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Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness 7 Day Survival Kit

Be Prepared!

Some find it difficult to put together a disaster preparedness kit, but using this easy-to-follow Preparedness Supplies Calendar will help you and
your family take the anxiety and frustration out of preparing for emergencies or disasters by ensuring you have enough supplies to last seven days or until help arrives.

Choosing to Engage with our Fuel Tanks

September is National Preparedness Month. Cordova has come a long way in the past few years with regards to disaster preparedness….and we have a long way to go.  For every idea we have developed, there are many more ideas we would like to develop. It takes time. And money. And an attitude of engagement.

This month, National Preparedness Month, we can engage. Let’s do it. Let’s choose one disaster preparation idea and decide to DO it. Choose one good intention and follow through on it.

Maybe we should, as a community, collectively choose to address our fuel tanks and try to prepare. We certainly have lots of them around. Many are not sufficiently secured. Many are desperately in need of some TLC. Have you ever driven through  town and looked at our plethora of tanks?  Big tanks. Little tanks. Drab tanks. Colorful tanks.  Freshly painted tanks. Rusty tanks. Tanks at precarious angles. Tanks with stuff leaning against them. It’s a little sobering. And most of us don’t really worry too much about it. Maybe you have looked at your fuel tank for the past 10 years and wondered what would happen to it if we had an earthquake?  Or a flood? Or maybe you have never wondered that. Maybe you should. Maybe we ALL should.  Maybe I should. Fuel tank leaks can easily cause these environmental and health problems:

  • contaminate drinking water wells, ground water, and soil;
  • foul septic systems requiring their replacement;
  • cause odor and health problems in the home; and 
  • contaminate stormwater drains, sewers, drainage ditches and surface water.

And each of these problems could potentially cost, quite literally, thousands of dollars to correct.  Maybe we should PREPARE.

Did you know that we Alaskan homeowners are liable for the cost of spill cleanup from home heating oil tanks on our property if our insurance company does not cover it?  Please check your insurance policy to see if you are covered. But, better yet…stabilize your fuel tanks. Take care of your fuel tanks. Get educated about your fuel tanks. Maybe check out this site: http://dec.alaska.gov/spar/perp/heat/facts.htm

…and get prepared. Choose, this National Preparedness Month, to engage.

Let's SHAKE OUT !!!

September was National Preparedness Month. At that time, we mentioned that our first step towards disaster preparedness in Cordova is becoming engaged in the process. Guess what? We have another great opportunity to do just that this next month too.

Let's DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON. Cordova can actually practice at the same exact time as millions of other people…worldwide. It’s called the October 2014 Great Alaskan ShakeOut! Participating in this one-minute drill could save your life, or one of your co-workers or family. One minute out of your year. Let’s do it.

On October 16th at exactly 10:16 a.m. the City tsunami warning siren will go off. Please do not let it frighten you, as it will not be at the normal testing time.  The entire state (indeed, the world!) will be testing their tsunami alert system and Cordova has chosen to participate.

When the siren goes off, we encourage you to

  • DROP to the ground
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops

The main point is to not try to move, but to immediately protect yourself as best as possible where you are. Studies over the past several decades indicate you are much more likely to be injured by falling or flying objects than to die in a collapsed building.

The ShakeOut is typically done once a year but as you probably know, we will practice twice this year. The ShakeOut drill was also held in March of this year in Alaska, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March 27, 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake. That drill had more than 100,000 registered participants and the state hopes to reach that participation goal again.

Please go to http://www.shakeout.org/alaska/  and register your family, your business , or your school.  Your registration shows commitment to participate in the ShakeOut. This site has everything you may need to know about the initial response to an earthquake, as well as numerous amazing educational tools to teach anyone about it. Go peruse the site and check it out! One of the most effective resources is an audio recording of an earthquake. Turn it up loud and feel the place shake.

As with anything, practice make perfect. Let’s practice and encourage each other. Listen for the siren. Choose to ShakeOut this Month. Remember!  10:16 a.m. on October 16th

Ways to Make all Water Easier to Swallow

Accessing water in Cordova is not really a problem. Accessing potable water, which is fit for consumption, may be more challenging. Contaminated water may have a bad taste, a pungent aroma, or a cloudy appearance….or ….it may taste, smell, and appear absolutely normal. Be careful. Microorganism in post-disaster contaminated water can cause diseases such as dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis, and giardia. Whether the accessible water is used for drinking, cooking, or hygiene…if it is suspect, it should be purified before your family uses it.

There are numerous ways to purify water. Prior to the actual purifying, let the water settle and let any suspended particles fall to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towels or cloth. Then, choose the best purifying option for your family.

  • Boiling water is the easiest and the most effective way to kill microorganisms. Boiling kills the dangerous microbes, but does not remove heavy metals or salts. It is still safe to drink. Be sure to boil, at a rolling boil, for 3-5 minutes
  • Disinfecting water is another relatively easy way to purify water. Use simple household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 % sodium hypochlorite; that’s why you buy bleach and add it to your 7 Day Survival Kit! Do not use scented bleach or any of the others with additives. Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water. Stir. Let stand for 30 minutes. Repeat the process again if you do not smell a slight odor of bleach upon completion. During the second dosage, it only needs to stand for 15 minutes. Bleach is the best choice for disinfecting. Commercial products that do not have 5.25 % sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient should not be used. If your family uses water purifying products that are sold in camping or surplus stores, check the active ingredient.
  • Filtering water through a high-grade filter meant for that purpose, solely, is another alternative to purifying water, although a more expensive one. The initial cost is high, the filtering process is tedious, and filters must be maintained and replaced periodically. But it is an effective alternative.
  • Lastly, there is distilling. When you boil water and then collect the vapor, that condensed vapor water is purified. Additionally, it does not have any salt and other impurities.

