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31 January 2013

Homemakers and disaster survival

I think homemakers could play a vital part in helping people survive a disaster. When disaster strikes, homemakers, mothers, fathers and carers come to the fore. We are not among those running to the supermarket to stock up when the conditions are dangerous and cash registers and ATMs are not working. We rely on our stockpiles or our well-stocked pantries instead. We've already cleared the toys and gardening tools from the backyard before the storm hits, and without being told to do it. Homemakers think, we're used to doing all these things, we know our homes inside out - we know how they work, we know the dangers lurking, and where the torches and candles are. We know it's vital to conserve energy and water, we have our refilled water bottles ready, a couple of different ways to prepare food as well as food that can be eaten cold or raw. We'll be able to keep everyone fed. When you know how to feed one family, you know what's needed to feed a neighbourhood. 

Our main jobs in disaster relief could be to help people prepare as much as they can and maybe even to help resettle the home when the disaster is over. The SES, police, the military, public servants, transport and electricity and water authorities, they can get on with it during the disaster, we would carry out the important task of getting homes set up to help everyone get through the crisis in their home, if emergency evacuations were not necessary.

We have to stop thinking about disasters as something that will never happen to us, and have emergency awareness and preparation as part of what we grow up learning about. If we continue to believe we'll never be involved in a catastrophe, when we are, we're not only unprepared, we're scared because we don't know what to do. If we plan for disasters and know how to respond, how to help not only ourselves and our families, but neighbours and the elderly too, we'll be ready for most things that could happen.


When you think about the skills most homemakers have, it seems to me that many of them would be ready for most emergencies. We are already set up for survival. We don't need anyone to hold our hand because the shops are closed, there is no power and the phones don't work. We have our homes set up for the production of food, bread, soap etc. Most of us could make an oil lamp or candles if they were needed. Most of us could stretch a meal for four to feed eight.  If we're prepared for all this and remain calm, it will increase everyone's changes of survival.

Our home management journals should contain a disaster survival plan. You can find Australian information here for a variety of emergency situations - before, during and after. No matter where you are in the world, Google information about your local procedures, it's different in every country and the information you need in your town may be different to that in the next town. Find out. Phone your local authorities and ask about disaster plans for floods, fires, earthquakes etc. Work out a safe evacuation route that will take you to a safe area or your local muster point. Print out the map, mark out a couple of different routes and discuss it with everyone in your family. Small children and the elderly may need to practise leaving the house and going directly to a designated area.


My job during a disaster (I created this job for myself) would be to find all the people driving and walking through swollen creeks and rivers, along with those who swim, surf and jet ski (or light fires) just for the fun of it and frogmarch them into an area where they'd get a clip in the ear and told to smarten themselves up. Then they'd be dispatched to work with the SES for the duration of the disaster. I'd be good at that.

The above is only slightly tongue in cheek.


I would love to see short disaster preparation courses set up in our communities - Preparing your family and home for a disaster. They could be run by any homemaker worthy of the title, in conjunction with the emergency authorities. They could co-incide with community classes on life skills, cooking from scratch, preserving, mending, sewing, baking, fermenting etc. I would like our governments to realise that as catastrophic climate events become more common, and that is the prediction, we need to develop the mindset to survive them, and for that to become part of our common knowledge. The disaster preparation alone only addresses part of the problem. The other problem, cutting down on our greenhouse emissions, will begin to be addressed, in part, when many more people bring production of common household goods back to their homes again - the life skills classes. We need to know more than how to shop for what we need.

What's happening in your neighbourhood? Are you as prepared as you'd like to be?


63 comments:

  1. This post does get me to thinking that I should be more prepared in case of an emergency.

    But I must say, I was a little offended by this statement, "They could be run by any homemaker worthy of the title". Are you saying that if we are not fully prepared for an emergency and could completely fend for ourselves, that we are not true "homemakers". Maybe I'm reading this wrong. It just rubbed me the wrong way.

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    1. Jenn, that's not what I meant. I meant that any homemaker, anyone who works in their home, would be able to teach these courses. I'm sorry I confused you.

