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  • Afghanistan Earthquake Leaves Thousands in Dire Need of Shelter

    “We are in dire need of help. The earthquake is not over for us yet. It shook our world.”

    Those words by Wahab Hayat ring true for all affected by Monday’s Afghanistan earthquake which also reached into Pakistan. It may have only rumbled the earth for 45 seconds, but it’s still shaking up thousands of lives.

    Homes Destroyed and Shelter - BBC - Afghanistan Earthquake via BBC

    At least 360 people were killed in the 7.5 magnitude earthquake, over 1,600 people injured, and over 4,000 homes destroyed. Now, just a few days after the earthquake, there is a plea for food, blankets, and other necessities. Most dire for them, however, appears to be shelter.

    In the mountainous regions, heavy rain and even snow have made things nearly unbearable for the displaced in those areas. While it’s bad for adults, they worry more about the safety of the children.

    “Thousands spent Tuesday night in near-freezing temperatures,” reported the BBC.

    Lacking proper shelter following a disaster is something we’ve seen before, and just recently, too. In April of this year, Nepal was hit with the strongest earthquake in its history. It killed 9,000 people, and destroyed around 900,000 homes. Displacement was widespread, and a lack of shelter made it difficult for most, especially when Monsoon season came about.

    To this day, nearly six months later, there is still a need of shelter in Kathmandu and other areas of Nepal. For those in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the need for shelter is become a matter of life and death.

    While government agencies and charities work quickly to bring shelter, food, and other necessities to the hardest-hit regions, broken roads and landslides made it difficult to reach some of the devastated regions. Others are still waiting for help to arrive.

    Child By Rubble - Al Jazeera - Afghanistan Earthquake via Al Jazeera

    These events are tragic, but it is still important that we learn from them. When it comes to emergency supplies, are you prepared to take care of your family for up three days at the minimum? Relying on outside help could have you waiting for days. In the case of the people in Pakistan and Afghanistan, they’re sleeping in the cold because help hasn’t arrived yet. Once their food supplies run out, that’s it. Things aren’t going well for them.

    Of course, it’s difficult to prepare for every single disaster, and every scenario that accompanies them. But you can prepare for the basic necessities. Food, water, and shelter are three of the most important areas to prepare for. Sometimes food and water take top priority. For these people, shelter is what they need most.

    Barebones Inside - Afghanistan Earthquake Inside the Barebones tent

    Start off by having emergency blankets in easy to access locations. If you have a tent, make sure it’s in good condition. If you don’t have one, consider getting one. It’s much more pleasant sleeping in even a tiny tent than outside in the wind and the elements. If you have more room for tent storage, our Barebones tents are the ultimate emergency shelter.

    But no matter what you choose, just make sure you choose something. Here in Utah and other areas of the United States, the nights are already getting a wee bit chilly. If something were to happen to your home now and you were forced to sleep outside, would you have the proper shelter to keep you and your family warm? It’s something to start thinking about.


    Earthquake Banner - Call to Action - Afghanistan Earthquake

  • Natural Inconveniences - Are You Prepared?

    Now that we’ve re-hashed the super-massive, Pacific Northwest-destroying super-earthquake (courtesy of the Cascadia subduction zone), let’s talk about another, just-as-important earthquake.

    Natural Inconveniences - Tiny Epic EarthquakesIt happened on July 1, 2015 in Nova Scotia, Canada, right in the middle of their Canada Day celebrations. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, and Natural Resources Canada reported there was no damage. After all, “none would be expected” by the small, 3.6 earthquake.

    Wait, so why are we even talking about this small-scale earthquake if it’s of no consequence?

    Because it is.

    You see, many people assume that their area is immune from earthquakes, and so they don’t prepare. But as we can see from this example, earthquakes do happen, even if we don’t think they ever would.

    Mike Springer was at his home when the aforementioned earthquake struck. He was quite surprised at the occurrence.

    “Holy mackerel,” he said, as reported by CBC New. “I didn’t think we had earthquakes in Nova Scotia.”

    Welp, turns out you do. But don’t worry, Mr. Springer, you’re not an anomaly.

    Shortly after the major Nepal quake, an extremely rare 4.2 earthquake shook up Michigan. According to a Michigan Live report, this quake was unusual because “Michigan is not on a major plate.” Which goes to show that we can’t necessarily predict the regions in which earthquakes will occur. Ironically, footage of the shaking was captured on video during a pastor’s appeal to donate to those effected in Kathmandu from the Nepal Earthquake. You can see that video at this link.

    Although both these recent earthquakes mentioned have been small and the effects were moot, it helps us realize that, no matter where we are, we are at risk for a potential disaster. It’s not just the Nepal earthquakes or the Cascadia subduction zones we need to be prepared for. We need to be prepared for the smallest inconvenience. After all, if we’re not prepared for an inconvenient natural disturbance, it could end up being more than just a little proverbial thorn in the side.

