Emergency Equipment

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With so many facets of Emergency Planning to consider, we sometimes overlook the aftermath. There is an initial rush of issues related to assessing an emergency and getting settled into the foreignness of what it brings. But sometimes, emergencies within or after a crisis need attention. And those circumstances sometimes require another level of tools and equipment.

Some of you, first responders and others have helped in various recovery efforts. Some went to help with the 911 recovery in New York City. Others made their way to assist in the recovery efforts of Katrina. Still, others helped with the aftermath of the Oso landslide in our own state of Washington. You have experienced the “aftermath recovery” efforts of an emergency.
That’s why emergency kits, tools, and equipment are so important. A disaster itself is just the first stage. The following is a starting point for you to consider regarding emergency equipment and tools you will need to provide constructive assistance during and after an emergency.
Personal Protective Tools and Equipment
Having the correct personal protective equipment is a prerequisite to working in the post-emergency environment and using any tools. The following are considered the essentials:

Construction Hard Hat
  • A construction helmet is inexpensive protection against falling objects and debris. Be sure to inspect the condition and fit of the internal suspension, which holds the hard plastic shell above the head and absorbs the shock when hit.
Protective Eyewear
  • Eye protection should provide wrap-around protection and be made of a shatter-free material.
Dust Mask (use surgical mask or N-95 mask)
  • Dust masks must be tight fitting and provide a good seal against dust and debris; avoid cheap paper filter masks that provide a poor fit.
Leather Gloves
  • Leather gloves provide basic protection against glass, metal, and other sharp objects.
Closed-Toe Shoes/Boots with Heavy Soles
  • Closed-toe shoes with heavy soles will provide protection against nails, glass, and other hazards in a compromised area.
  • Optional, but important if crawling through debris.
Essential Tools and Equipment
  • Having emergency lighting in a disaster is crucial. LED lights have revolutionized emergency lighting because they combine brightness and long run times.
  • Headlamps can be particularly useful, as they free both your hands.
  • LED lanterns can provide a diffuse area light for larger tasks. Choose a light that is water resistant and durable. Higher-quality lights can be found and provide better efficiency and longer run times than less-expensive flashlights and headlamps that are often found for under five dollars.
  • While high-performance LED lights using rechargeable lithium ion 18650 batteries provide exceptional performance, recharging these batteries may be difficult without power. Be sure to have some lights that can be powered by commonly available batteries such as AAA, AA, C, or D cell batteries.
  • The modern equivalent of the venerable Swiss Army knife, today’s multi-tools typically include pliers, knife, small saw, Philips and flat head screwdrivers, and sometimes even a can opener.
  • These range in price and features. This is one case where a higher price often means considerably better quality. Name brands like Leatherman, Gerber, and SOG make tools that are worth the investment.
  • These come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and names. Whether you go with a crowbar, demolition bar, wrecking bar, pry bar, or utility bar, they are all designed to gain leverage over an object in order to separate them.
  • Most will also have cutouts to help pull out nails.
  • Larger bars provide more leverage, while small bars can get into tighter spaces.
  • These are useful for removing obstructions or forcing entry in windows or doors.
Shovel and Pickaxe
  • A shovel is an essential tool for cleaning up after a disaster, but sometimes can be used to mitigate further damage, such as filling sandbags or digging a trench to divert water.
  • A shovel can also be used to dig a hole or trench to make an emergency latrine.
  • Shovels come in different sizes and shapes; if you can only have one, chose a full-size round point digging shovel, which is the most versatile.
  • An emergency toolkit should have two different handsaws—one designed to cut through wood (which can be used on wood framing or a tree branch), and a hacksaw that can cut through metal.
  • A battery-powered Sawzall (reciprocating saw) is a great option if you have one. Remember that the batteries will need to be able to be recharged.
Hammer and Nails (or battery drill/driver and box of screws)
  • A full-sized framing hammer and box of nails will allow you to make emergency repairs, secure loose objects, or build a temporary shelter.
  • A battery-powered drill/driver and screws can substitute in some situations.
  • Combined with boards or plywood sheeting, these tools can secure a building with broken windows or doors.
Power Tools
  • Power tools can be very useful after a disaster but should be used with extreme care.
  • Footing is often slippery, tool operators may be tired, distracted, or emotionally overwhelmed, and the environment compromised.
  • As a result, power tools such as chainsaws are frequent causes of serious injury or even death after a disaster.
If you are not sure where to begin in obtaining some or all the above tools, your local builders’ supply and hardware stores are a good place to start. And of course, they can be found on Amazon.

Encouragement: The Apostle Paul encouraged the Philippians with a couple of great truths, which are relevant to us as we consider emergencies.
Don’t worry, trust and pray!
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) — “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
AND remember that God is the Great Provider and Protector!
Philippians 4:19 (NLT) – “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

Next Week’s Topic: Personal Security Issues in an Emergency

HF Preparedness Leadership Team

Action Steps:
  • I will make an assessment as to if and what personal tools and equipment I might need.
  • I will set up a plan to acquire the tools and equipment I need.

Disaster Recovery: 10 Stories of Hope https://www.endeavors.org/disaster-relief-emergency-services-news/disaster-recovery-10-stories-of-hope/
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