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  • When Lightning Strikes will you be prepared?

    According to Time magazine’s online newsfeed, the US Geological Survey has  published a new map of the United States. Broken down by county, and based on data from 1995 to 2009, this map shows the relative rate of lightning strikes across the nation. As the headline suggests, “You Have the Highest Chance of Getting Struck” in the darker red areas, which appear concentrated in—but not exclusive to—the Northeast and Southwest US. Estimated averages range from 50 to 200 fatalities each year from lightning strikes, but even a non-fatal lightning strike can be traumatic and cause injuries.

    I know at this time of year, most of us are more worried about rain choking our gutters. While it’s true that summer poses a greater threat of lightning striking, any time is a good time to inform and prepare ourselves. (And if you think lightning won’t strike at the end of winter, check out this unbelievable video  from Lexington, KY, that shows 11 strikes in one minute!)

    We’ve written about lightning before, once to publicize Lightning Awareness Week  last June and a more thorough article  later that summer, with loads of links and resources. Those are great places to start—especially if you live in one of the areas highlighted in the USGS’s new map!

    Want a bit more reading? WikiHow has a great little eight step list with pictures, titled (appropriately) “How To Avoid Getting Hit By Lightning”. And ScienceDaily.com  takes a medical view of the phenomenon, offering an ER doctor’s perspective on what happens when someone is struck by lightning and what you can do to help.

    Don’t let the stormy season creep up on you. No matter how chilly or beautiful it is in your area right now, be prepared for any weather disaster!

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: storms, lightning, thunderstorms

  • 5 Ways to Start a Fire with Water

    A crucial skill to have in practically any emergency situation is knowing how to build a fire. Whether you get lost overnight on a ski trip or your car runs out of gas as you pack up to leave your campsite, knowing how to build a fire and stay warm could save your life.

    So what’s the best way to build a fire? “Building” a fire typically comes in three stages: gather the materials, lay the fire, and then start it. Check out our Insight Article to learn “How to Build a Fire” using these three stages.

    However, in an emergency situation, there’s one other item that could actually help you start a fire that many overlook—water. It’s true. Grant Thompson, from thekingofrandom.com, shows five ways you can start a fire using water. Check it out:

    There you have it: five ways water can start a fire. Four of Thompson’s five fire starting methods show you how to use water as a magnifying glass to spark a fire, letting the power of the sun do all the work (or at least a lot of it!). But e But B ven if there’s cloud cover, you aren’t out of luck. With just a few supplies you can still ignite a fire in seconds.

    If you plan to use water to help you start a fire in an emergency, make sure to add the following supplies to your emergency gear so you are completely prepared.

    Method 5:

    • A light bulb. Make sure your bulb has been rinsed and cleaned according to Thompson’s directions. Cushion the bulb with fabric, grocery sacks, or other forms of padding to keep it from breaking and place it in a small container before you put it in your emergency supplies.
    • A balloon to cap off the end of the light bulb after you’ve filled it with water

    Method 4

    • Plastic wrap
    • A bowl

    Method 3

    • Plastic wrap
    • A picture frame

    *For this method, make sure you have a way to securely attach the plastic wrap to the frame and to heat water.

    Method 2

    • A juice bottle (that looks like a bubble) filled with water

    Method 1

    • Toilet paper
    • Toilet paper roll
    • Small chunks of sodium
    • Jar lid

     

    Caution! Playing with fires is dangerous so make sure to have proper safety gear (a fire extinguisher, goggles, and leather gloves) with you when practicing these new ways to start a fire. Also, make sure to light fires in a cleared area away from flammable objects or dry grass.

    These are some fun, unique methods you can use to start a fire, but don’t forget about the traditional methods as well. Adding items such as the Sparkie, the P-25 Strike Master or FiredUp! firestarters to your emergency supplies are reliable ways to get a roaring fire and warmth fast. (Or, taking a hint from Thompson, how about a magnifying glass?)

     

     

    Sources:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCyHC7lnMyQ

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, emergency preparedness, fire, fire starting

  • How do Earthquakes impact your Mental Health?

    After a 4.4 magnitude earthquake shook California residents on St. Patrick’s Day, many people have found it difficult to shake their high-strung nerves, according to CBS Los Angeles’ article, “‘Earthquake Nerves’ could Impact Mental Health’”.

    Emotional aftershocks are common after experiencing emergencies or natural disasters. But did you know these aftershocks are capable of affecting your mental health if you ignore them?

    One of the most important things you can do after a disaster, according to Psychiatrist Charles Sophy, is to talk about your experience. Sophy believes emotional signs such as the inability to fall asleep or the lack of hunger are “signs that you’re still very upset [and] are red flags that you need to do something, which is either talking to [another] adult or call[ing] your doctor. Talk to your husband, your partner, whatever, but you’ve got to talk about it.”

