Tag Archives: skills

  • The Bear Necessities: Resources for Surviving a Bear Attack

    Were you as surprised as I was when you came across the recent story of a bear attacking a woman in Florida? We get a little used to that sort of story out west, but I don’t generally think of the suburbs of Orlando as prime bear country. Shows how little I know about my own country’s ecology, clearly.

    My own ignorance aside, experts are noticing an uptrend in bear/human clashes in parts of Florida, where new housing developments are encroaching on longstanding black bear habitats. National Geographic addresses the issue usefully—and gives an idea or two on how to avoid a similar encounter—in the recent article, “Why Are Black Bear Attacks Up in Florida?”

    So, if bears can invade even Disney World, I suppose this is a good time to brush up on our bear survival skills. And it turns out that what most of us know about bear encounters is woefully inaccurate. For example, I grew up hearing that when a bear attacks, you should play dead. Did you know that playing dead has no affect at all on black bears, and is only effective on browns or grizzlies in certain specific situations? That’s knowledge you don’t want to acquire firsthand!

    Shortly after the recent mauling, ABC News published an article, “How to Survive a Bear Attack,” full of expert advice from park rangers and biologists. This article is a good starting place for learning about bear attacks. It gives an overview of different kinds of bears and their tendencies; good avoidance practices; and what to do in different bear encounter scenarios.

    An even more thorough resource is the website bearsmart.com, maintained by the Get Bear Smart Society, whose object is to minimize conflict between bears and humans. This site tells you what to do if you encounter a bear in the backcountry or in urban setting. Tabs like “Becoming Bear Smart” and “Bear Management” cover topics from “understanding bear behavior” to “safety in polar bear country” (because you never know!). The “Bear Smart at Home” is particularly relevant, in light of recent events, and offers smart tips on discouraging bears from coming on to your property or safely deterring animals who might wander through.

    Spring is optimal wildlife sighting time in my neck of the woods, when hibernators wake up and tasty new shoots and buds tempt creatures into the open. Know your bear safety and enjoy the wildlife from a safe distance!

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Survival, survival skills

  • Missing Runner Survives Snowy California Wilderness and all he wants is a Burger!

    As darkness fell and temperatures dropped, Bob Root snuggled deeper into the shrubbery atop a cliff in the California wilderness. For two days in early April, he struggled to survive in the snow, searching for the trail he’d lost track of during a morning run.

    Root had set out early Sunday morning with fellow members of the ShadowChase Running Club, wearing only a light shirt, shorts, and running shoes. However, he soon found himself lost after running ahead to catch up with another group.

    Fox News reported that Root was able to survive on energy supplements and the small amount of water he carried with him. When the cold caused unbearable shaking, Root resorted to compressing and releasing his muscles, and sticking his fingers in his armpits to stay warm.

    When searchers finally found him, there was only one thing Root wanted after this ordeal—an In-N-Out burger.

    Heidi Ryan, a member of the ShadowChase Running Club believes, “Root’s training helped him survive. ‘He has great endurance and that obviously helped him,’”

    To read the rest of the story, check out Fox News’ article, “Authorities say runner who survived in snowy California wilderness craved an In-N-Out burger.”

    You never know when you’ll find yourself in an emergency. Whether you run off-trail, must evacuate your home in the middle of the night, or face some other crisis, it’s important to develop your own survival skills now so you can survive and stay calm in an emergency.

    Root’s training taught his body how to endure, which enabled him to outlast this emergency. Keeping your body fit is a skill that requires time, patience, and hard work, but which in the long run can help you survive in an emergency and have a better quality of life every day.

    Often times survival skills can even come in handy when you aren’t in an emergency. Activities such as campouts, backpacking trips, boating excursions, ski and snowboard outings, and other outdoor adventures are good examples of times when it may pay off to have first aid training, know how to keep yourself warm, or how to stay hydrated—just to name a few.

