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  • Survival Test: Can You Bug Out with Your Bag?

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    Survival Test: Can You Bug out with Your Bug Out Bag?

    A few weeks ago, I went on a hike in Southern Utah. It was a warm day, but not unbearably hot. I carried nothing but my cell phone. The hike was only about three miles, but by mile two I felt like I was going. to. die.

    It didn’t help that half of the hike was through a sand wash (I had to empty my shoes at least four times because they were too full of sand for my feet to fit!), or that the steepest hill was toward the end of the hike. Either way, it got me thinking: What if an emergency had happened unexpectedly and I’d been forced to “hike” my way to safety in those same conditions, but carrying a 20, 30, or 40-pound bug-out bag?

    I’d say I don’t want to think about it, but I have to think about it—partly because it’s my job, and partly because I really am invested in getting prepared. I hate to think that in spite of all my other preparations, skills, and gear, I’d be up a creek without a paddle simply because I’m not fit enough to hike to safety while carrying my emergency kit.

    So, I’m committing to a series of survival tests this summer: once a month I’ll do the same hike (one that’s more local) with my survival pack on my back, and I’ll see how far I can go.

    Between tests, I’ll be working to build endurance and strength so I won’t have to worry about “getting out of Dodge” if or when the time comes.

    How about you? Have you ever done a test run with your emergency pack on? Care to join me?

    If you’d like to join me for my Bug-Out Survival Tests throughout the summer, watch the blog and our other social media channels for announcements, and use the hashtag #eesurvivaltest to share your photos and experiences.

     

    Until next time.

     

    --Urban Girl

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: evacuation, Survival, bug out bag, emergency kit

  • Check Out our NEW Disaster Preparedness Guide

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     When Disaster Hits Home--A Disaster Preparedness Guide

    Home fires, downed power lines, and winter weather can be just as deadly as earthquakes and tornadoes. It’s important to prepare for natural disasters, but our NEW Disaster Preparedness Guide, “When Disaster Hits Home” is a great reminder to be ready for any crisis that may strike—big or small.

    We’ve teamed up with the Deseret News to create this free guide to help our customers and readers confidently answer the question: Am I prepared for the unexpected?“When Disaster Hits Home” can teach you and your family how to prepare for the unexpected in several ways. It includes helpful hints on how to …

    • Stay safe and prevent home fires
    • Prepare for floods (did you know floods are the most common natural disaster?)
    • Get the entire family involved in preparedness (It even includes a preparedness activity sheet for kids)
    • Build an emergency kit for school, work, home, cars, and pets
    • Survive in your car in freezing temperatures
    • Provide the basics of survival (food, water, shelter, and warmth) during an emergency

    This 12-page feature is a great resource for getting prepared whether you’re a seasoned prepper or new to emergency preparedness. “When Disaster Hits Home” will teach you things you may not have known about preparation, and statistics about natural disasters and unexpected emergencies that happen in the U.S. It even offers personal stories from people who have lived through unexpected disasters.

    Check out our new Disaster Preparedness Guide, “When Disaster Hits Home” online or, if you live in Utah, you can pick up a printed copy at one of our stores.  The demand for printed copies of our Disaster Guide was so high that we no longer have printed copies. If you would like to  print or download a copy, you can go to  http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/16e9a228#/16e9a228/ and print a copy to put in your emergency supplies.  It’s totally free and full to the brim with great info.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: natural disaster, emergency preparedness, Emergency plan, emergency kit

  • The Yellowstone Super Volcano--Are you Prepared?

    The Yellowstone Super Volcano is even bigger than we thought

    Yellowstone Volcano More than Twice as Big as Expected

    A sleeping giant lies gently snoring in the northwestern quadrant of the United States—the Yellowstone Super Volcano. Researchers from the University of Utah recently determined its magma chamber to be 2.5 times larger than previously thought, measuring at least 55 x 20 miles and running between 3 and 9 miles below the surface of the earth.

    Professor Bob Smith of the University of Utah was surprised by these findings. Smith states, “We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be bigger…but this finding is astounding.”

    Unlike the traditional cone-shaped mountains of Mt.St. Helens and the Lassen Volcano—the two most recent volcanoes to erupt in the 48 contiguous United States —the Yellowstone Volcano has a wide, slightly bulging area. However, its surface is rising at the rate of about three inches per year, and according to Professor Smith, seismic activity in the area is increasing.

