• I’ve been thinking about knives lately. I really don’t know much about them, myself. Kitchen knives, a good utility knife for projects around the house, and an X-acto knife for craft projects are about the extent of my experience.

    So when I decided to buy a knife for my survival gear, I wasn't really sure what to look for. I wasn’t at work when I made the decision, so I had to rely on my own devices to get the information I needed (otherwise I would have just asked my coworkers, since they’re preparedness experts).

    I found several helpful articles, but this one from The Art of Manliness, written by Creek Stewart of Willow Haven Outdoor, was my favorite.

    Stewart focuses on six features of a good survival knife:

    1. Size
    2. Fixed Blade
    3. Full Tang
    4. Sharp Pointed Tip
    5. Single-Edge Blade with Flat-Ground Spine
    6. Solid Pommel

    For more detail on each of these tips, go check out the original article.

    Based on his recommendations, I bought two CRKT knives:

    The CRKT Onion Shenanigan Tanto

    Picking a Good Survival Knife - Shenanigan Tanto designed by Ken Onion

    And the CRKT Ultima 5” – Black Blade, Veff Como Edge

    Picking a Good Survival Knife - CRKT Ultima 5" knife with Veff serrations

    I wanted the flexibility of having a folder and a fixed blade, so I’m using the Shenanigan as my EDC blade, and the Ultima is going in my emergency survival kit. One of our product experts, Joel, has this to say about Emergency Essentials carrying CRKT knives and tools:

    "CRKT has the best selection of every day carry (EDC), tactical, and survival knives. I love the variety and ingenious design of their tools and knives.  CRKT is built on innovation from the best designers and quality forged from the finest material."

    Check out my knife selections by clicking the links or images above, or take a look at Emergency Essentials’ full selection of survival knives here.


    Do you have any other features to add to Stewart's list? What knife or knives do you use in your bug-out bag or everyday carry?

    Have you ever had to rely on your knife to save your life? Share your stories and your favorite knives in the comments.


    --Urban Girl (Sarah)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: survival gear, knives, tactical knife

  • Hi, friends!

    We've talked about identifying Poison Ivy before (here), but when I came across this infographic, I thought you guys would like it.

    So, here are 7 ways you can identify Poison Ivy, courtesy of Treks in the Wild.

    --Urban Girl


    How to Identify Poison Ivy - Infographic

    Infographic authored by Treks In The Wild.

    To view the original post, see their article How to Identify Poison Ivy.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness skills, poisonous, plant identification, poison ivy, foraging

  • Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Win an Emergency Kit for your Car from Emergency Essentials! #preppers #emergencyessentials

    Win an emergency kit for your car, truck, or SUV so you'll always be prepared on the road. The Roadwise Emergency Kit is regularly $42.95 (list price: $67.55) and includes all the basics you need to survive for up to three days if you get lost or stranded on the road. Learn more about the kit here. Contest open until 11:59 p.m. on September 14th.

    Just fill out the form below for a chance to win!


    TERMS & CONDITIONS: The giveaway winner will be contacted via email. If you are the winner and do not respond to our email within 3 business days, you will forfeit the prize and another winner will be chosen. All entries will be verified. Contest is open to all customers with a US shipping address; however, free shipping of the giveaway is included for the winner to the 48 contiguous United States only. For any locations outside this area, the winner is responsible for arranging and paying their own shipping costs. If you have already purchased the giveaway item from Emergency Essentials, or you purchase it during the giveaway, and later win it, we will send you an additional item or issue you a refund for the product you purchased—whichever you prefer. Entering the giveaway and providing your email address means you will begin receiving sales and educational emails from Emergency Essentials. These emails contain special sales information (including one-day or flash sales), insightful articles, tips, and other giveaways. You may cancel your subscription at any time. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Your entries are going to Emergency Essentials and not  to Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest is in no way responsible for any part of this giveaway. Employees of Emergency Essentials, LLC and their immediate family members are not eligible for the giveaway.

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Learn Disaster Triage


    See Disaster Triage Part One.


    So, you've assigned every victim to the appropriate triage area. Now what?

