1 Cup of Love

1 Tbls of Creativity

A Dash of Eco-friendliness

Servings: The Whole Universe

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Emergency Preparedness with Alegre Ramos

Hi my fellow eco-conscious readers!  Although this post may not totally be focused on my eco-friendly findings, I am posting this because I feel it is such an important topic that I feel I need to share (especially after the tragic occurrences that have been recently happening).  Dalmacio and I attended an Emergency Preparedness workshop presented by one of our fellow villagers Alegre Ramos (owner of Green and Greener - an eco-friendly store located in Studio City, CA) for another group we are a part of called Holistic Moms Network (HMN)

I am soo grateful that Alegre did this presentation because I actually was planning to have another friend, Aaron do this presentation for the Family Love Village this year but he had moved away last year.  So when I heard Alegre was doing this presentation I approached her to see if she'd be willing to do a presentation for our village, as well and am very excited to announce that she will be coming to us in the next few months!

For the time being, here are my extensive notes on this very important topic.  And yes this is going to be a novel (lol) and I will not apologize this time for the lengthyness of this post (like I normally do) because, well... I feel you and your family could benefit from all the information listed in this post.  So here goes:


STAGE 1: PLAN AND TRAIN - Estimated cost is around $100 and takes about 30 hours. 

Part of planning is sitting down and creating a plan.  This can consist of getting your important documents (i.e. driver's license, ID, birth certificate, SSN #, etc ) and making copies of it.  Copies to go in 1) each To-Go kit, 2) a fireproof safe outside the house (actually it's best to keep the originals in this fireproof safe), and 3) 3 flash drives - one in your To-Go Kit, one to a trusted family member, and one at the office.  You can also fax yourself a copy to your email address, as well.  Videotape and photograph all of your belongings of important and valuable items so you can show the insurance.  A good note is videotaping the date on a newspaper to show proof of the date that you are videotaping.  Fax yourself your bank statements, a copy of your mortgage, insurance paperwork, your pet's chip ID, etc.  It's also a good idea to have recent photographs with your pet so that you can show proof that your pet belongs to you.  It's also important to have recent photographs of family so you can identify them.

Create and type a wallet sized emergency plan.  Make copies and laminate them.  Each To-Go Kit should have a laminated emergency plan card!  (The "To Go" kits will be described in detail under Stage 2 below)

Here's an example of a wallet sized emergency plan:

Grab flashlight/lightstick and shoes under bed. Duck/cover under solid piece of furniture AWAY from glass or in interior hallway.  DO NOT switch on lights until you are sure there is no gas leak.  If you smell gas, shut it off. Turn off water to house to keep it clean and potable and turn off electrical breakers (individual first then main.) Water heater good source of drinking water. Stay where you are if it’s safe, you may want to go to nearby park (nothing to fall on you) but call each other or out of town contact so that someone knows you are safe. If you can’t get a hold of anyone and not safe where you are, head to [designated location]. Leave a note under your door mat saying where you’ve gone. If you are passing by [location on the way], stop there & leave a note in “message drop” saying day/time, where you are going, your condition, and anything else important. Message drop locations: My house: Potted orange tree to the right of hose in front of house, Your house: Pot under living room window.

If we can’t reach each other, out of town calls may still be possible, once safe check in with: 1st [out of town contact] 646.322.XXXX (cell), 212.412.XXX (work land) 2nd [out of town contact], 636.346.XXX (cell) or 317.276.XXX (work land).  

Our phone numbers and networks:
Dalmacio & Vivi Verizon: 818.333.XXX and 310.259.XXX, land
818.708.XXX | Linda/Michael: AT&T 818.634.XXX,
818.634.XXX/818.635.XXX, land 818.776.XXX | Bob: AT&T
213.447.XXXX | Davon: Sprint 213.926.XXX | Eddie: land

Remember: 911 for emergencies
-Same network cell phones more likely to work with each other
-If cell phones don’t work for calls, texting may still work
-Landlines have their own electricity source

Other important aspects of planning for an emergency is making a disaster plan with 1-3 other families.  There is peace of mind in numbers.  It's always good to have other people that have your back and vice versa.  Part of planning with a group, it should be decided who's house is the best location to store supplies and in the event of an emergency should all go to this location.  Once you have decided who's house that everyone should try to go to, it's a good idea for everyone to help pitch in with the supplies. 

