freezer setting or less to keep food frozen (0F)
  • 2 days  = max time food stays frozen in a well-stocked , unopened freezer
  • 4 hours = max time food stays cold in a well-stocked, unopened fridge

Importantly, not all spoiled food will look or smell bad. So, after 4 hours of power outage, transfer foods that spoil faster into a cooler with ice and keep under 5C: meat, dairy, cheese.

source USDA | https://i.pinimg.com/736x/7f/9a/40/7f9a404591149d829b7e282b65690b14--power-outage-food-safety.jpg

Food Safety in an Emergency: what to keep and what to throw out

Thankfully, power cuts are usually quickly resolved but when they’re not, your fridge is your week point. Remember to transfer your fridge food after 4 hours of power outage to an ice cooler and keep it under 5C . Your food safety rule of thumb: when in doubt, throw it out.  Food poisoning, while usually not life threatening, is nevertheless seriously unpleasant.

You can keep frozen food that are still icy and uncooked fruit and vegetable. After more than 2 hours at room temperature throw out: meat, soft cheese, opened sauces, leftovers, sliced fruit and vegetables, cooked fruit and vegetables. Remember, not all spoiled food looks or smells bad. When in doubt – throw it out!

WATCH  FDA’s video Food Safety during Power Outages

 

Another good video is from Canada, with Chef Geremy Capone from  ELLICSR Kitchen

 

Preparedness, including food safety, are big topics in the US as these two tweets leading up to and during Hurricane Irma show

 

In the UK, food safety information is somewhat more thin on the ground especially with regards to preparedness. However, the good news is that Food Safety guidance aimed at catering business is easily adaptable to household preparedness. For example, check out the Food Standard Agencys’ page How chilled is your food, safer food better business and their food alerts.

In the US, there is a dedicated number to call in emergencies.

As far as I’m aware, that kind of service is not yet available in the UK. Like with so much about preparedness, there is much that yet needs to be done all around. And this leads me to ask: do you know about #30days30waysUK? It’s a month long campaign each September to boost personal preparedness and resilience. Day 19 (#prep2017day19) is about food safety. Follow @30days30waysUK and take part. And finally, check out the info pages here  on UK Food Security and Emergency and Survival Food.

Be prepared, not scared.

Monika
If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. 

 thank you for sharing!

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook  follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter  join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+  discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest  explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube

 

Emergency preparedness for individuals: what you must plan and prepare for

No-one can predict the future accurately.
But we all can plan and prepare for it.

Getting better prepared and creating networks of support that build community resilience are crucial so that it does NOT end up as a case of aid versus preparedness as I wrote earlier.

So, what is it then that you must plan and prepare for?

Different emergencies or disasters call for different responses. Some of these are tackled in the scenarios at the preparedness hub. However, what sometimes gets overlooked this way is that there are common threads running through all of these. It has to do with consequences rather than with causes of emergencies and disasters and that is a good way to talk about preparedness, especially with people that are new to the topic. So, what it all boils down to is that you must …

be prepared for:  delays in getting help

It’s not that the emergency services don’t want to get to you in a disaster but the same things that stop you also affect them: road closures, lack of communication, severe weather conditions … not to mention the many people that will want assistance all at the same time.

The emergency services and local authorities are mandated by law to serve, survey and respond over an entire area and provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Naturally, they cannot get to everyone right away so there will be a delay in help. That is why you need to be able to take care of yourself at least for some time.

There is a lot you can do for self-reliance and to get better prepared. The general recommendation is to stock a minimum of three days, or in other words 72 hours’ worth of supplies,  essentially non-perishable food, clean water and medications to shelter-in-place as well as an emergency grab bag for safe evacuation. What that looks like, check out the blog series on safe evacuation; especially ‘mass’ evacuation and why ‘self’ evacuation preparedness makes a lot of sense.

With this, you’re off to a great start but keep in mind that the more you prepare and get equipped the better off you will be in a real disaster or emergency. Find out more about how to build your own emergency kit and check out the survival kit list.