    Triage doesn't end until the disaster is over and each victim has been treated by medical personnel or transferred to a medical facility. Even if you’ve assigned every victim to their appropriate triage category, their categories may change based on their conditions. Your helpers for each group should continue to evaluate each victim’s condition and watch for changes—both physical and emotional.

    After a disaster, survivors—and even rescuers—may experience emotional and psychological changes that you need to watch for so you can give them the treatment they need.

    The purpose of this article is to help you understand what physical and emotional changes victims might go through after you've sorted them into triage categories.


    Re-assess Victims’ Physical Injuries

    Constant re-assessment of each victim’s condition is crucial—they should be monitored frequently and carefully. Many times, when the disaster situation begins to calm down and the victim’s adrenalin and pain decreases, they may realize that something else is wrong.

    It is possible that because of an injured extremity that is causing so much pain, the victim may not know that they have other injuries. It is easy for those treating them to become focused on an obvious injury—the bone sticking out or the deformity of their extremity—and fail to notice that they may have internal injuries or other problems.

    These other injuries or problems may cause their condition to deteriorate—sometimes gradually, and other times rapidly—which is why continual monitoring and feedback is essential.

    If a patient’s condition changes, they need to be moved to the appropriate category as soon as possible and given the appropriate treatments.


    Watch for and Address Emotional Changes (Disaster Psychology)

    Survivors and rescuers will go through several different phases immediately after a disaster.

    1)      Impact phase. During this phase survivors generally do not panic and may, in fact, show no emotion at all. For those of us who have not been in a disaster, it’s likely we’ve seen it on news reports. People who have just gone through a traumatic experience seem to be unexpectedly calm and focused.

    2)      Inventory phase. This phase immediately follows the event, and involves survivors assessing damage and trying to locate other survivors. During this phase, routine social ties tend to be discarded in favor of the more functional relationships required for initial response activities such as search and rescue. This is where you would begin to look for appropriate triage areas; as victims are discovered, they will start gathering or be brought for help. During this phase, everyone seems to be focused on helping others and not worrying about their belongings or other things.

    3)      Rescue phase. During this phase, as emergency responders start to arrive, survivors are willing to take direction from these individuals without protest. Survivors are likely to be very helpful and compliant during the rescue phase.

    4)      Recovery phase. Survivors appear to pull together against emergency services personnel. Survivors may express anger or blame to the rescuers as they transition to this phase. They will often express anger for taking so long to arrive with help, or they may be upset because loved ones or friends have succumbed to their injuries, and they blame rescue workers for not doing enough. This is a natural response during a disaster and can be very difficult not only for victims, but for emergency workers who were completely overwhelmed during the disaster.


    As you provide physical and emotional support, be careful about what you say and do. Things that you should avoid saying include:

    • “I understand.”  In most situations we cannot understand unless we have had the exact same experiences as they have. We don’t know what has happened previously in their life and so it is very difficult for us to really understand. We are enduring the same disaster, but things that have happened before lead each of us to be in a different place.
    • “Don’t feel bad.”  The survivor has a right to feel bad and we will all feel differently.
    • “You’re strong” or “You’ll get through this.”  Many survivors do not feel strong and question if they will recover from the loss.
    • “Don’t cry.”  It’s okay to cry. Each of us will come to that point at some time, some sooner than others. Let them cry and be there to support them.
    • “It’s God’s will.”  With a person you do not know, giving religious meaning to an event may actually insult or anger the person.
    • “It could be worse,” “At least you still have…” or “Everything will be okay.”  It is up to each individual to decide whether things could be worse or if everything can be okay.

    Many times, if we use some of the responses above, we could actually elicit a strong negative response or distance the victim from us, rather than provide comfort. It’s okay to apologize if you say or something that angers them. It’s human nature to try and offer words of encouragement, or try and help somehow by giving advice. The best thing you can do is be there for a survivor. Many times all they need is a shoulder to lean on, someone to cry with, or someone who will listen as they express their feelings.


    We can prepare

    There are some that will go their entire lives without experience a major disaster. Some will go through many. The one thing we call all do is prepare for the types of disasters that are likely to happen where we live.

