Tag Archives: Survival

  • 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

  • Tweets show how the South is prepping for severe winter storms

    According to Accuweather.com, “A snow and ice storm will severely impact travelers and residents from northern Georgia to the Carolinas into Wednesday night.” This storm is even expected to stretch into Virginia and parts of Tennessee. It’s been reported that this could be one of the worst ice storms for parts of the South in more than 10 years.

    Recently the South has experienced massive ice and snow storms, uncharacteristic to the region. Two weeks ago, Atlanta, Ga. was hit hard by an expected storm that stranded thousands on the road overnight. Now, many residents are vowing not to get caught off guard again.

    Tweets show the South prepping for severe winter storms

    Lisa Nadir, a resident of Acworth, Ga., stated in a My Fox New York article, "Last time I was totally unprepared, I was completely blindsided….I'm going to be prepared from now on for the rest of my life."  Nadir sat in traffic for 13 hours and spent the night in her car on Jan. 28th when the first major storm hit.

    Like Nadir, many Georgia residents are preparing for this big, new storm. Wednesday afternoon, the business sector of downtown Atlanta was found deserted as many residents stayed home. Reluctant to experience a similar traffic jam as they saw two weeks ago, these residents are making a change to avoid being caught on gridlocked roads for hours.

    Tweets show the South prepping for severe winter storms

    On Wednesday morning, over 2,000 flights coming in and out of Atlanta International Airport were cancelled. And there are several images on Twitter from the New York Times and the Weather Channel showing grocery store shelves that have been practically picked clean as people stock up for the storm.

    Tweets show the South prepping for severe winter storms

    Tweets show the South prepping for severe winter storms

    Two major concerns with this storm are icy roadways and power outages. Freezing rain, sleet, and snow could (once again) leave many stranded on the road. And the weight of ice on tree limbs could cause them to fall onto power lines, creating widespread power outages.

    Take some cues from the spirit of preparation that many in Atlanta now have; prepare yourselves for winter storms with the following articles and products:

    Sources

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/ice-storm-begins-to-unfold-in/23186487

    http://www.myfoxny.com/story/24688333/with-dire-storm-forecast-many-in-ga-stay-home

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: winter storms, Winter, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, winter preparedness, winter weather, South, disaster preparedness, storms

  • How's Your Water?

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    Oil and gas drilling are blamed for the pollution behind problems with drinking water

    When we think about water storage, what we usually have in mind is a power outage that disrupts our utilities or a natural disaster that might contaminate a water source. Not to add to our worries, but the Associated Press (AP) recently published one more good reason—and a sneaky, unexpected one—to store clean drinking water.

    In the wake of the recent boom in the energy industry, several states are reporting problems with well water. They blame oil or gas drilling for the pollution. Details are still coming (read about the AP’s investigation here), but drinking straight from the tap is looking less and less appealing in certain parts of Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, and West Virginia.

    Whether your water comes from a local well or a city reservoir, it’s smart to prepare against the possibility of contamination. Read up on filtration and purification techniques and check out how to Find the Right Water Filtration System for you, so even in the event of a problem at the source, you’re never without drinkable water.

    One of the big lessons of emergency preparation is that emergencies don’t always come in the form of sirens and a flashing red light. In fact, the best reason to be prepared is the problem we don’t see coming.

    Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy.”

                                                       --Max Mayfield, Director of National Hurricane Center

    --Stacey

    Photo Courtesy of Yahoo! News

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, water, Survival, water storage, emergency preparedness, pollution

  • As you stock your safe room make sure to keep these crucial supplies on hand

    A “safe room” is a room in your house that has been built or modified to withstand an all-out assault by home invaders, whether burglars, terrorists, stalkers, or would-be kidnappers. Some are constructed to withstand high winds from hurricanes or tornadoes, or to protect against chemical or biological agents or radiation. Your safe room need not be a small, specialized hidey-hole in a secret space behind a bookcase, though some are designed that way. Your bedroom, home office, or any convenient room with a door can be made into a safe room by reinforcing your doors and windows, adding a few security enhancements, and stocking up on some necessary items.

    What are those necessary items? The things you choose to stock in your safe room depend upon the situations you are trying to protect yourself against and how long you expect to be there.