     

    Impact of an Eruption of the Super Volcano

    If Yellowstone really blew its top, scientists estimate that much of the United States and western Canada would be uninhabitable. Lava, poisonous gases, and a potential ten-foot layer of ash would cover the ground up to 1,000 miles away. Living in much of North America would become unbearable.

    The eruption would drastically affect climates in various parts of the world, just like after the 1816 eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia. This eruption was the main cause of crop failures throughout the northeastern U.S. and much of Europe. 1816 became known as the miserable “year without a summer.” Sheep and migratory birds died of the cold—in June.

    For more details about the Yellowstone Super Volcano, check out the New York Post article, “Beneath Yellowstone, a Volcano that could wipe out the U.S.

    Although scientists predict that the Yellowstone Volcano will not erupt for at least another 60,000 years, realizing that events like volcanic eruptions can cause food shortages suggests that it’s important to prepare before an emergency hits. Since disasters are unpredictable, we encourage building a supply now.

     

    In addition to storing food, having an emergency kit would give you an edge on survival if any natural disaster or emergency happens in your area and you need to evacuate. If you’re not sure of potential dangers that may exist where you live, do a little research so that you can be as prepared as possible for any event.

    Photo of the "Crested Pool Hot Spring" at Yellowstone in same area as the Super Volcano

    Photo Courtesy of the New York Post

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: natural disaster, emergency preparedness, emergency kit, food storage

  • Why Ice Fishing Could Save Your Life

    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: emergency preparedness supplies, emergency preparedness, emergency kit, skills

  • Be Ready for the Unexpected

    |4 COMMENT(S)

    Be Ready for the Unexpected

    How many times have you read about an emergency or natural disaster and thought “that wouldn’t happen in my area”?

    This type of thinking leads many people to believe they only need emergency kits and emergency plans for major disasters. However, we also need to prepare for smaller, unexpected emergencies that sometimes occur more often.

    Stories from the past few months have taught us two valuable lessons:

    1. Mother Nature doesn’t follow rules; the unexpected can happen to anyone.
    2. Even the smallest of events can become larger disasters due to poor planning and lack of preparation.

     

    Prepare for Winter Weather—Even if it’s Unlikely

    At the beginning of December, unexpected snow storms and freezing temperatures stranded over 300 people for 7+ hours on a stretch of Interstate 15 between the Utah/Las Vegas border.

    Freezing temperatures and snow are rare in the area, so many travelers were unprepared. They had little food or water, few items to keep warm (many only had clothing for a day at the pool), and only a little gas in their tanks. What’s typically considered an hour’s drive quickly became an unexpected emergency. Luckily there were no major injuries reported.

    In January, many parts of the U.S. experienced another unexpected phenomenon that was dubbed a Polar Vortex. As we learned from WeatherChannel.com meterologist, Nice Wiltgen, the term ‘artic outbreak’ is a more accurate term than ‘polar vortex’ to describe the dramatic cooling effect the Midwestern and eastern portions of the U.S. are currently experiencing. So this Polar Vortex is a new name for an ancient phenomenon, causing cities that usually don’t see below freezing temperatures to see record-breaking lows and snowfall.

    The so-called Polar Vortex altered the everyday lives of thousands: several areas faced school closures, blackouts, flooding from frozen pipes, injuries, and deaths even occurred.

    While it may have been hard to predict the impact storm near Las Vegas or of the Polar Vortex, these events illustrate the need to prepare and plan for winter emergencies (even if you live in the South).

    What can we learn from these emergencies?

    If you are adequately prepared, unexpected emergencies will be less likely to turn your life upside down. The Ready Campaign suggests these three steps to prepare for any emergency you might face:

    1. Make a plan: Make a plan with your family for a number of situations—big and small. You can plan for house fires, power outages, and even major disasters like earthquakes. Don’t forget to plan for unique situations for your area and climate, as well.
    2. Build a Kit: Based on your planning, build or purchase emergency kits for your home, car, workplace, and school. These kits should fit the personal needs of your family. Also, you should always have a car emergency kit—especially while traveling
    3. Stay informed: Learn from the experience of others. Plan for unexpected emergencies before they happen, stay informed on weather conditions in your area, and adapt your emergency kits for situations like the ones mentioned in this post. Don’t slip into the thought process of “it won’t happen to me”.

    It’s important to prepare for unexpected emergencies. Good planning and preparation can help us avoid minor annoyances or major health concerns in crisis situations. As you plan for possible emergencies, avoid the mentality of “that won’t happen” and change it to “whatever happens, I’ll be ready.”

