Wednesday, September 23, 2015

5 Things New Moms Can Do to Prepare for Disasters from Preparedness Momma. Another post from the 30 days of Preparedness

As stated before, September is National Preparedness Month.  The Prepared Bloggers are sharing vital information with all of us.  Here is another post from a talented blogger that any Mother, or parent for that matter, could benefit from.  I encourage you to read this and think about your current situation.

I lived through a Category 5 Hurricane with 4 children.  I can tell you that you are either ready in the moment or you are not....and there is nothing you can really do about it.  Your children need calm and comfort during any stressful situation whether it be a natural disaster or man made such as a layoffs, illness or the like.

Best wishes to you as you make your efforts to be prepared.  Please read this post and other vital information from PreparednessMama.

5 Things New Moms Can Do to Prepare for Disasters

As an adult you have the right to make choices for yourself. That means you can even bury your head in the sand and pretend that disasters will not affect you personally. Once you become a parent things change. Now you have a little bundle of joy to look out for. All of a sudden those disasters you’ve been ignoring seem real – and more likely to occur.
5 Things New Moms can do to prepare for disasters | PreparednessMamaLet me assure you, the first step to overcoming overwhelm is preparedness. New moms prepare for disasters long before they happen. When the disaster strikes (and it surely will), these 5 tips will help you have confidence with an infant in a disaster.
This post is part of the National Preparedness Month Challenge. Be sure and check out the links below. #30DaysofPrep

Be Aware.

It’s that simple. I know I say this a lot, but you can’t prepare for a disaster if you don’t know what you’re facing.  You have got to understand how the chemicals in the industrial park half a mile away will affect your family if there is a fire in the warehouse. You need to know if there are any hazardous materials being transported on the train that passes through town, and you need to know if you live in hurricane, earthquake, or wildfire country. See 9 Steps to Finding Your Local Disasters for a checklist to use.

Make a Plan.

I don’t know about you, but for me planning brings calm into my life. While it may not be possible to plan for every disaster, you sure can get a good jump on it. Winging it is not an emergency plan!
Where will you have your family meet after an emergency? | PreparednessMama
Your plan for surviving a disaster with an infant will include these strategies:
  • // An emergency kit for everyone in the house. Including the baby (see below)
  • // A communication plan so you can check in with loved ones during and after a disaster.
  • // An evacuation plan from your home. Where will you meet if there is a fire? Talk about who will get baby if there’s a fire and include that in your fire escape plan.
  • // Plans for meeting up with your family if you are separated when the disaster hits. What will you do if the older kids are at school, your husband is at work, you are out shopping and there is an earthquake or tornado? Who gets baby from daycare or who’s coming to help you?
  • // Share your plans with everyone; helper, spouse, grandparents, daycare and school. Each needs to be in the loop and have a printed copy along with out of state contact information.

Family Communication Plan | PreparednessMama

Find a disaster buddy.

You need someone who can help you evacuate, especially if you have other small children. Look for someone close by that can stay with you for moral and emotional support after a disaster. Neighbor or close by family? It’s great to think hubby will be there, but if he’s at work, that could be difficult for him to do. Form your alliances now!
Make a plan links for and Red Cross

Make a simple emergency kit for your infant.

Dont be afraid to start small. Even this small kit will give you one up in an emergency. The minimum that you decide to pack will depend on your climate and personal preference, but consider these ideas:
  • // Disposable Diapers – enough for 5 days, just to be safe
  • // Baby wipes
  • // 96 ounces of bottled water and powdered formula
  • // OR ready made formula
  • // Bottles and nipples
  • // Extra change of clothing
  • // Emergency blanket
  • // Receiving blanket
  • // Baby carrier so you can be hands free
  • // Pacifier
If you are breastfeeding, make sure you have enough water to be properly hydrated. You also need to have extra protein in your personal emergency kit. Consider almonds or other good for you protein bars. You will have covered the basic necessities with this minimalist kit – food, water, cleanliness, and warmth. All these items can be stored in your own emergency kit until you are ready to put together a bigger kit.
Remember to rotate this infant kit more frequently than a regular kit. Babies grow fast and the clothing you packed today will be outgrown in a few months.

Infant 72-hour kit | PreparednessMama

Take Baby Steps on the rest.

