I'll do my very best to keep up with it and add to it often.
My name is... well, I'm known by more than a few as "MedicineMan".... and I'm from Mississippi. We got into preparing heavily about two years prior to Y2K. "WE", is now my wife "Rembrandt", and my 16y/o daughter "Smiley".
Although I have been of the general preparedness mindset for 25+ years, and my wife was raised "in the sticks" and learned how to rough it 24/7/365 because that's how her folks lived, we were "psudo-sheeple" for a while. This site and the good people here helped us to learn a mountain of stuff. Now I want to try to help others as well.
Ok, So you're new to the board. You've become interested for some reason in being prepared for whatever.
That's your first step. Figure out what are you preparing for???
Whether natural or manmade, you have to form a plan of action for whatever you're preparing against. Since I can only speak for what I know with any authority, I'll describe the position we found ourselves in and you can adapt from there.
From our front door......
-150 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Well within range of a medium-large hurricane.
-In an area known for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods, flash floods, ice storms, & drought.
-At the extreme SouthWestern end of the Appalachian foothills. On an "inactive" faultline which has had several "minor" tremors in the last few years.
-2 major Interstates and 3 U.S. highways within 2 miles.
-3 military installations within 10 miles, with 2 being "flight training" installations. Student pilots and refueling tankers passing directly overhead at all times of day/night.
-Major petrochemical pipelines running within 1/8 mile.
-2 major rail lines. 1 running 500' away and next running 1/2 mile away. Each hauling tens of thousands of pounds of hazzardous materials.
-And a nuclear powerplant "downwind" of us only 95 miles.
-Add the possibility of Y2K to this at that time.
WOW, with all the possibilities what are we gonna "DO" in case something happens??? That's what we asked ourselves.
We decided whether we would be "Bugging In" or "Bugging Out". Some situations would require us to head for the hills, some would not.
We designed a multi-layered plan for each scenario.
We chose 2 primary locations as BugOut destinations, and a couple more as backup.
We made lists, and more lists, and then revised the lists, and then made more lists, until we had a working list of what provisions we would need to have for each scenario. And then we did more revising and listing and we're still at it.
We listed what we had and what we needed and researched each item. Then we bought additional items for different kits so we wouldn't get stuck in a "one kit for all scenarios" situation.
We made house kits, vehicle kits, work kits, backack kits, "BOX" kits, and even some pocket kits. Winter and summer versions.
We prepacked and unpacked and repacked.
And spent hours on Frugal's Forums searching older posts and creating new ones to be sure about what we were doing.
And slowly but surely many of even the most expensive preps came to be.
to end this first "installment", I'm going to give a piece of advice for those just now starting.
Start slow and build steady.
HOUSEHOLD 72HR KIT
-Make a list of everything not a physical part of your body, and how much of it, that you use in 1 day. "EVERYTHING".
-Make a separate list for each person in your family.
-Make lists for several days running and include weekends.
Compare the lists and note what you use most often.
These are the items you "normally use".
Now take the total of everyones amounts of those items you use and add 20%. Then multiply by 3.
You now have an idea of what you need to START your 72 hour kit list with. Add to these things the other necessities of life and recommended supplies. There are "HUNDREDS" of 72hr kit lists on this site. Choose what you need from each listing. But don't forget the items your personal research (lists) showed "you" to use most often.
1) Analyze your personal situation.
2) Prepare a plan for how you will react.
3) Plan for where you will go if you have to leave.
4) Start listing the items you already have.
5) List items you need to get.
6) Prepare your "FAMILY" 72 hour kit.
In my last post, I left you with a couple of things to do.....
1) Analyze your personal situation.
2) Prepare a plan for how you will react.
3) Plan for where you will go if you have to leave.
4) Start listing the items you already have.
5) List items you need to get.
6) Prepare your "FAMILY" 72 hour kit."
Assuming you have done this, or are speedily getting it done, I'll go to the next step.
We all have a certain set of core beliefs and values. We have formed these over our lifetime, and will continue to strengthen these values as we live longer. They might be altered somewhat as we grow older, but they will generally remain the same.
What does that have to do with survival/preparedness??? Everything.
You have to "set your mind" to becoming prepared. You must resist tepmptations to slack off and go back to where you started out.
You must embrace the empowering effect that being able to provide for you and yours without "outside" help will have on your psyche and use this "euphoria" to energize you to do more.
