During a major disaster, water mains can break, the municipal water processing system may fail or plumbing may be otherwise disrupted. At the same time, something we take for granted, a flushing toilet may not be available. In the event of an earthquake or hurricane it’s not too much of a stretch to expect that your plumbing, both incoming and outgoing could be disrupted.
Human waste, if not disposed of properly, can not only cause a sanitation and hygiene mess but if not managed properly will spread disease. This is known as a secondary disaster.
For those who live in rural areas and your waste is managed by a septic system, you may be in good shape, barring any damage to your plumbing. Some of the newer systems being designed are dependent on an electric pump or grinder. If that’s the case, then a reliable generator needs to be a part of your plan. Our disaster preparedness plan isn’t complete until we have considered some alternative way to dispose of waste.
Several solutions are available from a toilet seat that snaps to the top of a five-gallon bucket for $10, to a chemical porta-potty costing $200 plus. If you opt for the five-gallon bucket solution, don’t forget to get some small trash bags to use as liners.
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti taught responders several lessons. In a region that was marginally sanitary in the best of times, it became painfully aware that in a post-event environment, the health climate deteriorated rapidly and drastically because of the lack of adequate sewage capability. Health officials are still battling cholera in Haiti.
Any disruption of sanitary service poses significant health risks. Every so often a major city experiences a shutdown of garbage services. The mountains of accumulated trash are an attractive nuisance to all sorts of disease-bearing vermin, including rats, mice and dog packs.
On a different note, researchers are learning about compost piles and their drawbacks after a disaster. Composting is basically managing the decomposition of certain biodegradable products. In other words and in base terms: it is simply a managed collection of garbage intended for a noble purpose, eventually. (My apologies to all organic gardeners everywhere.) The word of caution here is to insure your compost pile is well-secured and does not get scattered nor become an attractant for disease-bearing rodents or other scavengers. Communities will have their hands full trying to restore basic services without worrying about the runaway rat population.
As always send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns can be found on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is a retired Postmaster living in Myrtle Point, Oregon, and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers.
The Interior Alaska Building Association’s Home Show, sponsored by Lowe’s, takes place March 23-25 at the Carlson Center. The show’s continued success attracts statewide and nationwide businesses alike and has become a major community event for people interested in every aspect of northern living. From financing to new construction to remodeling to refurnishing…it’s all there in one location. There will be over 140 vendors and free seminars all weekend with tips and advice on improving your home and saving you money! Thanks to additional sponsors, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and Seekins Ford, for helping make this year great. This year’s theme is “Fun & Games” so bring the family!
March 23 – 2pm-8pm
March 24 – 10am-6pm
March 25 – 11am-5pm
Admission is $5 for adults, children 12 and under free
Dervish have been bringing Irish traditional music to the world for more than 25 years. Described by the BBC as “an icon of Irish music”, the band have played at festivals from Rock in Rio to Glastonbury, toured with the Irish President and struck up tunes on the Great Wall of China.
Dervish are long-established as one of the biggest names in Irish music internationally. They’re renowned for live performances which match dazzling sets of tunes with stunning interpretations of traditional songs. Their studio and live albums – 12 to date – make up one of the outstanding catalogues in Irish music. They are regular visitors to the US, where their concerts are often sold out, however their fan base stretches across several continents. They spend much of their time travelling across Europe, and have also toured in Asia, South America and Australia.
Dervish have a line-up which includes some of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians, fronted by one of the country’s best-known singers, Cathy Jordan. The Guardian newspaper commented: “Dervish are simply brilliant . . They carry Irish history with them.”