    Talking about your experience can help alleviate the stress and anxiety that comes from the lack of control you felt during a crisis. It’s equally important to talk with your children if you’re a parent and to not underestimate or downplay the danger of earthquakes. Read the rest of the article here.

    Preparing will help alleviate some of the potential emotional turmoil and distress that comes from emergencies. Focus on the following areas (in addition to gathering gear and supplies):

    1. Prepare your home: You can prepare your home by building a supply of food, water, and gear to help you survive after an earthquake. You can go even further by bolting down furniture or securing vases, frames, and other moveable objects with an adhesive putty or gel, like these from Quake Hold.
    2.  Prepare your children: Teach your children how to stay safe at home, school, and while outdoors during an earthquake. Also let your children help make a plan, build an emergency kit, and get involved. Check out Ready.gov for ideas on how to include your children.
    3. Prepare yourself: Prepare yourself emotionally and physically for an earthquake. If you’ve taken the above precautions and prepared your home and your children, you’ll be able to better focus on keeping your emotions in check during an emergency.

     

    What precautions do you think are the most important to take for an earthquake?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, Earthquake, national disaster

  • Caught in a Mudslide: Survivors' Stories from Washington state

    Imagine hearing a crack and then sliding from zero to 20 miles per hour in half a second while sitting in the front room of your home. That’s how many described the massive mudslide that crashed through a neighborhood in Washington state on Saturday, March 22.

    As the mudslide rushed towards the homes below, people frantically cried for help. Evacuation teams immediately worked to rescue people from their homes, airlifting them from destroyed structures.

    One survivor spoke with the Washington Post about her experience:

    “I looked out the window, and I saw this huge wall of mud – must have been 20 feet tall. We went moving, and we were tumbled. I had a mouth full of mud, and nose full of it. We were under everything, and we had to dig our way out,” said Robin Youngblood.

    “To all my family and friends in many parts of the world – we’re all OK,” Youngblood wrote on her Facebook page after the event. “We don’t have a home at present, its only matchsticks, the landslide took it out with Jetty and I inside. It was a wild ride. We were airlifted out by helicopter after about an hour. The only thing that survived besides us is a painting called Night Warrior…”

    Read more stories from survivors from the Washington Post here.

    The rescue effort is still underway as volunteers search through the rubble. Right now the death toll is at 14, although emergency officials expect it to rise, and there are 176 people unaccounted for. Our hearts go out to all those suffering from this natural disaster.

    Landslides can be fast-moving or slow; they can cause damage gradually or destroy property and take lives in an instant. They can happen anywhere and for a variety of reasons (heavy rain and snowmelt, shaking due to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, erosion, and gravity, etc.).

    So what should you know about avoiding or preparing for landslides?

    The Red Cross shares three tips to help you avoid or prepare for landslides.

    1. Learn about your area’s landslide risk. Landslides tend to repeat in places where they have occurred in the past. If the home you’re hoping to build or buy is in an area where a landslide has occurred before, think seriously about choosing a different location.
    2. During severe rainstorms, avoid roads that may be in the path of a land/mudslide. Heavily saturated ground makes the chances of a mudslide more likely.
    3. Generally, landslide insurance is not available. However, some flood insurance companies may cover damage caused by debris flow. Check with your company and see how you can protect your home and personal property in the event that a mudslide does happen in your area.

     

    Have you ever been caught in a mudslide before? What was your experience? What would you do differently if you could?

    Photo Courtesy of the Washington Post

     

    Sources:

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/03/24/2-killed-in-big-wash-mudslide-sheriff-office-says/

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/03/24/the-fatal-mudslide-in-washington-what-was-it-like/

    http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/landslide

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, natural disasters

  • The Farmer’s Market Vegetable Combo gives you the flavors of ultra-fresh vegetables right in your food storage supply. These staple ingredients, along with others, are great for delicious side dishes or healthy, vegetarian-style meals. Check out what you can do with just a few vegetables.

    Food Storage Pasta Primavera

     This refreshing dish is great to eat for a light lunch or dinner

    This flavorful combination of crisp carrots, green peas, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, and more gives you a light and healthy lunch or dinner selection. Enjoy the refreshing flavor on a summer’s day outdoors or in the office.

    Fresh Farmer’s Salad

    This fresh vegetable salad gives you refreshing flavor using vegetables from the Farmer's Market Combo

    This fresh vegetable salad will brighten up your table using crisp broccoli, green beans, green peas, zucchini, and tomatoes tossed with a tangy oil and vinegar dressing.  This dish gives you a light meal great for lunchtime.

