Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Natural Disasters: Survival Tips

The barometer is reading a record 949 millibars while Superstorm Sandy was raging.  Irene was 960.
Living in the path of Hurricane Sandy (and last year, Irene), has been a serious wake-up call.  While the main foci of my blog is cross training and fitness, this recent natural disaster has given me quite a few relative talking points.
Greenzone Folding Bike Walgreens
My Greenzone Folding Bike means skipping long gas lines

Rely on Your Own Power
During an extreme weather emergency, roads and sidewalks may be blocked.  You may find yourself hiking or even bicycling your way out to seek help or locate supplies.
Some people think the Red Cross will simply roll up and start serving from their truck-kitchens.  Not exactly.  If they come at all, it may be 3 days after the catastrophe so you need to be in shape to make it to the nearest safe shelter.
One 28 year old New Jersey man left a note to an Ocean county homeowner on how a wave from Sandy threw him from his home. He had to swim for it as the water around him was about 10 feet deep and very cold. Had he not been in shape to keep treading water all that time, he might not have made it.
Now while we may not face circumstances that dire, what about being able to walk or bicycle to get food, water and shelter?  Post Sandy, I'm walking and riding my bicycle (as usual) to get around as many local stores have no power.  I have to go a few miles out of my way to ones that do and since gas is under ration, using my folding bicycle makes perfect sense.    

Strengthen Your Immune System
One thing you don't need compromised is your ability to fight off colds, the flu and infections at a time when water, food and medical supplies may be a bit iffy.  Add in the fact that power outages can cause heating units to fail, your immune system had best be running at top efficiency.  Superstorm Sandy knocked out power to millions of NY & NJ residents and as of this writing, nearly half of our effected populations still are without electricity.
Solar Powered lamp
Solar powered hurricane lamp glowing during Sandy.  Antioxidant rich foods are key.

Immunity Boosters
Taking12.5 mgs of Terry Naturally Tri-Iodine daily is part of my immunity support protocol. I also eat antioxidant rich foods like apples, asparagus, artichokes, almonds, walnuts, dried plums, organic squash, spring greens and mushrooms along with Rainbow Light's Protein Energizers everyday.  Vitamin C is also the old standby but your body can't absorb any more than 500 mgs at a time.  It's also better to have a buffered vitamin C as it does not acidify your urine as straight ascorbic acid will.

Be Prepared: Food, Water, Warm Clothing

Augie Food's Cheddar Broccoli Soup is easy to prepare & delicious.
Planning for an emergency, you want to make sure you have ample food, water and warm clothing close at hand.  As for food, shelf stable soups like this antioxidant rich Cheddar Broccoli Soup from Augie Foods will keep unopened for 25 years!  It comes in a pouch and is lightweight while taking up much less room than cans.  You can also have some do-it-yourself MRE's on hand like Sunbutter or Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches but if possible I like to serve hot foods to warm up.

You don't need to purchase bottled water.  You can fill any empty bottle with filtered water and it will keep for several weeks.  Another option is to invest in a Water BOB for your bathtub. Fill it up and dispense as needed.  Just make sure to have at least 2 gallons per person per day for drinking and washing needs.  If you are not sure about your water supply's safety, consider boiling your water for 5 minutes or invest in a Purificup Portable Water Filtration System.
If you have to relocate to a shelter or a warming center, you can bring your Purificup with you. Having safe, pure water to drink during an emergency is a very important step towards staying healthy.  Likewise hypothermia is more apt to be a problem if you are dehydrated. 

Warm Clothing
Here's where your technical clothing will make all the difference.  I usually don't ride my bicycle in 38 degree weather but Sandy made it a necessity.  We all know about layering but you have to be really careful when exerting yourself.  That's because sweat can build up and cause the wetness of perspiration to literally freeze you on the spot.  I start out with a good base layer like Smartwool next to my skin.  Their soft Merino wool shirts and socks have natural wicking action to keep you both warm AND dry.
Outer Layers should also have a certain amount of permeability. I've discovered the benefits of Gore Tex Quilted jackets with PrimaLoft® Infinity insulation.  I've been wearing my Gore Bike Wear's Path Windstopper ShellLady Jacket and have been very comfortable in below 40 degree weather, especially when I added a Carve Designs cotton scarf and CityZen Urban Cycling lid by Lazer Helmets.  Gore-Tex is water resistant and the jacket has Insulated Windstopper Shell that allows sweat to evaporate, leaving you cozy and dry underneath.

I'm blessed that we have a Solar Power Station on the estate so that when Sandy hit and knocked out the electricity, we were able to keep the lights, fridge, radio and sump pump working for 4 days.  That was the longest we've ever been without power!  No phone or Internet service was available but we had gas and hot water with lots of wood for a fire from all the fallen trees.

Keep some WetFire Tinder to start a fire in damp, stormy conditions.  Available from Camping Survival.com

When we stayed at the cabin this year in September, I learned to make firestarters out of rolled pieces of cotton jersey smeared with petroleum jelly.  These were placed under our kindling sticks and worked extremely well to start a roaring fire. Really a lot of these Camping Survival techniques are carried over from our camping and hiking trips.  They work very well in an emergency too and everyone should know how to start a fire.

Firestarting tools: Valley Hatchet, British Army Knife & Aurora Fire Starter.

We have acoustic guitars, harmonicas and played them during the storm to keep everyone calm. We had light so we played cards, Twister & Operation too but sitting by a warm fire beat everything.

We have lots of firewood for the fire now!

Right now I'm keeping an eye on the next storm while remembering things learned from weathering this one.  When the barometer starts falling, that's when you know trouble is brewing in the atmosphere.   My prayers and heart go out to all of my NY/NJ/CT neighbors who are still struggling with power outages, fallen debris, gas restrictions and all manner of deprivation.  Some have lost their homes. Over 100 people have lost their lives due to this storm.  Be safe all and God bless.

Kestrel Pocket Weather Tracker 4500 BT taking a reading for the next Nor' easter.  Adventure Medical Kits SOL Origin compact survival kit.

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