 

be prepared for: road closures

Flooding, landslides etc. can collapse roads and bridges and affect how you can move around with public transport and your own vehicle. Always keep a half tank of fuel in your car and spare road maps as part of your car safety kit in case GPS is disrupted and you are forced into unfamiliar areas.

In the event of a mass evacuation, be prepared for a long journey. It may well end up looking like this

 

be prepared for: power outages

Power outages mean no ATMs or cash dispensers, no petrol pumps at your gas station, your fridge/freezer stops working and food goes off (Emergency Preparedness and FoodSafety), the batteries in your phone and gadgets don’t get charged, no TV or internet …  Following on from the earlier example of the recent flash flooding in Coverack, it appears the community there knows that scenario well …

Read more about preparedness for power cuts, brown outs and black outs and also check out food security especially for communities.  

 

be prepared for: lack of clean water

Water mains bursts and flooding can mean outages and contamination of your water supply. In an emergency, shut off your supply to keep your clean water in and dirty, unsafe water out. Read more about utilities shut off safety. Your home may already have ’emergency stores’ i.e. top reservoirs of toilets, boilers, garden reservoirs etc. but keep in mind that  water purification is essential for health.

Minimum clean water supplies are usually given as 1 gallon (approx. 4.5 lt) per person per day for basic needs such as drinking, food preparation and hygiene. If you have pets, count each one as you would a person for extra reserves.

source: http://learn.eartheasy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/flood-drinking-water1.jpg

 

be prepared for: limited or no communication

Communication systems may get knocked out which means you may be unable to call for help or get information the usual way. It also means you may lose touch with loved ones. Having a communications plan and preparedness measures in place is vital. Check out our free template on the preparedness hub to get you started so that it does not come to this …

source: http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/new-orleans-united-states-a-plea-for-help-appears-on-the-roof-of-a-picture-id71757327

be prepared for: property damage

If you’re lucky, property damage is minimal which means you can shelter-in-place and ride it out. However, property damage may be extensive which means you can no longer safely stay and must evacuate and shelter elsewhere.

The most common damage to property is from fire. There is a lot you can do for better fire safety and fire preparedness. Other common property damage may result from flooding or wind. Take a look at his short video showing the impact of different wind speeds. It may be set in the tropics with palm trees but applies to other settings too.

be prepared for: living in a shelter

Living in a shelter is not like living at home. The better prepared you are the more comfortable you will be. Living in a shelter can look very different depending on circumstances and duration. You may choose to provide your own shelter by staying with loved ones, moving into a hotel or even camp outdoors. Alternatively, you may be given shelter provided by the authorities and volunteers. Often, this will look similar to this example in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower Disaster

be prepared for: a new ‘normal’ Depending on the severity of the emergency or disaster, clean-up and recovery can take a long time. In many instances lives are disrupted for extended periods of time and never get quite back to how things were before. A ‘new normal’ eventually settles in as people piece their lives back together. What that may look like for you is something you can help determine. Start planning and preparing today so that you can be better prepared tomorrow. Events like flooding are sadly the new reality as we all face and must prepare for a world that’s more than 2° C warmer.  

Be prepared, not scared. Start today for a safer and more secure tomorrow.

Monika  

If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. 

 thank you for sharing!  

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook  follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter  join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+  discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest  explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube    

Modern Emergency Food Storage – Household Preparedness for everyone is as easy as 1 – 2 – 3

Sometimes it’s easier to simply show rather than tell and so before I get a bit deeper into what modern emergency food storage looks like and why it makes sense for everybody here are some context images from our twitter feed:

My earlier What Disaster –Why Preparedness post explains that while defining what exactly a ‘disaster’ is not so straight forward, preparedness (see 5Ps and 5Cs) on the other hand is. Naturally, modern emergency food storage is part of preparedness and taps into food security which is not only a topic for developing countries but for anyone faced with increasing natural and man-made emergencies and disasters that impact our supply chains (see see Prepare for a world that’s more than 2° C warmer). Do have a good look at the food security page because it gives a lot of detail information from which to build your own emergency food storage strategy – and what exactly is that? Just like there is a preparedness 1 – 2 – 3 : get a kit, make a plan, be informed, there is  

Modern Emergency Food Storage Strategy is as easy as  1 – 2 – 3

Everyone is different and everyone’s needs and wants are different. Therefore your modern emergency food storage strategy starts with an appraisal and analysis: 

1 Emergency Food Strategy: How many ? That’s people and animals

Covering for just two or an extended family or even neighbourhood makes a difference not only in how much you will have to store but also affects your purchasing power to buy more advantageously in bulk. Preparedness for pets is a whole other story.

