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  • California Rainstorms Bring Flooding, Mudslides

    California Rainstorms Bring Flooding, Mudslides

    It’s been a tough water year for California. We’ve talked about the drought pretty extensively here on the blog, as well as some surprising effects it has had, like increasing rattlesnake populations in residential areas—in addition to the expected effects, like increasing food costs, more frequent and damaging wildfires (see here and here), and skyrocketing prices at water auctions.

    California started getting much-needed water last week, but it’s coming in a series of downpours that have flooded streets, caused mudslides that overtook homes and stranded motorists on the Pacific Coast Highway (a portion of the PCH is even shut down completely for 3-4 weeks because of the damage), and temporarily cut power to around 100,000 customers in the Bay Area. There was even a small tornado in south L.A. that blew the roof off one home.

    Just this month (1st-15th) it has rained 9.14 inches in San Francisco—compared to 2.08 inches that fell in almost six months last year (July 1 to Dec 15th). The ground just can’t absorb the water at the rate it’s falling, which leads to the mudslides and severe flooding that happened this week. Evacuations have taken place in several Southern California communities, and more will happen if the rain continues at these rates.

    A heavy storm is expected to come into Southern California Tuesday afternoon, leading to concern over more possible mudslides and flood damage. Northern California can expect rain and snow until Wednesday.

    Many California residents are unprepared for power outages, evacuations, and flooding—while others are ready, having prepared in advance for just these types of emergencies, with survival kits, family evacuation plans, and emergency gear they can rely on during the storms.

    Instagram user @annettecardwell posted this photo on December 10th with the caption “House is sand bagged, hatches are battened, fireplace is roaring. Ready for #hellastorm”

     

     

    House is sand bagged, hatches are battened, fireplace is roaring. Ready for #hellastorm

     

    A photo posted by Annette Cardwell (@annettecardwell) on

    Google brought their sense of humor—and a raft—along for the ride… because you never know.

    Twitter user @dwnydaisy seemed all set to go the day the storms hit.

    Unfortunately, there were also a lot of messages like this one from Twitter user @krisellelaran, who thinks Californians aren’t well prepared.

    Some California residents even had to evacuate because the storm downed power lines onto their homes.

    Being prepared doesn't always mean you get to stay home, or that there isn't damage to your property, but it does mean there’s less to worry about in a crisis.

    To prepare for heavy storms that cause power outages and evacuations:

    • Get an emergency kit for everyone in your household.
    • Buy or build a power outage kit for your home—you’ll appreciate having it during short outages where you get to stay home, as well as serious storms that require evacuation.
    • Develop a household or family emergency and evacuation plan.
    • Build up a supply of food storage and water storage you can rely on in long-term emergencies as well as short-term crises that last just a few days or weeks.
    • Research and develop important skills you can rely on for communication or survival.

    Prepare in advance, and you'll be ready for the next #rainpocalyspe or #hellastorm that comes your way.

    --Sarah

     

    Sources:

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/waterlogged-northern-california-rain-27626164

    http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2014/12/13/pineapple-express-storm-system-pounds-california/

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-first-storm-of-three-southern-california-20141216-story.html

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-portion-of-pch-to-be-closed-20141215-story.html

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, rainstorm, Current Events, flood

  • Give the Gift of Gear: for the Outdoor Enthusiast

    Give the Gift of Gear: for Outdoor Enthusiasts

    Hello again, from the helpful elves here at Emergency Essentials! We hope you're having a happy holiday gift shopping experience this year—our goal is to make it even easier and more pleasant for you. In that spirit, here's the final installment of our gift guide:

    Excellent Ideas for the Outdoor Enthusiast on Your List

    Under $25: Let’s start with the basics. We know that there is no such thing ever as too many multifunction tools. Most of the outdoorsy types we know have whole dresser drawers full of pocket knives and Leathermans, and are still (always) on the lookout for the perfect one. Here, then, is s must-have for any such collection: the card-style, 11-function survival tool. Fits easily into a pocket or wallet, making it one that your giftee can use on the trail or off.

