Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Prepare for Power Outage

Sunday morning, I woke up not feeling quite right. I stayed home from church and as the day went on, I got sicker and sicker. By the night, I was asking for a blessing because of intense body pains and misery. It wasn't hard to make myself go to bed that night either! I woke up off and on all night, but when morning came, I woke up and noticed it was pretty cold in the air. I live in a house... in GEORGIA... and its barely December... and we went to bed with the heat on... Where did this frigid air come from? Tommy tells me --- the power is out.

What timing!!

Thank goodness I had done lots of laundry just 2 days before and had pulled out quilts to wash so they wouldn't smell musty. The kids had ample to wear and extra covers to wrap up in. The power outage only lasted a few hours and then it was back on again, but what if it wasn't? I had no electricity to run my tv to tell me if something was wrong. My storm radio is ready, but the weather was fine so I wasn't going to get answers that way. The internet was down because it requires power to operate even off a satellite. I had taken a hot bath before bed, but had not washed my hair,...so my head felt especially yucky knowing I couldn't go jump in a hot shower right now....because my hot water heater needs power to work.

It could have been a bad situation. Luckily it was just a warning call. If I had needed hot water, I do have a camp stove and a bottle or two of propane left from camping season. I had all those warm blankets and quilts and plenty of clean clothing for everybody (including socks!) and even have a kerosene heater I could use (if I go buy some kerosene to put in it--oops, something I haven't thought to do yet!) I was fine -- THIS time.

But what about next time?

And what about if it were you?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Time for Batteries!

Normally you see signs up this time of year saying "Change your batteries when you set your clocks back!" Well, the powers that be are changing the timechange date on us again, so that puts us resetting clocks on November 7th.

Well that gives you time to get new batteries! Scour your house and your storage items. Get an idea of the sizes and styles of batteries you need and start shopping now to get them! You can find coupons in store circulars to make this easier on your wallet too. (Try sites like http://www.qponqutie.com/ for a wide variety of printable coupons.)

You need batteries for things such as:

  • smoke alarms
  • carbon monoxide detectors
  • portable radios
  • weather alert radios
  • ham radios
  • flashlights
  • hearing aids
And a little "survival trick" that uses a battery....
Use some steel wool with a battery (we keep a 9volt on hand for this). Put the battery to the wool and have some wood on hand because you'll have a fire in literally a second or two. Firebuilding is one of those survival skills that is critical, and preparing in this way can be a huge blessing.

It never hurts to have an extra battery or two on hand either ;)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Where Are You?

There is much to consider in the efforts of Emergency Preparedness for a family. I've found that you can't judge a family's preparedness by how they look, what their income level is, or how actively they collect food storage items. I've discovered that some of the lowest income families have a larger storage than some higher income families! I guess that comes about due to prioritizing funds. Of course, the opposite is just as true- some higher income families are quite well prepared too.

So where are you?

Food storage seems to be the larger number of items to collect, and is generally where most people start. So take a moment to look at YOUR collection. Do you have a week's worth of food to sustain YOUR household without having to go shopping? If not, I challenge you to accumulate that much and store it with appropriate dates, and have at least that much completed BY December 31st of this year. This can be as overwhelming or as simple as you make it. Achieve this goal and set a new goal, a 3-month supply for your household.

Times are more difficult than they once were. Money is less available than it was not very long ago. The weather is a bit more unpredictable than in times past, making growing seasons fluctuate a bit and conditions less productive. You may need your storage sooner than you realize! It may be due to a job loss, or a loss of a family member who normally provides an income. It might even be due to the "end of days" predictions coming to pass. No matter what causes you to need that storage, it is better to have it and not fear.

If you have collected a 1-week supply of food storage, then set your goal to a 4-week supply instead...and still aim for December 31st. Be as complete as you can, including fruits, vegetables, grains, powdered dairy products, snacks and seasonings. Dehydrated, frozen (but don't rely on a freezer for the majority of your storage!), freeze-dried, canned,...whatever form your food is in, collect it now! Hurry before Christmas shopping takes your last available dollar for something a little less valuable!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Honey Storage

This post is more of a personal nature, but in sharing it with you, I hope you get ideas of things you can do to increase your own storage by relying on Mother Nature a bit.

