None of us want to think about disaster striking, but with everything that’s going on in the world right now it’s a good idea to have something in place just in case it does. Today we’re talking with Emergency Preparedness expert Daniel Kilurn about what we need if the Big One ever does come, and how we can protect our families. 

Now this is not us saying to panic – we just want to be ready for any situation. As Daniel puts it, emergency preparedness isn’t just a good way for us to protect ourselves, it’s a good way to teach our kids leadership skills and help get them involved in everything we do. 

We all want our families to be protected, and learning how to set ourselves up for success in an emergency is very important for this. In this episode, we’re covering the basics of survival (shelter, food, water, and sanitation), how we can put together the lovingly-termed BOB or bug out bag, and what to do in case of emergencies like house fires, forest fires, earthquake, tornado, etc. Though not like our typical episodes, this knowledge is so important in creating a safe space for our kids to grow up, and prepare us for anything that might happen.

Interested in this episode? Join the UM Club! We have new speakers every week covering hot topics, so make sure to join now and never miss out on an episode! If you’re interested in learning even more about emergency preparedness, check out our July workshop!

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Guest Expert

Daniel’s passion for disaster management can be traced back to the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, after which he spent significant time working on disaster management education and instructional design. As a consultant, he specializes in the All-Hazards Disaster Planning approach and acceptable risk aversion. Make sure to check out his website for more great details on emergency preparedness.

In This Episode We Talk About

00:37 – Who is Daniel?
02:11 – What is Emergency Planning?
08:11 – The basics of Shelter.
21:00 – The basics of Food.
29:40 – The basics of Water.
32:26 – The basics of Sanitation.
40:29 – Bug Out Bags: what are they and how do they work?
48:55 – First Aid and learning medical skills.
52:10 – Final thoughts.
55:19 – Where to find Daniel!

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Emergency Action Planning
Family Urban Disaster Planning: Three Key Elements | Shelter | Water | Food by Daniel Kilburn
Disaster and Emergency Planning Assesment: 

Read the Full Conversation

Hello and welcome to another episode inside the Unapologetic Moms Club. Today I am happy to welcome Daniel Kilburn from Emergency Action Planning to educate us on a topic that I think is increasingly important with all the things that are going on in the world. Disasters are happening. Nature is doing its own thing. And so us as families need to be able to prepare ourselves. And so Daniel is here to help share his knowledge with us, so thank you for being here.

My pleasure. Thank you for inviting me, Jannine.

Thanks. So let’s start out and hear a little bit about who you are, what you do, and why you’re so passionate about it.

Well, this all started back in the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. That’s where it all started. I was living in Monterey, California, and my daughter was three years old at the time. And I was working at a private school and I was walking to the oven with a big tray of halibut steak. And somebody picked up the building and bounced it off the ground. And there was me on my backside, halibut steaks are flying everywhere. There’s not a person left standing, I can hear glasses shattering, plates skittering to the floor, the tinkling rainfall of silverware. And I wondered, “Is this an earthquake?” And I’m thinking yeah, probably is.

Made it outside and I finally remember seeing the ground. And it amazed me because something was wrong. I couldn’t tell what it was. But I felt the shockwaves running through my body. And the ground was undulating like a sine wave. It was the shock waves of the earthquake going through me. And I started sinking into the ground, because of the liquification of the earth. And that day, I was very happy. Because my wife and my daughter were out of state visiting family, and I had no clue what to do. So that’s where I started my research on how to prepare for emergencies and disasters. 

Yeah, that’s a wake-up call, that’s for sure.


So, emergency planning can take on a few different roles. What does emergency planning mean to you? And why is it so important that we know about it?

Well, the basic consideration is it does not matter what part of the country you live in. There’s some sort of natural disaster that’s common in that area. It can be earthquakes on the West Coast, and hurricanes on the East Coast and the Gulf Coast. And wildfires pretty much everywhere. Pick a disaster and you can find a place on the map where it happens on a regular basis. 

And what I discovered, as I’m putting my planning together for myself and my family, is that these plans are good for everybody. Now, some people say “but Daniel, an earthquake’s not the same as a hurricane.” You know what you’re absolutely right. And that does require some special considerations. But what I discovered is all of them require the same considerations. You need to have shelter, you need to have food, you need to drink water, and you, at some point in time, you’re going to have to go poo and pee. So you have to figure all this out before the fact. 

So when I started putting my plans together, I do what’s called all hazards. So it doesn’t matter what your hazard is. You need those four basic items: shelter, water, food, sanitation, basic. And then from there, we can expand on hurricane, earthquake, wildfire, and dig into some more myopically focused stuff.

That makes sense. Those are kind of the basics of what you need to survive. And I like how you broke it down in your book, I think I was taking a look at, with like three seconds for panic thinking, three seconds for breathing without air. Would you mind sharing that because I found it was interesting. If you can remember, sorry, might be putting you on the spot.

These are the rule of threes. Three seconds of indecision or panic kill you; three minutes without air can kill you; three hours without shelter can kill. You know, people are like what do you mean we need shelter? Well, it could be too cold or too hot. You could die if it’s too cold or too hot. That’s just three hours without shelter can kill you. Three days without water can kill you, our body needs to remain hydrated consistently. Three weeks without food can kill you. They’re involatile. Of course, some people argue well, that could be more or less. Yes, but we’ll just keep it at the rule of threes and not go there. Okay?

Yeah, yeah, those are good basics. And I haven’t actually heard the panic side of it before. So I thought that was really interesting that you included it because it’s so true. Panic, it can just cause you to freeze and then things can cascade from there. But if you’re able to pause, you can really think your way through and handle the situation.

