Kids face a variety of “mini disasters” every day as they walk out the door to face the world. Without warning, they may be confronted by dangerous people and situations.
Our job, as adults, is to create resilience in them so that no matter what life throws their way, they will have the ability to face the challenge and land on their feet.
There is nothing simple about raising children who are resilient to life’s challenges. It takes intentional hard work, consistency and creativity. The reward is worth every effort.
Steps to Create Disaster Resilient Children
- Empower kids with knowledge
- Develop a family emergency plan together, then practice it. Evaluate it together and discuss what went right and where you can improve, then physically practice it together again. Teach kids how to plan, execute, evaluate and improve.
- Play the “What If and What Then” game regularly. What if there was an earthquake right now? What would I do after the shaking stopped? Train children to play various scenarios out in their mind where they face a threat and are always successful in defeating the threat. This simple exercise trains their brain to spring into action during a real crisis.
- Have courage to face the tough scenarios. Model a realistic, but positive attitude. What if Mom and Dad were killed in the earthquake? Then I will go live with Aunt Suzie. I will miss them, but I will be okay.
- Teach children basic skills
- Teach children to enjoy hard work by regularly working together.
- Provide opportunities to develop self-reliance skills such as; self-defense, water disinfection, safe sanitation practices, map reading, expedient shelter construction, gardening, food preservation, cooking healthy foods from scratch and financial management.
- Model self-reliance and provident living in your everyday life.
- Teach children to serve others and sacrifice for the greater good. It is interesting to note that in concentration camps those who were selfless and showed love and served others had higher rates of survival.
- Nurture confidence
- Be your child’s biggest fan and truly believe that they have the power to succeed.
- Provide mastery experiences for kids. Give them opportunities to succeed at difficult tasks. For instance; climb with them to the peak of a mountain. When they are tired, cold and ready to give up, encourage them, but don’t let them quit. Future challenges in life are then compared to this mastery experience. I made it to the top of that mountain, surely I can … (name the challenge). I am bigger than any challenge. I can do this!
- Promote faith, not fear in your words and actions. Talk through doubts and fears. Acknowledge that it may be rough, but he/she can do hard things.
- Foster independence while nurturing a love for others and a desire to make the world a better place because they are in it.
- Celebrate successes and use failures only as learning opportunities.
- Limit Screen Time
- Video games and television should be kept to a minimum.
- Replace screen time with real life adventures.
- Encourage face to face interactions and limit texting as a primary form of family communication.
Disaster resilient kids are created through thoughtful and proactive parenting. You have a great opportunity to influence your children as well as their friends. We have challenging times ahead of us.
Please make the time to ensure that your children have the knowledge, skills and confidence to successfully face the challenges in their future.
Thanks for being part of the solution!
The rate and intensity of natural disasters in the year 2017 reveals a consistent escalation of nature’s fury at an alarming rate. This sampling is only a portion of the challenging events from the year. Remember that each of the statistics represent real people and real suffering. The dead leave mourning loved ones behind. The property damage includes family homes and businesses. Life is a grand adventure and there is good reason to find hope and not live in fear, but the suffering is very real.
Photo by Michael W. Ishak (www.myreefsdiary.com)
California wildfires destroyed over 1000 structures and forced the evacuation of almost 100,000 people. The cost totaled a whopping $180 billion.
The Mount Agung volcano erupted in Indonesia forcing the evacuation of 100,000.
Ten hurricanes formed over the Atlantic and made landfall in 2017, devastating numerous cities with high winds and heavy flooding.
- Hurricane Harvey killed 82 and cost $180 billion.
- Irma killed 61 with damages totaling $200 billion.
- Maria killed between 55 and 500 people (depending on the report) and caused damages totaling $95 billion. Maria left thousands of victims without power, food and water for an extended period of time.
Mexico was hit by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake and another 8.1 within just a few weeks. The death toll rose to over 300 and left 2.5 million people in need of aid. An earthquake in Iran killed 530 and injured thousands.
Photo by Indian Navy
Heavy rains, flooding and landslides wreaked devastation in many countries.
- South Asian Monsoon caused flooding in Bangladesh and Nepal killing over 1,200. It has been labeled the worst regional humanitarian crisis in years affecting more than 41 million people with nearly 2,000 relief camps providing urgent shelter.
Colombian mudslide killed 300.
- Severe rains in Zimbabwe kills 117 and leaves thousands homeless.
- Flooding in China has left 144 dead and displaced one million people destroying 31,000 homes.
- Floods in Peru took 150 lives and affected over one million with a restoration price tag of over $9 billion.