     

    Check out some of our Insight articles to develop your own survival skills:

     

    Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this? What did you do? What survival skills do you think would be helpful during an emergency?

     

    Photo Courtesy of Fox News

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Survival, survival skills

  • 5 Ways to Start a Fire with Water

    A crucial skill to have in practically any emergency situation is knowing how to build a fire. Whether you get lost overnight on a ski trip or your car runs out of gas as you pack up to leave your campsite, knowing how to build a fire and stay warm could save your life.

    So what’s the best way to build a fire? “Building” a fire typically comes in three stages: gather the materials, lay the fire, and then start it. Check out our Insight Article to learn “How to Build a Fire” using these three stages.

    However, in an emergency situation, there’s one other item that could actually help you start a fire that many overlook—water. It’s true. Grant Thompson, from thekingofrandom.com, shows five ways you can start a fire using water. Check it out:

    There you have it: five ways water can start a fire. Four of Thompson’s five fire starting methods show you how to use water as a magnifying glass to spark a fire, letting the power of the sun do all the work (or at least a lot of it!). But e But B ven if there’s cloud cover, you aren’t out of luck. With just a few supplies you can still ignite a fire in seconds.

    If you plan to use water to help you start a fire in an emergency, make sure to add the following supplies to your emergency gear so you are completely prepared.

    Method 5:

    • A light bulb. Make sure your bulb has been rinsed and cleaned according to Thompson’s directions. Cushion the bulb with fabric, grocery sacks, or other forms of padding to keep it from breaking and place it in a small container before you put it in your emergency supplies.
    • A balloon to cap off the end of the light bulb after you’ve filled it with water

    Method 4

    • Plastic wrap
    • A bowl

    Method 3

    • Plastic wrap
    • A picture frame

    *For this method, make sure you have a way to securely attach the plastic wrap to the frame and to heat water.

    Method 2

    • A juice bottle (that looks like a bubble) filled with water

    Method 1

    • Toilet paper
    • Toilet paper roll
    • Small chunks of sodium
    • Jar lid

     

    Caution! Playing with fires is dangerous so make sure to have proper safety gear (a fire extinguisher, goggles, and leather gloves) with you when practicing these new ways to start a fire. Also, make sure to light fires in a cleared area away from flammable objects or dry grass.

    These are some fun, unique methods you can use to start a fire, but don’t forget about the traditional methods as well. Adding items such as the Sparkie, the P-25 Strike Master or FiredUp! firestarters to your emergency supplies are reliable ways to get a roaring fire and warmth fast. (Or, taking a hint from Thompson, how about a magnifying glass?)

     

     

    Sources:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCyHC7lnMyQ

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, emergency preparedness, fire, fire starting

  • Throughout National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, we want to help spread the word about how you can prepare for natural disasters in your area. Last year one natural disaster occurred over and over again, wreaking havoc across many states in our nation—tornadoes.

    Prepare yourself to face any type of severe weather storm, even a tornado

    In November of 2013, the Midwest faced dozens of record breaking tornadoes that flattened neighborhoods, damaged homes, and sent many people into panic. Oklahoma faced the largest tornado on recordfor their area. Tornadoes even happened in Denver, CO where twisters are uncommon.

    The unexpected tornado in Denver shows that it's important to know how to prepare for a tornado even if they are uncommon to your area. So think about how you would prepare for a tornado. What would you do? Where would you go?

    Check out our Insight Articles “What to do During a Tornado” and “Tornado Preparedness” for tips on what you can do to keep you and your family safe. Also, learn from FEMA the importance of Developing an Emergency Response Plan for Tornadoes.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has also prepared the following videos to help you prepare for a tornado.

