Begin from the End
Clean-Up First-Determine if your home is in the flood plain that FEMA may require the condemning of homes and buy-outs. Don’t risk injury and health when it may no longer be your home.
Always have a safety clearance before entering a flooded home. Dangers: structural erosion, weak wiring, fires, mold, fecal contamination, disease risk, animal issues-alligators, snakes, rats (rabies) & more.
Have the right equipment for primary survey-rubber boots with good tread, tough jeans tucked in boots, long sleeve shirt, rubber gloves, respirator mask, surgical head cover. Flashlight, shotgun if permitted and know how to handle properly. Take safety walk through. Second walk through for insurance photos or video with narration. Put cameras in vehicle for protection, preferably in plastic bag, double wrapped for protection.
If properly assessed and no mold is seen, one should immediately remove all food sources to trash. Do not try to salvage if food in flood waters or refrigerators or freezers.
Remove all wet clothing, linens that are salvageable to wash and sanitize later at public laundramats. May be too much to ask of family and friends’ machines.
Next, all wet furniture should be put out to the curb for pick-up and removal.
Dishes, pots, pans, silverware should first be soaked in off premises sink with bleach or hydrogen peroxide, if allergies issues boil for minimum 10 minutes. Then run all dishes, pots, pans, etc. through off premises clean dishwasher.
Consider carefully any bikes, scooters, children’s toys for ability to properly decontaminate. If in doubt throw it out. Toys and such are not worth your child’s life or livelihood.
Carefully consider water intrusion into electrical and gas equipment. Same as above, if in doubt throw it out.
Your home should now be clear to examine the line of water infiltration from ground up. Take pictures again of water infiltration line.
Look up and around for water marks, tree and debris damage to walls, ceiling, light fixtures, cabinets, etc. take pictures here as well. Document, document, document. Time & date stamp or show newspapers with dates. Don’t leave openings for insurance companies to question your documentation. Know your responsibilities and rights ahead of time. Most insurance companies require you safely secure the property from any continuing or future preventable damage. This can mean cut electric, gas and water. Tarp walls and roof damages, etc.
Now is the time you consider carefully your next step. If there is any chance of black mold seen, exit the property and leave it to the professionals. Without the right equipment cutting and/or removing can cause spores to further infiltrate house and ventilation system. Even more concerning is the risk to personal health if spores are inhaled into lungs or enter open wounds. This poses long term health dangers that are unnecessary risks.
If you see only water marks, you may begin removing carpeting, porous and wood surfaces, thoroughly mopping and disinfecting floors, removing sheet rock carefully. Always keep a careful watch for biting animals and insects in walls. Stop if mold is seen in even one spot, it will surely be in other areas and will spread quickly. You will not see the spores and you will be working for nothing. Call remediation specialists.
If sheetrock is cleanly removed all surfaces below water line and 12 inches above, in wall and out must be thoroughly bleached and dried using fans. Fans should be run from portable generator unless wiring has been cleared by electrician.
This can be very emotional. Make time to vent, remember and celebrate the gratitude for lives saved. Human touch like pats on the back, handshakes and hugs are a fundamental part of compassion and caring. Take time for appropriate, permissible touch. Some people may shy away. Let them have their time to reconnect and be ready to open to trust again. Give words of encouragement, let them know you are there to listen. Pity is not constructive. Words such as “I know what you’re going through”, “I understand” may create misunderstandings. Each person has their own perspective. Be there, give them space to share when ready. Literally say, “I’m here if you want to talk, lean on a shoulder to cry or need a hug. Let me know what you need when you need it. I don’t want to intrude on your healing.”
The Majestic Mints
Fresh Container Gardens
Water extraction is used for gaining access to: alkaloid salts, bitters, enzymes, flavonoids, glycosides, gums, mucilage, albumin, saponins, tannins and some water soluble vitamins.
Alcohol extraction is used to gain access to: oleoresins, camphor, essential oils, glycosides, resins, and flavonoids which are soluble in alcohol. (also pulls some water-soluble vitamins and minerals.)
