Tag Archives: disaster

  • Throughout National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, we want to help spread the word about how you can prepare for natural disasters in your area. Last year one natural disaster occurred over and over again, wreaking havoc across many states in our nation—tornadoes.

    Prepare yourself to face any type of severe weather storm, even a tornado

    In November of 2013, the Midwest faced dozens of record breaking tornadoes that flattened neighborhoods, damaged homes, and sent many people into panic. Oklahoma faced the largest tornado on recordfor their area. Tornadoes even happened in Denver, CO where twisters are uncommon.

    The unexpected tornado in Denver shows that it's important to know how to prepare for a tornado even if they are uncommon to your area. So think about how you would prepare for a tornado. What would you do? Where would you go?

    Check out our Insight Articles “What to do During a Tornado” and “Tornado Preparedness” for tips on what you can do to keep you and your family safe. Also, learn from FEMA the importance of Developing an Emergency Response Plan for Tornadoes.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has also prepared the following videos to help you prepare for a tornado.

    What to do Before a Tornado

    What to do During a Tornado

    What to do After a Tornado

    In honor of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, consider making today your tornado preparedness day—make a plan to keep you and your family safe if a tornado passes through your town.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, FEMA, NOAA, disaster, Weather, emergency preparedness, natural disaster, Tornado, National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, tornadoes, Tornado preparation

  • The Ocean City Boom

    The Ocean City boom makes us ask if you really were caught in an earthquake, what would you do?

    When a loud boom, violent shaking, and tremors rattled Ocean City, MD in early Feb., the city’s residents were confused. Most suspected an earthquake, but within hours geologists confirmed that wasn't the case.

    The Baltimore Sun reported the event, and by Thursday evening, signs pointed towards supersonic jets flying from the Patuxent Naval Air Station. Two jets took off over the Atlantic coast at the time of the rumbling. It’s likely that weather conditions allowed the sonic booms to travel further than normal.

    Although geologists were satisfied when the Navy confessed to planning two supersonic flights Thursday, many citizens wondered “if there wasn't something more mysterious” at hand.

    “We've had sonic booms in town before,” said one firefighter, “but this seemed different. It was more sustained, and then there was a pause for about a minute and then it started again.”

    Others agreed, having experienced similar rumblings every three to six months, but this particular boom was the most intense so far.

    “We've never got one like today,” Bart Rader, a resident who felt the boom as it rattled a 50 lb. sculpture in his home, said.

    Read the Baltimore Sun article, "Boom, then rumble leaves Ocean City puzzled” to learn more about this mysterious boom that has everyone talking.>

    Those in Maryland were lucky it wasn't ruled as an earthquake, but if it was … would they have been ready to face it? Would you be?

    Natural disasters are often unexpected and destructive; many people find they are underprepared. As disasters occur around the country and throughout the world, we should each be asking ourselves the same question: are we really prepared?

    Check out some of our Insight articles to help you prep for an earthquake:

    Earthquakes

    Quake, Rattle, and Roll: Easy Steps to Take Before the Big One Hits

    Quake, Rattle, and Roll: What to do during an earthquake

    Quake, Rattle, and Roll: What to do after an earthquake

    Or browse the other Insight Article categories

    Sources:

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/travel/oc-blog/bal-earthquake-ocean-city-20140206,0,3754031.story

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: disaster, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, Earthquake, MD, Maryland, Baltimore, Sonic Boom

  • What It is

    A Faraday cage, also known as a Faraday shield, Radio Frequency Cage, or EMF (Electromotive Force) Cage, is simply an enclosure built to protect electronic devices from electromagnetic radiation and electrostatic discharges. It can be anything from a small box to a large room, covered with conductive metal or wire mesh, which prevents surges from damaging the equipment inside.

    The sources of these surges can be powerful lightning strikes, destructive solar flares (CMEs, or Coronal Mass Ejections) directed toward earth, or the effects of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) from a nuclear bomb detonation high in the atmosphere.

    The device is named for Michael Faraday, who observed in 1836 that the excess charge from a conductor remained on the outside of a container and had no effect on the interior contents. He experimented by building a room coated with metal foil and allowed high-voltage discharges from a generator to strike the outside of it. He used an electroscope to show that there was no electric charge present on the inside of the room’s walls. Though the device bears Faraday’s name, Benjamin Franklin is believed to have been the first to discover the principle.

