• Hurricane Hazards

    Have you heard the one about hurricanes in the middle of a drought? They’re called “The Carolina Hurricanes,” and their 6-year playoff drought is a real disaster. But hurricane (and hockey) jokes aside, let’s get down to business: hurricane hazards.

    Famous for torrential rain and lashing winds, do you know where most hurricane damage occurs? If you say flooding, you’re right! You rocked it, as they say, like a hurricane! Most hurricane damage is caused by flooding, and not generally from the rainfall, but from rising ocean levels called “storm surge.” This storm surge affects more than those on the coast, too; storm surges can penetrate many miles inland, as we recently witnessed in New Jersey during hurricane Sandy.

    Hurricane Hazards - Storm Surge National Hurricane Center

    A storm surge is a huge wave of water caused by a storm’s strong winds. They can reach as high as 20 feet and can span hundreds of miles of coastline. Storm surges can damage buildings, erode and cause damage to beaches, and are one of the leading causes of death during hurricanes.

    A prime example of the devastation a surge can cause is in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. According to the National Hurricane Center, “at least 1500 persons lost their lives during Katrina and many of those deaths occurred directly, or indirectly, as a result of storm surge.” This is one reason those ordered by government officials to evacuate should do so without delay. Staying behind could be disastrous.

    Because it’s easier to visualize a storm surge with, well, visuals, I have two videos that will help you understand what they are and how you can prepare. This first video comes to you from the U.S. National Weather Service will help you learn more about storm surges and where to go for more information regarding this hazard:

    Ready.gov and the National Weather Service have some great information on hurricanes, their hazards, and how we can be ready.

    This next video is an animation retrieved from the National Hurricane Center shows an example of the destruction a storm surge can do when a hurricane comes in:

     

    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/surge/animations/hurricane_stormsurge.swf

     

    Besides storm surges, there are many other hazards associated with hurricanes. As if being in a hurricane isn’t disaster enough, tornadoes are also a common inland occurrence that accompany hurricanes. In fact, the National Weather Service claims that “in recorded history, almost every tropical storm and hurricane that has come onshore in the U.S. has produced a tornado.”

    Hurrican Hazards - Rip Current NOAA.gov

    Another hurricane hazard are rip currents. Rip currents aren’t your ordinary ocean shoreline current. Strong winds can almost reverse the natural shoreline waves that, instead of pulling water towards shore, actually pull away from shore. These currents are deadly, and hurricanes can produce these currents at our shores from hundreds of miles away. For example, the National Hurricane Center reported that “in 2008, despite the fact that Hurricane Bertha was more than a 1,000 miles offshore, the storm resulted in rip currents that killed three people along the New Jersey coast and required 1,500 lifeguard rescues in Ocean City, Maryland, over a 1 week period.”

    Even 1,000 miles offshore, Bertha produced strong rip currents that effected swimmers on the shores for over a week! That right there is a great reason to always check the water conditions before you hit the beach. After all, rip currents often form on calm, sunny days.

    Hurricane Hazards - Winds The Telegraph

    This article on hurricane hazards just wouldn’t be complete without talking about the high winds that accompany hurricanes. A category 1 hurricane starts with wind speeds of 74-95mph. As the wind speeds increase, so does the category number, until it reaches category 5, which is 157 mph and higher. Even a category 1 hurricane will have dangerous winds that will produce damage. As the category number rises, so will the damage it causes. Check out this link here for more information on hurricane categories, their wind speeds, and what to expect from the damage they will cause.

    Hurricanes do have something of a bright side. Unlike tornadoes and earthquakes, this natural disaster tends to give us several days’ notice, so there should be time to board up, alert the family and evacuate if need be. However, don’t expect to be able to stock-up once news of a hurricane hits; stores will be picked bare within an hour of when ground zero is identified.

    Know the hazards hurricanes bring so you can keep yourself safe.

     

    How do you prepare for these hazards? Let us know your thoughts in comments!

     

    Hurricane Hazards - Main Page

    Posted In: Additional Reading, Disaster Scenarios, Insight Tagged With: storm surge, winds, rip current, hurricane hazards, Hurricane

  • Cooking Off Grid

    Have you ever considered how much of our lives are spent in the kitchen? For many, these are delightful hours spent in creative bliss. For others, it’s get in, get out, and move on to other less tiresome activities. Either way, preparing food is an essential part of daily life, and an activity that can be greatly disrupted in an emergency.

