Tag Archives: FEMA

Adventures of a Pork Rind

Yesterday as we were house cleaning, I found a treasure trove of old bottles of sunscreen. At first I felt annoyed because have you bought any sunscreen lately? Highway robbery! Anyway, my second thought was, “hey, do we have sunscreen in the go-bag?” Upon investigation, I found that I had a small travel-type tube in the go bag. Trust me, there are way too many people in our family for that to be enough.

My mental image is one of those apocalyptic moments where my family has been forced to leave the shelter of our home and attempt to move out over great distances on foot. If you aren’t ready to go down the apocalyptic path just yet, then instead picture your family standing in an enormous line outside an emergency shelter hoping to score a few beds for the duration or standing in a mammoth line outside to obtain FEMA assistance. If you and your loved ones are out there for any of these reasons without sunscreen and you aren’t blessed with the natural ability to tan, then you’re cooking, and the last thing you need at that moment is a sunburn. Somehow I figure baking yourselves into proverbial pork rinds will seem ridiculous afterwards when all you needed to do was pack some sunscreen.

Your next question is, “Does sunscreen expire?”.  Unfortunately, yes but I think the shelf life is reasonable. According to the Mayo clinic:

“Sunscreens are designed to remain stable and at original strength for up to three years.”

Later in the article, they note that extreme temperatures, over long periods of time can speed up this process of degradation. But as I’ve mentioned before, your go-kit should be located within your home in an easily accessible place, not in your sweltering garage.

I would also like to recommend a small tube of sunscreen for your work go-kits. If you ever find yourself having to walk over great distances to get home from work due to a regional event that might clog roads to the point of abandoning cars or if you are for some reason unable to retrieve your vehicle from work and forced to walk homewards, you will want some sunscreen. I would also recommend sunscreen for your car go-kits. However, you will need to rotate this iteration after every summer because of the heat/storage issue. A simple and cost-effective suggestion would be to take this summer’s leftover sunscreen and use that bottle for your car and just make that a tradition. At the end of each summer season, at least one unfinished container replaces the old bottle in the car go-kit. This will put you on a schedule and keep you from putting a brand new bottle in the car just to have to toss it next season.

Don’t make your apocalyptic event an adventure in becoming a pork rind. Embrace the almighty SPF! Get some sunscreen stashed away for a sunny, emergency day.

Your skin without sunscreen 🙂

This is a Test

Did you know that there is now a national program that is going push weather related safety warnings to your cell phone? The Commercial Mobile Alert System just started last week, although it has been in the works for some time. The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) partnered with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to build a wireless emergency alert system.

There are many state and local alert systems in place already that will deliver similar warnings; however, you have to actually sign up for those programs. The new Wireless Emergency Alert system is national and does not require any action on your part. If you possess a cell phone and cell carrier that supports the system (all do not), then you will receive the alerts. Don’t freak, you will not be charged for these texts. I personally think this is an amazing and yet “no brainer” leap in the right direction for our nation. We’ve all been forced to randomly miss what always works out to be the best part of our favorite television show for the traditional…”this is a test of the emergency broadcast system…” These new texts follow the same principle. Even better though, most folks I know keep their cell phones within arms reach at all times which makes them much more likely to receive these warnings. Also, though they will appear as text messages, they aren’t in fact actually “texts”. These use SMS-Cell Broadcast (SMS-CB) which allows them to be delivered immediately despite any congestion that might exist on cellular lines during an event. They are also location specific, so despite the fact that your phone might be out of Texas, if you are traveling to Georgia, you will receive GA alerts.  They even arrive with a special ring tone to alert you that this is no regular message.

All told, there are three types of alerts that will be sent as a part of this program:

  • Alerts issued by the President
  • Alerts involving imminent threats to safety or life
  • Amber Alerts

There are methods to opt out of these (why would anyone do that?!) except for those issued by the President.

New cell phones on the market that are out of the box capable are labeled with this logo:


Several sites have more information and they are all worth a glance. Check out these sites for the details:

Educational Resources for Personal Preparedness

Did you know that FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute offers a wide variety of preparedness courses online? These independent study courses are free of charge at www.training.fema.gov.

As a part of my job, I’ve been taking courses both online and in-person at the Emergency Management Institute for years. I’ve taken the time to review their available online courses and want to highlight the following courses for your interest:

  • IS 7.a – A Citizen’s Guide to Disaster Assistance
  • IS 10.a – Animals in Disasters – Awareness and Preparedness
  • IS 22 – Are You Ready? An in Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness
  • IS 55 – Household Hazardous Materials – A Guide for Citizens
  • IS 111 – Livestock in Disasters
  • IS 324.a – Community Hurricane Preparedness
  • IS 326 – Community Tsunami Preparedness
  • IS 366 –  Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters
  • IS 394.a – Protecting Your Home or Small Business from Disaster
  • IS 909 – Community Preparedness: Implementing Simple Activities for Everyone

If you are interested, go to the site and follow these steps to find the courses.