    Some basics include:

    • A phone—either a dedicated landline or a cell phone. Don’t plan to grab the cordless phone from your nightstand; it can easily be jammed or disabled. If you keep a dedicated cell phone in your safe room, remember to charge it regularly.
    • Drinking water (and cartons of juice drinks, especially if children will be there)
    • Food such as storable food bars, chocolate bars, MREs, small cans of freeze dried fruits and vegetables.
    • A portable toilet, toilet paper, and moistened wipes
    • Diapers, food, and clothing for baby if needed
    • A first-aid kit
    • Blankets and pillows for comfort
    • A change of clothing and underwear
    • A light source that isn’t dependent on your home’s electricity
    • N95 masks
    • At least several doses of all regularly needed prescriptions or OTC meds
    • A battery-operated or hand-cranked radio
    • Duct tape
    • A ladder (if second story)
    • Defensive weapons if you choose to have them

    Additional items to consider, depending on the size and purpose of your room, could include:

    • Reflective blankets for additional warmth
    • A battery-powered fan for cooling and circulation (you’ll want lots of extra batteries)
    • Books or an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook, loaded with material for whatever ages you have in your family (and a way to charge electronics)
    • Electronic or board games
    • Bowl, water, and food for pets if they’re likely to be with you. Folded newspaper or a small litter box
    • A bolted-down safe for valuables—cash, passports (thieves love to get hold of these, they sell very well on the streets), jewelry, etc.
    • Potassium Iodide tablets in case of a radiation threat
    • An alternative way of contacting authorities quickly, such as a safety medallion like those often used by the elderly

    Some schoolrooms have safe rooms at one end, built to accommodate and protect the students and teacher in case of an intruder. They are often stocked with drinking water, food bars, and portable toilet facilities (often behind a privacy screen). Offices could also install reinforced safe rooms for workers—perhaps several, depending upon the size of the building and the number of employees.

    A few tips for creating a safe room from an existing room include the following:

    • Replace hollow-core doors with solid doors that have strong locks.
    • Install a one-sided dead bolt lock at a different level than the regular lock.
    • Hang the door so that the hinges are on the room side rather than the outside, where they could potentially be removed.
    • Either install bullet-proof glass in your windows or reinforce your existing glass with shatterproof laminate.
    • Hang heavy, lined curtains so that the potential intruder can’t see through them.
    • Install a security system—whatever you can afford—from inexpensive door and window “squealers” that screech if they are moved to a complete system with alarms and connection to the security company.
    • Make sure your safe room has a vent that can be opened or closed for fresh air.
    • Owners of some large homes with several levels and multiple entries invest in a home-monitoring unit with closed-circuit TV that can be patched into a set in the safe room so that the residents can observe what’s happening in and around the house.

    Suggestions to consider if you’re creating a safe room in new construction:

    • The safe room door should be solid, open inward, and be secured with a good lock.
    • You don’t need to have a secret room installed (though some do), but it’s best if your safe room blends in with the rest of the house without standing out and calling attention to itself.
    • You can pre-wire your safe room for an alarm panel, lights, and power. Have a direct-dial phone in addition to your cell.
    • Install either chicken wire or steel sheeting under the drywall for extra protection.

    If, in spite of all your best efforts, someone is trying to shoot into your safe room, position yourself against the window wall if he’s outside the window. It’s much safer there than across the room where bullets might spray you. If he’s in the house and shooting through the door, position yourself against the door wall at the farthest point from the door.

    Make certain that all the people in your home, schoolroom, or office know how to access the safe room, and hold training exercises to see how quickly they can assemble there. Teach children that the safe room is not to be used as a playhouse or a place to lock themselves away from parents or teachers!

    Do you have other ideas for items that would be important to include in a safe room?

     

    Sources:

    Emergency Essentials Food Storage Products 

    http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/saferoom.htm

    http://www.fema.gov/safe-rooms

    www.crimedoctor.com/panic_room_1.htm

    www.jbventuresabq.com

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, Emergency plan, family, Survival, emergency preparedness, safe room, panic room

  • Protect yourself and your loved ones from electrical shocks and burns

    Many of us have experienced the shocking jolt that comes from sticking a paperclip, fork, or other metal object into an exposed power outlet—I know I did when I was a kid, ‘cause it just seemed like a good idea.

