• Fun in the Sun: Keeping Summer Safe

    This is an actual photo of my two-year-old’s legs after only one month of summer. I’m finding that with kids, “summer legs” has almost nothing to do with the shape or shade of my own appendages, and lots more to do with the bruises, bumps, and bug bites that decorate the little legs at our house as soon as the weather’s warm enough to wear shorts.

    We know that summertime holds its own particular hazards: incidents of drowning spike in the summer, and almost nobody loses a finger to fireworks in March. But even the little things—like a nasty sunburn from a fun day on the beach, or getting mosquito bites on your favorite hike—can add up to a seriously unpleasant season, both for you and your little people’s legs.

    Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Actually, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC have you covered, and we’re right there with them! Each organization releases an annual tip list to help families focus on summer safety. Both are organized by category (bugs, fireworks, water, heat, and sun), and the AAP’s list even includes things that might not first jump to mind when we think of summer, like bicycle, skateboard, ATV, and lawnmower safety.

    You can find their respective lists at the links below.

    While a whole lot of this is common sense, a few of these tips were news to me. Like the fact that sparklers can reach past 1,000 degrees F bright or floral prints can attract bees and wasps, and children under 12 shouldn’t operate walk-behind mowers (there goes my four-year-old’s summer job!).

    I like lists like these that give me quick, handy reminders. But if I need more in-depth information on summer-specific solutions, I go to articles, like these

    Whatever your summer plans, please build in some safety prep! We want those little legs in working order come fall!

    What do you do to stay safe in the summer?

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: safety, summer

  • Deadly Twisters in New York

    Tornados are in the news again. This time it’s the Northeast that’s getting the worst of it. Just this month, four people were killed in upstate New York as a twister whipped through the small town of Smithfield. NBC news is calling it the “state’s second deadliest” tornado since the 1950s—truly off the charts for a state that typically sees smaller category tornados and rarely sustains this kind of damage from them.

    According to the AP, Smithfield’s tornados were actually part of a larger storm system battering the region and  leaving more than 350,000 homes without power. You can see a slideshow of the damage to New York and even some parts of Pennsylvania here.

    Apparently, storm and tornado season varies from region to region, with twisters showing up most frequently in the spring down South, and moving up to the Midwest and Northeast through the summer. I’ll let the smart people at weather.com explain why. The same smart people also have a super cool map of tornado risk by month and region, in case you want to check on your area or nail down vacation plans.

    Anyhow, we’re keeping a weather eye on the storms with NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, reading back up on “Preparing for a Tornado,” and hoping everyone’s staying safe!

     

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Tornado, tornadoes, natural disasters

  • 15 Food Storage Hacks to Make Cooking Easier

    You may think of food storage as buckets of wheat and beans that are useless in your everyday cooking.

    Not so, my friends. Here are 15 food storage hacks to make your cooking easier and more awesome on a daily basis:

    1. Dehydrated onion flakes = no chopping onions = no tears. Win.

    2. Freeze-dried fruit crushed into powder in a blender makes an awesome addition to frosting and filling for cakes, cookies, and other treats.

    3. Powdered milk is fantastic for baking and everyday use (especially when you unexpectedly run out and your kids are about to stage a mutiny).

    4. Powdered milk is also great for those who use milk infrequently. No sense in letting half of the container go bad—just mix up the amount you want on an as-needed basis. Also, powdered milk has come a long way since your childhood days of “scorched-tasting” milk. Don’t be afraid.

    5. Use the powder or leftover pieces of your favorite freeze-dried fruits or spices to create delicious compound butters to spread on bread and other treats.

    6. Instead of chopping up garlic, Minced Garlic is a super convenient product to store. It will cut your prep time in half, and you can use it in your favorite meals. (And, bonus, your hands won’t smell like garlic.)

    7. Freeze-dried veggies are an easy way to have seasonal vegetables at any time of year. Add them to soups and casseroles without having to chop, slice, or dice.

    8. Add Peanut Butter Powder to smoothies. You’ll get all the flavor with much less fat.

    9. Use Butter Powder to make spreadable butter in a hurry.

    10. If you get home late or forgot to plan dinner, you can use Taco Mix (TVP) to make tacos in a flash!

    11. Freeze-dried fruit is perfect in smoothies. You can also use Freeze-dried fruits to make apple-peach or strawberry-banana bread.

