Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017
Disaster Preparedness Staying Safe Through a Hurricane
Keep Your Family Safe in An Emergency 7 Ways to Help Hurricane Victims
September is National Preparedness Month
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On the cover: A downed tree in Key West, Florida after Hurricane Irma swept through. Photo by Sharon Slay of Key West, who “hunkered down” in a church building and rode out the storm. She does not regret it, as now she is able to be there to help others.
With September being National Preparedness Month and with the many natural disasters hitting our nation in the recent weeks, I decided to postpone our “visit” to Bozeman, Montana and really focus on disaster preparedness with this issue. We will highlight Bozeman in the following issue. With the recent disasters –wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods–hitting our nation, many were left unprepared and are now homeless and trying to pick up the pieces left in the wake of a catastrophe and begin rebuilding. Don’t let this happen to you! You never know when a disaster– national or personal–may strike! Be prepared for the unplanned and unexpected, and if you must–RELOCATE before disaster hits! May the many articles in this issue (and past issues) provide you with the information you need to be properly prepared for any disaster, as well as provide places to relocate to in order to avoid any impending disaster if you are living in a “disaster zone”. And always follow your “intuition”, the Spirit that guides you to safety.
Angela Photo of Sharon Slay next to a downed tree in Key West, FL after Hurricane Irma. Photo by Chris Morency.
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Departments September is Disaster Preparedness Month! Preparedness 5 Keep Your Family Safe in An Emergency 6
Changing Weather Patterns Leave Homeowners Underinsured
Staying Safe Through a Hurricane
16 Make Your Home Safer in Wicked Weather
People of the Land 13 7 Ways to Help Hurricane Victims 18 Art and Poetry: Help in Dealing with Challenging Times
On the Move 9 How to Find a Hotel That Can Cater to Your Technology Demands
11 Travel Tips to Keep Bed Bugs at Bay
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Keep Your Family Safe in An Emergency
Convert a water bottle into a portable filter for safe, instant hydration.
hen it comes to emergency and natural disaster preparation, clean, uncontaminated water should be top-of-mind. September, which is National Preparedness Month, is an ideal time for individuals and families to make certain that they will be able to hydrate safely throughout the duration of an emergency.
Natural disasters, such as tornadoes, floods and hurricanes, can compromise
local water sources. Flooding can be especially dangerous, when harmful bacteria and contaminants that transmit life-threatening diseases can be present in nearby waterways. Unfortunately, flooding can occur after a number of emergency scenarios, from heavy rains to hurricanes to situations when snow melts too quickly. â€œContamination in fresh water sources continues to be a public health problem domestically and worldwide. During emergency scenarios, the issue is (Continued on page 8)
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Changing Weather Patterns Leave Homeowners Underinsured
he U.S. has experienced significant shifts in the frequency, severity and locations of natural disasters including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires - during the past decade. As a result, more than 800 emergency or disaster declarations were made in the U.S. from 2005-2015, according to FEMA data. The insured losses stemming from natural catastrophes such as these average $24 billion annually.
Homeowners face severe risks from these disasters, yet many have not connected the dots between these shifts and the impact on their home insurance needs. A recent survey commissioned by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) found that fewer than 22 percent of homeowners view weather patterns or disasters as an important factor when updating their homeowners insurance policy. Missing these links can be costly.
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"Changing weather patterns can dramatically impact what insurance should be carried on a property," says Mike Consedine, NAIC chief executive officer. "When homeowners don't regularly review their policies, important gaps in coverage can be missed. You should re-evaluate your risk profile at least once a year to ensure your existing homeowners policy provides the protection you need." Despite Consedine's recommendation, the survey revealed that 56 percent of homeowners have not reviewed their insurance policies in more than a year. Fourteen percent are unsure when - if ever - they last reviewed their policies.
If it's been awhile since your last insurance review, there's no better time than the present. When evaluating your policy, consider the following questions:
2. What has changed in my home? If you've moved in with your significant other or an adult child has returned home, consider the impact their belongings will have on your coverage. Create a home inventory and update it annually. The NAIC's MyHome Scr.App.book app (available for iPhone and Android) lets you quickly capture images and descriptions of your possessions. Keep in mind personal items like jewelry, antiques and artwork may require special insurance coverage.
3. Do I save my receipts? Take photos or save receipts from major purchases and store them in a safe place away from your house or apartment. Quick access to these receipts will make filing a claim much easier.
