Search results for: 'first aid'

  • Rattlesnakes at Your Door?

    Just in case you thought we’d exhausted the topic of bizarrely unpleasant side effects of the drought plaguing the Western US, here’s one more to chuck on the pile: rattlesnakes. According to CBS News, scarcity of ground water is driving rodents closer to homes and neighborhoods to quench their thirst. And where the vermin go, the snakes follow, with the result that “Rattlesnakes are Slithering Closer to Homes in Northern California.”

    The snake removal specialist quoted in the article reports a record year for his business, netting over 70 snakes in a single week. Incidentally, he keeps them alive in a room and releases them back into the wild—which, if you live in Sacramento, may not be the most comforting part of the article.

    I mean, not to creep anybody out, but RATTLESNAKES!

    I’m knocking on all kinds of wood as I tell you that I happen to live in a part of the country where rattlesnakes aren’t found, but I did have a glancing encounter with one as a kid at camp. As I remember it, one of my grown-up relatives took a shovel to the creature and lopped off its head—a technique frowned upon by the reliable sources below, I’m sure.

    So, what does one do if one comes across one of these nasty pieces of work, whether on the trail or in your garage? First of all, do your homework!

    • The US Forest Service offers a Snake Safety handout, with precautions, first aid, and some really enlightening snake facts. My favorite is the DOs and DON’Ts section—turns out Hollywood’s old cut-and-suck method is a no-no.
    • Washington State’s Trail Association has a page dedicated specifically to “How to Hike in Rattlesnake Country.” Tips include how to identify signs that a rattler is near, how to safely photograph snakes, and what special considerations to make when hiking with dogs.

     

    With all the other drama of this particular crisis, I really hope an infestation isn’t part of your experience this year. But if it is, learn what you need to do to keep your household safe. And for more info on other biters, stingers, and suckers, see our “First Aid for Insect Bites and Stings.”

     

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: drought, wildlife, snakes, California Drought

  • People always joke that duct tape fixes everything, but did you know that it could potentially save your life? In a survival situation, duct tape can have many uses, and here are just twelve ways to use this adhesive wonder in a number of emergency situations you may encounter.

    8 Ways Duct Tape Could Save You in a Bind

    1. Patching holes/Sealing – Rip your tent while assembling? Hole in your siding? Missing a shingle? Duct tape is the perfect way to patch holes, seal items, or make emergency repairs on just about anything (like, for example, a tent whose zipper breaks in the middle of a rainstorm… not that I’ve ever had that happen to me).

    2. Medical Uses – Duct tape is a great resource for first aid. You can use it to make bandages (it might hurt a little pulling hairs, but that beats bleeding to death), provide padding on a blister, or even splint an ankle in an emergency. You can also make an emergency duct tape field stretcher!

    3. Make Cord/Rope – You can easily twist long pieces of duct tape together to form a rope or cord. This can be used to hang clothes to dry, hang up a bag out of reach of pests, or any other number of uses (including a belt, if you’re desperate).

    4. Waterproof/Insulate – While this could apply to just about anything, it’s specifically helpful with shoes, especially in the winter. Just wrap duct tape around the shoe to form a barrier from water and provide extra insulation.

    5. Cup/Bucket – Duct tape can be used to fashion a watertight cup, bucket, or even a bowl/plate if you need one. Check out the Norwegian Bushcraft video below to learn how to make a small bucket from duct tape that can hold water, but can also be used to gather food or other necessary items. (The tutorial begins about 27 seconds in to the video).

    6. Weapons and Hunting – Even if you have more ammo than you think you’ll ever need, eventually it’ll run out and you’ll have to resort to something besides a firearm. You can easily create a spear by using duct tape to fasten your knife or broken piece of glass to a piece of wood. You can also improvise an arrow as shown in the video below.





    7. Transportation – Duct tape can be used to repair the exterior and interior furnishings of vehicles, but you could also create a kayak out of PVC pipe and duct tape (and a few other household items)! Duct tape can even help repair leaks in a regular kayak or canoe.

    8. A Place to Sleep – Here’s an example of a hammock made out of duct tape (although I would suggest using something stronger to support if you plan on using it long-term or for more than 120-150 lbs.). Or fashion yourself a tent if you’re desperate!

     

    There are a lot of other uses for duct tape; what are your favorites?

     

    -Michelle

     

    Other Sources:

    http://www.happypreppers.com/duct-tape.html

    http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/duct-tape-for-survival/

    http://offgridsurvival.com/duct-tape/

    http://survival.outdoorlife.com/blogs/survivalist/2012/06/25-practical-survival-uses-duct-tape

     

     

     

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Survival, Survival Tip, DIY, duct tape

  • Using an AED Machine

    Using an AED Machine

    You’re spending the day at the mall with some friends--shopping and having a great time--when you suddenly hear someone cry out for help. What do you do?