    12. Looking for a great after school snack for the kids? FD fruits are healthy and taste so good, the kids won’t miss candy (well . . . )

    13. Use Freeze-dried meats as toppings for homemade pizza.

    14. Got a “Helper” meal or pre-packaged meal that requires meat? You can use freeze-dried meats as substitutes in your favorite pre-packaged dishes.

    15. Wheat berries don’t just have to be used for flour. You can use wheat berries as a meat extender or a substitute for meat in meals. Check out our post, “All about Wheat” to find out how.

    How do you use food storage to make cooking easier?

    -Angela, Dawn, and Urban Girl

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, cooking, emergency cooking

  • Preparedness in the News: 5 Things to know this week

    An overhead shot of the California wildfire from July 18th

     

    Here are five need-to-know news stories in the world of emergency preparedness for the week of July 14th-18th :

    1. Typhoon Rammasun Impacts the Phillippines

    Typhoon Rammasun pummeled the shores of Manila on Tuesday, July 15th. After experiencing the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan last year, hundreds of thousands of residents fled to higher ground and worked to shore up their weakened homes in anticipation of more severe storms. Read the full story from Foxnews.com.

    2. California Considers Setting Mandatory Water Curbs

    As a result of the three-year drought impacting California and other states in the West, California lawmakers are considering creating mandatory state-wide water restrictions for the first time during the drought. You’ll be surprised by how much the proposed out-of-pocket fine is for using your sprinkler in California...Check out the full story at foxnews.com.

    3. Chemical Leak Near Thailand’s Eastern Seaport Sickens Nearly 100

    On Thursday, July 17, at least 94 people were exposed to a chemical leak from a ship docked in Bangkok, Thailand. Residents were asked to evacuate the area and to seek medical attention.  Read more about this chemical leak from CBS News. But this is not the first time Thailand has been in the news this summer, read  about the recent political unrest and disaster scenarios people are preparing for in Thailand in our article, “Thailand Natural, and not so Natural Disasters.”

    4. Washington State Wildfires is so Massive it Creates Mushroom-Like Cloud

    Low humidity and 100 degree temperatures have created the perfect conditions for wildfires and large, billowing smoke clouds this week in Washington State. By July 18th, at least 100 homes had been burned. Emergency crews closed sections of U.S. 2 and other main roads across the state. Residents in Leavenworth, WA were asked to evacuate as ash rained from the sky. Read more from the New York Daily News and NBC News.

    5. Scientists identify Mt. Rainer’s volcanic center in detailed photographs

    According to the Science World Report, “Scientists are getting a closer look at Mount Rainier's volcanic plumbing. By measuring how fast Earth conducts electricity and seismic waves, researchers have made a detailed picture of what happens deep beneath the surface of the mountain.” Learning more about this volcano's internal plumbing helps us better predict and prepare for future eruptions. Check out the rest of the story at scienceworldreport.com.

     

    --Angela 

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  •  Thailand Natural and Not-So-Natural Disasters

    Some parts of the world seem to experience more than their fair share of hardship. Consider typhoon and tsunami-prone Thailand, whose recent months of political unrest have heaped threats of violence on top of an already naturally precarious region.

    When news broke of the recent coup, travelers and expats were warned to expect everything from flight cancelations to a shutdown of English language news sources. At the beginning of June, CNN reported that “Normality Resumes: Curfews lifted in three Thai hot spots,” but many experts encouraged most people to prepare for any number of disaster scenarios.

    For example, Expatsblog.com noted that in the event of an Internet blackout, travelers and residents would be unable to draw cash from an ATM, and vendors could not process credit cards. An article from AsianCorrespondent.com, a specialized news outlet, passes along recommendations from foreign institutions within Thailand, reminding people to keep electronics charged, to plan on delays in travel time, and to keep in contact with their embassies.

    The US embassy even offers a program to American citizens abroad called the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which helps disseminate safety instructions in case of an emergency.

    And, of course, in the midst of all this uncertainty, we’re headed into tropical storm season. Predictions for the 2014 season in the Central Pacific, according to the US State Department, anticipate a normal to “above-normal” season. The same agency (and the same link) provides a useful set of protocols for travelers visiting areas like Thailand in the event of a hurricane or typhoon.