2 Emergency Food Strategy : What nutritional needs?

Age and health status affects your choice of how much and what kind of emergency food you want to store. The Food Security page has a United Nations table as a guideline but keep in mind that these are minimum requirements to survive, not necessarily thrive.  Preparedness for the elderly is a separate topic also looked at in the post Preparedness and older people as is caring for the very young.

3 Emergency Food Strategy : How long? Hours, days, months; staying in one place or several locations?

 

Short-term emergency food storage

…typically means 72 hour self-sufficiency as is typically recommended i.e. for your GoBag or so called emergency grab bag in case of emergency evacuation. For shelter-in-place situations most households can usually cover this without many problems. While you may suffer fridge and freezer food losses due to prolonged power outages,  most households contain dry goods that can be prepared without gas or electric and eaten even if your access to clean water is compromised (see water purification). If you’re interested  to ‘upgrade’ in this area take a look at the self-heating meals.  They are particularly well suited giving you maximum output with minimum effort on top of being relatively lightweight for transport as well as compact for food storage.  


Medium-term emergency food storage

… can be several days to many weeks. Here you need to seriously start looking at energy and nutritional quality requirements. You also need to consider activity levels and climate as well as special dietary requirements, i.e. gluten free survival food. Again, a starting point is the United Nations table on the Food Security page but you must take your analysis further and look at your specific circumstances.

 

Long-term emergency food storage

… typically covers a number of months, sometimes years. If you bulk buy and stock dry goods for several months this is, in a sense, your long-term supply.   Modern emergency food storage, however is different because of

      • balanced nutrition
      • easy food preparation
      • minimal and compact storage
      • extended shelf life for up to 25 years

 

  … which means that all these factors together compared to ‘regular’ food makes it so that

modern emergency food storage is highly cost-effective: it makes a lot of sense!

 

The Storage for Emergency and Survival Food page gives more information but here I just want to highlight the basic math:

a 3 months 100+servings supply of emergenct food costs just £15 per year

that’s pretty awesome so check it out via the Survival Food Rations page. Now, before I go, Emergency Food as described above is not only brilliant for emergency preparedness but equally for outdoor adventures and travel: lightweight, nutritious and delicious. No wonder we have plenty of satisfied customers:

I hope this was useful. Have a great week and have fun choosing the Emergency Foods that work best for your Emergency Food Strategy.   

Monika   

For more Resilience Blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For more on Emergency+Disaster Preparedness head over to our FREE resources at the Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you.

 thank you for sharing!

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook  follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter  join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+  discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest  explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube

SIP: SHELTER-IN-PLACE | September is Preparedness Month

September is Preparedness MonthDay 7: SHELTER-IN-PLACE  or SIP for short, which we hope you do; a lovely cup of (ice) tea or coffee, perhaps something stronger, while you get comfortably stuck in what comes next. Enjoy!

It is a blessing that perceptions and attitudes are changing. Change is good and very necessary as I’ve touched upon in “who moved my cheese? Resilience in a fast changing world”. I’m honoured that EVAQ8 is included in this year’s #30days30ways UK campaign raising awareness for emergency preparedness nationwide and further afield.

Today we are talking about

SHELTER-IN-PLACE: what is it and why do we need to think about it?

