Tag Archives: skills

  • Learn how to plan a preparedness fair to share your knowledge of prepping with your community

    Like the proverbial elephant that must be consumed one bite at a time, planning a major event like a Preparedness Fair is best done one step at a time. Follow these simple steps for a successful fair:

    Decide the purpose of your Preparedness Fair.

    Are you trying to educate your community on the general advantages of thinking in terms of preparation? Are you hoping to encourage the employees of your company to get emergency kits to keep at work or in their cars? Or do you live in an area where severe weather is a constant threat, and you’re trying to help people prepare for that? 

    Decide who’s hosting the Preparedness Fair.

    A school, church, hospital, business, city or county jurisdiction, emergency services, or any combination thereof could participate in hosting the event. If your group is small, you may want to partner with another.

    Know your target audience.

    Will it be the general public, your church, club, or civic group, extended family, or employees of your company? The answer will dictate the size of the venue, number of presenters, and budget. If you’re trying to attract as many people as possible, you’ll need a large venue such as a community center, hospital lobby, or multipurpose room at a college. If you’re planning several presenters who will repeat their classes, you’ll want a building with classrooms as well as an open area. A local church might be ideal for that. (Remember: free is good!)

    Choose a goal or theme.

    Unless your fair is enormous, it’s usually better to have a central theme rather than trying to cover all aspects of preparedness.  Examples:

    • “Family Safety” with topics such as “Smoke and CO2 Detectors,” “Avoiding Risky Behavior,” “Hidden Dangers in Your Home,” and “Planning to Meet After an Emergency”
    • “Bringing in the Harvest” with classes on gardening, composting, fruit and vegetable recipes, and food preservation methods
    • “Making Your Own Emergency Kits” emphasizing car kits, first-aid kits, 72-hour survival kits, and baby bug-out bags
    • “Water Storage,” covering topics such as ways water can be contaminated, appropriate storage containers, and water purification techniques
    • “Keeping a Weather Eye,” with classes on earthquake, storm, fire, or flood preparedness, evacuation procedures, and how to turn off utilities.
    • For more ideas, browse our website, blog, and Insight articles.

     

    Select presenters.

    Decide if you want commercial booths and vendors or strictly informational presenters. (Remember, if your fair is hosted by a tax-exempt organization, then your presentations will need to be informational only.) Will your presenters expect pay or do it as community service?

    You could have several classes going at a time and let your audience rotate between them, plus have an informational video repeating in the main room along with several booths. Choose presenters who will be well-prepared and professional with up-to-date, practical information. Handouts are helpful. (See the “Education” tab on our website and look through our blogs and insight articles for materials you can use.)

    You may be able to get representatives from FEMA, CERT, or your local police and fire department. If you happen to be in Utah, you can schedule a representative from Emergency Essentials for your event. Just email preparednessevents@beprepared.com for information.

    Select a Crew.

    In addition to your presenters, you’ll need people to set up and take down booths, tables, and chairs; provide technical help with microphones, computers, projectors, etc.; contribute and serve refreshments; man a booth with kid-friendly activities; be greeters; and direct visitors to classrooms. Unless you can get volunteers to do these things, remember to figure staffing expenses into your budget.

    Advertise.

    Some good advertising methods are flyers, posters, community radio spots, word-of-mouth, email messages, yard signs, church or business announcements, Facebook notices, and newspaper article. Be sure all ads give the date, time, and location of the preparedness fair. Include a couple of “hooks” like refreshments or door prizes, and use the back of the flyer to detail activities and presenters.  The more people you involve in some aspect of the fair, the better your attendance will be—they’ll come and usually bring others with them.

    Good luck! Having followed the above guidelines, you should be all set to have a great Preparedness Fair. We hope your event is so successful you’ll want to do it again.

    Feedback: Have you hosted or attended a preparedness fair or expo that included some great ideas you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about them.

    Resources for your event:

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, preparedness, Emergency plan, emergency preparedness, preparedness fair

  • Why Ice Fishing Could Save Your Life

    Compared to hundreds of years ago, ice fishing in the 21st century is more of a competitive sport, pastime, or hobby than a means of survival. Today, anglers come to the ice riding ATVs equipped with electric augers (a tool to drill holes in the ice) and sonar systems to identify approaching fish.

    So is ice fishing a practical survival skill to learn if you don’t have all the gadgets? Is it even worth it?

    According to Survivalist magazine, winter survival diets thrive on protein and meat to give you the energy and strength to survive in the cold. If you don’t feel confident hunting, and if edible plants are hard to come by, fish may become a crucial source of protein.