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    2. Thank you for clarifying. I probably overreacted a little to it anyways. I get what you're trying to say now and I apologize for seeming a little harsh in my first post. I really do love your blog and you inspire me in so many areas of me life.

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  2. Here in the UK we're seeing more flooding and friends living near rivers are learning how to protect their homes with floodboards and sandbags. But the whole country still grinds to a halt when we have two inches of snow as we did last week. Our local news showed pictures of the supermarkets stripped bare of fresh food the day before the snow arrived. I think we just need to learn to think ahead a bit and keep a few tins, packets and dried goods put by in case of emergency.

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  3. Hi Rhonda! I love the idea of courses being run to equip people for emergencies. I often wonder what would happen is there was a disaster in my small part of the world (Wales/UK) - would people fight or support each other? How would many of them cope if they can't even make a meal from scratch now? As far as I am aware, there is nothing going on to prepare for these eventualities in my area. I'd like to be more prepared and you have given more inspiration (as always). What I do have - and your South African readers will know what I mean - is a big tin of homemade rusks which not only are nutritious but last for a looong time. As long as we have those, we will not go hungry. Thank you as always for your thoughtful and thought-provoking posts! Kirsten x

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    1. I should have said that in my part of the world is in South Wales/UK - there have been terrible floods in the Northern part of Wales and I didn't want to omit mentioning that. Kirsten x

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  4. I often feel that we need more information on just how to prepare for disasaters. We who've lived through them are more aware but some don't seem to have a clue. I feel so sorry for those whose homes are under water and a big cheer for those who help in the clean up.

    I can't imagine how hard it would be to lose everything. Seeing some of the homes inundated, I suppose no amount of stockpiling would help them. However, in other cases, the mad rush to supermarkets could be avoided

    Can I help you in clipping the ears of those who put themselves - and those who must rescue them - in danger in the name of fun in the floods?

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    1. Yep, we'll do it together, Seagreen. I'm sure we'll have no shortage of ratbags to deal with.

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  5. ...they'd get a clip in the ear.

    You ought to meet Gov. Christie.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgUZ1hU_YBM

    Hurricane bearing down on a very populated area....and these people need to be told that. Forget about a bit of food and water stored. Flashlights and batteries?? Yes they bought them for the LAST storm and then got rid of them after. Parts of this area were absolutel devastated.

    I got a chuckle. Some of us are so prepared that the only thing left is to settle back, knit and bake muffins!!! I will admit that the last epic snowstorm we were predicted to have, I ventured out 15 miles round trip to the grocery. I bought some junk food for the husband....but more to watch everyone else panic buy.

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  6. What's going on in my neighborhood? As I write, we're under a tornado watch. I feel prepared, but I sure hope I don't need it this time!

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    1. Take care, Barb. I'm thinking of you.

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    2. All clear now! Sadly, a simultaneous band of storms to the northwest of us caused terrible damage in Adairsville, GA.

      Used to be that we only were threatened with this sort of tornado-spawning storm in the late spring/early summer. Now, it seems to be year-round. "The new normal", eh? All the more reason to keep our homes in order, well-stocked and prepared.

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    3. Thanks for letting us know you're okay now Barb.

      Yes, 'the new normal' is a bit scary. Our new normal is that while tornados are not unheard of here, they are very rare. These past two years we've had quite a few of them in our summer season.

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  7. I think this is a terrific post and it summed up how we were feeling during the floods . We were in no way badly affected by the flooding, but from previous experiences we have a routine that comes with heavy rain...pull the pumps up, move the cattle to higher ground, etc which we do without even thinking about it and also have things to cook with etc such as a fuel stove that we can use on a day without electricity. I also think being connected with the outdoors through your garden/farm or whatever, means you are more in tune with the natural elements and know the signs for heavy rain /bad weather etc and know to get ready.Most of the people who read this blog don't need the SES or whatever to tell them what to do ...we just do it because we are all used to thinking for ourselves and that is a wonderful wonderful thing.

