Create A Family Emergency Plan!

family emergency plan
Before an emergency happens make a plan. Find out which disasters and emergencies can happen in your area and create a plan of what you and your family will do if it happens.

Discuss with your family if ___________________________ happens we will:

If we aren’t together we will meet at

Neighborhood Meeting Place:

In-Town Meeting Place:

Out-of-Town Meeting Place:

We will contact each other by

Home Phone:

Cell Phones:

Friend:

Out-of-Town contact:

If phones don’t work we will

Email address:

Social Media:

Other:

What we will do with our pets

Hotels/motels that allow pets:

Kennels/ pet care centers in the area:

What will we do if

The kids are in school:

Parent is at work:

Things to plan

Get an emergency kit for every member of the family.

Keep an emergency kit in your car.

Find a safe area in your home for those kind of emergency’s that you don’t evacuate for.

Develop an evacuation plan.

Determine two escape routes from each room in your home.

Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1.

Learn basic first aid skills. Take a CPR class.

Check for hazards in and around your home and eliminate them.

Know the location of the emergency shelter in your town or neighborhood.

Practice emergency scenarios with your family.

Pets in an Emergency

dogs

Your pets depend on you for survival. It is important for you to include them in your disaster and evacuation plans. Pets (not including service animals) are not usually allowed in emergency shelters so other arrangements need to be thought of and made. Be ready to adapt to any emergency situation. Prepare now so that you will be ready when an emergency arises.

 Get prepared now:

  • Get a pet emergency kit.
  • Make an evacuation plan that includes your pets. Include in the plan what to do for your pet if you are not at home.
  • Keep pets current on vaccinations.
  • Have identification tags secure on pets collar.
  • Get an emergency litter box.
  • Find out which hotels/motels allow pets.
  • Locate pet boarding facilities or choose a designated caregiver.
  • Have on hand a two-week supply of food water, treats and medications
  • Get a pet carrier. Label it with pet’s name, any medical conditions, and your contact information.
  • Get an extra blanket and pillowcases. (Pillowcases can be used for emergency transportation of pets and items).
  • Assemble veterinary and proof of ownership records.

 A Pet Emergency Kit should include:

  • Two-day supply of food and water
  • Extra collar and leash
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Food and water dishes
  • Toys or comfort items
  • Pet waste bags
  • Signal whistle
  • Light stick

 

Add to the kit:

  • Pet medications
  • Pet treats
  • Current photo of your pet
  • Card with your pet’s name and behavior listed on it.
  • Familiar items that will calm your pet

 

A Pet First-Aid Kit should include:

  • Tweezers
  • Trauma Scissors
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Self-Adhesive Bandage roll
  • Gauze pads
  • Cold Pack
  • Splint sticks
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Band-Aids

 

Add to the kit:

  • Pet medications
  • A muzzle for dogs (if needed)
  • Information card about your pet

 

If you have to evacuate during an emergency

  • Remain calm!
  • Take your pet with you.
  • Follow the evacuation plan that you’ve made.
  • Take the pet emergency kit
  • Take the pet carrier and leash. Animals can become aggressive in stressful situations.
  • Take a copy of pet vaccinations, picture and card with pet’s name.
  • Take the litter box (if needed).
  • Take any medications your pet needs with you.
  • If the weather is cold, cover carrier with extra blanket

 

If you don’t evacuate during an emergency

  • Remain calm!
  • Bring any outside pets inside
  • Keep your pet inside
  • Only let your pet outside when it is on a leash
  • If pet is showing anxiety, put in carrier with a sheet draped over to calm them down
  • Get everything ready in case the need to evacuate arises

 

Planting a Garden

Tomatoes copy

As I have watched the news lately, I have become even more alarmed at the cost of food. Prices have risen astronomically, and it is scary to think about. It’s not really an optional item in anyone’s budget.

We all need to eat. So what are we to do? I, for one, can think of a lot of options, and none of them include not eating at all. Most of us have within us an ability to work. Quite a few of us have a little space, or a lot of space, that we could use for a garden. I have heard a lot of people complain that it’s not worth it to grow a garden, and that they can get the food cheaper at the grocery store when they consider their time and all. Perhaps to them it’s the better option, but I, for one, could not afford to purchase all that my family can eat. And besides, we have an affinity for fresh berries, and we would have to take out a loan to buy what we eat every year just in that category.

It is true that many foods are readily available at a reasonable cost during the case lot sales. But that may not always be true, and prices will continue to rise. Certainly, there are some things that we need to purchase, but there are a lot of items that we can grow ourselves. The idea is to make the funds available to us go as far as possible. And a little hard work really doesn’t hurt anyone, even children, although they may sometimes have a different opinion.