    You look and see a crowd of people screaming, staring at something. You rush over and notice a man lying on the ground who appears not to be breathing, and his wife says that he just collapsed as they were walking along. After checking for a pulse and signs of breathing (and finding neither, you start Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) immediately and direct someone to call 911, while someone else is instructed to go and get an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).

    CPR should be continued until the AED arrives and is attached to the victim. CPR and use of an AED are key ingredients for any chance to save this man’s life.

    When someone collapses from a cardiac event, their chances of survival drop by 10 percent for each minute that passes without immediate interventions. Many times, CPR alone will not restart a heart which has stopped because of what is often referred to as “sudden cardiac arrest”.

    This often happens because the electrical activity of the heart is not working correctly. CPR keeps the blood circulating until an AED can be placed on the patient and a shock delivered, if needed, which gives the victim the best chance of surviving a cardiac event.

     

    What is an AED?

    An AED is a portable device that can help diagnose life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and, in certain cases, provide an electrical shock to the heart in order to reestablish a regular heart rhythm.

    These machines are simply designed and easy to use during a high stress situation so the layperson doesn’t need to be afraid of the machine when someone has collapsed and their life is at risk. Use of an AED is now taught in many first aid, first responder, and basic CPR classes.

    Many public places and companies with a large number of employees or patrons are starting to place AED’s in their buildings. Sporting arenas, malls, movie theaters, government buildings, airports, bus stations, and on planes, and trains are just a few of the locations where you might find an AED. Many public safety officers are also starting to carry them in their vehicles because often times they’re the first emergency responders to arrive at a scene.

     

    How does an AED work?

    An AED analyzes the heart rhythm of the person it’s attached to. There are three main life-threatening arrhythmias that cause someone’s heart to stop, and lead to irreversible brain damage or death. These rhythms include asystole (more commonly referred to as flat line, no cardiac activity), ventricular fibrillation (VF or V-Fib) where the heart electrical activity is unorganized and the ventricles quiver rather than contract normally, and ventricular tachycardia (VT or V-Tach) where the bottom chambers of the heart beat too fast and can’t pump blood effectively throughout the body.

    An AED will not shock asystole because there is no electrical activity to shock. In V-Fib and V-Tach, the AED will provide a shock, which is designed to try and reset the normal electrical activity of the heart.

     

    How to use an AED

    When you turn on or open the AED, it will instruct the user to attach the defibrillator pads to the patient’s skin. You should remove all clothing on the upper part of the patients’ torso.  Bras and piercings on the upper body must also be removed before attaching the pads to avoid arcing and burns to the body.

    Some AED units will automatically start to analyze the heart as soon as they are attached, others will need you to push the analyze button to start the process. When analyzing, stop CPR—no one should touch the patient. After a few seconds, the AED will tell you whether or not a shock is advised. If a shock is advised, make sure no one is touching the patient when the AED delivers the shock. If the AED advises no shock, continue CPR for another two minutes and then reanalyze (leave the AED pads on during this process). This cycle should be continued until emergency responders arrive or the patient regains consciousness.

     

    Can an AED be used on a child?

    The use of an AED was previously recommended only for adults over 8 years of age. Some manufacturers have modified their AED equipment to include adult pads and cables, as well as pediatric cables and pads; typically these models will automatically reduce the energy so the AED can be used on children between the ages of 1 and 8.

    However, if an AED with pediatric capability and cables is not available and you’re confronted with a child between the ages of 1 and 8 who is confirmed to be in cardiac arrest, you should use the adult AED and pads. Just make sure the pads do not touch each other when placed on the child.  If necessary, you can place one pad on the child’s chest and one on their back.  If at all possible, use an AED with the pediatric capabilities, but in an emergency, it is acceptable to use an adult AED.

     

    What if something goes wrong? Am I liable?

    AED units are simple enough to use that many states now have what are called “Good Samaritan Laws”.  This means that anyone using an AED cannot be sued or held civilly responsible for harm or death to someone when that harm or death was not intentional and the responder was acting within the limits of their training and in good faith.

    To find out about Good Samaritan Laws in your state for CPR and the use of AEDs, check out this website:  http://www.cprinstructor.com/legal.htm

    CPR and use of an AED are proven to save lives

    Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Nearly 350,000 people will suffer a sudden cardiac arrest this year. Quick use of an AED is the only effective treatment for restoring regular heart rhythm during cardiac arrest, and is best when used in conjunction with effective CPR.

    In the U.S., the average response time of emergency personnel is 8 - 12 minutes. As mentioned above, a person’s chance of survival goes down by 10 percent with each minute that passes. This is why immediate CPR and defibrillating as soon as possible gives victims the best chance of survival. The American Red Cross estimates that as many as 50,000 people can be saved each year by the use of an AED.

    Every adult, teen, and even child need to learn first aid, CPR, the use of an AED, and how and when to call 911.  By taking some time to learn these skills, you just might be the one who can provide life-saving help to someone in the future.