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  8. Yes it's interesting isn't it! I recently attended a talk where it was pointed out Sydney only had 3 days worth of food at any one time i.e. if there was an emergency situation and food trucks couldn't get into the city we would run out of food in 3 days! I grew up in a flood prone area and even slightly heavy rain could leave us cut off for days at a time. This was somewhat of a bonus as we would be pulled out of school as soon as heavy rain started to fall ;) but in all seriousness we were always prepared for it- nothing extreme but there were always plenty of dried goods, first aid supplies, batteries, torches etc. I agree with you regarding the fools who play in flood water. My father was one of few people in the area with a tractor and he was forever pulling idiots out of flood water who thought they could drive through. I will always remember when the driver of a car got washed down the creek and drowned at the end of our road. It's just not worth the risk and if you are prepared there should be no need to risk rising waters. Glad you're all safe and dry xx

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    1. Three days food! That's crazy.

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    2. I can completely believe the three days food scenario! A few years back, a huge snowstorm closed down all major highways and prevented all the grocery store trucks from getting through. I think it was a week before they were able to get the roads cleared enough for the delivery trucks. After just a couple days, though, none of the stores had milk, bread, or eggs on the shelves. Partly because some people panicked before the storm and loaded up, but also because there was not enough stock to last. That was a big wake-up call for us! -Jaime

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  9. Hi Rhonda

    Our skills and resources were put to the test somewhat over the weekend as we lost power for almost 60 hours. We had plenty of food and general supplies but no power meant no water as we rely on electricity to pump the water from the tanks.

    We had time to prepare for that scenario and had 40 litres of water boiled and suitable for drinking. I also filled the freezer with blocks of ice that I froze. All of this was done as the weather systems was moving closer to us. I have been amazed by the number of people who have expressed surprise that I even thought we may lose power!

    The 2 days without power was hard work - carrying buckets of water from the tank at the back of our block as well as carting wood for the wood-burning heating. We had this going to try to reduce the humidity in the house as well as heating water for washing up and bathing. I also cooked soup and made bolognaise sauce on top of the heater. We are fortunate to have a gas cooktop but it made sense to use the heater that was already on and conserve the gas as much as possible.

    Thank you for raising the issue of disaster planning and management within the home and community. I sent an email to about 10 neighbours in our rural area in the early stages of the severe weather just to touch base and advising that we were home if anyone needed assistance. I was disappointed that before, during and since the event I only received one response. It was from one of younger neighbours saying that he was also available to help if needed. Many of our neighbours are older than us, some quite frail and elderly. Do people value their privacy so much that they will eschew an offer of support during times of potential need? Bringing communities together is something I try to encourage yet there seems to be so much resistance.

    I am planning to post in more detail about how we went back to basics in my blog post tonight.

    Fairy xxx

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    1. What a lovely and helpful thing to do, Fairy. I would have thought where you live you would have had more of a response to your email. It's strange, isn't it.

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  10. There is very serious weather happening here in the USA today. I have an app on my phone that sounds a very disagreeable noise when our National Weather Service issues a severe weather warning.It woke us up at 4:30 this morning telling us that a tornado warning had been issued. Down to the basement (cellar) we went. After about two hours we realized we needed more comfortable seating, a bug-out-kit for our cat (food, litter pan and litter, etc.) and to keep our own bug-out-kits down there instead of in a main floor cupboard. Thankfully, we and everyone nearby are well, but it has gotten me thinking about what else we should do for these types of emergencies. Thanks, Rhonda Jean, for your timely post.-- Beverly in Tennessee, USA

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    1. Oh dear. I hope you stay safe, Beverly. Thinking of you and your husband today.

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  11. My experience was very similar to Organised Castle's above, minus the foresight and preparedness!!