I’m a big proponent of putting your kits together frugally. The other items listed in the infant 72-hour kit post are good to have and will certainly make surviving a disaster with a baby easier. These should be added as you have the time, energy, and budget. You may want to add them gradually to your own kit or make another one just for baby.
Remember you only have two arms, so plan now for how you will carry baby, your kit and the infant kit. Maybe a roller suitcase is a good fit?

Join the conversation with other moms and don’t miss #Prep4Moms!

Join the conversation #Prep4Moms  on September 3, 2015 at 1PM ET | PreparednessMamaSeptember is National Preparedness Month and I’m participating in the #Prep4Moms twitter chat that is scheduled for September 3rd from 1-2pm Eastern Time. It’s sponsored by*. I hope you’ll join us and find some other ways that new moms can prepare for disasters.
The topics we’ll be discussing include:
  • How can I keep my baby and I safe and healthy during a disaster?
  • How do I know if something is wrong while pregnant and I need a doctor? What risks increase during a disaster?
  • How can I plan to feed my baby safely during a disaster? Does breastfeeding make a difference?
  • How can I best plan to cope with a chronic condition, pregnancy complications or the special needs of my child in a disaster?
  • Disasters can be particularly stressful for pregnant women and new moms. How can they cope?
Please come and share your ideas to help moms prepare for a disaster with infants. If you find this post after the event is finished, I will post a link to the ideas we discussed here.
*  provides information on public health emergency preparedness, response & recovery.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dispelling the Canned Food Expiration Date Myth......Repost

September is National Preparedness Month.  The Prepared Bloggers are sharing their time and expertise to help you become more prepared or self-sufficient.  Here is a post from The self-sufficient man that is worth the read.  LRH

Dispelling the Canned Food Expiration Date Myth

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If you are like most people you have at least some canned goods on your shelf–maybe you have even taken up canning your own food. Either way, canned goods are a common “staple” for many reasons. However, do you really know the truth about canned food shelf life?
Many consumers seem to have a deep trust of those magical “dates” on canned foods. I’d like to dispel some myths about that right now.
Canned foods are generally “good” far beyond the dates stated. In almost all cases, the dates stated on foods aren’t expiration dates anyway; rather, they’re “use-by” dates.tweet this
The use-by dates on cans and packages serve to protect the reputation of the food. They have nothing to do with food safety, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website clearly states:
“Use-by” dates refer to best quality and are not safety dates. Even if the date expires during home storage, a product should be safe, wholesome and of good quality if handled properly.
Actually, except for infant formula, product dating is not even required by federal regulations.
While they may not be required, generally you’ll see manufacturers use one of three types of dates, none of which is an expiration date:
  • A “Sell-By” date, which simply tells the store how long to display the product for sale.
  • A “Best if Used-By” date is what the manufacturer recommends for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
  • A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The manufacturer of the product determines the date.
Of course, manufacturers have an incentive for consumers to purchase more food, so the temptation exists for them to recommend short-term dates to encourage more frequent purchases.

Studies Prove Properly Canned Food Remains Safe

Numerous studies show that foods are viable LONG after they were canned, or after the expiration of stamped dates.
Except for infant formula, product dating is not even required by federal regulations
A fascinating study published in the Journal of Food Sciencereported on canned food analyzed from the Steamboat Bertrand, which sank over 100 years before in 1865.
The findings?
National Food Processors Association (NFPA) chemists detected no microbial growth and determined that the foods were as safe to eat as when they had been when canned. The chemists added that while significant amounts of vitamins C and A were lost, protein levels remained high, and all calcium values “were comparable to today’s products.”
A prepper’s remedy for the loss of vitamins is, of course, to simply store and rotate multi-vitamins in his prepping supplies.
All-American-921-21-12-Quart-Pressure-CookerCanner-0These studies don’t surprise me, for proper canning creates a vacuum that prevents microorganisms and air from entering the jar and contaminating the contents. As long as the seal is good the contents should be good, which is why I’m comfortable eating a jar of stew from my pantry—even if I canned it 20 years before. We use our trusty All American 921 pressure canner to can all sorts of meats, stews and vegetables–it’s probably my most valued self-sufficiency item.
Evidently authorities agree with my view.
In a food safety fact sheet, Utah State University Food Safety Specialist, Brian Nummerwrote:
For emergency storage, canned foods in metal or jars will remain safe to consume as long as the seal has not been broken.
In another study, NFPA chemists also analyzed a 40-year-old can of corn found in the basement of a home in California. Again, the canning process had kept the corn safe from contaminants and from much nutrient loss. In addition, the chemists said the kernels looked and smelled like recently canned corn.
So as these scientific analyses show, canned foods are an excellent option for preppers.