As some of you know, our family raises bees. Now don't misunderstand what I'm saying,..."I" do not raise bees...nooooooo way! My daddy did that while I was growing up and I didn't enjoy a single minute of it. I told my husband when we married that if he wanted to get involved in yucky hobbies like beekeeping, he had to deal with it by himself. A few years ago, we moved in with my parents for a few months, and of course it was during the honey season. Daddy got Tommy hooked...and now I live with bees again. For some reason, its not as terrible now that I'm grown as it was when I was a kid. Perhaps that's because we tend to worry about the bees together instead of it being just one person in the house doing that. Perhaps its because I'm a Family Herbalist now and I recognize benefits I never even heard of when I was kid. Or maybe after all these years, I've gone crazy. Who knows!

Anyway, here in Georgia, the "honey flow" as it's called happens just as summer is beginning. Sometimes you can even rob the bees a second time at the end of summer. And because bees are especially dedicated workers, they do their best to keep that honey coming in. [Inserting a sidenote here: I've written an ebook about bees and beekeeping. It doesn't teach how, but instead it correlates bees with life and looks at them in a spiritual way. Interested? Visit www.4m-designs.com and click on The Honeybee Religion.]

Last Saturday, our family went into "busy bee mode" and robbed three beehives. Tommy and Manti suited up in whites, hats, veils and gloves and approached with smoke. The smoke is used just to help calm them down a bit...the bees, not the men. It makes me think a little of those old ways of Native American people where they sat amongst their enemies and smoked a pipe. It was a calming experience then too so that matters of importance could be spoken of in appropriate ways. Interesting thought, don't ya think?

Anyway, back to the bees... When the bees move out of the way enough you can put your hands inside their house, boxes of frames filled with wax are taken off and carried inside. Some beekeepers believe that they can form a relationship with the bees, where the bees recognize the beekeepers scent and mannerisms and respond differently towards them than to other people. Tommy is this type of beekeeper.

Once you have boxes/frames of honey-filled wax inside, you quickly find you have a dripping mess and sometimes even bees who just can't walk away from their hard work.

I was particularly intrigued to watch these bees cleaning each other up. Some of them get squished as their hive is disturbed, and some of them get honey dripped on them. They actually tended to each other and worried over the other bee instead of themselves. Impressive characters!

Notice the covering you see on the frame of wax? The bees make that, and it is formed over those little slots to act as a cap. It protects the honey once it is "ripe"...I guess you could call it that. It means the water content has been sufficiently evaporated and the honey is ready to be used. You can't get honey out of it that way though, which means you have to slice off those cappings and quickly put the frame into your big gadget called an extractor. It's an ugly gadget, but it does the job!

Our extractor has 3 slots for frames. You can see a frame in each one. A lid goes on top of it, and then you turn the handle on top. This causes the basket inside (which holds your frames) to spin, thus slinging out the honey from the open wax compartments. It slings little droplets of honey all inside this big barrel (which is the size of a 33 gallon trashcan) and collects at the bottom. After you spin it one direction, you turn the handle in the opposite direction to more fully empty the wax frames. THEN,....you open the lid, remove each frame and turn them around so you can spin the honey out from the other side of each frame. If you don't put the lid back on,...you will be glittering from honey splatters! Ask me how I know!
(overlook my unorganized pantry showing please)
When you complete all the frames, you've got gallons of honey in the bottom of your extractor. There is a "gate" on a spout at the bottom of the extractor, and you open the gate to let the honey flow out. It is always possible for debris to get into it at this stage, but not a lot. From here, it pours into a 5 gallon bucket that has 3 baskets on top of it. The first basket has a mesh bottom that filters out the large particles of broken wax and whatever else. It's very much like bridal veil fabric. The next basket has a smaller weave that filters even smaller particles, and the third basket has such a tiny weave that it can catch the ittiest bittiest things you can imagine. What you collect in the bottom of the 5 gallon bucket is clean honey. This bucket also has a spout and a gate, and from here, you fill your clean jars and cap them. Here is our first jar of honey this year:

There is something about bees that is really remarkable... take a look at last Saturday's honey collection in jars....