    There are plenty of other ways to get electrocuted, however, than just sticking something into a power socket. And, unfortunately, kids (and sometimes adults) don’t often see the dangers that sit right in front of them.

    On average, electrocutions kill 400 people each year, and another 4,400 are injured due to electrical hazards. Needless to say, there’s more we could be doing to protect ourselves and loved ones from the harmful effects of electricity.

    How Electrical Shocks Happen

    Electricity always seeks a path to the ground. Electrical injuries occur when a person accidentally becomes a part of the pathway that gets the electricity to its destination. When this happens, a person is acting as a conductor—a material that attracts electricity and will allow it to flow quickly. Other conductors include metal, water, wet objects, and trees (because of their moisture). Materials used for insulation such as rubber, glass, plastic, and porcelain do not allow electricity to flow freely.

    As the use of electrical power grows, electrical hazards do, too. Electricity is almost in constant use, what with laptops, toasters, lamps, etc. staying plugged in when not in use. This, along with aging wiring systems put electrocutions and home fires at a higher risk. Fire hazards are also greater when surge suppressors, power strips, and extension cords are misused.

    Protect your Children

    When you know how to prevent electrical shocks and burns, you can more easily protect yourself and your loved ones. Check out the following tips from the American Burn Association:

    • Avoid letting children play with or near electrical appliances. Keep them a safe distance away from space heaters, irons, hair dryers, etc.
    • Use plug covers on any power outlets accessible to small children. Outlet caps that attach to the outlet plate with screws are better protectors than those that simply plug in.
    • Make sure plug in caps are a similar color to the outlet so they aren’t easily recognized and pulled out.
    • Make sure such caps are not small enough to be a choking hazard.
    • Make sure any night lights used in a child’s room do not resemble toys.
    • Teach children to respect electricity as soon as they are old enough (usually around age 3). Two thirds of electrical burn injuries happen to children 12 and under.

    Children aren’t the only ones at risk, though. Many adults also suffer injuries from electrical shocks each year, whether at home or at work.

    Other General Safety Tips

    • Unplug appliances by pulling on the plug, not the cord.
    • Only use appliances with a three-prong plug in a three-slot outlet. Never force it or remove a prong to make it fit a two-slot outlet. You can find outlet adapters, however, that allow you to use three-prong plugs in two-prong outlets.
    • Check your electrical tools regularly for signs of wear. If a cord is frayed or cracked, replace it. Replace any tool that causes even the smallest of shocks, or overheats, shorts out, or gives off smoke.
    • Never use electrical appliances near water
    • Unplug appliances before performing any repairs
    • Attach extension cords to appliances/tools before plugging them into outlets
    • Keep clothes, curtains, and other possibly flammable items at least 3 feet away from all heaters, whether electric, gas, or kerosene-fueled
    • If an electric power line is down on or near your home, keep everyone out of the area and call 9-1-1 or your local electric company.

    As a society, we depend on electricity. It works 24/7 to provide us with heat, to keep our security systems working, to keep our unpreserved food cold, and more. While you enjoy the positive results of electricity, don’t abuse or misuse it. Remember, it can have painful—even deadly—effects if you’re not careful.

    What do you do in your home to keep your loved ones safe from electrical shocks and burns? Have you ever experienced a major electric shock?

    --Kim

    Sources:

    http://ameriburn.org/Preven/ElectricalSafetyEducator'sGuide.pdf

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: safety, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, Fire Safety, Fire Preparedness, National Burn Week, Electrical Burns

  • Blizzards, ice storms, and high winds often cause power outages just when warmth and light are needed the most in our homes. If by chance you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace with a supply of dry firewood, you’re ahead of the game. However, if your home doesn’t have one, how do you keep warm when the utilities go out?

    Portable Heaters to the Rescue

    Most people turn to propane-powered space heaters. These can put out enough heat to warm an area large enough to fit your family during the power outage—even if that may result in a little more “togetherness” than your gang normally prefers! (Pretend you’re camping out.)

    When shopping for a space heater, look for safety features such as an automatic tip-over turn-off switch and a low-oxygen sensor. These features will shut off the heater if it tips over or shut off the propane if the oxygen level in the air dips too low. Remember that you need sufficient ventilation of fresh air in the room, even if it’s cold!

