Tag Archives: Hurricane

Hurricane Florence reminds us to be prepared

Hurricane Florence as seen from the International Space Station

As I write this post, Hurricane Florence has her sites set on eastern North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. In terms of her path and potential for flooding, Florence is already looking like an extraordinary storm and certainly one for the history books. It’s a scary situation.

My family is all about practical preparedness. Where we live, we have to be concerned with the occasional sever summer/winter storm, flash flooding, and potential impact from hurricanes like Florence. Although we’re in Canada right now and far removed from any potential impact from Florence in North Carolina (regardless, thanks for all of your kind messages), we have friends living in our house and I can rest easy knowing they have all of our supplies at the ready.

What supplies should you have at the ready? I like using the Build-A-Kit list from Ready.gov as a practical starting point. It’s designed around a 72 hour window of time. Many of us may assume that 72 ours is too short, but once you start looking at realistic quantities of food and, especially, water that are needed, you might be surprised. These items are difficult to find when your area is threatened by natural disaster–it’s important to collect these items when there’s no immediate threat.

Here’s the list taken directly from Ready.gov:

Build A Kit

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own foodwater and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Keeping items in an inexpensive plastic container not only protects them from water intrusion, but makes it easy grab-and-go on a moment’s notice.

    Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF)

Additional Emergency Supplies

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lense solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Maintaining Your Kit

After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers
  • Replace expired items as needed
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Kit Storage Locations

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.

Of course, I have specific suggestions regarding portable radios to have on hand. I’ll try to post my current favorites soon.

The takeaway is no matter where you live, spend some time preparing for natural disasters or interruptions to public utilities. We have several helpful posts on the SWLing Post which can help you with this very thing.  Take a look at the following in our archives:

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NAB and other broadcasters donate 10,000 shortwave radios to Puerto Rico

(Source: AP)

With no end in sight for the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, the radio industry is putting its best foot forward to help the folks on the ground.

This week, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations, and a number of U.S. broadcasters announced they would fund the donation of 10,000 battery-operated radios to Puerto Rico, with the goal of providing information for those in need.

The battery-operated radios could prove an important resource, as just 16 percent of the island currently has power weeks after Hurricane Maria caused dramatic damage.

NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith emphasized that the situation underlines radio’s role “as a lifeline to communities desperate for information and support.”[…]

Continue reading at the Associated Press website.

I’m very happy to receive this news. At Ears To Our World, we’ve been trying to find the right way to send radios to the areas in Puerto Rico that are still without power. So far, it’s been difficult as distribution lines are clogged and we don’t want to interfere with the delivery of medical supplies, clean water and other basic necessities.

Very happy the NAB has donated so many radios and I hope they can reach the people who need them in good time.

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WAPA Radio: “Radio Voice of Calm in the Storm”

(Source: US News)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Reuters) – News anchorman Luis Penchi has slept about three hours a night since Hurricane Maria turned his radio station into one of the few sources of public information on this battered island.

Working more than 25 hours straight during the height of the devastating storm, the lay Franciscan friar and grandfather has emerged as a light in the darkness for Puerto Rican listeners trapped in a virtual telecommunications blackout.

The powerful storm knocked out electricity, internet, television and cell service for the U.S. territory’s 3.4 million people. When other radio stations went dark, WAPA 680 kept plugging, delivering a 24-hour stream of news, advice, messages and pleas for assistance from listeners desperate to connect with loved ones.

Barefoot and wearing shorts and a wooden crucifix at the San Juan station on Wednesday, the bright-eyed Penchi credited retro technology for helping WAPA power through the maelstrom, along with some divine intervention.

“I believe it was an act of God. This is the chosen station,” the 62-year-old said with laugh.

In the days and hours since the storm broke, the Spanish-language station has become a cornerstone of news, sending out bulletins across the devastated U.S. territory about relief efforts, road conditions and missing people. In the words of one of its owners, Carmen Blanco, WAPA turned into the unofficial “voice of the government” about the hurricane.

[…]Inside are echoes of an earlier age that for now is the norm in Puerto Rico. With power limited to the station’s generator, there is no air conditioning. Electronic frills have been reduced to the minimum. At the reception area, a woman wrote messages for broadcast on a typewriter.

Anchor Penchi credits such old-school resourcefulness for the station’s durability. He said WAPA stayed on the air because it had maintained its old analogue broadcasting capacity alongside its digital equipment.

Payam Heydari, an expert in radio technology at the University of California, Irvine, said basic analogue equipment tends to provide robust transmission over long distances. In comparison, he said, digital technology is highly dependent on electricity to power the relays needed to carry a signal.

“Therefore as soon as power goes down, so do the relays” on a digital signal, Heydari said.[…]

Continue reading this full article at US News and World Report…

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Salvation Army requesting hams to help in Caribbean post hurricane

(Source: Salvation Army Team Radio Network via Eric WD8RIF and ARRL)

Greetings:

The Salvation Army’s Eastern Territory has asked SATERN to begin recruiting amateur radio operators from our Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) for potential deployments to the Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands Division.