    I found this week that, ironically it was BECAUSE I am transitioning from my old consumerist ways to this new simplified semi-self-sufficient domesticated life, that the experience was very difficult for us.
    I'll explain...
    I moved from a townhouse near numerous cafes, supermarkets and shops, with multiple cross-streets providing different escape routes, into an urban rural area, with one dirt track leading into and out of our valley. This was cut off by a wild raging river for 3 days.
    I make all our bread now, 'just-in-time', which meant there weren't the usual 2 loaves from the bakery in the freezer and we ran out of bread half-way as I need electric ignition to start the gas oven.
    We ran out of water. Full stop. As I am on tank water which needs a pump. When I eventually walked my kids out through the streams to their father waiting in his car, they were able to have (powerless) showers at his place.
    Because I am learning new ways of domesticity, I am making chutneys, jams and relishes whenever I can, so used up the last of the mangoes on Saturday to make relish, leaving us with no fruit for 3 days. I have 2 years before my new fruit trees produce fruit.
    We don't watch TV, so the kids didn't have the extreme withdrawals that the neighbours' kids had, and told ghost stories and played Connect 4 at night.
    But because I no longer watch tv or read the newspapers, due to the tied interests and materialist agenda perpetuated through them, I had no inkling of what was going to happen.
    I need your preparedness course!! I have made the first few steps, but need a swift kick along...
    Of course, as a new homemaker, it is an iterative empirical learning experience, and next year I will be enjoying my enforced 'valley lock-in'.
    Kali

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    1. At least you've made a start, Kali. Well done.

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    2. Hi Kali, I have a gas cooktop and oven on natural gas and it is great to still be able to cook and heat without electicity, I use matches or a candle to light the gas when the ignition won't work.

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    3. Margaret's right, Kali. I light my electric ignition stove with matches when the power is off. Be careful when you do it because the gas will start as soon as you turn it on. Be ready with your burning match and put the match near the gas. It will ignite. If it doesn't ignite after five seconds, turn it off and try again. Be aware you'll have gas in the air until you light the flame. It's simple, it's the way all stoves used to be lit.

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    4. :) Sorry I should have mentioned that I went through at least a dozen matches trying to light it, as this is how I have lit all my previous ovens. I had the gas on the whole time and didn't smell or feel a thing whereas I usually feel nauseous with my head in the oven. So I actually think it may not even have had gas running to the oven due to some electrical issue.

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    5. Thanks Rhonda and Margaret, but I did try (many) matches. I actually think there was no gas coming out as I couldn't smell it even though it was on for ages.
      Also, I think I gave the wrong impression of us 'wading through' streams, when in reality there was very little danger. For those of us without 4WDs in the valley it was the only way in and out for a day.

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  12. @ Beverly... I'm so glad you and your family are OK! There certainly has been some wicked weather in the south today! (I'm in Michigan)

    We 'prep' for winter every year here in Michigan! And if there is a predicted storm, we add to our perishable items as well. I'm going to have to begin restocking again tho.

    And lately, I've been crocheting (and soon - some quilting) blankets like crazy! There's nothing like being able to snuggle up under a warm blanket <3

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  13. One of the things that worries me is how difficult it is to be properly prepared if you live in a city. I lived through the Canberra bushfires so I know the importance of being prepared but now I live in a big city in a flat with no balcony and I know that if I lose power I have no means of heating or cooking or boiling water. Yes, I have tinned food and some spare water, but I have limited storage space for those. Getting to people with more resources could well be dangerous, particularly if there's smoke around as I have asthma. It seems to me that there would be many people in my situation in any large city, and perhaps it's simply not a good place to live, but it is where the work is.

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    1. That's why we need these prep classes, Sarah. In your situation, your class should be run by someone who is living in a flat and knows, by their own experience, all the things needed to provide food and water during an emergency.

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  14. Hi Rhonda! Great post to read after the weekend thay we just endured! Although we were hammered by wind and rain, we were lucky in that we only lost power for 13 hours. However I found myself completely unprepared for dinner ideas both during and after - especially when most people suggested the food would be not edible for consumption. Im not sure if this is my age generation as the 2 that agreed it would be fine were in the next generation gap. My issue was without fridge / freezer foods I was staring at a loaded pantry that contained nothing I could work with. i guess what Im trying to put into perspective is that I was grossly unprepared and would like to remedy that BEFORE our next disaster!

    I will say though - it felt odly soothing that I sat reading your book by candlelight during the worst of the storms!