    Of course, you’ll need to keep a supply of propane bottles or tanks on hand to use with these heaters. Most of them will accommodate either 1-lb. or 20-lb. propane tanks and come with the appropriate adapters and connectors.

    Here at Emergency Essentials, we recommend the Mr. Heater brand. All three models include the above-mentioned safety features:

    1. Mr. Heater Big Buddy Combo (our price $160.95, which includes the heater, a fuel filter, and a five foot hose adapter. All you need is the propane, which you must buy in your area. This heater is certified by the CSA International (American Gas Association) for both indoor and outdoor use, and can heat up to 400 square feet for up to 220 hours on the low setting. It features an internal, battery-operated blower fan.
    2. Mr. Heater Portable Buddy (our price, $115.95) can heat up to 200 square feet and uses either the 1-lb. or 20-lb. propane tanks.
    3. Mr. Heater Little Buddy (our price, $63.95) can heat up to 100 square feet. Works with only a 1lb. propane tank.

    One customer told us that his family was without power for three weeks after Hurricane Sandy. When the nights turned frigid, their Mr. Buddy Heater was (literally!) a lifesaver.

    Portable Heater Safety

    Safety is always a concern with any portable heater. FEMA reports that an estimated 900 portable heater fires in residential buildings are reported each year, causing 70 deaths, 150 injuries, and $53 million in property loss. (Estimates from the Consumer Protection Agency are actually much higher.)

    January and February are the peak months for these fires, which are usually caused by the heater being placed too close to flammable items (bedding, drapes, clothing, tablecloths, rugs, sleeping bags, trash cans, stacks of papers or magazines, etc.).

    How can you keep from having a safety issue with your heater? FEMA has produced a 30-second video on heater safety; it’s definitely worth your time to watch it.

    Check out the safety features of a portable heater before you purchase it

     A Few Portable Heater Safety Tips:

    • Use the proper size heater for the area you need to heat. Expecting a small heater to warm a large area can result in the unit overheating. Using too large a heater in a small area can increase the amount of carbon monoxide in the air.
    • Keep the area sufficiently ventilated with fresh air.
    • Follow your heater’s instructions exactly.
    • Use appropriate connectors, hoses, etc. for your model.
    • Keep heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn.
    • Don’t leave your heater unattended.
    • Place heater on a hard, level, non-flammable surface (not on a rug or carpet).
    • Inspect your heater regularly for damage, and don’t use a defective unit.

    Have you ever had to rely on a propane-powered heater to heat your home, office, cabin, or another location? Have you ever experienced a time you wished you had one?

    Sources:

    Photo Courtesy of FEMA

    www.beprepared.com/essentialgear/warmth

    www.fema.gov

    www.sylvane.com/portable-heater-safety-tips

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: safety, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, Fire Safety, Fire Preparedness, National Burn Week

  • Prevent house fires with these fire safety tips

    “The United States has the highest fatality rate from fire in the industrial world. Why? Because we spend most of our money responding to fires, not preventing them.” This statement by David Osborne, Sr. Advisor to Vice President Al Gore, shows us where our priorities should lie in keeping our homes and families safe from fire: prevention!

    Here’s a list of fire safety tips you can use to prevent a house fire.

    Fire Safety in the Kitchen

    • Never leave cooking food unattended, especially when frying (overheated oil is the leading cause of kitchen fires).
    • Keep it clean—keep stove and nearby counter surfaces free of clutter, grease, and combustible items such as cans of baking spray, bug spray, hairspray, or air freshener.
    • Use your stove or oven timer; we humans can get easily distracted.
    • Wear close-fitting clothing when cooking; loose robes and billowing sleeves can ignite easily over the stove.

    If a pan fire erupts while you’re cooking, act quickly to prevent the fire from spreading. Here’s what you should do:

    DO:

    1. Cover the pan with a lid or another pan turned upside down.
    2. Turn off the heat.
    3. If the first two don’t extinguish the fire, douse it with a fire-extinguisher or throw baking soda on it.