    For a variation, try making this salad into a Cobb Salad by adding Yoder’s Bacon.

    Hearty Strawberry Smoothie

     Try this delicious smoothie for a sweet, hearty way to start your morning

    For the lacto-ovo vegetarians (what most think of as basic vegetarians who avoid all meat but still eat eggs and dairy) out there, this sweet, addicting breakfast smoothie will give you the energy you need with fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains to keep you going all day long. This smoothie combines the unique, hearty texture of oats to complement the sweet flavor of fruits, giving you a one-of-a-kind dish.

    Broccoli and Green Beans

     This broccoli and green bean dish is a fantastic side to eat with practically any meal

    Bring a mouthwatering flavor to your table with this simple, yet tasty, side dish. Savory garlic and red pepper flakes combine with fresh-tasting green vegetables to bring you a crisp, flavorful dish that’s great to eat at home or to share with friends and family at a picnic or barbeque.

    Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

     Cheesy, saucey noodles stuffed with cottage cheese and vegetables give you a remarkable meal you won't forget.

    Make a flavorful gourmet meal for dinner tonight that’s sure to become a family favorite. Again, this is one is for lacto-ovo vegetarians who enjoy dairy. This meal can easily be made with or without meat. Spinach, an abundance of cheese, and a delicious tomato sauce will have you begging for more.

    For a variation, add Provident Pantry Freeze Dried Sausage Crumbles to the mix.

    Zucchini Corn Fritters

     This sweet and savory dish is a great way to welcome summer

    These fritters will have you rushing the table for the last one. The sweet, delicious flavor combined with fresh-tasting vegetables makes this a dish that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

    Do you have any favorite vegetarian recipes you’d like to share?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, recipes, vegetables, #10 cans, freeze dried food, vegetarian, emergency cooking, food storage meals, meals

  • Have you ever thought about keeping bees?

    Well, if you haven’t thought about it—or you’ve considered it but haven’t taken the leap—here are four great questions to answer before you decide to become a beekeeper extraordinaire.

     

    Beekeeping for Beginners_Part One

     

    Do I have the space?

    Bee hives themselves don’t take a lot of space; they actually have quite a compact footprint (see this video for a good look at the size and setup of a beehive). But you’ll need to consider the fact that bees will be flying in and out of the hives near ground level—meaning they’ll be flying through your yard right at just the right height to disturb people and pets who may be enjoying some time outside.

    There are steps you can take to direct the bees’ flight path in and out of the hive (placing a bush or other “barricade” a little bit in front of the hive entrance to direct them upward), but space can still be an issue—so be sure to limit the number of hives to a reasonable amount for your acreage (or lack thereof).

     

    Do my family members and neighbors have objections?

    In theory, it’s easy to say that it doesn’t matter what other people think, but because your family and neighbors will likely have (hopefully harmless) encounters with your bees, getting their buy-in is a great idea—especially in suburban locations.

    In more rural locations, or if you have a lot of acreage, you can place the beehives far enough away from your family’s usual haunts that they can easily avoid too much contact if bees give them the heebie-jeebies.

    One of the most important factors when addressing concerns of family and neighbors is allergic reactions. If you’ve got a family member or close neighbor who’s deathly allergic to bee stings, reconsider keeping bees on your property. The risk simply isn’t worth it. And if you don’t know whether you’re allergic, get tested before you get started—a surprise reaction to a bee sting can turn into a scary, even deadly, situation.

     

    What are the zoning laws or other restrictions?

    While it’s kind of a bummer to think that keeping bees might actually be illegal in your area, it’s better to be aware before getting set up than to pay fines and have to call it quits after you’ve got a good colony thriving.

    If beekeeping is against zoning or other restrictions in your area, you may be able to find a local farmer who, if they aren’t already maintaining hives themselves, would welcome someone to set up hives on their land. You may even be able to work out an agreement that allows you to keep them there for free in exchange for honey, beeswax, or a combination of both. Win-win!

     

    Am I dedicated and patient?

    Keeping bees isn’t rocket science, but it does take dedication, patience, education, and planning. If your plan is to get a big, golden payday right off the bat, then you’re probably best off just buying a SuperPail of honey. It can take up to a year to get a colony established and producing enough excess honey for you to enjoy it without harvesting the honey that will sustain the bees through the winter. But if you’re willing to put in the work, the rewards are well worth it.

     

    Think you’re ready to dive in? The American Beekeeping Federation has a few Beekeeping FAQ’s that will help you get think through some of the logistics of getting started.