Other examples that are part of planning is safe guarding doors and putting child-proof latches on the top cupboards so that your glassware doesn't fall down.  If you don't already have one, get a landline that plugs into an electrical source in case your cell phone doesn't work.

Get your community organized.  See if your neighborhood is open to organizing an emergency plan together.  Google map the streets in your neighborhood.  Find out the ages of children and elderly.  Find out who has what skills in your neighborhood (i.e. your neighbor 3 houses down is a fireman, etc).  And find out where the gas meter is for each of your neighbors on either side of your house.

I. Steps to Creating a Plan:

1. Pick your SAFE ZONE inside the house.  The safest place is under heavy furniture but if that furniture is surrounded by windows, then that wouldn't be a good place to pick as your safe zone.  Another good option is interior hallways where there are no pictures or glass within the vicinity.  This is a good place to pick because normally you don't have to worry about doors swinging open.  During an earthquake, even in a hallway that doesn't have anything breakable, it is still wise to duck and cover.  NOTE: Majority of injuries occur due to flying objects!

2. Make sure to have your "To Go" kits near the Safe Zone. 

3. Prepare a bag for "Under Your Bed" supplies.  This consist of: 1) a pair of tennis shoes, 2) hard hat, 3) crankable LED flashlight, 4) glow sticks, 5) whistle, 6) mask, and 7) goggles.  If it's in the middle of the night and it's during an emergency, grab these supplies and go to your Safe Zone.  I also put both my cats' carriers next to the "Under Your Bed" supplies in our open closet.  Since our bed lies on a Japanese tatami mat close to the floor, we don't have the option to put these supplies under the bed.  And since our closet doesn't have a door on it (which is probably a good thing), we have the supplies on a rack close to the floor in the closet.

4. Do NOT turn your lights on due to sparks.

5. Know where your gas meter is ahead of time.  That way if you smell gas after an earthquake, you will know to go to your gas and turn it off.  To turn off your gas valve, turn the valve clockwise and the knob should be horizontal.  It is also a good idea to know ahead of time where your neighbors' gas meters are at in case you need to shut their gas off.  There is a handy gas shut-off tool with no moving parts that you can tie to your gas meter (unlike a wrench with moving parts it won’t rust and be inoperable so it’s perfect to just leave out at your gas meter “just in case.”). If your gas meter doesn't have an auto shut off, it's advisable to get one.  When Alegre's neighborhood did their planning, one neighbor called around and many companies were willing to give a discount for doing multiple houses at once.  Also, when you go on vacation remind your neighbors that if something happens while you are away to turn off your gas/water/electrical for you.

6. It's also a good idea to turn off your water because whatever is in your water heater is good drinkable water.  It's also good to know how to turn off your electrical, as well.

7. Once earthquake is over and it is safe to go outside, grab your "To Go" Kits. 

II. Training  - Training is also an important part of Stage 1.  You can check to see if your local fire department offers training for emergency preparedness.  This is FREE to the public.  You can also go to and download certificate programs there and learn more information on getting certified.

1. It's important to know that during an emergency, it can take up to about 3-5 days for emergency services to get to you and your loved ones. So it's best to be prepared and take it into your own hands during this time by following the 4 stages of preparation. It's suggested to prepare for at least 4-5 weeks worth of supplies.