Well, let me take you back in time a couple of years while you are SIPping comfortably. You may remember seeing this:

Headline words such as ‘apocalypse’ and ‘prepper’ immediately peak interest, triggering (very mild) anxiety and ridicule, usually in that order and in quick succession; so fast actually that you won’t necessarily even be aware of it. This is what the media does, churn out a quick headline grabbing story, poke fun and onto the next news cycle.  A google news search on the topic will quickly reveal that this treatment is pretty ‘standard’. Humour is a coping mechanism (as the ‘psychology minded’ of you out there will know) and an excellent motivator which, in my opinion, should be harnessed positively rather than used to judge people and the choices they make (or are forced to take).

‘Prepper’ is a stereotype. We must look deeper.

There is no fixed definition of what exactly a ‘prepper’ is or does. Rather, ‘prepping’ or simply ‘being prepared’ ranges from wilderness survivalists to keeping several days emergency supplies at home such as long shelf-life food, water purification, first aid etc.

Reality is, most of us live in an urban environment far away from any real wilderness.

If you already have extra food supplies you can cook and eat without access to utilities such as power or water, own a good first aid kit, a radio and a decent torch (preferably wind-up)  then you qualify and can call yourself a prepper, if you like. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. How people label themselves are complex and interesting matters. Because of media and film hype the term tends to set off the imagination in perhaps more extreme, fantasy directions. I prefer to keep it real, simple and every day.

 

Being prepared is simply part of who you are.

A prepper is not a ‘crazy’ person but actually someone that makes highly rational choices based on an appraisal of their situation with  knowledge of the past and a look to the future. And what exactly does that look like, the future I mean? Well, things have certainly changed since 2014 and we now must Prepare for a world that’s more than 2° C warmer.

Some big and hard questions are being asked in the wake of flooding and storms which now bear names (MetOffice storm centre). This particular strategy, like most things in life, is both good and bad. While we now can make ‘personal associations’, remember and hopefully learn – meaning: heed warnings, be better prepared – there is also the risk of triggering anxiety and even PTSD. ‘Understanding fear’ is crucial, as I wrote earlier and managing fear is a real challenge. Many turn away (self-preservation, ‘hide’) rather than face (acknowledge) and prepare for what may be coming in a balanced, rational way. Yet strong emotions, even fear can be an ally. Preparedness is the ultimate confidence builder.

  Now I still haven’t talked about what SIP actually is…you still are, SIPping that is? 😉 

Shelter-in-Place is the opposite of running away

…or evacuate using the proper term. Shelter-in-place happens when you cannot or should not run away, then you shelter-in-place. It’s controlled. It’s planned. Unlike ‘hide’.

Shelter-in-Place: climate change, accidents, security

Not necessarily in that order but that’s what it’s all about. An extreme example I’ve already shown you above, in the first guardian tweet. That was about Sam Notaro who saw himself forced to build his own flood defences to protect his family and property, a four-bedroom home in Moorland, Somerset. Other examples include the emergency services asking you to close your windows and await the all clear. It happens all the time, for example, recently….

They don’t call it SIP aka ‘shelter-in-place’ simply because it’s usually not serious enough and does not last long enough which means you don’t have to seal your windows and air ducts and ‘hide/hold out’ for many hours or days.

Shelter-in-Place can also be a consequence of a security lock-down.

Just what exactly a so called “invacuation” is I talk about in what are invacuation, lock-down and shelter-in-place and how do they link to emergency preparedness? This also highlights that, fundamentally, preparedness is for also for business, not just for individuals and that it must cover both evacuation and shelter-in-place. Actually preparedness must include everyone, the old, the very young, the vulnerable and even your pets! Yes, we also have a special page for preparedness with pets and we are involved in community resilience projects which you can read about more here if you’re interested. But let’s talk practical.

What exactly does SHELTER-IN-PLACE preparedness actually look like?

It’s simple. You can count it out on both your hands. It’s all about the 5 preparedness principles and 5 core areas, the gist of which is:  you need to cover

      • 1 food & food preparation (meals-ready-to-eat, water purification)
      • 2 tools & personal protection (multi-tools, gaffa tape, ffp masks…)
      • 3 shelter & warmth (emergency blankets, sleeping bags…)
      • 4 light & communication (torches, flashing lights, radio, comms…)
      • 5 first aid & hygiene

                            so that you can do.. (and at the end will get

      • 1 Prioritise
      • 2 Plan
      • Prepare
      • 4 Practise
      • 5 Peace of mind

 

Shelter-in-place: GET A KIT. MAKE A PLAN. BE PREPARED.

