September National Preparedness Month theme and resources

August 1, 2020

National Preparedness Month (NPM) was created to encourage and promote family and community disaster planning throughout the month of September, and provides tools for families and others to continue preparedness habits year round.

The 2020 NPM theme is: “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today” and below are the weekly topics being encouraged by Ready.gov…

Week 1: Sept 1-5  — Make A Plan (Designate meetup places in case you’re separated, know how to communicate with family and friends during disasters, review insurance papers, etc.)

Week 2: Sept 6-12 — Build A Kit (make various kits for family members for your home, office or school locker, and vehicles, plus a grab & go kit (B.O.B.) in case you have to evacuate quickly to a safer location. Do this with all family members – from kids to seniors and pets!)

Week 3: Sept 13-19 — Prepare for Disasters (Find out the best way to limit the impacts an emergency or disaster may have, like having the right insurance coverage, and take some steps to strengthen or improve home, garage and landscape to mitigate damage from floods, high winds, earthquakes, wildfires and more)

Week 4: Sept 20-26 — Teach Youth About Preparedness (Talk to your kids about the types of disasters that happen where you live and travel. Teach them lessons on preparedness so they can be prepared, not scared by practicing fire, earthquake and tornado drills often and making kits together then updating kits twice a year on daylight savings weekend. Find kid-friendly educational resources and activities here and here, and make family preparedness fun and encouraging.)

Learn more about NPM and find resources for each week at Ready.gov and download our free 59-page ebook to help your loved ones and community get more prepared for emergencies and disasters.

Also consider getting some of our customizable 266-page “IT’S A DISASTER!” preparedness and first aid manuals (or PDF ebooks) for your staff, volunteers, students, customers or local communities, and we will donate 15% of bulk orders back to your local volunteer fire department or group of your choosing (plus proceeds also benefit the U.S. First Responders Association.)

Learn more and download a free portion of our book in PDF at www.fedhealth.net


Fedhealth donating 15% of bulk book or ebook orders to local VFD (or charity) of your choice

July 29, 2020

This year’s outbreak has financially impacted first responders and volunteers across the country very hard – especially Volunteer Fire Departments since a chunk of their annual budgets come from community fundraisers like raffles, dinners, street fairs and other public functions.

Many Americans may not realize this but over 70% of our nation’s firefighters are volunteers. They (and volunteer ambulance corps and other first responder volunteer groups) typically don’t have consistant funding so we want to help.

Fedhealth is donating 15% of bulk book and ebook orders back to your local VFD (or charity or group) of each purchaser’s choosing. Plus proceeds also benefit the U.S. First Responders Association.

Our 266-page reference manual has tips on what people should think about and do before, during and after most types of emergencies and disasters (e.g. floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, infectious disease outbreaks, active shooter scenarios, etc.), as well as how to administer basic first aid.

And paperbacks and ebooks can be customized in bulk to include local safety information and plans, evacuation maps, and other specific preparedness and response messaging, plus any other data that agencies, businesses, schools, and organizations want added for staff, volunteers, students, customers and communities.

Paperbacks ($4.50 ea) and PDF ebooks (as low as $1 ea) come with free customization and are great educational tools to help our nation become more prepared and resilient – esp. with hurricane season ramping up and for September National Preparedness Month.

Learn more at www.fedhealth.net or call 520.907.2153 to discuss your needs since we are completely open to any ideas that benefits you, your communities and our nation’s first responders.  

P.S. Please share our funding ideas with your local volunteers and nonprofits to help fund their efforts!

Stay safe ~ j & B 520.907.2153 info@fedhealth.net


Register to get deep discounts on this portable solar charging station and proceeds benefit first responders

July 28, 2020

Cords of Steel and the U.S. First Responders Association invite you to register and learn about the Freedom Voyager — a versatile, unique solar powered charging station for first responders, volunteers like CERTs, Search and Rescue teams, K9 units, adventurers, and families.