That’s true. And it’s interesting that you bring that up because we all talk about rules of three, everybody remembers three things, right? That’s the common number. Most people talk about, when they’re in an emergency or something, they get into fight or flight. Right? They also freeze. There’s three F’s in there, fight, flight, or freeze. 

That’s true. 

And as an infantry soldier, and an infantry drill sergeant, I learned firsthand, that freeze moment, sometimes it’s good. But most often, it’s not. You really do need to get moving to get out of the way of that train when it’s coming down the track at you.

Yeah, absolutely. I think what I was drawn to right away when I noticed that and I included it. I actually had a boating accident maybe five years ago, I was out sailing and our boat took on water and I was pulled down underneath it. So I was within the cabin of the sailboat. And somehow as the boat was going down, I was coming out, ropes got wrapped around my neck. But I kind of came to underwater, I don’t actually remember going under, but I came to and that’s where that panic could have easily killed me if I had started to panic. But I like stopped, was like, “okay, I’m being pulled down by something” and thought to look, found a rope around my neck, pulled it off, and started to swim up. So it really goes to show the panic really can make or break a situation.

Well, you bring up a very key concept there. Somewhere at some point in time prior to that moment, you learned something that registered with you that made you act. I have no idea what it was. But something did happen, you learned something somewhere to focus on what you’re doing and get out of that situation. Because you knew it was a dire situation. That’s what emergency planning does for your whole life. If you can put together a disaster management plan, you can plan for anything, it doesn’t even have to be a disaster. Planning is the same – if you can figure out how to plan how to save yourself from a disaster, you can figure out a plan to build a business, go on a vacation plan, a wedding plan, Bar Mitzvah, whatever, it works the same way.

Perfect. And so for those listening, for planning around business or work and school life, we can easily take those principles for planning for disaster planning.


So let’s dig into those different prongs. I believe you said shelter, food, water, and sanitation. So let’s hear about shelter to start with.

Well, shelter is simply a sort of extension of our clothing. Our body needs to maintain a specific temperature to be good, to be able to live. If it gets too hot, it wears down. If it gets too cold, it starts freezing up. So our clothing we wear helps regulate our body temperature. We want to be somewhere around 78 degrees ambient temperature, that’s like the magic zone. It can go up or down a little bit depending on where you live. I’m in Florida – 78, that’s during the winter. But the idea is your shelter is there to regulate your body temperature above everything else, to either keep you warm or keep you cool. That’s what it bottom lines out to.

Okay. And so in terms of planning, making sure we’re having the right clothing for the season and thinking of other kinds of shelter for different weather and things like that. And of course, clothing plays a role here on the West Coast. There’s a lot of rain, so needing some form of shelter to stay dry.

Yes, if you absolutely need to be outside of your house, then you need to still find some sort of shelter. I mean, if the rains not too cold, it’ll be a nuisance. It will be aggravating and you’ll wish you hadn’t sat out in the rain all day long, but it probably will not do any dire harm. However, if the temperature starts dropping, then you start looking at hypothermia and then you can start looking at some serious medical issues there, depending on the weather and what’s going on there. 

It’s like when I do my go bags, I always pack a poncho, that’s my shelter. If I have to put up a lean-to or something, it’s a shelter If I have to break out my thermal blanket and wrap it around me with my poncho, that’s my shelter. And they work, you know, they protect the body, and that’s what they’re there for. 

When you’re thinking of shelter, there’s a couple of things to think about. We all live in a house, a domicile of some sort or an apartment or condo or something, right? So there’s one of two things that are basically going to happen during a disaster. One, you’re going to be able to stay home, stay in your shelter, and weather the disaster, let it go by you. Okay? Two, based on where you live, you have to evacuate immediately. Three, you’re home, everything’s hunky-dory, “oh, things went south, it’s time to evacuate.” So when you’re building your plans, you have to understand the first two, can I stay here and weather the storm? Or do I have to go? Build your plan around that. Number three, can I stay here and weather the storm? And what if I have to go? Build that into your plan. That’s a redundant situation.

So imagine, like thinking here, again, with what we’re dealing with on the West Coast, power outages are a frequent thing. So we need to be mindful of heating your house. We have a wood stove that we’ve actually stopped using. But I was very adamant that we keep it operational within our house so we have that backup. Because we do deal with so many power outages.

That’s very important, keep the flue clean, though, so you’re not getting a lot of carbon monoxide in your house. And when you’re bringing that up, that brings an issue that a lot of people don’t recognize. Every year it happens, there’s a power outage somewhere around the country. They cook on the barbecue out in the front yard and it’s cold, and what do they do with that barbecue? They drag it in the house. And nobody wakes up. Okay, so just don’t do that. Keep that barbecue outside. If you’re cold, spoon each other, get up under the blankets together, drag the dog into the bed, do whatever it takes to stay warm, kept up body temperature. 

Other things to think about in shelter, if you have to leave, where are you going? Have a plan to know exactly where you’re going. Now you can find out, each community has public shelters, they’re usually schools or some sort of a public building. And they’re used for people who have no other place to shelter at. Use those as a last resort, avoid them like the plague. So it’s best to go to family friends or out of town, depending on the circumstances. Use the public shelters as last resort, but know where they’re at. And know if you have pets, are they pet friendly? Do you have to register? I know where I live they have pet-friendly shelters, but you have to register in advance to use them. 

If you have people in your family that have medical issues they have here, at least, they have special needs shelters that are staffed with nurses and doctors for people with special medical issues. So these events, these things do happen in the community. But you’d have to search that out in your own community to find out if they actually have them there. And if they don’t, and you need something like that, then that’s something you absolutely have to build into your plan.

I hadn’t even thought about that in terms of pet-friendly or different medical needs. So that’s really helpful to know.

Exactly. Well, it is. And that’s the problem. Most people don’t think about it till they need it. And then they go “oh, what do you mean I had to register here?”