When to Throw Canned Food Outcan food expiration

It is unlikely that you will ever be forced with the decision of whether or not to open a can that is in fact, 40 years old. However, if it has been several years and you come across a can that got lost in the pantry, it should be fine to eat, just as the above studies show. But what if the can is dented?
Just as many people have tremendous belief in expiration dates, they also were led to believe that dented cans should be avoided–even discarded. But that’s not usually the case.
But first, why the concern about dents anyway?
The primary concern is the very unlikely (but remotely possible) risk of botulism contamination.  Botulism can be a deadly illness and is caused by various strains of the Clostridium bacterium.  The bacteria thrives in low-oxygen environments (such as those in canned food) and produces a neurotoxin that can cause loss of muscle control. If it goes untreated, the illness can spread throughout the body, ultimately reaching the respiratory system.
Clearly botulisum is something to be avoided at all costs.  But what are the odds that you can get botulism from canned food? Do you know ANYONE who contracted botulism from commerically canned food?
bulging can botulismAccording to the CDC, an average of only 145 cases of botulism are reported in the U.S. each year. Of that, only 15 percent  are the result of foodborne bacteria–most botulism cases (65%) are infant botulisum (caused sometimes by feeding honey to infants). So, there are roughly 21 cases of foodborne botulism in the U.S. each year. 21. Out of over 300 million people, all of whom eat.
As you can see, botulism is VERY, VERY rare. You should worry far more about dropping the canned food and breaking your toe.
Even in the very remote case of a bout with botulism, it certainly  doesn’t mean death, as it can be treated at a hospital with antitoxins. While botulism can result in death due to respriatory failure, the fatality rate has dropped from 50 percent to three–five percent in the past 50 years. So, out of 21 cases, a three percent fatality rate would mean that one person may die roughly every two years from foodborne botulism. And that’s about what we find.
Most recently, a 54 year old person died in Ohio at an April 2015 pot-luck dinner. The likely culprit in that botulism outbreak that sickened more than 20 was potato salad made from home canned potatoes.
Do you know ANYONE who contracted botulism from commerically canned food?
And therein lies the problem with most cases of botulism. While there are, on average, 21 foodborne cases of botulism per year, most are the result of improper home canning. Of course, I don’t know how the potatoes in this instance were canned, but most likely not with a pressure canner, such as the All American 921.
All vegetables (including potatoes), all meats, etc. are LOW ACID foods, and must be canned in a pressure canner. However, many “old timers” canned those foods in water bath canners and got away with it. When you tell their children (most of whom are rapidly becoming old-timers themselves) that the foods must be pressure canned, they retort, “well my mother always did it this way, so I will too.”
Anyway, botulism is something to be aware of, but there are many more threats in your life worthy of your attention. Like…oh…not having any food stored at all.
Small dents almost always present no problem, the more important issue is the location of the dent. A can with a sharp dent on either the top or side seam should probably be discarded, because seam dents can allow the introduction of harmful bacteria.
The good news is that most dents occur harmlessly on the side. Unattractive? Yes. But unsafe? No. Even the USDA agrees with this point when they say:
If a can containing food has a small dent, but is otherwise in good shape, the food should be safe to eat. Discard deeply dented cans. A deep dent is one that you can lay your finger into. Deep dents often have sharp points. A sharp dent on either the top or side seam can damage the seam and allow bacteria to enter the can. Discard any can with a deep dent on any seam.
Other signs that you should check to ensure your canned foods are safe include:
  1. Make sure the can is not bulging. This occurs when harmful bacteria, such as that which causes botulism, enters and creates gas.
  2. If the can has rust near the seams, inspect carefully. But rust or dents do not affect the contents of the can as long as the can does not leak. If the can is leaking, however, or if the ends are bulged, the food should not be used.
  3. Be very cautious if the can spurts liquid or foam when opened. Not a good sign.
  4. Finally, trust your senses. If the food is discolored, moldy, or smells bad or simply doesn’t smell as it should (canned fruit that doesn’t smell fruity), then toss it. It’s not worth the risk.