The Herb and Its Talents:
Basil (Ocimum sanctum)-Leaf, seed, root. Antimicrobial, nervine, adaptogen, anti-diabetic.
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)-Petals. Sedative, diaphoretic, diuretic, antihelminth.
Lavender (Lavendula spp.)-Flower or bud. Nerve tonic, sedative, antimicrobial, antidepressant.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)-Aerial parts. Antihistamine, antimicrobial, sedative, antidepressant.
Marjoram (Origanum marjorana)-Flower, leaf. Digestive, carminative (relieves gas), diuretic, expectorant.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)-Aerial parts. Nervine, antispasmodic, antiemetic, digestive, analgesic, antimicrobial, circulatory stimulant.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)-Aerial parts. Nervine, decongestant, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, febrifuge.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)-Aerial parts. Similar to other mints, best known for spiritual, meditative qualities.
Sage (Salvia officinalis)-Leaves. Antimicrobial, bitter tonic, digestive, carminative.
Skullcap (Scuttelaria laterifolia)-Aerial parts. Nervine, brain tonic, antispasmodic, anticonvulsant, febrifuge.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)-Flowering aerial parts. Antimicrobial, decongestant, circulatory stimulant, relaxant, immune-stimulant.
Other less known mints
Wood Betony (Stachys betonica, Betonica officinalis)-Aerial parts. Liver tonic, circulatory stimulant, sedative, nerve tonic, vulnerary.
Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea, Nepeta hederacea)-Aerial parts. Astringent, anti-inflammatory, tonic, antihelminth.
Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)-Aerial parts. Expectorant, decongestant, bitter tonic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, antihelminth.
Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris)-Aerial parts. Styptic, astringent, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, liver tonic, antiallergenic, restorative.
First Aid Kits
What type are you comfortable with handling?
There are several different kinds. Here we will list the set-up for five different kits or you can choose to combine them. Do to weight and space factors I have a preference for a homeopathic kit in a bug- out bag. If I am remaining at home I use a combination of remedies but I have a working home office for my practice.
Standard Western Med kit:
Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, Neosporin gel or ointment, ace bandages, 4”x4” gauze pads, paper tape, butterfly bandages, finger bandages, blister or liquid bandages, liquid skin, feminine pads, tampons, safety pins, antibiotics if you know how and when to use them and can find a doctor to prescribe for your kit. Antifungal cream. Bandanas.
Herbal Kit: Assorted tea bags plus foil water pouches, to prep meds using teas (infusions), compresses and pastes:
UTI-cranberry, corn silk, goldenrod
Anxiety, sleep-Chamomille, passionflower, skullcap, valerian
Adaptogens-ginger, ashwagandha, astragalus, Tulsii, reishi mushrooms, licorice (DGL)
Wound care-comfrey, plantain, rosehips
Blood pressure-hibiscus, cayenne, Hawthorne
Blood sugar-cinnamon (a pinch of baking soda), basil
Homeopathic-preferred company is Washington Homeopathic (online at homeopathyworks.com) the kits are a great buy, they come with cheat sheets and easy travel boxes, each bottle marked for clarity.
Aconite, Allium cepa, Apis mel, Arsenicum alba, Arnica montana, Belladonna, Bryonia, Calcarea carb, Carbo veg, Chamomila, Coffea cruda, Cinchona, Digitalis, Echinacea, Euphasia, Grahites, Gelsemum, Glonoine, Hepar sulf, Hypericum, Kali bic Ignatia, Lachesis, Merc v, Natrum mur, Nux vomica, Ruta, Rhus tox, Symphytum, Thuja,
Arnica & Calendula gel by Boiron
Bach Flower Essence:
Rescue Remedy, Stress relief pastilles, Sleep aid Pastilles, Oak, Birch, Beech, Clematis, Crab Apple, Hazel, Gorse, Impatiens,
Essential Oil Remedies (most expensive, concentrated & dangerous if not used carefully): Best if diffused, enters nasals cavities to penetrate blood system and some cross blood brain barrier. Diffuses through room deodorizing and sanitizing depending on oils used. Most safe around children while diffusing, wonderful option for chronically allergic or ill, even terminal. May combine for more encompassing effects.
