March 11, 2011 By Maui Family Magazine

Read Full Article Here

How much do you tell your kids about what’s going on in the world?
Here are some ways to explain Japan’s tragic earthquake and tsunami.
Understandably, many young children may feel frightened and confused.  Fortunately, most children, even those exposed to trauma, are quite resilient. By creating an open environment where they feel free to ask questions, we can help them cope with stressful events and experiences, and reduce the risk of lasting emotional difficulties. Although these may be difficult conversations, they are important.

Create an open and supportive environment where children know they can ask questions. However, it’s best not to force children to talk about things unless and until they’re ready.

Give children honest answers and information. Children will usually know, or eventually find out, if you’re “making things up.” It may affect their ability to trust you or your reassurances in the future.

Use words and concepts children can understand. Gear your explanations to the child’s age, language, and developmental level.

Be prepared to repeat information and explanations several times. Some information may be hard to accept or understand. Asking the same question over and over may also be a way for a child to ask for reassurance.

Acknowledge and validate the child’s thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Let them know that you think their questions and concerns are important and appropriate.

Remember that children tend to personalize situations. For example, they may worry about their own safety and the safety of immediate family members, friends and neighbors.

Be reassuring, but don’t make unrealistic promises.
Help children find ways to express themselves. Some children may not want to talk about their thoughts, feelings, or fears. They may be more comfortable drawing pictures, playing with toys, or writing stories or poems.
It’s a good opportunity to show children that when something scary happens, there are people to help.

Children learn from watching their parents and teachers. They will be very interested in how you respond to events. They also learn from listening to your conversations with other adults.

Don’t let children watch too much television with frightening images. The repetition of such scenes can be disturbing and confusing. Although parents and teachers may follow the news and the daily events with close scrutiny, many children just want to be children.

Monitor for physical symptoms including headaches and stomachaches. Many children express anxiety through physical aches and pains. An increase in such symptoms without apparent medical cause may be a sign that a child is feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

Consider seeking help from a mental health professional if a child:
  • is preoccupied with questions or concerns about fires or other natural disasters;
  • has ongoing sleep disturbances
  • has intrusive thoughts or worries; or
  • has recurring fears about death, leaving parents, or going to school.
American Psychiatric Association
Contributed by Fastgirl Sodengi

I found some information on a Survivalist Message Board, so consider my source and use your best judgment.

“Any container suitable for gas storage works but you have to dope the gas with STA-BIL or [PRI-G] and it will last around 2 years with a good doping or you can get the book, “Browns Alcohol Motor Fuel Cookbook,” from Paladin Press and that can help you.”

According to API:

Tips for Safe Storage and Disposal of Gasoline
Gasoline is an important part of our everyday lives. It lets us run our cars and trucks, getting the kids to school and the groceries home. It helps us keep our grass and gardens looking good, powering mowers and lawn care equipment. It lets us get away on vacation, running boats, off-road vehicles, and motorcycles.

But gasoline can be dangerous if not handled or stored properly. Gasoline should only be used for its intended purpose – as a motor fuel – and stored only when absolutely necessary. It should not be used as a solvent, cleaner, barbecue starter or for any other non-engine use.

Take the following precautions:

  • Your local and state governments are the first places you should check for standards and regulations on gasoline storage. For example, fire codes and regulations restrict the amount of gasoline an individual homeowner can store (usually no more than 25 gallons), in approved containers of less than five gallons capacity each.
  • Gasoline must be stored in an approved container or tank. Keep gasoline containers tightly closed and handle them gently to avoid spills.
  • Gasoline is a flammable liquid and should be stored at room temperature, away from potential heat sources such as the sun, a hot water heater, space heater or a furnace, and a least 50 feet away from ignition sources, such as pilot lights. Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and can travel along the floor to ignition sources. Do not smoke where gasoline is handled or stored.
  • Put gasoline in a small engine (like a lawnmower) only when the engine and attachments are cool.
  • Store gasoline in a building separate from the house or place of occupancy, such as a shed or garage. Always keep gasoline out of reach from children.
  • For better ventilation, it is best to handle gasoline outdoors.
  • Do not mix even a small amount of gasoline with kerosene or diesel. Do not use gasoline in kerosene heaters or lamps.
  • Minor spills should be absorbed with sawdust, paper or rags. Larger spills may be contained and collected. Check with your local government or hazardous waste disposal center to determine the proper avenues for disposing of spilled gasoline. Place recovered gasoline and cleanup materials in approved, labeled containers for proper disposal. Never dispose of spilled gasoline or cleaning materials on the ground or into your garbage, drains, toilets or sewers. If you do, it might cause a fire, or seep into streams, bays, lakes or your groundwater.




What to Do During an Earthquake

Stay as safe as possible during an earthquake. Be aware that some earthquakes are actually foreshocks and a larger earthquake might occur. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.

If indoors

  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, loadbearing doorway.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
  • DO NOT use the elevators.