Do you see how there are 3 different colors of honey here? Remember that we robbed 3 different hives. Each hive made its own unique honey blend. As tiny as they are, they are still so individual!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vinegar Magic

Multi-purpose items are just fascinating to me. I love it when I discover ANOTHER reason why I want something, and now I've done it (yet again) with vinegar. I already knew vinegar makes pickles taste great, and it preserves my hot peppers and cleans my mirrors and windows. Recently I found that vinegar applied to a sunburn will relieve a lot of the fever and pain associated with it. That makes it cool! (ok, bad pun, sorry) Well here are MORE reasons to keep vinegar stored in your pantry:
  • vinegar will take out smoke smells from clothes
  • vinegar will remove sweat stains from clothes
  • vinegar can deodorize the kitchen drain
  • vinegar (combined with baking soda) will unclog a drain
  • vinegar deters ants
That list is found on dollargeneral.com, so go read more!

My friend tells me that she uses vinegar on insect bites and it takes the itch away FAST and PERMANENT. You don't even see a whelp for very long after using it. See vinegartips.com to learn as many as 1001 uses of white distilled vinegar! That's a LOT of uses!

And after you make a couple pages of notes, head out to the store and stock up on vinegar! Don't forget to label the bottle with the date and USE it. Don't let stuff sit in the pantry and just wait for a disaster to happen. Use the things you store and when you open a bottle, buy a new one to replace it in your storage.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sun Preparations

I recently dealt with quite an ugly sunburn. In trying to take care of it, I used several different products in hopes of getting pain relief as well as speed up the healing time. Fortunately, I had several options already at home in my first aid kit and in my herb collection. I say "fortunately" because my burn was so severe that certain articles of clothing caused me tremendous pain. If I had to have gone to the store to purchase something, I would have needed to wear very uncomfortable clothes and suffer from those clothes rubbing my burns. Thank goodness I was prepared!

If you are living in a southern state, your chances of getting a sunburn are increased due to the nature of the environment of your area. Don't think that you are "in the clear" if you live in Alaska! The sun DOES still shine there too! None of us want to live in a cave with no sun exposure, so the wise thing would be to store some items you can utilize should you have a little excess sun exposure.

Now remember I tried several things, and luckily I had good results with all that I tried, but I did have some favorites. I think my MOST favorite was aloe gel. My skin absorbed it rapidly which kept moisture in it and I think it has helped reduce the severity of the peeling and itching. I have a Natures Sunshine brand aloe gel that is thin and easy to apply. It doesn't leave a sticky residue behind like aloe gel straight out of the plant does, so it felt good and it brought instant relief. It has citric acid in it too, which is a plant matter that acts as a preservative, so it lasts a while even once its been opened. (I make my own deoderant and this is one of the ingredients of my recipe, giving me a second reason to have it on hand.) I have another aloe product that has menthol in it, which brings on a cooling sensation right away too. I liked that one as well. Aloe is inexpensive and readily available, so its definitely a top choice for me. I also have an aloe plant in my kitchen windowsill which is an added bonus because its pretty, its available if I get a kitchen burn, and it replenishes itself regularly. Renewable resources are GREAT!

Next is lavender oil and a calendula cream. Calendula takes care of the skin and is an ingredient for a lot of skin preparations, even for babies. Adding lavender essential oil to it gives added antiseptic properties and awesome analgesic abilities. So I took the lavender oil and doused my skin with it. Lavender is great for pain relief, but it can get expensive so that makes it more of a second choice option for me. The calendula cream is one I make, so that cuts cost down for me there. It has a wide range of uses, but by itself it doesn't take the pain away nearly as much as I'd like it to.

Third is cider vinegar. Now you can use any vinegar of course, but I prefer REAL cider vinegar (the kind that still has "the mother") because it has none of the chemical stuff in it that I prefer to avoid. Plus, cider vinegar has other abilities (too numerous to mention in this post) and its inexpensive too. I poured a good amount onto a tissue and dabbed it on my burned skin. It eased the pain significantly and immediately, and I think it sped up the healing time too because I started itching immediately as well! Tommy said he thought it was probably the histamine release that caused me to itch,...I don't know. I just know it was maddening for about 45 seconds. Mesa had gotten a bit of a burn too and we tried this on her back with identical results.

