• As we've just stepped into summertime, we want to make all your barbecues, camping adventures, and other activities fantastic. What better way to do that (and celebrate the warm weather) than to offer a Volcano Collapsible Stove Combo...for FREE! Just take the quiz below to learn a little bit about the Volcano Collapsible Stove Combo and you'll automatically be entered to win!

    Entries accepted until June 30, 2014, 11:59 pm MST. Winner will be chosen within the following week. Official rules available within the contest quiz.

    For Mobile users, follow this link to take the quiz:

    http://bit.ly/1qnCY2L

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: giveaway, giveaways and contest, free

  • Did you know tornadoes can come in pairs?

    The Instagram photo below shows the devastation that occurred on Monday, June 16th when twin tornadoes touched down in Pilger, Nebraska. At least 70% of the town was heavily damaged or destroyed. Twin tornadoes are very rare and very dangerous.

    twin tornadoes touch down in Nebraska

    Photo Courtesy of WeatherChannel.com

    According to the Weather Channel’s severe weather expert Dr. Greg Postel, “the twister was on the ground for more than an hour . . . And storm chasers in the area described the damage as ‘catastrophic.’” Two people died as a result of the storm—one a 5-year-old girl, and the other a resident from a nearby county four miles east of Pilger. At least 19 people were injured.

    Officials evacuated residents and took them to a Red Cross shelter in Omaha, Nebraska. Once evacuated, Governor Dave Henieman declared a state of emergency, calling the National Guard into the area to begin recovery efforts.

    To learn more about the recent twin twisters in Nebraska, check out these articles from the Weather Channel and CNN:

    Pilger, Nebraska takes Heavy Hit from Tornado . . .

    Twin Tornadoes Tear through Nebraska Town . . .

    To learn more about tornado preparedness and what you can do before, during, and after a tornado, check out our Insight article, Preparing for a Tornado.

    We send heartfelt wishes of recovery to the residents of Pilger, Nebraska, and the surrounding areas.

    --Angela

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: natural disaster

  • Pet Prep in the News Again

    Most of us know that more than 1,800 people died in Hurricane Katrina almost nine years ago. What we may not know are the circumstances surrounding each individual casualty. For example, Fox News reports that more than sixty of those 1,800 people perished because they wouldn’t leave their pets behind.

    But casualty counts like the one above only tally up human victims. According to one estimate made by Marty Pagliughi, Director of Emergency Management for Cape May County, New Jersey, something like 100,000 household pets were lost in the flooding and destruction of Katrina.

    The Fox News article, “Beachside County Builds Hurricane Shelter to Save Pets, Encourage Evacuations,” is the second pet-related story I’ve come across in the last month or so (read the first, “Is Your Pet Safe?” an inspiring story of a former firefighter turned emergency pet rescuer).

    This recent Fox News article involves a county office in New Jersey that saw a problem to be solved in the numbers reported above. As the report puts it, “officials realized the absence of pet-friendly shelters was putting their residents in potentially life-threatening situations.”

    Cape May County’s solution? Dedicated mobile shelters equipped with power, water, heat, air conditioning, and space for 120 animals. The county currently has two of these facilities available and operating, and stations them near existing emergency shelters so owners can be near their pets.

    Other cities are recognizing the same need and putting facilities and programs in place. And in case you missed the previous pet post, here are a handful of helpful resources for your own emergency pet prep:

     

     

    Do you know what your city or county has available for its four-legged residents? What steps have you taken to ensure your pets’ safety in an emergency?

     

    -Stacey

    Editors note: Error in the statement in the first paragraph. More than 18,000 people did not die in Hurricane Katrina. The statement has been corrected to say "more than 1,800 people died in Hurricane Katrina."

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: pet preparedness

  • Survival Test: Can You Bug out with Your Bug Out Bag?

    A few weeks ago, I went on a hike in Southern Utah. It was a warm day, but not unbearably hot. I carried nothing but my cell phone. The hike was only about three miles, but by mile two I felt like I was going. to. die.

    It didn’t help that half of the hike was through a sand wash (I had to empty my shoes at least four times because they were too full of sand for my feet to fit!), or that the steepest hill was toward the end of the hike. Either way, it got me thinking: What if an emergency had happened unexpectedly and I’d been forced to “hike” my way to safety in those same conditions, but carrying a 20, 30, or 40-pound bug-out bag?

    I’d say I don’t want to think about it, but I have to think about it—partly because it’s my job, and partly because I really am invested in getting prepared. I hate to think that in spite of all my other preparations, skills, and gear, I’d be up a creek without a paddle simply because I’m not fit enough to hike to safety while carrying my emergency kit.

    So, I’m committing to a series of survival tests this summer: once a month I’ll do the same hike (one that’s more local) with my survival pack on my back, and I’ll see how far I can go.

    Between tests, I’ll be working to build endurance and strength so I won’t have to worry about “getting out of Dodge” if or when the time comes.