Yeah, in your panic mode, trying to figure out what you’re gonna do. So, in terms of looking for other locations, friends, family, or things like that, is there – I’m thinking of kind of like radius, how far out may we need to consider going in terms of like, say fires are going through. My family lives an hour away, and it’s kind of on the fence if they would be appropriate for that or not, depending on like fires or flooding, or I’m assuming hurricanes, that sort of thing.

Here’s what I recommend that you do. I recommend that you get a paper map of your community, a big city map or a larger map that shows the region around your community for several miles. The reason I say map as opposed to your phone or a tablet is because you can see more on that map than you can on the phone or the tablet. What I recommend doing is you pin your places. Where are your children’s schools? Where’s your places of work? Identify those on your map, on your smaller map, your city map. And then from there, identify your directions out of town. Depending on where you live, you have X amount of directions out of town. If you live directly on the West Coast, you can’t go west unless you have a boat, correct?

Yes, I have two directions. That’s the only way I can get out of town, is north or south.

Okay, so where I live, it’s never south, because that’s always where the hurricane is coming from. So it’s always north or east, toward the east coast. And then that depends on which way the hurricane turns, that might be a bad move too. But the idea is to figure out your ways out. Okay? 

So there’s a couple things to look at: friends and family are always the best. So if you’re in the epicenter of whatever’s going on there, where do these friends and family live? Pin them, find them on that map, mark it. Okay, find out how you’re going to get there. Find out the alternate route. If you have an earthquake, is that highway going to be open? Might not be. So that’s why it’s always good to find an alternate route. There’s always redundancy, always build redundancy in your plan. 

So friends or family are the first ones, now how far away? Well, out of the epicenter, I don’t really know. It’s, let me see. The Loma Prieta earthquake happened just south of San Francisco. And it was called Loma Prieta, north in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which was about 60 miles north of Monterey where I lived. It knocked out the power for days. That was the biggest issue there. As we move north toward the epicenter, the damage and destruction was going on. That’s where people want to get out of because of damage and destruction. Your house might be broken.

Yeah, gas pipes broken, who knows?

Exactly. Safeway is definitely closed. Okay. You’re not getting gas, keep this in mind, you’re not getting any gas either. So when you start looking out, look at a certain range and, you know, maybe 100 miles. But here’s the thing to keep in mind, the farther you get away from the epicenter, the less affected that population base will be. But the thing to keep in mind, you’re not the only person going there. All right, you are not alone. So that’s going to create issues of its own, because the infrastructure there, wherever there is, will only be able to assume so many people. 

So one thing I recommend, if you’ve got access to it, is Airbnbs. I’m not joking, Airbnb or, those kinds of services. If you got something going on, or you know something’s going on, you can get, if you’re quick, and you have a good idea of where the epicenter is. And I know in California, they do this right now, they automatically know. You can look, okay, I know I was gonna go that way anyway because I’ve already planned it. And I already know that there’s an Airbnb or a facility there I can take, because I’ve already planned it. Push that button, make that phone call, set up that reservation and go. That way, you’ll be going with everybody else, but you’ll have a place to end up at.

Yeah, you’ll have somewhere to go.

So keep in mind, there’s three things, again, we’re looking at three things when we have a disaster: time, distance, and shielding. Time, don’t be there when it happens, or be away from it as it’s happening. That’s the time after the event. You need to evacuate. Distance, the farther away from the event you are the less impacted you are, right? And then shielding. The more you have between it, the less it’s going to impact you. Just like if you have that mountain between you and the raging fire over here, you’re a little safer over on that other side of the mountain, right? Just things to keep in mind: time, distance, and shielding.

And I’m thinking with what you’re saying, like, perhaps further away might seem like the safest option because you’re so far from the event. But there’s also going to be a lot more added challenges potentially in getting the further away you’re going, so to be mindful of that as well.

That’s true. I live in the Tampa Bay area. On a good day it’s exactly an eight-hour drive to Atlanta, Georgia from here. During Hurricane Irma when most of the community was evacuating because we were expecting a category five hurricane to hit the county. It was a 24-hour drive. 


Okay. That’s the unique thing about Florida, Florida is a peninsula. So people are evacuating from the south and they’re moving north. And as they’re moving north, people in the north are starting to get moving. So suddenly it becomes a traffic jam somewhere around Central Florida because now everybody’s there. There’s nowhere to go because everyone’s there. So if you’re going to evacuate, go early. Okay. And if you sit there and find out that you didn’t need to, okay look at it as a training experience, a learning experience, an excursion with your loved ones. There’s something we did together so we can prepare ourselves. That’s always good. Don’t sit there and go “oh, dang it. We didn’t need to go.” No recrimination, just go with the fun stuff, keep it fun.

Yeah, something you would rather be wrong on than right. It’s okay to be wrong and have been prepared. 

Yes, that’s right. Absolutely.

Yeah, I’m thinking here, I live on Vancouver Island on the West Coast. So we’re on an island. And so it would get very jammed up quite quickly on our main artery highway going out of town to go north, because I’m right at the very southern tip.

Right. So that’s where you need to look at possibly staying in place might be your best option. Definitely I know – my daughter lives in San Francisco, and she’s talking about bugging out, but I’m like you have nowhere to bug out to. You’re not going nowhere. I mean, really, the best bet for her is if she can get across the Golden Gate Bridge and go north. That would be her best bet. If the bridge isn’t damaged. She’s not going east and she’s not going south. So at that point – and that’s where you have to look at where you live. That’s what that map is for. What is your population density? Is it in your best interest to stay? 

Yeah, you got the wheels turning. So let’s move into food. What should we be considering when it comes to food?

