Alabama Proposes Sales Tax Holiday for Emergency Preparedness

Alabama Tornado DestructionMany Alabama residents know all too well the aftermath of a disaster, having endured a record breaking tornado season in 2011. Weather forecasters are concerned about the potential for a similar spate of extreme weather this year. In an effort to raise public awareness, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley proclaimed February 19-24 Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Governor Bentley also proposed a sales tax holiday on emergency supplies. This once per year tax reprieve would help Alabama residents stock up on items such as NOAA weather radios, first aid supplies, and emergency kits. The governor warns:

“The key is readiness. When storms strike, it’s too late to prepare. Let’s prepare now.”

The governor’s proposal has not officially been introduced into the Alabama State Legislature, but it is finding support from community leaders. Additionally, regions nationwide are vulnerable to the whims and fury of weather events and should heed Governor Bentley’s warning. The proactive strategies in Alabama should encourage other communities to evaluate the threats they face and prepare for emergencies.

Stores become depleted of emergency supplies soon after disaster strikes. Water supplies can become contaminated and food shortages are a threat. Households and disaster relief agencies can improve emergency preparedness by maintaining disaster supply kits including emergency food, water purification, and first aid supplies.

It is the unfortunate nature of weather related disasters that they are unpredictable. Emergency preparedness is a fundamental necessity of survival. Plan ahead and stock an emergency kit to help you contend with weather related disasters. Consider the shortages you may experience and stock up on supplies to help you survive.

Alabama residents have learned the lesson to prepare a survival kit from experience. Fortunately, many people won’t have to learn this lesson the hard way. The state of Alabama has done a service to the nation in bringing awareness to emergency preparedness. Avoid being caught without food and other emergency supplies by taking proper precautions today.

Learning from Tragedy: Maintain a Fire Safety Kit

Prison FireThe devastating scenes and stories emerging in the aftermath of a fire that ripped through an overcrowded prison in Honduras will bring attention to many social and political concerns regarding prison conditions for some time. Other implications highlighted by this tragedy – with an arguably broader relevance – are the need for proper preparations in times of emergency. Specifically, this disaster highlights fire risk and demonstrates the need for fire safety.

A fire safety plan should be utilized by homes, offices and public places. We all remember fire drills from our school days. Practicing and preparing for emergency situations is not something we should graduate from. Evacuation plans, and fire safety kits including first aid supplies should be part of every fire safety plan. Smoke inhalation is a primary concern in a fire, so store a fire escape mask in your office and in each bedroom of your home to minimize this risk.

It’s practical to stash an emergency kit in a shed or vehicle, outside of your home, with first aid supplies, and other practical survival items such as a warm blanket. Plan ahead and have the necessary tools on hand like a multi-purpose fire extinguisher in places such as your laundry room, kitchen, garage, and vehicle to extinguish small fires before they get out of control. Always evacuate a location and promptly contact your local fire department if fire is beyond immediate containment. If anyone has suffered injuries, think quickly to locate your emergency first aid kit, but never re-enter a burning structure.

Many events including car accidents and natural disasters increase the chances for fires to erupt. For example, spilled gas from broken gas lines in an auto accident can exacerbate the risk in an already dangerous situation. Inexperienced homeowners running a generator following a power outage may increase fire risk. Elevated fire risk follows earthquakes, dry weather, electrical storms, and other natural disasters. Regarding all emergency situations, it is best to prepare ahead and maintain a well-stocked emergency supply kit.

Prepare for Anything: Have a Length of Rope on Hand & Know Your Knots

One essential component of a well thought out survival kit should be a length of rope. It is wise for everyone to build – at the very least – a basic knowledge of the potential uses of rope. Coupled with learning a few practical knots, this knowledge can be life-saving in emergency situations.

Take some time to browse online and you will find numerous applications for rope. In a time of disaster, the potential life-saving capacity of rope is limitless. Rope can be used to hang clothes, as fencing, to lash items together, or to restrain objects, people, and animals. Rope can act as a guide line in times of poor visibility. Additionally, it can keep people safe when negotiating difficult terrain and traversing streams.

A knowledgeable person can turn rope into functional objects such as hammocks and netting. Yo-yos started out as weapons, and in a time of great necessity, a rope can be used with a spear, harpoon, or other implement of violence. When it comes to survival, having rope on hand is critical.

Learning to tie various knots is something everyone should do as part of survival preparedness. Knowing which knots hold for different applications is critical. You may save a floundering swimmer with a lifeline. You may create emergency shelter with rope and a tarp.

A multitude of dangerous scenarios can be alleviated with quick thinking if you have rope with you as part of your emergency supply kit. Planning ahead with supplies and education is the best approach to surviving difficult times. You can’t predict what sort of emergency you may encounter, so it’s vital to plan for numerous possibilities.

On a brighter note, knot and rope knowledge are useful for non-emergency and recreational situations as well. Hiking, boating, and camping are great examples of opportunities to put rope knowledge to fun use. Hoping for the best while planning for the worst is a sensible philosophy, and learning about rope and knots is a shrewd application of this way of thinking.


Considering Water Storage in Emergency Preparedness

Emergency water storage tankBuilding up food storage is a significant aspect of emergency preparedness, but beyond freeze-dried food kits and basics, water must be included. Nearly all emergency meals rehydrate with water, and thus, a supply must not only cover food preparation but also drinking and hygiene.

The average citizen uses roughly 110 gallons of water per day. In times of emergency, however, this amount is greatly reduced. As a general rule for emergency preparedness, store 14 gallons per day for an individual and 56 for a family. Multiple approaches, in this regards, can be taken.

Cans of emergency water have a 30-year shelf life. To stay in good condition for several decades, the cans won’t burst from boiling or freezing and, in the rare instance of flooding, actually float. Rather than storing rain in a barrel, building up a water supply, or using a hand pump, cans provide a sufficient and treated supply at once.

Those more inclined to self-sufficiency tend to use rain barrels and water storage tanks. Made out of blue food-grade polyethylene, these emergency water tanks can gather rain for storage or hold any water brought up from a pump. Much like emergency food, water storage tanks should never be kept in sunlight. Water can expand in a tank, however, and in winter, one of these containers should be no more than 90-percent full.

Gathered water has one drawback – it’s not treated. Before use, be it for bathing or cooking, the water must be purified and filtered. Boiling or a few drops of bleach are common methods, but they require too much equipment or can be poisonous, respectively. Filtration and purification systems are far more reliable and are often portable.

Purification removes hazardous microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, cysts, and protozoa, while filtration gets rid of debris, chemicals, and other contaminant. UV purification devices, for instance, sterilize all microorganisms in the water, while a two-part filtration device (ceramic with hard-block carbon or glass fibers for short-term filtration) removes most small particles of dirt, debris, and chemicals.