- Avalanches in Afghanistan and Pakistan caused from heavy snowfall took 156 lives.
- Democratic Republic of Congo flooding and landslides killed 174 and left 280 orphans
- Sri Lanka suffered 213 deaths from flooding and landslides. An additional 250 people died after the initial disaster from dengue fever due to lack of safe, clean drinking water and shelter.
While we are unable to control the power of nature, we can prepare and mitigate the loss of life and property. Are you ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice? Do you know where to go?
Advanced planning and preparation can seriously mitigate the loss and suffering resulting from natural disasters. Consider implementing these ideas as you develop your evacuation plan.
Home—Prepare your home to minimize the impact of earthquakes, floods and wildfires. You can find helpful ideas in The Provident Prepper: A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies and on the internet through your local government organizations.
Destination—Once you leave your home you become a refugee, which is a dangerous status. Evaluate your personal risk factors and plan where and when to evacuate in various scenarios. Ideally evacuation planning will include these destinations:
- A meeting place outside of the home (i.e. house fire)
- Higher ground (i.e. tsunami, local flooding)
- Same or neighboring city several miles away from your neighborhood (i.e. localized event such as HAZMAT spill)
- Bug out location out of the area by at least 100 miles so it is not affected by the same event (i.e. hurricane)
Survival Kits—Prepared specific personalized kits that you can grab at a moment’s notice which contain important items. Survival kits can be specialized for each individual and application. Personal, pet, automobile, commuter, first aid and tools are just a few of the types of kits you may want to prepare in advance and keep rotated.
Lists—Detailed lists of things to do or items to grab at the last minute. Stressful situations may cause your brain to freeze, much like a deer in the headlights. Lists make it possible to remember critical items when you need to evacuate. Make lists to attach to the top of each kit reminding you to grab items such as; purse, medications, perishable foods, critical documents, phone charger, cash, etc. Another list should also contain reminders such as; lock the door, turn off the water; place valuables in safe; and other last-minute things you may need to do to secure your home before you leave. Be sure to include a list of all important contact names and addresses. We post our lists on the inside of the entry closet door where our personal kits are kept.
There is no need to live in fear. We may not be able to control these risks, but you can take steps to mitigate the effect these events may have on our life. Simple actions taken now can significantly increase your comfort and chance of survival. Prepare your home, plan destinations, create survival kits and lists. It really is that simple. You can do this!
Are you missing the critical link to your survival?
A strong community may play the determining factor in how well you come out of the challenges that lie in the future. Every good emergency plan should include a network of individuals who, as a whole, possess all the skills, talents and resources to thrive during a disaster.
As human beings, we are designed by nature to live in groups and depend on each other for survival. The family is the perfect pattern for successful communities.
Each family unit is unique and most have room for improvement. In spite of the flaws, this unit provides the best opportunity for each member not only to survive but to thrive. The family has effectively functioned for thousands of years with no comparable equivalent.
Throughout history people have lived in small groups or tribes, clustering together for protection, friendship, division of labor, food and shared skills. In ancient times, banishment from the tribe or community was a certain death sentence.
Survival rates significantly increase when a group of people work together. Rarely do you hear of one family intentionally isolating themselves from the group. The benefits of the group might mean the difference between life and death.
Your Community Must Be Prepared
No matter how well we prepare for possible hazards, if our community is not prepared, we are in trouble. If we are the only ones with food, we become a target. Could we really feed our young son and watch his little friends starve to death if we have the means to help, thus putting our own family at risk?
These problems are significantly lessened when each family in our community is prepared, even if they just have a supply of longer term food storage tucked under each person’s bed.
You may not have the ability to motivate your entire city to prepare, but you may have great influence over your neighborhood or social groups. Community not only blesses each other during tough times, but can lift and strengthen each other through the daily challenges of life.
Successful communities are deliberately built through planning and effort. They have long standing traditions, close relationships, and a culture of self-sufficiency. Everyone is considered family. They look out for each other and maintain ties that keep the group strong.
Some areas are routinely struck by disasters. The citizens choose to stay there and rebuild over and over again. That crazy determination comes from a love of a community and the residents that live there.
Design and Build Your Community
In a perfect world, your immediate neighborhood could be built into an ideal community. Most neighborhoods can be greatly improved by building and strengthening relationships. There are times and places where that is not a possibility. Sometimes it may be dangerous to develop close relationships with neighbors who participate in illegal drugs or other illicit activities.
Use wisdom in everything you do. Do not put your family in danger.