None of these ways to purify water is perfect….but one of these ways will best fit your family. Consider your options for purifying water. But more importantly, remember your options.

Be prudent. Be ready. Be prepared. Drink safe water.

Tsunami Siren Test is Coming

Get Ready Cordova! The Tsunami siren is going to go off on March 23rd at ~9:45 a.m.! Your TV will alert you! And your radio broadcast will alert you! Your NOAA radio, if you have one, will alert you! It may seem as if there is something really happening! But, NO FEAR, this will only be a test.

 

The State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, in cooperation with the West Coast / Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, the National Weather Service and the Alaska Broadcasters Association will be conducting the test of the State’s Tsunami Warning System. This test is done in conjunction with the 47th anniversary of the 1964 Alaska earthquake and Governor Parnell’s declaration of the week March 22-26 as Tsunami Awareness Week. This week has also been designated as the national tsunami awareness week and the nation’s tsunami warning system will conduct a communications exercise on this Wednesday as well.

 

Alaska will use the exercise to conduct a “real code” test of the State’s emergency alert system. The State’s emergency broadcast system (every television and radio broadcast in the State) and NOAA Weather Radio system will deliver a test tsunami warning message. While the message will be a “test” message, the codes used to activate the system will be the real codes used in an actual tsunami warning. This allows Alaska to verify the warning and alert system is programmed correctly for a tsunami emergency.

It is the perfect time to test our local response procedures and many Cordovans will be participating. All children in the Cordova School district will be evacuating the schools, possibly toting the neon colored emergency backpacks that were distributed to the schools last year during the AK Shield 2010 exercise. Although the backpacks do not contain much now, they will eventually be filled with items like gloves, flashlights, and other emergency items. Additionally, City Hall employees will be practicing evacuation procedures, hauling with them the pre-positioned “Brown Boxes”, filled with the information they need to respond to disasters. And perhaps YOU can use this time to reflect upon what you would do during a tsunami warning. Where YOU would go. What YOU would take from your home or office if you need to evacuate.

During any community disaster, the city disaster webpage (if it is working after the event) is intended to give you detailed information. Please check the website out during the March 23rd tsunami drill. Go to www.cityofcordova.net . Follow the link that tells you where to go in the event of a disaster. Each family that does so will receive a small gift from Cordova Volunteer Fire Department…but more importantly, you will have educated yourselves.

Participate in the drill. If you are a business owner, practice evacuation with your employees. If you are an employee, ask your boss about their emergency plans. If you are a mother, prepare your evacuation To-Go kit. If you are a senior, make a plan. We can all do something to prepare. Be prudent. Be ready.

Young Cordovan Prepares his Community

Distinguished awards take an extended period of time to earn. Indeed, many honors worth attaining are never realized, simply because they take too long to accomplish. Such is the journey to attaining the Eagle Scout Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a Boy Scout.

Orlando Sorenson, a 14-year old Cordovan has been reaching for that award. Becoming a Cub Scout in 2003, and honing his leadership and organizational skills for 7 years, Orlando is now closing in on the goal. During the course of his Boy Scout career he has been mentored by leaders Rich Sorenson, Steve Ranney, Eric Warga, and Bill Howard. Each of the Boy Scout Leaders, donating their time and pledging their dedication to local young men, have encouraged Orlando, and others, in their respective ambitions.

It was in the fall of 2009 that Orlando decided to pursue the Eagle Scout Award. He chose to prepare his community for a disaster and join the AK Shield 2010 disaster drill endeavor. One of the most challenging aspects of the Eagle Scout pursuit is the Eagle Service Project. At least 40 hours must be dedicated to the project, from creating a solid plan to gathering resources and implementing the plan. Many a Boy Scout has begun the long journey…only to stop before it is completed.

But Orlando finished . His project , entitled Disaster Shelter Kits, provides each of the Cordova Disaster Shelters with a disaster supply kit, intended to help them open their doors to the potentially displaced citizens of Cordova. Orlando worked closely with Cordova’s Emergency Management Planner to determine what the needs were, attained all supplies through fundraising and donations, and organized the kit assembling. He then tested the kits during the AK Shield disaster exercise, and subsequently sealed and delivered 12 shelter kits to the Cordova Volunteer Fire Department. Those kits will allow the 12 shelters to open, if necessary.

As part of his Eagle Scout pursuit, Orlando also acted as an “event leader” for the AK Shield exercise, acting as the only non-adult in the leadership roles assigned. His “event “ was to organize the Boy Scout troops to interrupt traffic on the day of the drill. They simulated a Copper River Highway washout, handing out disaster pamphlets to those unsuspecting Cordovans who were stopped. Finally, at the day’s end, he worked in the Emergency Operations Center as support staff to those in charge of the disaster. It was a big day for a 14-year old.

Orlando states that the most challenging part of the process was, “getting the paperwork going to get the donations.” Alternatively, the most rewarding part of the pursuit was,”getting over $3,000 in donations and money to put the kits together”.

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