    And we have to mention this screaming deal. Normally $24.95,  the Military Spec Prismatic Sighting Compass is on sale this month for only $7.99! Not your run-of-the-mill pocket compass, this fancy-schmancy version is as precise as a GPS, but with no battery to run out on you in the middle of a four-day excursion. And it comes with a neat little carrying case.

    Under $50: Speaking of screaming deals, what would you say if I told you you could get your beloved outdoorsman a four-man tent for under fifty bucks? How about a lightweight, ultra-compact Twin Peaks Mountain Trails tent with all the bells and whistles (rain fly, mud mat, etc.)? This is the perfect tent for a multi-day hiking trip, or to keep in your car or pack for unexpected overnighters.

    Under $100: Just because these outdoor nuts willingly sleep on the hard ground in all weather doesn't necessarily mean they like it (okay, some do—guess that’s why we call them “nuts”). Give the gift of comfort this year with the Klymit Static V Luxe Sleeping Pad. The unique chamber design keeps the sleeper supported and warm through the night, and it rolls up so compact, your camper won't even notice it in his or her pack.

    Over $100: We’ve saved the best for last. The Grand Poobah of all gifts. The most cherished and most coveted by all who enjoy the cold and wet. Yes, folks, you guessed it. It's the Kelly Kettle. More specifically, we’re talking about the Kelly Kettle Large Stainless Steel Basecamp Combo, which includes not only the speed-heating kettle and stove, but a pot for cooking, a support grill, and a can of FiredUp fuel and firestarter. This really is our favorite outdoor accessory, and we know the outdoor fanatic on your list will love it. They might even stay inside long enough to thank you.

    What do you think? Any great ideas for the campers and hikers that we've missed? What are you getting your outdoorsman/woman this year? Or, if you are one, what's at the top of your wish list?

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: gear, outdoors, gift guide

  • Gift the Gift of Gear: for Domestic Goddesses (and Gods)

    Give the Gift of Gear: for Domestic Goddesses

    Alright, installment three of our super-helpful themed gift lists comes straight from our emergency preparedness elves and focuses on the gourmets and gourmands in your life. Ready?

    To-Die-For Gifts for the Domestic Goddess (or God—we know some of you men are rockstars in the kitchen!)

    Under $25: We have a confession. One of our favorite sounds is the contented hum of machinery happily doing our household chores for us. We have been known to run the washing machine, dishwasher, breadmaker, crockpot, and rice cooker all at the same time. However, we’re also painfully aware of our dependence on electricity. All of which is why we love the Kitchen Plus 2000 Hand-Powered Food Processor. On sale for only $14.99, and with more than ten attachments, we could do just about anything except wash the dog with this thing, and never plug in a single cord!

    Also on our list are a couple of specialty cookbooks that can make food storage meal prep a truly enjoyable experience. Check out LeArta Moulton’s The Amazing Wheat Book and Archie and Linda Dixon’s fantastic Dutch oven recipe book, Just Dutch It!

    Under $50: A good cook knows how to pick and use the best herbs, spices, and produce she can find. A great cook grows her own. Support your kitchen diva’s greatness by giving the gift of green. Our heirloom seed kits come with 5-10 different varieties of seeds and instructions how to plant, tend, harvest, and even save seeds! Try the Salsa Garden Kit or the Fruit Heirloom Garden Seeds.

    Under $100: As any true domestic goddess can attest, calories don’t count in an emergency. That’s why we always include dessert in our home food storage. Wrap up each item in the Dessert Variety Combo for your gourmet—which includes cake and brownie mixes, as well as icing, pudding, and even ice cream!—and watch her do amazing things.

