Blackboard showing summer quiz
Ready to test your knowledge???

If you think you’ve got this preparedness thing pretty well handled, you’ll enjoy this quiz. Can you answer all these miscellaneous questions that popped up this past week?  (Full disclosure – I flunked this summer quiz!)

Three Summer Quiz Questions:

  1. Selling your house? What’s the new California law that went into effect July 1?
  2. Bad weather forecast? What’s likely to cause the most damage from a thunderstorm?
  3. Expecting power outages? Should you build a zeer pot?

And here are the answers:

Question 1: Real Estate

As of July 1, 2021, if you are selling a property located in a “high or very high fire hazard severity zone,” you’ll have to have documentation proving that vegetation on your property complies with local vegetation management ordinances. (AB38 Disclosure Requirements)

What are the ordinances, you ask? How do I prove I’ve met them? Well, it seems that local fire departments can set their own over and above the state requirements. The local fire department will also do an inspection. Best way to find out more: go to your favorite browser and search for “Vegetation Management Standards – My Town.” You can also head to this wildfire website for general info plus links to specific codes.

Question 2: Homeowner’s Insurance

Answer to the thunderstorm question: hail!  This should immediately prompt another question: “If hail damages my house, will my insurance cover it?” As always, the answer is “It depends.” From what I can find out, generally your homeowners insurance WILL cover hail damage. But, it’s hard to prove if you don’t have good BEFORE and AFTER photos. And if you live in states with frequent hail storms (Missouri and Kansas, for example) your policy might have exclusions or limitations. Two recommendations: check out this general discussion of hail and insurance. Read the whole article for some good suggestions regarding roof damage.

If you’re really interested in more, sign up for this upcoming webinar on earthquake science and risk associated with hail, from Corelogic.  (Corelogic webinars are terrific.)

Question 3: Zeer Pot

I can’t believe I hadn’t heard about the zeer pot for refrigeration, also known as pot-in-pot refrigeration. It’s a simple and centuries-old way of keeping food cool in locations where (1) the temperature is high (2) humidity is low (3) water is available to “feed” the pot and (4) you have shade and breeze.

The underlying cooling concept: evaporation. You can find multiple YouTube videos about how to build your pot, plus many survival sites with descriptions. (This one has step by step illustrations.)

Here’s a simple description adequate for the summer quiz.

Start with two large clay pots, one small enough to fit inside the other with about an inch to spare all the way around. (Seal up drainage holes in the bottom first!) Fill the space between the two pots with sand. Pour water into the sand until it can hold no more. Place vegetables in the center pot. Cover the whole thing closely with a cloth and wet it thoroughly. Keep it wet.

Best foods to store: eggplants, tomatoes, greens, peppers, carrots. You can also cool drinks. The evaporation can cool the inside pot as much as 30 degrees below ambient temperatures! (“As much as” doesn’t mean it will reach temperatures as cold as an electric refrigerator, so don’t try storing meat.)

If you track it down on the internet, you’ll see zeer pots in use in Africa, where they have brought about major changes for the food supply. People can store foods more effectively, either to sell or to plant.

I think building a zeer pot would be a great summer project for you, for kids, maybe for a group. Here are links to Amazon that would get you the basic building blocks for the pot. (Of course, you can head to your local garden shop, too!)

Yishang Large Terracotta pos with Drainage Hole and Saucers,Ceramic Clay Planter Pots for Indoor/Outdoor Plants,6 Inch & 7 Inch & 8 Inch,Set of 3

For your zeer pot you'll only need the two biggest pots. Use the small one to grow some herbs or maybe an Aloe Vera plant!

Mosser Lee ML1110 Desert Sand Soil Cover, 5 Pound

I think sand is pretty much sand, but of course you don't want bugs in it . . .

Hope this summer quiz has been fun for you and has added to your store of emergency preparedness ideas. Remember, the more you prepare, the fewer surprises you’ll encounter.

Your Emergency Plan Guide team

P.S. Let me know how you did!