    How about you? Have you ever done a test run with your emergency pack on? Care to join me?

    If you’d like to join me for my Bug-Out Survival Tests throughout the summer, watch the blog and our other social media channels for announcements, and use the hashtag #eesurvivaltest to share your photos and experiences.

     

    Until next time.

     

    --Urban Girl

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency kit, Survival, evacuation, bug out bag

  • Friday the 13th is a day of spooks, thrills, and unusual occurrences, and this Friday is no exception.

    In fact, NOAA and NASA have predicted that this Friday the 13th, a major solar flare, triggered by a “coronal mass ejection,” could create a shockwave, causing blackouts and disruptions to GPS and communications signals.

    Over the past few days, ABC News reported that three major solar flares have happened on the sun’s surface that already caused “brief blackouts in high frequency communications.”

    Check out NASA’s photo of the recent solar flares below. To see more pics, check out the ABC News article, “Solar Flare Could Send Shockwave on Friday the 13th.”

     

     HT_solar_flare_jtm_140611_16x9_608

     

    If a solar shockwave hits, make sure you know what to do in case of a power outage or communications failure. Check out these articles to help you prepare:

    Preparing for and Responding to a Power Outage

    Who Couldn’t Use a Faraday Cage? (Plus how to make one)

     

    Even if Friday the 13th comes and goes without incidence, it's still a good idea to prepare. Are you prepared for a mass communications failure? What have you done to prepare?

    -Angela

     

     

    Sources

    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/solar-flares-disrupt-communications-on-earth-could-send-shockwave-on-friday-the-13th/blogEntry?id=24095969&ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.drudgereport.com%2F

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  •  Grizzly Details: A Bear Attack Survivor Speaks

    Do you remember our article from last month, “The Bear Necessities: Resources for Surviving a Bear Attack”? And remember what we said about playing dead only being a good idea in certain situations? Well, the unfortunate woman who was attacked by a bear in Alaska shortly after that post was published has told her story, and guess what? It worked!

    Jessica Gamboa spotted a brown bear cub during a neighborhood jog, and when the nearby mama bear went into defense mode, Jessica went limp. While Jessica did end up with plenty of cuts and a few broken bones, the bear eventually lost interest and left before the mauling turned fatal. Read the whole store here: “Jogger Survives Vicious Bear Attack”.

    According to the expert quoted in “How to Survive a Bear Attack”, “[the] only time playing dead works as a survival technique is if you’re dealing with a brown bear whose attack was a defense—maybe it’s guarding its cubs or food…Simply stop moving and the bear will stop attacking.”

    Good thing Gamboa knew her stuff!

    Another headline from just a few days ago reports, “Montana hunter in serious condition after grizzly bear attack.” While bear attacks are rare, Backpacker Magazine names grizzlies at the top of their danger rating scale, reminding us (oh-so-helpfully) of the animals’ weight (up to three quarters of a ton!), bite force (1,200 lbs), and claw length (more than three inches). If you want to scare yourself in a good way, check out their map of the US divided by each region’s deadliest predator.

     

    ‘Tis the season for close-up wildlife encounters (I found an ant in my bathroom sink just this morning). Brush up on your survival skills before you head outdoors!

     

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Survival, survival skills

  • Has something like this ever happened to you? It’s a lovely spring morning, dew on the grass, and wispy clouds scattering before the breeze. You step outside to breathe it all in, and just as you’re admiring the new little green buds on your strawberries, you see them. Bite marks on the leaves! (frightening minor chord!)

    This is the time of year I’m so happy to be outside with my hands dirty. But it’s also the time of year my deep loathing for all things creepy-crawly takes on a life of its own. (Interestingly, it’s the only time of year I’m brave or deranged enough to kill insects with my bare hands—something that would make me curl up into a ball and cry during any other season.) Yes, I’m on a rampage. And I have a good reason to be.

    Up in my little corner of the country, the garden pest du jour is this nasty piece of work: The western tent caterpillar.

     

    What's Bugging Your Garden?

    The western tent caterpillar, or Malacosoma californicum, breeds in staggering numbers, can reduce a tree to bare branches, and will insult your mother while doing it. Okay, maybe not, but they’re certainly making life miserable for gardeners this year, as you can tell from this headline from a local publication: “Growers at war with intense caterpillar infestation.”

    While I battle these loathsome larvae for territorial rights to my potato patch, other gardeners across the country are facing different foes. Aphids, slugs, locusts—they all go on our bad list when it comes time to try and coax tender little vegetables out of the ground. While your first impulse might be similar to mine—grab a garden hoe and show no mercy—as ever, our best weapon is good information.

    If you’re not sure which garden pests to anticipate this season, check out this super useful chart of Worst Garden Pests by Region, from Mother Earth News. Alternately, if you’ve found a culprit, but can’t put a name to the face, both the National Gardening Association’s Pest Control Library and the University of California’s online pest management program have lists with mug shots to help identify common pests.

