Tag Archives: preparedness

Emergency Preparedness: Oregon now Says 2 Weeks, not 3 Days

If you’ve been to this blog before, you know we talk about emergency preparedness—a lot. That’s because being prepared is part of being safe and secure. So when we heard that the state of Oregon has changed their recommendation for emergency preparedness from 72 hours of supplies to two weeks, we were intrigued, to say the least.

2 Weeks Ready
Oregon calls the campaign 2 Weeks Ready. This is a big change. We’re not talking 3 days to 5 or 7 or even 10, but 14. They’re recommending people in Oregon be ready to go it alone for two whole weeks. The situation in Oregon is based on the threats in that region, primarily earthquakes and tsunamis, but the reasoning is the lack of infrastructure in the aftermath of a disaster. As they say on their website:

“For many years, we’ve been talking about the importance of being prepared for 72 hours. This is a good start, and helpful in the event of short-term power outages or temporary evacuation. But a large earthquake and tsunami will leave much of the area’s transportation routes destroyed. Oregonians will have to count on each other in the community, in the workplace and at home in order to be safe until responders can reach you.”

Taking Oregon’s advice to heart
Although only certain parts of the U.S. are prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, it seems as if all of the U.S. is subject to some kind of natural disaster, from hurricanes to blizzards to wildfires to flooding…and more. Perhaps all of us should take this change from 3 days to 2 weeks seriously, because any of those disasters we just listed could also take down infrastructure. It doesn’t matter what causes the damage. Roads can be closed, power knocked out and communications taken down as a result.

Their website offers many resources and it’s definitely worth a look. They offer printable information sheets for business, communication, community, first aid, food, neighbors, pets and livestock, seniors, shelter, water and youth. They have a Facebook page and they are on Twitter.

How ready are you?
As we recently reported, only 40% of us are prepared for a disaster. That’s well less than half of the population. And for every person not prepared, the first responders and government agencies will be even more burdened with trying to help people. Do you want to rely on that? Or to take some responsibility for keeping your family safe and secure on your own? If you choose the latter, Oregon’s 2 Weeks Ready advice will help.

Shocking Survey Results: 60% of Us Are not Prepared for a Disaster

Why are we so ill-prepared for disasters in the U.S.? This isn’t just anecdotal. A new survey by Farmers Insurance shows how many of us are vulnerable to a natural disaster, due to lack of planning alone.

For National Preparedness Month last month, Farmers Insurance conducted a survey and published the results as both a list of findings and a planning resource. Among the shocking statistics, Farmers Insurance learned:

  • 70% of people living in the U.S. have experienced some kind of natural disaster.
  • One-third of those say they’ve been in a hurricane.
  • 60% of households do not have an emergency plan in place in case of a natural disaster.
  • 55% of people living in the U.S. don’t have an emergency kit.
  • 35% of those who do have an emergency kit and are pet owners don’t have any pet supplies in their emergency kit.

The results of that survey gave me a jolt because I fall into the “don’t have” category every time. We haven’t discussed emergency planning around here since we became empty nesters, which makes no sense, but is sadly true. So I am more than ready to tackle the emergency plan and kit as outlined in the document.

Your emergency plan
Are you also ready to get prepared? If so, the following suggestions offered by Farmers Insurance should help you develop your emergency plan for starters:

  • Know how you’ll receive emergency alerts. If the power goes out, as well as the Internet, how will you stay informed? A hand-powered or battery operated radio might be in order.
  • Know your evacuation route and shelter plan. If you have to evacuate, where will you go? Think about which roads might or might not be open in the event of a disaster. For us, for example, we really need to figure that out because we are three miles down a dead-end road. We could easily be cut off and unable to evacuate without a plan. If you have pets, research pet-friendly shelters ahead of time.
  • Know how you’ll get in touch with each other. Make sure everyone in the family has phone numbers memorized or written down in case a cell phone is lost and you can’t access your contacts. Then consider choosing a friend or family member who lives outside of the area as the contact point in case you can’t get in touch with each other.
  • Know where you’ll meet. If one person is at work and another at school and a third at home, and when disaster hits, meeting at home won’t be an option, where will you meet instead?

Your emergency kit
If you need to evacuate, you will need a grab-and-go emergency kit that you can take with you at a moment’s notice. Farmers Insurance recommends your kit include:

  • Water
  • Drinking water tablets
  • First aid kit
  • Canned food and can opener
  • Blankets, preferably the space saving emergency kind
  • Warm clothes
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Medication
  • Dust mask
  • Extra eyeglasses
  • Bleach
  • Baby items such as diapers and baby food
  • Pet items such as food, water bowl and leash
  • Hygiene products such as tissues and hand wipes
  • A plastic bucket in case toilets aren’t available
  • Battery-powered radio (and extra batteries)
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Multifunctional axe/knife
  • Whistle
  • Trash bags
  • Small tent
  • Cooking stove, fuel and pot
  • Heavy gloves
  • Shovel
  • Rope
  • Wrench
  • Cash
  • Copies of important documents
  • Phone numbers

You can see the full list here. Note that most of these items are things you should have on hand, even if you don’t need to evacuate. So have this stuff handy regardless, okay?

Are you one of the 60%?
The year 2017 was the costliest ever, with natural disasters causing $306 billion worth of damage. As we near the end of 2018, it seems we had an easier year, but one thing is for certain: Natural disasters will always be a threat. We can’t do anything about that or the destruction they will do, but we can take steps to keep ourselves and our families safe by preparing ahead of time. And according to Farmers Insurance, 60% of us need to get our acts together and get ready!