1. Am I now at risk? Are earthquakes, wildfires or other disasters now a threat in my state or region? If you live in Oklahoma, for example, the risk of earthquakes has significantly increased in the last decade. Do I need flood insurance? Some incidents such as floods are not covered by a typical homeowners policy, so you'll need additional coverage.
4. What home improvements have I made? Renovations and additions can change the value of your home. Make sure your homeowners insurance policy reflects your home's current value. Some security or smart home features may qualify you for premium discounts. (Continued on page 8)
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amplified as water can become unreliable for consumption,” says Alison Hill, managing director of LifeStraw, a manufacturer of water filtration systems.
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5. How can I learn more about being prepared?
Consumers need to have the ability to filter their water following an emergency situation. Be sure your emergency supplies include a portable filter which can fit onto a wide variety of popular water bottle brands such as LifeStraw Universal. This versatile filter fits on most bottles you already own and offers two-stage filtration to remove 99.999999 percent of bacteria and 99.999 percent of protozoa, while also reducing chemicals, bad taste and odors. The LifeStraw Universal kit is available online and at specialty retail stores. “We’ve developed portable filtration technology to give consumers greater confidence that, in an emergency situation or natural disaster, they can have access to safe water for days, weeks, even months following a situation where their water supply is compromised,” says Hill.
While most people don’t like to dwell on worst case scenarios, the right preparation can help you remain healthy and safe during an emergency. This National Preparedness Month; be sure that you equip your family with practical means to have safe drinking water.
Get educated about your insurance options now to avoid surprises later. Insure U's new Disaster Prep Guides can help determine the best course of action before, during and after a disaster strikes. The guides include information and tips for tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires.
For unbiased information and resources to help you rethink insurance, visit For insurance insureuonline.org. information specific to where you live, contact your state insurance commissioner.
ARE YOU PREPARED IF DISASTER STRIKES YOUR DOOR?
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Eight Questions That Ensure Technology Needs Are Met While at a Hotel
How to Find a Hotel That Can Cater to Your Technology Demands You arrive at your hotel and pull out your smart phone. After an incredibly long sign-in process, you connect to the Internet. It works fine in the hallway but not in your room, so you go to the business center to check email and print tickets to tonight's show. The center is packed, so you head back to your room to wait. Meanwhile, your kids are trying to stream a movie and the Internet connection is slow. Both business and leisure travelers rely on technology to stay connected and streamline to-do's. However, poor Wifi and minimal tech-focused amenities leave many travelers disappointed. That's why before booking a hotel, you should always ask questions to ensure you get as much
out of your technology while traveling as you do while at home. Ask these eight questions to make sure your technology needs are met while staying at any hotel, no matter how many devices you plan to use:
Is the Room Suited for Technology? Whether new or remodeled, modern hotels should feature room designs that support technology. For example, ask about easy access to outlets and charging stations while you're in the room to ensure you can (Continued on page 10)
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plug in your phone, charge your tablet and use your computer all at the same time.
How Reliable Is the Internet? Fast, reliable Internet is critical for anyone traveling for business or pleasure. When you stay at IHG hotels, you can feel confident you get superior Internet service. IHG Connect provides advanced Wi-Fi technology with increased bandwidth to meet the demand and volume needs of guests.
Is There an Extra Cost for Wifi? Some hotels charge extra for fast Internet access. Ask about costs and look into membership perks that wave these fees. For example, IHG Rewards Club members receive free Wifi at all IHG properties.
What Is Available at the Business Center? A good hotel will have a business center available to all guests. Inquire as to what is included at the center to ensure your needs are met. Printers, fax machines, computers and a variety of outlets should be available.
What Is the Login Process? Lengthy login processes are a hassle, especially if you're connecting multiple devices. Some hotels offer streamlined methods which is a big time-saver. Want to log in just once? IHG Rewards Club members log in and then they'll be recognized and automatically connected at every IHG Connect-enabled hotel.
How Secure Is the Wifi Network? Most hotels today offer Wifi to guests, but it might not be a secure network. To ensure private information stays private, only stay at hotels with a private and secure Internet connection for guests.
What Are the Hours of the Business Center? Ask about the hours of the business center so you know you're covered, whether you need to book a last-minute reservation to the city's hottest attraction or print out that big report for tomorrow's presentation.