    But how do you ice fish? What do you need? What should you know?

    First: Gather your Supplies

    Let’s say you have to evacuate your home in winter and all you have is your emergency kit. These items in your kit could help you ice fish:

    • An Axe—to cut a hole in the ice
    • A Shovel—to skim slush and ice chunks out of the hole (some recommend even using a rice skimmer or ladle to do this)
    • Emergency Rope—to create a set-line or to tie around yourself and have others hold the end while you check the thickness of the ice (safety precaution)
    • Paracord—for fishing line
    • Pliers and Cutting Tools
    • SOL Origin Survival Pack—includes a mini fishing kit
    • Tape measure—to measure thickness of ice
    • Bait—you can find worms and other bugs in hollow logs. You can also use small pieces of meat, if you can spare it, or smaller fish. You could even make a jig (a decorated weight that looks like a fish that you move around in the water)
    • Fishing Hooks—Sense of Survival suggests to use different sized hooks that you can make from sticks, bones, and other naturally growing fibers.
    • Powerbait—a neon colored play-doh-like bait.

    The list above gives you some last minute options to use if you decide you need to ice fish for survival and don’t have the tools. But if you’re planning on ice fishing as a method of survival and want to have your emergency kit packed, consider purchasing more specialized equipment. The following supplies will help you to ice fish using basic supplies that you can carry with you in an emergency.

    • Auger—there are both hand powered and electric augers to drill holes in the ice
    • Ice Chisel/Pick—used to clear out slush from hole
    • Fishing Pole

    -          Tip-UP Pole- can be made with wood or plastic. It has a long stick with a reel and trigger device. A flag is placed at the top of the stick using a spring. When a fish bites, the flag will bounce up and down (kind of like a bobber).

    -          Jigging Rod— a two foot pole that looks like your smaller, traditional fishing pole. You bounce the jigging rod up and down every few seconds to get the fish attention. Can be used with a jig.

    • Bucket or Chair—so you can sit comfortably on the ice

    Second: Test the Ice

    • Four inches is a safe ice thickness for ice fishing (five inches is safe for an ATV or snowmobile, 8-12 inches is safe for a car or small truck)
    • Survey the ice before stepping out on to it. Are there cracks or breaks? Flowing water near the edges of the ice? Has water thawed and refrozen? Is there white ice? These are signs the ice is weak.
    • Test the ice thickness by using your ice chisel, axe, or other sharp object to break the ice and make a small hole. Then measure the ice thickness with a tape measure.
    • Just because your ice is four inches in one spot on the lake, doesn’t mean that the whole ice surface is four inches or safe to go out on. Ice may be two inches thick and unsafe only 150 feet away from you.

    CAUTION: Be careful on the ice. Slipping and breaking a bone during a survival situation is far from ideal. And be careful of exposure—the reflection of the sun on ice or snow could cause sunburns, and [hypothermia] is always a risk in winter weather. Make sure to dress in layers that you can take off if you get too hot.

    Third: Make a Hole

    When making your hole, make sure it is 6 to 8 inches in diameter (this is where your tape measurer comes in) and no more than 12 inches across. If the hole is larger than this, you may put yourself or someone else at risk of falling in.

    Use your axe or ice chisel to chip away at the ice to make a hole. Make sure you make sure you have a strap or something to tie the axe handle or ice chisel to your wrist so you don’t lose it in the water when cutting the hole.

    Fourth: Fish!

    According to Survivalist, the goal of survival ice fishing is to collect more energy in the food you catch than you expend to get it. In a survival situation, you’ll need energy to help yourself or your family to survive.

    The best way to increase your chances and to save your energy is to have a number of hooks in the water at once. You can use set-lines (lines with multiple hooks on them) that you can leave unattended and come back to later. Having multiple hooks out in the water can increase your chances of catching a fish.

    To learn how to make a set-line, check out the iceshanty.com article, [“Scientific set-lining for more Pike”]

    If the set line’s not working for you, you can construct a rod and reel system and use jigging or bait or try your hand at spear fishing (but you need really good aim . . .) for survival situations.

    Have you ever gone ice fishing without technology? Do you think it would be worth it to ice fish in a survival situation?

     

    Sources

    http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/thickness.html

    http://www.worldfishingnetwork.com/tips/post/ice-fishing

    Survivalist, Issue 14: Jan/Feb 2014

    http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/snow-sports/ice-fishing2.htm

    http://www.wikihow.com/Know-When-Ice-is-Safe

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, emergency kit, emergency preparedness, emergency preparedness supplies

  • Venison can be used for a variety of delicious, flavorful meals.