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  15. Hi Rhonda,
    Loved your post today. I just wanted to say, after watching all the news reports showing all the brave service people in the police, SES, military, and in some instances just brave bystanders risking their own lives to save others during these terrible floods, I want your newly created job. I think you would find there would be a queue. Alas, no community course, no matter how well intended, will change some people's stupidity.
    Dawn

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  16. Well said Rhonda. As a volunteer firefighter who now stats at home with my toddler than being out doing it I have discovered how much a
    harder sitting and watching and waiting can be, even when I know what to do and how to do it, especially when I'm usually alone as hubby is a firefighter too. I will join you picking up all the numb skills who want to endanger other peoples lives for a but if fun or because they MUST get where they are going. It always makes me angry to see it and our media just encourage it by filming and interviewing them, the same goes for those that refuse to evacuate when told to, lets give them their 15 minutes of fame for putting other peoples lives at risk. Sorry that's my rant.

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    1. Rant away, Wendy. More of us need to be vocal about this.

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    2. Those that refuse to evacuate is the worst! Our Governor in NJ told people if they did not evacuate for Hurricane Sandy when told to, no one would would be able to help them. No reason to put First Responders at risk because you don't want to leave your home and think the storm is no big deal.

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  17. Rhonda there are times when your writing hits a high note. I loved "When you know how to feed one family, you know what's needed to feed a neighbourhood." this and nodded.

    Then I roared laughing at the "My job during a disaster (I created this job for myself) would be to find all the people driving and walking through swollen creeks and rivers, along with those who swim, surf and jet ski (or light fires) just for the fun of it and frogmarch them into an area where they'd get a clip in the ear and told to smarten themselves up. Then they'd be dispatched to work with the SES for the duration of the disaster. I'd be good at that." because I want to give myself that job. Well maybe you could frogmarch them and I could deliver the clip? :)

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    1. Join us Rose, there are three of us now. We might need uniforms. :- )

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  18. HI Rhonda, great post and comments. Just wanted to let you know that ive put my foot in the water and created a blog and posted my first. Im still setting it up and need to find someone to fine tune it for me. I mentioned you in it so im letting you know. I assume that's the correct way to do things. Is there blog protocol? Ive called my blog Living in the the land of Oz. Mostly because im a proud Australian. Remember you gave me advice re setting up my vegie garden with my two Aspie men - wait till you see it. They love it.

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  19. Brilliant post !
    Here in our village in the middle of England, we are considered by most people to be strange because we plan for when things go wrong. We are often called pessimists and alarmists.
    A few years ago when without electricity for 6 days we provided neighbours with candles and hot water for drinks etc. One particular neighbour is completely electric and didn't possess a candle or any alternative methods of heating or cooking. I spoke to her the other day and she tells me she still hasn't got round to acquiring alternatives, saying that it is unlikely it will happen again and she she hasn't room for clutter!
    As a self sufficient homemaker I would be more than happy to spend time with young people sharing my experiences and knowledge.
    I feel your anger Wendy, My daughter is a fire officer too.

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  20. In light of what's going on around the country, floods to the north and fires to the south, it's it's a very important topic and one easily forgotton when the threat of sisaster is over. but we need to be ever vigilant. And the people who are always prepared like you said, with stocked pantries and food growing etc, are the ones who have so much to offer. We teach it as part of our Permaculture course and it would be lovely to see more and more people preparing. There's a great story about Food Connect, up your way, being able to get food through to people during the last flood because they had contact with farmers and contact with local knowledge about roads. Otherwise the people were stranded.

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  21. Preparedness is something I really need to research and start doing. It's intimidating! Where do I start? How far do I go? ... Just some of the questions that lurk in the back of my brain.

    But you're right, it's something we all need to think about.

    Thanks! :)
    Have yourself a lovely day.
    - Kristin

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  22. Kristin, start a thread over at the forum and we'll all discuss it with you. I hope you have a lovely day too.

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  23. IN my shambolic way I am prepared. However I always seem to think I need more fresh water supplies. Last year we had to rely on our tank twice. While it was fine for flushing etc the water was brown and horrible. Our neighbour has many pines that shed on our roof etc. So while I will happily use the water I will not drink it unless the situation is dire. This year my mother said to me something about this time she felt in a good place as we had bread flour etc on hand and she knows I can turn out the basics on our little gas stove.