Summing it Up

So what have we learned.
  1. There are no expiration dates, nor are they required. Rather, there are suggested dates by the manufacturer of when to use the food by.
  2. Canning is a very safe process that protects the food for a long time–over 100 years, if necessary. That’s a fact.
  3. Botulism is a concern, but rarely a legitimate threat. Just uses your eyes and nose to assess the food. If the can is bulging (as in the picture above), by all means dispose of it. It’s definitely not worth the risk. But if it merely has a shallow dent and the seam hasn’t been compromised, I’m sure it will pass the eyes and nose test.
  4. It’s best, in my view, if you can the food yourself, for the simple reason that you don’t have to worry about dents. Glass jars don’t dent. If the seal on the top of the jar is good, the food is good. Another reason it’s best to can your own food is that you don’t have to worry about your Mason jars being lined with bisphenol A( BPA), as many canned foods are, just like water bottles. The BPA has been linked to a rapid rise in blood pressure, and chronic exposure has been associated with heart disease. So get yourself an All American 921 pressure canner or borrow one from a friend. Buy some produce and meats from local farmers (you can find a list of farmers at and start canning your own food. You won’t have to worry about BPA, you’ll know what’s in it, when it was canned and you’ll learn a lifelong self-sufficiency skill.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

How to Prepare for a Power Outage...from Blue Yonder Farms

September if National Preparedness Month. The Good Folks from Prepared Bloggers are focusing upon many important issues.  My thanks to Blue Yonder Farms who wrote this post to give you things to consider in the event of  Power Outage. LRH


Living in Arizona, power outages are a common occurrence during the summer monsoon season. Just earlier today the sky was booming, and our power flickered threatening to go out, but thankfully nothing came of it. But what do you do if your power goes out, are you ready?
How To Prepare For A Power Outage | Blue Yonder Urban Farms | Karen Coghlan | #byuf #blueyonderurbanfarms #karencoghlan #prepare #poweroutage #beprepared |
Are You Prepared For A Power Outage?


The most basic preparations for a power outage is to have an alternate source of light. I have read that each person should have their own flashlight, it makes sense that everyone will want to see where they are going without having to take turns using the same light.
Usually, most power outages here in Arizona, while they happen quite frequently during the summer months are short-lived and do not require much more than having a flashlight handy. But what happens when we find ourselves with no power for days?


Keeping Cool – Living in the desert keeping cool would be an important consideration, most of our power outages happen during the hottest part of the year. Here are some ways to keep cool.
  • Drink Plenty of Water to Stay Hydrated
  • Dress in Cool Light Weight Clothing
  • Close Drapes to Keep the Heat Out
  • Consider Buying a Battery Operated Fan
  • Stay in the Coolest Area of Your Home
  • Consider Going to an Air-conditioned Public Place
Food Preparation – Pretend that you are camping and cook your food outdoors, it is safer and will help to keep the heat outside. Some things to have on hand for cooking food.
  • Barbecue Grill – Gas or Charcoal
  • Camp Stove – Gas
  • Matches or a Fire Starter
  • Sun Oven – Be Sure to Learn How to Use it Before You Need it
Food Storage
  • Keep Refrigerator & Freezer Doors Closed
  • Use Foods That Will Perish the Fastest First
  • Have One or More 5 Day Coolers Ready to Fill With Ice When the Refrigerator gets warm


I realize that not everyone lives in a hot climate like Arizona. So what are the needs for those living in cold, climates when a power outage hits? Many of our needs are the same, the biggest difference that I can think of is keeping warm in the cold.


Keeping Warm – If an outage takes place in the winter you might need to consider how you will stay warm.
  • Drink Plenty of Water to Stay Hydrated
  • Keep Well Fed Have High Caloric Snacks Stored That You Don’t Have to Cook
  • Wear Extra Clothes To Conserve Body Heat
  • Stay In Bed – Your Bed may be the warmest place in your house, cuddle up with children and spouses for added warmth
  • Store Extra Blankets or Sleeping Bags Rated for cold climates
  • Close Off Rooms That You Are Not Using
  • Close Drapes To Keep Cold Out
  • Go Outside During The Day If It Is Sunny To Warm Up


Please let us know what you do to prepare for a power outage in the comments below.