    Faraday cages, or shields, are used all throughout our society. Some are used in the scan-rooms of MRI machines, in which the “cage” effect prevents radio frequency signals from being added to the data from the patient’s image. Some electrical linemen wear “Faraday suits” when working on live, high-voltage power lines to prevent accidental electrocution. Military planners and politicians who have reason to keep their communications private often meet in Faraday-protected rooms that are impervious to electronic “eavesdropping.” In 2013, the Vatican even used the technology to shield the Sistine Chapel from curious listeners during the deliberations to select the new Pope.

    Many people buy Faraday bags to protect their cell phones and laptops both from electrical surges and from unwanted surveillance or tracking.

    According to the National Weather Service, an automobile is essentially a Faraday cage, and it’s the metal surrounding you, not the rubber tires, that protects you from lightning (as long as you’re not touching metal inside the car).[i] A smaller example is a microwave oven, which is a Faraday cage in reverse, trapping the waves inside the device instead of keeping them out. In fact, an old microwave oven makes a good Faraday cage for small electronics!

    Typical items that can be stored in a Faraday cage include

    • Laptop or notebook computers
    • Thumb drives or external hard drives
    • Cell phones
    • Ipads, iPods, and e-readers
    • Portable AM/Shortwave radios, ham radio equipment, and walkie-talkies
    • DC/AC inverters
    • Battery-powered radios

     

    Why You Might Need One

    Why, you may ask, would it do any good for you to have working electronics when everyone else’s would be down or destroyed? First of all, you might still be able to communicate with people outside the affected area (and it may be very difficult at first to determine how large that affected area is).

    Second, you won’t be the only “techie” who thought to protect valuable electronics in a Faraday cage. Some preppers do this as a matter of course, and eventually you would probably be able to communicate with them. (Cell towers, however, would likely be “fried” and need to be rebuilt).

    Communication at such a time would be extremely valuable. Unless there had been well-publicized warnings of impending CMEs in the days before the event, many people would have no idea what had happened to our world. Ham radio operators, who could communicate with other Hams around the globe, might become the new heroes of the day.

    Many AM/FM and shortwave radio stations believe that they’ll still be able to broadcast after an EMP or CME event, and without all the usual “noise” of our plugged-in society, their waves may be able to travel farther than they do now. Hopefully there would be Faraday-protected radios out there to receive their signals! There is, however, a likelihood that the earth’s electromagnetic field would be seriously disrupted by such an event, and it might take quite a while for things to settle down and not cause static on the airwaves.

    How to Make a Faraday Cage

    To be effective, a Faraday cage must:

    • Be covered with conductive metal or mesh. Copper is the most conductive metal, followed by aluminum. (Well--gold and silver are better, but we assume you won’t be covering your cage with those!)
    • Be properly grounded (according to some experts, to prevent shocks when touched)
    • Adequately surround whatever it’s protecting.

    In addition, whatever is inside should be adequately insulated from the cage itself, such as being placed on wood, in a cardboard box, or on a rubber mat so that it doesn’t touch any metal.

    Faraday Box # 1—The Galvanized Trash Can

    A Galvanized Trash Can can act like a Faraday Cage

    You will need

    • A galvanized metal trash can with a tight-fitting lid
    • Several boxes of heavy-duty aluminum foil
    • Enough metal screening or mesh to wrap around the top of the can and fit over the lip
    • Cardboard boxes of assorted sizes that fit inside the can
    • Plastic garbage bags or plastic wrap
    • Cloth pieces to wrap items

    Wrap the items you wish to protect first in cloth, then plastic, then 3-4 layers of heavy-duty foil, being sure that the foil is molded to the shape of the item and that each layer completely covers the previous one, with no tears or holes.

    Place your wrapped items in cardboard boxes. Tape shut, then wrap the entire box with 2 layers of foil.

    Line the trash can with cardboard, including the bottom, making sure there are no gaps. The foil-wrapped boxes must not touch the metal of the can. Set the can on wood or cardboard, not touching any other metal.

    Several experts say that simply putting the lid on the can, even if it fits tightly, is an insufficient seal. They suggest folding a sheet of metal screening around the top of the can and over the top lid and then forcing the lid over that to maintain a constant, tight-fitting metallic connection.

    Remember, this is for long-term storage of the appliances inside, not something that you can take your appliances out of to use and then return to the container without a great deal of trouble. A good idea is to look around for good deals on duplicates of things you use every day. Another important thing to remember is that you will need some type of charger—hand-cranked or solar-powered—to power up your devices once a crisis has passed. If you can wrap and store one of these in a protected Faraday container, you’ll be glad to have it. 