    We are fortunate here as our local fruit market is also a distributer. When the markets flood he transfers his operation to here. So we generally get staples. This time however ours was one of the districts to lose power for a long time. So the locals who rely on their kindness and forward planning were caught out.

    I agree with your statement about those who "brave" the water. Although this time I must confess I did show my know it all daughter how to drive across wet, not flooded, roads. The girl keeps telling me my car aquaplanes. I keep telling her it is the driver. Even though she has done road safety courses, that include driving, I think it is time for another.

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  24. This is something close to my heart & I can't recommend a survival kit enough. Where we live was always considered as one of the safest places to live earthquake wise in New Zealand. When on 4th Sept 2011 the 7.1 mag hit we couldn't believe it, it made us get a good kit together & take a new look at our lives but we still felt that things are always ok as we only lost power/ water for a few days. Well when the unknown fault ripped our poor city apart 6 months later we were shocked & for the first time ever in a real disaster. We were actually living what we used watch on the news. It can happen anywhere & sadly it does often. Ness.

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  25. I had a conversion with my parents on the weekend about 'those without a brain' as my eleven son puts it. I can inform you there are several adults at this home that would like to join your frogmarch and clipping. Both my parents have worked at emergency situations in the past and say some people lack common sense.

    Just yesterday I commented to our 18 year daughter that I need to reshuffle the filling cabinet around to make if easier for a evac situation. Easier to remove one drawer then having to gather things up from different places.

    Ruth

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  26. Oh dear! I just about fell off the couch laughing!

    You are right about all of it. I worry about our oldest son and family because our DIL refuses to buy anything in cans and never has more than a few days worth of food on hand. I said something to this effect to our son while they were here for Christmas and he just shrugged his shoulders and said he knows. They are 5 hours away and we can not help them if there is a disaster.

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  27. While we have had no bush fires or floods here in sunny and very hot Swan Hill hubby and I are still preparing for the worst. We aren't alarmists by any means but to stick our heads in the sand and pretend nothing bad will happen is just plain crazy in our opinions.

    On the weekend we started to discuss just what else we needed in an emergency. The stockpile of food is excellent. We are on solar power which runs most of our house - the grid still provides some power - we have a wood stove inside, an open fire place out side and shortly (when it's finally repaired) a wood fired pizza oven to cook in. There is a gas stove - but that would be my last resort. Hubby being an electrician has a generator that will run our house easily and there is more than enough in the way of blankets, clothing, emergency medical supplies etc.

    We do need to address our water situation and water tanks are on our list as is more in the way of diesel to run the generator and a big stock pile of wood. When we first built this house fourteen years ago we had five inches of rain in 24 hours. The house was still high and dry so in a wet emergency we should be fine. If all else fails we will load up the bus with what we need and move ourselves somewhere safe.

    Yet in spite of all that preparation I wonder - do we really have enough and just what is enough? I hope the thread on disaster preparedness does happen on the forum. It will be interesting to see just what everyone else is doing and how they are doing it.

    As for the frog marching those idiots - count me in. How on earth someone can put not only their own lives at risk but also others is beyond me.

    Thank you as always for such a lovely timely post Rhonda and all those who have commented. Just reading what everyone else had done so far has sparked some new ideas.

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  28. I was without power for nearly 8 hours on the weekend, no big deal,gas stove etc. but I needed more than candles for light to knit, read and do puzzles, so went to K Mart and bought a lantern it is a 20 LED and takes 3 standard torch batteries, (is the size and shape of a small desk lamp) and cost $6 plus $5 for a 6 pack of batteries.I have a gas stove so cooking was sorted, but what I thought was a good idea for people without gas was the little Butane camp stove, that run on cans of butane gas, a few spare cans would not take up much room.Good idea for Sarah R above, and anyone who has to boil babies water.
    Another thought that would help emergency supplies was a "Bobble" brand drinking bottle, with a charcoal filter ( Woolies) it would purify whatever water you had to use for drinking.