You must train your brain to reject years of socialist propaganda that has taught you to "go with the flock".
When you're friends make "snide" remarks about your preps, you have to see them for the sheeple they are and keep doing the right thing. And they're going to talk cause you're just gonna "have" to tell them.
You're going to have to trade a few of the "toys" of society for the "tools" of survival. The joy and happiness I see in the women's forum at getting new cast iron or reaching a preparedness level is what I'm looking for here.
Not every wife will appreciate a new dutch oven or pistol more than diamond earrings, and not every man will choose a generator over that plasma screen TV, and you should have those things. In time.
Re-aligning our thinking can be tough. But the rewards make up for it. When everyone else is trudging off to the government provided shelters after a disaster, you and yours will be heading to a well stocked and comfortable retreat. And it might even have a plasma screen.
BAck to me..... How did we achieve this? Well, the first thing we did was get rid of our debt. I posted the following info a while back and I'm including it here too. It worked for us on around $37,000 of credit debt. (no house included)
The following is for those of you who are struggling and barely making ends meet. If you aren't even getting the ends close, you might have to re-evaluate your entire situation or choose another carrer even. Also, remember that if you aren't careful MURPHY will move in with you and he is the worlds worst houseguest.
I'll point you to a website that helps a whole bunch of folks. This guy has a Radio show also.
He knows his stuff and CAN help you if you're willing.
Here's the jist of the plan:
Step 1 - AFTER you have a two weeks, or 14 day, kit prepared, you can start on your bills. Save an emergency fund of $1000. Pay minimum on all debts until you get this in the bank. If your job won't allow this, get another one. OR TWO. The extra hours you invest NOW will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest as you pay off those debts early.
Step 2 - Stop using credit cards for anything. PAY CASH. And CUT UP YOUR CARDS so you won't give in to temptation. Credit Cards are the #1 debt of Americans. If you are afraid of MURPHY, get a DEBIT CARD and keep your emergency fund in your checking account.
Get out of your dead end debts. Forego that big car note and get yourself a $1500 reliable used clunker for now. Remember, a car IS NOT an investment. They only depreciate in value. If you are not married, and you possibly can, move back home with mom/dad.
Step 3 - Make a budget. List ALL your obligations and the amounts for the MONTH. Spend every dollar on paper BEFORE you do it for real. Make up several envelopes labeled RENT, CAR, GAS, POWER, WATER, FOOD, Credit #1, Credit #2, ECT... and put the money, IN CASH, into these envelopes. Use only what's in the envelope and use it only for what it's labeled for. Eat out of your refridgerator and lay off the fast food. You can buy a loaf of bread, package of cheese, pack of lunch meat, sodas, and tater chips for a week of lunches with the same amount you spend on 3 meals at the drive thru.
At the end of the month, any excess can be applied to your preps. If there is more money in say your water bill envelope, than the actual bill was for, use it on the "snowball" I'll get to in a minute.
Step 4 - Pay off your debts using the "snowball". This means you list your debts [EXCEPT THE HOUSE] by AMOUNT OWED and pay minimum on all but the LOWEST. ATTACK the smallest with a vengeance. Pay as much as you can afford to pay on this one until it is paid off. Then as you move to the next smallest, roll the amount you were paying on the aforementioned bill into the payment to this one. Move upward through your debts in this fashion ATTACKING each one until it's blasted away. (note - this is why you cut up your credit cards. you can't keep running the bill up if you don't use them)
Have a yard/garage sale and sell off all the junk you don't use and don't need. Use that money to pay for miscellaneous survival preps.
Step 5 - When you have gotten your debts paid off, increase your emergency fund. Go for a whole month's worth of your obligations/bills amount and graduate up to six months worth. This helps out a lot when those unemployment or MURPHY situations come up.
Step 6 - Now you can build your preps to a ONE YEAR supply of what you need. You have "X" amount of income freed up so it won't take long at all. (I will go into what these preps consist of in a future post)
Step 7 - If you have a house, this is where you attack the house note. You have plenty of income to do this now. Get a breakdown of the INTEREST vs PRINCIPLE and pay your regular note PLUS the principle for the next note. Make sure your extra payment is put towards the principle. This is where you save the THOUSANDS of $$$ I mentioned earlier.