    --Rob

    Have you ever been stuck in an unexpected emergency or snowstorm? What did you do? What do you wish you had? 

    Sources:

    BePrepared.com/Blog

    CNN Article: "The Polar Vortex Leaves Nasty Surprises, Still Grips northern midwest"  

    KSL News article: "Motorists trapped by snowstorm on Arizona Strip"

    Preparedness Pantry Blog: "The Polar Vortex--What are the Consequences?"

    BeReady.gov: “Make a Plan. Get a Kit. Be Informed” 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, Emergency plan, emergency kit, winter storms

  • Can you brave the winter storms?

    Thousands of commuters in the South were stranded en route Tuesday and into Wednesday because of  snowy conditions during an unexpected winter storm. 

    Many spent 10-12 hours in their vehicles, trying to conserve gas, power, and warmth. Others took shelter with nearby strangers, who generously opened their homes; and some (like the 5,300 students in Alabama) were even forced to camp out in school buildings or sleep the night in buses.

    CNN reported the panic that spread when what was supposed to be a light dusting of snow turned to chaos. A thin sheet of ice and 3-10 inches of snow on the roads (depending on location) left thousands of people stranded in their vehicles during their commute home.

    As one woman went into labor, she set off for the hospital only to find gridlock after gridlock blocked her path. She called the paramedics, but they, too, had no clear route to reach her car through the disorder that Tuesday’s winter storm blew in, leaving her stranded on the road.

    The weather was also a factor in over 1,000 fender benders, five deaths in Alabama, and another 23 injuries.

    The traffic problems began when schools, businesses, and government offices sent people home at the exact same time due to the weather.

    According to Yahoo! News, “as people waited in gridlock, the snow [built up], the roads froze, cars ran out of gas and tractor-trailers jackknifed, blocking equipment that could have treated some of the roads.”

    Winter storms catch the South by surprise

    The desperate situation brought many people together to help stranded motorists. Residents near the highway opened their homes to strangers who needed food, water, and a warm place to stay. Others offered their services, as well, including a police officer who helped deliver a daughter to the pregnant woman stranded in her car.

    "There was a sense that we are all in this together,” said Mira Lowe, a CNN editor who watched as people left their vehicles to help others.

    Check out stories from other stranded drivers here

    Read the rest of CNN’s article “Atlanta mayor blames poor coordination for storm snafu
    Read Yahoo! News’ article “Helicopters search for stranded Southern drivers

    Do you know what to do in a snow and ice storm? Having a car emergency kit can definitely help by giving you food, water, warmth, and other needed supplies.

    Check out these articles for more ways you can stay safe in the cold:
    Emergency Warmth
    Stuck in the Snow? How’s your Emergency Car Kit?
    How to Winterize your Car

     

    Video Courtesy of CNN
    Photo Courtesy of Yahoo! News

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

  • Prepper Style New Year's Resolutions: Outdoor Gear

    Each Monday in January, we’re sharing our Preparedness New Year’s Resolutions for 2014. If you’d like to make some Prepping Resolutions of your own, but don’t know where to start, borrow some of our resolutions or use this series to get some ideas.

    This week we are talking about Outdoor Gear. Click here to check out Last week’s resolutions for Indoor Gear.

    Here is what our Emergency Essentials’ bloggers plan on getting to take with them into the great outdoors in 2014.

    Prepper Style New Year's Resolutions: Outdoor Gear

     

    Prepper Style New Year’s Resolutions : Outdoor Gear

    Sharon

    I resolve to get some good fire-starting supplies, such as the nifty little Sparkie Fire Starter, a can of Fired Up!, and some Waterproof and Windproof Matches. This would make it so much easier to start a campfire or get the charcoal grill going quickly, especially in windy conditions.

    Sarah

    If you’ve followed the Pennies for Prepping series, you may know that I bought a bit of outdoor gear last fall, including the Teton Outfitter XXL 1-Man Quick Tent and a Klymit Static V sleeping pad. I already have a sleeping bag, but I’d like to get something warmer this year, ideally before I go winter camping—maybe to something like the High Unita Gear Sleepy Ridge 10-Degree Sleeping Bag. I also want to get an Optimus Vega canister stove. Because, if I’m going to get a canister stove, it might as well be one that will work during all four seasons.