Are Meeting Spaces Available? For business travelers, impromptu meeting spaces are great for quick meetups or when you want to get out of your room for a change of scenery. For more formal gatherings, ask the hotel about the availability of (Continued on page 12)
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Travel Tips to Keep Bed Bugs at Bay
lanning an upcoming trip - maybe a long weekend getaway, or a family vacation before the kids head back to school, or perhaps you're a road warrior who travels frequently for work? No matter what type of trip you have planned, you've probably already put together a packing list of what to take along.
Bed bugs are small roughly the same size as an apple seed with flat bodies.
if you're not careful, bed bugs could become a most unwelcome part of your travel plans.
Bed Bug 101 But here's a question: Is there anything on your list you could use if you were to come into contact with bed bugs? Don't worry, you're not alone - insects of any kind are the last thing on most people's minds when planning for paradise. Nevertheless,
Research from Ortho shows that 50 percent of Americans know someone who has had bed bugs. However, if you've never encountered these pests before, your first question is, naturally, what are they? A bed bug is a non-flying insect that feeds on the blood of mammals, like human beings. Bed bugs are small roughly the same size as an apple seed with flat bodies. Their flat shape is what allows them to hide in small spaces.
How to Spot a Bed Bug Infestation The Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap is a pesticidefree, portable trap that uses a newly identified attractant pheromone to lure, detect and trap bed bugs in under an hour.
It doesn't matter if you're staying at a 2-star or 5-star hotel, bed bugs do not
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discriminate and infestations can happen anywhere. If your hotel room has a bed bug infestation, the first thing you may notice is an odor. Many people say it smells sweet like almonds or musty. When first arriving at your room, place your luggage in the bathtub where bed bugs cannot reach. Then, physically look for bed bugs, checking the seams and folds of your mattress and behind the bed frame and headboard. Remember, bed bugs are very small, so they can easily hide in nooks and crevices. As you check these places, look for shed bed bug skin or black dots (fecal spots) as evidence of their presence.
To determine whether the place you're staying has bed bugs, you can use a product like Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap, a pesticide-free, portable trap that uses a newly identified attractant pheromone to lure, detect and trap bed bugs in under an hour. To use, place the trap in key areas where bed bugs may hide, such as under the bed's headboard. Then, release the attractant to lure bed bugs out of hiding. In about an hour, check the trap to determine whether you have an issue. Carry these affordable traps with you whenever you travel and you can go to bed each night assured you're not sharing your room with bed bugs. If your trap shows your room has bed bugs, immediately contact hotel management to understand your lodging alternatives.
Enjoy Your Home Alone Remember, even the briefest stay in an infested room could be enough for some of these insects to hitch a ride home with you. Because bed bugs love dark places, the folds of your luggage make for a welcoming environment. Pack a travelsized aerosol spray on trips, such as Ortho Home Defense Dual-Action Bed Bug Killer, and treat your suitcase before returning home. When you return home, inspect the seams of your luggage for visible bed bugs. Finally, confirm you didn't bring any home by placing a trap near your bed or sleeping area. Fortunately, with a little knowledge and the right tools, protecting yourself and your family is easy. For more information about the Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap, and other products to treat bed bugs, visit Ortho.com/BedBugs. Source: BPT
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meeting planners who can assist in organizing the technology needs of large groups of people and corporate events.
Keep your technology moving as fast as you do by asking these questions now. That way your hotel stay will be that much more enjoyable, comfortable and productive. Source: BPT
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Photo courtesy of Getty Images
7 Ways to Help Hurricane Victims
atural disasters come in multiple forms and can quickly devastate many
moments. While they all can cause nightmares for those affected, few are as powerful and destructive as hurricanes. That's why, when hurricanes make landfall
Start a Fundraiser One of the most potentially impactful ways to lend a hand after a natural disaster is to start a community fundraiser. This can be as simple as an online account accepting donations for a group of people and sending a large sum to a relief organization, or as thought-out as a largescale event, like a raffle or dinner, accepting donations for entry.
immediately needed and accepted by the people and communities impacted the most. Here are a few ways you can make a positive impact for those affected by natural disasters, specifically hurricanes:
Donate Money is typically the resource relief organizations can use the most during natural disasters, and it can also be the easiest way for people to lend aid. There
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are typically many trustworthy organizations available to donate to during times of need.
disasters strike. One way to help those hospitalized or otherwise injured is to donate blood, possibly saving lives in the process.