Freedom Voyager’s crowdfunding campaign launches soon and if you sign up here, you can receive this portable wireless solar power pack at a very reduced rate, and proceeds benefit USFRA.org as explained below.

Please register here and thank you COS for your support of USFRA and our nation’s heroes! ~ j & B


Earn money for your VFD, CERT, school and others just for who you know

July 8, 2020
fundraiser for volunteers schools

The coronavirus outbreak has financially impacted first responders and volunteers across the country very hard – especially volunteer fire departments since a chunk of annual budgets come from community fundraisers like raffles, dinners, street fairs and other public functions.

Fedhealth has an easy way to help complement fundraising efforts for volunteers (VFDs, CERTs, K9 teams, etc.), nonprofits, schools and others (including individuals) just by spreading the word about our customizable preparedness and first aid book and PDF ebook.

Volunteers and others can…

  • Earn 15% on referred bulk book and ebook orders!
  • Raise funds without taking orders, collecting money, etc.;
  • Just refer agencies, businesses and groups to www.fedhealth.net or ph# 520.907.2153;
  • Fedhealth does ALL the work including providing and helping referrals with free customization then sends referral $$ once order is paid in full!

For example, say a Volunteer Fire Dept or CERT refers a county Health Dept or Emergency Management Agency…

  • County calls Fedhealth direct and orders 5,000 books customized with local plans, COVID-19 messaging, floodplain data, etc.
  • Cost for custom books:   $  22,500  (5,000 x $4.50 / book + free customization)
  • Total amount earned (15%) for Referral: $  3,375

And, if agencies or groups cannot take cash donations, Fedhealth can purchase needed equipment or supplies or provide that value in books or ebooks that can be used however you wish.

Learn more, download a free ebook, and find some handouts to share with others at www.fedhealth.net/funding-ideas.html … or call 520-907-2153 so we can help fund and support YOUR organization and help our nation get better prepared for emergencies and disasters.

Proceeds benefit the U.S. First Responders Association


Customizable PDF preparedness and first aid ebook as low as $1 in bulk

June 12, 2020

One thing this year’s coronavirus outbreak demonstrated was the use of digital products and services can help keep people connected and it’s an easy way to share educational information.

Of course during a grid down post-disaster scenario, digital data may be difficult to access through the cloud, web or cellular services, but technology is being used by all age groups more than ever before.

For over 2 decades we have been customizing our 266-page preparedness and first aid book and ebook in bulk to include local information and plans, preparedness or response messaging, or any other data that agencies, businesses, schools and organizations want included for their staff, volunteers and local communities.  

Bulk paperbacks ($4.50 delivered each) and interactive PDF ebooks (as low as $1 each) also provide match for agencies and nonprofits, and proceeds benefit the U.S. First Responders Association.

Fedhealth and FSC are also developing custom USFRA book and ebook projects for communities around the country in case your agency, business or group would like to collaborate with us using grant funds and/or sponsorships.

Download a free 63-page portion of our USFRA book in PDF and learn more at www.fedhealth.net or call Fedhealth at 520.907.2153 and let’s collaborate to help America get more prepared for emergencies and disasters.

Stay safe ~ j & B


FEMA releases $100 million in EMPG-S funding for ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (and our customizable preparedness book qualifies under this grant and many others)

April 16, 2020

As we wrote on NPSIB, on 14-Apr-2020 DHS and FEMA announced a funding notice for an additional $100 million in supplemental Emergency Management Performance Grant Program funds.

The EMPG-S money is available to all 50 states and 6 territories as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and FEMA will award funding to support COVID-19 preparedness and response; development of tools and strategies for prevention, preparedness, and response; and ongoing communication and coordination among federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial partners throughout the response.

A customizable tool that qualifies under EMPG (and other grants) is our 266-page preparedness and first aid manual (and PDF ebook) that can be customized with extra pages to include local plans, COVID-19 specific data and messaging or any other information agencies, businesses, schools and others want included for recipients.

