Valley News -

By Diane Sieker

Residents attend the Aguanga Emergency Preparedness Seminar


Last updated 9/21/2018 at 1:27am

Diane Sieker

Bill Donahue introduces speaker Jim Kirkland of Orange County Preppers at the Aguanga Emergency Preparedness Seminar Thursday, Sept. 6.

Aguanga residents heard from lecturer Jim Kirkland of the Orange County Preppers at the Aguanga Emergency Preparedness Seminar at the Community Hall Thursday, Sept. 6.

The seminar covered the various elements of being prepared for long-term power outages due to fires, earthquakes, other natural disasters or even economic collapse.

Organized by Debbie Skinner, a well-known prepper and self-sufficiency advocate, the meeting was attended by about 40 residents.

"Jim Kirkland put on the best 'Beginning Preparedness' presentation that I've attended," Skinner said. "It included a very informative PowerPoint presentation that covered real life preparations that would be necessary for possible scenarios in our area (power outages, fires and earthquakes). He threw in a bit of humor along the way and kept everyone engaged. Jim mentioned to me after the seminar that those in attendance were one of the best groups that he ever spoken to."

Bill Donahue, a retired commercial electrician, opened the meeting by offering a primer on generator care, maintenance and uses. The run on generators and the resulting issues during the Cranston Fire prompted his advice.

"Connecting the generator into your house panel, rather than using extension cords to feed selected equipment can be difficult," he said. "Many people back-feed their panel through a circuit breaker and turn off the main feed from the utility. This is a dangerous way to connect a generator. If you forget to turn off the main, you can back-feed the grid, putting linemen in danger. If your back-feed is detected by the utility company, it will delay their ability to re-energize the grid while they divert resources to trace down the source of the back-feed. If it is not detected and the grid power is restored, it is very possible for the generator to burst into flames. Please, please, please use a transfer switch if connecting your generator into the panel at your home. It is the correct way to eliminate any possible back-feed from your generator."

Better yet, he said, hire a professional to do the job.

After his talk, Donahue introduced Kirkland, who shared the prepping way of life with the crowd and covering several hours of lessons into almost two hours.

According to Kirkland, whether it's an earthquake, fires, forced evacuation, mudslides, demonstrations and riots, floods, collapse of the financial system, etc., everyone should have a basic set of plans to cope with anticipated events. He detailed a formal, organized list of skill sets, touching upon shelter, sanitation, food, water, first aid training, cooking and security needs.

Water supplies are paramount, he said, as death occurs quickly without it. He said that a good calculation figure is 2 gallons per day per person and described the various ways to store up to a year's supply. Commercial water storage containers are good, and water filtration units are a must, Kirkland said, as some disasters could result in months without power to pump local wells.

He conducted a question-and-answer exchange throughout the lecture.

Kirkland gave examples of reliable survival books and several authors, as well as a publication offered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are always encouraged to keep a year's supply of water and food on hand .

"Latter-day Saints are expected to have one year's supply of food, because a disaster or emergency doesn't have to be a hurricane, doesn't have to be a tornado, it could be you lost your job and you couldn't find a job in a year and you've got kids to feed," Kirkland said. "Look up LDS Survival Manual; it's a download for 25 bucks."

Commercially prepared freeze-dried food options were discussed, with Kirkland recommending higher-end products over military ready-to-eat meals, which are only made to last about three years before degrading into the inedible realm.

"MREs are not designed for long-term storage," he said. 

He discussed security and advised people to be discreet if sharing their supplies with friends and neighbors in the event of a long-term power outage.

"If you have it, they will want it," he said. He cautioned the audience about different forms of self-defense and advised them to be well-versed in current self-defense law.

Kirkland has been involved in fires and earthquakes which directly impacted his home and family and spoke from experience of the urgency of being prepared.

He stressed the importance of being able to shelter the family if the house becomes unsafe, such as with an earthquake or mudslide. Tents, RVs and travel trailers are excellent in these cases, he said.

Kirkland talked about preserving foods using seal-a-meals, dehydrating, canning and other methods. He recommended high-calorie options and lots of variety.

Quality foods, pumps, tools, shelters, knives, medical supplies and water filters are important, he said.

"You don't want to see anything in there that says, 'Harbor Freight,'" Kirkland said, jokingly.

Diane Sieker

Don Alexander contributes his knowledge of a reverse-osmosis system to the conversation at the Aguanga Emergency Preparedness Seminar Thursday, Sept. 6.

As the meeting drew to a close, he continued to answer questions from the interested audience.

A seminar for the Sage area may be planned for the near future, and for those who were not able to attend, Kirkland made his PowerPoint presentation available online. 

"I uploaded his PowerPoint presentation to most of the local Facebook groups including Anza Bulletin Board, Southwest Riverside County Preparedness and Self Sufficiency Bulletin, Aguanga Bulletin Board and Sage Community Talk," Skinner said. "You can find the informational file under 'Files' and the title is 'Aguanga Emergency Preparedness Seminar presented by Jim Kirkland (OC Preparedness) - Sept. 6, 2018.' Anyone not on Facebook that would like a copy, please shoot me an email at [email protected], and I'll send you one."

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at [email protected]


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