Promote Fundraising Efforts After you've made a donation yourself, spread the word to others whether it's via word of mouth, social media or other forms of communication. Let friends and family know how they can join the cause.
Volunteer While it isn't viable for everyone, some people closer to the affected region can directly help those in need with physical help at the place it's most needed. Whether it's passing out supplies, serving food to those displaced or other means of lending a hand, volunteers are a valuable resource following natural disasters.
Give Blood Injuries can unavoidable hurricanes and
be when other
In the immediate aftermath of storms and natural disasters, the news cycle is dominated by stories of triumph and despair, and by ways people can help. However, the storm is eventually overshadowed by other, more recent news. One major way people can help after a hurricane is by continuing their support long after the storm has passed, as those affected will need assistance, supplies and donations for much longer than just a couple of weeks after the incident. As time passes, it can be helpful to continue donating money and supplies, committing to helping physically rebuild structures and promoting fundraising efforts. Find more ways to help those in need at eLivingToday.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Another option for people looking to help who are closer to the devastation is to offer shelter, especially if they have family members or friends who have been affected. Assisting at places sheltering the displaced is another way to provide help, if offering space in your home is not an option.
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Staying Safe Through a Hurricane While the immense power of hurricanes and tropical storms can greatly affect the lives of many in an instant, there are ways to increase your safety before, during and after the storm. These tips from the American Red Cross can help protect yourself and your family.
During ● Stay inside. ● If power is lost, use flashlights in the dark rather than candles. ● If possible, keep radio or TV stations tuned in for any new or developing information.
Before ● Put together an emergency kit, including basic but crucial items such as: water, food, a first aid kit, cell phones with chargers, contact information for family and friends, flashlights, extra batteries, medications, radios, copies of key personal documents, extra cash and maps. ● Working with your family, create an evacuation plan for your home. This includes discussing how to prepare and respond to emergencies, identifying the responsibilities of each person in the home and practicing the plan. ● As a storm is approaching, stay tuned to local radio or TV stations for the latest updates. ● Be prepared to evacuate quickly, and ensure that your emergency kit and other necessities are ready.
● Because waters could be contaminated with sewage or contain other dangerous substances, avoid contact with floodwater. ● If instructed to do so by local authorities, shut off the power and water mains. ● If you must be outdoors, don't walk, swim or drive through floodwater. Don't walk on beaches or riverbanks, and don't allow children to play in or near floodwater. ● Stay out of areas subject to flooding, such as underpasses, dips and low spots. ● If you must drive and are caught on a flooded road with rising waters, get out of the car and move to higher ground. (Continued on page 19)
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Make Your Home Safer in Wicked Weather Wicked weather can happen anytime, anywhere. Being prepared will offer you, your family and your home greater protection. Here is what to know.
Take Shelter Oftentimes, the safest place to be during a storm is at home or in a designated shelter, depending on the storm’s severity. That said, it’s important to know more about how your home was constructed. Keep in mind that new homes are subject to regional safety standards to help ensure they can stand up to extreme conditions likely to occur in the area. So, if you live in an older home, consider retrofitting it with newer products that are more resistant to high winds.
If you live in a manufactured home, you can rest easier knowing that your home was subject to robust compliance and quality assurance regulations enacted by the federal government in 1976, and was engineered for wind safety and energy
Photo © Sergey Nivens - Fotolia.com
efficiency based on the geographic region in which you bought it. Even so, proper installation is crucial for maximum safety, including additional structures added by the homeowner, such as an awning, deck, carport or sunroom. Indeed, a 2014 Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety test found that newer manufactured homes performed better at high winds than traditional-built homes when attached structures are properly installed.
The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) says the building design criteria and anchoring systems for modern manufactured homes allow them to perform better in a storm than ones built before 1976, and that federal wind standards became even stronger in 1994. It’s also a good idea to have a professional check the anchoring system on an older manufactured home, especially one built prior to 1976. If you
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live in a manufactured home land-lease community, contact your community manager for assistance with identifying a qualified inspector. If your manufactured home is located on private property, a local licensed manufactured home installer can be hired to inspect the home’s anchoring and tie-down system. To learn more, visit manufacturedhousing.org.
can know whether it’s time to seek shelter in the basement or evacuate the area. If a home, site-built or manufactured, does not have a below-ground basement, have a plan in place to seek below-ground or other appropriate shelter nearby when necessary. It’s also important to follow evacuation orders when issued.