    Weather Underground gives us a nice preparedness checklist for the same situation; and our Hurricane Preparedness mini series (along with a great collection of related resources) can be found in the links at the end of our article, “How to Prepare for a Hurricane.”

    Whether the disasters we experience are natural, man-made, or both, we can be prepared to ride out the worst.

    To learn more about what’s going on in Thailand, check out the Businessweek article, “Thai Junta Ends Curfew, Puts Out Welcome Mat for Tourists.”

     

    Do you have any experiences dealing with disasters abroad?

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: natural disasters, travel

  • Can you Recognize the Signs of a Stroke?

    Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States.  Approximately 800,000 people suffer strokes each year, and almost 130,000 of those victims die. According to the experts at stroke.org, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States will have a stroke and one stroke will take a life every four minutes.

    Strokes can happen to anyone at any time regardless of age, sex or race.  In fact, 34 percent of the 130,000 stroke-related deaths reported each year are to people under the age of 65. Women will suffer about 55,000 more strokes a year than men, and African Americans are twice as likely to suffer a stroke as Caucasians.

    So would you know how to recognize the signs of a stroke?  Here’s what you should know to act F.A.S.T if someone you love (or a stranger, for that matter) experiences a stroke.

    Types of Strokes

    Ischemic strokes occur when arteries are blocked by a small blood clot or as plaque and other fatty deposits build up in the arteries.  Almost 90 percent of all strokes are ischemic

    Hemorrhagic strokes: Happen when a blood vessel in the brain breaks open and starts to leak. Hemorrhagic strokes account for just over 10 percent of all strokes.  However, hemorrhagic strokes account for more than 30 percent of all stroke-related deaths.

     

    Act F.A.S.T.

    Learning to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and getting help immediately are very important.  Over 2,000,000 brain cells die every minute during a stroke, and can quickly cause irreversible brain damage. The faster you can recognize the signs of a stroke and get treatment, the more likely any permanent damage can be reversed.  To recognize the signs of a stroke, remember the acronym F.A.S.T.

    F: Ask the person to smile. Does their face look uneven?

    A: Ask them to raise both arms out in front of them. Does one arm drift downward?

    S: Ask them to repeat a simple phrase. Does their speech sound strange?

    T: If the person shows any of these symptoms call for help fast. Call 911!

    It’s very important to learn to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and call 911 as soon as possible.  Time saves brain tissue and could even save a life.  Just remember to act F.A.S.T. Always note the time of day you recognize the first symptoms of a stroke.

    For ischemic strokes, if treatment with clot busting medication is given within the first three hours of the first symptom, long term disability can be reduced greatly.

    There are also other stroke treatments available that may help reduce the effects of the stroke.  Hemorrhagic strokes most likely will need surgical intervention to relieve the buildup of blood in the brain and to fix the leak in the blood vessels.

    -Rick

    Sources

    www.stroke.org

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: First Aid, health and wellness, health

  • Quality, innovation, and value is what you've come to expect from Emergency Essentials, which is why we’d like to introduce you to a new line of knives and tools that share our same standards from Columbia River Knife & Tool® (CRKT).

    These are no ordinary knives and tools. CRKT® products are created by world-renowned designers who took century-old designs and brought them into the 21st century with modern technology and killer design (no pun intended).

    Tested in the field by their experts and ours, these tools make great additions to your survival gear and camping supplies. And with this Special Purchase, you’ll get all the quality you need and the value you expect from Emergency Essentials.

    Check out these select knives and tools and the CRKT® designers who made them. Or click here to shop now.

    Kangee T-Hawk designed by Ryan Johnson

    Kangee T-Hawk       Ryan Johnson

    With 27 years of experience, Ryan Johnson “has spent the last decade applying modern engineering to centuries-old tool and weapon concepts.” His work has redefined the role of tomahawks in Law Enforcement and Military applications, as well as playing a vital role in the special operations community.

    Ryan is currently president and primary designer at RMJ Tactical, LLC, and lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his wife and three daughters. One of Ryan’s designs is the Kangee™ T-Hawk.

    To learn more about Ryan, check out CRKT’s bio.

    Lil Guppie designed by Launce Barber

    CU-K405s       Launce Barber

    Launce Barber designs new products using what he considers the most fundamental tool everybody shares—our creative minds. With a mindset like that, he continually works on improving designs with new solutions to old problems, even after the product has gone to the shelf. Launce finds it important to partner with leaders in the industry who share his same long-term vision.