    Over $100: This was a hard category, not because there’s too little to choose from, but because there’s so much! We love the Camp Chef Portable Outdoor Oven Combo, and we really love the idea of being served a fancy four-course meal served al fresco. We’ve also always wanted the WonderMill Wheat Grinder, and we think it would make an ideal gift combined with The Amazing Wheat Book (seriously, don’t you want one, too?).

    But if we had to pick the ultimate, heavy-duty, I-love-you-so-much-I-want-you-to-be-happy-forever gift, there’s really no question: it’s got to be the Bosch. Pick out one of our four combos, each with different attachments, and watch your domestic goddess swoon. Then see if she’ll make you some cookies.

    Got a kitchen diva in your house? What are you getting him or her this year? And don’t forget to come back to see the last installment of our holiday gift lists!

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: gear, emergency cooking, gift guide

  • Give the Gift of Gear: Gifts for Techies

    Give the Gift of Gear: for Techies

    Remember our super helpful gift list for the hunter in your life? Well, the emergency preparedness elves have put together another convenient set of suggestions for you, just in time for more holiday shopping. Today we present…

    Great Gifts for Your Gadget Geek

    Under $25: Flashlight? Check. Nightlight? Got one. LED flashlight with a charging station that doubles as a nightlight and automatically senses a power failure? Hold the phone! That’s right, the Sensor Deluxe Power Failure Light stays plugged in, turns on its nightlight function when the lights in the room go out, and switches to flashlight mode when it detects a break in the circuit. It doesn't get much cooler than Artificial Intelligence flashlights, am I right?

    And speaking of light, no technophile worth his vintage Atari would be caught dead without the most powerful LED headlamp around. You gotta leave those thumbs free!

    Under $50: Sometimes it’s the gadget that’s cool, and sometimes it’s the gadget that powers the gadget that’s cool. Support your geekie giftee’s tech habits by providing the gift of free energy with the Nomad 7M Solar Panel. These Goal Zero panels are a screaming deal and can charge just about any device with just a sunny day.

    Under $100: Dance party time. No plug? No problem. With a phone or iPod and these battery-powered, portable Goal Zero Rock-Out speakers, your gadget geek will become a wilderness DJ extraordinare. And with 20 hours of battery life, you can party all night!

    And for the geek-chic-est item in our catalogue: the Kaito Voyager Pro, a device with so many functions, we don’t even know what to call it! Radio, flashlight, alarm clock, and weather monitor. Featuring battery, solar, hand crank power, with USB and electrical plug-ins, you really can fulfill just about any gadget fantasy with this baby.

    Over $100: Judging by the tech types in my own family, what really gets them excited is new ways use technology to improve anything. So, how about technologically enhanced water? Yeah, I’m feelin’ that, too. The UltraViolet Purification and Solar Combo combines the solar energy of the Nomad 7M Solar Panel with the rechargeable SteriPen Ultra UV water filter to make sure you have pure drinking water any time. Take advantage of this special combo just during the holidays!

    Do you have any other suggestions for our elves? What are you getting the gadget geek on your list this year? And don’t forget to check back in for more helpful ideas for all your gifting needs!

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: gear, gift guide

  • Give the Gift of Gear: For Hunters

    Give the Gift of Gear for Hunters

    Deck the halls and hark the heralds! It's our favorite time of the year over here, and our little preparedness elves have been very busy brainstorming gifts for everyone on your list—the naughty and the nice. And the prepper. And the canner. And the gardener, the gadget-mad, and the outdoor guru. In fact, no matter who you're buying for, you'll find something perfect in our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide.

    But just to make it even easier (because we're helpful like that), over the next few days we'll be writing about some of our favorite gifts by the unique and distinctive interests of the people you love. And to start, we present…

    Best Holiday Shots for the Hunter in Your Life

    Under $25: Make sure that his or her stocking is full of something other than cold, wet toes. We can't imagine anything more welcome in a frigid duck blind than an armful of hand and body warmers. Lasting up to 18 hours (“Just ten more minutes—I swear I heard a rustle in those reeds!”), these neatly-sized little packs can be slipped into pockets, gloves, boots, and just about anywhere else that might need heating up.