    Power Outage with CandlesWith the right magnitude or with the epicenter in the right spot, you could be dealing without power. Do you have your alternate energy sources? Earthquakes don’t wait until it’s convenient. One could strike as you’re getting ready for bed, so if you don’t have an extra light or some source of power, brushing your teeth could be done in the dark.

    Speaking of brushing your teeth…What if a water main broke because of the quake? Sure, you could go without brushing your teeth for a morning or night, but that’s not the best for your teeth – or those around you (no offense, but it’s true for all of us). Having an extra source of water could come in really handy then.

    Essentially, we need to be ready for anything. While you may not think that earthquakes happen where you live, you have just seen two examples of quakes that, according to probability, should never have happened in your lifetime. And yet it did. Fortunately, they were just small ones and no harm was done. But before a bigger one happens that should also never happen, go on out and get prepared.


    How have you prepared for those natural inconveniences?


    Earthquake Banner - Call to Action

  • 6 Signs a Tornado Is Coming



    When a tornado touches down near you, will you be ready?

    The state of South Carolina hopes to be. Just the other day they conducted a state-wide tornado drill to make sure they’re prepared when—not if— the time comes.

    Although tornadoes tend to stay east of the Rocky Mountains, they have also occurred in pretty much every state. In other words, you could be affected no matter where you live. This means that tornadoes should be on everyone’s list as something to be prepared for.

    So I ask again: Will you be ready when the time comes?

    Animals Flying Watch out for flying livestock!

    When I think of tornadoes, my first thought is a funnel cloud hurling cows through the air. I’ve never been around a real tornado, but the movie Twister definitely prepared me for flying bovine should I ever find myself near one.

    And then, after the image of the cow flies off into the sunset, I ask myself, “What do I actually know about tornadoes, and how will I know if one is coming?”

    Great questions, Self.

    As tornadoes tend to start showing up more prevalently in the spring (and spring has just about sprung), let me share with you how to know if a tornado is on its way for a visit.

    Of course, the easiest way is to have your TV or radio on. Your local broadcasters will broadcast a tornado warning (right in the middle of your favorite show, might I add). Those tend to come only about 13 minutes before the actual tornado, and can actually come much faster. That being said, not every area will receive a broadcast warning, so knowing the signs of an imminent tornado is very important.

    Although tornadoes can be massive and devastating, they at least have the decency to give us a few warning signs before they officially arrive. These six signs should help you identify tornado threats.

    1. A Rotating, funnel shaped cloud extending from a thunderstorm towards the ground.

    Funnel Cloud

    Alright, so this one is one of the more obvious ones. Tornadoes have to form somewhere, so if you see a funnel cloud beginning to form, this is a very good sign a tornado is on its way. When the weather gets rough, you might want to keep your eye on the sky, just in case.

    1. A dark, sometimes green, sky

    green sky

    Not to be confused with the aurora borealis (aka the Northern lights). This is another reason why it’s good to watch the skies during storms. There is a lot of hail in thunderstorms associated with tornadoes, and so as this hail begins to be whipped around, the light of the sun refracts off the hail, giving the sky a green tint. The sky isn’t always green, however, so don’t be fooled if the sky is just very, very dark.

    1. An approaching cloud of debris

    Sometimes the funnel of a tornado will not be visible. Yet. By noticing a cloud of debris approaching (especially at ground level), that can be a good sign that something even more dangerous is on its way.

    1. A loud roar (similar to a freight train)

    This is especially useful if you don’t live near a railroad. Tornadoes give off a continuous rumble, much like that of a train. Other loud noises come from the velocity of the winds, as well as all the debris the tornado is hurling around and smashing into.

    1. A strange calm after a thunderstorm

    It is not uncommon for a tornado to occur after a thunderstorm. Do not be surprised if you see a clear, calm sky in the tornado’s wake.

    1. Debris falling from the sky

    This is also a good indicator that there are strong winds nearby. If debris starts falling from the sky like rain, chances are you’ll want to seek cover.

    Damage Are you prepared for a tornado's devastation?

    So there you have it. If you keep these six things in mind before and during storms, you shouldn’t be caught off guard by a tornado.

    Remember, when a tornado warning comes, you won’t have much time to prepare. If there is a tornado warning today, the time to prepare was yesterday. Be sure to have your emergency kits packed and ready to go before you even think you need them. For ideas as to what should be included in an emergency kit, check out this article at ready.gov. Or, if you’d rather get an emergency kit already put together, check out our selection here.


    Let us know how you prepare for tornadoes in the comments below!

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