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Announcing The Winners Of The “Send In A Preparedness Tip, Win A Preparedness Book Contest” & Their Tips

September 15th, 2008 · 6 Comments

Below are the randomly drawn winning entries for the “Send In A Preparedness Tip, Win A Preparedness Book” contest. The first six winners will receive the audio book for Amanda Ripley’s The Unthinkable, and the next three will get copies of Michael Sheehan’s Crush The Cell. Thanks to Amanda, Mike, Crown Publishing, Random House and those who entered the contest. The winners and their tips:

Dana Simpson – Austin, Texas

I do not have extended family in the city I live. I have often wondered how long it would take the city to find and notify my relatives that something happened to me and my immediate family. So I got together with one friend who lives in another section of the city and a neighbor across the street from me. Together we decided on a plan of action that includes always letting each other know if we are leaving town (complete with travel arrangements/agenda); contact information for relatives, etc.

Scott Miglin – Mount Vernon, Ohio

A twist on an old preparedness tip: Everyone needs a emergency kit at home. I plan on buying family members pre-made 72-hour emergency kits for Christmas from on of the several websites offering them. Sure, they may think I’m a lame-o, but their feelings will change after tasting the wholesome goodness of a 3600 calorie food bar ;-) …and I know they will something to build upon for an emergency plan.

Valerie Berg – Boulder, Colorado

The tip that I’ve adopted and convinced my family to adopt it: ”Half Full” is the new “Empty”.

After getting into the car with the gas tank at True Empty too many times, I told the family that they couldn’t use the car unless they filled it up at the halfway point. Being late for an appointment impressed on me the possibility of getting into the car during an emergency and finding an empty tank. No More!

Roger Ma – Brooklyn, New York

Here’s my tip – ziplock bags for your go-bag items. While having a
go-bag is essential, packing it properly is also important. Itemize
your gobag items by type/use, and store all of them in a quart,
gallon, or two gallon size ziplock bag. I have the ziplocks in my
gobag sorted by several different ‘types’, including food (energy
bars), fire/light (matches, batteries, flashlight, tinder), clothes
(shirt, pants, socks), etc. Not only does this make your gobag
packing much easier and efficient (just pull out the right ziplock),
but also waterproofs most of the critical items in case your bag gets
soaked in water.

One more related quick tip – don’t just buy something for your gobag
and throw it inside, packaging and all. Make sure the item is fully
useable when it goes into your bag so it’s immediately ready for use.I do not have extended family in the city where I live. I have often wondered how long it would take the city to find and notify my relatives that something happened to me or my immediate family. So I got together with one friend who lives in another section of the city and a neighbor across the street from me. Together we decided on a plan of action that includes always letting each other know if we are leaving town (complete with travel arrangements/agenda); contact information for relatives, etc.

Jonathan Haber — Bethesda, Maryland

Here’s a useful tip for people on the go: What would you do if your drivers license or passport became lost or was stolen? What would you do if it happened while you were out of the country? There’s an easy step you can take now that will make it easier to obtain help later. Scan these important identification documents into your computer, and them email the image files to yourself. That way, if you ever need to present backup copies of the documents, you would simply log in to email from anywhere in the world, and print the documents wherever you are whenever you need them.

Martha Garvey – Hoboken, New Jersey

When creating go bags for your family, don’t forget your dog. (We park our dog go bag, a small knapsack, right on top of our little box of poop bags.) Remember to pack a foldable nylon bowl, leash, pictures of your dog, a copy of the dog’s license and rabies certificates, poop bags, and, if your dog is prone to panic, a muzzle. Depending on how much weight you and your family can carry, I’d recommend a weeks’ worth of extra cans of food (either openable, or with can opener), bottles of water, and yes, treats or toys.

Grant Olsen – Boone, Iowa

The number one factor in stress reduction during a disaster is,
arguably, having information during the minutes and hours following a
disaster. Many preparedness lists recommend having a portable radio or

television to get information. Unless you’ve purchased a portable HDTV
in the last few years, your portable analog TV won’t be able to get
signals after February 17, 2009. Your local radio station might not
have a backup generator, leaving it vulnerable to a widespread
blackout. What device can offer multiple listening options? A portable radioscanner, a.k.a. police scanner. With a radio scanner, you can hear:

*FM radio broadcasts
*public safety two-way, including some law enforcement
*NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards
*FRS/GMRS (family walkie-talkies)
*Amateur Radio Emergency Service operators (a civilian corps of
emergency communicators)

Bruce Curley – Mount Airy, Maryland

When our house burned down 5 years ago due to a defective circuit board in a Black&Decker electric mower (there is a Consumer Product Safety Recall on the product because it starts fires) in the garage, I awoke to hear my wife screaming like a banshee. I jumped out of bed and ran to my wife in the kitchen holding her face and screaming wildly. What I did not know is that she had tried to open the door to get our son and was burned. I could barely see because the toxic fireball in the garage was making my eyes water. She screamed, “GET EAMON!!! GET EAMON!!! (our 6-year old at the time) and pointed through the door to the fireball in the garage. “Eamon is upstairs!” I yelled, but she kept pointing to the garage fireball.

