Emergency Preparedness Part 1
by Phil Karras, KE3FL
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In this article I will be going over a number of general things to
consider before an emergency occurs. In the case of a hurricane, we
will have plenty of time to prepare for its arrival. The following
things should be considered:
** Make sure you have a week or two of any needed prescription drugs.
* Check the first-aid kit for expired items and replace them.
* Have a flashlight or two and a battery powered radio with plenty of
* Have enough food for a few days that does not need refrigeration
or extensive cooking. (See below)
* Stock up on water. The two liter soda bottles are good, milk
bottles are lighter duty.
* Have a bottle of bleach (with chlorine) on hand to purify water if
needed after the storm.
* Fill up the fuel tanks of all vehicles since gas can not be pumped
* Have enough cash on hand to cover your needs for one week. This
should be in small bills and plenty of coins. ATM machines will
most likely be off line for at least one week.
* Have good shoes hiking-type since the aftermath of a storm will
leave many sharp objects on the ground. Don't leave home without
your shoes on!
* Protect your important papers in heavy-duty plastic bags. The zip-lock
type are light duty and rip easily.
* Board up all windows. Do not tape them since this will not help
protect them and it makes more work for you after the storm when
they must be cleaned.
* Park the car in the garage or as far away from your house as possible.
* Bring all objects that can be blown away into the house or chain them
down to something that will not blow away or break.
Some other points to consider:
* Plan a way of cooking your food. If you have an electric kitchen,
consider buying a gas camping stove. If you have a gas stove you
may be okay unless the gas lines break.
* Keep one week's supply of food and water on hand. If you have a well
and the electricity is off, you will need a supply of water for the
toilets as well. (Depending on the toilet, 1.5 to 3 gallons per
* Keep a first aid kit well stocked. (Make sure the kids have not used
up all the bandages and cream in your kit BEFORE the emergency!)
You should check your first aid kit before going shopping every
week. (Hint: I try to keep a kit for the kids and one for the
During the Hurricane:
* Stay in a low inside room. One in the basement that has no windows
is best, unless it starts flooding.
* If you are out driving do NOT cross a water covered road. Too
many people have been swept away and died because they thought
the water wasn't deep enough to push or float the car.
If you don't know, DON'T GO!
After the storm:
* Do not eat any food that was touched by flood waters.
* To purify water use 4 drops of bleach (see above) to one gallon of
clear water, and 10 drops per gallon of cloudy water. Shake well
and let it stand for 10 minutes before using.
* If you were flooded and you use well water, pump out the well and
have the "new" water checked before resuming consumption.
* Test all electrical systems before using.
* Check, check, and check again and then re-light any gas appliances.
I have been trying to make my radio hobby emergency-prepared. The
following are the basic things to consider. I will be writing more
specific suggestions for this in future articles:
* Power: Have a source of emergency power for your rig(s). The ARES
group has a number of 70 AHr batteries to give to ARES members. In
the June, 1994, issue of "NewsWaves," page 6, I wrote about trickle
charging to keep your battery at full charge.
* Antenna: If you can, take your antenna(s) down until after a storm.
Otherwise have some sort of emergency antenna ready to go up.
* Coax: Have plenty of coax with connectors on both ends ready for use.
It doesn't hurt to have more than one length of coax. I have a 100
ft length, and a 30 ft length as well as a number of sections three
* Frequencies: Remember these frequencies
3.920 Maryland Emergency Phone Net - every day 6:30 PM
3.640 Maryland DC Net - every day 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM, cw
14.325 Hurricane Watch Net
145.410 Carroll Amateur Radio Emergency Team an ARES net or
146.475 CARET simplex if the repeater is down Tuesdays 8:30 PML.
147.060 Frederick County ARES net Monday 7:30 PM local
146.460 Montgomery County ARES Tuesday 8:00 PM local
162.400 National Weather Service 24hrs/day
147.300 Skywarn net, active in severe weather.
Information: If there are other points (or frequencies) that should be
added to our above list or to any of the other lists I am compiling
for the ARES group, please write them down and get them to me at a club
meeting. Or send them to me via
e-mail to: KE3FL
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