STAGE 2: CREATING "TO GO" KITS - Estimated cost is $300 and takes about 6 hours

I. Home To-Go Kit:

Pack the following items in a large and sturdy backpack:

  1. Laminated wallet sized card with your typed Emergency Plan.
  2. Leather  gloves (to get glass out of the way)
  3. Medical latex gloves
  4. Crankable flashlight
  5. Glowsticks
  6. Wrench
  7. WD 40 lube
  8.  Matches
  9.  Shovel
  10. Crowbar
    11. Map of your area (identify parks, fire depts and safe places to go)
    12. Female hygiene
    13. Food (energy bars, dehydrated foods, nuts except for oily nuts like walnuts, chocolate - make sure it's a shelf life of at least 5 years)
    14. Water (change every 6 months)
    15. Pen and paper to leave notes
    16.  Antibacterial
    17. Masks & goggles
    18. Small bills
    19. Carabiner
    20. Whistles
    21. Plastic bags for sanitation
    22. Clothes (for warm weather and cold weather)
    23. Hat
    24. Shoes
    25. First aid kit
    26. Copy of important documents (paper and/or flashdrive)

    NOTE: The top 4 most important items on this list are: water, hat, shoes and first aid kit in case you have to walk far and it is hot).

    II. Work To-Go Kit:

    1. All of the above PLUS the following:
    2. Flash drive with copies of important documents at the office
    3. Need to create a separate wallet card Emergency Plan for your office

    III. Car To-Go Kit:

    1. Everything that is listed in the Home To-Go Kit PLUS the following:
    2. If you have a baby or toddler, an extra baby carrier
    3. A favorite toy that your child won't miss, books, crayons and paper for your child (I thought of this one since it may help to keep your child occupied after an emergency or to have things that help to calm them down, such as a favorite toy or book).
    4. Leash for your pet
    5. Harness for your pet
    6. Formula for your baby
    7. Eco-friendly baby wipes
    8. Eco-friendly diapers
    9. Knife and/or box cutters (My hubby Dalmacio is a firm believer in box cutter/utility knives and loves this brand.)
    10. Binoculars
    11. Water filter on top of Kleen Kanteen bottle water
    12. Toiletries
    13. Rubber tubing/surgical tubing
    14. Mosquito control
    15. Compass
    16. Crank radio or solar radio
    17. Check books
    18. Head lamps
    19. Emergency Response Kit
    20. Dog kit (saddle bag) - you can get one that has everything needed for pets
    21. Booties for your dog - in case they have to walk on glass
    22. Clothes for your pet in case it is cold
    23. "Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants" Book
    24. "US Army Survival Manual"
    25. Lamp light
    26. Batteries (Home Depot has batteries that have a shelf life of 15 years).  It's best to keep in the original packaging, standing upright!
    27. Hydrogen Peroxide
    28. Coffee filters - this is helpful when deciphering and filtering water to make into drinkable water
    29. Thermal blankets
    30. Emergency sleeping bags
    31. Tube tents
NOTE: The above To-Go lists AND the Emergency Plan are examples of what Alegre and her family created for what was important to them (I added a few things that I felt were important to my family).  These lists can be modified to fit what you and your family feel is valid and important. 

STAGE 3: MAJOR HOME SUPPLIES: Estimated cost is $1000. This is storage for water and food.

  1. Rule for water: 1 gallon per person per day.  For 1 month, you may want to have up to 100 gallons.  You can get ring barrels (55 gallons each).  If it's a plastic container, make sure it is NOT sitting on the concrete because chemicals can leach into the container.  So it's highly suggested to put the ring barrels on top of cardboard.  Since long-term survival is all about water, it's a great idea to have a way to filter the water, as well as have purification tablets on hand.  Boil/filter/purify…whatever you have to do to have fresh water!  You can get these at camping stores.  Here’s a long info page on emergency water storage that is a good resource to review.
  2. Store home supplies in a trash can that has wheels outside so that you can roll offsite.
  3. Examples of food to store: dehydrated foods, nuts (avoid oily nuts like walnuts), beans, rice.
  4. For pets: canned food. We do our best not to have dry kibble because kibble is not good for our cats to eat but in this case of an emergency, it doesn't hurt to have a bag of grain-free dry kibble, as well.