    One of the first meals my husband-to-be ever made for me was a deer roast (followed closely by elk sloppy joes). I had never had venison before and was leery of anything acquired outside my trusty, sanitized grocery store meat department. But this boy I was dating had killed the deer himself and he was as anxious to impress me by cooking as I was to impress him by eating it. I didn't tell him at the time, but I was shocked to find I liked it. And years later, I've learned that pretty much anything he brings home and puts over hot metal is going to be delicious.

    While I didn't know it at the time, deer is a fairly tricky meat to get right. Naturally very lean, a deer’s low fat content can make it drier than a nice, fatty steer. And because hunters prize large racks, most kills are older (read “tougher”) bucks. On the hunting end, there are ways to ensure better-tasting venison. Young females are fattier and more tender. A quick kill minimizes the adrenaline in the muscles, which is largely responsible for the bitter, gamey taste of deer. And the longer the carcass sits in its skin before it’s cleaned and processed, the tougher it’s going to be. (Read here for more!) Whether you’re looking for a wall trophy or a way to stock your freezer, there are a few ways to get the best culinary bang for your (ahem…) buck.

    First, save the very best cuts for steaks. Backstrap (also known as “loin” or “tenderloin”) is considered the prime cut of venison. While it’s the most tender cut, venison steaks still require some tenderizing, like a marinade or a few quality minutes with a meat tenderizer.

    The second best cuts—usually the rump and the round (leg muscles just below the rump)—should be reserved for roasts. Slow cooking in liquid, whether in a crock pot or covered in a roasting pan and cooked at low temperature, infuses venison with much-needed moisture and results in a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

    After roasts and steaks, the rest of the meat is—in my hunter-husband’s expert opinion—best put to use as summer sausage. Venison’s natural toughness makes deer jerky hard to chew, and ground venison (while yummy) can only be preserved frozen. Summer sausage is already cured, which makes it far longer-lasting than any raw cut in your freezer. Summer sausage also tends to mold, rather than spoil, minimizing the risk of eating contaminated meat. And, because it’s cured, it stays palatable and safe outside a refrigerator longer than other meats, making it a great choice for hiking, camping, and food storage.

    My husband’s favorite preparation is fairly basic: cover a venison roast 2/3 of the way with beef broth in a crock pot, add a packet of onion soup mix and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and cook on low for 6 or 7 hours. If you want to get more adventurous in the kitchen, you can check out HuntingPA’s extensive recipe list or Hank Shaw’s fantastic gourmet site, honest-food.net.

    However you prepare it, venison can make an exciting variation to your food storage—and knowing how to prepare it can be a useful tool in your prepper skill set.

    Tell us about your favorite venison dish!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, skills, preparedness, emergency preparedness, venison, meat

  • 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

  • New York is faced with severe snowy and icy conditions this winter season

    Snow storms across the country are transforming daily life, but in New York, it’s not the actual storm that’s causing the problems.

    “This is not anything we didn’t expect,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We did have notice of this storm. The shortage of salt is a complicating factor.”

    So far this winter, downstate New York has been hit pretty hard with storm after storm, resulting in a severely depleted supply of road salt for New York City and Long Island.

    The Daily News reports storms surging across the eastern state, pounding upstate New York with snowfalls at a rate of one to two inches an hour, and covering downstate New York in freezing rain and ice.

    In some areas, a half-inch of ice has formed, creating slick paths and causing power outages where the ice has taken down tree limbs and power lines.

    To help with the conditions, the state is re-directing 3,500 tons of salt—130 truckloads worth—downstate to areas in need. In this state of emergency, New York has also put 1,700 plows on the roads and asked New Yorkers to stay home.

    Read the rest of the Daily News’ article “Gov. Cuomo Declares NY State of Emergency; Cites Road Salt Shortage Downstate"to learn more about the conditions in New York.

    As winter continues to bear down around us, prep yourself for the weather (and corresponding emergencies that come with it) in your area. Keeping your own supply of road salt, or even kitty litter, can help you get out of a slippery situation.

    If you haven’t already, it’s about time to winterize your grab-and-go bag and get ready for the unexpected, even if winter weather in your area doesn't seem likely. As the snow continues to fall, check out these winter driving tips that may save your life when you’re on the roads.