Friday, September 18, 2015

It's a Matter of Canning Chili.....encore post

It's a matter of ...... Chili!

Note from LRH:

This is a repost of a very popular post about canning your own Chili.  I hope you find it helpful and will try it.  It's great to have on a cold winter's day.

How to Can Chili At Home:

My son seems to like chili, but only on his terms.  That means, when the moment strikes.  Well, since we are concentrating on chili this week, I wanted to determine whether it was worth the time and resources to can my own chili for him, as he seems to like mine....when the moment strikes. 

Here is a picture of a national brand taken on 6/10/10.  The chili is on sale for $1.79 and supposedly is regularly priced at $1.99,  The LRH did peak under the tag, and it still said $1.79...but was  'regularly $1.99' go figure.

I used a recipe entitled Chili Con Carne from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.  (Please see the link provided for the recipe).

The recipe begins by instructing you to soak your bean overnight.....who has time for that?  Who can remember to do that? The answer is ....certainly not me!  So, I used the quick soak method.  I brought the beans to a boil, and then turned the heat off.  Leave it for an hour.  As it turned out, on my day off, the hospital called and asked me to come in to do a specialized evaluation.  I seem to be the only one in the county who does these these types of evaluations right now.  So, I left my beans, went to the hospital, did the study, and came home.  It was about 1.5 hours in total time.

When doing this, the soaking water will look terrible.  Drain the water and wash your beans.  Here are the beans in the colander.

I choose to use extra, extra lean beef as I hate to pay for something I am going to have to discard.  I also sliced my onions and put them in.  The recipe also calls for chopped peppers, but Rooster Jr. has a severe dislike for peppers, so I omitted them.

Put in all your dry seasonings.

The recipe calls for crushed or whole canned tomatoes.  This is my Tomato concoction that I make every year.  I can make spaghetti, salsa etc from it.  I will be using 2 quarts of them.

Pour the tomatoes into the meat mixture.

Incorporate the tomatoes and beans into the mixture.

After simmering for 30 minutes, place into jars and wipe the rims prior to putting on the lids and rings.

You must process these in a Pressure Canner and not in a Hot Water Bath Canner as the Chili has protein.  For Pints (at our altitude), process 75 minutes at 15 pounds of pressure.

Let the canner cool naturally, because the Chili has protein, you cannot rush this process.  Take the jars out of the canner and listen for the "pop" that let's you know they are sealed.

Now, let's talk money and time:

First, let's talk about time.  I picked  a day when I was going to be around my home most of the time.  I did not babysit this process.  I cut, cooked, bottled a few minutes at a time.  Most of the time was needed to soak (and you now know I didn't even stick around for that to occur), simmer, and process.  This is time I didn't have to spend in the kitchen, even though I would wander through to make sure everything was working as it should.  I cleaned, organized, and did work on my computer.  I even had to take my son to the Insta-care when he returned home from a High Adventure camp-out because of a little mishap he had while he was away.  I let the canner cool during that period.  (If you know my son, please don't mention this to him, he hates it when 'I let everyone know things'....he's so funny).  So, I hope you see that I didn't have to devote a tremendous amount of direct time to the process, however the cumulative process did involve hours.

Now, let's talk money.  I calculated the cost of each pint (without the cost of power, or jars/lids as I already had them) to be just under $1.00/pint.  The pint is roughly equivalent to the 15 ounce can of Chili.  The most important part of this to me was the value of knowing how to do it, knowing how to use my Food Storage Staples, and also to possibly save ~ $.79/jar. The overall savings for 10 pints is $7.90.  This is equivalent to a 55% savings.

Finally, let's discuss convenience.  My children love to open a can of soup after school, or for a quick snack.  It is also nice to have a quick meal on those nights when Dance lessons or Soccer games run really long!  It's ready and all you need to do is heat it up.