     

    --Rick

    Sources:wikipedia.com

    redcross.org

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: First Aid

  • UPDATE: You asked, and we listened. The All-in-Four 4-Person Emergency Supply is now available!

    A little while ago we learned about the Life Cube—an all-inclusive, inflatable shelter stocked with the necessary food, water, and gear to help a person survive the few days after a natural disaster occurs. The Life Cube, which weighs between 950-1100 lbs., is ideal to be airdropped into areas suffering from catastrophic events. However, although it is a great idea for mass emergencies and agency use, the Life Cube currently costs anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. For many looking to add an all-inclusive, portable shelter to their emergency gear, this may be a little out of their price range.

    We were inspired by the Life Cube to create our own all-in-one portable shelter kit. Rather than focusing on agency use, however, our portable shelter kit focuses more on a personal/family level, only weighing about 71 lbs. and costing approximately $762. Here at Emergency Essentials, we have configured a list of items that would work as a basic all-in-one (or in our case, all-in-four) portable shelter. The all-in-four portable shelter consists of four bags with essential supplies divided among them. These items not only give you shelter, food, and water, but other basic supplies to help a family of four survive for three days after an emergency.

    DIY All-in-Four Portable Shelter

    First things first: Collect your gear. The following list describes what gear is needed to help four people survive for three days in an emergency.

    Each pack gives you more than 2,800 cubic inches of space to hold all of your emergency supplies and gear while providing durability and expandable comfort to stick with you on all your travels.

    Trail Hiker Backpack for a Portable Shelter

    This pack is a great way to include versatility to fit the needs of the owner. Wear the pack on your back, carry it by the handle, or roll it along the ground behind you. This is a great pack for people unable to carry a lot of weight on their back.

    Good hygiene will help keep you healthy and safe during an emergency. This kit provides basic bathing, dental, and toilet hygiene needs for a family of four.

    Family Sanitation Kit Part of our DIY Portable shelter solution

    These simple-to-setup and waterproof tents give you 49-square feet each to spread out and enjoy a good night’s rest.

    Just-add-water breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (plus sides and drinks) give you enough food to feed a family of four for 3.5 days.

    We typically recommend a two-tier approach for treating your water: have a microfilter and purifier. Adding the Katadyn Hiker Pro and Micropur tablets will help provide you and your family with filtered, purified water while remaining compact and lightweight.

    Katadyn Hiker Pro for a  DIY Portable Shelter

    Made from Tritan™ plastic, these bottles give you get extra durability in a BPA-free bottle. These are perfect to take on outdoor adventures or to use along with a microfilter in an emergency.

    This kit includes 397 pieces of first aid gear to help you survive every scrape, cut, burn, or bruise that you or a family member may get.

    These lightweight, pocket-sized sleeping bags unfold to wrap you in a covering that will reflect 80% of your body heat, keeping you warm on cool nights.

    Emergency Sleeping Bags for a DIY Portable Shelter

    These lightsticks are safe, reliable, and easy to use making them fantastic for families with children. Just bend, snap, and shake for a light source that will last up to 12 hours.

    Keeps you up-to-date with communication services, provides 30 minutes of light (with one minute of hand-cranking), and charges your cell phone (including many smart phones).

    Lightweight and reusable, an emergency poncho is a must-have to keep you dry from sudden storms.

    Easily alert rescuers to your location with an emergency whistle.

    This high-quality, BPA-free water container can store 2.5 gallons of water and collapses to easily fit in your pack. It even remains flexible in cold temperatures.

     Reliance Fold N Filter for a DIY Portable Shelter

    Use Sierra cups as bowls, plates, drinking cups, or as cooking and warming pans. Their versatility lets you get more done with less stuff to carry in your pack.

    BPA-free, washable, heavy-duty plastic spoons can be used for every meal you eat during an emergency.

    This kit includes over 172 hours of total warmth. It includes 6 Hand and Body Warmers, 4 Adhesive Body Warmers, and 2 Hand Warmer 2-packs.

    This super-compact stove is simple to use, fully flame adjustable, and stores easily. You don’t even need matches to light it. Requires a canister of Iso-Butane/Propane fuel, which can be purchased locally.

    Volcano Lite Stove for a DIY Portable Shelter

    Stormproof Matches will help you weather any storm. Blow them out, bury them, submerge them in water, do it all over again, and these Stormproof Matches will keep relighting themselves for up to 15 seconds.

    How to Build It

    Once you’ve gathered all of your supplies, you just need to pack them.

    Pack #1: Trail Hiker Backpack

    • 1 Twin Peaks Mountain Trails Tent
    • Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter
    • 4 (6 inch) Green Lightsticks
    • 24 Packets of food from the Gourmet 14 Day Supply
    • 1 Tritan Emergency Essentials Water Bottle
    • 4 Emergency Whistles
    • 397 Piece First Aid Kit

    To make your pack more compact, fit the lightsticks into the outside pockets along with the Wavelength Radio Charger Flashlight, the 4 Emergency Whistles, and the water bottle. The other items will fit in the main compartment of the pack.