If outdoors

  • Stay there.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

If in a moving vehicle

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

If trapped under debris

  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move about or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

What to Do During a Tornado

If you are under a tornado WARNING, seek shelter immediately!

If you are in: Then:
A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building) Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
The outside with no shelter Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding. 

Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.

Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.

Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

During a Hurricane

If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Turn off propane tanks.· Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
  • If you feel you are in danger.

If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.

For information on what to do in the face of other disasters click here.

Source: FEMA

Contact Form Template

Detailed Plan Template Option One

Detailed Plan Template Option Two

Detailed Plan Template Option Three

A Google search of ‘Family Emergency Plan’ yielded these results.

As victims of recent disasters, like tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes have found, being without your birth certificate, social security card or bank account numbers after a major or minor disaster can be a huge problem.

But with this checklist, you’ll be able to make a completely accessible repository all of your vital documents and communications that you can use, whether you’re dealing with a simple medical emergency, or with a major disaster and need your important documents to start over.

This is just a quick exercise and only a part of what you should do to make sure you and your family are ready for disasters, but it’s a GREAT start!

Let’s begin by gathering all of your important documents. Here are the types of documents you need to secure:

  • Bank account information (and PIN numbers, passwords and toll-free numbers)
  • Investment account information (and PIN numbers, passwords and toll-free numbers)
  • Credit cards (copies of the card, account number, toll-free numbers and credit limit)
  • Income tax returns
  • Insurance policies
  • Stocks/bonds
  • Student identification
  • Wills/Living Wills
  • Power of Attorney/Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions
  • Driver’s licenses/ID/Medicare Card
  • Marriage certificates
  • Birth certificates
  • Auto registration
  • Citizenship papers
  • Death/burial certificates
  • Warranties
  • Family Immunization Records
  • Family Social Security cards/numbers
  • Property titles or deeds
  • Company Benefits
  • Contact information for your doctors, lawyer, accountant, broker etc
  • Health and Medical Records
  • Safe Deposit Box Key
  • Photos/Videos of your possessions and registration numbers
  • Household Inventory

Since you want to make sure you have what you need in an emergency, the idea is to put this information in places that will be accessible to you, even if you are unable to get inside your home.

As a first-line of defense, make two copies of all of the information you gathered from the list above and put them in two secure locations. The first location should be a safe deposit box or water/fireproof safe in your own city.

The second location should be a safe deposit box outside of your area or state. During Hurricane Katrina, many of the banks ended up being as inaccessible to customers as their homes were. As secure as those locations are, hard copies can sustain damage. And with concerns about identity theft, you may also be wary about placing delicate information like identification and credit card numbers out of your sight. So how do you secure your vital documents while making them accessible?  Simple.  Just scan each document onto a CD or flash drive, then password protect it and store that data it in the locations mentioned above, either along with, or instead of the hard copies.

There is a wonderful online service we just saw the other day in Inc. Magazine.  I haven’t personally used it, but it looks like just the thing people need when they’re away from home (or on vacation) and lose a passport, ID, credit card or other vital piece of information.  It’s called Access My ID and is a completely secure, high-tech way to access vital docs online for $19.95 per year.  You can find the article at and the service  If you try it, let us know what you think.

There’s one other terrific new product that we do use, called the VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand Portable Scanner.  It’s small (like a well, magic wand),  is completely portable and retails for about $99.  Stick batteries in it and you can hand scan any document, photo, item, on the fly and download the scan directly to your hard drive or printer, with the built in SD memory card.  The resolution is so good that you can even scan a piece of fabric, print it and take it with you to the furniture store or Home Depot to match it to your new curtains or carpet.

But we digress!  More importantly you can quickly scan important documents, your old photos before they crack and fall to piece or even photos or family historical documents at a relatives home, if they won’t let you take them back home to scan them the traditional way.   You can see the VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand Portable Scanner at this link.

While you’re at it, make an extra copy of all of the data you have gathered during our exercise and store it with your records at home. If an emergency strikes, first grab the kids and pets, then the CD/flash drive, and then Grandma’s silver!

If you have a video camera, videotape a walking tour of your home, featuring the home and any pricier possessions you have.  This will show claims adjusters what you have and its present condition, as well as jog your memory of the things you had that would need to be replaced.

Do you want to know the biggest impediment to safeguarding all of the things you hold dear?


Taking fifteen or twenty minutes today to take care of business, can save you days, months or even years of pain.

“Hospital Confuses Teen Accident Survivor with Non-Surviving Friend for an Entire Week”

Remember the story of teens Whitney Cerak and Laura Van Ryn, whose car was struck by a truck in Indiana?  One of the teens was killed instantly and the other lay in a coma for five weeks.  That would have been tragic enough, if it weren’t for the fact that the hospital misidentified the girls.   Whitney’s family buried the girl who they thought was their daughter, while Laura’s family stayed at the other girl’s bedside.  It wasn’t until the surviving girl woke up five weeks later, that everyone realized it was actually Whitney who had survived.