So, here is another way to stock up on one of the focus items for this week.   Pull out your Pressure Canner, or ask to borrow one from your friend or neighbor and try it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Emergency Preparation For Those Who Are Disabled or Elderly

It isn't something we like to think about or even really plan on, but there comes a time when we have to think outside of our comfort zone. Most of us envision ourselves and our loved ones to essentially be fully functional....all the time.  The reality is that there is nothing further from the truth.

Emergency Preparedness for Those Who Are Disabled or Elderly

Some of us either currently have or will be responsible for loved ones who cannot fully care for themselves. This requires support not only from you, but from the community as well.  If an Emergency (either natural or man-made), arises, there are many considerations and plans that need to be in place to successfully care for these individuals.  In this post, we will examine many of these considerations.  As you will see, planning is essential for these individuals who may be compromised and not be in a position to care for themselves.  


If an emergency arises, the need to move quickly is often necessary.  What if your loved one could not ambulate or required special consideration to move and transport.  What if your loved one required equipment to move from one place to another.  

Determine, ahead of time, what their ambulation needs are.  This includes the vehicle needed to transport them and their devices if needed. Things to consider could include one or more of the following:
  • Prosthetic devices
  • Extra wheelchair batteries for a Powered Wheelchair
  • Collapsible Wheelchair
  • Walker
  • Crutches
  • Canes
  • Motorized Scooter
  • Specialized Stroller
Also, be aware of your loved one's endurance and abilities.  Can these individuals (who are walking either with or without any type of assistance) negotiate stairs or uneven surfaces (rocks, grass, hills, etc).  If your loved one has seen or is seeing a Physical or Occupational Therapist, ask permission to talk with them about recommendations they would make in regard to your loved one's abilities and endurance.


Chances are that someone with special needs also requires medications as well. This requires not only understanding dosages and schedules, but also having those medications available.  Often, but not always, special needs individuals have ongoing medication needs.  

It is important to have a current list of these medications.  There are apps and websites that can be used to track them.  Here is a link to make your own wallet-sized card to carry with you or with the special needs individual.  You can enter your information and print out your individual card at Healthcare Ready.  I was pleased to see this site state that they do not save or store your information.  

When Hurricane Katrina occurred, local pharmacies were really out-of-order. Within 3 weeks reportedly some medical professionals attempted to set up a website for Katrina victims to help provide information about their medication needs etc. because so many of these folks were shipped all around the country. Later an attempt was made to have a national website that allowed for interested individuals to enter their personal medical information.  The thinking was that if you were relocated, the medical professionals in your new area could access your information and dispense your needed medications.  The name of the Website reportedly was The letters stand for "In Case of Emergency Rx". From my research, neither this website nor it's accompanying telephone number are functional.  I share this with you all in the hopes that those who may have registered will know that it may not be as accessible as you once thought that it might be.  

So, what do you do besides skipping a dose?  Here is a suggestion that was given to a loved one in my family by his pharmacist.  If you receive your medication by mail, order a refill when you have used two-thirds of your medication. This is reportedly allowed. This gives you a small window to access and store medications for emergencies. 

Also, there are many apps like "Carezone" that allow you to scan your medications and it keeps a list for you.  Since so many of us are so attached to our Smart phones, this may be a very viable option as long as you have power for your phone.

Finally, check with your state to see if there are circumstances that allow for you to get emergency medications.  In Florida, for example, they have provisions that allow you to refill your prescription early before a hurricane.  Additionally "Pharmacists are permitted to dispense an emergency 72-hour supply if they are unable to quickly get an approval from the doctor for the refill. It’s important to discuss this now with your doctor and pharmacist so that you are prepared for emergencies."  You will need your prescription bottle to access this service.

You will have to have your insurance card ready and available for any prescription medication.

Consider scanning your Medication bar codes and keeping them on a USB (key ring or bracelet for your loved one). 

Finally, some medications require refrigeration, syringes, etc.  Make arrangements for all of these.  This cooler can be plugged into the power port in your car. This allows me to keep things cool as we travel, including medications.


You will need to have your Insurance information available to access healthcare for you or your loved one.  You often can get extra copies of your Health Insurance card on request. This allows the caregivers and the special needs person to have a copy with them particularly if they get separated from each other.  