    Many cities or counties offer C.E.R.T. training. This program is universal and people in one part of the country are generally taught the same things as those in another. First Aid, light Search and Rescue, Disaster Triage, and many other things are taught in these classes to help community members prepare for whatever might happen. There may also be other types of disaster training in different areas of the country. Check with your local city or county associations to see what is available near you.

    Take the opportunity to participate in these classes so you are prepared for whatever might happen, whether it is small or a large-scale disaster. They will help you prepare your own home and family, and you’ll also be ready to help in a disaster triage situation.

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Learn the basics for pickling your own food at home! #canning #pickling #foodstorage

    If you've ever lost power during a storm, watched expensive produce spoil quickly in your fridge, or had an overabundant yield in the garden, learning how to pickle just might be the solution for you.

    Used since ancient times, pickling has been a process of covering food in salt and acid to preserve it and add flavor, while eliminating any bacteria that may cause spoilage. However, since the invention of the refrigerator, the art of pickling has become a less common skill and practice.

    For anyone interested in emergency preparedness or food storage, learning to pickle is a practical skill to put under your belt. Here’s a basic crash course:


    Why should You Pickle?

    Besides providing you with food that will last longer on the shelf (and that doesn't need refrigeration), there are other benefits to pickling that make it a practical skill and art to learn:

    1)    Food storage: Of course we all know that pickling is a great way to build your food storage reserves, but did you know that it can also give you more control and choice during an emergency? Having a supply of your favorite pickled (and other home-processed) foods on hand can help to make an emergency a little more bearable; it gives you a sense of comfort, control, and familiarity during an emergency situation.

    2)    Saving fresh food: Pickling allows you to use food even past its season. If you've grown or bought more than you can eat, you’ll still have a way to preserve it and keep it on hand for when you’re craving it most. Also, pickling helps you to save money because you won’t have to buy imported or expensive produce that’s out of season later in the year.

    3)    Variety: Pickling allows you to experiment with different textures, flavors, and recipes. You can be more adventurous with your food by learning how to pickle.



    There are a few tools you’ll need to have on hand before you begin your pickling journey.

    Glass jars and Lids: Use glass jars specific for canning that are free from cracks and chips along the rim. Rings can be re-used, but must be free from rust and dents. Choose the size of jar based on the foods you are pickling and the amount you would use in a reasonable amount of time once opened. Don’t use half-gallon jars to pickle cauliflower if you only use 1 cup at a time. Also, most jar sizes are available in two different opening sizes (regular mouth & wide mouth) for ease of packing. Keep this in mind when choosing your jars.

    Always use new lids. Inspect them carefully. Do not use them if there are any dents or impressions in the rubber ring on the lid.

    Pickling 101: The Basics


    A large pot: For sterilizing the jars. Always sterilize all of your equipment before pickling. You don’t want any contaminates that could spoil the food getting into your containers, so be extra careful to keep everything clean. Try the Victorio 7 Qt. Aluminum Steam Canner, which also comes with the fitted wire rack that helps prevent jars from breaking.

    Tongs: This tool not only helps you to handle sterilized items and to keep them free of contamination, but they also help you to avoid getting burned while taking your jars out of the boiling bath. There’s a very sturdy set of tongs in the Victorio Canning Kit that will make pickling much easier.

    Funnel: For easy, mess-free pouring. You can also find this tool in the Victorio Canning Kit.

    Canning or pickling salt: Make sure you have canning or pickling salt. Regular salt doesn't have the same preservation properties. Canning salt helps your pickled food to retain its rich color and texture and is also easier to dissolve in the brine (learn what brine is in the “Basic Process” section below).



    The Basic Process

    While each item you pickle will have its own process and steps to follow, you can count on many of the steps in the process to be the same, no matter what you are pickling.

    1.Sterilize your cooking area. Start by making sure your work area and equipment are sterile. Learn how to sterilize your jars by following the steps below from CountryLiving.com:

    • Place your empty jars right side up in a large pot. Fill the pot with water, making sure the water completely covers the tops of the jars.
    • Bring the water to a rolling boil. Boil for 15 minutes over high heat.
    • Turn off the heat. Place the jar lids in the water as well as the grasping side of the tongs you will use to take the jars out of the bath later. Let them sit in the water for 10 minutes to an hour.
    • Remove the jars using your sterilized tongs. Pour out the water and set them right sight up on a paper towel.