    And speaking of pocket-sized presents, these 400-calorie Millennium Food Bars could keep a hunting party going on even the most elusive trail, and the 9-bar combo pack is on sale for the holidays. So is this High Uinta Gear 13-function utility knife—a must-have for anything from dislodging jammed shells to changing the spark plugs on the four-wheeler.

    Under $50: We can think of lots of great things in this price range for the hunter on your gift list—everything from the SOL Origin survival pack to these Mountain House just-add-hot-water, cook-in-the-bag meal kits. But let's not beat around the bush: the most crucial and most appreciated gift under the tree will be the Black Pine Turbo Toilet. Lightweight, high capacity, and available in (wait for it…) camouflage, this is the item that will have the relieved hunter in your life singing your praises.

    Under $100: Chances are, if you're moving up the price scale, you're dealing with someone particularly special to you. Someone whose well-being you care about. Someone who would make you sad if he came home with his foot impaled on a chopstick-sized splinter. Prevent heartache and ER bills by giving the gift of safety. This Medic’s First Aid Kit comes with 175+ paramedic-grade supplies, including a wilderness medicine book for all those, um, specialized injuries.

    Over $100: Really need to impress? Give the gift that keeps on giving. Let your hunter turn his fantastic kills into tasty jerky year after year with the Excalibur Deluxe 9-Tray Dehydrator. And then, when deer season is over, you can sneak it out and make fruit leather and sun dried tomatoes. Seriously, it’s a win-win.

    Any other great ideas for the hunter in your life? We’d love to hear them! And don’t forget to tune in again soon for our elves’ handy suggestions for the other giftees on your list!

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hunting, gear, gift guide

  • Preparedness in the News: 5 Things to Know this Week (12/12/14)

    Los Angeles Retrofit for Earthquakes - Monica Almeida - NYT

    If approved, the required safety measures in Los Angeles would cost billions in the

    private and public sectors,the mayor said. Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

    Here are five need-to-know news stories in the world of emergency preparedness for the week of December 7 to December 12.

    1. Earthquake Plan Would Require Retrofitting Thousands of Los Angeles Buildings

    If approved by the Los Angeles City Council, an earthquake plan will require thousands of apartment buildings and offices to be retrofitted for earthquakes. They are the most sweeping earthquake safety changes ever seen by the state and, if passed, they will come with a hefty price tag: $5,000 per apartment unit and $15 per square foot of office space. Read more at www.nytimes.com.

    Learn how to prepare your home for an earthquake here.

     

    2. Study: Offshore Fault Where The 'Big One' Originates Eerily Quiet

    The Pacific Northwest Coastline is eerily quiet, according to earthquake scientists. They attribute the silence to a probable locking of the tectonic plates. Unfortunately, this likely means, they conclude, that the plates are increasingly storing energy, which will eventually need to be released. Read the latest at www.kplu.org.

     

    3. 'San Andreas' Movie Trailer: Could The Earthquake In Dwayne Johnson's Latest Film Actually Happen?

    An earthquake disaster movie staring “The Rock” will be released in theaters May 29, 2015. Trailers are already out, with depictions of buildings crumbling and people panicking. The movie is called “San Andreas” and likely refers to the famous fault line running through California. The question is, how “Hollywoodized” is the movie or could similar take place when the “Big One” strikes? Read more at www.ibtimes.com.

     

    4. Virginia Scores High on Health Emergency Preparedness

    Virginia recently received a top score among states on a national emergency preparedness competition. The state scored 8.2 out of 10, with the national average being 7.4. The readiness index gauges public readiness to respond to a variety of emergencies, such as hurricanes, terrorism, food-borne disease outbreaks, radiological events and earthquakes. Read more at www.timesdispatch.com.

