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  • Back to the Future: Advice to Your Past Self

    The Toronto Blue Jays are in the playoffs, Trudeau just got elected as Prime Minister of Canada…What year is it, anyway?

    Well, it’s still 2015, but today marks an important day in history. Today is the day that Doc and Marty McFly went into the future! Great Scott! How time flies!

    DeLorean - Back to the Future

    In the movie Back to the Future, the protagonists Doc and Marty head off into the past, future, and past again to make changes so bad things won’t happen in the future (or past, or present, or…whenever). Time travel can be hard to stay on top of some times. After all, it’s all a bunch of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey…stuff.

    Unfortunately, we still haven’t mastered the art of manipulating time like they did. But let’s say we could time travel. Marty was sent all over the place to help prevent bad things from happening. Well, now it’s your turn. If you could go back in time and let yourself in on a little secret about being prepared…what would you tell yourself?

    If you knew your past self was going to be hit hard by a natural disaster, or injury or job loss, what would you say?

    Think about that for a moment.

    Ice Storm (CNN) - Back to the FutureHow prepared were you for Hurricane Sandy, or that last tornado that ripped through town? When that massive snow storm hit last winter, were you sufficiently prepared with food, water, heat, and other gear to get you through those days when you couldn’t leave your house?

    I think, if we had the ability to time travel, we would let ourselves in on some useful secrets. For me, it might be to stock up on some extra water during my time in the Philippines. That would have made the tropical storm and subsequent damage much more manageable.

    Or, during the fall of 2012, I would warn myself about the flood risk my apartment was in. Perhaps I could have avoided a swimming pool for a living room if I had but prepared a bit better.

    jobless man - Back to the FuturePerhaps there are some of you who have lost jobs, or have been involved in an accident which hindered you from making ends meat. Would you have wished for the ability to go back in time and warn your better-off self of ways to prepare? Maybe you would have told yourself to set some of that money aside for food storage and other emergency supplies, so when that job loss or accident did come, you would be OK until you can recover.

    If you really think about it, there are probably at least a couple times you weren’t as prepared as you should have been. If only someone from the future had come back in time to warn you about the threat that lies ahead.

    Well, fellow citizen of Earth, you’re in luck! Fortunately for you, I come from the future, and I’m here to warn you that life isn’t all safe, easy, and without its problems. From here on out, there is disaster around every corner. The future is always in motion, however, so it’s hard for me to say exactly when it will come. But your decisions today will affect your outcome tomorrow, next month, or even years down the road.

    Don’t put off preparing until it’s too late. Take it from me, your voice of warning from the future. There will be problems, and they’re hardly ever what you expect them to be.


    What would you tell your past self to do to prepare for the future? Let us know in the comments!


    Disaster_Blog_Banner - Back to the Future

  • Beware These 5 Common Natural Disasters

    My family used to live on the edge of Tornado Alley. Since we saw tornado warnings every year, our 72-hour kits were extremely portable.

    Now we live in an area where tornadoes are extremely unlikely, yet earthquakes are a real possibility. Our home does not stand in an area with a major flood or fire risk that could require immediate evacuation. So our 72-hour kit is less portable and in stronger containers.

    If people know what natural disasters are more likely in their location, they can better prepare, argued Kevin Borden and Susan Cutter from the Department of Geography of the University of South Carolina in a 2008 study.

    Common Natural Resources - All National Weather Service

    “Improved understanding of how to react in a hazard event will contribute to reduced deaths from hazard events in high-mortality areas,” they wrote.

    Some types of natural disasters are prevalent everywhere.

    Here’s a list of five common natural disasters with the highest mortality rates, according to the University of South Carolina study.


    Heat or Drought

    Common Natural Disasters - Drought

    In 2014, heat killed an estimated 124 people, more than any other type of natural disaster, according to the National Weather Service.

    A stagnant atmosphere and poor air quality creates prime conditions for heat-related illness, according to ready.gov. Urban areas face higher risk of heat disasters because asphalt and concrete store more heat during the day and release it more slowly at night than unpaved land does.

    Drought can contaminate water supplies and create food shortages. It can also cause other natural disasters, like the 1988 Yellowstone wildfires.


    Summer Weather

    This category includes fog, thunderstorms, wind, and hail. These types of weather can hit throughout the year.




    Common Natural Disasters - FloodsFlooding killed an average of 71 people per year in the last 10 years, according to the National Weather Service. Almost half were due to people trying to cross flooded roads or overflowing streams or rivers, according to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Vehicles float in only 18 inches of water. Six inches can make a person fall. Flash floods can require evacuation in minutes.



    Common Natural Disasters - Tornadoes In the last 10 years, tornadoes killed an average of 110 people per year.