    What to do Before a Tornado

    What to do During a Tornado

    What to do After a Tornado

    In honor of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, consider making today your tornado preparedness day—make a plan to keep you and your family safe if a tornado passes through your town.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, FEMA, NOAA, disaster, Weather, emergency preparedness, natural disaster, Tornado, National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, tornadoes, Tornado preparation

  • Prep yourself each day with a new survival skill during National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

    Throughout 2013, severe weather disasters touched down all across the country. Whether citizens faced tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, or other disasters, the importance of preparing became very apparent. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have teamed up for their third year to inform the public how to best prepare for severe weather. They have chosen March 2-8, 2014 as National Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

    This year’s campaign, “Be a Force of Nature: Take the Next Step,” encourages individuals to set an example for others in their communities through disaster preparation and responses. For example, when tornado warnings, hurricane alerts, or other alarms notify the public of oncoming weather conditions, be an example and take action first rather than ignore the warnings.

    Often many will choose not to seek shelter immediately after hearing the alert. Instead, they wait to hear a second warning. Sometimes a second warning never comes. But once in a while that second alarm will sound and those who didn’t act after the first alert are caught in the chaos of a severe weather storm. If you take action to prepare, others will follow and, ultimately, stay safe.

    Knowing how to prepare for different weather disasters—and responding immediately to warnings—can help save your life. And so FEMA and NOAA ask you to “Be a Force of Nature.”

    Throughout this week, “Be a Force of Nature: Take the Next Step” challenges the public to take a single preparedness action each day. Your action can be something simple such as preparing an emergency evacuation plan for your family, or as complex as building your food and water storage supply. No matter what action you choose to do, this week is meant to better prepare you and your community for severe weather.

    Check back this week for tips on what you can do to stay safe during severe storms.

    Sources:

    http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1392907694854-c8defc5a1deef616f4c2fefb760b65bd/Severe+Weather+Preparedness+WeekToolkit.pdf

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, severe weather, National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

  • Survival At Sea

    Jose Salvador Alvarenga survived at sea for over a year eating nothing but raw fish and birds' blood

    Did you hear about this? Earlier this month, a ragged figure washed up on the shore of one of the Marshall Islands and claimed he’d been lost at sea…for 13 months!

    José Salvador Alvarenga, a fisherman from southern Mexico, went missing at the end of 2012 when a storm blew him and his companion off course and set them adrift in the Pacific. The young companion apparently succumbed to starvation, but Alvarenga has told the press a shocking story of surviving on raw fish and birds’ blood for more than a year. You can read about his unbelievable adventure here.

    “Unbelievable” gets right to the heart of the matter. Some have expressed doubts about Alvarenga’s credibility, citing the impossibility of survival under those circumstances. But experts beg to differ. National Geographic, for one, has weighed in with a headline claiming “Surviving More Than a Year Adrift at Sea Is Possible, With a Little Luck”.

    …a little luck, we say, best supplemented with a lot of skill. I live in a coastal state where boat emergencies are a very real thing, but wherever you reside, there are important things to know about ocean safety. Here are one or two:

    Finding potable water at sea

    Fishing for survival

    Boat Safety

    Be prepared when spending time at sea. Whether boating, swimming, fishing, or having another water adventure out on the waves, take emergency supplies along … just in case. The following items have been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, meaning they have been sealed against water, moisture, and air, giving you a better chance of survival if you ever find yourself in a situation like the one Alvarenga experienced.

    Here are some other items we recommend taking with you:

    Your own castaway story might sound like a swashbuckling adventure, but we’ll opt for more preparation over raw fish and birds’ blood any day.

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, preparedness, water, Survival, emergency preparedness, survival skills, survival at sea

  • What would you do if you ran across wild animal tracks?

    It seems I just wrote a post about a family who went for a short mountain outing and ended up stuck in the snow for days. The last one happened in Nevada. This newest one happened in Idaho, and adds a chilling new element to an already frightening, if familiar, winter scenario.

    Friends Will Murkle and John Julian loaded up an SUV with their kids for an afternoon ride in the snow. When Will’s wife still hadn’t heard from them by midnight, she panicked. Turns out the group had gotten stuck in the snow and decided to walk to the nearest town for help.

    Which is when things got really dicey.