    Faraday Cage # 2—A Metal-Clad Box

    Any box made of non-conductive material such as plywood, and then totally covered with metal, metal mesh, or metal screening can serve as a Faraday cage. The metal must touch at all the corners and over and all around any opening for the protection to be complete, as an electrical charge will find its way through any gaps or crevices in the construction. The smaller the holes in the mesh or screen, the better the protection—but either mesh or screen is believed to work better than solid metal. The metal can be attached to the wood with staples or screws, whichever seems to work best for you. You might consider applying the metal mesh so that it folds around the corners. Then let the next piece overlap the edge of the first, securely fastened together and to the wood so that there is no break in the conductive shield.

    Updated: Living Off the Grid

    For those who don’t rely as heavily on electronic equipment for day-to-day life, the idea of Living Off the Grid is more realistic. Those who live off the grid don’t need to worry quite as much about EMP’s or CME’s causing havoc and chaos to their daily routine because they have already given up a lot of the equipment that would be affected by those electromagnetic pulses.

    However, living off the grid doesn't always mean going completely electronics-free.  In this case, living off the grid may not protect you from the aftermath of EMP’s or CME’s even if you produce your own electricity from an alternate source.  Faraday cages can benefit a variety of lifestyles to protect you and your electronics.

    There are many uncertainties about exactly what would happen in the case of an enormous release of electromagnetic energy in our civilized, plugged-in world. We can hope that nothing will happen to damage our electronics, but in case our hopes are vain, we’ll be happy for every measure we've taken to prepare!

    For more DIY projects, check out the articles below:

    DIY Tent Lamp

    Guest Post: Make a Paracord Bracelet

    Baby Steps: DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls

    Emergency Essentials' DIY Laundry Detergent

     

    Sources:

    www.ehow.com/info__10047811-things-keep-faraday-box.htm

    www.ehow.com/how_8796313_make-faraday-cage-html

    www.thesurvivalistblog.net/building-a-faraday-cage

    www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage

    www.science.howstuffworks.com/faraday-cage.htm

    http://thesurvivalmom.com/2012/10/09/skill-of-the-month-make-a-faraday-cage/

     

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency power, skills, disaster, preparedness, emergency preparedness, DIY, disaster preparedness, Faraday Cage

  • National Burn Week is Feb. 2nd - Feb. 8th

    Did you know that cooking fires are the leading cause of house fires, followed closely by heating fires? Or that the leading factor contributing to clothes dryers catching fire failure to clean the dryer?

    House fires are more common than you think—and they can occur in countless ways all year round. To help educate the public on fire and burn safety, the American Burn Association (ABA) has declared Feb. 2nd - 8th National Burn Week.

    The ABA’s campaign is designed to help parents, educators, and community members learn—and teach others—about burn prevention and safety. They focus on teaching what types of situations present fire risks, how to recognize and prevent different types of burns (scalds, electrical, etc.), and other general fire safety tips.

    Understanding fire safety is an important skill to develop, because fires can happen anywhere. If you know what to do, then you can be a solution to the crisis.

    We’ll be back throughout the week with tips to expand your fire safety knowledge so you can stay safe and help prevent fires.

    We each have a part to play in fire prevention at home and in the great outdoors. What are you doing to live and teach fire safety? Do you know how to recognize and treat different types of burns?

    Sources:

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/reports/electrical_and_appliances.shtm

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/reports/heating.shtm

    http://www.ameriburn.org/preventionBurnAwareness.php

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, disaster, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, fires, National Burn Week, house fires

  • If you haven’t got your ducks in a row for your Valentine's Day dinner yet, don’t worry—we’ve got an Anti-Disaster Valentine’s Menu for you. If you've got the following food storage items in your prepared pantry you in luck! Not only is the food going to be delicious, but you won’t have to spend the rest of today frantically chopping, peeling, dicing, and who knows what to prepare the food. We've even got two menu options for you. Check ‘em out:

     

    Menu 1- Veggie frittata, green salad, and vanilla ice cream with an apricot and strawberry compote.

    Treat your sweetie (or your sweet family) to a delicious Food Storage Veggie Frittata and some green salad; then finish with some vanilla ice cream smothered with a tangy and sweet compote.

    Maybe you’re not familiar with frittata and compote, so let’s get down to the nitty gritty: a frittata is basically an omelet that’s baked instead of cooked on the stovetop, and a compote is basically fruit that is mixed with sugar, then cooked on the stovetop until the fruit is stewed and the fruit juice and sugar have created a sweet syrup (translation= it’s awesome, and you want it on your ice cream).