Food? Well, we need to eat. Okay, so we can just usually – I go with a basic 2000 Calorie menu. That’s the standard-issue calories. Now some people need to go up, some people need to go down. And the idea is to stay nourished, while you’re waiting for the rest of the world to open back up around you.

So when you want to do food, you want to do food that a. you will eat. And b. is non-perishable. Usually, that means canned goods, or packaged goods of some sort, like you’ve seen a meal – StarKist tuna in the tin foil package, right? You know what I’m talking about, that type of stuff. Beef jerky, canned meats. There’s all that kind of stuff. But the downside to them is they’re high in sodium and carbohydrates. So you just have to know that.

You want to keep things that are not going to spoil because you want to keep them over a period of time. And the best way to keep your food updated is to use it as your mini-mart. That’s what I call my pantry. I call it my mini-mart. I have food in there that I actually eat. And when I eat it out of the kitchen, I go to my mini-mart, I pick it up, I put it back in the kitchen, then I make my list, put it on my list to go pick it up to refill my market. That keeps my food rotated, and keeps it as fresh as possible. And that keeps me in things that I’m currently eating. As opposed to that whatever it is I bought two years ago, I thought it was good and I haven’t touched it. It’s best to just keep rotating that food and I do it with aluminum foil and paper supplies. What happened with toilet paper during COVID? Remember that, did that happen to you?

I was actually a way in Mexico when toilet paper mania happened. And we’re looking on our phones while we’re on the beach. And it’s like, what is going on? And then I come home and there’s no toilet paper anywhere.

Well, here’s what I can say about that. For me, I already had that. So when all that toilet paper mania was going on, I was good to go. Our household was good to go for several weeks. Because it was just something part of what we have bought and put in there. Now when you think about food, a lot of people think ’oh, how much is that going to cost Daniel?” Well, it costs money. But you’re buying food anyway. Right? 

You can take that plan in the book – and you start with a 72-hour plan. That’s your minimum. You want to get up to two weeks at a minimum, two weeks, okay? When you start buying this food, you just do like a little portion, you’re going to the grocery store anyway, right? Okay, then we just add this little bit of stuff that’s gonna cost 20 or 30 bucks extra, put it in your pantry. Okay? Eventually you have that whole pantry filled up. And now it doesn’t cost you any more because you’re actually using that stuff on an ongoing basis. You’re buying the stuff regularly, you’re using those paper goods. And it’s no longer a major expenditure because it’s simply something you’re using.

Yeah, well, I’m all about the small simple incremental steps that all add up. So might seem like a lot at first, like two weeks. That’s a lot. But if you’re just going grocery shopping and getting three or five extra items a trip you can slowly chip away at it.

Well, I don’t know about you but my store has BOGOs all the time. Oh, is that on my list? Boom, BOGO. If it’s something that I’m usually going to use anyway, and my pantry, my Walmart or whatever you want to call it. So yeah, you know, just save a little money and put it up in there.

Yeah, we’re big Costco shoppers. So it’s almost kind of built-in in a way for us because we are buying and the big bulk and I find when something gets down to like three, I’m like okay, we need to fill up.

Alright, definitely. Now one thing to keep in mind as you’re doing those foods is the preparation of them. If you have gas and the gas is still working, it’s quite possible you could cook that food. If you don’t, then we’re looking at an outdoor barbecue of some sort or wood pit. But here’s one thing to keep in mind, which a lot of people don’t remember, is that food has already been cooked. You don’t need to cook it again.

Oh, yeah, good point.

Yes. It’s already been cooked. Most people think, “well, I’m cooking the soup.” No, you’re not, you’re heating the backup. Cooking chili. No, you’re not, you’re heating it back up. So if you had to, you can open that can, peel off the slab of grease on top of and go down on it, you know, itwould work. Just a thing that a lot of people don’t consider. They always think we have to heat everything up. Put it out in the sun all day long. It’ll heat up.

Oh, yeah, that’s a really good point. That’s a handy tip. If, say, you’re knowing you’re going to have dinner, pop those cans of whatever out in the morning, they’ll be heated up.

Pretty much. That’s how it works.

So you mentioned, like, start with 72 hours and then up to two weeks. If we are in a situation where we’re having to leave our home space to go somewhere else. Is there a certain amount we should be bringing with us? Or what kind of considerations do we need to take for that?

Okay, that’s your 72-hour consideration, you have to expect it’s going to take you three days to get from where you are to where you’re at. Usually, it doesn’t take that long, but that’s a good consideration. That’s a whole different packing list, which is not in that book. And that’s your bug out bag. I call it BOB. BOB is your friend. BOB has water, food, sanitation equipment, and shelter. 

Now the thing to remember about BOB, if you’re driving, BOB can be big and heavy. If you’re walking, you cannot carry a big rucksack or backpack, especially if you’re not physically fit, you’ve never carried a backpack in your life, then you’re gonna have to really rethink this and a lot of different ways. The basic number is a quarter of your body weight, 20% of your body weight. If you weigh 100 pounds, you can carry 20-pound backpack. 

Okay, for long-term journeys.

Well, your BOB, your bug out bag, is only for a short term, short period, short distance. Okay? If you’re thinking you have to go a long way, that’s a whole different dynamic. We’re talking The Walking Dead type of stuff here. But if you have to do that, I know some people you’ve seen on those little running carts, you know, people throw their kids in when they go jogging. Something like that would be efficient. If you’re using a bicycle to bug out, bicycle carts, those are very efficient. Just have to make sure you can get them over and through whatever type of breakage might be between you and where you’re going. That’s the key issue.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And fallen trees can be a really big thing here.