In order to maximize the usable yield from our gardens, it is important to start with a plan. What does your family really like? What won’t they touch? How much of something will they eat before they get tired of it or it goes bad? There isn’t much sense in planting a whole row of radishes if your children would rather play kick ball with them. Perhaps a few would be fun because they come up fast and grow fast, but mix them in with the carrots, and they don’t take any more space because they are ready to pull before the carrots get big.

Are carrots a big thing in your family? Can they eat a five-pound bag in a week if there is veggie dip? Then maybe one row wouldn’t be enough. My sister-in-law pulls carrots, leaving the fluffy green top on, and tells her children they are “What’s up, Doc?” carrots, and the kids think they are so cool. We plant lots of carrots so we can eat all we want during the summer. Then we are sure to have enough left over for drying and cold storage through the winter.

Corn is very popular at our house. We can eat it at dinner for several weeks and not get tired of it too fast. We also freeze a lot of it. We don’t like the taste of home canned corn, though. So when we plan how much corn to plant, we think of three things. First, how much do we want to freeze? Then how much do we want to eat? Third is how to stagger the ripening of the ears. Either we plant it in two or three plantings about two weeks apart, or we use three different varieties that take a differing numbers of days to mature. For fresh eating we want it to ripen gradually, but when I freeze it, I would rather it all ripen at once so I can get the job over with. We are also very careful to plant corn in blocks instead of single rows so that they are pollinated more thoroughly.

We like to grow enough pumpkins to let each person in the family either carve one or draw on one for Halloween, according to age. We also want a few more for pies and breads. However, I don’t really think we need five dozen of them, although I am sure the neighbors would be happy to help us dispose of them if we did end up with that many.

That brings up another point. Gardeners are fond of sharing. I think it’s partly because they like to be good neighbors, but I also think that there may be some bragging rights involved. We had a neighbor who grew onions the size of basketballs, and I am not exaggerating. They were huge! He loved sharing them with friends and neighbors. My bragging rights come from handing our tomatoes to neighbors in June from the plants in our greenhouse, while their plants are still only ankle-high. I love to share what I have grown, and I love to be the recipient of someone else’s bounty. I have found great new varieties this way, and have learned some new techniques. Never be afraid to ask someone for advice. Gardeners love sharing information too!

Our family likes peas, fresh and frozen. We plant a lot of them too, but not as many green beans, even though we can a bunch every year, and eat some fresh. We don’t do much with kohlrabi or turnips, but we should. Broccoli is great to have, but I don’t seem to be able to grow much of it.

Potatoes are a big crop for us. We eat a lot of them, and the children love to go out with Dad to dig them up in the fall. It’s a treasure hunt for them. But we are always careful to plant some red potatoes that will be ready to eat much earlier, when the peas are on, so we can have the old family favorite dinner of peas and potatoes. We plant several rows of potatoes.

Consider planting cucumbers, summer squash, cabbage, tomatoes and peppers, among others. I like to plant a lot of tomatoes. We like them in tacos, BLT sandwiches, and I make lots of salsa and spaghetti sauce. I have a few children that will eat them like one would eat an apple. I certainly don’t want to run out of them! I also grow the onions and peppers for the salsa, and I need to grow lots of onions for freezing and drying. That makes it easy to throw a handful of them into a soup.

When I set out our garden, I take the needs of our family into consideration and plot out our available space with what is most important to us. There is no reason to waste time and space on something that they won’t eat. But then, maybe a little of something new would be good for them. Just don’t turn half of your garden into a brussels sprouts patch if your family will mutiny if you serve them more than once a year.

Think about staggered planting, or two crops in one season, such as lettuce or peas. How much does each foot of row produce? How much do you really need? Remember that the first year that you raise a garden is a learning experience. Also remember that the twentieth year that you raise a garden is a learning experience. You will always find new and better ways to do things, and you will also find out what really doesn’t work for you. You will be able to experiment with different varieties of vegetables, and perhaps some wonderful neighbor will share some heirloom seeds with you. Gardening is definitely an adventure!

Our children, as they fill their tummies with fresh bread and fresh homemade raspberry jam and an apple or carrot on the side, or with still-warm peas from a sun-kissed pod, talk about how wonderful their life is. It really makes me smile. What they are eating is quite inexpensive, but very good for them, and they are probably also content remembering that they helped weed, water and pick the produce, and that gives us all a great deal of satisfaction.