     

    Pack #2: Trail Hiker Backpack

    • 1 Twin Peaks Mountain Trails Tent
    • 20 Packets of food from the Gourmet 14 Day Supply
    • 4 Emergency Sleeping Bags
    • 2 Tritan Emergency Essentials Water Bottles
    • 4 Emergency Ponchos

    Fit the water bottles into the outside pockets. The rest of the materials should fit within the main compartment of the pack.

     

    Pack #3: Olympia 18” Rolling Backpack

    • 4 Packets of food from the Gourmet 14 Day Supply
    • Reliance 2.5 Gallon Collapsible Fold-A-Carrier
    • 3 Sheets (or 30 tablets) of Micropur
    • 1 Tritan Emergency Essentials Water Bottle
    • 2 large Sierra cups
    • 2 small Sierra cups
    • 4 GSI Spoons
    • Warmth Emergency Kit
    • Volcano Lite Stove
    • Stormproof Matches

     

    Pack #4: Family Sanitation Kit

    The last “pack” is the Family Sanitation Kit which comes full of sanitation items for you and your family. About 1/3 of the bucket will still be empty for you to add additional or personal items too. The kit includes:

    • 1 – 6-Gallon Bucket
    • 1 – Bar of Soap
    • 1 – Tote-able Toilet Seat and Lid
    • 4 – Toilet Paper Rolls
    • 1 – Box Double Doodie Waste Bags
    • 1 – Epi-Clenz Plus Hand Antiseptic
    • 4 – Fresh & Go Toothbrush
    • 3 – ReadyBath Packets

    Each pack is manageable to carry and there’s extra room in most of them for personal items.

    Upgrades

    Although the basic items will help you survive during an emergency, some people prefer to have items that may make their time in a crisis a little more comfortable. If you’d like to upgrade some of the items in your kit consider adding the following:

    • Headlamps or flashlights instead of the lightsticks.
    • SOL Escape Bivvy in addition to the emergency sleeping bags.
    • One Month Supply of Water in addition to the filter. Instead of just adding a microfilter and purification tablets to your portable kit, try adding a one month supply of water. Water is priceless in an emergency and this item gives a family of four enough stored water to last for a week (drinking 64 ounces a day) in case a water source to filter from is unavailable.

    *NOTE: Upgrading items in the kit will change the price and weight of the pack. It also may require you to rearrange and reassemble how the all-in-four portable shelter kit is packed.  You can, of course, change the way items are distributed among the packs for redundancy in case you get separated.

    To make carrying your all-in-four kit a bit more comfortable, or to add even more space, replace the Family Sanitation Kit (pack #4) with another Trail Hiker backpack, put the kit items in the pack, and lash the bucket to the outside of the pack using [paracord] or another rope.

    Now that you’ve prepped yourself with all the supplies you need to help you and your family survive the days immediately after a disaster, try developing your survival skills with some of our Insight Articles:

     

    --Kim

    Sources:

    http://lifecubeinc.weebly.com/uploads/9/9/4/2/9942328/life_cube_sheltered_delivery_system_user_manual.pdf

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: shelter, emergency preparedness

  • Missing Runner Survives Snowy California Wilderness and all he wants is a Burger!

    As darkness fell and temperatures dropped, Bob Root snuggled deeper into the shrubbery atop a cliff in the California wilderness. For two days in early April, he struggled to survive in the snow, searching for the trail he’d lost track of during a morning run.

    Root had set out early Sunday morning with fellow members of the ShadowChase Running Club, wearing only a light shirt, shorts, and running shoes. However, he soon found himself lost after running ahead to catch up with another group.

    Fox News reported that Root was able to survive on energy supplements and the small amount of water he carried with him. When the cold caused unbearable shaking, Root resorted to compressing and releasing his muscles, and sticking his fingers in his armpits to stay warm.

    When searchers finally found him, there was only one thing Root wanted after this ordeal—an In-N-Out burger.

    Heidi Ryan, a member of the ShadowChase Running Club believes, “Root’s training helped him survive. ‘He has great endurance and that obviously helped him,’”

    To read the rest of the story, check out Fox News’ article, “Authorities say runner who survived in snowy California wilderness craved an In-N-Out burger.”

    You never know when you’ll find yourself in an emergency. Whether you run off-trail, must evacuate your home in the middle of the night, or face some other crisis, it’s important to develop your own survival skills now so you can survive and stay calm in an emergency.

    Root’s training taught his body how to endure, which enabled him to outlast this emergency. Keeping your body fit is a skill that requires time, patience, and hard work, but which in the long run can help you survive in an emergency and have a better quality of life every day.

    Often times survival skills can even come in handy when you aren’t in an emergency. Activities such as campouts, backpacking trips, boating excursions, ski and snowboard outings, and other outdoor adventures are good examples of times when it may pay off to have first aid training, know how to keep yourself warm, or how to stay hydrated—just to name a few.