But weight is the biggest consideration because like I said, if let’s say, you’ve got it in your car, you’re driving your car. Now suddenly, in a parking lot as far as the eye can see you have to get out and walk. Therefore at that point, you might have to leave stuff behind. Because it’s not in your best interest to try and carry it. Especially if you have children or pets. Your pet should carry their own food, you should train them how to do it.

How do you do that?

Well, that can be done, especially dogs. Cats not really, can’t really train a cat to carry their own food. But most dogs, they have harnesses and types of jackets that fit over them. I don’t know the exact term but I see a lot of people around here with them. They’ve got little pouches on the side that they can put stuff in so that way the dog can carry some of his or her own food. 

As far as water, you don’t want to carry all your water, because water is eight pounds a gallon. And if you have to drink a gallon a day, you’re not going to carry three gallons of water with you, I got news for you. So you want to have something like a life straw, some sort of a Lightweight Water Purification tool, it could be tablets you drop into the water, a filtration system of some sort, some place to collect your water. You want to have maybe a quart or two to take when you start and then you can use those containers to refill as you go. As far as the food I have in mind, I have things like beef jerky, dried nuts, dried fruit, beat jerky, fruit nuts, some dried candies. That’s pretty much it. 

Okay, and how much water should we be having at home? And is there – I’ve heard different tips and like utilizing like toilet tanks or your hot water tanks and things like that. What are your thoughts on that?

Well, the theoretical thing is a minimum of one gallon per person. Now if you’ve tried to drink one gallon of water a day, I task you to try it. It’s not easy to drink a gallon of water a day, unless you’re actually working hard in a hot environment. And I know this, my tour in Iraq, I was doing 13 liters a day of water. That was almost five gallons of water that I was drinking, I was going through it. Here, I can’t knock out a gallon of water a day, it’s just too cumbersome. 

So you hear you need a gallon of water. Well, you’re not going to drink a gallon of water unless you actually need a gallon of water. Then you’ll drink it. So I’m thinking that gallon is probably good. Most people might drink half of it or three-quarters of it. And you can use the remaining quarter or half gallon for washing and sanitation. Or your pets, your pets need water too. 

So when you’re looking at how much I go with a gallon a head, I start with a gallon a head. So for a family of four for two weeks, what’s four times fourteen?

56 gallons of water? 

56 gallons of water. You know how much space that’s going to take up? But here’s the good thing. You can buy cases of water in six gallon cases and they stack real nice. And that way you don’t have to worry about “where am I going to put this jug of water?” Mine are just stacked up next to my pantry. Yeah, I have cases of water. Keep in mind. Water has a low shelf life. Now water does not get bad, water does not deteriorate or go rotten. The problem is, they’re in a plastic container that can leach and absorb chemicals from outside. And those plastic containers will fail at some point. 

And it’s not that they’re going to fail because something falls on them that will make them fail. But I’ve had several instances where I learned. I go look and there’s a big puddle of water. When I dig, I find a couple jugs of water that are all squished, like vacuumed. There’s a pinhole, somewhere this little pinhole decided to pop out and the water started dripping. So that’s why it’s important to rotate the water just like you rotate your food, keep them dated. Everything has to be dated. I put the date that I buy it. Whatever the date is, I bought it I put on that container. That way I can rotate it, first in first out, put my new stuff in the back, pull the older stuff forward.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And then you touched on tablets or the drinking straw, which would be good for travelling and going outside of the home. How about sanitation?

Well, sanitation is you – here’s the downside, is you have to go to the bathroom at some point. If you’re still in your home and you still have water in the pipes and they’re not broken, fine. Flush the toilet. What I do here is wherever I have a safe house, we fill the tubs up immediately. And that’s intended to flush the toilets, it’s intended for sanitation. So we have a two-bedroom house, we fill both those tubs. I don’t know how much water is in them, we got about 150 gallons of water and you only need like maybe a half a gallon or gallon to flush your toilet. And you know, I grew up in California during the water shortages, and it was if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down. 

Yeah, we did that on our boat too. 

Yep. So same basic concept. But yeah, your water now, if you need to do your toilet or backup your tubs for drinking water, they do have – you can find them on Amazon – they have these tub bladders, just a bladder that fits in the tub. And you can fill it up directly with water and seal it so nothing’s going to fall in that water if you need that to drink with.

Oh, interesting. That’s really smart.

Some sort of a tub bladder or water bladder, just go on Amazon, just tub water bladder and something will pop up.

Yeah. Good old Amazon, can always find things. 

It’s amazing. 

Yeah. So are there any instances where like the toilets just not working and we might need to look at other options?

Absolutely. Just assume you’re still at home, the water mains are broken. You can’t flush the toilet either because you have no idea really where it’s going. And especially if you live in a multi-storey building, you really probably don’t want to flush that toilet because we don’t know where it’s going. 

That’s a really good consideration. 

Okay, so then we do what I call a dry toilet. There’s several things to call it. It’s an emergency toilet. What you do is you take all the water out, you plug it, they have simple ways to – take a sock and put a tennis ball in there and it’ll plug right down there into the hole in the toilet. And that’s to keep things from backing up. They also have things you can get at Lowe’s, Home Depot, those types of places, that are a plug that’ll fit in there to screw up, it’ll tighten up. The idea is to prevent things backing up into your system. 

Now, once you have that done, then part of your shopping plan are these heavy-duty trash bags. So you’re gonna line that toilet with a trash bag liner, then another trash bag, and that’s where your kitty litter, your shards of sawdust, powdered chlorine bleach come in handy because that way you can go number two. And then you can cover with kitty litter, saw dust, some sort of chlorinated bleach powder to keep the odor down. Then once you get it, you know, full to a certain amount, then you’ll pull that back out, you’ll steal it off, and you will take it elsewhere to store it until you can dispose of it correctly. 