    Fortunately, there are clear-headed people out there with your garden’s best interest in mind. For some great ideas on organic pest control (so, my garden hoe method doesn’t count as organic?) check out the very practical survey results in this article, “Organic Pest Control: What Works, What Doesn’t.”  Also, go back to our insight article from earlier this year, “Why Won’t My Garden Grow? 5 Mistakes You May Be Making,” to see what other factors, besides multi-legged monsters, might be keeping your garden from being its best self.

     

    I’m fairly serious about the garden hoe thing.

    What are your (better) ideas for keeping the bugs at bay this growing season?

    -Stacey

     

    Photo Courtesy of Texas A&M University

    https://insects.tamu.edu/extension/publications/epubs/e-218.cfm

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: garden, gardening

  • Even if tornadoes don't pass through, high winds can be just as damaging

    If you call anywhere along the Midwest home, now is a great time to prepare yourself for some bad weather. According to the Weather Channel, severe storms are building across the Midwest putting “35 million Americans in the risk zone” June 3 and 4th.

    Although only a portion of those at risk will see tornadoes, many will still face the damaging results of high speed winds reaching 58 mph with possible gusts bursting between 70-80 mph. That’s enough power to flip a motor home or uproot trees.

    For details about the approaching storm, and to find out whether you’re at risk, check out the Weather Channel’s article, “Severe Weather Forecast: Tornadoes, Derecho Possible Tuesday and Wednesday”.

    But before the storm hits, learn what you can do to prepare:

    --Kim

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: natural disaster, Tornado, Midwest Tornados, midwest

  • Earthquake Chile

    Lately we’ve heard a lot about earthquakes in the news—and this one’s got to be the biggest one yet because it didn’t just cause the ground to shake. Did you know that powerful earthquakes often cause other natural disasters?

    On Tuesday, April 1st, an 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile. According to CNN’s article, “Powerful Earthquake Strikes off Chile Triggers Tsunami” this quake caused small landslides and power outages across Northern Chile. Tsunami-like waves were even generated during the quake, but thankfully, a full fledge tsunami did not hit the shore. The U.S. National Geological Survey evaluated the span and depth of the earthquake. It had a depth of 12.5 miles and coastal residents were asked to evacuate the area.

    The most interesting part (in a preparedness standpoint) of CNN’s article came in a quote by Fabrizio Guzman, Chile’s World Vision emergency communications manager. He said that “many people are fearful after experiencing the powerful earthquake in 2010, so they immediately fled for higher ground when they heard the tsunami warning.”

    We can learn from the example of the residents of this country. The citizens of northern Chile learned a valuable lesson from the 2010 earthquake that helped many survive when they heard the tsunami warning issued this time around. Once they heard the warning, they immediately left their homes.

    Would you be able to do the same if you had to evacuate in an emergency? Would you be prepared with an emergency kit and supplies to help you until you could return to your home? I know it’s hard to leave all of your possessions and a home you’ve worked hard to earn, but if you had to leave, would you be able to do it to save yourself and your family?

    To learn more about the recent earthquake in Chile, check out CNN’s article, “Powerful Earthquake Strikes off Chile, Triggers Tsunami.” And to learn more about earthquake and tsunami preparedness, check out these articles:

    "Tsunami-like Waves Hit New Jersey"

    "Preparing for Earthquakes

    "What to do after an Earthquake

    "Evacuating Home in an Emergency"

     -Angela

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Portland Issues a City-Wide Boil Order

    On Friday, May 23, the Portland, Oregon Water Bureau issued a city-wide boil order after E. coli was detected in the water. According to ABC News, this 24-hour boil order was the largest in the city’s history, affecting 670,000 people in the city and several outlying suburbs.

    Coffee shops, restaurants, and bars were forced to close during this period, impacting their weekend sales. But grocery stores saw a spike in sales as people purchased water jugs, bottled water, and soda cans in excess.

    Although the boil order ended on Saturday, May 24th, the city still hasn’t figured out the source of the contamination. But it’s assumed that an animal spread fecal matter through the city’s water system. The city drained and cleaned two reservoirs, but is telling residents to continue to take caution and to run their taps for two minutes to eliminate any contaminated water.

    Even though the boil order only lasted a day, drinking contaminated water can have serious effects and can cause illness. One way to prepare for a boil order and to avoid depleting grocery shelves is to store water and to have a water filter like the Katadyn Hiker and a method of water purification like Micropur tablets on hand that can remove or kill bacteria and protozoa in the water.

     

    To learn more about the Portland boil order, check out these articles:

    “Portland Issues Boil Order . . .” from the Oregonian

    “Looking Back on Portland’s largest Boil Order Alert . . .” from the Oregonian

    “Portland lifts City-Wide Boil Order” from ABC News

     

    To learn more about water storage, and filtration and purification, check out these articles:

    Water Restrictions Making you Blue?

    Discover the Best Water Treatment System for You

     

    What are your tips for surviving a boil order? 

    --Angela

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: water storage, water purification, water filter

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