For over 20 years many local, state and federal agencies and nonprofits have used our customizable book for communities since it qualifies as public education under most grants and provides tremendous in-kind and community match. Plus proceeds benefit the U.S. First Responders Association.

Fedhealth is a sole source, small business registered on GSA’s SAM database, the Ariba Supplier Network and many state and local procurement systems, and we can provide sole source or other documentation needed for work plans, to commit funds, straddle budgets, etc.

Learn more about our customizable preparedness and first aid book or ebook, and download a free 59-page PDF portion of it (that includes some data about coronaviruses and other infectious diseases, family plans, kits, disaster topics and more) at www.fedhealth.net.

And call Fedhealth at 520.907.2153 or email info@fedhealth.net if we can assist with your preparedness and communications needs for your employees, students, customers and communities.

(We’ve extended our hours and working 7 days a week during this outbreak.)


Use this time to learn some preparedness, self-reliance and other life skills

April 6, 2020

While most people feel they are “stuck” at home due to the COVID-19 craziness, this is actually our preferred daily lifestyle.

“Social distancing” has been our norm for 20+ years since we’ve worked from home every day with our businesses (Fedhealth and now FSC), and volunteer with the U.S. First Responders Association.

We might go out once a week or so for supplies or to visit Bill’s doctors as needed, and like to piddle around the yard and garden over past few decades.

After we came back to Texas, we got to help Mom with her chickens and gardens, and enjoy having fresh eggs and veggies. Even though the chickens are gone now, we still enjoy fresh eggs from our local feed store.

With Bill’s various health issues (including celiac disease) we don’t go out and eat so we cook everything from scratch. We buy food and supplies in bulk breaking them down into smaller amounts, and rotate things out constantly so stuff doesn’t get outdated.

And since we fulltime in our motorhome we can relate to those of you with limited space, but we try to keep at least a month or 2 of supplies on hand at all times.

Something this pandemic showed everyone is food, toiletries and supplies run short during a crisis so consider using this time off to learn some preparedness and other life skills.

For example…

  • Download a portion of our preparedness and first aid manual and sit down with loved ones to make a family plan, disaster kits for home and vehicles, learn what to do before and during certain types of disasters (e.g. floods, hurricanes, wildfires, etc.), find some business continuity tips and more at Fedhealth.net
  • Take an online introductory course about CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) covering basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations) on fema.gov
  • Check out some Educational and fun preparedness links and resources for families & kids on our blog
  • Learn how to cook using tips from Cooksmarts.com and Sheknows.com and find some recipes on USFRA.org’s Let’s Eat group
  • Find tips about dehydrating foods here and here
  • Grow sprouts (and put sprout kits in disaster kits as a food item) – more at Sproutpeople.org
  • Plant a garden outdoors and indoors using tips from Almanac.com and WindowFarms.org and Lifehacker.com
  • Learn how to can and store foods for short or long term storage from Millers Grain House and Preparednessmama
  • Learn how to sew and maybe start with making DIY cloth face masks – more on CDC.gov
  • Read more about preparedness, gardening, homesteading, tools, gear & more from…
    • PREPARE magazine and blog posts (we’ve contributed articles over the years that appeared in both free digital and paid print issues – join to gain access to their archives and other features at www.preparemag.com )
    • The Survival Mom has great, uplifting blogs, videos, webinars and free resources for moms and families (plus Lisa has a great book called How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios) at http://thesurvivalmom.com
  • Gaze at the night skies and find the Milky Way, specific stars and constellations (esp. if you have a telescope) – NASA.gov and Space.com have some great resources to get started
  • Snoop at beautiful views and critters at our National Parks using NPS’ virtual park finder site

If possible, limit news and focus time and energy on positive things (esp. if you have 2 and/or 4-legged kids!)

