Sunday, September 27, 2015

Preparedness Month: Outages

This week's focus in Preparation month is power outages, which I've pointed out before in this blog is a common disaster and potentially deadly. It is likely to become more common, so we all need to prepare for it.

From the US government's preparathon website, here are some tips:
  • Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer if there's room. Leave about an inch of space inside each one, because water expands as it freezes. These blocks of cold will help keep food cold longer during a temporary power outage.
  • Most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem.
  • Because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps, keep your car tank at least half full at all times. (This is a good emergency preparation practice for all emergencies.)
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
I'm sure you already know not to open the refrigerator or freezer doors unnecessarily during a power outage. Make a plan of what you'll need from the fridge, keep a list, and only open it two or three times a day, keeping the door half-open, for as briefly as possible. A two person food brigade can help the unloading go more quickly and get that door shut again.

Have plenty of canned food on hand, as a matter of course. If you don't have room in your kitchen, a box of canned food can be tucked into the back of closet or kept in a garage. Every year or two, rotate those cans into your pantry or donate them to a food drive, and re-fill the emergency supply with new cans.

Somewhere in your emergency supplies, you should have a hundred dollars in cash tucked away. When the electricity goes down, grocery stores may stay open, but they won't be accepting checks or credit cards. ATMs won't be working, either. So you'll need cash.

Stay safe. Stay prepared.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Preparedness Month: for children

Most kids will become enthusiastic about the topic of emergency preparedness, and involving them in your plans will help the whole family stay safe, and it will give you a chance to educate your children about natural disasters, weather, and geology.

The kids' site here has good information, presented attractively. It tells us to:
  • Make a plan
  • Build a kit
  • Know the facts
  • Get involved 
The site also has a comic-book adventure through several disasters that tests knowledge and was fun for me to play. I even learned something new: that in a wildfire, you should leave your home lights on to help firefighters see the building through thick smoke.

Building an emergency kit can be a fun activity for the whole family. Here's a link to one pdf checklist for suggested supplies. So involve your children and be prepared for the a family.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Major Chilean Earthquake

Tsunamis locally and probably more to come. 3 a.m local Hawaii time. For more:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Preparedness Month: 30 Days, 30 Ways

There's a pretty cool preparation game with blog and Facebook page to help people prepare for natural disaster emergencies: 30 Days 30 Ways. Every day, there is a paragraph or two to read and a task to complete. Some tasks are about raising awareness and self-educating, and some are practical about building your emergency kit. I can imagine turning this into a great scouting activity, too.  Again, while this is a site associated with the US government's Preparedness Month, anyone in any nation can take part. Enjoy!

(And to reassure my fans, #amwriting on Gray III, and my stand-alone tornado novel will be revised and published soon after that.)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Preparedness Month: Floods

In the US, it's National Preparedness month, but my Australian, Canadian, and UK readers, and all, are invited to join us!
Mark Arvette, via Wikimedia Commons
Week 1's focus is floods. I am familiar with these both from growing up along a big river (where I volunteer sandbagged more than once) and from living now in a desert where washes fill very quickly with monsoon-season rainwater. Six inches of moving water can knock down an average-sized person, and children are more vulnerable. Two feet of water can sweep away a car.

Don't risk drowning. Stay out of moving water and wait patiently for it to subside--or turn around and find another route.

While camping next to a stream in a mountain environment might look inviting, during the rainy season or when there are rain clouds in the vicinity, walk up hill to higher ground and camp there.

If you are evacuated from your home for a major flood, please, heed the evacuation order and don't return until the official all-clear has come.

Be safe. Be prepared.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My new covers are coming in!

Right now, the banner on this site and the two top links on the right have the new covers on them. I'm quite happy with them and hope they bring my novels to a wider audience.

I thank my thousands of readers of Gray who found the novel and gave it a chance despite my cheap homemade covers. You guys are terrific and wonderfully open-minded. I am grateful for each one of you.

Covers (and soon formatting and more) by