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  • Preparedness in the News: 5 Things to Know This Week (Dec 14-19, 2014)

    Justin Sullivan_Getty Images_Almond Farmer_CA Drought

    A tractor plows a field in Firebaugh, California, on February 25. Almond farmer Barry Baker had 1,000 acres — 20% — of his almond trees removed because he didn't have access to enough water to keep them alive. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

     

    Here are five need-to-know news stories in the world of emergency preparedness for the week of December 14–19.

     

    1. 11 trillion gallons of rain still needed to end California drought

    Recent rainstorms have brought hope to Californians, but the state still needs 11 trillion gallons of rain, or about 17 million Olympic-size swimming pools full of water, to end its extreme drought, according to NASA. More rain is in the forecast this week, but from gentle storms, not the torrential storms needed to make headway towards filling California’s parched reservoirs. Get your fill of the story at www.cnn.com.

    2. Potential Christmas week storms may bring snow, travel headaches

    Preliminary forecast conditions for holiday weather show rain and snowstorms across the lower 48 states, indicating travel conditions could be hairy. A cold front is expected to drive into the East Coast and significant flight delays may impair the Chicago area. Many areas may experience a white Christmas, though with the holiday several days away, forecasted conditions could change. Chill out with the whole story at www.weather.com.

    3. American Red Cross teaches children about emergency preparedness through game app

    Seven to eleven year-old children can learn emergency preparedness skills the fun way through a new app released by the American Red Cross. A game helps children learn to identify hazards and to use emergency supplies. The app works on both IOS and Android. Learn more at www.wday.com.

    4. Survival kits being ordered for every major bank in the U.S.

    Every major bank across the United States will soon have emergency preparedness survival kits. The kits will include everything from water purification tablets to solar blankets in preparation for potential terrorist attacks, and may cost the government up to $200,000. Order up the full story at www.freebeacon.com.

    5. FEMA hosts third emergency-preparedness symposium

    The National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC) recently held its third training symposium to train state and local agencies in hazard response, including counterterrorism; explosives; and chemical, biological, and radiological attacks. Learn more at www.bioprepwatch.com.

    More Headlines From Around the Globe:

    The debilitating outbreak sweeping the Americas
    Japan Snowstorm Dumps Feet of Snow, Kills 11; Hundreds of Flights Canceled
    California Storms Bring More Flooding; Mudslide Closes Portion of Interstate 91 in Orange County
    China approves experimental Ebola vaccine for clinical trials
    Concerns Over Flu Outbreak and Vaccine

    -- Caroline

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, Current Events

  • California Rainstorms Bring Flooding, Mudslides

    California Rainstorms Bring Flooding, Mudslides

    It’s been a tough water year for California. We’ve talked about the drought pretty extensively here on the blog, as well as some surprising effects it has had, like increasing rattlesnake populations in residential areas—in addition to the expected effects, like increasing food costs, more frequent and damaging wildfires (see here and here), and skyrocketing prices at water auctions.

    California started getting much-needed water last week, but it’s coming in a series of downpours that have flooded streets, caused mudslides that overtook homes and stranded motorists on the Pacific Coast Highway (a portion of the PCH is even shut down completely for 3-4 weeks because of the damage), and temporarily cut power to around 100,000 customers in the Bay Area. There was even a small tornado in south L.A. that blew the roof off one home.

    Just this month (1st-15th) it has rained 9.14 inches in San Francisco—compared to 2.08 inches that fell in almost six months last year (July 1 to Dec 15th). The ground just can’t absorb the water at the rate it’s falling, which leads to the mudslides and severe flooding that happened this week. Evacuations have taken place in several Southern California communities, and more will happen if the rain continues at these rates.

    A heavy storm is expected to come into Southern California Tuesday afternoon, leading to concern over more possible mudslides and flood damage. Northern California can expect rain and snow until Wednesday.

    Many California residents are unprepared for power outages, evacuations, and flooding—while others are ready, having prepared in advance for just these types of emergencies, with survival kits, family evacuation plans, and emergency gear they can rely on during the storms.