Look around our website; right side navigation for more blog, top navigation for kit. We source the best products on the market and test them so that you can rely on them in a real emergency. If you don’t find exactly what you want, our speciality is bespoke kits, examples of which you can find here.

So that’s about it.  Have you finished SIPping? What? No easy tick list to print out and start with I hear you ask? Well, yes and no, because I’m a little ambivalent about easy short cuts that give a false sense of security and all for motivating and empowering people. You see, only you really know what you need to be better prepared. You are the only one who best knows your situation and circumstances and what you are comfortable with. No simplistic tick list can really get there properly. Only you can, with a little extremely worthwhile effort. But we help. Actually there is a lot of help out there and a good place to start is to first check the website of your local resilience forum which you can also find referenced in our (evolving) directory Ready for Emergencies

In addition we offer a comprehensive free Emergency Plan download and lots of other useful resources which you can access right from our preparedness hub page. This includes our newest awareness raising video, put together for us by the dedicated Warwickshire/ Worcestershire man, Ian MacDonald Walker (@sonetimage6 ). 

Now it’s your turn: #SHELTERINPLACE challenge

For today, day 7 of the #30days30waysUK campaign, we simply would like you to do one thing so that YOU are better prepared and which also HELPS US ALL to raise awareness for emergency preparedness:

Start making your own 72+ hour SHELTER IN PLACE kit, take a picture + share

        • Go through your stores at home and start making your 72+ hour shelter-in-place kit for all the members in your household, covering the 5 core areas
        • All chosen items must be in good working order and have a shelf life of minimum one year, preferably longer
        • Add special items for children and elders, include your pet(s)
        •  Take a picture and share it with the hashtags  #30days30waysUK  #ShelterInPlace  before securely boxing or bagging your kit

 Remember to mark the earliest expiry date in your calendar to check and replace items. Keep your kit updated.

CONGRATULATIONS you are now better prepared! 🙂

If you work for or own a small business, start a contingency kit and business continuity plan for business preparedness and share as above. Now before I go. Thank you! Thank you LRF Emergency Planners for including us and thank YOU for reading and listening. We all face an unknown future and must be willing to be brave, face what is coming and work together. No one is ever alone in a real emergency and disaster. Capacities and capabilities build resilience, and we must keep it positive and empowering with a sense of humour. Which, finally, brings me to Harry Barker (@go_artmonkey) in Manchester. Thank you for the brilliant cartoon finale.

Don’t be scared – BE PREPARED! Monika –

I look forward to seeing you around at #30days30waysUKPreparedness is for everyoneFor more on practical Emergency and Disaster Preparedness head over to our FREE resources at the Preparedness Hub. Why we use cartoons. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!   Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook  follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter  join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+  discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest  explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube

What are “invacuation”, “lock-down” and “shelter-in-place”? How do they link to emergency preparedness and why is that important?

updated 03/05/2017 : new government guidance issued “Recognising the terrorist threat

Invacuation_EVAQ8-shelter-in-placeOften there is confusion about what  these, sometimes interchangeable, terms mean. Perhaps this is because the typical safety procedure everyone in the UK is most familiar with is to evacuate – the standard ‘get out – stay out – call 999’ advice of fire safety.  In contrast, staying in when ‘all hell breaks loose’ is counter-intuitive at first, especially for commercial or public premises. However, ‘getting out’ is neither possible nor wise in a number of scenarios as will be explored shortly in the wider sphere of workplace emergency preparedness; but first things first, a quick look at the terminology:

 “in-vacuation is probably the least known term but once you understand the meaning as ‘inverse evacuation’ you will always remember this wordplay on opposites

“lock-down” refers to an emergency protocol to prevent people (or information) from escaping and typically involves some form of violence.  Lock-down examples in the news typically concern bomb threats or attacks, especially in crowded places such as inner city areas, sports events, theatres, shopping centres, places of worship or schools.