  5. Tent & sleeping bags
  6. Old cast iron skillets
  7. Stainless steel utensils
  8. Cardboard boxes and aluminum.  You can cook food as a solar cooker this way.
  9. Portable solar panels, such as Silicon Solar
  10. Keep bikes accessible and part of preparedness
STAGE 4: MAJOR HOME IMPROVEMENTS - Estimated cost can vary depending on what improvements you feel you need to do for your home.

  1. Get your windows tempered.
  2. Bolt foundation and visible studs
  3. Secure top heavy furniture (especially if taller than wide)
  4. Secure electronics
  5. Secure water heater (move it outside if you can)
  6. Secure cabinets
  7. Get fire extinguishers
  8. Remove chemicals from the house and make sure to bring to a safe center for disposal!
Phew...You made it to this point!  Congratulations!  I know there's alot of information here to digest but it's soo worth reading through all of it.  And just so you don't get too overwhelmed, you don't have to do all of the 4 stages at once.  Alegre stated that if you at least begin with Stage 1 ("Plan and Train") and Stage 2 ("Create your To Go Kits"), this could take a few years to do.  So do what you can but start NOW!

And just to continue with my tradition of posting references, I wanted to share more information.  Remember how I mentioned in the beginning of this post that my friend Aaron was going to be a guest speaker for the Family Love Village but moved away?  Well good news, a mutual friend of ours sent me a link to a post that Aaron put on his blog.  Not only was there one but there are two posts on his blog, Transitional Forces that I feel are great resources.  So please check out: Shaken Up and Earthquakes and Whistles.

Other great resources are:

  1. Quake Kare: Variety of Emergency Kits that provides some of the items listed in the To-Go kits. The company is a local company too.  They are located in Moopark, CA (which thankfully isn't too far from where my family just moved to).
  2. Gluten Free & Vegan Survival Foods: I did a search and found this company that sells gluten free and vegan survival foods which is important for Andrik and myself since he is allergic to wheat/gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, and cashews.  Although I haven't yet figured out how to get to the actual option to review the foods they sell.  I may have to call them to find out.
  3. Earthquake Country: a great reference for earthquakes
  4. Linda Pruett- If you live in the San Fernando Valley, ask to be part of her email list.  She sends out important information in regards to emergencies.  Her email is
  5. True Readiness: Another website that offers emergency kits that also looks local.  Their area code is 818.  Just compare between Quake Kare and True Readiness to see which one has a better deal and supplies.
Phew...Ok I feel a whole LOT better now that I've shared all of this insightful information that can better prepare all of us!  Sending you and your loved ones much loving energy as you create your emergency preparedness!  And if there is an emergency that we do end up experiencing, may we all feel reassured at least just a little bit, knowing that we are more prepared than we were before!

I would like to end this post with a loving and affirmative prayer towards the souls that are being affected by natural disasters throughout the world.

I set the loving intention that all the souls being affected by natural disasters are healing - whether it's for physical, emotional and/or spiritual healing.  Knowing that they are not alone, that there are people here to help them - whether it's actually being physically there to lend a hand or through donations or through prayers - we as loving beings are continuing to keep the vibrations high and envisioning global healing NOW.  Knowing that as aware beings, we are setting the intention to continue leading and role modeling conscious and eco-holistic living.  By being conscious, by being eco-friendly and by living a more holistic lifestyle, we are setting the pathway for this global healing to continue through us role modeling and creating this healing in our own backyards, our own homes, as well.  I am ever-so-grateful for the families that have joined the Family Love Village and for my fellow readers on this blog who are continuing to join us on this conscious journey for it is within this space where change occurs.  Just by supporting and having the willingness to actually "be the change we wish to see in the world", we are making a difference...we are a creating the conscious shift on a vibrational level.  And I thank each and everyone of you for being on this playing field of conscious BEINGness for yourself, for your families, for Mama Gaia, for the animal kingdom, for ALL living things.  And with this deep gratitude, I release this prayer towards all living kind to experience this shift with us.  I release it into the winds, into the oceans, into the embers and into the earth - knowing that we are ALL one with each other, one with animals, one with creatures, one with the planet, one with life.  And so it is...Aho, Aum and Amen.