Emily Pugsley, health educator, Bear River Health Department
Being informed is the first step to preparing for an emergency. When families know what they might face and how to survive safely, they can start planning specifics to meet their needs. The Emergency Guide, from the Bear River Health Department, explains what to do before, during and after a number of different emergency situations and includes other helpful tips. You can find the guide online at brhd.org or request a copy by calling the Bear River Health Department.
Be Ready Utah is another resource to use to prepare and respond to emergency situations. Individuals can download free resources to help build emergency kits and other steps to prepare families, businesses, schools and communities for emergencies. Visit bereadyutah.gov for more information.
Even when families know what to expect, planning and preparing for emergencies can be a daunting task. Don’t overlook the most important elements to survival. For minimal survival preparation, use the Rule of Three:
Three minutes: You can survive about three minutes without oxygen.
Blood carries oxygen throughout your body and is 200-times more attracted to carbon monoxide than oxygen. Keep and maintain carbon monoxide detectors in your home. It’s important to keep generators, stoves, grills and heaters outdoors unless they are specifically designed for indoor use because they produce carbon monoxide.
Three hours: You can survive about three hours at a dangerous temperature.
Young children and the elderly are more susceptible to heat and cold-related illnesses. A five-degree change in core body temperature can lead to significant health problems. Protect your family with warm clothes, blankets and an alternate heat source during the winter. Make sure your family has some way of keeping cool during the summer.
Three days: You can survive about three days without water.
Store at least a two-week supply of clean water for each person in your family. That’s roughly two gallons per person per day. If you think your water is unsafe, bring it to a rolling boil for at least one minute, or treat it with unscented chlorine bleach. It takes about two drops of bleach for each quart of water, and four drops if the water is cloudy before you treat it. The treatment takes about 30 minutes before the water is safe to drink.
Three weeks: You can survive about three weeks without food.
Store foods that you like to eat and know how to prepare. Choose foods that have a long storage life and require little or no cooking, water or refrigeration. If there is no power, try to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to retain the cold temperature. Cold foods must be kept under 40 degrees, so make sure to have a food thermometer.
Food, water, oxygen and shelter are the foundations of human life. Keep these in mind to prepare for whatever emergency situation may come. For more information, contact the Bear River Health Department at (435) 792-6500.