    Together, he and Tom Stokes—his long-term engineering and design partner—have created a variety of products which have won numerous awards such as Best in Show (SHOT Show 2003), Most Innovative Import Design of the Year (Blade Magazine 2003), and more. Together, they are responsible for the design of the Lil Guppie.

    To learn more about Launce, check out CRKT’s bio.

     

    Elishewitz Tao Pen designed by Allen Elishewitz

    Elishewitz Tao Pen       Allen Elishewitz

    Allen Elishewitz’s versatile background as a martial arts expert, Recon Marine, and classical artist has led him to create innovative knife models, as well as luxurious pens and watches. This world-renowned custom knife maker’s work is collected by heads of state, royal families, members of elite Special Forces units, and other notable groups. Over the years, he has received numerous awards for his work.

    He works from his studio in Canyon Lake, Texas and is the inventor of the CRKT® Anubis, Pharaoh, Montu, and Horus folders, and, of course, the Elishewitz Tao Pen.

    To learn more about Allen, check out CRKT’s bio.

     

    Onion Skinner & Onion Shenanigan designed by Ken Onion

    Onion SkinnerKen OnionOnion Shenanigan Tanto

    Custom knife maker Ken Onion first learned about the custom knife industry in 1989 after spending his childhood fervently collecting any knives he could find. He designed his first knife in 1991 after begging a local knife maker to teach him how—and he’s been designing ever since.

    Ken is a designer, inventor, and member of the Blade Magazine Hall of Fame. He designed CRKT®’s Onion Skinner and Onion Shenanigan.

    To learn more about Ken, check out CRKT’s bio.

     

    M16-14 Titanium and M21 Carson Folder designed by Kit Carson

    M16-14 TitaniumKit CarsonM21 Carson Folder

    Kit Carson has made knives for over 30 years. His background in hunting and fishing and his time spent around the world in the Army as a professional soldier have influenced his work as a knife designer. Kit concentrates his work on building solid, functional knives rather than knives that simply follow a fad.

    Kit has been a full-time knife maker since 1993 and has designed the M16-14 Titanium and the M21 Carson Folder.

    To learn more about Kit, check out CRKT’s bio.

     

    Ultima 5” designed by Michael and Balthazar Martinez

    Ultima 5"        Michael and Baltazar Martinez

    Michael Martinez and his father, Baltazar E. Martinez, have invented a variety of products over the years, including the redesign of the fixed blade to provide more comfort and control with the patent-pending Ultima. Michael is a former student of R.C. Gorman and specializes in large-scale bronze casting. This sculptor, martial artist, and active club boxer has spent time working privately and in corporate collections internationally, and is the president of Group Design, Inc., along with other design firms and organizations.

    For over 30 years, Baltazar worked for the defense department as a mechanical engineer on a classified nuclear system design. Together, the Martinez’ have created the Ultima 5”- Black Blade with a Veff Combo Edge.

    To learn more about Michael and Baltazar, check out CRKT’s bio.

     

    No matter which knife you choose to use in your adventuring, CRKT® can help make the most out of your experience.

    Which of these knives seems like the best fit for you?

    -Kim

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Survival, survival gear, gear, CRKT, knives, tactical knife, weapon

  • We all know that Mountain House food can help you to survive in an emergency, but did you know that an empty Mountain House pouch can help as well?

    8 Unexpected Uses for a Mountain House Pouch

    Recently, Mountain House’s Instagram page created a series illustrating various ways to re-use a Mountain House Pouch. Here’s what they came up with.

    1. Bet you didn’t know you could use a Mountain House pouch to warm up your sleeping bag . . . Simply fill up an empty (clean) pouch with hot water and place by your feet inside your sleeping bag.

     8 Unexpected Uses for a Mountain House Pouch

     

    1. How about using an empty pouch to wash your utensils while camping? This is a great way to conserve water and to get your utensils clean without them getting lost. Simply put soapy water in, close, and shake—no scrubbing required! You could even use the water to clean other small items.

    8 Unexpected Uses for a Mountain House Pouch

    1. Use a clean Mountain House Pouch as a Waterproof container for your keys, cell phone, and other items you don’t want to get wet while exploring a lake or going white water rafting.