Those are my top 3 picks. All three are easy to store and have multiple uses.
Whatever YOUR choices are, plan ahead and store a little extra just in case of burns....whether by the stove, a campfire or the sun...they all hurt! Burned skin compromises your immune function too, so take care of it before it can become a bigger problem.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sanitation Preparations

We always think about preparing our pantry with food storage, or packing a 72 hour kit, or remembering to store batteries for every imaginable tool, or having enough bandages in our first aid kit...sometimes we remember to store toilet paper and soaps and such...


Have you ever considered putting a whole TOILET into your storage?

This might sound odd until you've thought on the subject a little longer. I might even suggest you print out this post and take it to your bathroom where you can give it your focused attention (heheh) and consider why it might be a valuable thing to invest in. In our not-too-distant past, a hurricane ripped through Louisiana and other coastal areas leaving terrible devastation for the residents. Some who went to provide aid there saw filth strewn everywhere by the storm and the decay of all forms of matter was dangerous to the health of all there. Sewer systems weren't very helpful for a bit, because there were few homes and no clean water to use. In this extreme example, sanitation was crucial just to survive, and many became ill from exposure.

We never know when our precious running water and comfortable facilities will be lost to us, but our need for sanitary conditions will continue to be mandatory. So how do you prepare for this? One way is to store a portable toilet. It's a simple thing really, its just a bucket with a special lid. The only things you need to store with it are the enzyme packets (or the "blue stuff" as we call it at our house) to help break down waste material, and toilet paper. This is an inexpensive venture. In fact, I'm sure you've spent more on toilet paper than you would on this toilet!

Your health needs you to think ahead about things like this. If you have a portable "john", you have something you can take camping with you. For those with physical disabilities or difficulties, this little gadget is MOST helpful to cut down on the need to search for a place "to go". It eliminates the concern of poison ivy in uncomfortable areas. And on top of that, it is a part of the group specials for the month of July at Emergency Preparedness. (Carrollton Ward, we will be participating in this special so we can get them for $6.) Those of you who do not live in Carrollton, you can still purchase one of these at a sale price too! Visit www.BePrepared.com and place your order, or check with your own ward to see if you can participate in the group specials too.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Are your children safe?

My son Morgan is a cub scout. He is also schooled at home. I have found that combining his schoolwork and his scout work helps him spend more time on studies without feeling like he is "working"...and thus, we accomplish more in both categories: school & scouts.

Recently, he had one requirement left in his book to achieve a new rank: he had to go to the fire department. Luckily, we just got a new one about 2 or 3 miles down the road from our house! So Monday afternoon, we all piled into our car and headed to the fire station. Morgan asked his questions and got his answers, and then he wanted to see a fire truck. The wonderful firefighter on duty that day showed Morgan around and let him sit inside the truck and see all the great gadgets. He turned on the siren and lights for him and took pictures with him. He was awesome!
During our adventure there, the fireman asked ME a question. He wanted to know if I let my kids sleep with their door shut. I said "oh no! I don't! They keep the doors open." He said that if he could make one change in our lives, it would be our sleeping habits. He said "Please have your children sleep with their doors shut." I was dumbfounded! After all, how do you hear your children cry in the night with the door shut? How do you know something is wrong with the door shut? What kind of mother shuts bedroom doors at night and cuts herself off from them? I'll tell you! A mother who is protecting her children in case of fire.

The fireman tells me that more people die from smoke inhalation and heat than from actually burning in a house fire. He told me that if the doors are open, smoke and fumes and flames can rush right in. If you are in bed and the smoke alarm goes off, chances are that you will sit up straight in bed, inhale and pass out before you can get out of your room to help your family. If your door is closed, you give yourself several extra minutes to get out a window without suffering the effects from the fire. He showed us to touch the door with the back of our hand and move it upward to see how high up we can go before heat bothers us. THAT is the level of smoke and fire on the other side of the door. And if the door is hot, the fire is near. That tells us "go out the window instead." Something as simple as sleeping with your bedroom door closed can give you precious extra minutes to get to safety.

