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!