     

     

    Sound off:

    Do you raise bees? What other questions should beginners consider before starting a hive?

    Are you newly interested in taking up beekeeping? What questions or concerns do you have about getting started?

    We’d love to hear what you think in the comments.

     

    Sources:

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/improvement/lawn-garden/diy-backyard-beekeeping-47031701#slide-1

    http://youtu.be/zDZDYgBkCx0?t=11s

    http://www.abfnet.org/index.cfm

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: homesteading, raising animals, beekeeping

  • DIY Rabbit Hutch Projects

    Once you've decided to raise rabbits for food storage, the next question to ask yourself is where am I going to put them? Since you are raising rabbits for self-sufficiency, and not as pets, it may be helpful to keep them outside to make that distinction clear (easier said than done, I know.)

    Traditionally, outdoor rabbits are kept in hutches. A hutch is a cage that is usually made of wood and is enclosed with wire mesh. Most hutches have tall legs to protect the rabbits from predators on the ground. You can also build a hutch without legs to keep on a table or, in warm climates, directly on the ground.

    Rabbit hutches are fairly easy to build and serve as excellent DIY projects to complete over the weekend. You can make hutches out of pallets, shelves, and even old dressers.

    Here are 5 great DIY rabbit hutch tutorials from the web to get you started:

     

    Tiny Homesteaders.com “Making Yet Another Rabbit Hutch out of Pallet Crates"

    Space is a very important factor when building a hutch. Since your rabbit will spend a lot of time there, it’s important that they have enough room to move around.  This hutch is a great example of giving your rabbits enough space:

     Rabbit Hutch via TinyHomesteaders

    Photo Courtesy of Tinyhomesteaders.com

     

    Mother Earth News’ “DIY Rabbit Hutch from Wood Pallets”

    When building a hutch, it’s important to have at least part of it enclosed so it will be dark enough when your rabbits need to sleep—or so they can hide if they feel threatened by predators.

     Rabbit Hutch via Mother Earth News

    Photo Courtesy of Mother Earth News

     

    Monsterguide.net “How to Build a Rabbit Hutch”

    Since rabbit hutches require regular cleaning (we’re talking on at least a weekly basis), make sure your hutch is built in a way that provides you with easy access to get the job done—like this one.

    Rabbit Hutch via MonsterGuide dot net

    Photo Courtesy of Monsterguide.net

    Bettaliving.org’s DIY Rabbit Hutch Plans

    This step-by-step guide (with in-depth instructions and pictures for each step) is a great source if you want to build a hutch on the ground. Rabbit hutches built on the ground are better to use in warmer climates, but even then should provide a way for your bunnies to take shelter from predators or rain.

    Rabbit Hutch via BettaLiving.org

    Photo Courtesy of Bettaliving.org

    For Urban Homesteaders: DIY Project: Nicole’s Modern Bunny Hutch

    This hutch is made from an altered dresser. It’s a great method for building a hutch if you live in an apartment or don’t have yard space for a traditional hutch.

    Rabbit Hutch via Design Sponge

    Photo Courtesy of DesignSponge.com

     

    Looking for more tips on building a rabbit hutch? Check out these links:

    http://www.amillionlives.net/build-a-rabbit-hutch-protective-shelters-for-the-bunnies-dwelling.html

    http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/getting-a-hunch-about-rabbit-hutches.html

     

    Have you ever made a rabbit hutch? What’s the best setup you’ve found?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: rabbits, DIY, homesteading, raising animals

  •  The Shamrock Shake: California's 4.4 Earthquake

    Imagine waking up, not to your alarm clock, but to a magnitude 4.4 earthquake! What could you do to protect yourself if you were still groggy in bed when the quake started?

    This was a question many California residents had to ask at 6:25 a.m. PDT on Monday, March 17th, when a magnitude 4.4 earthquake was reported in the southern California area. This monumental earthquake was quickly labeled the #Shamrockshake by California residents and news teams on Twitter in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

    According to Robert Graves, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, this quake was the biggest shake in southern California since a magnitude 5.5 earthquake in Chino Hills in 2008. This unexpected quake reminds us of the importance of emergency preparedness, especially since Graves suggests that earthquakes of this magnitude often act as preludes to equal or stronger shakes.

    In fact, Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, suggests that "today's earthquake is a reminder that every L.A. family must be prepared with food, water, and other essentials, as well as a plan" even though there was no major damage reported in the area. But preparations don't just stop at food and water; there are also things you can do to prepare your home like bolting down furniture or securing bookcases.

    To find out the latest about California's 4.4 earthquake, check out the L.A. Times article, " Earthquake: 4.4 quake strikes Los Angeles; 6 aftershocks so far." Also, follow the #Shamrockshake Twitter hashtag for continual updates.