Cinnamon Bark and Ginger-Both used to boost effectiveness of other herbs. Digestive aides. Antiviral, ***anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory.
Grapefruit-Fluid retention. Detoxifies liver, kidneys, lymphatic and vascular systems. Alzhiemer’s and anxiety.
Lavender-Great to calm nerves, lower BP. Aides healing in infections of sinuses, and respiratory system. Healing for sunburns.
Lemon- Cleaning, Antiseptic, kills Staph. aurius, Mennigococcus, Typhoid Bacilli, Pneumococcus, Inactivates TB, also ant-parasitic. *anti-mosquito.
Nutmeg-Adrenal stimulant, boosts energy, increases production of growth hormone and melatonin (better sleep at end of day). Lessens nerve pain. May bring fond memories of family and friends leading to relaxation. Some concern over herbal use (3 grams powder is neuro-toxic, no info. On essential oil yet). Use Essential Oil sparingly.
Peppermint-My favorite. Stimulates the mind, awakens senses, alleviates headaches (may act opposite for those with ADD, ADHD). Digestive aide. Curbs appetite. Antiviral ie. Herpes simplex, Herpes zoster, cold sores, HPV. Anti-Candida. Used in pneumonia and TB. Pain relief from sciatica, lumbago/back.
Rose-astringent, skin toner, antiseptic, fragrance. (Extremely expensive)
Rosemary-Liver protecting. Antitumor, antifungal, antibacterial, antii-parasitic. Improves mental function, being tested on Alzheimer’s, (compared to Aricept, leading pharmaceutical).
Spearmint-Aides problems releasing emotional blocks that may be interfering with pain relief and healing. May need to combine with others.
Wintergreen-Decreases many types of pain due to Methyl Salicylate (similar to salicylic acid in aspirin). Can be mixed with other oils to increase effectiveness and duration. Decreases blood pressure. Stimulates awareness and detoxifies liver.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)-Anti-bacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-parasitic. Used for Candida, ringworm, scabies, lice (here use carrier oil topically).
Bug-in, Bug-out Bag
Is there a Difference?
3 changes of clothes each in their own vacuum package:
2 day sets the same-ladies and kids-stretch jeggings, chami, T-shirt short sleeved and long sleeved, cotton breathable underwear, sports bras, cotton socks.
Men the same as above but muscle shirt and stretch jogging pants.
Next set same but switch to stretch shorts.
Emergency rain poncho.
Emergency thermal blanket.
Utility multi -function tool set.
Utility multi-function eating utensil.
Stainless steel cup, plate with handle and cover for eating and cooking.
Long Hori knife.
Folding shovel, rope bracelets, at least 8 feet of rope, 2 small battery operated flashlights, large stand up or hanging flashlight.
Compass, whistle, matches combo kit, waterproof, masking tape and permanent marker in case you want to leave obvious messages or trail markers.
2 rolls of duct tape.
15 foil water pouches, single serving
Mountain House Foil Camp Pouches
(MREs are horrible)
9 meals plus 10 snacks can easily extend 1-2 weeks for family of four.
Back pack, outer rolling suitcase or convert to backpack. If one breaks there is a back-up.
Dougherty, Martin J. Special Forces Unarmed Combat Guide. Metro Books: New York (2010).
McDougall, Len. The Self-Reliance Manifesto: How to Survive Anything Anywhere. Skyhorse Publishing: New York (2010).
McManners, Hugh. Complete Wilderness Training Manual. Metro Books: New York (2007).
Stilwell, Alexander. The Encyclopedia of Survival Techniques. MJF Books: New York (2000).
Tilton, Buck. The Wilderness First Responder: a text for the recognition, treatment, and prevention of wilderness emergencies. The Globe Pequot Press: Guilford (1998).
Weiss, Eric A. Wilderness 911: a step-by-step guide for medical emergencies and improvised care in the backcountry. The Mountaineers: Seattle (1998).
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