Rhubarb! It’s That Time of the Year!

RHUBARB-PLANTrhubarb

We love rhubarb in our family. It’s one of the first crops ready in the spring, right when we are anxious for fresh produce. It’s also very easy to take care of.

Rhubarb plants can be purchased from a nursery. There are several kinds, but we prefer the varieties with more red in the stalks. But the least expensive way to get your own plants is to ask a neighbor for a plant, or part of one. They have to be dug up and the root divided, meaning cut in half, and then replanted. Each section should have at least one bud. Rhubarb tends to be a little touchy about this operation, so be careful and get them replanted right away. Try to replant in later winter or early spring. Water them in well, and keep watered for a while until the root is growing again, and they should be fine. They do much better if they are watered freely all the time.

Rhubarb are heavy feeders. My husband’s grandmother would pile manure on her plants early in the spring, and let the stalks come up right through it. She also had the best plants in the area. They can grow in pretty much any soil, but giving them what they need ensures that they will grow faster and bigger. If you are going to have a plant, or several, you might as well get as much off of them as you can.
In most areas, rhubarb prefer full sun, but in some very sunny area, partial shade might be better. Space them at least three feet apart. That may seem like a lot, but with the stalks growing up to two feet long, from each plant, it’s certainly not overkill. It’s a pretty plant, with red stalks and crinkly leaves, so don’t be afraid to put it in a visible place.

It’s best not to harvest any rhubarb off your new plant for the first two years. The root needs to grow and gain strength, and you will be rewarded with larger and longer stalks in the future. After that, only harvest from these plants for about a month, then just let them grow the rest of the year. Starting the fourth summer, harvest can be extended to about two months. However, if the stalks become thin, stop right then. That means the plant is drained and needs to be allowed to build up strength again.
If the seed stalks are allowed to grow, they will sap a lot of the energy from the plant, and it won’t put out nearly as many edible stalks. This is one thing that will really boost your harvest. Every time a seed stalk grows, pull it out right down to the root. There will be usable stalks growing on the seed stalk. Go ahead and pull them off and use them. More seed stalks will grow, and it is important to keep pulling them off as soon as possible.

To harvest the edible stalks, grab the stalk close to the base, yank to the side, then the other side, and it should break off right at the base. Do not cut it off, as it will rot.
The stalks are the only part you use. The leaves are poisonous, discard them. Wash the stalks and cut them into one-inch pieces, cutting off the very bottom of the stalk. At this point they can simply be put into bags and frozen for future use, or packed in jars, filled with water or syrup, and processed for 40 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Candy Soup

Candy Soup made with Rhubarb

Ingredients

  • Rhubarb (any amount)
  • Red Jello or Sugar (to taste)

Directions

Step 1
Put the rhubarb in a saucepan, barely cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until rhubarb pieces fall apart when you stir. Take off heat, add sugar to taste. I like to also add a little red jello for flavor and color. Eat warm or cold, in a bowl with a spoon, and it can even be canned.

 

Emergency Kit Components

kit

General Recommendations

1. Emergency Supplies should be organized and kept in one location and should be portable.

2. You should have a basic knowledge of how to use the emergency supplies.

3. You should periodically ensure that the contents of the kit are in working order and rotate the food rations.

4. Contents of the kit depend on your environment. If you live in Idaho, your kit needs more emphasis on keeping you warm than if you live in Alabama.

5. Don’t rely solely on a prepackaged kit to meet all of your needs. You need to be sure to add prescription medications, a change of clothing and other special items needed by your family.

6. Don’t forget items to keep your mind active and to relieve stress (games, a book, crafts etc.)

7. Kit contents can be divided into survival necessities and comfort needs. Make sure you have all of the basic survival necessities, then add other items for comfort.

8. Remember, the kit must be portable.

Sample Survival Necessities

Food and Water

Packaged Water

Water Purification Tablets

Emergency Food Source

Folding Stove

Basic Utensils

Communication

Radio

Signaling Mirror

Emergency Whistle

Shelter and Warmth

Tent

Rain Gear

Reflective Blanket

Heat Source

Hand/Body Warmers

Waterproof Matches

Wool Blanket

Change of Clothes

Flashlight

Hygiene

Soap or Hand Sanitizer

Toilet Paper

Feminine Hygiene needs

Emergency Tools

Rope

Duct Tape

Multi-tool

First Aid

Prescription Medications as needed

Medical Gloves

Bandages

Gauze and Tape

Antiseptic

Sun Screen

Insect Repellent