As a family, we already have an escape plan and already have a meeting place chosen outside. We already talked about going out windows and which doors and what hazards we have to take care of NOW before something could happen. We've not had actual fire drills, but if we did, that practice would create a memory in our minds and we would automatically do something similar during a real fire. And now we have one more tool to protect us.... closed doors at night.

Moms, if you are truly uncomfortable having your children's doors closed at night, then invest in baby monitors and place them next to your bed. You will hear the sounds from their rooms even better that way.

So ask yourself again,.... are YOUR children protected?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Freeze-Dried Recipes

Our ward has been participating in the Emergency Essentials "Group Orders" for the past few months. I've noticed a trend with the items on the group specials list: lots of freeze-dried choices. You might recognize freeze dried fruits from your cereal box, since that's the same type of fruit. That gives you one idea of how to use these foods, but eating dried food all the time would become difficult if you had no other choices, right? So I've been looking for some recipes (particularly because I got some of the freeze-dried broccoli and I want to know what options I have too!) and thought I'd share some of my findings. Perhaps they will be useful to you also. Just click the name of the recipe and it will take you to the original posting website.

Preparedness Pantry
Turkey Salad Sandwich
Chicken Curry
Chicken Soup

Emergency Essentials
Sunflower Strawberry Salad
Strawberry Cooler
Strawberry Bread
Strawberry Milkshakes
Apple Cake
Crockpot Oatmeal
Beef Stroganoff
Broccoli Soup
Vegetable Fried Rice

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Experimental Challenge!

How much toothpaste do you think you need to store to be able to say you have a full years supply? What about soap? Or shampoo? Or deodorant?

That answer will be different for each individual. Children tend to have a harder time judging amounts to use. Teenagers are more self-conscious and will use those items more often than others. Adults tend to have developed habits and routines that are specific to them. So which category do YOU fall into?

Since these things are hard for anyone to give a definitive number recommendation, take the opportunity now (while we're not pressed with a sudden emergency) to time your products and your usage patterns. Take this list of items, choose your favorite brand and size and then use a permanent marker to label the container with the date you open it. Then use as normal.

  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Soap (liquid soap stores easily and is easy to label)
  • Shampoo
Take note of the date on your calendar when you throw out the empty container. Then you'll know YOUR typical usage patterns of these items and can judge your needs for a full year. Of course, thinking ahead is a good idea- so store a couple extras "just in case"!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Alternative First Aid