     8 Unexpected Uses for a Mountain House Pouch

    Inspired by Mountain House’s idea, we’ve come up with five more ways to re-use a Mountain House pouch in an emergency:

    1. If you’re lost in the wild and need a container to filter water into, use your empty Mountain House pouch as a container to drink from.
    2. You can carry extra water for cooking and cleaning in Mountain House pouches.
    3. Use a clean Mountain House pouch as a waterproof mini emergency kit (similar to an SOL origin survival pack) to carry with you in your day pack.
    4. Searching for wild edibles, but don’t have a basket or container to carry them back to camp? You can use a Mountain House pouch to collect edible plants and flowers. For plants that need water to stay fresh before cooking, you can add a little water into the pouch.
    5. Lost in the woods and need a way to signal for help? Open up your Mountain House pouch and use the silver lining inside to reflect the sun similar to a signaling mirror.

    Have you ever used a Mountain House pouch or another unconventional tool to help you during a camping trip or emergency? We’d love to hear about your experience!

     

    -Angela

    Photos courtesy of Mountain House Instagram

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, mountain house

  • Know your Zone: Hurricane Prep in the Big Apple

    At the beginning of June, my hometown’s major league baseball team geared up for its annual trouncing by the New York Yankees. Which is why it pains me to say that I’ve discovered something really useful and positive coming out of New York this summer. I’ll be big and put my fanaticism behind me because this is really cool.

    It’s a branch of New York City’s government website called “Know Your Zone,” and it’s a combination of compiled resources and awareness-raising branding, all related to hurricane preparedness. The gist of New York’s hurricane preparation program is the division of the region into evacuation zones, all color-coded on bright and legible maps, and putting in place smooth communication systems to take care of each zones’ residents in the event of a storm.

    As far as I’m concerned, the genius of the site is the way it collects loads of information from several different offices and pages into one place—a sort of one-stop-shopping experience for hurricane preparedness.

    The main page is divided into three sections, with hurricane and evacuation FAQs at the bottom, and useful links and downloads in the middle, including these really smartly designed virtual badges for local businesses’ websites.

     Zone pic

    The top bit, though, is where the real meat is. Large, graphic buttons, with titles like “Find Your Zone,” and “Make a Plan,” send you to other nyc.gov sites, where you can access resources like hurricane evacuation maps or the Office of Emergency Management’s videos and checklists. One of the buttons even shoots you over to the “Notify New York” program, where you can enroll to receive emergency updates via email, voicemail, or text.

     

    What I love so much about this is that it feels like a neighborhood emergency plan, but on a city-wide scale. Anything that serves the dual purpose of preparedness education and bringing communities together in a common effort gets my vote. Even if it does come from Yankee territory.

     

    What does your hometown have in place to deal with large-scale emergencies?

     

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hurricanes, Hurricane, hurricane preparedness

  • 5 Things you May not Know about Hurricane Season

    During my regular news trolling last week, I came across an AP headline that several of the big outlets had latched onto, titled “5 Things to Know About Hurricane Season.” You can read the same article from ABC News, Yahoo news, or The Washington Times, depending on your preferred association. But no matter how you access it, the upshot seems to be that it’s a year to breathe easy. El Niño’s back, which, the article claims, means warmer weather and both fewer and less intense storms. This is great news, considering hurricane season officially began June 1st, and I would really rather work on my tan than stock up on emergency candles during all this beautiful weather.

    Except maybe not.

    The Weather Channel, acting in its official capacity as the smart kid that nobody likes, has put out its own “5 Things” list, which isn’t, but could be subtitled, “Don’t Get Too Comfortable Yet.” In particular, the article points out how complicated and unpredictable a factor El Niño is (depending on geographical location, the warmer currents of El Niño can either lessen or increase the severity of storms), and reminds us that “below average” storm systems can still be devastating.

    For those of us who live in areas that are at all prone to hurricanes, this is not the time to get casual in our preparations. Fingers crossed that we don’t have a repeat of 2004, but, as the Weather Channel put it, “Perhaps a big anniversary will remind Americans it's possible, and it could happen again.”

    In case you missed the re-post a couple of months ago, our article, “How to Prepare for a Hurricane” includes a thorough list of downloadable resources and links to our 5-part Hurricane Preparedness mini-series.

     

    What are your best tips for hurricane preparedness?

     

    -Stacey Birk

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: natural disaster, Hurricane, hurricane preparedness

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