     

    Check out some of our Insight articles to develop your own survival skills:

     

    Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this? What did you do? What survival skills do you think would be helpful during an emergency?

     

    Photo Courtesy of Fox News

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Survival, survival skills

  • When Typhoon Haiyan first set down in the Philippines last November, Emergency Essentials worked with disaster relief organization CharityVision to provide relief to those affected by the severe natural disaster. We sent supplies donated through your purchases and by our generous vendors, and we were able to outfit a great team. CharityVision recently sent us an update on the progress of their relief efforts, along with a few photos that illustrate how your donations have helped those in need.

    Those affected by Typhoon Haiyan continue to face the aftermath of the destructive storm

    A volunteer and children from the Philippines using the Wavelength Emergency Radio

    CharityVision has quite a few projects underway to help the long-term recovery and reconstruction of the area. They’re working to build a larger reserve of medical supplies and to set up a modular hospital facility. They also plan to provide shelter and power to families, hold gardening classes to teach self-reliance, and offer additional services to help  those in need. Each of these projects is possible because of the generous donations CharityVision has received from communities and companies around the world.

    As CharityVision works to "Build Back Better", those affected by Typhoon Haiyan strive to get their lives back.

    Although injured, refugees from Typhoon Haiyan smile as they plan to restart their lives

    One of CharityVision’s major goals is creating projects that will better the living conditions in the affected areas for those who saw their lives turned upside down by the typhoon. All of these projects are to help restore jobs and offer employee growth to those working in those jobs. CharityVision seeks to “Build Back Better”.

     “We view the reconstruction as an opportunity to build back better,” CharityVision posted on their new Facebook page Action Humanitarian which focuses on their efforts in rebuilding the Philippines. “Our current plans include structures that will withstand future storms to avoid the repetitious cycle of rebuilding following destruction.” They go on to say that their building plans will provide added protective elements over previous building styles without adding extra cost or skilled labor.

    Amongst the chaos and ruin that Haiyan caused, an additional issue has appeared: how does the country keep certain areas of the country occupied when so much of it is desolate and destroyed? Despite the international relief efforts aimed at the Philippines, the quality of life is dwindling in areas where lack of power caused by the typhoon creates a lack of commerce leading to a lack of jobs. Talented workers and students are leaving certain areas and moving to other locations for work. Learn more about the quality of life in the Philippines from the New York Times article “Months After Typhoon, Philippine City Suffers From an Exodus of Jobs

    Refugees from Typhoon Haiyan still feel the affects of the destructive storm

    Princeton Tec headlamps prep victims of Typhoon Haiyan for night with white ultrabright light

    As you can see, natural disasters can still have effects long after the storm has passed through making it even more important to prepare yourself. In the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan cased months of difficult—and it isn’t over yet. Get started today on your own preparedness plans so you can be as resilient as possible if a disaster strikes.

    Check out the following articles to help you develop a valuable skill set that will help you survive in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

    Preparing by Developing your Skills

    How to Build a Fire

    First Aid for Wounds

    Emergency Shelter

     

    Sources:

    https://www.facebook.com/ActionHumanitarian

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, natural disaster, survival gear, philippines, Typhoon Haiyan

  • Make sure to take your important information along if you evacuate

    Imagine this: A chemical spill and potential fire forces a sudden evacuation order in your area. You have ten minutes max to grab your kids, pets, keys, wallet, and emergency supplies and be on your way. What’s likely to get left behind?

    One item often forgotten in the rush of any crisis is information. You may need such info as immunization records (Bill cut his foot: when was his last tetanus shot?), homeowners’ insurance policy and contact numbers, or health insurance cards.

    Keeping copies of important documents and info in a form that’s handy to grab along with your emergency kit is a smart step in your preparation efforts. During any emergency, you won’t have the time or presence of mind to rush around gathering up birth certificates, documents, and important phone numbers. Why not prepare copies ahead of time and tuck them into a pocket of your kit?

    Follow these simple steps to add to your peace of mind and readiness:

    1. Make a list of documents, certificates, and papers you wouldn’t want to lose in any emergency situation. Consider the following:
      • Birth certificates
      • Marriage certificate
      • Social Security cards
      • Driver licenses
      • Life insurance policy numbers and phone information
      • Homeowners insurance policy numbers and contact information
      • Health insurance cards
      • Auto insurance cards
      • Passports
      • Up-to-date immunization records
      • Account information for all your credit cards and bills
      • Copies of prescriptions
      • Pet documentation (license and medical records)
      • Precious photographs, including a recent one of your whole family for ID purposes. Perhaps a picture with your pet(s) as well, for ID and proof of ownership.
      • Flash drives containing any computerized material you want to save—family history, creative works, correspondence, financial records, work files, etc.