    A category five tornado in May 2011 in Joplin, Mo., killed 160 people in 38 minutes. It was the costliest tornado in U.S. history, causing $2.8 billion in damages, according to 24/7 Wall Street. Another in Moore, Okla., in 2013, killed 49 people, more than 40 percent children, and caused nearly $2.5 billion in damage.


    The first four types of natural disaster – heat, storms, winter weather, and floods – are fairly frequent in every state. Tornadoes are less frequent in some states though they have touched down in every one. According to the University of South Carolina study, it’s not as important how often deaths from natural disasters occur as where.

    “Even if researchers could definitively assert the 'deadliest hazard,' a better issue to pose is where residents are more susceptible to fatalities from natural hazards within the United States,” they wrote.

    You can find out what common natural disasters your state is most prone to at Your State Perils,

    The Deep South and Mountain West have the highest mortality rates.

    Alabama led the nation in per capita deaths from all types of natural disasters during the last five years, according to 24/7 Wall Street. In 2014, 63 people there died from extreme temperatures, 54 people died from wind, 47 died from tornadoes, and 38 died from flooding. Each figure was the highest in the nation.

    The other eight states in 24/7 Wall Street’s story with high mortality rates from natural disasters include, in order from greatest to least, Missouri, Wyoming, Arkansas, Nevada, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Montana and Tennessee.

    While there are more dangers than just the aforementioned occurrences, these five common natural disasters are definitely ones to watch out for. Know the threats in the area in which you live and travel and plan accordingly.


    What are some common natural disasters in your area? Let us know how you prepare for them!

  • Why You Should Be A Boy Scout (Even Now)

    Boy Scout Rubble (NBC News) NBC News

    Fred Ullrich was with his Boy Scouts when the tornado blew through their camp in June, 2008.

    Using the only shelter they had – a small cabin – Ullrich helped his boys take cover. Within minutes the tornado was at their door. Their cabin was destroyed, and many other nearby structures suffered a similar fate. 48 of the boys were injured. Four were killed.

    Once the tornado was gone, those leaders and boys that weren’t injured went straight to work. They patched up and bound wounds, and according to Popular Mechanics, even “organized an on-the-spot triage center, helping to prepare the most seriously injured for their journey to the hospital.”

    The Boy Scout’s motto is “Be Prepared.” True to those words, these Boy Scouts were as prepared as they could be.

    The night before the tornado, the Boy Scouts had gone through a first aid drill. Of course, it would take more than a few drills to really have that crucial information sink in and stay with them for such an emergency. So what made them so quick to think and act during this crisis? You may have already guessed the answer: they practiced. They must have gone over those drills numerous times, helping those skills stay at the forefront of their mind should such a scenario arise.

    And arise it did.

    During a crisis, your brain is going to revert to what it knows. That’s why it’s vitally important to practice being prepared and fill your brain with those things it needs during an emergency. These Boy Scouts are just one example –in just one area of preparedness – of how practicing survival scenarios can really impact their survival instincts for the better.

    Boy Scouts can camp out back, tooThis example of preparedness is one we should all follow. It can be more than just first aid, too. There are less life-threatening areas in which you can prepare, such as what you would do without power or water. Another way you can practice you preparedness is by taking a camping trip, even as far away as you back yard. Do you have the tools and gear necessary to make camping your go-to survival home? The backyard is the perfect place to practice, because if you realize you’re not as ready as you thought you were…you can always go in and retrieve what you need. But then remember to fix that issue as soon as you can!

    And that’s exactly what practicing is for. It’s for learning what you do have, and what you still need to work on. It’s for teaching your brain that this is normal, so that if you are forced to live out of your tent for an extended period of time, cooking on your portable stove will be second nature to you. You won’t think twice about how to take care of yourself – and your family – in the wild.

    Although it’s quite unlikely you’ll ever know the precise moment a tornado or other disaster will strike, just knowing how to react during those situations can save not just your life, but those around you as well. The Boy Scouts didn’t know a tornado was about to devastate their camp, but because they had practiced, they were prepared to take care of the wounded nonetheless.

    I challenge you to take some time this month to practice your preparedness. Go on a backyard camp, using only your emergency gear. Or, bust open a can of freeze-dried food and make sure you know how to properly prepare it. There are so many ways to practice. Find an area that you want to try out, and go for it! Don’t forget to take pictures and upload them to our Facebook page!


    Practice Your Prep

    Additional Reading:

    Why You Need to Practice Your Prep: beprepared.com/blog/18307/need-practice-preparedness/?sc=BLOG&oc=BP0617

    Go Dark For a Day: beprepared.com/blog/18288/go-dark-for-a-day/?sc=BLOG&oc=BP0617

    Your Outdoor Gear Is Your Survival Gear: beprepared.com/blog/18297/outdoor-gear-survival-gear/?sc=BLOG&oc=BP0617

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