    During a natural disaster or home emergency, you might not be able to stay put. Even if you can reach your kitchen, your power or gas might be out, rendering appliances worthless. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have ready an alternative method for cooking, so you'll be prepared when it comes to cooking off grid.

    One option is the Cube Stove. The Cube Stove is a lightweight, stainless steel frame in which you light fuel disks while setting cookware on top. Selling for under $40, the Cube Stove is lightweight, folds easily, and is something you can take with you anywhere you go. It’s a great option not just for emergencies, but also for taking out with you camping, fishing, or hunting.

    Other alternative cooking options are Solar Ovens. For Between $115 and $350 you can harness the power of the sun, cooking without any other fuel source! Of course, daylight is an essential, yet unpredictable part of solar oven cooking success. But when it’s shining, these solar ovens get hot enough to bake a loaf of bread or roast a chicken, even on cold December days.

    Do you have alternative cooking options in your arsenal? As a member of the Prep As You Go program, we’ve arranged special deals for you, offering both the Cube Stove and the Sport Solar Oven at the best prices ever.

    Also, during the month of June, we are encouraging everyone to go out and practice their prep. Practicing your preparedness is a great way to find out just how ready you actually are. Couple cooking outside on camping trip in the wildernessWhy not take your portable Cube Oven or your Sport Solar Oven outside and cook up some of your emergency food storage?

    Now is a great time to get your alternative food prep plan in place, then have fun practicing how you will get coking in an emergency.

    Posted In: Emergency Cooking Tagged With: alternative cooking, solar oven, off grid, Cooking off grid, emergency cooking

  • Why Should You Have Solar Power?

    Following the devastation of the Nepal earthquake, thousands of volunteers flocked to the hard-hit regions to lend a hand and provide aid. These volunteers brought water, food, and shelter to help give life to the survivors.

    And while they bring life, others bring light.

    Solar Power in Nepal CBC

    SunFarmer is just one of the organizations working hard to bring energy and power to the devastated Nepalese cities, towns, and villages. The goal of SunFarmer is to bring the reliable resource of solar energy to developing countries. Nepal definitely fits the bill.

    Not to be outdone, Gham Power is a Nepal-based solar power company that rushed to the aid of its fellow countrymen. Since the earthquake, Gham Power has set lights and recharge stations to help aid workers and those still living in that area.

    While these companies and organizations work to provide light and power to the survivors, my thoughts are brought back to us, today. What would happen if our grid went down? How would we get power? Of course, even before the earthquake, electricity in Nepal wasn’t the most stable of commodities. This solar initiative could help change that, however. Just how stable is our grid? And what’s our backup?

    Following Hurricane Sandy, over 8 million U.S. homes were left without power for days, and some even weeks. That, my friends, is a lot of dark days and even darker nights. Sometimes it can be hard to believe that such a power outage could even happen here. But, if one super storm can wreck the grid like that, who’s to say it won’t happen again? And when the grid goes down, you’ll definitely want an alternate power supply.

    Power and light are very important to us as human beings, both in our every-day lives and as survivors of a disaster. The CEO of Gham Power in Nepal explained why being left without power is so discomforting:

     

    Solar powers light Eco Watch

    “First, you don’t want to be in the dark, as it’s scary, you don’t feel safe, and it is also very cumbersome to get, or administer relief without light.

    “Second, in this day and age, your first instinct is to reach out for your loved ones to check if they are okay and let them know you are okay, and when you reach for your mobile phone, it’s dead and there is no place to charge it.”

     

    Without power, life really can be much more difficult. Fortunately, we live in a day and age where we don’t have to rely on just one source of power. As we’ve seen from the examples of Gham Power and SunFarmer, solar power is a viable option for providing ourselves with power. Of course, there are other sources of power out there (wind, hydro, etc.), but solar power can be used in most every part part of the world, regardless of geography. Except maybe the North Pole during the winter, where night can last more than 24 hours. But other than that, you should be good.

    Another reason why solar power is so great is that it can be a portable energy source. This means you can have power for your phone, laptop, or TV not only during emergencies, but anytime you’re away from a wall plug, like while you’re out camping.

    Check out our line of solar products and other alternate energy sources to find something that would fit your needs. Be prepared with power whenever you need it, wherever you need it.

     

    What is your preferred source of alternate energy?

    Posted In: Alternative Energy, Disaster Scenarios, Equipment Tagged With: Alternative energy, solar power

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