  1. www.training.fema.gov
  2. Top left side of page – select “Emergency Management Institute”
  3. Top right side of page – select “EMI Independent Study Program”
  4. Scroll down to the middle of the page – select the blue banner “Total Active Courses: 126”
  5. Browse through the courses and select according to your needs

You Wanna Do What?!

Today I was thinking about some of the discussions I’ve had following my preparedness presentations. Then it hit me…I’ve been asked more times than I can count, “How do I convince my spouse that this is worthwhile?” or “How do I get my wife on board?”. (Ladies, forgive me but truth be told while I’ve had the question from a woman or two, it is most often asked by men.) You can rephrase this question any sort of manner and I’ve heard it, but the message is always the same. For those of us who become preppers, when we announce to our “other halves” that we not only want to devote time and storage space, but actually money to this cause…well, we are met with a resounding, “Are you crazy?!” 

This goes past our spouses as well. Let’s be honest, if this is real to you, then you are worried about more than just your immediate family. It’s quite honestly no different than religion from a motivational perspective. If you are a Christian (and I”m sure other religions as well, but I can only speak for myself), then you don’t just worry about your spouse’s salvation, but that of anyone that you love and care about.  Well, we also care about their safety and well-being here on earth…so we want them to prepare.

So how do we convince our spouses (who we must share financial decisions etc. with) and those that we love to follow the prepper’s creed? How do to transfer our concern and resulting motivation to them? My husband just asked me what I was writing about today. When I told him, he laughed and responded, “Oh, like exhibit A?” He of course being exhibit A, who had to be convinced and motivated from scratch. He’s not from my neck of the woods and the notion of preparedness, off-the-grid, compound/commune type plans were  not a part of his mindset when we met. So…how did I manage to bring him into the fold?

For the non-believer the first thing to accomplish is getting them to understand that you are not (only 🙂 ) preparing for total and complete destruction or Armageddon. Yes, there are those of us that do consider that as well, but you don’t want to make that your first point when pitching this idea to your average nay-sayer. It is important to get them to realize that preparedness is for things as simple as a severe snow storm where you cannot leave your home for days. There are dozens of scenarios just surrounding weather and natural tragedies that can occur. Any of these occasions could rob you of your “normal” infrastructure dependent lifestyle. I believe this is the most important message to convey. They need to understand that tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and the like do happen. They are at risk. Emergency preparedness is pertinent to us all. Don’t forget to pull out all the stops. If you are trying to convince a Mama who currently has little ones at home…use it. Quite frankly my personal preparedness skyrocketed once I had little ones. My motherly instinct won’t allow me to watch my children suffer or starve all because I didn’t have my priorities straight.

Now consider social media and publications. Take some time and search the interweb for other preparedness sites. Point out that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) actually has an entire website devoted to motivating our nation to prepare. Ease them in, don’t show them the scary over the top stuff (just yet). Also consider the CDC, FDA, American Red Cross, etc. Lastly, there are some excellent books available on survival, both fiction and non-fiction. The non-fiction are really prevalent. If your spouse or loved one is a reader, and they have been warmed up by the preceding methods, then maybe a trip to the books store (online works but let’s be honest, holding them in your hand drives the point home) would make it more real. These books exist because preppers are out there. We are sharing and growing all the time! As for fiction two of my favorites are One Second After and Patriots.  There are both excellent for information and inspiration, and they are just good reads. I’d really recommend starting them off with One Second After first and then send them on to Patriots.

Most importantly, be prepared to start small. Don’t overwhelm them with far out craziness from the get go. If this is not their thing, they need to ease into the water. Don’t shove them into the deep end and expect them to respond well. This is a different way of thinking and the evolution of becoming a prepper most likely happen overnight. Start by encouraging a home go-kit with the basics (extra clothes, first aid kit, vital records). By doing this, you get them used to preparing but you aren’t asking for a lot of money up front. After that activity is complete and you receive that buy-in, you can work slowly up to stockpiling food. Take it slowly, and let them know that this is realistic and that its important to you. It is borne out of love and concern for your family. Appeal to their inner need to provide for themselves and their loved ones.

Good luck! If you get stuck with a particularly hard nut-to crack, leave a comment and we can talk about individual strategies for your circumstances.