    Photo Courtesy of the Daily News

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency power, skills, Winter, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, New York

  • 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

  • Winter driving is a tricky skill to learn, but will be worth it in a storm

    Quite frankly, winter driving can be a pain in the neck.  The conditions can make the road dangerous and your car may not respond the way it does in warmer weather. On icy roads, everything takes longer to do safely—starting, stopping, and making turns. Here are some winter driving tips to help you stay safe on the road:

     

    Learn How to Drive Safely in Snow

      • Don’t pass snowplows or sanding trucks—even if they’re slow.
      • Don’t tailgate! Leave extra room between vehicles and avoid pulling right in front of another vehicle; the driver may not be able to brake quickly enough to let you in.
      • Do everything gently—do not over-steer, stomp your brakes, or try to accelerate quickly from a stop. Overreacting can easily send your car out of control.
      • Do not use cruise control in areas where an unexpected patch of ice might cause you to tap your brake; you could spin out of control. Never “pump” anti-lock brakes.
      • Swirling, blowing snow on the highway can be disorienting; slow down and watch for cars drifting into your lane. Turn on your low-beam lights so other drivers can see you. During daylight hours, polarized sunglasses may help you see better.

     

    Learn What to Do if You’re Stuck in Snow or Ice

      • If you get stuck in snow, don’t sit spinning your wheels—that just gets you in deeper. DO turn wheels from side to side if possible, use your emergency folding shovel to dig out around your tires, and pour kitty litter, sand, salt, or gravel in the path of the tires to give them traction. When you feel your tires beginning to catch, accelerate slowly to ease your vehicle out.
      • If you can’t get your car out, stay put, only getting out occasionally to clear snow from your tailpipe so that you can safely run your heater from time to time. Call for help and try to identify your location. Flares and reflective triangles may signal other drivers to help you—or at least avoid hitting you! A red cloth hanging out the driver’s window is a signal for help.
      • If the roads are icy, drive very slowly. It takes at least twice as long to stop on ice as on dry pavement—and a whopping nine times as long to stop on black ice as on dry pavement!
      • Bridges and overpasses ice up more quickly than regular roadways. Be aware that black ice (sometimes called “clear ice”) often just looks like wet pavement; it also lurks in tunnels or on roadways close to bodies of water.
      • NEVER assume that a front-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle can safely negotiate icy roads at normal speeds. Ice is no respecter of vehicles!

     

    We hope you get where you're going safe and sound—no matter what weather you may face on the roads.

     

    Also, don’t forget to store an emergency kit in your car. Check out our Insight articles, "Baby Steps: Time to Winterize your Grab and go Bag” and “How to Winterize your Car” for more winter safety and preparedness tips.

     

    Sources:

    www.ehow.com/way_5157139_safety-tips-winter-driving.html

    www.DMV.org

    www.osha.gov/Publication/SafeDriving.pdf

    www.weather.com/activities/driving/drivingsafety/drivingsafetytips/snow.html

    www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nti/pdf/WinterDrivingTips2012

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Car Preparedness, Winter, preparedness, Survival, Winter driving

  • 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

  • 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

  • Roscoe Bartlett living off the grid

    If you live in the city, there are many luxuries to enjoy—power with the flick of a switch, grocery stores or shopping malls less than five minutes away, constant communication with everyone via cell phone, internet, or radio. So . . . could you ever find yourself living off the grid?

    After 20 years on Capitol Hill, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett has taken himself completely off the grid, retreating to a secluded property in West Virginia. We came across Politico Magazine’s article via Instapundit and, whether or not you agree with Bartlett’s political views, we think there are some interesting things he’s done as a prepper that make this article worth reading.

    Bartlett lives without a phone, without a link to outside power, and without municipal plumbing. He has developed quite a few skills that will help him if he gets into an emergency.

    For the past few decades, Bartlett spent his free time up at this property, prepping it for the day he’d go off the grid. He built five cabins by himself, then wired solar panels and ran pipes from freshwater springs to each cabin.

    Living completely off the grid, he rises at dawn six days a week in order to maintain his power sources, food, and way of life. He spends about 10 hours a day cutting logs, gardening, and doing other tasks around the land.

    “People ask me ‘Why?’” Bartlett said in an interview with Politico Magazine. “I ask people why you climb Mount Everest. It’s a challenge, and it’s challenging to think what life would be like if there weren’t any grid and there weren’t any grocery stores. That’s what life was like for our forefathers.”

    Read more of Roscoe Bartlett’s experience living off the grid (and why he chose to do so) in the Politico article, “The Congressman Who Went off the Grid

    What changes would you have to make to your lifestyle if you went completely off the grid? Would you do it?

    Photo Courtesy of Politico Magazine

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency power, solar power, skills, Survival, emergency preparedness, off the grid

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