    2. Prepare your produce. Choose your pickling product, making sure it is thoroughly washed (check out the “what makes a great pickle?” section below to learn how to pick products for pickling). After washing your produce, double check your recipe for any special instructions for the type of produce you’re handling. For example, cucumbers need a ¼ inch sliced from the blossom end [pic], because the blossom can contain an enzyme that causes unwanted softening.

    3. Choose a tested recipe from a reliable source. Check out a bookstore or your local library for cookbooks and tips about the pickling process. Here are a couple of titles to look for:

    • The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor Packed Recipes for Vegetables for All Kinds of Produce from Garden or Market by Linda Ziedrich
    • The Complete Book of Pickling: 250 Recipes from Pickles and Relishes, to Chutneys and Salsas by Jennifer Mackenzie
    • Pickled: From Curing Lemons to Fermenting Cabbage, the Gourdman's Ultimate Guide to the World of Pickling by Kelly Carrolata

    4. Prepare a brine. A brine is created by boiling water with seasonings and herbs to create a fusion of flavors. Brines use only canning or pickling salt, instead of table salt, and mostly white or brown granulated sugars instead of corn syrup or honey (unless specified by a trusted recipe).

    5. Add food and brine to jars. This step is specific to the type of food you’re pickling. Be sure to check the recipe for the correct way to add your produce and brine the canning jars. All pickling recipes include these instructions.

    6. Seal the Lid. Watch out for air or bubbles, they give room for bacterial growth that can ruin your newly-pickled foods.

    7.  Pick your storage area. Be sure to store pickled items in a dark, cool place. Most pickled items are ready to eat in a few weeks and last several months, depending on your ingredients and pickling style.

    8. Wait it out. You’ll need to set aside some time for the entire process, depending on the recipe. Pickling can be quite an undertaking, so bring along a friend! It’s an excellent experience to share with someone else.


    What Makes a Great Pickle?

    There are few rules for choosing the perfect product to pickle. Executive Chef Paul Corsentino from the National restaurant in New York City encourages us to pickle anything, as long as it’s fresh. Sometimes there are different levels of freshness to consider. For example, some people may want to pickle green tomatoes, because they’re firm and have a more neutral taste, while others may prefer ripe, red tomatoes because of their sweetness.

    The rules of pickling really depend more on your sense of taste than anything. You can pickle vegetables, fruits, meats, and eggs, but remember that pickling brine is acidic and salty, so it’s important to find the right flavors to pair with the brine.

    Pickling 101: The Basics

    Because many of us have the most experience eating store-bought pickles, we might automatically want to think our pickling adventure with something like that. But according to Rebecca Orchant, a professional food writer for the Huffington Post, pickling cucumbers can be more difficult than some other produce items. She suggests starting with things like asparagus, carrots, or mushrooms.

    For a list of unconventional things you can pickle, from watermelon rinds to brussel sprouts, try this list from Good Housekeeping. Or try one of these Recipes:

    Pickled Green Tomatoes

    Lemony Cauliflower Florets

    When your pickles are ready, you can serve them with olive oil and crusty bread, or on pasta for an instant meal. You can also use various pickled items as side dishes, in salads, or on sandwiches for extra flavor.



    When you've become more familiar with the art of pickling, you can get creative! Traditionalists love using dill, but you can add the flavors you love to make your pickles a different experience every time. Make it spicy by adding some chopped chilies or extra garlic, give it some zing by adding mustard seeds, mince it up to make a relish, or make a sweet pickle with sugar.

    The best part about pickling is that you get to choose the flavors and textures you love, so your food storage possibilities can turn from the same old flavors into a variety of bold new dishes you’re excited to eat.


    Have you pickled before? What do you like to pickle? Any tips for those who are new?




    Related Products:

    Get started canning and pickling with this all-in-one set! #emergencyessentialsLearn the Basic of Canning with this Step-by-Step DVD This pressure canner/cooker safely cans produce and meat for home storage. #emergencyessentials #canning Prepare food for canning, cooking, and dehydrating at home. This strainer helps you quickly process foods without electricity.