     

    5. Centre for Buildings Under Govt Schemes to be Earthquake-Resistant

    The Indian Home Ministry wants all new national and state buildings to be earthquake resistant and to set up 78 digital seismograph stations by 2016. They currently maintain a network of 42 digital seismograph stations. Read more at www.zeenews.india.com.

     

    More Headlines From Around the Globe:

    The Path to Zero Ebola Cases
    Emergency preparedness is ongoing for local group
    How to Effectively Layer Up and Stay Warm This Winter
    10 Tips for Safe Driving in Winter Weather
    Destructive Winter Moth Has Maine Bug Experts Asking For Help
    -- Caroline

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, Current Events

  • Give the Gift of Gear!

    This year, give the gift of gear!

    We'll be featuring a lot of great gear-gifting ideas over the next few days, but if you want to get a jump on your shopping list this holiday season, you can shop here for all kinds of gear:

    Title "Give the Gift of Gear" with the image of the tip of a survival knife stuck  into the top of a log

     

    Or you can shop by price range:

    Emergency Essentials Gift Guide - Under $25Emergency Essentials Holday Gift Guide - Under $50Emergency Essentials' HolidayEmergency Essentials' Holiday Gift Guide - Over $100

    Happy holidays, and happy giving!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: gear, gift guide

  • Preparedness in the News: 5 Things to Know this Week (12-6-14)

    Super Typhoon Hagupit_6Dec2014 Super Typhoon Hagupit made landfall in the Phillippines. 650,000 evacuated.

     

    Here are five need-to-know news stories in the world of emergency preparedness for the week of November 30-December 5.

    1. Super Typhoon Hagupit makes landfall in the Philippines

    Super Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) is considered a "very strong" typhoon, equivalent to a category 2 hurricane. Over 650,000 have been evacuated. Read the latest at www.weather.com.

    For information on Hurricane (Typhoon) Preparedness, check out our 5-part mini series on the subject:

     

    2. American possibly exposed to Ebola being transferred to Atlanta hospital

    A U.S. healthcare worker working in West Africa who was possibly exposed to the Ebola virus is being transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which treated the first two Americans who contracted Ebola while working in West Africa. Read the latest at www.reuters.com.

    Learn more about protecting yourself and your family from Ebola from the CDC.

     

    3. Winter crisis in Far East Russia causes state of emergency

    Russia’s Far East has received the heaviest snowfall in decades, causing a state of emergency and the need for military aid to dig its citizens out of trouble, which includes heavy traffic, slide-offs, power outages and food shortages. On the bright side, the storms cleared pollution in Moscow. Read more at www.rt.com.

    Be ready for winter storms by brushing up on your winter driving skills, reviewing these winter survival tips, and snagging any gear you may need to stay warm.

     

    4. It finally rained in California – but not enough

    After months of drought conditions, Tuesday’s rainstorm brought hope to Californians. 24 hours brought 1.5 inches of rain to the Bay Area and Los Angeles, breaking rainfall records in Southern California. Unfortunately, the storm was not enough to end the 3-season deficit. Read more at www.mashable.com.

    Be as prepared for a drought as possible. Store water before the crisis hits, and practice conservation both before and during a drought to get the most out of the water that is available.

     

    5. Michigan provides emergency preparedness app

    The Michigan Department of Community Health has developed a smart phone app to help residents to plan for emergencies. The app provides emergency contact and health information, and gives users the ability to create, manage and export emergency plans right from their mobile devices. Read more at www.detroit.cbslocal.com.

     

    More Headlines From Around the Globe:

    One critically injured in West Jordan car fire
    Chile: Mega volcano field 'could trigger eruption 100 times larger than Mt St Helens'
    Evacuations in Cape Verde after volcano erupts
    'Emergency repair' reported at Ukraine nuclear power plant
    Plane makes emergency landing on I-575 in Canton

     

    Some of these stories are scary realities, and some of them are hypotheticals (like the Chile mega volcano). We share them to help you think of possible scenarios that you may need to prepare for based on your location and your family's needs. We hope they help in your efforts to prepare.