       

    2. Make a list of phone numbers and email addresses you’d want to have with you. Don’t depend upon numbers that are programmed into your cell phone, as phones can be lost or destroyed. Don’t forget to include employers, employees, relatives, close friends, out-of-state contacts, doctors, poison control center, clergymen, and business contacts.
    3.  

    4.  Make a list of all your accounts, with numbers and phone information.
    5.  

    6. Gather up those documents from step 1 and make copies of them. Except for your driver license, put the originals in a safe, lockbox, or safety-deposit box at your bank. Consider making two or three copies instead of just one. You might want to leave one packet of copies with a trusted relative to keep for you. Think how grateful you’d be if (perish the thought!) your home had burned to have Grandma hand you a packet of all your most important documents and photos!  Some people also tuck a packet into their car emergency kit or somewhere else in the car in case it’s needed when they don’t have their emergency kit on hand.



      Seal your packet in a plastic bag to protect it from moisture and soil, and have only blank paper showing through the plastic to avoid advertising contents to would-be ID thieves. If you’re concerned about wrinkling or tearing, enclose a piece of stiff cardboard. Some people prefer to enclose each document in a plastic sheet protector and put them all into a binder, but while this would be perfect to hand to Grandma for safekeeping, it makes a more cumbersome package to tuck into your supplies. Your choice!
    7.  

    8. Put your packets together and place them where they need to be. Take a deep breath and put your feet up. You’ve done well!

    For additional information, check out the “Emergency Financial First Aid Kit

    What other documents do you think are important to include in your information packet?

    Sources:

    www.ready.gov

    www.readynation.com

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: baby steps, preparedness, Emergency plan, evacuation plan, emergency preparedness, preparation

  • Protect yourself from sunburns and the life-threatening possibilities they can create

    Often when we think of burn injuries, our minds jump to fire burns, electrical burns, etc. But how many of us forget about “simple” sunburns? (Well, “simple” may be an understatement.)

    Although the sun doesn’t seem too dangerous shining from light years away (or during the cold months of winter), ultraviolet rays can cause serious skin damage. UV rays can damage your skin even on cloudy days, through haze, or through fog and often lead to painful sunburns. Research shows that sunburns can even develop into life-threatening skin cancer later in life.

    So what can you do to protect yourself?  The following tips are from The American Burn Association:

    Skin & eye protection:

    • Use liberal amounts of sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15, even on cloudy days. Wear dark sunglasses to protect your eyes (even if you wear contacts with UV protection).
    • Select shaded areas for outdoor activities, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest.
    • Wear a broad-brimmed hat, tightly woven clothing, and, where possible, a long-sleeved shirt (preferably cotton), and long pants when you spend long periods in the sun. If you’re wearing a baseball cap and plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, tuck a handkerchief under the back of the hat to prevent sunburn on your neck.
    • Avoid tanning altogether. There is no safe way to tan. Damage to your skin from the sun and tanning beds can happen in just minutes of exposure to UV light. Tanning beds typically emit mostly deeper penetrating UVA rays, but some do emit UVB rays (which cause sunburns), too.
    • Avoid using sunlamps
    • Understand your medications. Certain prescriptions can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays. Consult your doctor with any questions about your medications.
    • Infants have especially sensitive skin. And, unfortunately, they aren’t born with a skin protection system. They also can’t tell us if they are too hot or move on their own out of the sun, so it’s up to us to protect them.

    THE EMERGENCY ESSENTIALS DIFFERENCE

    We don't want to just mask the pain of a burn, we want to get rid of it! BurnFree® gives you instant burn relief by drawing the heat out of your skin.

    How to protect your baby’s skin:

    • Keep babies less than one years old out of direct sunlight to prevent skin damage and dehydration. Keep them in the shade under a tree, an umbrella, or a stroller canopy.
    • Dress your baby in protective but loose clothing that will cover their skin: long pants, long-sleeved shirt, and a wide-brimmed hat.
    • 15-30 minutes before going outside, apply PABA-free sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30,. Reapply every 2-3 hours, especially if children are playing in the water often. Do not apply sunscreen to babies under six months old.
    • Make sure children have a water break every 30 minutes when they’re exercising or playing outdoors in high heat and humidity. Be sure kids drink plenty of water before, during, and after outside activity. If shade is available, insist on breaks to cool off for a few minutes every once in awhile.
    • Don’t let infants or young children play or sleep in direct sun in a playpen, stroller, etc.

     

    Sunscreen Tips:

    When it comes to the sun, there are two types of UV rays that can harm your skin: UVB and UVA rays. UVB rays typically cause sunburns. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and are associated with wrinkling, leathering, and other aspects of aging, not to mention skin cancer. It’s important to select the right type of sunscreen and to use it over and over again.

    • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 (which blocks about 94% of UVB rays). Make sure to choose a sunscreen that has both UVA UVB protection.
    • Reapply ever 2-3 hours, as well as after swimming. No matter how strong the sunscreen is, it won’t last all day.
    • Pay special attention to exposed areas such as the face, neck, ears, back, shoulders, knees, and tops of feet
    • If applying multiple substances (i.e. bug repellant) on your skin, always put the sunscreen on first and wait 30 minutes before applying the other substances.
    • No sunscreen provides 100% protection. Even after applying sunscreen, cover up with a hat, long-sleeve shirt, and pants.

    Knowing how to keep yourself burn-free during the summer will allow you to enjoy the great outdoors without having to worry about treating an injury. If you do find yourself with a sun burn, don’t panic. Try using Sunburn Rescue or BurnFree. They help remove and evaporate the heat from your skin as well as provide some pain relief.

    Check out our article “First Aid for Burns” for more information about burn safety.

    --Kim

    Sources:

    http://www.webmd.com/beauty/sun/high-spf-sunscreens-are-they-better

    http://www.ameriburn.org/Preven/SummerSafetyEducator'sGuide.pdf

    http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/sunscreens-explained

    http://consults.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/03/is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-healthy-tan/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, preparedness, emergency preparedness, Sunburn, National Burn Week, burns

  • Prep yourself to survive winter so you can enjoy it all season long

    Whether we love it or hate it, winter’s here, bringing skiing, skating, snowboarding, snowman building and . . . shoveling, slipping, sliding, shivering, sneezing, and sniffling! Preparation is the key to surviving—even enjoying—the coldest time of the year.

    Update emergency kits

    We know that our homes, yards, wardrobes, and vehicles all need winterizing—but let’s not forget about our emergency kits, as well. It’s time to change out summer clothing for winter in our bug-out-bags, and to be sure we have hand warmers, winter tools, kitty litter or sand, antifreeze, and more in our emergency car kits. See “Baby Steps: Time to Winterize Your Grab and Go Bag” for more suggestions.

    Protect yourself against hypothermia

    Other than avoiding winter car accidents and falls on ice, protecting ourselves and our families against hypothermia and frostbite is the main focus of winter safety. Hypothermia is a dangerous condition that can creep up on us, making people first shiver, then feel sleepy, confused unaware of their own danger , and apathetic, with difficulty thinking and making rational decisions.

    A few basic tips protect against hypothermia:

    • Avoid getting wet (whether from sweat, rain, snow, or dew)

    • Make sure you are protected against wind chill

    • Go back inside or to a fire to warm up from time to time

    • Stop your activity before you reach an exhausted state

    Check out our Insight article "First Aid for Hypothermia and Frostbite" to learn more about how to protect yourself from this cold related issue.

    Protect yourself against Sickness

    Colds, the flu, and coughs are more prevalent in the winter. With an increase in illness at this time of year, it’s important to be sure we’re taking the proper steps to avoid getting sick.

    Eat your fruits and veggies. While some fresh fruits and vegetables may not be as readily available in winter as they are in summer, you can stock up on freeze dried varieties that you’ll love and will give you some of the nutrition you’ll need. Eat lots of green or yellow produce in the winter. Think pumpkin, winter squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark green, leafy veggies like kale and spinach.

    Thankfully, winter is citrus season, so enjoy those tangerines, oranges, and grapefruits. They’re full of Vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and other nutrients that help to keep us healthy.

    Fight off Germs. Remember to wash your hands often with soap and good, warm water; sneeze or cough into a tissue or your elbow, not your bare hands or (heaven forbid!) the air around you! Germs are one thing you need to be selfish about keeping to yourself.

    Many germs can be transferred from up to 6 feet away. Even the tiniest droplet of moisture from a person with a cold or the flu can land in your mouth or nose, or be inhaled into your lungs when they cough, sneeze, or even speak. Try to stay away from those who are ill; if you’re ill, stay home.

    Germs can also be transferred from touching a surface or object that has the virus on it. Clean doorknobs, toys, and other frequently touched surfaces regularly.

    Layer up

    Dressing in layers gives the best protection against very cold weather. Here are a few tips for layering your clothes properly:

    • First have a thin layer of “wicking” fabric such as Under Armour™ that pulls moisture away from your skin.
    • Follow that with a warm layer such as a heavy shirt, jeans or insulated pants, and a sweater or jacket.
    • Top it all off with a reflective or waterproof layer.
    • Add appropriate gloves and footwear, including warm socks (wool socks are great) and perhaps face protection such as a ski mask in extreme conditions to protect your face from frostbite.

    Check out our Insight articles "Staying Warm in the Outdoors", "Emergency Warmth", and our blog post, "Winter Camping (and Other Signs of Insanity)" for more great tips on layering up.

    Learn to build a fire

    If you find yourself stranded outdoors in the cold for any length of time, your survival (and comfort) may depend on whether you can build—and maintain—a successful fire. Read "How to Build a Fire" and take the time to practice. (Believe me, these are techniques to know! Read the comments at the end, too.)

    Learn to build a shelter

    If you should ever have to construct a temporary shelter for yourself, you’ll appreciate knowing the information contained in our "Emergency Shelter" and Shelter and Temperature Control in an Emergency articles.