“shelter-in-place” in the UK is mostly understood in two quite specific ways, both rooted in fire safety:

  • “go in – stay in – tune in”, the ‘classic’ shelter-in-place order issued by the emergency services. Typically, this may happen during a major incident such as a large fire, hazmat or security incident.  It means that you have to close (and seal, depending on the severity of the incident) all doors, windows (and vents) to create a contamination free space. Take immediate shelter in a readily accessible safe location and await further instructions. Stay well away from window panes that may shatter and cause injuries
  • specialist measures to provide safe shelter and security from hazards to vulnerable persons that may have difficulty to evacuate such as wheelchair users, the elderly or persons with disabilities

There is much more to Shelter-in-Place and it certainly applies to more than just fire safety and counter-terrorism. Have a look at the following post SIP: SHELTER-IN-PLACE | September is Preparedness Month.

Since the tragic events in Paris and while UK threat levels remain SEVERE, understandings are now expanding beyond fire safety into emergency preparedness for all persons and at all levels. That includes business, especially if located at or near crowded places. The recent “Run – Hide – Tell” safety video from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office is an excellent example which reflects this.

Why “shelter-in-place”, where and how?

‘Hiding’, or hopefully a more controlled, planned and prepared emergency procedure such as  ‘shelter-in-place’ protocols are not only about terror threats such as lone shooter incidents or a firearms and weapons attack as in the above NaCTSO video. Shelter-in-place is highly relevant for a range of scenarios which, broadly, can be divided into ‘man-made threats’ and ‘natural hazards.

Shelter-in place or invacuation rather than evacuation makes sense not only for threats

  • explosion, structural damage
  • hazardous materials (HAZMAT, i.e. biological, chemical …)
  • attack with weapons and/or firearms, bomb threat, drones
  • civil unrest, riot

but also for natural hazards such as storms and severe weather, severe cold or heatwave, during an earthquake, pandemic or , most relevant for the UK, flooding which destroys more businesses than fire. So, what does an ideal shelter-in-place room look like?

 

Shelter-in-place: rooms above ground floor, for example …

  • interior rooms with no windows  and/or
  • exterior rooms with loadbearing walls, few windows and vents that can be sealed
  • adequate space to sit people, avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms
  • feature fire doors and a way to barricade yourself in may provide additional safety

Utility rooms, large storage rooms, pantries, conference rooms etc. may work well as designated shelter-in-place areas. In addition

  • install a landline telephone in the room to call for help, mobile phones may be overwhelmed
  • mark the room(s) with a ‘shelter-in-place’ sign on the inside of the room only for security reasons and assure your safety personnel and staff are well trained (download free shelter-in-place sign to print)
  • strategically place preparedness supplies; i.e. emergency food and water, light & communication etc.

 

Shelter-in-place procedure – emergency plan

Specific procedures for shelter-in-place vary depending on the nature of the environment, anticipated and planned for threats and typically include:

  • close the premises
  • inform staff, customers and visitors to stay, not leave and go to designated areas immediately
  • do not walk or drive outdoors
  • ask all people present to turn their phones to silent and call their emergency contact to let them know where they are and that they are safe unless there is an imminent severe threat where silence must be observed
  • turn on business call-forwarding or alternative telephone systems. If you have voicemail, change the recording to indicate that you are temporarily closed, that staff and visitors are safe and will remain in the building until authorities have issued the all clear
  • lock (and seal) air vents, doors, windows;  draw shades, blinds or curtains in case of an explosion
  • turn off or disable fans, heating and air conditioning as well as all other non-essential electricals
  • get hold of your emergency supplies and go to your previously identified shelter-in place area

Ideally, on each floor you will have access to an emergency grab bag, individual One-Person-Compact-Survival-Kits for staff as well as a Shelter-in-Place Kit for up to 20 persons in each shelter-in-place location. While this is perhaps not possible everywhere, absolute minimum supplies include battery powered or wind-up radio (communication), flashlight and/or headtorch, first aid, long-life food and water. Also recommended are waterproof gaffa tape and either plastic sheeting or garbage bags that can be cut and taped to provide emergency seals.