Now a thing to remember with this, you do not want to mix the dry and the wet. That creates a big mess. So we have a pee place and a poo place. I’m serious, okay, we have one for pee and one for poo. You don’t want to mix them together because you can imagine it’s going to be a big old slurry, a big mix, it’s going to be heavy.

Okay, because I was gonna be like why? So yeah, that makes sense.

Yeah. And you don’t want it to explode on your rug as you’re carrying it out of the house. Right? So there was a story I read, I was doing homework on this. And I don’t know, you probably don’t know that back in the 60s, we were looking at doing a nuclear war against the Soviet Union. And there were fallout shelters all around the country, they were being built in major buildings. And in one of these buildings, they did a test to see what happens and they shoved – I don’t know how many people got put in there. But they put people in there, they had plastic bags, and they went to the bathroom, and they tied up those plastic bags, and they put those bags in the back room somewhere. 

And within like a week and a half, two weeks, they had to stop the program, because the methane gas was blowing up those bags and they were exploding. Things to keep in mind, there are hazards, hazards with everything. That’s one thing you want to keep in mind. That’s why you want to keep the chlorinated powder on it, some sort of sawdust to absorb some of this. And when you seal it up, you don’t want to make it so airtight that any gases can’t get out. 

Okay, give it some wiggle room.

Right, you want to keep it tight enough that you’re not going to pour anything out, you want to let the gases escape. And then obviously, you want to keep that stuff stored someplace where the local critters cannot get to it. That’s one way. 

Another way, depending on where you live at, is dig a cat hole. I don’t know – some of you, if you go camping, know what a cat hole is right? Go out there and get your trowel and you dig a hole and you do your thing and you bury it. And that works perfectly. Except if you only have one backyard and you got 15 people using it. Then you get to a point of where’s the cat hole going to go, then you start re-digging. So you have to think about that. 

If the worst-case scenario comes, then you’ll build a trench, use the trench, every body will use the same trench until it’s filled to a certain point, then you’ll cover it and build another trench. But then we’re looking at days, days and days. That’s a long-term thing. So usually, you know, worst-case scenario, you can go to Home Depot, pick up a five gallon bucket, they also have little toilet potty seats that fit on those buckets, put a bag in it, you can use it, you can wrap it up, you can take it away and keep using it until you’re done. Urine can go anywhere. So actually people don’t know but urine is basically sanitary already.

I learned that in having babies. They’re like “yeah, you don’t have to do a big clean up after they go pee. It’s pretty sanitary.”

So if you have to urinate, you know, pick the tree in the backyard, go there. That’ll be good. 

Yeah, it’s mainly number two to be concerned about. Are there any differences for septic tanks? 

Well, septic tanks, you know, as long as they’re intact, depending on what the situation is, there really shouldn’t be. As long as you can get whatever into it, into it. If you’re flushing – I don’t know, if you have pumps that have to pump into it. I’m pretty much most of its gravity fed. Right? So the key issue is if the septic tank is intact, and now if it’s not, then it’s already leaking, and it’s already making a mess. I can say well keep using it. That’s gonna be your call. It’s going to be up to you to decide what you might have to do with that.

Okay, fair enough. All right.

Keep in mind, top floor this is just one thing I want you to remember. So, if you live in a multi-storey floor – and I mentioned earlier, the flushing is bad because you’d never know if things are broken below you. But there’s another situation with that, a lot of people don’t know, what does your water come from? If you live, let’s say in the seventh or eighth floor of a 10 storey apartment building, where is that water coming from? 

Most of it gets pumped to the roof to a cistern. And then it gets gravity fed back down to the apartments below it. So at some point, you’re going to run out of that water also. And then even if you live on the 10th floor, you got to figure out how you’re gonna go to the bathroom, because you can no longer flush that toilet.

An important thing to think about. Okay, so we’ve gone through kind of the basics of those main prongs. I’d like to hear a little bit more about emergency kits or bug out bags, BOB like you were saying, so if we are told there’s fire, flood, whatever it is, and we have to leave with our families, what should we make sure we have?

Okay, well it comes to the basic same categories, shelter, water, food, and sanitation, okay? 72 hours, whatever is in there, you want to have and be able to manage it for 72 hours, you want to make sure it’s weight capable for the person who’s having to carry it. So what that actually means is mom or dad might be carrying more stuff for the kids. 

Because of the weight restrictions, you’re not going to be wanting to carry around canned goods. All right, no cans of soup. They take up a lot of space, and they’re heavy. So that’s why I go with the peanuts, the granola bars, the dried fruits, they’re light. Since you’re only gone three days – I got like a big bag of beef jerky, bag of peanuts, bag of dried fruit, a couple granola bars. This is good for a day and that takes up like maybe six pounds for my whole three days. That’s what I look at. 

I start out with a half-gallon of water. That’s what I start with. And then I have water collection tools which will be empty, collapsible bags, and my life straw. And then I also have iodine tablets. If you can’t use the LifeStraw then the iodine tablets work. They chemically clean your water as opposed to filtering the water. 

So that’s the biggest issue. I mean, there’s not a real lot to worry about there. Good working shoes, walking shoes, extra pairs of socks and extra pair of underwear, you’re going to be gone for three days, bring six pairs of socks and at least four pairs of underwear. You have no idea what the weather’s gonna be like if your feet get wet. You don’t want to walk in wet socks, you get blisters, that’s gonna cause more problems. You get any form of dysentery, you’re gonna go through that underwear. And so you’re gonna want to get that changed out. 

That’s a thing to keep in mind, is dysentery will kill you. So that’s where sanitation comes in handy. Have at a minimum hand sanitizer and latex gloves. If you can wear latex, or nitrile gloves, I use nitrile gloves. They’re expensive, but they’re real good. They’re real thick. That way if you’re handling things, you have no idea where that thing has been, you want to keep the germs off here as much as you can.