If you do not get caught up in credit cards again, or some type of auto "fleece" (lease), this is also the point at which you can easily buy your larger/more expensive gear and survival supplies.
DO NOT get depressed and "fall off the wagon". This plan takes time. Maybe even a couple of years depending on your debt. But I have met folks who paid off $15,000 in two years. It's up to you. Live in Financial peace and freedom, OR, as a slave to the debtor. Your "mindset" will have EVERYTHING to do with whether you are successful in this.
Your debts are paid. Let's assume you have no house and are renting or are thinking of building a retreat.
Choose what type of property you want. Where, (hopefully in the country) and how large.
Save the total amount you will need to purchase a piece of real estate this size, and pay fees. Not easy, but entirely "doable" if you aren't giving most of your income to a credit shark.
Look for owner sale deals.
Offer 15% to 20% (or more) less than the asking price, IN CASH. (this is where you will find out just how much 90 days is NOT the same as cash)
After you have your property paid for and deeded, use a portion of the money you saved by paying cash to have the septic system installed first. Get one that's about 50% larger than you would normally need.
Second step is water. Run your lines to the county water and/or put down your well.
Next, have power lines run and a "service pole" installed so you can use power tools etc...
Then, Build a large storage shed on the property to keep some tools and things in.
Now you have some amenities and can comfortably stay/camp on the property if you needed to. Which we will....
You can pull in a "repo" (cheap) housetrailer. Pull in a camper. OR.... Build a "barn"/have a $5,000 30'x40' steel building erected on the property. Put a $1,500 concrete foundation in it or frame in a wood floor. Divide it into rooms, plumb it (you already have septic), and wire it for electrical. (I like this idea because later it becomes my shop)
After you have turned your barn into a livable temporary home, or pulled in a camper/trailer, you can begin to prepare you site for the building of your home or retreat. You might even stick to the barn-house if it's just going to be a retreat.
I'm not going to go into the building phase because if you have been waiting to build a house chances are you have it pretty well planned out. I will advise LOTS of sweat equity. This means "do it yourself" stuff. You can actually build a $150,000 home for $50,000 if you do the work yourself. (Mississippi prices)
That's about all I have for this subject. I will return to Preps in my next post.
"BOV". In case you don't know this term, it is your "Bug Out Vehicle".
In this part, I'm going to discuss vehicles, and the equipment in them.
Your bugout vehicle choices are limitless. Almost any vehicle you desire can be had for the right money. If you're like me, money is the problem. While we'd all love to have a fully loaded Hummer to roar out of town in, most likely it's going to be our daily driver we depend on.
In 1997, we needed a new pickup truck and a new car all at the same time. Not being able to afford both, we opted for a "combination". We got a Diesel powered 1997 "crew-cab" Chevy 3500 "Dually" 1-ton. It hauls 20 50lb sacks of horse feed, 5 adults, and all my BOV gear while pulling a trailer. Comfortably and without breaking a sweat. It's half cadillac and half work truck.
The everyday "load" I carry in this vehicle includes:
200pc Craftsman Metric/SAE socket & wrench set.
22oz ball peen hammer, 2lb hand maul, Asst. screwdrivers including TORX. Tire repair kit with air guage. 2 gallons truck oil, 1 gallon anti-freeze, grease gun, brake fluid, trans fluid, jumper cables, fuel transfer pump, 14/16/20/28 guage wire. 20' of each, wire pliers, extra fuses and light bulbs, extra parts and repair stuff, coffee can of asst. nuts/bolts/screws/nails, 3 foot "crowbar", extra hitch w/ 2" ball, Portable air tank, 12v compressor. (Cheap lighter plug unit), 4-way lug wrench, "come along" hand wench
Truck has wench on front, 1 - 20' 1/2" chain
1 - 25' 4" strap, 2 - 25' 2' straps and binders
12 - 20" rubber "tarp straps", STIHL chainsaw