THIS IS A RECRUITMENT REQUEST TO BE ON STANDBY ONLY!

This will not be an easy deployment so operators interested in deploying on behalf of The Salvation Army should carefully read and ensure that they can meet the conditions and requirements in the attached document(s):

Qualifications:

  1. Candidates must be capable of doing the work and meeting the qualifications contained in the attached Position Description for a Communications Specialist. The only exception to this is the requirement for Medic First Aid Training. That or similar training is a plus but not mandatory.(See attached file: SATERN-Communications_Specialist-Official.pdf)
  2. Additionally, candidates must be capable of meeting the qualifications and experience and equipment requirements contained in the attached document below.(See attached file: HurricaneMaria-SATERN_Deployment_Requirements.pdf )
  3. Candidates should pay close attention to the information in both documents. This will be an especially challenging deployment physically, emotionally, spiritually and technically. Do NOT sign up if you are not prepared for this.
  4. Candidates MUST fully complete a volunteer profile in the National Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) Volunteer Database. Instructions for creating a profile in the database are contained below my signature block.

Logistical Issues:

  1. DEPLOYMENT LOCATION: Puerto Rico or one of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  2. DEPLOYMENT DATE(S): Not known at this time but could be as early as next week.
  3. DEPLOYMENT LENGTH: Operators should plan on a minimum two week (14 day) deployment. Be aware that travel to and from these areas is difficult and there are no guarantees of it being exactly two weeks.
  4. LODGING: Lodging will very likely be basic shelter style lodging in a church, gym, warehouse or similar rough arrangement. Be well prepared for hardship conditions. You will need to bring your own sleeping bag, cot (if you have one), etc. However, there is a possibility that there will be availability on the USS Kennedy, USS Wright or other ships.
  5. MEALS: Meals will likely be provided by The Salvation Army at whatever Incident Command Post (ICP) you are assigned to. It will likely be very basic meals served from one of our canteens (mobile kitchens).
  6. EXPENSE: The following essential expenses will be reimbursed:
    1. Travel expenses.
    2. Other expenses pre-authorized by officials of the Incident Management Team (IMT) at the site you are deployed to.
    3. Bring CASH – about $500 is recommended. Remember that all power, phone and internet are disrupted so it is highly unlikely you will be able use a credit card. Cash is KING on a deployment.
    4. EQUIPMENT:
      1. You will need to bring your own radio equipment as outlined in the attached document(s) above. It needs to be in good condition and capable of operating under conditions similar to, or more strenuous than, the worst Field Day imaginable.
      2. The Salvation Army will not reimburse repairs or replacement for your equipment. That responsibility belongs to the deployed operator and it is highly recommended that you make sure that your equipment is fully insured.

    Becoming A Candidate:

    Anyone who meets the above qualifications and desires to be deployed should do the following:

    1. Complete the volunteer registration. This includes completing the online course, Introduction to Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services.
    2. Complete the form shown here.(See attached file: HurricaneMaria-SATERN_Deployment_Survey.pdf PDF Kb )
    3. Inform the following people by email of your interest in being on standby for a possible deployment AFTER completing number 1 and number 2 above.
      1. You must email your notification along with the COMPLETED form in number 2 above to the National SATERN Liaison (see (i) below and to your Territorial SATERN Coordinator who is one of the four people listed in (ii) below:
        1. The National SATERN Liaison: Bill(dot)Feist(at)USS(dot)SalvationArmy(dot)org
        2. The Territorial SATERN Coordinator for the state you live in (see below):Central Territory (IA, IN, IL, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, SD, NE, WI):
          Bill Shillington (W9ZCL): SAOpsChief(at)aol(dot)com 

          Eastern Territory (CT, DE, MA, ME. NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, PR, RI, USVI, VT)
          Maj. Tom Dingman (K2QMU): Tom(at)K2QMU(dot)net 

          Southern Territory (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, OK. SC, TN, TX, VA, WV)
          Bill Feist (WB8BZH): Bill(dot)Feist(at)USS(dot)SalvationArmy(dot)org 

          Western Territory (AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY)
          Bill Feist (WB8BZH): Bill(dot)Feist(at)USS(dot)SalvationArmy(dot)org 

Please do not call the National SATERN Liaison on his cell phone. Send any questions you have by email.

Deadline: I need to know as soon as possible but certainly no later than the end of Sunday, 01 October 2017.

Thank you for giving this serious consideration. I look forward to hearing from you by no later than Sunday, 01 October 2017.

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NPR: Amateur Radio Operators Stepped In To Help Communications With Puerto Rico

(Source: NPR via Eric, WD8RIF)

Volunteer HAM operators have set up informal radio networks to connect family and friends with their loved ones in Puerto Rico. NPR’s Kelly McEvers talks to one of those volunteers, Greg Dober.

Click here to listen via NPR.

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