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  29. growing up in a flood region my parents taught me about being prepared! my husband didn't realise how full on floods could be when he moved up north (he was from South Australia)... so we have plenty of food, spare water (we are on rainwater tanks as our supply anyway), alternative methods for cooking, lighting should we be without power...
    this time before the floods i made sure to update my first aid kit... i think this is something so many people don't think about... but if there is an emergency and you are isolated by flood waters it could be some time before emegergency services can get to you, so you do need to be prepared... and if you can you should take a first aid course as well because it could save a life!
    amy
    p.s.- idiots who go into flood waters make my blood boil but what's even worse is those who do it with innocent children who have no choice in the matter and who have no understanding of the dangers (and who can't even swim to try and save themselves)... shame on them :(

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  30. Thank you for saying what I think. So many rely on others to look after them or get them out of trouble during times of crisis. Or they seek to blame and rant and rave over the inconvenience of no phones or internet or ATM. Or they have no concept of danger (ie those idiots that insist on putting themselves and thus others in danger by lighting fires, driving through water etc). There is so little concept of self reliance, its scary. After Yasi, so many in my community were unprepared - even after so much notice, quite frankly for us it was a breeze. Our only concern was structural damage through it. Survival afterwards without electricity for 2 weeks was easy, inconvenient and annoying but easy. Quite a few of my friends raz me over my preparedness. I believe in preparing for the worst, then anything is manageable.

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  31. The comment about having no tv and not reading newspapers anymore got me thinking I've just got rid of silly payed tv and here in oz on April the 2nd it changes over to digital and I don't have have a plasma but wouldn't matter if I did cause I don't have an Ariel will cost $250 to get one put in anyway was thinking there's always my little radio I can listen to here and there or the newspaper once a week but I'm not keen on that lol same old same old
    Louiseinsa

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  32. Hi Rhonda,
    My family have been flooded in for a week now, and thank goodness I always keep my pantry fully stocked at all times!!! Extra bread flour, milk etc in the freezer. We could be stuck in for a while yet, and I have to say the vege garden has become of even greater importance. We are being careful with everything. They are saying it could be 5 weeks before people get power out here, we are completely solar how I love solar even more now! The kids are on extended holidays, who knows when the school bus will be able to get out here! But living on a property a fair way out of town, I always have the mind set, will I have enough if I can't get back to the shops for a while.(Thank goodness) My husband has not been able to get back to work, so we are all out here surviving, being together, slowly fixing all the damage to our property (much of it is still to wet), and pretty much it feels like the simple life! but it will all end roads will be fixed, husband will go back to work, kids will have to be run back and forth to the school bus. The world will become a part of our world once again. But for know I am so pleased I kept prepared, and can provide for my family.
    Kind Regards
    Jo

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    Replies
    1. It's good to know you're fine and dandy even though you're flooded in. It sounds like you've got every thing you need and I bet the kids think it's great having that extra time off school. I hope you get all your repairs done soon. When we live up north in a remote place we were always stocked up. It gives you peace of mind.

      Take care. love.

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  33. Hi Rhonda, we were about to move into North Bundaberg and are now homeless. But I am confident that I am skilled enough and have the right equipment to be able to cope with whatever damage there is. The trick is just to keep doing one more thing and then another. Today we managed to apply for some assistance and also prepare for my husband starting work. We all ate and we have a temporary roof over our heads. These are good achievements for one day. Facebook has been a lifesaver as it has allowed me to find out what resources are available and also what is not. Please keep up the posts Rhonda, you are an inspiration in these trying times. Thanks, Anna

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    Replies
    1. Oh dear Anna, how horrible for you and your family. North Bundaberg was one of the worst areas for flooding. I think your positive attitude will stand you in good stead. I agree with you - you do one thing, then the next. I hope it works out, you get the assistance you need and get settled in your home as soon as possible. Take care, love.

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  34. Because we're pensioners, we've become accustomed to doing a fortnightly grocery shop. So usually, we've been well prepared at times of flood, etc. We did go low on food when we had our house fire, but that's only because half of our food was in the actual fire, lol!

    Because we usually find it a necessity to shop in bulk to save petrol money, this makes us more prepared by default. But, I'm always looking at ways to be even better prepared.