1 gallon mixed fuel for saw, 4- 2cycle oil
1 gal chain bar oil, machete, Hatchet, hand saw, "BFK", 4" locking folder, penknife, 3-D cell maglight, 1M C.P. spotlight, minimaglight "AA"
C.B. Radio (Cobra 29 w/ weatherband), Handheld 40 channel C.B., FRS Radio, cellphone & charger, ounty Band radio w/ fire/S.O./Ambulance/EMS freqs, about $15 in loose change, 2 Compass. 1 built into mirror, 1 silva
Road atlas, State map, County road map w/ addresses, DeLorme atlas of state, Topo Maps, Various pens & paper, T.P. 2 rolls, Truck bed tent, Air mattress w/ pump, Sleeping bag & blanket, Raincoat, Jacket, Change of clothes, complete fire "turnouts" and helmet, 2 "ABC" fire extinguishers, 50 rnds .45Auto, 100 rnds .223, 10 rnds 12GA slugs, 10 rnds 12GA 00B, 200rnds .22lr
Pistol, Mini 14, sometimes shotgun/.22, Water - 2 gallons, 8 military MRE's
my "personal" BOB
sometimes my web gear
a small F/A kit
My EMT "jump kit" containing:
1 - B.P. Cuff
1 - Stethoscope
1 - Trauma Shear
1 - Bandage Scissor
1 - Straight forceps
1 - Tweeser
1 - Window Punch
1 - Glove Bag
4 - Dust Mask
2 - Pen
1 - Vitals Pad
1 - 7pc HUDSON Airway Kit
- Asst Size Nasal Airways
1 - Pocket Mask
1 - Microshield
2 - Bite Sticks
1 - Petroleum Jelly
1 - O2 Wrench
2 - Triangular Bandage
1 - 4"ACE
1 - 2" ACE
2 - 2" Kling
7 - 4" Kling
3 - 6" Kling
3 - Eye Pads
2 - Vaseline Gauze
6 - BandAids
1 - Large BandAid
43 - Fingertip Bandaid
20 - Knuckle Bandage
9 - 24' X 72" Trauma Dressing
4 - 18" X 36" Trauma Dressing
12 - 4" X 4" Pads
1 - 5" X 9" ABD Pad
1 - 8" X 10" ABD Pad
3 - 8" X 3" Telfa Pad
1 - 10" X 30" Trauma Dressing
1 - Germicide Wipe
4 - Peroxide Wipes
48 - Alcohol Preps
8 - Skin Prep Pads
4 - Sani Wipes
1 - 1" Plastic tape
1 - 2" Cloth Tape
1 - 1" Cloth Tape
1 - 1" Waterproof Tape
4 - Steri-Strps
3 - Rubber Tourniquet
6 - Safety Pins
7 - Ammonia Caps
48 - Cotton Swabs
1 -Cold Pack
1 - Sting Extractor
1 - Water Gel/Burn Dressing
2 - Eye Drops/Saline
2 - Umbilical Clamps
1 - Pediatric Suction Bulb
- Sterile Sheet
- Sterile Gloves
1 - "D" size oxygen cylinder w/ regulator
roll of paper towels or 2
zippo and fuel
Coleman propane stove
2 spare bottles
cook kit and utensils
I know I'm forgetting a bunch of stuff. I need to get my truck inventoried again and check everything.
I strongly advise a vehicle that will haul all your supplies in case you have to leave. You don't want to have to leave them. Whatever your bugout vehicle is, make sure you have a kit for it. ALWAYS keep your vehicle fueled. 1/2 tank is "Empty" in my book. Try to at least keep enough fuel in your tank to make it to your retreat area 3 times. Also, I strongly suggest a full size spare, hydraulic jack, 4-way lugwrench, and some duct tape.
Another aspect you might wish to explore is a BOT, or bugout "trailer". If your vehicle will pull a trailer, it can be preloaded with any non-perishables for faster departure. Mine is in the planning stages now. Just let your imagination, wallet, and needs go wild.
I hope this has helped you in some way.
More to come........
I see a lot of ways to purify and filter water advertised. Deciding how to prepare for potable (safe to drink)water can be very confusing at the least and extremely frustrating at the most. Unless you have a bunch of squirrels to help you.
Here's a suggestion to help you get started without a lot of expense.....
You know all those 22oz and 2 liter soda bottles you and your friends/family empty and throw away???
Start collecting them.
Wash your container(s) with hot soapy water. Next, rinse the soapy container well with plain water. Then sanitize by rinsing with a solution of 1/2 teaspoon of chlorine bleach per pint of water. Finally, rinse with clean water and fill them from your tap. If you are on "city water" that has been chlorinated, this water will be potable for up to a year. Store them in a cool place and rotate every 6 months. Rotate ALL of them when you do this so you have a "group" that gets refilled at the same time for ease. Assess what you need water for such as food preparation, washing, sanitation, drinking etc. How much do you use per day? How much do you need to store? Label and date your water. I change mine once a year.