     

     

    Veggie Frittata (makes 4 servings)

    Preheat your oven to broil on low.

    Combine all the vegetables in a medium bowl and add enough water to completely cover them. While they are reconstituting, mix up the eggs and have them ready. When the vegetables are tender, drain them well and add them to the egg mix. Add the cheddar (do not reconstitute). Mix all the ingredients well, and pour into a cast iron (or other oven-ready) skillet.

    Cook over medium heat until the bottom of the frittata is set, then place the skillet under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, or until fully set and golden on top. Watch closely so it doesn't burn!

    Note: you can also cook the frittata entirely in the oven, without using the stovetop. Just preheat the oven to 350 F, and place the skillet into the oven. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until the frittata is just set in the center. 

    Fruit Compote Ice Cream Topping (makes 4 servings)

    In a medium bowl, reconstitute the fruit, then drain.

    Add fruit and a small amount of sugar to a medium saucepan. Stir to mix well. Stir continually until the fruit has stewed and the juices have combined with the sugar to create a syrupy-looking liquid. Adjust the amount of water and sugar as needed to get your preferred consistency.

    Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly (or completely if you prefer).

    Serve over ice cream. Garnish with crushed vanilla cookies (optional). 

     

    Menu 2 - Pork Chops, green salad, and a fudgy brownie sundae with peanut butter sauce.

    Veggie frittata not your style? Looking for something with a little more… well, frankly, more meat? Check out these variations you can use to make the Mountain House Pork Chops (which, I’ll be honest, I loved, and I’m not usually a big fan of pork in general).

    Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Chops

    Option 1)     Reconstitute the pork chops as directed—and treat them as you would raw meat.

    Once they’re ready to cook, heat your pan on the stove top and add some oil to prevent the chops from sticking. Sprinkle the chops with salt, pepper, and brown sugar on top, and place top-side down into the pan. Sprinkle again with salt, pepper, and brown sugar before turning. The sugar will give the pork chops a nice hint of sweetness and (even more important, in my opinion) a gorgeous caramelized color.

    Option 2)     Follow the directions above.

    In addition to the brown sugar, add some reconstituted freeze-dried raspberries to the top of the pork chop after it has been turned. (You can sweeten the raspberries if you like—I prefer the contrast of the sweet brown sugar glaze on the pork chop against the tangy raspberries).

    If you don’t already have the Mountain House Pork Chops, you should snag some while they’re on sale this month. There are limited quantities, so they may sell out any time. And believe me… if a nice pork chop is comfort food to you, then you want these in your food storage.

     

    Fudgy Brownie Sundae with Peanut Butter Sauce

    How can you go wrong with chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter together? You can’t. Everything about this combination is right—like you and your Valentine.

    There are two ways to make this dessert happen. And they’re both from food storage. (Except the ice cream, although we do sell that.)

    Option 1: No baking required

    To make the Peanut Butter sauce, just reconstitute the Peanut Butter powder so it’s thinner than you would normally make it for spreading. Add vanilla and sugar to taste, and pour over the brownie and ice cream.

    Option 2: Some baking required (a.k.a., hot, gooey brownies fresh from the oven for your sundae. Mmmm…)

    Make the brownies according to the directions. You could also reconstitute a bit of extra Peanut Butter powder and drop it into the brownie batter by the spoonful, then swirl, back, and serve with ice cream and sauce on top (if you want a double punch of peanut butter.)

     

    We hope these recipes can help you avoid a Valentine's Day disaster! Enjoy!

     

     

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: veggie frittata, green salad, apricot and strawberry compote, pork chops, Valentine's Day, dinner, disaster, menu, recipe

  • Who They Gonna Call?

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    It turns out that it’s not too early to teach your toddler what to do in an emergency. Today’s guest post shares several solid ideas that will help you teach your child about crisis situations.

    Teaching small children how to reach emergency services is less of a practical challenge and more of an emotional one, though there are some ways to simplify the process even further to make sure that they gain this much-needed skill.
    You’ll definitely want to read the whole post here: http://www.babysittingjobs.com/blog/ways-to-teach-your-child-to-call-911/. Let us know if you’ve tried these techniques at home and if you have any other suggestions.


    Two other helps: 
    1.  Click here to download our Emergency Information for Caregivers. It’s a great way to inform and prepare your babysitter.
    2.   Even if this does nothing more than prove to your kids that you can’t get any nerdier, incorporate this song into your discussion. Have fun! 




    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: guest post, disaster, Emergency, 9-1-1, 911, babysitters, children, crisis