This time Arizona teens Abby Guerra and Marlena Cantu had an accident while driving back from Disneyland.  Abby’s parents were told she did not survive as Marlena’s parents held vigil by her bedside for one week until a belated autopsy uncovered the fact that it was actually Marlena who had died and not Abby.  Both girl’s parents not only had to experience the horrible shock of the accident and the death/critical injury of a daughter, but now their roles were reversed.  Marlena’s parents having spent the week at their “daughter’s” bedside, now have a funeral to plan.  (ABC News reporters Andrea Canning & Lee Ferram’s story can be found at this link:

The worst part about this story, is that the mixup was completely unnecessary.

The girls had three unique identifiers that should have immediately pointed out the differences between them, making a correct identification much easier.  They might have looked similar, but Marlena was two inches taller than Abby, still had her wisdom teeth and an appendectomy scar.

Hospitals, especially metropolitan trauma centers are extraordinarily busy.  Not only are the nurses and doctors overworked, but their immediate focus is on saving the life in front of them, not identifying victims who didn’t survive.  But – and this is a big but – when a hospital has two accident victims who are similar in age, hair and facial characteristics, they can’t just assume that they know which victim is which.

And it’s not just the family that suffers when identities are mixed up.  Treating a patient without the right medical history in mind, or worse, someone else’s, can have tragic results.  There was a story on the FOX series “House” a while back, where just this thing happened.  Two women who had similar facial features and body types were in an explosion in their office building.  One survived and one did not.  House (Hugh Laurie) and his team couldn’t figure out why the treatment they were giving their patient was making her worse.  Finally, when she was at the brink of death, they realized that the symptoms were consistent with a bad reaction to a medication they were giving her – a medication that the girl they thought they had, wasn’t allergic to.  That was when House realized that their patient was actually the woman everyone though had passed away in the explosion.  David Shore and Katie Jacobs did a wonderful job bringing this complicated, tragic story to life.

Much, much more has to be done to ensure that the victims of any accident – especially one in which the victims are similar in age and appearance, are correctly identified.  Since we weren’t there that night when Abby and Marlena were brought into the emergency department, we can’t know exactly what was said or what was done.  We don’t know that the family didn’t ask all the right questions or if they did, but the questions were rebuffed or simply remained unanswered.  We don’t know if the busy trauma staff simply set aside their normal identification procedures until later, or if everyone just assumed that every identification procedure that should have taken place, had actually occurred.

All we really know is that two families not only suffered a horrible shock and loss, but were made to live through an additional tragedy – one that was completely unnecessary.

So how can you keep hospital mix-ups from happening to YOUR family?

1. Clear Identification

Make sure that you and your family members have clear identification on them at all times, especially when away from home or on a long drive, like Abby and Marlena’s trip from California to Arizona.  We don’t know what shape the girl’s clothes or jewelry were in after the accident, but if even one of the girls had been wearing a Medic-Alert type ID bracelet or aShoewallet strapped to her shoe with ID cards and contact information, proper identification wouldn’t have been a problem.

2. Questioning Authority

In a life or death situation, a family tends to believe what they’ve just been told.  That’s probably a very useful defense mechanism to help the mind deal with tragic news.  But in a situation like this, with victims who looked similar, someone in the family should have started asking questions.  As traumatized as the family is, they shouldn’t just blindly believe what they’re told, just because the person talking to them is wearing a white coat.  In fact one report said that the parents weren’t allowed to see the girl who had died.  If that’s true, that’s tragic.  Visually identifying a loved one is the right of every family, no matter how difficult it might be, and could have easily cleared up the mixup.  If the parents can’t physically bring themselves to make an ID (totally understandable) then a trusted relative, aunt, uncle, grandparent, should have been allowed to do it.

3. Detailing Identifying Traits.

When you update the medical histories of your immediate family members make sure that you include a detailed list of everyone’s identifying traits.  Did any of them break a bone, have a surgery?  Do they have birthmarks, or identifying scars?  Eye color, height, blood type, anything that would help doctors quickly identify your loved one.  If the unthinkable ever happens, take that list to the physician in charge, or if need be, to the patient advocate or the hospital administrator and make them prove to you that the patient they’re talking about is actually your loved one.

Remember what we said earlier about Abby and Marlena’s case?  One girl was two inches taller, had had her appendix removed and one had had her wisdom teeth removed.  No matter how badly injured and swollen the surviving girl was, at least one if not all of these traits would be easily confirmed, if someone would have taken the time to do it.  They could have measured the bodies with a measuring tape, done a quick dental exam to find wisdom teeth or even ultrasound the abdomen of the surviving girl and see if she had or did not have an appendix.

When it comes to YOUR family, it’s up to you to be their advocate.  Don’t leave their care and safekeeping up to the hospital.  Just because they’re in charge, doesn’t mean they’re always right.

The Bus Stop

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Submitted by Fastgirl Autumn Marie