Be knowledgeable about your deductibles, copays, and know what your Insurance plan covers.  If you have not met your deductible for the year, you will be responsible for the entire bill until you have met this financial threshold. Also, be aware that you may have different copays for a traditional practitioner versus a specialist. Paying the copay may be difficult if you are counting on digital payment sources in an emergency. Carry cash to make these impromptu payments if your loved one needs to seek medical services in an emergency. Although an emergency room cannot deny services, the bill may be astronomical without your insurance information.   

Consider scanning your Insurance cards and including them on a USB (on your key ring or as a bracelet on the special-needs individual.  

Oxygen and Medical Devices:

Oxygen is a tricky subject in an emergency.  During Y2K, I was an administrator of a large Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF).  All SNF's were required to demonstrate that they were ready for midnight on 1/1/2000.  This meant I had to have agreements and a 'plan' from every provider we ever worked with. Let me just say there are many. By the time I completed this task I had two 3 inch binders full of these agreements.  These service providers provided us with everything from medication, sanitation, food, utilities, etc and Oxygen.  Can I just say that this was the biggest Preparedness Project I ever had to do as I had 116 residents and about the same number of employees. We had to be in a position to provide for all of these individuals for 72 hours in case of the worse happening.  

Oxygen in this situation was a big concern.  We chose to use Oxygen Concentrators versus Oxygen Tanks.  These devices transform room air and provide concentrated Oxygen to the patient.  They can be large and also small for transport.  However, they needed power.  We had back-up generators in place should things have gone south, but thankfully they did not.

An Oxygen Concentrator is a viable solution for an individual who is dependent on Oxygen as it does not run out like an Oxygen tank could.  However, the Oxygen tank does not require power, but you would need have a large enough supply to last you for an unknown period of time..  If your loved one requires Oxygen, check with your Oxygen provider and discuss options.  No matter whether you use traditional tanks of Oxygen or a Concentrator, your need access, storage (there are requirements to safely store Oxygen in tanks), and in the case of a need power.  A generator or solar source will be critical.

Additionally, have a list of style and serial numbers of medical devices your loved one uses.  If you have a hard time remembering where you put something in your house at times, consider how much harder this would be when the pressure is on during an emergency.  It also helps if you need replacement devices.


If you think of Natural Disasters, evacuation may be recommended.  Prepare ahead of time to know where you can go in case of emergency. Often city buildings, schools, or even churches are designated as shelters. Contact local authorities (in person, by phone, or on-line) to determine the closest shelter.

If you have to shelter in place, have a plan for heat, food, cooking, medication, hygiene, etc. Hygiene can be very tricky if your sewer system is not operable and you are caring for an individual who is incontinent or vomiting.  Consider having some of the following on hand:
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Disposable Gloves: Consider the type of glove you purchase. Some folks are allergic to Latex.  Also, consider getting gloves that are powdered on the inside particularly if you will be changing them often and will be in a humid environment.
  • Chux (disposable pads to place under an individual to catch bodily fluids).
  • Wipes, and lots of them.  I purchase baby wipes by the case from the Big Box store.
  • Lotions and special creams to protect the skin. Ask you healthcare provider to recommend specifics for you.
  • Contractor grade garbage bags to dispose of the used items. These bags bags are usually 2.7 or 3.0 ml thick and resist tearing.  
  • Have a supply of Over-The-Counter medications
  • Have a supply of soaps and shampoos.  
  • Have a system to clean soiled clothing and the detergents to go with it.
  • Optional:  Consider purchasing this personal protective equipment which includes masksgowns, booties to cover your shoescaps, and masks.
Diet:  If you loved one has a special diet, be knowledgeable in how to prepare their food for them. Store foods that can be made for them and have powerless means to make them. This includes having powerless devices to chop, mix/beat and cook foods as well.

If you have a loved one who has a tube feeding, you either need to have a supply of their formula on hand or be in a position to provide a blendarized diet if your physician clears you for it. For information on home blended tube feeding diets, please see this link

Finally, if you do have to shelter-in-place, see this list to ensure you are in a position to do so. 


There are times that evacuation is necessary. Planning is often needed for special-needs individuals.  Can they sit? Do they need to recline?  If they have to sit for a long period of time, are there concerns with skin integrity? This means ensuring that they can manage the pressure on their skin (while sitting or lying down for long periods of time because they are secured with a seatbelt) without sores or skin tears.  They may require gel pads, specialized car seats etc.  Practice getting your loved ones in and out of the vehicle you plan to use in an efficient manner.