    Other Articles You Might Like:

    How to Make Delicious Homemade Jams and Jellies

    Preparedness Skills: Canning Basics

    Preparedness Skills: Different Home Canning Methods

    How to Make Homemade Baby Food from Food Storage



















    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: canning, DIY, homesteading, home food preservation, pickling, self-reliance

  • Rattlesnakes at Your Door?

    Just in case you thought we’d exhausted the topic of bizarrely unpleasant side effects of the drought plaguing the Western US, here’s one more to chuck on the pile: rattlesnakes. According to CBS News, scarcity of ground water is driving rodents closer to homes and neighborhoods to quench their thirst. And where the vermin go, the snakes follow, with the result that “Rattlesnakes are Slithering Closer to Homes in Northern California.”

    The snake removal specialist quoted in the article reports a record year for his business, netting over 70 snakes in a single week. Incidentally, he keeps them alive in a room and releases them back into the wild—which, if you live in Sacramento, may not be the most comforting part of the article.

    I mean, not to creep anybody out, but RATTLESNAKES!

    I’m knocking on all kinds of wood as I tell you that I happen to live in a part of the country where rattlesnakes aren’t found, but I did have a glancing encounter with one as a kid at camp. As I remember it, one of my grown-up relatives took a shovel to the creature and lopped off its head—a technique frowned upon by the reliable sources below, I’m sure.

    So, what does one do if one comes across one of these nasty pieces of work, whether on the trail or in your garage? First of all, do your homework!

    • The US Forest Service offers a Snake Safety handout, with precautions, first aid, and some really enlightening snake facts. My favorite is the DOs and DON’Ts section—turns out Hollywood’s old cut-and-suck method is a no-no.
    • Washington State’s Trail Association has a page dedicated specifically to “How to Hike in Rattlesnake Country.” Tips include how to identify signs that a rattler is near, how to safely photograph snakes, and what special considerations to make when hiking with dogs.


    With all the other drama of this particular crisis, I really hope an infestation isn’t part of your experience this year. But if it is, learn what you need to do to keep your household safe. And for more info on other biters, stingers, and suckers, see our “First Aid for Insect Bites and Stings.”



    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: drought, wildlife, snakes, California Drought

  • Sleep Like the Bees in a B-and-Bee Shelter

    Every once in a while I come across something so clever, I really wish I’d invented it. Like these ninja bread man cookie cutters. Seriously.

    My current discovery is this: portable, hexagonal, stacking shelters modeled on the architecture of a beehive for strength and efficiency of space. Called B-and-Bees, this Belgian brainwave comes equipped with convertible sleeping/seating space, luggage storage, and even power. They can be stacked at least three high (as near as I can figure out from their Dutch language blog), with metal stairs for access and a zippable canvas flap enclosure.

    The B-and-Bee is currently being marketed as a solution to the problem of muddy fields created by an abundance of tents setup for music festivals. This is a fine idea, though the author of the Gizmag article, “B-And-Bee shelter looks to comfort festival goers,” puts my feelings on that narrow scope into words when he writes, “One can't help but think that the company is missing a trick marketing B-And-Bee solely toward festival organizers, as it could perhaps be useful in other areas too, such as in natural disaster situations, for example.”

    Indeed, it looks like someone is already on top of that. Ecofriend.com reported on these hexagonal emergency shelters (with solar power, no less!) all the way back in 2010. We don’t know if they ever took off, or if B-and-Bee will tap into this market, but we sure love the idea!




    Photo Courtesy of B-and-Bee image gallery/Press Kit

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: shelter

  •  The Aquafarm: What is it and How does it Work?

    If you want to grow fresh veggies at home, but don’t have the space, we’ve got a cool way to do it. All you need is an Aquafarm™.

    Using the Aquafarm™ (and a Betta fish), you can create your very own countertop aquaponics garden for fresh herbs, veggies, and leafy greens. It’s especially great if you don’t have the space, time, or energy to create a traditional garden or aquaponics system of your own.

    How does the Aquafarm™ work?