I earn my living working in a retail herb shop. This shop is a little different than most too, because we feel like knowledge is more important than the sale. In keeping with that notion, we have implemented a monthly class at the shop that is open to the public free of charge. One of our recent classes covered First Aid, and it just so happened I picked that topic to coincide with the Emergency Preparedness Fair we held for our Day of Service. The following information comes from that class.
Alternative First Aid Notes
When putting a first aid kit together, there are several types of ingredients to remember. If you chose to go ALL herbal for your kit, then you would include at least one item from each category, but if you aren't quite ready to go "all the way" yet, look through the list and choose things you are familiar and comfortable with.
  • General Activator
  • Immune Stimulant
  • Natural Antibiotic
  • Topical Analgesic
  • Astringent
  • Absorbant/Mucilant
  • Shock Remedy
  • Expectorant
  • Burn Remedy
  • Antispasmodic
  • Pain Remedy
  • Tissue Healer
And of course, there are those items in the category we'll call...
Other Supplies
  • Bandages
  • Cotton Balls
  • Gauze Pads
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Flashlight
  • Candle
  • Matches
  • Enema bottle
  • Bulb Syringe
  • Emergency Radio
  1. The activators have the ability to enhance circulation and energy. By doing this, several things get accomplished at one time, which (of course) is good. One such activator is capsicum, or as you might call it, "cayenne pepper".
  2. The immune stimulants help the body fight infection by increasing the production of white blood cells and antibodies. Echinacea is a familiar and gentle herb that works this way. It's not something generally recommended for constant use. Using occasionally allows you to avoid becoming immune to effects.
  3. Natural antibiotics don't have the side effects of synthetic versions. You still need strength when fighting infections, and probably the most awesome choice here is garlic. The most potent of that is in its fresh and raw state. It's something you can use externally AND internally, giving it a broader spectrum.
  4. Topical analgesics are things you apply to the skin to relieve pain. Essential oils can provide that, and they can blended with creams, lotions, water, other oils,... and provide many ways to apply as needed. Lavender is one such essential oil that can be used for pain relief of insect bites, burns, scrapes, headaches and other needs.
  5. Astringents help to stop bleeding. They can do other things too! Cayenne pepper powder can stop bleeding (try it and see!) and so can other plants. One such plant is yarrow, and that's a plant that grows wild all over the place, making it fairly easy to locate.
  6. A mucilant is an absorbant material, meaning it will help absorb stuff. If you get food poisoning and go to the hospital, chances are they will give you some activated charcoal to absorb the toxin. It helps absorb toxins that promote diarrhea too. This is NOT charcoal out of your grill! It should already be in pill form.
  7. Shock remedies are important, because they help us "keep it together" under stressful conditions. The Bach flower remedy Rescue Remedy is a good one here, and helps bring relief to panic attacks.
  8. Expectorants break up mucus and congestion. This a job for more than one ingredient, and Nature's Sunshine has combined ingredients just for this purpose. One such product is called AL-J and can bring wonderful relief to allergies and colds by simply taking care of the mucus.
  9. Burn Remedies are important, because burns can come from so many sources: the sun, fire, cooking, under the hood of the car,... Aloe Vera gel is excellent to care for burned skin, and so is raw honey!
  10. Antispasmodics relax muscle cramps and spasms, which of course ease pain and anxiety. Lobelia extract is good here, but this herb also can induce vomiting if taken in large enough doses. This is not bad in some cases, but it can be if you aren't expecting it! Relaxing spasms can bring relief to coughs, muscle tension, asthma attacks, earaches and more.
  11. Including a pain remedy is an obvious thing. White willow is where aspirin came from originally, so including it in a first aid makes sense!
  12. A tissue healer eases pain, reduces swelling and promotes healing. Arnica gel is an option here (so long as it is NOT applied to broken skin). Nature's Fresh enzyme spray is another option provided by Nature's Sunshine.
With those options in mind, sort through your first aid kit and see what additions you can make. You might find you are better prepared than you thought!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Carroll County on fire?

Were in Carrollton this afternoon? Maybe 3ish? Did you notice something? If you didn't, you weren't really in Carrollton. The entire town was blanketed in smoke and it reached as far south as MY HOUSE even,...and I don't live in Carroll County even!

I had to work today, so I'm at the shop and happen to look out the front door during a quiet moment and noticed that the trees across the highway sure did look ethereal.

Wait,... ethereal?
So of course, I went out to the parking lot and looked north,.... then south,.... then west,.... (east is the treeline remember).... something was on fire! The lady who lives across the highway came over and asked if I could tell where it was coming from, but of course I couldn't. It was the entire area! That much smoke was a large area, and there were no black clouds overhead. The smoke smell was so thick that even my throat developed that scratchy feeling you get when you inhale smoke from a campfire. I thought it MUST be a woods fire. I went back inside the shop and called a lady who also works at the shop sometimes (her husband is a fireman) and I asked her what was on fire in Carrollton. She called in to find out and calls me back. She says Mt. Zion has a big fire going on, and that Stripling Chapel where it meets Oak Grove Road has a woods fire. As a crow flies, that's a mile or so from the shop!

Finally one lone fire truck came down the highway with his siren screaming and I figured I was safe, but it stirred up my thoughts-- which is why I decided to post this.

What if fires become commonplace here, like they are out in California? What if we have to experience such a devastation? How terrible and frightening that would be. And since it isn't something we ever think would happen HERE, we likely wouldn't think to plan ahead for such an event. ..... My friends, we had 2 local fires going on at the same time. They highway didn't have lots and lots of firetrucks screaming in because they were divided between the fires. Had there been more than 2 fires, or if the fires had been bigger or wider spread.... somebody or somebodies would have likely had some serious worries!