Next, you will want to get a good filter. The "Big Berky" advertised on this site is a good choice. Smaller units are made by Ketadyn and others.
If you think you might have to use murky or sedimented water, you might build a "clarifier" to pre-treat your water and save your filter life. This can be done with sand, gravel, and cloth/paper filters. You want your contraption to accept "dirty" water at inlet and get clear water from the outlet. 55 gallon drums, 5 gal buckets and other containers can be used to construct it.
Water that might be contaminated should be boiled for 10 minutes before storage. There are basically two varieties of chemical treatments: iodine and pure chlorine bleach. Iodine is available in local stores. For clear water, use 5 drops per quart for cloudy water, 10 drops per quart. Do not use iodine if a member of the family has thyroid problems. Pure CLOROX beach is readily available. Make sure you purchase the one that does not contain any additives. For clear water, use 2 drops per quart for cloudy water, 4 drops per quart. Stir or shake thoroughly. Let stand for 30 minutes. When using chlorine, you should be able to smell it afterwards; otherwise, add more. After you add the bleach, you can help rid the water of the chlorine smell by pouring it back and forth between containers, or by letting it sit for 24 hours. This is not necessary to make the water safe to drink.
DO NOT use "pool chlorine". It is not the same as regular chlorine bleach. This will kill all the beneficial bacteria in your intestinal tract and have the same effect as "drinking the water" down in Mexico. You can dehydrate from severe diarrhea and die.
You can also buy commercial purification tablets. They will usually contain iodine or chlorine and are typically more expensive than either of the other options. While killing pathogens, chemical treatment does not actually remove them. Neither iodine nor chlorine remove solids or dissolved solids.
However you decide to provide water for you and yours, just be sure to do it.
I hope this information is helpful to you.
More to come........
Storing a supply of food items for your family isn't hard to do. It takes time and money, and a commitment to a certain routine. But it isn't hard.
Let me walk you through a simple plan from zero to one year supply. You can "tweak" this to fit your needs. I don't have all the answers for your situation. I just have a small amount of experience to share.
Prepare your pantry. I don't know exactly how to describe what "YOU" need to do, but after you compute the amount of foodstuffs you will need to store you can figure the square footage the storage area will require.
You will need to buy/scrounge/construct a shelving system that allows you to "feed" your canned and dry goods from the rear. This will keep you from having to unload the shelf everytime you add new supplies. And it also promotes good rotation habits.
Also, during the pre-food phase, go to the paint department of WalMart, Lowe's, HomeDepot, or similar store. Buy 10 new 5 Gallon buckets, 10 lids with seals, and 5 snap lids. (kinda like the lid on a coffee can). You can also order very good lids from U.S. Plastics in Ohio.
The very first trip to the grocers, buy the biggest sack of sugar you can find/afford. Empty the sugar in a bucket and put a snap lid on it. On the next trip, buy as much non-iodized salt as you can afford. Empty these in another bucket and top with snap lid. As you fill a bucket, seal with the permanent lids. Your goal is 4 buckets of sugar and 4 buckets of salt. The other buckets you can use to keep large "on hand" amounts of flour and such.
Rule Number 1: Eat what you store and store what you eat.
Rule Number 2: If you have any doubt as to what you should place in your food storage refer to Rule Number 1.
Rule Number 3: Have in sufficient quantity the foods you associate with comfort. This will allow you to transition from your usual diet to one totally from storage without undue stress.
The only practical deviation I can see to the 3 rules is having a food you don’t personally like but you keep on hand for barter purposes.
This is your goal, if you want a 1 year supply of EDIBLE food, you must make the effort to pack in foods which your family will actually eat because this MUST be rotated and the best way to do that is to use the older stuff rather than disposing of it.
It's easy to lay in a year supply of rice and beans in 5 gallon buckets. It's easy to have sugar, salt, etc... to go with that. It's NOT easy to eat that same diet EVERY DAY for months on end. Much less get a "little one" to eat it.
I'd advise making a list of what you AND your family eat in one normal week.
List the things you like to eat normally.