Read, color, play board games or cards, play in the yard or take walks, build indoor forts, organize closets and drawers, learn skills, pray or meditate, enjoy nature and this precious time with family as much as possible.

And one final and very important note …

THANK YOU first responders, military, healthcare workers, farmers, truck drivers, grocery, big box store and restaurant workers, delivery people, and everyone else across the public and private sectors who continue to keep our supply lines open and support those in need during this coronapocalypse!

We’ll get through this together and all be stronger for it.

Share your preparedness and homesteading tips, photos and resources in the comments below and stay safe and healthy out there ~ j & B


Educational and fun preparedness links and resources for families & kids

March 15, 2020

With scenes of empty store shelves, fights over toilet paper and most Americans being told to stay home due to the COVID-19 outbreaks, many of us will have a lot of time on our hands in the coming days and weeks.

And, since internet access is not a problem for most (as it often is whenever there is a weather-related disaster or emergency), there are things people can do to learn more about getting themselves and their loved ones prepared for the unexpected (including a zombie apocalypse!)

The U.S. has approximately 800,000 active Law Enforcement Officials (including Police & Sheriff), 1.1 million Firefighters (over 70% are volunteers), and 210,000 EMT / paramedics meaning there are about 2.1 million first responders supporting over 327 million Americans.

And with some quarantines impacting health and public safety personnel in communities around the country (and world), you, your family and neighbors could be the “first” first responders if an emergency or disaster strikes.

Knowledge is power and can help reduce fear and anxiety. Consider taking the below online CERT course and visit some of the kid-friendly sites near the bottom to educate your family and have some fun while doing it.

Community Emergency Response Team

In the U.S. and Canada, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program helps train volunteers to assist first responders in emergency situations in their communities.

CERT members give critical support to first responders during emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.

Normally the CERT course is taught in the community by a trained team of first responders who have completed a CERT Train-the-Trainer course, and includes disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, basic disaster medical operations, and light search and rescue operations and is usually delivered in 2-1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 7 week period.

FEMA also provides an online study course called “Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams“, IS 317, for those wanting to complete training or as a refresher for current team members.

The online course takes between 6 and 8 hours to complete and includes 6 modules…

  • CERT Basics,
  • Fire Safety,
  • Hazardous Material and Terrorist Incidents,
  • Disaster Medical Operations,
  • Search and Rescue,
  • and Course Summary.

While IS-317 is useful as a primer or refresher for CERT training, it is not equivalent to, and cannot be used in place of, the classroom delivery of the CERT Basic Training.

But it is educational and easy to do from your home or office and is a great teaching tool for your entire family. Learn more at FEMA.gov

Also, if you have high school and/or college kids in your family, Teen CERT can give them the above mentioned skills to protect themselves, their family, and friends in case of disaster or emergency. Learn more at www.ready.gov/teen-cert and share above FEMA course link with them too.

Educational and fun preparedness resources for families & kids:

Free ebook (59-pg portion of our preparedness & first aid manual with tips + resources about floods, hurricanes, infectious diseases (e.g. flu, COVID-19, staph, etc.), wildfires, family plans, kits + more) www.fedhealth.net/look-inside-book.html

Ready Kids www.ready.gov/kids

Ready.gov (resources for families, kids, businesses + pets) www.ready.gov

CDC’s Ready Wrigley www.cdc.gov/cpr/readywrigley

CDC (tips for families, college students & kids) www.cdc.gov/family/healthypeople/  

CDC’s Zombie preparedness www.cdc.gov/cpr/zombie/

Sesame Street (Let’s Get Ready) www.sesamestreet.org/toolkits/ready


Some things YOU can do to stop the spread of flu, coronaviruses, staph and other infectious diseases

March 11, 2020

As we wrote last month, there are some things people can do to help reduce infectious diseases like flu, coronaviruses and other cooties in your home and work environments.

