Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ten Most Common 72 Hour Emergency Kit Mistakes

When planning for emergencies and the great unknown, there are many websites, supply lists and online stores that offer help and emergency info, but how can you know if you and your family are really prepared? Is your 72-hour-kit battle ready? Here is a practical list of the top ten mistakes people most commonly make when getting their 72-hour-kit ready for use.

1. Faulty Equipment
Most emergency supplies come with a shelf life, an expiration date, or sometimes they just don’t work properly due to age or faulty manufacturing. Is your rope in good condition? Knives sharpened? Medications up to date? Are all of your bags airtight and equipment working properly? If your kit was assembled a decade ago, chances are it will need some updating before it’s ready to go. The best way to know how your 72-hour-kit holds up against the elements is to test it! You will find out pretty quickly if everything is working well, if you packed enough food, and which items you need to add to the pack, because if a time comes that you really need it, it’s too late to go shopping.

2. Can you Use your Equipment?
This one might seem simple, but all the emergency equipment in the world won’t be helpful if you can’t use it at need. Can you use your fire starting kit? If it includes a magnifying glass, will you be able to use it if it is cloudy or at night? Can you set up your tent or tarp? Are sure water is easily purified? Do you know how to use your water purifier or pump to get clean water for your family? Take a little time before the emergency to get to know your equipment so you can be ready for whatever comes.

3. Water
In any emergency situation, clean drinkable water is your most vital need in order to survive. It is recommended that you have at least one gallon per person per day for drinking, cooking, washing, and medical needs. But while you need to store at least that amount of water at home, you may need to be on the move, and at 8.34 pounds per gallon, that adds up to 75 pounds of water for a family of three—more than you want to be carrying on your back, so be sure water containers are light enough to take with you. I highly recommend keeping a water filter or purifier in your 72 hour kit. They are lightweight and very portable for the amount of clean water that they provide.

4. Medications
Make sure that you have an adequate supply of any medications anyone in your family is taking. Don’t take any medications? Then be sure to keep at least Tylenol, Ibuprofin, or other forms of pain relief in the event that someone in your family is hurt. Also, check the shelf life of these medications. Some prescription may last two years at room temperature, but only two months in extreme heat or other conditions (like in the car). Be aware how long your medications last, and switch them out when needed.

5. Footwear/ Clothes
Do you work in a suit, dress shoes, high heels, or otherwise less than ideal emergency clothing? Make sure that you have at least one change of clothing, including underwear and footwear for each member of your family. Also, plan for each season when packing clothing to make sure that you will be prepared, whenever in the year the need arises.

6. Planning for Children
This is a difficult one, because children’s needs are constantly changing, but if an emergency should occur, would your family have enough diapers, wipes, and formula to go around? Does your formula take water? Do you have a baby carrier or do you plan to use a stroller? Does your stroller have inflatable wheels, and if so, do you have extra and know how to change them? Plan for the little ones in your family as well, because truth be told, they are the least capable at “roughing it.”

7. Use Wide Mouth Bottles
If you do choose to carry water with you, it is best to choose wide mouth bottles or thermoses. Wide mouth bottles are easiest to fill up and clean, and are best for mixing up energy or protein survival shakes. Also, if you have a UV water purifier, or drops,  you can cleanse your water right in the bottle, which is a definite plus when roughing it in minimalist circumstances.

8. Bringing Only Credit Cards with NO CASH
Of course keeping credit cards in your emergency kit is a good idea. What isn’t a good idea is expecting that when everything hits the fan you’ll be able to swing by the ATM and line up behind thousands of other panicked residents to get some spending money. Keep several hundred dollars in usable smaller bills on hand just in case. (and change as well.)

9. Cell Phone
These days, we are rarely separated from our cell phones and use them as mindless entertainment, music and video player, web browser, alarm clock, and GPS. That being said, make sure that you have everything that you need to pack, in “non-phone” format when it comes to emergency preparedness because your battery won’t last 72 hours. Make sure that you have important phone numbers hard copy, a watch, flashlight, emergency radio, maps and anything else that you might use your phone for, that will become unavailable without a battery charger.