    The Aquafarm™ is a small aquaponics system that essentially creates a small ecosystem in your home. Aquaponics is a method of growing fish and vegetables together where each organism helps the other to survive and thrive. It’s symbiosis at its best.

    In essence, as you raise fish in a tank, their waste is used to fertilize the plants you will eat, and in turn, the plants help to clean the water the fish live in, helping the fish stay healthy.

    Here’s how the Aquafarm™ works:

    1. The water from the fish tank is pumped up to the plants into a grow tray at the top of the tank. The plant roots become a “biofilter” that breaks down harmful ammonia in the fish waste and turns it into nitrates that the plants then absorb as food.
    1. After this conversion process, clean water is circulated back into the fish tank—ridding the tank of all the accumulated fish waste.
    1. Your plants grow in the grow trays at the top of the tank, giving you fresh veggies like leafy greens, wheatgrass, mixed greens, and a variety of herbs.
    1. You get fresh greens and herbs with minimal effort.


    What are the benefits of having an Aquafarm™?

    Besides the obvious benefit of the Aquafarm™ (fresh veggies), there are some other great reasons to have one if you’re a fish owner, gardener, or interested in emergency preparedness.

    • First if you’ve ever owned a fish, you know they’re tricky to keep alive. Toxicity, swim bladder, and algae growth are all common problems in a fish tank that affect the overall health of the fish (like I've learned all too well). The Aquafarm™ helps to reduce these problems as the plants help clean the tank.
    • Second because I’m an (unintentional) plant killer, the fact that I don’t have to constantly water the plants or give them plant food works in my favor. All I have to do is remember to feed the fish and nature will take care of the rest.
    • Third the Aquafarm™ will help me get one step closer to self-sufficiency. Use the food you grow to supplement your food storage supplies if you run out or just want fresh veggies.

    So if you’re like me and want your fish to clean up its own tank and earn its keep in your home by giving you fresh veggies, consider getting an Aquafarm™!

    And if you’re interested in building your own medium-to-full-sized Aquaponics system, check out our Aquaponic Gardening series written by our guest blogger and customer, Kevin White. He tells you how to get started and what supplies and materials you’ll need.



    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: gardening, home food production, homesteading, aquaponics, aquaponic garden

  • Predators on Primetime: Shark Week

    It’s Shark Week! Also known in my house as “The Week Mom Won’t Go Near the Ocean or a Pool and Becomes Leery of Bathtubs.”

    I hate sharks. I hate them with a phobic intensity that makes me shudder when I walk by the trout aquarium at Cabela’s. I didn’t see Jaws until I was an adult, and even then I spent most of the movie looking down into my lap until the scary music stopped. So you can imagine how much I love headlines like this one:

    “Shark photo prompts closure of access to ocean off San Clemente.”

    While fishermen regularly report shark sightings (the predators are attracted by large amounts of fish), the photographic evidence spurred officials to action in this case. Though the beach was completely off limits for a couple of hours after the incident, caution signs remained posted—signs, one official noted, that did little to divert beachgoers.

    It’s true that shark attacks are relatively rare (check out this hilarious but accurate comparison chart of shark attacks to other potential catastrophes from the Florida Museum of Natural History). However, they’re a real enough threat that the governments of Cape Town, South Africa; Western Australia; and Hawaii all publish their own shark safety pages.

    Whether Shark Week has you glued to the TV or locked in your second-story bedroom, if you’re planning on spending any time in the ocean, it’s smart to know your “enemy.” National Geographic has a thorough article on “Shark Attack Tips,” that includes strategies for avoidance, what to do in case of an attack, and tips for helping a victim.

    It also de-bunks some shark myths (for example, if you see a group of dolphins it doesn’t mean there are no sharks in the area. Dolphins and sharks not only eat the same types of food, but some sharks even eat dolphins!), and helps us understand things from the big fish’s perspective (sharks see contrast well and interpret thrashing around as injured and easy prey).

    Of course, the best course of action is always to stay aware, stay educated, and stay within the boundaries set by those responsible for your safety (like local authorities and lifeguards). But it never hurts to practice a hard punch to the gills once in a while.


    Any shark stories out there? Come on, scare me!


    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Survival, shark, shark week

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