Once securely at your shelter-in-place location

  • keep calm, stay behind solid objects well away from glass
  • place signs in exterior windows to identify your location where possible
  • make list of everyone in the room, their address and affiliation with your business (employee, visitor, customer…) and then call your designated emergency contact to report
  • listen to radio, watch TV or use the internet to stay informed
  • await further instructions until the all clear is given and it is safe to stand down

 

Shelter-in-place is usually resolved quickly but may last for several hours or even days.  To find out which risks are most pertinent to you see the National Risk Register  and the local risk register published by your Local Resilience Forum.  You may also find our google slides “Shelter-in-Place at work” useful for your own Emergency Preparedness.

Security, health & safety and duty of care are just some of the reasons why it makes sense to be prepared. Make appropriate plans and get the emergency kit that is right for you. If none of our standard emergency kits are suitable, simply contact us for a competitive bespoke quote. Our friendly and knowledgeable team is always happy to help and advice.

Finally, check out Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism resources and also  ‘Project Griffin’ which provides briefing events to increase public and staff awareness to business of how best to reduce and respond to the most likely types of terrorist activities. Also out now (Oct 2016) is the Independent Review of London’s Preparedness to respond to a major terrorist incident.

Monika

Thank you for stopping by. See below for updates. In addition, for more resilience blog use the right hand navigation. For kit and practical resources use the top navigation. If you’re new to Emergency and Disaster Preparedness head over to our FREE resources at the Preparedness Hub and Business Preparedness.

This blog post is also accessed by http://bit.ly/lock-down.

Thank you for sharing this post    

 

 

 


Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook  follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter  join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+  discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest  explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube

Preparedness: 5 Principles now join with 5 Practical Core Areas: the ‘new’ 5Ps + 5Cs for a resilient tomorrow

dehydratedWaterNo, I’m not going to sell you anything like this latest product ‘dehydrated water’ so that your tomorrow may be worry free. Sorry.

And you’re not the only one with raised eyebrows at this point but do join those of the ‘old school’ even if they declare my maths is off: they are thinking of the 7 P’s concept from the military which stands for “Prior, Proper, Planning, Prevents, Piss, Poor, Performance”.

My maths is not off I assure you. Tongue firmly in cheek I squarely blame it on the austerity cuts 😉 for there is now a modern, leaner and perhaps more elegant version that can be counted down on just one hand.

The ‘new’ 5P’s: prioritize, plan, prepare, practice, peace of mind

Prioritize: what types of disasters are you planning for? Differentiate risks and hazards and make a scenario list

Plan: do/need what, where, when and how? Make your emergency & disaster preparedness plan, don’t let it accumulate dust. Review and update it regularly.

Prepare: the right tools in the right place for the right people – if you add ‘at the right time’ then I’d counter ‘well before the right time’ – bounce ahead to make bouncing back a breeze (What disaster – Why Preparedness? and Prepare for a world that’s more than 2° C warmer)

Practice: head stuff is great but legwork is even better 🙂

Peace of mind: do the above and WYDIWYG – what you do is what you get, my version of WYSIWYG or what you see is what you get 😉

Now, principles are  good, tremendously useful actually but still not quite good enough – another so called  ‘Goldilocks’ case where what we really want needs to be ‘just right’. So, let’s expand it just a little more. After all…

… it’s all about Emergency Preparedness Capabilities and Capacities

… and that means being able to perform and achieve (read survive and prevail in an emergency or disaster) and having the right tools in place to do so.

So, enter the 5C’s to complement the 5P’s. Initially conceptualised to run on facebook as part of our 2015 “September is Preparedness Month” 30 days 30 ways UK campaign contribution we have honed in on the five preparedness core areas to complement the 5P’s you’re now already familiar with. They are:

5Ps5Cs_expanded

Food & Food Preparation: MRE (meal’s ready to eat, military style – they know what they’re doing!) yummie quality calories mean fuel so that body and mind can continue to function, water purification provides safe water to drink and prepare food.