Because I saw Eamon when I ran down, I knew where he was but I did not argue with her. I tried to move her but she stood like a rock because she had been burned trying to go into the garage to get Eamon because she thought he started the fire and was in it. I ran upstairs, got Eamon and woke his older brother Josh by dragging him out of bed, and brought Eamon down to my wife. I pointed her head down past the smoke so she could see his feet. Once she saw his feet and realized he was not in the fire in the garage, her adrenalin rush broke and I was able to push them all out the front door, the last exit that was available.

My wife was only trying to get her son out of a fire and acting on the information she had. As she had not seen him in his room and because he used to sleep walk, she figured he had started the fire. I had different information and had to act on it. I could have kept arguing with her and trying to get her leave the kitchen, but she was convinced he was in the fire and she wasn’t going anywhere until she got him. I was able to get them both out because I did not waste time arguing. My preparedness tip is that in most emergency situations, it is a waste of precious time to argue. It’s better to act and, if need be, to argue after the emergency has passed.

Ralph Dutcher– Rochester, New York 

Get to know your neighbors, join a community preparedness group like
C.E.R.T. or Medical Reserve Corps. Volunteer for the Red Cross
disaster team. If there is none of these groups in your neighborhood start one. Remember that all disasters and all mitigation of disasters start locally!

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Tags: Contests · Preparedness Tips

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Valerie // Sep 15, 2008 at 9:59 pm


    I went on my first Red Cross DAT call today and I have to credit you with inspiring me to get involved with them. Beautiful sunrise with the full moon.


  • 2 Blog Helps Inspire Reader To Volunteer For Red Cross Disaster Training // Sep 25, 2008 at 7:48 am

    [...] Winners Of The ‘Send In A Preparedness Tip, Win A Preparedness Book’ Contest & Their… [...]

  • 3 Antone P. Braga // Nov 24, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Disaster Management And Mitigation
    Ways To Improve Emotional Preparedness And Beyond

    Compiled by Antone P. Braga

    The millions of people each year who suffer disasters such as earthquake, hurricane, fire and flood are generally surprised to find disasters happen not just to other people. Probably the most difficult aspect following survival of a disaster is in having to enter the realm of the unknown. Under the circumstances most people are not psychologically up to the task. It is very common to see people in a state of shock, confusion and helplessness. Those who are objective, informed and prepared are inclined to be more emotionally level and competent.

    In the past, disaster psychology has focused mainly on the response and recovery phases of emergencies. I believe that addressing emotional issues of preparedness along side the physical facets is a worthwhile area in which to focus. The age old proverb is as true today as it ever has been, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”…

    With such compelling information, the question is why haven’t we been able to do more to prevent the crisis of unprepared disaster survivors? The answer is: relinquished responsibility/authority. © 2008
    About the author:
    Full article:
    ISBN 0-939206-02-1:

  • 4 Book Sweepstakes — “The Survivors Club” // Feb 25, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    [...] who have agreed to send a free copy of the book to five blog readers. So, we will be holding another book contest. Here are the [...]

  • 5 Book Contest Rules Change — “The Survivors Club” // Mar 6, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    [...] too much for this type of contest. And I may have been right. (Though we got some response for a previous book sweepstakes, that entry idea was more straightforward and [...]

  • 6 New Book Contest: “The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes And Why”; Entry Question: What Have You Done In The Last Year To Prepare Yourself Or Your Community? // Jun 16, 2009 at 10:14 am

    [...] The paperback edition of Amanda Ripley’s wonderful book, The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes And Why, goes on sale today. It includes a new section called, “How to Boost Your Survival Odds” which she added “because so many people asked for action items to apply the book’s conclusions.” To celebrate the paperback release, I asked Amanda to send me three copies to give away to readers. Copies of The Unthinkable audio book were the prizes in this blog’s first contest in June of 2008. In that contest, a preparedness tip was the entry. [...]

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