All six members of Dervish are steeped in the musical traditions of counties Sligo and Leitrim in north-west Ireland. It’s an area which matches Atlantic coastline with storied mountains and rural landscapes. It has inspired a host of musicians, artists and writers, including the Nobel Prize-winning poet W. B. Yeats. The Dervish line-up is well established. In fact it includes four members from the earliest days of the band in 1989 – Shane Mitchell (accordion), Liam Kelly (flute/whistle), Brian McDonagh(mandola/mandolin) and Michael Holmes (bouzouki). Singer Cathy Jordan, also a mean bodhran (drum) player, joined in 1991 and fiddle Tom Morrow in 1998.
By Leslie Shallcross
Just knowing that this is National Nutrition Month may nudge us a tiny bit closer toward better food habits. Most of us can sort the less healthy from the more healthy, but what should we aim for to be certain that we are eating well?
The 2015 U.S. dietary guidelines plus more recent studies should give all of us a few things to strive for if we are in the market for a health-promoting food plan. As a reformed vegetarian now eating meat and known to have an affection for bacon, I hate to say it, but a “plant-based” diet is likely to be yours and my best bet for better health. This is not really new; by another name, this is the “Mediterranean diet.” It’s low in animal protein, has very little sugar, and the saturated fat from animals and plants is replaced with unsaturated fats like olive oil, safflower or canola oil.
Indeed, claims of benefit from the Mediterranean diet multiply weekly – well, it seems like it anyway. And the pluses are pretty great — following this pattern might help you avoid heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Several studies conclude that the Mediterranean eating pattern, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil, may help the brain stay sharp into old age and a recent study in 6,000 individuals showed reduced overall frailty in seniors.
The Mediterranean diet became widely known for the first time in the 1970s from the “Seven Countries Study,” conducted by researcher Ancel Keys. At the time of his early research, certain areas of the Mediterranean had the lowest recorded rates of chronic diseases and the highest adult life expectancy in the world. Since then, there have many indications that adoption of a Mediterranean diet is associated with decreased chronic disease and all-cause mortality.
So what does the Mediterranean diet look like in more detail and what can you choose to work on during National Nutrition Month?
Most food and calories should come from high fiber, colorful plant sources, including fruits and vegetables, potatoes, breads and grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. To the extent possible, food should be fresh, locally grown and homemade, which may maximize the health-promoting micronutrient and antioxidant content of these foods. This means fewer highly processed foods like chips, breakfast cereals, cookies, etc., and fewer pre-prepared convenience foods.
Olive oil is the principal fat, used in many cases as we would use butter or margarine in baking. Total dietary fat may range from less than 25 percent (about 4 tablespoons if you are eating 2,000 calories a day) to over 35 percent of calories, but saturated fats account for no more than 7 to 8 percent (1 1/3 tablespoons) of calories. Canola oil, which contains similar fats to olive oil, and other oils like sunflower or safflower are good choices to replace butter or margarine.
The Mediterranean pattern includes one to two servings daily of cheese and yogurt (ask your doctor if you should take more calcium).
Choose healthy protein sources such as fish or chicken several times per week and use plant protein sources in place of animal protein at most meals — dried beans, nuts and tofu. Consume red meat, cured meats and cold cuts less than once per week. Eggs are limited to zero to four per week, including those used in cooking and baking.
Sweet treats containing significant amounts of sugar or honey and saturated fat are eaten only a few times per week or less. If you have dessert, make it a dried, frozen or fresh fruit.
Water should be the beverage of choice but unsweetened coffee and tea are okay. Keep juice consumption to no more than 1 small cup per day.
The Mediterranean eating pattern relies on herbs, lemon juice, citrus peel, vinegar and wine for flavoring. You don’t have to cut salt out altogether but keep added salt to a minimum. If you give up most pre-processed foods and make most of your meals at home, you will have made great headway in reducing your salt intake.
To see even more details, check out the Harvard University Healthy Eating Plate and Healthy Eating Pyramid at http://bit.ly/2GQNn40.
Leslie Shallcross is the Tanana District health, home and family development agent for Cooperative Extension Service, a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She can be reached at 907-474-2426 or email@example.com.
Photo Courtesy Dwight Phillips