What’s Your Real Threat? Winter Driving Statistics That Might Surprise You

According to the Federal Highway Administration, of the 5.7 million car accidents that happen each year, 22% of them (almost one-fifth) are caused by weather. That weather might cause adverse conditions such as snow or fog, or it can contribute to accidents because the weather has led to slick streets. Of those 1,259,000 weather related accidents that happen annually, almost 6,000 people are killed.

Where you live impacts what kinds of winter weather issues you’ll encounter. Obviously icy road conditions are a bigger concern in Minnesota than Texas, for example. However, it turns out that where you live also has a bearing on the likelihood that you’ll be the victim of car theft during the winter months too.

But perhaps most surprising to me as I looked at the winter weather car accidents statistics compiled by my insurance company is that the most common cause of accident claims has nothing to do with winter at all.

What the most common cause of auto insurance claims during the winter?
If you live in the Southwest, your biggest threat during the winter months is mischief. Yes, mischief, with 31% of claims the result of “vandalism and mischief” which includes theft.

But every other region in the lower 48 shares the same most common accident and it’s not what you think. It’s not icy road conditions. It’s not adverse weather. It’s not anything you’d think of as winter-related.

What is it? Collisions with animals! Yes, and in this order:

  • New England: 26%
  • Pacific Northwest: 27%
  • South Central: 28%
  • Southeast: 29%
  • Midwest: 35%
  • Mid-Atlantic (New York, etc.): 43%!

By animals, I’m pretty sure we mean deer, elk and moose, as little damage is likely to occur when colliding with a possum or raccoon.

We Americans also do a lot of rear-ending, it seems
Regardless of the region and the percentage of claims related to collisions with wildlife, every region shares the second more common cause of claims: rear-end accidents. These range from 12% to 16%, for every region in the lower 48 states. This probably has to do with slick road conditions, but I do wonder if this has to do with texting while driving as well? Hmmmm?

For the third most common reason for making a claim, we don’t see much variety. The three categories are hitting an object or pedestrian, backing up into something, and getting hit while legally parked. But none compare to the surprising stats about running into wildlife!

So yes, be prepared for driving in adverse weather conditions before you start out on any journey this winter, but also be on the lookout for other causes of winter driving accidents, as in four-legged ones! And keep your eyes on the road, not your phone, to prevent driving into the back of the car in front of you too.

Do a September Home Security Review Before Fall Gets Underway

With the arrival of September comes a change of seasons as we head into fall and a change of schedules as the school year gets underway.

It’s also a great time to evaluate your home security, as days get shorter and people spend more time away from home.

With that in mind, below are some tips for doing a DIY home security inspection—with some handy checklists you can print out to use.

Take a street view
The first time a burglar sees your house, it will be from the street. So start with a street view. Is your house appealing to a burglar? Think like a burglar before you answer that question.

Is there signage in the yard warning that you have a home security system? Are there bushes providing hiding places, windows that are easy to reach, or poor lighting at night? Is it obvious when no one is home during the day? Are there any cars parked outside the home when it’s vacant? (Remember that most home break-ins happen during the day while people are at school and work.)

Take a night view
Next consider your home from the street in the dark. Evaluate your lighting. Yes, most home break-ins happen during the day, but not all. Are there shadows and unlit areas that offer a burglar a place to hide while breaking in? And remember to check your garage and outbuildings too.

Walk through the yard
Do you have bushes to trim back away from the house, especially near windows or doors? Are you finding hiding places and easy access to entry points? Again, consider outbuildings too.

Check all of the windows
Make sure all of the windows lock in both closed and open positions, and that you keep them locked. When locked in the open position, make sure the opening is too small for anyone to get through. If you’re not sure your locks are strong enough, consider installing additional locks. Any local hardware store can help you determine what kind of locks you’ll need.

Check all of the doors
The same advice applies to your doors: Check the locks, but also check the construction. Consumer Reports has a very quick rundown on locks here, as well as good advice about doors and strike plates.

Turn the lights on
Review your use of lighting both during the day and at night, and when you’re home and not home. As mentioned above, check outside for lighting issues at night, but also consider whether your home looks occupied during the day when no one is home by reviewing your use of inside lights. A home security system can enable you to put lights on timers so they turn on and off at varying times.

Review your home security system
If your home security system is an older one, you might be missing out on some of the capabilities offered by newer ones, such as home automation features and remote access to the system. Also consider how it’s set up. For example, if you have video cameras, are they still in the most useful places or should they be moved? And it’s always a good idea to do a gut check and make sure you’ve been happy with the service and responsiveness of the company you’ve trusted to provide your home security system!

Download and print out a home security checklist
Home security checklists abound online. Below are three handy checklists we thought particularly useful. Print out one or more of these and use it as part of your home security inspection if you want to be more thorough in your inspection:

Call on a professional
Finally, consider contacting your local police department to find out about any information they have on doing home security inspections. They will know the particulars about crime in your neighborhood and might have insight you hadn’t considered. You can also call on a home security company if you’re considering installing or upgrading a home security system. Find out what kinds of audits they might offer as part of their services.

View all of our security plans and features!

Customer Reviews

I feel so much better knowing my family is protected! I spoke with SafeStreets USA in the evening and a technician was able to come install the system for me then for my parents first thing the next morning. Very impressed with his knowledge and care!

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We had our ADT system installed by SafeStreets USA and were really impressed with the service we received from our technician. He was very friendly and answered all of our questions on the system and how it worked. He set everything up in a couple of hours and was a real pleasure to talk with []

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