    Instagram user @annettecardwell posted this photo on December 10th with the caption “House is sand bagged, hatches are battened, fireplace is roaring. Ready for #hellastorm”

     

     

    House is sand bagged, hatches are battened, fireplace is roaring. Ready for #hellastorm

     

    A photo posted by Annette Cardwell (@annettecardwell) on

    Google brought their sense of humor—and a raft—along for the ride… because you never know.

    Twitter user @dwnydaisy seemed all set to go the day the storms hit.

    Unfortunately, there were also a lot of messages like this one from Twitter user @krisellelaran, who thinks Californians aren’t well prepared.

    Some California residents even had to evacuate because the storm downed power lines onto their homes.

    Being prepared doesn't always mean you get to stay home, or that there isn't damage to your property, but it does mean there’s less to worry about in a crisis.

    To prepare for heavy storms that cause power outages and evacuations:

    • Get an emergency kit for everyone in your household.
    • Buy or build a power outage kit for your home—you’ll appreciate having it during short outages where you get to stay home, as well as serious storms that require evacuation.
    • Develop a household or family emergency and evacuation plan.
    • Build up a supply of food storage and water storage you can rely on in long-term emergencies as well as short-term crises that last just a few days or weeks.
    • Research and develop important skills you can rely on for communication or survival.

    Prepare in advance, and you'll be ready for the next #rainpocalyspe or #hellastorm that comes your way.

    --Sarah

     

    Sources:

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/waterlogged-northern-california-rain-27626164

    http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2014/12/13/pineapple-express-storm-system-pounds-california/

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-first-storm-of-three-southern-california-20141216-story.html

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-portion-of-pch-to-be-closed-20141215-story.html

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, rainstorm, Current Events, flood

  • Give the Gift of Gear: for the Outdoor Enthusiast

    Give the Gift of Gear: for Outdoor Enthusiasts

    Hello again, from the helpful elves here at Emergency Essentials! We hope you're having a happy holiday gift shopping experience this year—our goal is to make it even easier and more pleasant for you. In that spirit, here's the final installment of our gift guide:

    Excellent Ideas for the Outdoor Enthusiast on Your List

    Under $25: Let’s start with the basics. We know that there is no such thing ever as too many multifunction tools. Most of the outdoorsy types we know have whole dresser drawers full of pocket knives and Leathermans, and are still (always) on the lookout for the perfect one. Here, then, is s must-have for any such collection: the card-style, 11-function survival tool. Fits easily into a pocket or wallet, making it one that your giftee can use on the trail or off.

    And we have to mention this screaming deal. Normally $24.95,  the Military Spec Prismatic Sighting Compass is on sale this month for only $7.99! Not your run-of-the-mill pocket compass, this fancy-schmancy version is as precise as a GPS, but with no battery to run out on you in the middle of a four-day excursion. And it comes with a neat little carrying case.

    Under $50: Speaking of screaming deals, what would you say if I told you you could get your beloved outdoorsman a four-man tent for under fifty bucks? How about a lightweight, ultra-compact Twin Peaks Mountain Trails tent with all the bells and whistles (rain fly, mud mat, etc.)? This is the perfect tent for a multi-day hiking trip, or to keep in your car or pack for unexpected overnighters.

    Under $100: Just because these outdoor nuts willingly sleep on the hard ground in all weather doesn't necessarily mean they like it (okay, some do—guess that’s why we call them “nuts”). Give the gift of comfort this year with the Klymit Static V Luxe Sleeping Pad. The unique chamber design keeps the sleeper supported and warm through the night, and it rolls up so compact, your camper won't even notice it in his or her pack.

    Over $100: We’ve saved the best for last. The Grand Poobah of all gifts. The most cherished and most coveted by all who enjoy the cold and wet. Yes, folks, you guessed it. It's the Kelly Kettle. More specifically, we’re talking about the Kelly Kettle Large Stainless Steel Basecamp Combo, which includes not only the speed-heating kettle and stove, but a pot for cooking, a support grill, and a can of FiredUp fuel and firestarter. This really is our favorite outdoor accessory, and we know the outdoor fanatic on your list will love it. They might even stay inside long enough to thank you.

    What do you think? Any great ideas for the campers and hikers that we've missed? What are you getting your outdoorsman/woman this year? Or, if you are one, what's at the top of your wish list?

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: gear, outdoors, gift guide

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