How infectious diseases spread…

Most infectious diseases are spread by close person-to-person contact primarily by touching people or things contaminated with bodily fluids (like pee, poop, sweat, droplets from sneezing, etc) — then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Other diseases (like MRSA) can be spread by sharing personal items like towels or razors or by medical staff using contaminated items like stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, clipboards or charts, and pens. Keep in mind some bacteria or viruses can survive on objects for days, weeks or months.

Some things YOU can do to reduce the spread of germs

Since Bill is very immunocompromised, we are again sharing some things I / we do constantly to keep germs at bay with links to some of our blog posts.

  • Carry disinfecting wipes in your vehicles and backpacks, and put some in a baggie before you go out in public to wipe down surfaces of things you have to touch and/or to wipe your hands. (Keep in mind most wipes use ammonia, but there are some industrial wipes that use bleach instead. But never mix ammonia and bleach!)
  • Keep a box of cheap plastic disposable gloves in your vehicles so you can put on a pair when pumping gas or using ATMs or even shopping.
  • Wipe down everything that comes into your home with disinfecting wipes (or a rag dipped in water and bleach solution) including groceries or other items you buy at stores or something that is delivered to your door via ground or postal service.
  • Before you set your purse, backpack or briefcase on your kitchen table or countertop …think about all the places you put those things during the day! Either have a special place for these items in your home or office … or be meticulous about wiping them down before putting them on furniture, counters, carpet, desktops, etc. Also consider getting portable purse hooks to keep it off the floor of restaurants, public restrooms, etc.
  • Did you know cellphones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats..?! Think about all the places you use and place your phone every day. Then remember … germs thrive in warm environments and smartphones generate heat — plus your hands, face, mouth and body heat (if you carry your phone in a pocket) all add to the cootie cocktail so learn how to clean your phone.
  • Consider getting a UV disinfectant wand because its light rays kill up to 99.9% of germs and comes in handy for all types of handheld devices, ear buds, keyboards, remotes and many other gadgets and household items where cooties can thrive.
  • Fist bump rather than shaking hands — or just tell people you don’t shake hands. And if you do shake someone’s hand don’t touch your face (esp. eyes or mouth) before you are able to wash your hands.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An easy way to mark the time is to hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice while scrubbing. If in a public bathroom, use paper towels to turn off water and to open the door when leaving.
handwashing tips
  • When should you wash your hands?
    • Before, during, and after preparing food
    • Before eating food
    • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
    • Before and after treating a cut or wound
    • After using the toilet
    • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After touching an animal or animal waste
    • After handling pet food or pet treats
    • After touching garbage
  • When you can’t wash hands while out in public, use a hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol in it) or disinfectant wipes on hands (and keys, glasses, door handles, steering wheel, etc.) to reduce the spread of germs. But keep in mind sanitizers don’t work against some bugs so it’s best to wash up. Also people with celiac disease (like Bill) can’t do alcohol sanitizers so find other options like disinfecting wipes or gluten-free sanitizers.
  • Tell healthcare workers and visitors to wash their hands before they touch you or your stuff — don’t be timid!
  • If you have a fever, stay home! And wait at least 24 hours after fever breaks before you return to work or school.
  • Use antibiotics or antiviral meds only when absolutely necessary. Consider boosting your immune system to help fight infections.
  • Sick people should cover mouth and nose with tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, wash hands often, and wear a face mask around others so you don’t spread your germs to others.
  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered until healed.
  • Clean counters, doorknobs, fixtures, phones, remotes, nurse call buttons, linens, phones, etc. often with a bleach solution ~ esp. if in a nursing home or hospital room.
  • Disinfect things many people at work and school use like microwave buttons, spigots on water coolers, keyboards, calculators, phones, pens, staplers, etc. with a UV wand or bleach solution often or at least carry around some disinfecting wipes so you can clean items before use.
  • Don’t share silverware, razors, clothing, towels, or bedding and wash objects with soap and hot water.
  • Follow doctor’s instructions and limit activities outside home until fever and symptoms have gone away.