While a storm is not preventable, being unprepared for one is.
Get Stocked Up Taking shelter in a storm is easier when you are equipped to do so. Maintain a well-stocked supply of non-perishable food items, fresh water, batteries and a first aid kit.
It may also be wise to purchase a generator, however it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions and to never operate the generator in an enclosed space.
Tune In Listen to local news to get the latest weather updates and safety instructions. Keep a battery-operated radio handy so you can stay up-to-date even if the power should go out for a long period.
Today’s weather forecasting technologies often provide advance notice of weather patterns capable of producing conditions such as severe wind and tornadoes, so you
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Photo © inesbazdar/stock.Adobe.com
Art and Poetry
Whether you are dealing with personal tragedy and loss in your life, or are concerned about current events, some experts believe that creating and appreciating art can help you cope with the emotional fallout of challenging times. “Art and poetry can be a beautifully effective outlet for dealing with tragedy or loss,” says J. Chester Johnson, a criticallyacclaimed poet, essayist and translator of over four decades and author of the recently published book, “Now And Then: Selected Longer Poems.”
Johnson, who worked on Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts and was a regular volunteer in the months following 9/11 at St. Paul’s Chapel (the Ground Zero relief center for recovery workers), wrote the iconic poem “St. Paul’s Chapel,” published worldwide, about endurance in the face of terror. His poem remains the memento card for the thousands of weekly visitors to the Chapel that survived the 9/11 terrorists’ attacks at Ground Zero, and more than a million poem cards have been distributed to-date.
Help in Dealing with Challenging Times
When one needs hope and healing, here are some ways you may find it through creativity and art: ● Art therapy is a common treatment for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, adverse physical health conditions or psychological impairment. The creative process often gives patients an opportunity to explore feelings and develop selfawareness. ● For those dealing with trauma, depression or other crises, keeping a journal is a way to regularly connect with one’s feelings. It also offers opportunities to be creative through verse, which Johnson says can be beneficial. “Acts of violence and mayhem often result in words being produced that describe, give solace or inspire,” he says. ● When your mind is racing or you feel anxious, consider picking up an art project that allows you to relax. Whether it’s knitting a scarf or simply coloring, such activities can allow your mind to take on a meditative state.
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“Acts of violence and mayhem often result in words and art being produced that describe, give solace, or inspire,” says Johnson. “Poems occur where things happen and that’s where many people find comfort and assurance when dealing with challenging experiences.” And when such challenging experiences as natural disasters or terror attacks are experienced by many people, the sharing of comforting words and images often becomes widespread. “After 9/11, poems by W. H. Auden and Galway Kinnell that touched the depth of the responsive feeling to the terrorists’ attacks, circulated over the Internet,” points out Johnson. “At that time, my ‘St. Paul’s Chapel’ was also posted on many websites, sent from friend to friend and appeared on many a refrigerator door.”
More information about Johnson and his poetry is available at jchesterjohnson.com, which offers details on his new book, “Auden, the Psalms, and Me,” a memoir and literary and historical commentary on the retranslation of the Psalms for the Episcopal Church.
If you are facing a personal or public crisis and are looking for ways to cope with loss or trauma, consider how you may heal through art, poetry and creative expression.
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After ● Communicate with family and friends to let them know you're safe. ● If you are evacuated, don't return until authorities confirm it is safe to do so. ● Continue listening to radio or TV stations for new or developing information. ● Be prepared for continued rainfall and additional flooding. ● Don't use water contaminated.
● If possible, help friends, family and neighbors who require assistance, especially the elderly, people without transportation, large families and people with disabilities. ● When returning home, stay away from buildings that have water around them. ● Stay away from dangling power lines and report them to power companies. ● For insurance purposes, take pictures of home and item damage. ● When cleaning your home, wear protective clothing like rubber gloves and boots, and be cautious. ● Inquire with professionals to check for roof damage and other more technical tasks.
Source: Family Features
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Published on Sep 15, 2017
Published on Sep 15, 2017
*September is National Preparedness Month* In this issue: Keep Your Family Safe in an Emergency; Changing Weather Patterns Leave Homeowners...