    Any additional stories from this week you think others should know about?

    -- Caroline

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, Current Events

  • Preparedness in the News: 5 Things to Know this Week (11-22-14)

    Southern California Gas Company officials enter an apartment that caught fire killing two children ages 2 and 6 in San Bernardino, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. The children were killed early Thursday in the California apartment fire that broke out hours after their mother went to a hospital to give birth, authorities said. The children's father was critically injured in the blaze at the two-story duplex, fire Battalion Chief Michael Bilheimer said. (AP Photo/The Sun, John Valenzuela Southern California Gas Company officials enter an apartment that caught fire killing two children ages 2 and 6 in San Bernardino, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. The children were killed early Thursday in the California apartment fire that broke out hours after their mother went to a hospital to give birth, authorities said. The children's father was critically injured in the blaze at the two-story duplex, fire Battalion Chief Michael Bilheimer said. (AP Photo/The Sun, John Valenzuela

     

    Here are five need-to-know news stories in the world of emergency preparedness for the week of November 17-21st.

    1. Two young children killed in California house fire

    A six-year old girl and two-year old boy were killed in a San Bernadino, California apartment fire on November 20. Their father was also critically injured with severe smoke inhalation and burns covering most of his body. The house had no smoke detector and had blocked exits. The family was living illegally on a 500 square-foot unit on the property. Fire up more of this story at ABC News.

    From the EE blog: Learn, Don’t Burn: Fire Safety Tips for the Home

     

    2. Record-breaking arctic cold sweeps through U.S.

    More than 400 record low and record cool high temperatures were set among 43 states since Sunday, leaving only five contiguous states, all in New England, without record cold temperatures. Redmond, Oregon dropped to 19 degrees below zero early Sunday. Chicago had seven-day stretch of subfreezing daily high temperatures and set a record for consecutive hours below freezing for November with 180 hours. Chill out at weather.com for more information.

    From the EE blog: 7 Tips for Surviving Winter and Winter Driving Tips That May Save Your Life

     

    3. Mali Ebola crisis deepens with doctor’s death

    The Mali Ebola crisis has deepened after an announcement from the Mali government that a second healthcare worker linked to a single patient has contracted the Ebola virus and died. The patient was initially thought to have kidney disease. According to ABC News, healthcare workers are particularly vulnerable to contracting Ebola because of their close contact with the sick. Catch more information at ABC News.

    From the EE blog: Sanitation and Hygiene During an Emergency

     

    4. 4.2-magnitude earthquake rattles Central California

    A 3.6 earthquake followed by a 4.2 earthquake five minutes later struck Hollister, California Wednesday at 10:21 p.m. On the U.S. Geological Survey Website, nearly 1,000 residents reported feeling shaking in the first earthquake, and more than 60 residents reported the second. There were no reports of damages or injuries. Shake down more news at KSWB.

    From the EE blog: Preparing for Earthquakes

     

    Don’t be caught unprepared; emergencies happen unexpectedly and suddenly. Prepare now, and you'll be ready if and whenever disaster strikes.

    -- Caroline

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, Current Events

  • [INFOGRAPHIC]: The 12 Tools You Need for Survival

    12 Tools You Need For Survival

    Preparing for emergency situations and natural disasters may seem overwhelming—but it doesn't need to be. We’re here to make it as easy as possible. That’s why we've created this infographic: The 12 Tools You Need for Survival. It’s a simple roadmap to help you get all the gear you need to stay safe and healthy in a crisis.

    Whether you live on a dozen acres of your own land or in a studio apartment in the city, this list will help you gather just the right food, shelter, and supplies that make sense for you and your family.

    Click here or on the image above to see the full infographic.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: infographics, survival gear, Survival, tools

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