For more information about infectious diseases, visit…

Center for Disease Control

Flu.gov

National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases

WHO Infectious Diseases


Medical Reserve Corps volunteers strengthen America’s public health

March 2, 2020

Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network of volunteers, organized locally to improve the health and safety of their communities.

The MRC network currently comprises over 180,000 volunteers in 830+ units located throughout the United States and its territories.

MRC units are community-based and function as a way to locally organize and utilize medical and non-medical volunteers who want to donate their time and expertise to prepare for and respond to emergencies and promote healthy living throughout the year. MRC volunteers supplement existing emergency and public health resources.

About the Medical Reserve Corps

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, many Americans asked, “What can I do to help?” Public health professionals were among those who wanted to volunteer their services, but many were not able to find a way to do so. While these professionals had applicable skills sets, they could not be deployed. This was because they were not identified, credentialed or trained in advance. So, the Medical Reserve Corps was created to build a group of people who can assist existing local public health in the event of a true public health emergency or disaster.

MRC was originally a partner program with Citizen Corps and resided under HHS’ Office of the Surgeon General. In 2015 the MRC was welcomed into HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Office of Emergency Management family. MRC also works closely with the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) to enhance MRC units’ ability to meet local, state, and national needs through collaboration, coordination, and capacity-building activities.

MRC units engage volunteers to strengthen public health, improve emergency response capabilities, and build community resiliency. They prepare for and respond to natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, and floods, as well as other emergencies affecting public health, such as disease outbreaks. They frequently contribute to community health activities that promote healthy habits.

Volunteers include medical and public health professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, and epidemiologists. Many community members with non-medical backgrounds—interpreters, chaplains, office workers, legal advisors, and others—can fill other key support positions.

Credit: MDRMRC

Some examples of activities that MRC volunteers participate in and support include:

  • Emergency Preparedness and Response Trainings
  • Mass Dispensing Efforts
  • Emergency Sheltering
  • Vaccination Clinics
  • Responder Rehab
  • Health Education and Promotion
  • Disaster Medical Support
  • Outreach to Underserved Community Members
  • Medical Facility Surge Capacity
  • First Aid During Large Public Gatherings
  • Engaging Youth in Public Health Activities
  • Planning, Logistical & Administrative Support
  • Health Screenings
  • Veterinary Support and Pet Preparedness
  • and more!

To volunteer or partner with your local Medical Reserve Corps, visit their Find MRC Units page to locate the unit nearest you and reach out to the unit coordinator and visit https://mrc.hhs.gov to learn more about this great organization.

MRC Network Well Check Webinars

MRC Network Well Check interactive webinars provide MRC unit leaders and State Coordinators with information on a wide variety of topics, largely determined by members’ interests and needs. Through these ongoing wellness check-ups of the MRC network, members will be provided a platform to connect, share, and learn with your peers and leadership, plus some members will also be asked to serve as presenters.

Webinars are typically held on the first Tuesday of each month at 2p ET and run about 60 minutes long primarily focusing on a specified topic. Many include a Q & A period and highlights from the field, as well. Visit https://mrc.hhs.gov/pageviewfldr/WellCheckCalls to find upcoming and archived webinars.

Many MRC units use customized It’s A Disaster books

Since Medical Reserve Corps’ creation in 2002 many Health Departments and MRCs (+ EMs, CERTs, etc.) have purchased our 266-page preparedness and first aid manuals customized both in the print process and using standard red books with stickers for volunteers, events and local communities.

Our IT’S A DISASTER! bulk price is only $4.50 U.S. each delivered (70% off list on 10 or more copies) … and we can customize them for free to include data about your MRC unit, how to become a volunteer, public health information and more. And our book qualifies as community education on most grants providing about a $4-to-$1 return that can be used on matching grant programs.

Download a free 59-page portion of our book in PDF and learn how to order paperbacks (or ebooks) at www.fedhealth.net or call 520.907.2153.


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