10.  Plan for the Most Likely
When it comes to emergency preparedness, make sure that you have a plan in place for the most likely scenarios. If you work during the day, do you have emergency supplies in your car, or a way to get back home to your 72-hour-kit? (Keep in mind that car kits need more frequent checking due to extreme heat and weather conditions.) Are they packed in bags that are easily accessible and portable if needed? Would your children know what to do if an emergency occurred during the day? As well as packing supplies, create a family emergency plan, and make sure that everyone knows what to do just in case.

In Salt Lake City our emergency leaders suggest your kit be built to sustain yourself for up to 96-hours.

Article posted from

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Emergency Drill At Utah School

Emergency drill at Utah school hits home for aunt of Sandy Hook victimStephanie Speicher, principal at Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden planned a full-scale, community wide emergency and reunification drill Thursday.

The school held an evacuation drill as part of an active shooter situation. The drill included firefighters and police officers. During the drill, teachers focused on students, getting them out and away from the school to a safe location where parents can find them and pick them up without being in the middle of all the chaos.

Emergency drill at Utah school hits home for aunt of Sandy Hook victim“We have the opportunity to practice that in a non-stressful situation in a sense that there is no real emergency,”

One of the greatest lessons learned was the importance of having a good reunification process.

Click on the following link to read the entire article posted at

Emergency drill at Utah school hits home 
for aunt of Sandy Hook victim

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Community Preparedness Workshop

Dear Salt Lake City Community Members,

The 2nd Quarter 2014 Community Preparedness Workshop has been scheduled.  Please join us at the workshop on Saturday, May 10, 2014.  Continental breakfast will be offered at 8:00 am.  Welcome and opening address will begin at 8:30.

This workshop will be used as a public forum to discuss the Salt Lake City ShakeOut 2014 exercise that was conducted at Highland Park Elementary on April 17th.  This was the first Full-Scale Exercise conducted to integrate shelter/reunification operations, the CERT program, and Amateur Radio operators under the umbrella of the SAFE Neighborhoods program.

As introduced last year, in the event of a catastrophic incident that requires evacuation of a community neighborhood, individuals and families need a SAFE location to go for family reunification, temporary sheltering, and a place to receive emergency public information.

Salt Lake City, in partnership with the American Red Cross, and the Salt Lake City School District developed the SAFE Neighborhoods program which trains volunteers from each school neighborhood to open, staff, and run their own reunification shelters within their own school neighborhoods until outside resources arrive.  However, the sheltering/reunification operations are only one component the SAFE Neighborhoods program. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Amateur Radio are two additional critical components in our “Whole Communities” planning efforts.

As we move forward, coordination with faith-based and other volunteer, community, and/or non-governmental organizations will be incorporated.  Please come and participate in the discussion to learn about what is being accomplished and learn about how to become involved with Community Preparedness in your area!

Community Preparedness Workshop


Saturday, May 10, 2014, 8:00 am – 11:30 am
Public Safety Building
475 S 300 E
Salt Lake City, UT 

8:00am      Sign-in & Light continental breakfast/ Welcome & Open Meeting
                  – John Flynt/Mayor’s Office

8:30am      ShakeOut 2014 Exercise – Review & Discussion
                 This session will review the details of the individual exercise activities: shelter,
                 CERT, and amateur radio.  Questions and input from exercise participants
                 are encouraged.

10:15am    Break

10:30am    Vigilant Guard Exercise
                  In this session, discussion will focus on the Vigilant Guard exercise to be
                  held on November 4th.  Though this exercise in conjunction with the Utah
                  National Guard, the community based portion of the exercise will consist
                  of the same functions as the ShakeOut exercise.  The primary difference will
                  be the conduct of exercise operations at two schools instead of just one.
                  Leaders from each of the respective disciplines (shelter, CERT, & amateur
                  radio) will have the opportunity to present discussion items concerning
                  exercise conduct.
11:30am     Adjourn

Free parking is available immediately to the right as you turn on to Blair St. from 400 South, in the small parking lot to the east of Blair St. on the east side of the Public Safety Building, and on 500 South beside the Public Safety Building.
People with disabilities may make requests for reasonable accommodation no later than 48 hours in advance in order to attend this meeting.  Accommodations may include alternate formats, interpreters, and other auxiliary aids.  This is an accessible facility.  For questions or additional information, please contact Michael Stott, ADA Coordinator, at, (801) 535-7976, or TDD (801) 535-6021.