What if your loved one lives out of town and is required to evacuate?  Elderly parents may easily fall into this category.  Check with the local and State agencies to see if they provide services to help evacuate special needs individuals.  For example, Florida has a "Special Needs Registry" that can list individuals who require transportation to Shelters or Medical Facilities. This service only works if you have registered well ahead of time.


As noted above, some individuals with Special Needs require devices or treatments that require power.  The following suggestions come from New York City  (Actually this entire document is excellent and can help you organize your information in case of an emergency):

  • If you rely on electric medical equipment, contact your medical supply company for information about backup power.
  • Ask your utility company if you qualify as a lifesustaining equipment customer, and see if you can sign up for priority power restoration.
  • If you rely on oxygen, talk to your oxygen supplier about emergency replacements.
  • If you receive treatments such as dialysis or chemotherapy, know your provider’s emergency plan.
No kidding, if you are near a Hospital or Skilled Nursing Facility, you will have your power restored more quickly than if you do not live near such a place. If you do not, notify your power company of your special needs individual so that you power restoration to their home becomes a priority.

You really should consider having an alternate source for power. If you are wondering what you can run on a Generator, please see this post to help you determine your needs. If you do have a Generator, secure it to your home with a hearty chain so that it cannot be stolen.  Additionally, consider having a supply of various batteries. In an emergency you quickly be amazed how many little devices require them like Glucose monitors, Pulse oximeters, Hearing Aides, etc. 

Legal Documents

If you are responsible for another individual, you will need to have several documents with you in case of an emergency.  
  • Advanced Directives:  Each state has their own version of Advanced Directives. This document directs the medical team in the type of care you receive if you are not in a position to verbalize your wishes.  If you are caring for another individual, you will need to have these with you particularly if significant medical attention is warranted. You should take a copy of this document with you every time you are admitted into a hospital for a procedure. Here is the link to find the forms that are associated with your state.
  • Power of Attorney:  If you are caring for an individual who cannot make decisions for themselves, you really should have a document entitled a "Power of Attorney".  This gives you the right to make medical or financial decisions for the impacted individual.  As a SNF Administrator, I was appalled to see families literally fighting over the bed of the health-compromised family member because this step was not taken.  I have had to threaten to call the Police if family members who were vigorously fighting did not step out of the room and discuss their concerns in a more appropriate manner.  There is really no easy way to get this document in the throws of an emergency.  Sometimes you may have to have a Legal Judgement made to give you the Power of Attorney if the individual is not competent to give permission for you to fulfill this role.  See an Attorney and make arrangements for this critical document.  For the Elderly, an Elder law Attorney is uniquely qualified to help you.


Have an out-of-town contact person that you communicate with.  They can be the point person to let others know how you and your special-needs loved one are doing without taking your time during an emergency.  

Consider keeping your landline phone.  In an emergency, they usually work. Our family has benefitted repeatedly from this tried and true technology after a natural disaster. This was particularly true after the Category 5 Hurricane, a Flood, and the a Volcanic Eruption that we have lived through.  The landline worked when our cell reception was compromised.  


This post is by no means an exhaustive source of information.  However, it is my hope that you will think differently about those you may have stewardship for in the event of an emergency.  Careful planning can make the difference for you and the loved one when minutes and seconds count.

If you have additional suggestions, PLEASE SHARE THEM WITH US IN A COMMENT.  We all can learn from each other.  

September is National Preparedness Month and The Prepared Bloggers are at it again!

It's safe to say that our ultimate goal is to help you have an emergency kit, a family plan, and the knowledge to garden, preserve your harvest and use useful herbs every day – without spending a ton of money to do it. Luckily that’s obtainable for every family and a journey we would love to help you with. This year we have posts about food storage, 72-hour Kits & Bug Out Bags, and every aspect of preparedness, from water storage to cooking off grid. You’ll also find many ideas to help you be more self-reliant. Look for information on the big giveaway we've put together for later in the month. Be sure to visit our sites and learn as much as you can about being prepared. We'll be using the hashtag #30DaysOfPrep for these and many other ideas throughout the month of September, so join in the conversation and make 2015 the year you become prepared.

Food Storage


72-Hour Kits or Bug Out Bags


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