If you live in a dangerous neighborhood, build a network of like-minded people outside of your local community. Many preppers have a bug out location where they plan to evacuate to if the city gets too intense. It may work for you to buy some land with some friends and create a well-stocked home away from home.
In either case, that community of people is critical to your survival. A plan to ride the trouble out all alone is not generally a successful one. You might have the ability to build your own group and hand pick the members. Most of the time your group is determined by geographical location (neighbors or church members), birth (family), or some other variable out of your control.
A group of people will have a variety of necessary skills and resources. It is difficult for one person to have all of the necessary expertise such as; medical, emergency response, communications, small engine repair, carpentry, physical defense, baking, preserving, and gardening.
Combine the skills of 10 families and you will be amazed at the diverse skill set you have access to. This collection of skills and resources increase probability of survival.
The same goes for resources. Financial resources and time allow an inventory of valuable tools to be accumulated. A mature couple in the neighborhood may have acquired many tools, but may not have the physical strength and stamina to make the best use of them. A younger couple may be in the opposite situation, strength and energy, but no money for tools. Working together both can benefit greatly from the relationship.
Just as each of us brings strengths to the group, we also have limitations which make us dependent upon others for survival. Young children are completely dependent on others for every aspect of survival. A mother who is caring for those tiny ones does not have the time to devote to others in the community because her energy is spent on the children. She makes a valuable contribution, but her time is limited.
Perhaps you raise chickens for eggs, but just can’t bring yourself to slaughter the birds. This is where community comes in. You have a neighbor that loves to hunt and doesn’t have any issues with slaughtering and preparing the birds. You raise them and he slaughters them for the cost of a few birds to feed his family. Working together, limitations are eliminated.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, but it is impossible for each member of the group to contribute equally. Each must be the very best they can be in order for the group to be strong. It is important to carefully think these tough questions through.
A group may include several young children, while they are the promise of a brighter future, they only consume resources. These contribute to the group by providing love, hope, and a reason to work hard and provide for a brighter future.
The group may include an 80 year-old couple who you might assume is a burden and an expendable part of the group, perhaps even dead weight. While it is true that they may be physically weak and slow, they can provide valuable resources through accumulated knowledge, wisdom and possibly even physical resources. Their home might boast a 50 year old walnut tree that produces enough storable protein to bless the entire group through the year.
As you build your community, look for a variety of skills, experience, and resources to balance out your group. The best characteristics for group members might include; integrity, resilience, strong work ethic, adaptable, willing to learn, and a strong desire to contribute to the welfare of the entire group.
Be Patient with Community Members
No matter what your survival community looks like, they all have one thing in common. People and people are not perfect. The following quote by Jeffrey R. Holland puts this concept in a unique light:
So be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you…. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. …so be patient and kind and forgiving.
This is some great advice from a very wise man.
Anger, hostility, resentment, accusations, and other negative approaches will not bring out the good in others. People are going to fall short of your expectations and make mistakes. That is just the way it is. Here are some suggestions to help you deal with the human factor in your community:
• The past is history. Learn from it, but leave it behind you.
• Work to become your very best. Allow others time to do the same.
• Exercise great patience and love. Lead by example.
• Acknowledge different viewpoints and consider the value of each.
• Follow with a cheerful, pleasant disposition.
• Learn to forgive others, as well as yourself.
Avoid Destructive Behaviors and Individuals
While you may not have control over everyone that is in your group or community, there are certain traits that are highly destructive and are not in harmony with a successful community. Selfishness is the root of most problems in society. It really is not all about you. We like to consider ourselves stewards of our resources, not owners.
Entitlement can be a very real threat from within a community or from outside it. One mother in our elementary school was overheard to say, “We don’t need food storage. We have guns and we will take whatever we want.”
Entitlement is a totally appropriate developmental stage for a 2 year old, but grownups should not act like toddlers. It is wrong and unacceptable for anyone who has passed that stage to think they deserve something that they have not honestly earned. Just because you are a member of a community does not mean you are entitled to property or resources that belong to someone else.
Appearances can be very deceptive. Are you at risk from those you assumed to be safe? For this reason, it is wise to practice a little operational security and not reveal all of the details of our plan to anyone, even in a healthy community. It is important not to make your family into a target. We can still work together without putting your family at risk.
Build Relationship with Neighbors
As a society we have become isolated, living on the same street or apartment building for years and never getting to know our neighbor. This voluntary isolation contributes to lack of a sense of community, depriving folks of great benefits. Life can be much richer when neighbors reach out and get to know one another, help each other, and build relationships.
