I had the opportunity last Monday to go hiking in the Kananaskis, near Calgary, Alberta. I went with a friend and the weather forecast was iffy. So we took with us the rain poncho’s sold by Briden Solutions for $.95, among many other supplies.
We hit the trail at 8:00 am and had it all to ourselves. The scenery was beautiful, we were often within listening distance of a rushing river and I really enjoyed the sound of water running over rocks and logs so it was a great day for me. We were following Galatea Trail and made excellent time to the intersection for Guinn’s Pass.
Unfortunately we were not on Guinn’s Pass at an elevation of about 2100 ft for very long before it started to rain and rain hard. There were no trees on this part of the trail to hide under and the foliage had overgrown the trail.
We stopped to put on our rain ponchos. They not only covered us to mid-thigh, but they also covered nicely our backpacks.
My friend and I had a bit of a running joke going because I couldn’t get the hood of my poncho to stay on my head and he had no problems with his hood staying in place. I’m several inches shorter at 5’8″ and the poncho reached nearly to my knees and the water bounced off with every step I took, whereas the water ran off his poncho onto his pants.
I’m very glad we had our ponchos. Even though we got caught in a good rain we were still able to enjoy most of our hike and keep dry and it even helped us retain some heat next to our bodies. These are lightweight and a handy item to have in your hiking or emergency supplies.
It is entirely possible that you like many others have more things on your to do list than you can complete in the next week, month, or year. So how are you ever going to find the time to work on your emergency preparedness?
I got this list from a friend of mine. I asked her if I could reproduce it here. Following are 10 things you can in under one hour that will help you increase your emergency preparedness. Good luck and let me know which one or ones you chose to do?
10 Easy Things You Can Do This Month:
- Check your smoke alarm’s batteries and the batteries in the flashlights around your home. This may include finding the flashlights and putting them in a place that you can find when the lights go out.
- Take all the cards in your wallet and photocopy the front and back of the cards. Put this photocopy in a safe place. If your wallet is stolen, you now have a record of the cards in the wallet.
- If you have stored some water for food storage, when was the last time you rotated it? You can water your garden with the extra and fill the containers with fresh water. If you haven’t fill up any containers, take 20 minutes and clean out the empty containers and fill them.
- Do you have a digital camera? Take a few minutes and download the photos that are currently on your memory card. If anything happens to your camera, you don’t have to worry about losing those photos.
- At your bank you can set up an automatic transfer of money. Open up a new savings account for an Emergency Fund and transfer a specific amount in to your account each month on the first day of every month. Even if the amount is small, over time your emergency fund will grow.
- Check your furnace filter. If it is dirty, change it. Take note of the size of the filter so you can shop for the best price. Since it is the summer you can wait to buy a new filter until it is on sale.
- Plan your meals for the next week. This will help when you go grocery shopping, you can use some of your food storage to help rotate it and you won’t stare in your fridge at 6pm when you are starving wondering if dinner will jump out and make itself. You will already know what to make. Try to eat one extra fruit or vegetable everyday.
- Take a moment and make a medical appointment. Have you had a yearly physical or are you putting off calling a dentist? Take five minutes and do it. Your future health will thank you.
- Do you have a list of emergency numbers? You should have them written down somewhere in your house. If your cell phone stops working you will have the most important numbers available to you.
- Do the one thing that you know you need to complete.
Caution: Personal opinions ahead!!
Another great article below by Dick Eastman of Eastman’s Online Genealogical Newsletter. While this article isn’t about emergency preparedness per se, financial planning is a big part of preparedness overall. I was very interested in what I read in this article. If it is true that retirement age, when it was orignally set in 1935 was older than the average life expectancy it is very interesting that 1) the age has not been increased as life expectancy has increased, 2) we have come to “expect” our governments to take care of us in our old age, 3) although many are at their professional prime in knowledge and ability we still choose to retire and take that knowledge and ability out of the workforce.
It seems to me that these are all quite selfish and “right” driven responses versus having a citizen responsibility mentality. It also seems to me that because of our right drive mentality versus a responsibility mentality it would be political suicide to change the age of retirement. Because really who wants to work longer than we have to if we can get the government to pay us to leave the workforce?
Read the article below and let me know what you think about our current retirement age and government benefit plan.
Why You Perhaps Should Not Retire at Age 65
Consider the changes in retirement between you and your grandparents. When the national retirement age of 65 was established for the Social Security Act in 1935 (over 75 years ago!), the average American lifespan was 61.7 years. The age of 65 was chosen at that time because it was beyond the average life expectancy for Americans. While there certainly were exceptions, most Americans of 1935 aged 65 or more were in poor physical condition and were unable to earn a living. In fact, the average 65-year-old American of those days was… DEAD!
Again, I am talking about averages. We all know of exceptions, but financial planning by the actuaries at the Social Security Administration is based on averages.
NOTE: Actuaries are the individuals who determine the rate of accidents, sickness, death and other events, according to probabilities that are based on statistical records. Actuaries then use trend information to predict future averages.
Today, we still think of retirement age as 65, but the average lifespan of Americans is now 78 years — 16 years more than it was when Social Security started. The impact is enormous.
Most Americans now expect to draw Social Security payments for years, something our grandparents never expected. That alone may explain a lot when thinking about the present and future financial problems of Social Security!
Is it reasonable for you to expect government payments at so young an age? Our grandparents didn’t expect retirement checks until several years after they reached the average life expectancy. If we use the same philosophy today with an average life expectancy of 78 years, we shouldn’t expect retirement until age 80 or beyond! After all, that’s effectively what our grandparents expected.
In fact, many Americans are already postponing retirement until several years after age 65. The news media is full of information about various studies that show many Americans switching careers in their senior years and remaining productive in the workforce until into their seventies and beyond.
What are your plans? Are you planning to retire to a rocking chair at age 65? Or will you switch to a second career and keep busy earning an income for several more years?
I randomly get emails from my insurance provider and there is usually at least article I can apply to my current life or pass along to a friend.
In the most recent email from TD Insurance Meloche Monnex there was an article titled “What to do after a car accident” I thought this was a great article because who is thinking calmly and rationally after a car accident. Step #5 lists out all the information you should request from the other party or parties. I think this is worth printing out and putting in the glove box of your car.
Also mentioned in step 5 was to take pictures of the accident if possible. This is a wonderful idea and should be pretty easy with how common it is to have cell phones that can take pictures. This past winter my sister got in an accident on the highway. It was very early in the morning and not a single vehicle passed during or after the accident when she was talking to the other person/vehicle involved. Neither party had a camera or phone with a camera and because of the time of day and budget cutbacks no police office was dispatched to review the accident. Instead they were instructed to proceed to the nearest RCMP station and file their reports. It became a game of he said, she said. A camera would have been very helpful in this situation.
Anyway, checkout the article below and let me know what other tips you’d advise in the case of “What to do after a car accident.”
After an accident: your 7-step action plan
Accidents can happen. That’s a fact of driving. Good drivers know that and try to be prepared for when things don’t go as planned. “Since being involved in a car accident can be a source of great stress, it’s important to know what to do even before you start piecing together what happened,” advises Isa DiPalo, Senior Manager, Claims Services,
Here is her recommended 7-step action plan to help you make the right decisions during those critical moments following an accident.
1. Stay calm
That may be easier said than done — especially if you have children in the car or if someone needs medical attention — but staying calm will help ensure your safety, your passengers’ safety and that of anyone else involved.
2. Call 9-1-1 if…
- Someone needs emergency assistance. “Be aware that moving someone who is injured may cause them more harm,” says Ms. DiPalo. “Instead, explain the situation to the 9-1-1 operator, answer their questions clearly and calmly — and follow their instructions. If you have children in a car seat who are in distress, try to calm them down without removing them from their seat until you get the go-ahead to do so.” This also means you should make sure your cell phone is fully charged when you head out.
- A criminal offence has taken place; for example, a hit-and-run situation occurred; you suspect someone was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or someone was attempting to steal, vandalize or carjack your vehicle.
- You smell fuel. “If you suspect a fuel leak, get out of your car — if it’s safe to do so — and call 9-1-1,” advises our expert. “Do not turn on the ignition or try to move your car until you are advised that it’s safe to do so.” Follow the 9-1-1 operator’s instructions until emergency services arrive and take over. If 9-1-1 is not needed, proceed with the following steps.
3. Move your car out of harm’s way
If 9-1-1 is not necessary, move your car in order to prevent additional damage or injury. If the accident occurred on a very busy street or highway, stay in your car — even after you move it to the shoulder or side of the road,” says Ms. DiPalo. Don’t wait for assistance on the side of the road, unless you’re on a city street and a sidewalk is available.
4. For non-emergencies, call the local police department — not 9-1-1
“Local police will determine whether or not a police officer will be sent to the scene,” she says. “In some instances and jurisdictions, they may direct you to a collision reporting centre or a police station. Whether in person or on the phone, make sure you understand and follow the instructions you are given.”
Expert tip: Take time to program your police department’s non-emergency phone number into your cell phone — that way, you’ll have it handy. Also, Ms. DiPalo advises that all drivers know what’s expected of them should they be involved in an accident. Some jurisdictions require that you report all accidents that result in over $1,000 in damages. Check with your provincial or territorial ministry of transportation (search online using your province plus “ministry of transportation”) for more information.
5. Collect all relevant information
“If the police come to the scene, they will gather the information,” says Ms. DiPalo. “If police don’t come, be sure to collect the necessary information before you and others leave the scene. This information will be needed when you file an accident report or insurance claim.” The information you need includes the following:
- The other driver’s complete information — name, address, phone number, insurance company and policy number, driver’s licence number and licence plate (just to be sure).
- Contact information for all passengers in all cars involved.
- Contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
- Specific details about the accident scene — date, time, location, road conditions, weather conditions, traffic conditions and the speed at which you were travelling.
- Take pictures — if your phone doesn’t have a built-in camera, keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment along with a pen and paper.
Expert tip: Consider using the TD mobile app to get instructions, collect info and file a claim — see “A mobile app that’s there when you need it most”.
6. Stay objective
“When communicating with others involved in the accident, or with witnesses, keep your cool and do not make accusations, talk about liability, or admit to fault,” says Ms. DiPalo. “Leave that to the police and the insurance companies.”
7. Contact your insurance company
File an insurance claim whenever you need to report losses. “Call your insurance company promptly, especially before you accept any services like towing or agree to any repairs or make arrangements for a rental car,” says Ms. DiPalo. “The claims agent will guide you through the entire process.”
Summer time is a great time for fresh fruits and vegetables. If you aren’t growing produce of your own, most communities have farmer’s markets. My community happens to have 3 farmer’s markets each week during the summer season. You really can’t go wrong at a farmer’s market. So much good produce, food and handmade crafts, most of it grown locally and a growing percentage of it being grown organically.
I took the opportunity this past week to attend one of the local farmer’s markets on my way home from work. This is what I saw.
Fresh berries and local meats
Then I turned right and saw
Fresh B.C. fruit
I wandered, and if it was orange, or red or green or leafy or healthy it was there.
Delicious danger ahead. Natural and slightly enhanced mother nature goodness.
Honey and Jams
And of course the last (or first) vendor was more great fruits and vegetables.
Carrots and potatos and cukes and fresh B.C. fruit
If you haven’t been to a farmer’s market yet this summer I encourage you to seek one out. Enjoy the fresh produce and think about ways you could bottle, can, freeze or dehydrate some food for your food storage.
I read a great article this morning from the Government of Canada on their GetPrepared.ca website. There is alot of great information here to review before an emergency occurs.
Just one note that I would like to add: If you dial 911 accidentally please stay on the phone until an operator answers and let them know that the call was made in error. If you do not, 911 must then track the call and try and get in touch with a person at the number that hung up to verify whether or not an emergency is occurring.
During an emergency, you may not have time to make alternative plans. You may also not be aware of who to listen to for instructions. That’s why it is important to know who to call and what to do under different circumstances.
When to call 9-1-1 (where available)
- Report a fire
- Report a crime
- Save a life
For non-emergency calls, use the seven- or ten-digit numbers listed in your local phone book for police, fire and paramedic services.
In case of a major emergency
- Follow your emergency plan
- Get your emergency kit
- Make sure you are safe before assisting others.
- Listen to the radio or television for information from local officials and follow their instructions.
- Stay put until all is safe or until you are ordered to evacuate.
You may be instructed to “shelter-in-place” if chemical, biological or radiological contaminants are released into the environment. This means you must remain inside your home or office and protect yourself there. The following steps will help maximize your protection:
- Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
- Turn off all fans, heating and air-conditioning systems to avoid drawing in air from the outside.
- Close the fireplace damper.
- Get your emergency kit and make sure the radio is working.
- Go to an interior room that’s above ground level (if possible, one without windows). In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed.
- Using duct or other wide tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room.
- Continue to monitor your radio or television until you are told all is safe or are advised to evacuate.
Authorities will not ask you to leave your home unless they have reason to believe you are in danger.
If you are ordered to evacuate, take:
Pets are not allowed in some emergency shelters,
so plan in advancefor a pet-friendly location.
Protect your home:
- Shut off water and electricity if officials tell you to.
- Leave natural gas service on, unless officials tell you to turn it off. (If you turn off the gas, the gas company has to reconnect it. In a major emergency, it could take weeks for a professional to respond. You would be without gas for heating and cooking).
- Lock your home.
If you have time:
- Call or e-mail your out-of-town contact. Tell them where you are going and when you expect to arrive. (Once you are safe, let them know. Tell them if any family members have become separated.)
- Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.