Also carry a respiratory mask. I mean,  know we’re all used to that now, but depending on what’s floating in the air, could be a wildfire. Be a tree is falling, building collapses. You don’t want to be breathing that stuff in so you need a mask to protect your lungs.

You would need to be getting kid sizes for that sort of thing as well. 

Exactly. Then you also want eye protection. Spend the money on good military-grade eye protection because that way if anything gets in the way it will tend to bounce off. Plus if you’re out in the sun, you can hurt your eyes. If you’re dealing with the sunshine a lot – most people think I don’t need sunglasses but most people are in household, a inside of a car, inside of a building. You’re not outside all day long. Hats – wide-brimmed hats to keep the sun off your head, off your skin. Then always at least one change of clothes. One pair of pants long pants, women get off the shorts. You’re not going to wear shorts, don’t wear shorts. No midriffs, don’t expose yourself to the bugs.

Yes, we don’t want that.

Long pants, long sleeve shirts. You can always roll up the sleeves if you need to. But that’s the safest way to do it because you never know where you’re going, what kind of terrain you’re going over or what’s going to be broken between you and where you’re going. And you don’t want to scratch yourself up and get injured. 

So, clothes wise, good pair of shoes. Double your socks, double your underwear, pants, long sleeve shirt or raincoat or jacket – depending on the time of the year, a warm coat or jacket. You might have to rotate this out: summer, rain, jacket, winter, cold, parka. Depending on where you live. That means you might have to change that out every year. Something to protect your head, your eyes, your breath. 

Gloves, always have some good working gloves like a leather glove. And then the nitrile gloves to protect your hands from other types of stuff you’re picking up. Sanitation equipment would be simple things. Toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, small like a hotel soap, a washcloth. I use kitchen towels for my towels, or you go by ShamWow – you remember ShamWow, right? 


They work great. They’re small and they dry you real good. Don’t take a lot of space. You don’t have to pack up that real nice, big buffed white towl.

You don’t want to carry that around.

So that’s the basic bugout stuff. You’re looking at 72 hours, you need to get somewhere, either going to be going someplace or staying someplace until you’re rescued. That’s why the 72 hours comes in. Any additional stuff to that would be a whistle. Everybody gets a whistle. I would highly recommend a laser pointer as a signalling device. You see that car down there? You’re stranded up here. Boom. Laser pointer.

Yeah, that’s a great tip.

Yeah, laser pointer. Don’t point them at airplanes unless it’s just like necessary, like a search craft. Then yeah, they’re looking for you anyway. There are laws about using your later pointer and pointing it at an aircraft. So don’t do it. Don’t do that. But yeah, laser pointers are real easy flares. So I call it a flare, it’s like a flare. They also sell, you know, if you want to spend the money, high grade laser flares, which are intended just for that for search and rescue and stuff. But they’re pricey. 

But when we get to cost, keep in mind, when you’re buying this stuff, expect to lose it, expect it to break, expect it to be used once and you’re never going to see it again. Spend the most money and buy the best you can because your life might depend on it. I know people say “what, but it might break.” Right? And I say “would you rather have a $15 item that saves your life and ends up breaking or a 15-cent item that breaks before it can save your life?” So that’s just the way I look at it. I would rather spend the money now, get that tool. And it’ll cost me but it’ll take a lot to break it. And I can rely on it. I’d rather be able to rely on my tools.

Yeah. And mentioning tools. I’m thinking like a multi tool would be helpful as well.

Multi tools or a Leatherman are perfect. Those are real good to have, that’s like the number one thing to have. It’s got all sorts of little gadgets on it that you might need. 

Yeah, can opener, screwdriver. 

Right. Yeah it’s got screwdrivers. When you think of tools, you got to keep in mind, things weigh, they’re heavy. One thing I have in my bag – and that’s because it’s my military backpack, is what I call breaking and entering tools. They’re keys, special padlock keys or master keys to get in and out of places. I’d rather if I have to go through someplace, if I have no recourse. I’ll do it. I’m not worried about getting arrested. 

But you have to learn how to use those things. So a lot of this is going to come into practice with your toys. Yeah, take those toys out, try to break them, see what works, what doesn’t work. Because I guarantee if you don’t use them, and then you need to use them, you won’t know how to use them. So you need to get practiced with them first, make it a family outing. You know, we’ll see what we can do with this, how many locks we can pick. Go to your house or friend’s house and it can be done. And you know, there’s some easy ways to do it. But everyone lugging around a crowbar can get heavy. Everybody lugging around a chain-link fence cutter, that gets heavy. You don’t want to do that.

Yeah, plain and simple. And then thinking first aid, especially with kids too, definitely going to want to have some sort of basics. What are your thoughts on that?

Well, first aid, I highly recommend that everybody takes some training in your basic aid, I recommend the Red Cross. There are other places, National Safety Foundation, a lot of first responder units within communities teach basic aid. Colleges you can get it at. So you have to research within your community. And I say within your community because you need to go there and do it. Don’t watch a video, don’t read a magazine, don’t read a book. Actually get your hands dirty your hands on so you can learn how to do it. 

Your tools for that are basically going to be knuckle scratches and cuts and scrapes. Insect repellent, always have insect repellent and SPF 50 sunscreen, always make sure they’re in there. The other extreme then you want at least one set of trauma leading to holes. That’s like for gunshots or major breaks and legs or major abrasions, we’re talking deep cuts and stuff. So that’s another side and this stuff’s expensive. But I recommend getting the Israeli Bandage, get two sets of tourniquets, get some good medical shears so you can cut the clothes off and around that person. 