Tools & Personal Protection: depends on skill set (or lack thereof), nature and level of threat and location; see Survival Tools; PPE – especially respiratory masks.

Shelter & Warmth: a core temperature drop of just 1C can mean hypothermia. Eating and moving provide warmth but rest is inevitable; insulation via Emergency Blankets, Sleeping Bags, Tents and Beds.

Light & Communication: human vision (optical) is seriously compromised in low light conditions. Torches, hands-free head-torches, battery free wind-up torches, rechargeable lights... you get the idea. Flashing lights and lightsticks attract and can signal for help. They also serve as warning to indicate danger or the opposite, indicate safe routes or mark resources.

First Aid & Hygiene: vastly depends on skill; the former that is, not the latter. No use having a suture kit if you only know cross stitch but you it’s difficult to overdo the soap. You can also never have enough clean bandages as a field medic friend reliably tells me so here at least you can and should go all out; First Aid; Hygiene and also useful are Travel Accessories i.e. camp shower and folding toilet.

Ok, so now you’ve got your 5P’s and 5C’s – or at least our informed version of it. But how does this compare? Well, I wish I knew who was behind this guest post titled The Six P’s and the Three S’s of Prepping for this person, clearly coming from a solid old school prepper background, has an excellent and modern insight – although I may take issue with his or her maths and approach to personal security 😉

I hope I made you smile – and think, #bePREPARED

Monika

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour.  Thanks for visiting! 

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+ discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube

Rethinking Resilience – Capacities of Relief Staff & Volunteers in Disaster Zones

Something amazing is happening in the NGO (non-government organizations / charities) sector:

A fundamental rethink of deployment strategies is now under way.

This is really exciting news for everyone, not just those of us that are involved in some way small or large with Disaster Risk Reduction, or DRR for short. After all in today’s world, it is all too easy for any of us to experience a role switch from being a giver of aid to that of being a recipient. You may want to check out my earlier post on Altruism and Resilience and why it pays to be kind.

So, what exactly is taking place and where and when did it all start?

Source: USA todayThe devastating Nepal Earthquake seems to have been one of those ‘tipping points’ – although here Malcolm Gladwell’s original concept is blown out of all proportion for there certainly was nothing ‘little’ that made a big difference.

Maybe I should borrow the term mother of all wake-up calls instead as a description of how it all started. In any case, what really matters is that things are changing – and, most importantly –  for the better.

At first, we received isolated enquiries. More came. Then volunteer groups and now NGOs.

They are requesting custom-made Personal Deployment Kits including Emergency Food to support teams throughout their deployment phase.

Source: The TelegraphTypically teams of between one or two dozen specialists are sent to disaster zones for up to 2 – 3 weeks at which point they are rotated back and replaced if needed. Thus far they brought with them their specialist equipment but relied on local supplies for food and shelter. No longer!

Kits are now being designed by our team so that DRR workers can be fully self-sufficient and avoid placing strain on the local infrastructure. Naturally, kit contents are different depending on the specific situation and organisation so I’m sorry that I can’t give you any teasers nor can I name the involved NGOs thus far.

However, if you are in any way involved as a volunteer or staff in relief or aid work I would encourage you to talk to your organization and get them better prepared with a better integrated and more robust approach.

Things to consider:

– deploying on commercial airlines? Do standard flight safety rules apply on military transports? Items such as matches or flameless-ration heaters (used in food preparation) are restricted for commercial air travel. More info on types of Emergency Survival Food

– how many meals, how many persons? Freeze dried food are lightest and thus easiest to transport and store. They can be reconstituted by adding hot water; see water purification and food preparation

– how much can be stored in a location, how much needs to be carried as for example in a Go-Bag style backpack? Balancing the right contents yet avoiding excess weight is crucial.

Naturally, there is much more to consider but this is a start. Besides, we are always happy to advise so simply give us a call or send us an email.

Have a great week!

Monika


thank you for sharing and helping raise awareness for Community Resilience and Preparedness!

 

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook  follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter  join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+  discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest  explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube