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  • How the Chapecoense Soccer Team Disaster Promotes Emergency Planning

    columbia-plane-crash via CNN Columbia plane crash - via CNN

    On November 29, 2016 an airplane crash in Colombia killed 71 people, including 19 players and other staff from the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense. The few players aboard who survived the crash suffered horrific injuries, according to The Economist.

    The risk of losing players in a mass accident is a nightmare of every major United States sports organization.

    "All I can say is that, yes, we have a plan," MLB spokesman Richard Levin told ESPN reporter Wayne Drehs. "But God forbid it should ever be needed."

    Still, every major American sports league has a disaster plan in case players are lost. Families and businesses can learn from their plans.

    Start by developing a disaster plan. According to ESPN, the National Football League has a policy giving detailed directions for how to rebuild a team in the event of a “disaster” or “near-disaster.” A disaster means an accident in which at least 15 players are lost. A near-disaster means fewer than 15 players are lost.

    Family Disaster PlanAs you’re making the plan, write it down. Include directions for many different scenarios: how to evacuate during a fire; sheltering in place during a storm or power outage; emergency contact information for everyone to carry in case of separation. The NFL emergency player replacement policy is codified under Administrative/Business Operations, according to ESPN. In a near-disaster, teams would finish the season, and they would have the highest priority on players waived from other teams. If the quarterback was lost, the team could draft another from a team with three quarterbacks on the roster.

    In a disaster, the NFL commissioner would decide whether or not to continue the team’s season. If so, the near-disaster plan would come into effect. If not, the team would get a restocking draft in the offseason and the first pick in the NFL draft.

    In Major League Baseball, and other sports leagues, money to rebuild teams would come from disaster insurance, according to USA Today.

    Federal law requires people living in certain flood-prone areas to have flood insurance. It’s a good idea to have flood insurance anyway, as well as homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

    Insurance is useful for possessions, but caring for and safeguarding people is most important.

    Chapecoense had captured the hearts of the South American with its Cinderella-like ascent from the fourth division to the first, and its unlikely climb to the final of the Copa Sudamericana, a South American club tournament. (The team members were killed on the way to the tournament’s final.) In a city of 180,000 people, 100,000 people filled the stadium for a mass funeral. The South American soccer governing body awarded the Copa Sudamericana trophy and its $2 million prize to Chapecoense. The Brazilian soccer federation added another gift of $1.46 million. Other Brazilian teams offered to loan players for free, and at least one famous player, Eidur Gudjohnsen, offered to join the team, according to The Economist.

    “First and foremost, the plan must cover the steps needed to protect employees, customers, vendors, visitors and those in the surrounding areas,” wrote Robert A. Ernst, a writer and safety expert, in EHS Today, a news organization for health and safety workers in manufacturing, construction and the service industry.

    In the National Hockey League, if a team lost at least five players, it can rebuild its roster by buying player contracts from other teams, according to its Emergency Rehabilitation Plan described in USA Today. If it doesn’t get a goalie and 14 skaters, the league will hold a draft of players from other teams. The affected team may get up to two goalies and 18 other players from other teams that didn’t sell the team any player contracts. The team can’t take more than one player from another team.

    If at least five players “die or are dismembered,” the National Basketball Association calls for a Disaster Draft, according to ESPN. Other teams can “protect” five players, and the affected team may pick one unprotected player from other teams,

    In a disaster, it’s vital to work together and rely on others, Ernst said.

    “Remember to contact neighboring businesses when developing your plan. They may have something to offer in the way of support in case of an emergency. In fact, they may be among the first responders to your facility,” he said.

    Ready.gov recommends you include an out of area contact for your family, so if communication is out in a disaster area, your family members might still be able to tell someone they’re safe.

    Disaster planning isn’t easy. But tragedies like the Chapecoense plane crash can remind sports teams – and families and businesses – that emergency planning will help them recover faster and help people involved.



  • 10 Survival Apps You Need Now

    Many people are under the false impression that prepping and technology don't go well together. Don't get me wrong, it's quite easy to assume that survival is all about bushcraft (wilderness skills); but it's not! Survival means using all available resources to get through the toughest of times.

    Modern technology plays a crucial role in the development of various kinds of survival gear. Also, thanks to various survival apps, you can put your smartphone to some good use rather than ordering junk food and playing video games.

    Top 10 survival SmartPhone Apps

    1) Cures A-Z: This application has extensive information about natural/home remedies and can be very handy for treating minor ailments. Even a seemingly trivial illness such as a cold can cause death if it not treated in time. Hence, this is one app that you absolutely must have. It has been downloaded more than a million times and free to use. Moreover, it also has a useful “share” feature that allows you to pass on info to friends and family.(Download Links: I-Tunes App Store - Android App)

    2) Knots-3D: Knots have a multitude of uses – from creating makeshift tools to temporary shelters and even rudimentary rafts. This app teaches you how to tie more than 100 knots using a 3D guide. It also features information on which knots are good (and bad) for which particular situations. You can even adjust the animation speed and slow down the more complex knots. (Download Links: I-Tunes App Store - Android App)

    3) SAS-Survival: This is the most complete survival app in our opinion. It contains exhaustive content on all possible survival or disaster scenarios. It teaches you important survival skills such as making fires, building shelters, procuring and purifying water, dealing with extreme weather conditions, responding to natural calamities, self-defense, and a lot more. The best aspect of this app is that it works offline – this makes it very usable if the mobile networks are down. (Download Links: I-Tunes App Store - Android App)

    4) Your google drive: You need this to backup all your important data such as identity cards, driving license, passports, home ownership papers, insurance policies, bank accounts, car titles, etc. This way, you can still identify yourself and access crucial financial and personal information even if you don’t have the hard copies with you. (Download Links: I-Tunes App Store - Android App)

    5) Flashlight: This app can help you light up dark areas – it is not an alternative for a real flashlight, but it can get the job done. You should already have one built into your phone.

    6) Wild edibles: This application can help you to find edible plants in the wild. The few food cans in your bug out bag will be gone in a day or two and you’ll notice that hunting is a lot harder than it appears on TV (especially if you haven’t hunted before). This app can help you forage for plants – this is relatively low risk. Wild Edibles contains info on how to avoid poisonous plants, responsible foraging, as well as a number of innovative recipes. Even if you don’t need to use this app in a survival scenario, it can help you find free food near your home! Beats paying through the nose for organic foods and impress the heck out of your guests. (Download Links: I-Tunes App Store - Android App)

    7) The MotionX-GPS app: This is a widely acclaimed application. Some call it the best outdoor app as you can use it to download maps of any location on the globe even without internet connectivity. The app also has a tracking feature to prevent you from getting lost. Download this app and have fun with it – try to find the nearest water source or plan an escape route! (Download Links: I-Tunes App Store - Android Alternative)

    Red Cross8) First Aid App by The American Red Cross: This app contains detailed step by step instructions on dealing with a number of emergencies such as heart attacks, car accidents, drowning, fractures, bruises, cuts, snake-bites, diarrhea etc. The Red Cross is an authority in medical aid so all the info on this app is well researched and field tested. The app also has a built-in 911 feature that you can use to contact emergency services. First Aid is free to download and is devoid of ads and spam. All the content is accessible even when you have no internet connectivity. (Download Links: I-Tunes App Store - Android App)

    9) The award-winning Emergency Radio Application developed by Edgerif: This is a police scanner app, which makes it incredibly useful in times of natural calamities, terrorist attacks, civil war-like situations etc. You can use this app to listen to live frequencies broadcasted by the police, EMS, weather department, coast guard, air traffic control towers, etc. The app also has a feature that helps you locate the nearest source of frequencies and then guides you using GPS. Even if you don’t ever encounter a survival scenario, the Emergency Radio app can help you to track crime and other events in your locality. (Download Links: I-Tunes App Store - Android Alternative)

    10) Army Survival: This is a comprehensive survival guide based on army manuals. It holds effective and detailed information on dealing with extreme situations – from natural disasters to avoid being captured by enemies. You can become a master survivalist if you use this app seriously. (Download Links: I-Tunes App Store - Android Alternative)

    Special mention: The bug out bag checklist application is a good platform for beginners. It helps you create your bug-out-bag and tracks the expiry dates of your rations. (Download Links: I-Tunes App Store - Android Alternative)


    About the Author: J.D. Phillips runs SurvivalCrackas.com and lives with his family in Southern California. You can follow him on Facebook and download his Guide How to Build the Ultimate Disaster Kit free of charge from his website, linked above!



  • 6 Days Stranded in a Car: The Case for Winter Driving Preparedness

    Anyone who has spun off an icy road knows the dangers of winter driving. But when a family was traveling from Oregon to California, their trip took a dangerous turn.

    stranded-family-via-yahoo-news The Sanquist family - via Yahoo News

    Following their GPS to reach their destination in the fastest way possible, the Sanquist family found themselves stuck on a snow-covered road. The mother and father were with their 9-year-old daughter and the family dog. They were trapped overnight, but managed to make the trek out for help in the morning.

    Ron, the husband and father, lamented that cell service was unavailable, and they had no shovel to use in order to dig themselves out. If his two-mile hike in the morning hadn’t given him cell service, who knows how much farther he would have had to walk in the snow?

    Another, similar experience that happened to a couple in Wyoming was even more dangerous.

    In 2013, Mark Wathke and his wife, Kristine spent six days in their car – stuck in a foot of snow – before they were found. Again, they were following their GPS, trying to get to Montana from Yellowstone National Park, when it took them down a highway that is always closed during the winter due to treacherous weather conditions.

    “We never saw any road-closed sign, any barricades,” said Kristine, “[nothing] indicating it was trouble.”

    But trouble there was.

    All they had in their car was a bit of food for their road trip, and by the time they realized they weren’t going anywhere, all that was left was eight pieces of bread, half a jar of jelly, and a few bottles of water. During the nights, temperatures dropped below zero. They put on layers of clothing from their suitcases to stay warm.

    They even got out a notebook and wrote goodbye letters to their friends and loved ones.

    Fortunately, on the sixth day, a rancher found them on his snowmobile. He was able to rescue them and see them safely off.

    Both scenarios show two different groups equally unprepared. Fortunately, both parties eventually got out of their predicaments, but only after a frightening experience. Both groups were regular people, just like you. So what sets you aside as someone who would fare better?

    Preparation is one thing. Your trunk should have some sort of emergency kit, consisting of food, water, warmth, and some necessary tools like a radio, whistle, and shovel. These are all items both groups could have benefited from while stuck in the snow. Small, folding shovels tuck nicely into a corner of your trunk. They don’t take up much room, but are certainly a welcome companion when you need to dig out your car.

    Nobody plans on getting stuck in the snow. In both these examples, they were even following directions from their GPS. Even if you think your directions are reliable, don’t put yourself in danger if the roads or terrain looks even slightly risky.

    But above all else, make sure you have the gear you need to survive a lengthy stay in the cold should you find yourself in a similar situation.



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