There’s a couple things you can keep in there, major compression band-aids and major – you’re looking at soaking up blood, that’s what they’re intended to save the person for. To stabilize them so they don’t bleed to death before you can get help to them or them to the help. Most things are going to be a sprained ankle, a scratched knuckle, a sunburn, the majority of it will be.

So pretty basic: band-aids, cleaning things, tenser bandage.

But again, pull that kit apart, look at it, and use it. Find out how to use it, don’t say, “oh, I got a kit. It’s got a booklet.”

Yeah, get familiar with it.

Everything you do you want to practice with it, everything. That way, you’re not surprising yourself at some point in the future.

And be mindful of that rotation. Because it’s not like food where we’re actively using things as frequently. So to make sure we are replacing things as we’re using it.

Oh, that’s quite true. Yeah. I have the in-house first aid kit, which is basically the band-aids and the burn treatment and the Neosporin and stuff that gets used all the time. Here’s the thing. Keep in mind, if you don’t use them, they will go bad on you. You don’t think about it. But I’ve discovered it because I have this big thing – I know, of curse I have the big one right? And then I needed a band-aid the other day and none of the band-aids stuck because there were so old.

Yeah, yeah, I’ve gone for Band Aid and like the packaging just kind of breaks away because it’s so old.

Oh yeah, you know what I mean, don’t you? So just like food, you have to rotate this stuff. You have to keep it as fresh as you possibly can. 

Mm hmm. Okay. Well, thank you. That’s a lot of really helpful information. Before we sign off, are there any last thoughts or tips or resources you want to share?

Okay, well, we got the shelter, we got the water, we got the food, we got the sanitation, which are the basics. One thing to keep in mind is we can’t always guarantee that we, our family, our group, our team, is going to be together when it happens. Whatever it is. That’s why when I said  – remember, pull that map out, mark where you work, mark where you live, mark where the schools are, mark where your children’s friends’ homes are? Because the odds are real good you’re going to be in one of those places. 

So the key issue is how do you come back together? How do you get yourselves back together? Now, I know my granddaughter when she was young, I knew exactly who her friends were and exactly where they lived. And I knew where she was because I was usually driving her there. So it was not a big deal. But we made a deal and a plan on how we would, if we had to, if for whatever reason, we were going to move to a certain place. Ideally, home is that certain place, that’s where we want to come to. 

But if for some reason we can’t get home because maybe it’s too far of a walk, or the infrastructure is damaged and someone has to go around to get you, then you need to identify what I call the rally point. Where is the place that you’re going to that everyone’s going to be at? It can be the mall, it could be the grocery store, it could be your cousin Brenda’s house, it doesn’t matter. Stay consistent. Don’t change it in the middle of everything. Get consistent with it, and practice how you get in and out of there, how you’re going to get to it from wherever you are, either by car or by foot. 

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And it’s something we can incorporate in our regular conversations with our kids, be like, “oh, hey, there’s the mall, there’s the rally point.” So we can make sure everyone’s on the same page. And it’s something that’s top of mind.

Exactly. And we go on for days with all this stuff. There’s a lot of stuff to think about. But the bottom line is when you start putting these plans together with your family, you start building leadership within your family, you start giving your children tools to think on their own. Because the whole bottom line is, if you, if mommy or daddy are not home, the kid has to take care of themselves. They have to have the tools to do it. So it doesn’t matter how young they are. If they’re old enough to ask a question, answer it. 

And then involve them in the process, all of it. Get your children involved in the process. One of the first things that I do when I’m training in housing is fireproof your house. If you’re living at home, the last thing you want to do is have your home come and bite you. And the kids love that, play with the fire alarms, find ways to escape out of the house. I bet your kid knows more ways to get out of the house than you do. Right?

Yeah, they can get creative, they think more out of the box.

So those are just ways to engage your family, learn things, and develop leadership within your family that will last long after we’re gone.

Yeah, I love that, thank you. And where can everyone go to find you or your book if they’re interested in learning more or connecting with you?

Well, if you want the book, you can go to Amazon. And you can either look up my name, Daniel Kilburn, or Family Urban Disaster Planning. That’s the name of the book, Family Urban Disaster Planning. I’m focused on urban people and families so that’s why I named it that. 

If you want to find more information, you go to the website, which is That’s basically just a blog. But everything we’ve discussed is on that blog, you could go through that blog, go to the site map. And you can find all the tools and all the plans you need to put a working emergency action plan together on your own. To protect yourself, your family, and your loved ones. And if you need more help, there’s a little calendar link, I think on the side there somewhere, where you can say, “Daniel, let’s have a conversation.”

Fantastic. We’ll make sure that is all linked for our listeners as well.

All right, that sounds like a plan. Oh, I did forget one thing. EAP ready, will take you to a quick questionnaire that’ll ask you how well you’re prepared for this, that and the other thing. You’ll have a map that tells you exactly how well prepared you are for this, that or the other thing. And then you can look at it and see “oh, maybe I should do something about that.”

Yeah, I bet that’d be eye-opening and be helpful for knowing where to start.

Exactly. That sounds like a plan.

Great. We’ll add that too. Thank you so much for taking the time to sit with us and share all of this really helpful information.

Well, I want to thank you for thinking about me and giving me the opportunity to share what I know with you and your audience, because I believe everybody should have these tools. And I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this with you.

Oh, you’re welcome. It seems like especially here in BC, more and more of these things are going on, with fires and flooding and so many things. And it’s important that we’re prepared to protect ourselves and our family. 

Well, thank you to everyone who’s listening as well. We’ll have everything linked for you. And you can go ahead and jump into the Facebook group or group chat, and we can chat about things a little bit more. Until next time, take care!


Thanks for listening this week! If you want to chat about this episode with me and other moms, check out the exclusive UM Club Facebook page! Thanks again, and we’ll see you next week!


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