    Keep extra help on hand

    Marvelous aids such as hand and body warmers are also important, especially if you’re going to be outdoors for an extended period of time. Always keep some in your car, purse, or coat pocket so you’ll have them wherever you go.

    Be wise and prepare. Then if Jack Frost reaches his icy fingers for you, you’ll know how to defend yourself against him!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Winter, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, winter prep

  • what's the difference between a burn and a scald?

    Many of us may be familiar with the impact a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree burn may have on the human body, but most of us aren’t as familiar with the impact a scald can have. Since scald recognition and prevention may not be discussed as often as burns, let's talk about scalds and how you can prevent scald injuries in your home.

    What’s the difference between a burn and a scald?

    Understanding the definition and differences of these two injuries will help you decide if the pain you or a loved one is experiencing is a burn or a scald.

    Burns: Although burns are complex injuries with no solid definition, in simplest terms a burn can be defined as damage to skin cells and tissue caused by fire, heat, electricity, chemicals, radiation, light, or friction. If the burn is severe, it can even damage muscle and fat. And if it's deep enough, it can reach bone.

    Scalds: Unlike burns, scalds may only damage several layers of skin. They typically don’t reach connective or nerve tissue, muscle, fat, or bone. However, while many scalds can be considered as superficial or first degree burns, if severe enough, scalds can be just as fatal as a third degree burn and may even lead to death. A scald is caused when a portion of skin is exposed to a hot liquid or steam. For instance, scalding is often caused by hot bath water, hot food, cooking fluids like grease, or a hot drink.

    What's the impact of a scald injury?

    Many people may believe that scalds are not serious burn injuries. But it's important to understand that, like second and third degree burns, scalds may require skin grafting and can have deadly effects if not treated in time.

    According to U.S. News and World Reports, “In the United States, burns from hot tap water result in about 1,500 hospital admissions and 100 deaths per year.” The difference between a scald being a minor burn or being deadly are determined by several factors including:

    • Prolonged exposure to the hot substance
    • The temperature of the substance
    • The nature of the substance (is it sticky? does it retain heat?)
    • The extent of body area scalded
    • The location of the scald

    Also, scalds can happen fast. Shriner’s Hospital states, “People of all ages can be burned in 30 seconds by flowing liquid that is 130 degrees F; at 140 degrees F, it takes only 5 seconds; at 160 degrees F, it only takes 1 second.”

    Who typically experiences scalding?

    Even though people of all ages can be scalded, the three groups that are most likely to experience a scald are young children, the elderly, and those with disabilities and special needs. These groups may not be able to say or understand that their bath water or drink is too hot. And because of mobility restrictions, they may not be able remove themselves from an unsafe situation.

    Additionally, young children and the elderly typically have thinner skin than the average adult or teen. The thinner your skin, the quicker it’ll burn making these groups more susceptible to scalding.

    But just because the three groups listed above are more likely to experience a scald, let's not forget that a scald injury can happen to anyone. It's important to learn preventative measures now to make sure you and your family are safe.

    How can I prevent scald injuries in my home?

    Scalds typically occur at home in the bathroom or kitchen. Since we know the two most common places where they occur, you can enact preventative measures in your home now.

    Bathroom Safety

    • Supervise young children as they use tap water to wash hands, face, etc. (According to Safe Kids USA, “hot tap water burns tend to be the most severe and cover a larger portion of the body than other scald burns.”)
    • Lower the temperature setting on your water heater to 120°F or less.
    • To check water temperature when filling the tub for a child, move your hand through the water. If it feels too hot for you, it’s definitely too hot for a child, elderly, or those with special needs.
    • Place your child on the opposite end of the tub from the faucet. Position them so their back is toward the faucet.
    • Install a grab bar in your shower.
    • A safe bathing temperature for a healthy adult is 100°F ( to test the water temperature, run water for 2 minutes and use a cooking thermometer to measure heat.)

    Kitchen Safety

    • When cooking, face pot handles inward so that no one can walk past and accidently hit the pot or so a child can’t pull it off the stove.
    • Follow instructions and cautions for heating items in a microwave—even the steam from a bag of popcorn can scald you.
    • Supervise children in kitchen and dining areas.
    • Mark a “kid-free zone” in the kitchen close to the stove (with tape) and explain to your child why they cannot cross the line.
    • Never hold a child in your arms while preparing hot foods or liquids.
    • Keep hot foods and liquids high out of a child’s reach.
    • Keep BurnFree in your kitchen or first aid kit

     

    To learn more about scald prevention safety and tips, check out these links

    And while you’re at it, beef up on first aid for 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree, and chemical and electrical burns in our article, “First Aid for Burns.” You could even use these tips to help you treat a minor scald.

     

    Sources

     

     

     

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, emergency preparedness, burns, burn treatment, burn prevention, burn preparedness

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