    “‘The scariest thing was when we came across fresh wolf tracks,’ Will Murkle said. ‘And we could tell wolves had been in the area recently.’”

    Not many of us would think to include bear spray or pepper spray in a car emergency kit, and even fewer of us would know what to do if we were to encounter an aggressive animal while stranded. The Murkle-Julian party got lucky—the tracks were as much of the wolves as they saw. So as not to rely on luck, however, here are a couple of resources to help us all avoid being eaten (or—more likely—just attacked) in an emergency situation.

    • Alaska knows a thing or two about wolves. Read their Department of Fish and Game’s article, “Living With Wolves”, then check the links to the left of that article for how to deal with other potentially predatory wildlife.

    Just because you’re isolated doesn’t mean all is lost! Know how to protect yourself and your family when circumstances are worse than you thought.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Winter, preparedness, Emergency plan, Survival, emergency preparedness, wildlife

  • I have a new favorite website. And bizarrely, it has nothing to do with British television or decorating with old maps (my current obsessions). In fact, it seems like it should be better suited to the tough guy I’m married to—and yet, I can’t look away!

    It’s called Hunter.Angler.Gardener.Cook (honest-food.net). It’s written by a guy named Hank Shaw who used to be a political journalist but now writes recipes.

    Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook--Website Review

    Cray recipes.

    Crazy, wonderful recipes using edibles he either shoots, catches, finds, grows, or (occasionally) sources locally. Hank describes himself as an “omnivore who has solved his dilemma.” He’s published two books, contributed to an endless stream of both outdoors and food magazines, and has even appeared on television to demonstrate his culinary skills.

    Hunter-Goose-Bockwurst_HAGC

    The website is primarily a recipe archive, and I have to admit, those food photos are the big draw. But it’s the extras that make this site such a treasure. Categorized by main course (wild game, seafood, etc.), each heading provides how-to’s (do you know how to cut up a squirrel?), hunting tips (did you know seasonal diet will determine bear meat’s flavor?), video tutorials (any idea how to fillet a skate?), as well as extensive links and references, and some pretty fantastic essays.

    Wood Duck and Acorn Dumplings Recipe

    And did I mention the recipes? If you hunt or know a hunter, you’ve probably had a fairly decent deer roast. And the down-to-earth Hank would not turn you away if you offered him a bite. But how about French frog legs, partridge Escabeche, or grilled boar heart with peppers and onions?

    Not to mention squash spaetzle, stinging nettle ravioli, and acorn flour pasta. And he has a whole category dedicated to the “wobbly bits,” as he calls them: heart, liver, and whatever else I usually make my husband throw away before roasting the Thanksgiving bird. Talk about stretching your resources!

    What Hunter.Angler.Gardener.Cook advocates is twofold. First it challenges us to expand our conception of food. Nature’s readily available bounty includes plants and animals that we’re not used to thinking about in terms of meals, but which could absolutely sustain us (and in shameless gourmet style, Shaw demonstrates!).

    And secondly, it encourages us to widen our skill set. In an emergency and without other resources, could you shoot a squirrel or identify an edible mushroom? True preparedness isn’t just about stockpiling resources, it's also about knowing how to access what is available outside your storage cupboard.

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: recipes, skills, hunting, survival skills, Website/Blog Review, fishing

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

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

    Decide the purpose of your Preparedness Fair.

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

    Decide who’s hosting the Preparedness Fair.

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

    Know your target audience.

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

    Choose a goal or theme.

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

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

     

    Select presenters.

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

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

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

    Select a Crew.

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

    Advertise.

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

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

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

    Resources for your event:

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

  • Why Ice Fishing Could Save Your Life

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

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

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

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

    First: Gather your Supplies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Second: Test the Ice

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

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

    Third: Make a Hole

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

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

    Fourth: Fish!

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

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

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

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

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

     

    Sources

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

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

    Survivalist, Issue 14: Jan/Feb 2014

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

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

     

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

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