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  35. I live in Western Morris county in NJ which is pretty much farm country. 2011 was a rough year in our area because we lost power during Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Lee and then had a freak snowstorm in October. Afterwards, a good friend who is a farmer and a Mormon, preparedness is something they are taught, gave us packets on emergency preparedness (food storage, bug out bags, etc)and we spoke to her dad about generators. We went out and bought a Generac generator for the house. I was pregnant at that time and the fact that our grid is so over loaded made me insist to my husband we needed backup for heat and hot water. Where we live everything is on electric which is a real drag. We got the generator and a propane tank and when Hurricane Sandy hit, our area had mega tree damage to houses, roads, anything and everything you can think of, but we had power and I was so grateful. Neighbors came to our house to shower and cook and charge their phones and we were happy to help. Most people on my block now have portable generators.
    The year before, Hurricane Irene was the first indicator that this was going to be our "new normal" here and yet, a lot of people were not prepared. Also, I hate to say it, but what made us nervous was the fact that people were getting so hostile about the situation. We actually discussed purchasing a firearm to defend home and hearth. The gas rationing,no internet and tv were making people very volatile and stir crazy. People complained they were bored and that the power companies were not moving fast enough. Keep in mind we pretty much lost our coast line so most of the focus was on that area. We had teams here from out of state and most of us were grateful to them and would beep and wave to them when we saw their trucks some people even brought them coffee and food, but there are always the few that are never happy.
    Friends has asked us about our generator and they are looking into getting their own now which is good. I also emailed the Emergency Preparedness info to friends who asked for it. I am glad some people are taking this seriously, realizing updates are necessary for our power grids, but until that happens, we need to be self sufficient best we can.

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  36. I like to think I am at least partially ready for an event like recent ones (after all we got through the Pasha Bulka storm a few years back) but the more I think about it the more I realise I don't have enough 'ready to eat stuff' stockpiled. Most of the stuff I have needs preparation that requires electricity. Your post has inspired me to work on filling the freezer :)

    xoxo

    PS love your job! I think I would be good at that too, now if only someone was available to do the ear clipping!

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  37. Two things I wonder about. We are used to using an electric blanket and so don't have many extra blankets in the house. We keep all heat turned off during the nights. so I have stocked extra blankets and also thermal emergency blankets in case of emergency and thus no electricity. Also good reliable healthy equipment to filter 'bad' water if necessary. I too have heard grocers say there is usually only 3 days worth of food in a the typical grocery store if the roads are cut off for more trucks to get in to resupply. As was mentioned already, those three days of things will be bought up quickly as people run to the stores to gather things before a storm or whatever happens too. So maybe less than three days worth. Keep in mind too to be very careful about making a spark or any kind or lighting candles, matches and such if any gas lines in your area have been broken say due to earth quakes etc. Fires after earth quakes can run rampid due to firemen not being able to get to the site or being over burdened. so stock foods that will to need to be heated too. Sarah

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  38. If you wonder if you are prepared...do a test run. Actually take a day or several to do without any of the modern conveniences. Do it with the whole family there. After wards discuss where your vulnerabilities are. Did you have enough light sources, warmth, food entertainment or whatever. Do you need a few manual things you use electricity for...say a can opener!! :) Did the family all know where the food etc was and how to use them? Discuss it all and try it again later. Make it an adventure. It is a good drill and you can try it also thinking of different situations, flood, earthquake or such. Do all your family know who to contact for your person out of the area? One relative or friend should be appointed with their knowledge, to be the person all can contact if they are separated so that one person can relay any messages to others that call. Just more thoughts... Sarah

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  39. As a teenager my family went through the 1983 Ash Wednesday bush fires in South Australia. We lost almost everything. I understand the importances of of being prepared, both for a fire, but what to do afterwards. My parents remained on the farm as the firestorm came but hours later with no help coming they needed to fend for themselves, including eating. But as mum had a well stocked pantry and food in a freezer than needed to be eaten, they found a burning gum tree and took a fry pan and cooked a meal. What a sight it was! But to be honest, it was the meals that strangers brought that got them through the really tough days after the fire.

    However I wouldn't recommend anyone stay and go through a fire, it's hell. Get out when you can, my parents were trapped and we nearly list them. 30 years later that day is imprinted on my memory.

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