Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Fires, floods, earthquakes, oh my! Are you ready?

This past week as I’ve heard and watched stories out of the Houston flood, I have stopped to question how prepared I would be if I was in a similar situation.  Do I have bottled water on hand, or would I be one of those forking over $100 for a case of bottled water, because I didn’t have any on hand for such emergencies?  As I listen to reports of the fires across Montana, I ask myself that if I was evacuated, would I be prepared enough to have gas in the car, a plan of where to go, and what to do?  Or, would I be scrambling to find the essentials I needed to take with me?

In the last year, we’ve had fires, blizzards, flooding, earthquakes, and tornadoes across Montana.  The saying “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training,” is especially relevant as it’s only realistic to acknowledge that in the event of a natural disaster, we will only rise to the level we’ve prepared for.

There are numerous lists available for emergency planning, but today I’ll share with you a few tips:
  • ·         Keep important papers accessible – This should include copies of important documents such as insurance cards, immunization records, emergency contact information, deed/lease to your house, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, etc.  These should all be scanned so you have an electronic file, and paper copies should be easily accessible in a bag that you can grab and go with, if needed.
  • ·         Ensure all household members know how and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity at the main switches, if needed.
  • ·         Install an ABC type fire extinguisher in your home, and teach each household member how to use it. 
  • ·         Create a Disaster Supplies Kit that you can quickly grab if needed.  Some basics that should be in the kit include:

o   One gallon of water per person per day, with a minimum of a three-day supply.  For a family of four, this would be at least 12 gallons, thus one case of bottled water isn’t going to do it.
o   Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food per person.  These should be foods that require no refrigeration, cooking, or preparation, such as ready to eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables, nuts, trail mix, energy bars, etc.  Don’t forget the can opener!
o   A minimum 3-day supply of all medicines.
o   A flashlight and battery-operated radio with extra batteries
o   A first aid kit
o   Extra cash, you don’t want to depend on debit or credit cards in a disaster
o   Emergency blanket or sleeping bag(s)
o   Extra set of car keys and/or house keys

These are just a few ideas to get started, I encourage you to take time now to prepare for a potential natural disaster or evacuation.  

While on the subject of fire preparedness, archery hunters should be aware of numerous ranches and block management areas that are currently closed due to fire danger.  If you are planning to hunt, please be sure to ask landowner permission first, as the risk of fire is simply too great in many areas.

Remember, we don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training and preparedness.  

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