Camaraderie promotes group resilience and survival. People in supportive social networks tend to have stronger immune systems and are happier. The healthier the culture of the group, the better the members deal with the stress of disasters and are able to recover sooner. We encourage you to help one another and be prepared to share resources and skills to benefit your group.
Aquire Skills, Knowledge and Physical Resources
Building skills and knowledge is an important factor in self-reliance. You may lose everything that you have worked hard to acquire. Your home, tools, food, everything may be gone in an instant. However, the knowledge you gain and the skills you master will help you to survive regardless of your circumstances. What you know is more important than what you have!
Physical resources are an important part of self-reliance. Provident living is preparing for the future while enjoying today. That means that you need to come up with a reasonable plan to acquire needed tools, supplies, and food storage. It may require sacrifice and hard work. It is well worth the effort when you know that you can take care of yourself and your family in the event of a sustained emergency.
Promote Self-Reliance in Each Individual
Self-reliance is an important characteristic of each individual in the group. Can you live off of your stores for an extended period of time without draining the resources of the combined group?
Healthy communities are not socialist communities. All resources do not belong to the group. Each member of the group first works for self-reliance and then for the success of the others in the group. They are not a drain on the resources nor are they sacrificing the basic needs of their family unit to allow others in the group to live in excess. Balance, wisdom and order.
Each member of the community should do their best to be prepared with; shelter, water, food stores, medical supplies, clothing, fuel, tools and home food production. Help each other plant food producing trees, vines, bushes, herbs and other perennial plants as part of the landscape. Grow a vegetable garden, even if it is only in pots on the porch. Share with others and involve the entire family.
Officially Organize the Community
A large group will need to be officially organized into smaller groups or blocks to increase efficiency. This works well for a single neighborhood or for organizing a thousand people. Divide neighborhoods into groups, or blocks, using geographical boundaries that make sense.
The sad truth is this, if you leave it up to someone else, it likely will not get done. We encourage you to stand tall and initiate the process. It is your neighborhood and you have the ability to make it a safer, better place. You do not have to do everything, just lead out and keep the momentum going. Once the plan is in place, it takes very little to maintain a healthy neighborhood.
Develop Faith in God
The final critical component is faith. At the command of Elijah, the prophet, the widow of Zarepath’s barrel of flour and jar of oil never became empty. When her son dies, he brings him back to life.
The Lord has power to do all things. He required this widow to prove her faith and use the very last of her supplies to feed a stranger, knowing that she and her son would soon die of starvation. This great act of faith blessed her and her household with food until the drought ended. Developing faith in God and learning to draw upon the powers of heaven through prayer just may be the greatest survival skill you will ever acquire.
You choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. We encourage you to be part of the solution. Prepare your home and family. Then reach out to others and help them prepare for the challenges in our future. Together we are stronger than we are alone. Together we will love life, build a better future and thrive when disasters strike.
Thanks for being part of the solution!
Do you know how to treat this? Do you have the supplies at home to take care of someone you love if they suddenly look like this ?
Simple over-the-counter medications can treat many of life’s minor medical problems such as these unexplained hives.
Cynthia J. Koelker, MD, the author of the book Armageddon Medicine, is a great resource to teach us how to prepare for medical emergencies when standard medical care is unavailable. As you take time this month to clean out your medicine cabinet and stock it with fresh supplies, you may want to take into consideration some of her recommendations.
Begin with a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Dozens of medicines which were once by prescription only are now available over-the-counter and are readily affordable. Here’s a baker’s dozen to get you started:
1. Meclizine (Bonine, Dramamine) – for nausea, vomiting, and dizziness, but may also be useful for insomnia, anxiety, or runny nose
2. Loperamide (Imodium) – for diarrhea in adults and children (over age 2)
3. Ranitidine (Zantac) – primarily for heartburn and acid indigestion, but also useful for hives
4. Lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), or esomeprazole (Nexium) – any of these are heavy hitters against serious acid problems such as acid reflux or stomach ulcers
5. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) – for itching, hives, runny nose, cough, insomnia, and possibly anxiety. Cetirizine (Zyrtec), loratadine (Claritin), and fexofenadine (Allegra) are also effective for cold symptoms and itching but are less likely to cause drowsiness
6. Doxylamine (in Nyquil) – for insomnia, itching, hives, runny nose, and cough (for many people doxylamine is as sedating as prescription sleep aids)
7. Bacitracin ointment – for minor skin infections and to prevent infection in damaged skin (This is what doctors and hospitals use.)