    As we suggest in our article “Preparing for Earthquakes”, if you're ever caught in an earthquake while you're in bed (like many in California were), hold on, stay there, and protect your head with a pillow.

    For more cool tips about how to prepare for Earthquakes, check out our Insight articles, blog posts and our Preparedness Checklists to start making an emergency plan today.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, natural disaster, natural disasters

  • 3 Emergencies in the past 30 days that needed solar power

    At the beginning of March, a pole fire caused a 7-8 hour power outage for many residents of Orem, UT—one of which was me. As my husband and I scrambled in the dark trying to find our spare flashlights, I quickly realized that we were not as prepared as we should have been.

    Over the past month, other similar emergencies have occurred across the country that resulted in the loss of power. In these specific situations (as well in other emergencies) solar power could have helped ease the tension of the crisis. I know it would have for me! Solar power helps you remain self-reliant in the face of a disaster. Prepping you and your family with solar power can give you the tools and skills you need to help your family get through an emergency much more comfortably.

    Check out these three emergencies that happened in the past month where those affected could have benefited from storing a solar power option.

    Power Out for a Million

    In early February, winter storm Nika spread across the Northeast dropping snow and ice, and knocking out power for an estimated one million people—some were even left without it for days.

    Read the rest of the story here.

    In these icy conditions, a reserve of solar power gear would have helped many people power appliances, and tools for communication. You can charge your cell phone (how will you let loved ones know you’re okay?), your laptop, radio (to keep in touch with news updates), and other electronic devices using solar power.

    Tools such as the Yeti 1250 Home Essentials Kit give you all the tools you’d need to power multiple devices at once. However, if you’re looking for a basic setup to get started, you can add items like the Switch 8 (a compact, portable power pack to power up any device via USB) and a [Nomad 7] solar panel (or other panel) to your emergency gear.

    Possible Attack on the Power Grid

    A 2013 attack on an electric grid near San Jose, CA has many now wondering whether they’d be able to survive a long-term power outage. Since our society relies so much on power, an attack on the power grid could be devastating.

    Read the rest of the story here.

    If the power grid went down, you’d be left to your own devices to light, heat, and cook in your home. Are you prepared to power your own home for weeks or months on end? In this situation, solar power could help keep your family’s perishable food cold, keep the lights turned on in the dark, and provide you with a way to power portable heaters.

    In a long-term emergency, which an attack on the power grid could certainly cause, all you’d have to do is gather sunlight during the day to provide power for your family at night.

    Staying Toasty in Texas: No power? No problem!

    In early February 2014, a gas leak required companies to turn off the natural gas supply for most of North Texas—leaving many without a way to heat their homes on a day when temperatures sat abnormally below-freezing.

    Read the rest of the story here.

    Keeping a portable heater on hand will help you stay warm during heat-related emergencies. But not all portable heaters run on propane. Some portable heaters are electric which wouldn’t be as helpful during a power outage…unless you’ve prepared with solar power. Solar power can provide you with the power you need to run a portable electric heater so you can stay warm.

    You could also try adding a portable heater like the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy which gives you safe, reliable propane heat indoors. No need for electricity at all!

    Why Solar Power?

    Adding gear such as the Yeti 1250 Home Essentials Kit can help you survive an emergency power outage. With the Yeti 1250, you get 1250 watt-hours of power so you can run multiple devices at the same time. Think about powering your laptop, cell phone, or microwave all at once. Having solar power can not only give you power for light, but for communication, cooking, and more.

    The Yeti 1250 Home Essentials’ Kit is ideal to use in a long-term outage such as the one that left a million people across the Northeast without power, or even for a possible attack against the power grid.

     

    This kit includes:

    • 2 Boulder 30M Solar Panels to help you collect power
    • 1 Yeti 1250 —an emission free, solar power generator.
    • 4 Light-A-Life’s to disperse your stored power as light. These lights require low energy so your power can last longer when you need it to most. Light-A-Life’s have been rated for 20,000 hours of use.

    Are you a solar power advocate? What do you use solar power for?

    --Kim

     Editor's Note: The Staying Toasty in Texas event did not encompass the whole region of Northern Texas. The city of Jacksboro was the main town invovled.

    Sources:

    http://www.weather.com/news/commuter-conditions/winter-storm-nika-latest-news-20140203

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, emergency preparedness

  • FREE SHIPPING!

    Get free shipping on orders over $150 during March

    Just a reminder: Order $150 or more in preparedness gear this March and your shipping is totally free. Click here to start shopping.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, survival gear, gear, shipping, free, free shipping

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