Next, Multiply that amount by 55. (that's 52 for the weeks in a year and 5% more or less added on to account for stress and loss/spoilage)
If you eat 3 cans of tuna and 4 boxes mac&cheese a week, you should have 165 cans of tuna and 220 boxes M&C in storage to continue your normal routine for 1 year. Don't forget the condiments. IE... pepper/spices/herbs/boullion cubes/syrup/molasses.
Use a permanent majic marker to record the date of purchase on each item. Record the date you sealed the buckets on their tops.
Now, you will need to figure GOOD substitutions for each item that might not store well without freezer/reefer.
Dry or evaporated milk is just one such item. Milk is an ingredient in almost every good recipe. Lack of it can ruin your whole plan. Several boxed powdered milk varieties exist. And do not, whatever you do, assume that Soymilk is a good substitute. I made the mistake of using my wife's soymilk to make Mac&Cheese. "ONCE".
"BUTTER FLAVORING" is also a good substitute for your recipes. I've heard folks say they'd use butter flavor crisco shortening. Sounds good too. Wouldn't want to butter my toast with it though.
Any of the above ideas can be divided or multiplied for your own needs. 30 days, 30 months, or 30 years, it doesn't matter as long as you have something for "just in case".
I had a bad run in my business after Y2K and we DID live off of our stored foods for almost a year. Believe me when I tell you some variety in your diet will make you glad you didn't perish, and, no variety will make you wish you had.
We can easily "survive" whatever comes our way. The real challenge is to "LIVE" through the hardships. By LIVE, I mean having quality to our lives. Not just existing but excelling.
I hope this information helps......
More to come.......
Ok, how stupid do I really think you are????
Actually..... well.... I really don't.
I think ALL dispatchers are complete idiots until they prove me wrong. That's why I'm going to do this part on "Dialing 911".
I know, "we don't dial 911".
But, what if you have a problem which can be easily handled by "911" but not by you??? Like a wreck you witnessed, heart attack, fire.
911 can be a help so I'd advise using them for now. After all, you're paying for it anyway.
Ok, we all know that in "normal" times if you need assistance you pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1. But what happens when you dial that number???
If you live in a rural area of the country like I do, your call might be re-routed to another department or handled by a 911 center.
Whatever department you need will be dispatched to your location.
Either way, there's a couple of things you should remember.
1st, it's gonna be at least 10 minutes before any police, fire, EMS show up. Be prepared to handle the situation as best you can for at least that long.
2nd, the dispatcher will likely try to keep you on the line so further information can be obtained. Almost all 911 calls are tape recorded. You do not want to hang up if you might need a record of the events later. (such as court) You should hang up if you do not want a record of the events later. (such as court)
3rd, you need to know what information is vital. Just like a SALUTE report, the information you give to the dispatcher is very important. Keep it simple and try to be as clear as you can.
Here's a good guide....
1) Immediately state what your problem is. "My house is on fire". Pause to allow the dispatcher to process this information. At this point you might be transferred to a fire dispatcher or he/she might handle it themself.
2) Tell them where you are. E-911 is nice, but with cellular phones and folks moving, you're better off telling them. Give the address and road/street. Give any landmarks and how they are relative. "I'm two houses North of the AnyTown post office on the right". If you are on a cellphone and reporting an accident, give the road/hwy, mile marker number closest to accident, and direction of travel of the vehicles involved.
3)Make sure you are understood. Some dispatchers are either non-american born or are used to listening in "ebonics" and have a hsrd time with real english. Speak calmly and slowly. Use phonetic alphabet if needed. IE.. instead of saying "the license number is SPB163" you should say "the license number is Sam Paul Boy 1 6 3". Use phonetic numerals. IE.. instead of "one sixty three", say "one - six - three". This will eliminate the "spoken" similarities between words, letters, and numbers.
4)Give details. It helps a lot to know if there are three people in a MVC who are hurt badly. That tells dispatch how many ambulances to send.
5)Do all you can to remedy the problem prior to arrival of emergency workers, but don't forget your life is not expendable. Most states have "good samaritan laws" so you can't get sued for trying, but if yours doesn't just don't give your name to anyone except the law officers. Don't be afraid to get involved. And, be careful. Dead heroes make poor fathers/mothers/husbands/wives/sons/daughters.
The rest you have already heard or read.
This was short and likely redundant, but having dealt with several calls in the last three days where a bit more details would have been mighty helpful, I had to tell somebody.
More on Preparedness next time......