8. Hydrocortisone cream or ointment – for nearly any itchy rash, such as poison ivy, eczema, bug bites or bee stings
9. Ibuprofen (Motrin, Nuprin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) – for pain, headache, fever, inflammation, arthritis, gout, aches, breaks, strains, and sprains
10. Aspirin – useful for the same problems as ibuprofen (but harder on the stomach) AND can also be used as a blood thinner to help prevent heart attacks and strokes (which ibuprofen does not)
11. Epinephrine for inhalation (Asthmanefrin) – the only OTC inhalation medication for asthma, also possibly useful for serious allergic reactions or angioedema (it would be wise to discuss this with your doctor before using)
12. Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, original formula that you must sign for) – most potent OTC medication for congestion, also somewhat useful for asthma and may prevent drowsiness
13. Clotrimazole (Lotrimin, Gyne-Lotrimin) – for yeast and fungal infections including athlete’s foot, female yeast infections, yeast diaper rash, and ringworm
Note: although these medications are available over-the-counter, this does NOT mean they are free of side effects. The antihistamines in particular can cause dry mouth, urinary retention, even hallucinations, especially in the elderly. Ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers and loperamide may cause serious constipation. Treat all these medicines with respect.
To manage chronic disease you need to begin with your own physician. Although your insurance will not pay for extra medicine for an unforeseen disaster, if you approach the problem systematically, you can gradually build up a supply of blood pressure, diabetic, heart, or other medication to last well into the future. If you are on expensive drugs, you may want to ask your physician to switch you to an inexpensive option, making stocking up more affordable.
You should also ask your doctor about over-the-counter alternatives. For example, if for some reason Celebrex would become unavailable, physicians would likely switch patients to older anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Although these are more likely to irritate the stomach (which is practically the only reason Celebrex is preferred), the “old” way of doing things was to prescribe an acid-lowering drug such as ranitidine or lansoprazole to go along with medications such as ibuprofen, in order to protect the stomach against the effects of the anti-inflammatory. As previously mentioned, all these medications are now available without a prescription. Even certain insulins can be obtained over the counter, and it may be possible to control your blood pressure using herbal preparations.
Doc Cindy provides us with a great list of over-the-counter medications that are easy to stock up on. Costco and Sam’s Club sell generic forms of many of these medications at unbelievably low prices. It makes a lot of sense to keep a fresh stock of these meds in your home where they are easily accessible for every day needs as well as emergencies. Take time this month to stock up before disaster strikes!
September’s goal is to spend 15 minutes going through all of your medications. Dispose of old medications and make a list of fresh medications to purchase. Spend $20 on medications your family may need everyday as well as in an emergency.
Water is critical to survival. It is important to understand how to disinfect water in the event your water source is contaminated. Calcium hypochlorite is a great way to disinfect water because it has a 10 year plus shelf life as compared with liquid bleach which has a 6 month shelf life. It can also be used to create a stock solution to disinfect surfaces in addition to killing nasty bugs in your water and costs less than $10. July’s goal is to purchase a one-pound bag, store it properly, and teach your family how to use it in the event of an emergency.
Spend $20 – Purchase one pound of 68-72 percent calcium hypochlorite for emergency water disinfection from a pool supply store or from Amazon.com. It is best to store it in the original bag inside of a glass jar with a plastic lid. Calcium hypochlorite will react with metal so only use glass or plastic. Use the remainder of the money to purchase commercially packaged water bottles.
15 minutes – Spend a few minutes to teach family members how to use calcium hypochlorite for water disinfection. Check the status of your water storage. Do you have enough water stored? Two gallons per person per day for at least two weeks.
It would be a good idea to store the one pound bag of calcium hypochlorite inside of a glass jar with a plastic lid. I have taped the directions on the outside of our bottle to make sure we remember how to use it during an emergency. These tables can be found in our book The Provident Prepper – A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies or in a free printable PDF included in this post.
Forgotten how to use calcium hypochlorite for water disinfection? Here is a printable PDF that you could place with your bag to remind everyone how to use it during an emergency.
Calcium Hypochlorite Instructions
You can purchase dry calcium hypochlorite at a local pool store or click here to purchase it from Amazon.com. Plastic lids are available in packages of a dozen wherever canning supplies are sold. I would have preferred to store our calcium hypochlorite in a wide mouth jar but I only had standard plastic lids. An old glass mayo jar and a handy plastic lid means that it is stored safely without impacting my budget.
Remember that calcium hypochlorite reacts with metal so I would not recommend using a metal lid. A glass jar is preferable because it will is not permeable. In the event of an earthquake the jar may break, but the dry chemical will still be safely contained in the original bag.
I do not recommend storing large quantities. One pound will disinfect up to 10,000 gallons of water. One or two is really all that you might need.