My heart and prayers go out to the people of Japan. I hope all improves there quickly, and that they're able to get access to help--all the help that they need.
If you've been following the news, you've heard the news about the nuclear situation there. I recently got the following e-mail from a preparedness expert on some of the things you might like/need to know about for dealing with radiation, among other things. With permission from the author, here is the almost the entire e-mail, with few modifications on my part:
"Here I am again, hoping that all of you are calm and prepared for every emergency, and that all are safe and sound in your own homes. I am, however, especially concerned for those on the west coast in case of an earthquake like that in Japan. We live right on a fault and I know that not all of my neighbors are prepared even though we are constantly being warned by the government and the churches to be ready to take of ourselves. I hope each of you is completely prepared and ready to take care of your family and yourself. Have you set up a plan to contact one another if a disaster occurs in your area and the phones are all out? Do the kids all have a printout of the phone numbers of extended family in their 72/120 hour kits? Do you have an out of town contact for everyone to report to? Do you have a meeting place for everyone to head to if possible?
The following is my weekly emergency prep letter for our area. I hope it will help you in some way with a bit of info you may not have thought of.
As our neighborhood emergency prep person, I have gotten a couple of calls from people who are concerned, not panicked, about the air currents and the radiation from Japan. The following is general information that probably should be reviewed by most of us to help us be in control of our own situation, no matter what that may be now, or later.
Potassium Iodide (KI) should be used only when needed, and then very carefully. According to those calling and asking me for info on what to do if the radiation from Japan is blown all the way here, the stores in our area are sold out of KI. The health food stores are apparently also out of kelp, which is high in iodine. I hope that it has all been purchased by persons preparing for a “just in case” situation and not by anyone taking it as a preventative. It does not work that way. When you go to this site http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp you will learn that it is to be used only when there is immediate expectation of radiation exposure. There is a listing of doses for different age groups and health conditions if you are interested.
If you are anxious, please study out precautions that should be taken should there actually be radiation in our area. Read about the half life of radiation and the surprising lack of long term harm to those in Japan after the bombs and those near Chernobyl. Things certainly were bad for many, but if they survived the immediate blast and fallout, the majority did not suffer nearly as many cancers, etc. as I had believed they had. You will find that things are probably not as dire as you have imagined either. All that being said, when the stores get some KI and/or kelp back in stock you and I will each probably get a bottle for everyone in the family…. to have on hand “just in case” a CA quake could cause damage to the reactors there, similar to what has happened in Japan.
We are much more likely to have need for food, water and shelter for after “our own earthquake / tornado/ hurricane/ blizzard / flood”, than KI at this point. In Japan many millions need those so much more than they need KI right now. If they don’t get those things soon they won’t need KI no matter what happens.
Do YOU have enough food, water and shelter for your family??? Do you have an alternate heat source and a way to cook your food? If we have to stay in our homes for a few days or a week or more, is your 12 week supply ready to be used? Do you have an extensive first aid kit? Are there extra blankets and cold weather sleeping bags for everyone in the family? Could you take in extra people in an emergency and provide both for them and your own family for an extended period of time? Do you have an inventory of your food supply so that you would know how to ration it out to cover an expected long term dire situation? While the economy is relatively decent, and there are still supplies to be had, please finish your family’s storage and then consider storing just a little more to share with those who cannot, for what ever reason, provide for themselves.
If you really feel compelled to do something more, right now, to prepare then go buy a roll of heavy duty plastic and some rolls of duct tape at the hardware store for sealing off a safe room…you need to have it on hand anyway for after our own disaster to cover broken windows.
“If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” "
End of e-mail.
One of my modifications was to make the link to the website mentioned link from here. It looks very useful and provides a lot of information if you want to know more about potassium iodide.
Thanks, emergency expert, for the e-mail, and for allowing me to post it here! I'm not an expert, but I like to share what I learn--and learning what you can is definitely a way to prepare...