    And a few things you should never do with a kitchen fire:

    • DO NOTsubstitute flour or sugar for baking soda to douse the fire—1 cup of either has the explosive power of 2 sticks of dynamite!
    • DO NOT spray an oil fire with water; it will splatter the hot oil and spread the fire.
    • DO NOT run with a pan of oil; there’s too much danger of dripping, spilling, and spreading the fire or burning yourself.

     

    Fire Safety in the Laundry Room

    • Your dryer duct must vent to the outdoors, never to a room in your home, as it can contain a combination of combustible gases.
    • Avoid plastic duct work for your dryer; metal is much safer.
    • Keep duct and dryer lint-trap free of lint. Periodically a professional should help you clean between the dryer drum and the heating element.
    • Install a smoke detector in the area.

     

    Fireplaces and Candles

    • Never leave a fire unattended, whether it’s in your fireplace or a small candle sitting on the table.
    • Make certain your fireplace flue is open before lighting a fire.
    • Place candles or candle-warmers on a flat, non-combustible surface away from cloth, paper, cardboard, or even Styrofoam.
    • Use a sturdy hearth screen to keep logs from rolling out of a fireplace.
    • Perform regular checkups on your chimney, fireplace, or woodstove. All need annual cleaning and monthly inspections in case of obstructions or damage.
    • Never burn paper, trash, or green wood in fireplaces.
    • Extinguish the fire before you leave the area. Let the ashes cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container outside the home.

     

    Electronics and Appliances

    • Be a smart shopper! Buy appliances that have been evaluated and approved by a nationally-recognized laboratory such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories).
    • Check labels of appliances for manufacturer’s safety tips.
    • Replace all frayed wires and damaged plugs.
    • Use 3-prong plugs in 3-prong outlets, and 2-prong plugs in 2-prong outlets.
    • Keep portable space heaters 4 feet away from combustible surfaces and objects.
    • Ensure that your space heater has an automatic turn-off feature in case it should tip over.
    • Do not allow your space heater to overheat, and use in a well-ventilated room.
    • If your heater operates on kerosene, use only clear K-1 Kerosene, which is the cleanest, purest form of the fuel. It should be clear as water and show no “floaties” or contaminants. Do not substitute gasoline for kerosene.

     

    Smoke Alarms

    • Have several in your house, near the kitchen, laundry room, bedrooms, and any room that has a fireplace or wood-burning stove.
    • Use dual-sensor smoke alarms, as they use both photoelectric and ionization sensors, increasing the chance of catching a fire in its beginning stage.
    • Test smoke alarms once a month and replace yearly (except for those containing non-replaceable 10-year lithium batteries).
    • Never disable a smoke alarm, especially when cooking.
    • There are special smoke alarms for the disabled—Loud, unmistakable alarms for visually-impaired people, visual alarms or vibrating pads for the hearing-impaired, and alarms with outdoor strobe lights to alert neighbors of a problem in the home of a person with severe disabilities. Many alarms can be connected to an alarm service that alerts first responders to a need.

     

    If You Smoke

    • Smoke outdoors for the most safety.
    • Never smoke in bed or in a recliner where you might be tempted to snooze.
    • Stay alert. If you feel especially sleepy, whether due to medication, drinking, or sleep-deprivation, put out your cigarette/cigar.
    • Snuff cigarettes out completely in sand or water; don’t toss burning butts out your car window, into a trash can, or anywhere else.
    • Never smoke in an area where oxygen is being used. Even if the canister is turned off, the area is still more vulnerable to explosion.

     

    Getting Out Safely

    • Establish an evacuation plan. Draw up an escape plan for your home, with all exits marked. Establish two ways of exiting each room if possible, especially bedrooms.
    • Discuss escape plans with your family, and rehearse. Teach the stop, drop, and roll technique in case clothing catches fire.

    These practices may not stop every single house fire, but they’ll help prevent those that can be prevented—that are caused by human error or negligence—and help your family survive if a fire should erupt in spite of all your precautions.

    Have you had an experience with a house fire? Do you have any tips to add to the list?

    For more details on these tips, see the original articles links below:

    www.complianceandsafety.com/safety-tips/fire-safety-tips.php

    www.ameriburn.org/preventionBurnAwareness.php

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, Fire Safety, Fire Preparedness, fire, National Burn Week, house fires

  • 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

  • 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

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