So this note is just a call of warning, that we have daily threats to our well-being. We never know when they will happen. Had the woods fire raged a little wider and a little hotter, Walmart would not have been able to supply you with emergency needs. So go there NOW,.... stock your shelves NOW....purchase your fire safe NOW....store those fire extinguishers NOW.... replace your smoke alarm batteries NOW..... plan your home escape route NOW..... practice your fire drills NOW..... Let today serve as a warning, and heed it.

Emergency Preparedness Fair

As a part of the emergency preparedness coordinator calling, many emergency preparedness fairs are put on. They oftentimes entail short demonstrations, handouts, taste tests, examples and speakers. I've seen/heard of other wards including FEMA, the Red Cross, local fire departments and some of the inventive and imaginative members of the ward. I like to think of myself as one of these imaginative members.

When I was called, I was so excited that NOW it was my RESPONSIBILITY to pull off one of these such fairs and I had every intention of including these big organizations to help instill the sense of urgency as well as excitement in the efforts we are called upon to make on behalf of our families. And now it is coming to pass!

April 24th, I hope you will come to the BIGGEST, most EXPRESSIVE, most ENLIGHTENING emergency preparedness fair you have ever heard of! I hope you will find a thrill in the helicopter that will be coming. I hope you'll find great deals on generators and win yourself a free strawberry plant! I hope you are amazed and astounded at the outdoor fire-building skills and cooking talents of our area Boy Scout troops! I hope you discover the alternative first aid items and methods you can implement should necessity arise. I hope you'll be amazed at the skills and comradery of the area ham radio operators as they demonstrate emergency communications. I hope your tastebuds are tantalized by the fabulous products made from fresh milled wheat. I hope your knowledge is expanded by the information provided by the county extension agent showing food preservation techniques. I hope you gain insight into the inner workings of Tanner Medical Center. I hope your children are excited about the goodies available there for them!

All in all, I hope you discover that preparing really IS a lot of fun when we do it together! And I hope you get to see me in my really awesome HELPING HANDS t-shirt!

Friday, March 5, 2010


Q- What do you do when the power goes out?
A- Light candles, hurricane lamps, camp lanterns, dig out flashlights,...

Q- What do you do when the heat goes out?
A- Pull out all those extra blankets and emergency space blankets and extra coats and clothing.

Q- What do you do when the weather turns bad?
A- Store up food and water so you aren't bombarding the store for bread & milk.

Q- What do you do when all phone lines go down and cell phone service no longer works?
A- *crickets*

This actually is a situation faced in our recent history. Think back to hurricane Katrina and the devastation from that event. Think to even nearer history as Haiti suffered similar devastation. You can prepare for some things, and indeed we do try, .... but how do you prepare for communication outages?

Ham Radio.

True enough, its the "nerdy" people who get involved with ham radio because they are the ones interested and actually GOOD at taking apart and reassembling electrical components that become a communication device. They are the ones with a technical creativity to build units that carry our voices all over the world and even up into space. When those horrific disasters strike and there are no phones available, ham radio operators are the ones who get the word to relief agencies nationwide that come to our aid.

Studying and becoming an amateur radio operator is not difficult at all. I just did it myself and I am SERIOUSLY not gifted with this talent! Start by going to QRZ.com and click on Main Menu at the top. Then choose the practice amateur radio exam and choose technician. Go from test to test and practice. You'll learn the answers and be prepared to take the licensing exam just from doing that. Now to be GOOD at it and to be able to do something with that license, you'll want to get in touch with local hams who are always communicating with each other anyway. They are all over the place and not difficult to find. They are kind people who help without expectation of payment or reward, and they will help YOU become the very same! These are the people who assist emergency personnel, weather reporters, accidents, and much more. They practice regularly and they experiment with new options all the time.

If you are not a radio operator, and if you don't personally know someone who is,..... who will be helping YOU communicate if all else DOES fail?