    Angela

    My New Year’s Resolution for outdoor gear is to learn how to make awesome shelters for different situations. I want to read and research about different shelters and how you make them in the Sense of Survival. Then, I want to go and test it out with a few materials I already have on hand at home. I want to do this so I can figure out what items I would need to make a stellar, warm, and insulated shelter. So I already know that I really want a ripstop tarp or two, duct tape, and maybe a tent like the Mountainsmith Morrison Two-person Tent if I can’t figure out how to make a shelter from natural materials. . .

    Kim

    This year, I’m going to learn how to start (and extinguish) a campfire. To learn this new skill, I want to add fire starting tools to my family’s emergency kits and camping supplies. Our family loves to camp, but not knowing how to build a fire can ruin the adventure pretty quickly on a cold night.  We will be adding the Sparkie, Spark-Lite, and H-25 Strike Master fire starters to our kits. We want to have a variety of fire starters on hand to ensure that we have a reliable method of lighting a fire, no matter the situation. (What if I lose one? If that’s my one and only method of starting a fire, I’m in trouble). By the end of 2014, my family will be campfire starting (and extinguishing) experts!

     

    What’s Your Advice?

    If you had to survive in the outdoors, what else would you bring?

    This is our last week for New Year’s Resolutions.  Now, let’s see how many of them we can keep! Check back here to see how we are making progress on our goals in the coming months.

    Check out all the Prepper Style New Year’s Resolutions from the beginning of January on our blog.

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

  • 12 Days of Giveaways--Day Twelve

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    This post is the last installment of our 2013 12 Days of Christmas, 12 Days of Giveaways series. This series will run from December 3rd to December 18th, 2013. Each giveaway is open for three calendar days. Special offers are open as long as supplies last.   Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Mountain time on the 3rd day. This giveaway is CLOSED. Click here to enter the giveaway for Day Eleven

    12 Days of Giveaways--Day 12

    On the 12th Day of Christmas, Emergency Essentials gave to me . . . the Grand Prize—a Trekker II Emergency Kit!

    12 Days of Giveaways--Day 12: Trekker 2 Emergency Kit (two person)

    Have two kids rooming together who need an emergency kit? Do you know a couple soon to be married? Or are you just trying to update your own emergency supplies? The Trekker II-Two Person Emergency Kit will provide food, water, and emergency supplies designed to feed and comfort two people for up to three days.

    This emergency kit comes in two convenient backpacks—one large and one medium—for easy transport. (This kit is intended for use by two people who are together; we don’t recommend dividing it between two people living in different locations.)

    In addition to the basics of two Mainstay 3,600-calorie food bars, 12 Aqua Blox of drinking water, two ponchos, two reflective sleeping bags, a tube tent, and hand and body warmers, this kit contains extras like:

    • 1 Headlamp with batteries
    • Strike-anywhere matches and fuel-fire starter
    • 100-hour candle
    • 72-piece first-aid kit with booklet
    • Sunscreen
    • Hygiene items
    • AM/FM radio with batteries
    • Emergency duct tape
    • 2 types of emergency whistles
    • 2 N95 respiratory masks

    If you don’t already have an emergency kit, this could be yours—and if you do have one, it would make a welcome wedding, anniversary, holiday, or all-occasion gift to give any couple!

    Just take the short quiz below to enter the giveaway. Remember, you can receive an additional entry if you share today’s giveaway post publicly on your Facebook page. You have until Friday, December 20th at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time to enter.

    Good luck!

    Thanks for participating in our Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway! We hope you enjoyed it, and learned something new about prepping gear. We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    smart phone users: Click here to take the quiz https://emergencyessentials.typeform.com/to/Az77ai

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: 12 days of Christmas, holiday gifts, holiday, emergency kit, holidays, giveaway

  • Stuck in the Snow: How's Your Emergency Car Kit?

    Prepare yourself this winter with an emergency car kit

    Tuesday brought a happy ending to a familiar, and usually tragic, winter story. When James Glanton, his girlfriend Christina McIntee, and the four children they took up into the hills of northern Nevada to play in the snow didn’t return that night, family feared the worst. Their Jeep had overturned on a snowy road, and the six of them survived in below zero temperatures (!) for two days before rescuers found them—cold, but unharmed. You can read more about their fortunate rescue here.

    If you haven’t already made your car’s emergency kit winter ready, now’s a good time to consider whether you could survive for two days stranded in your vehicle. FEMA has a helpful checklist of items you’ll want handy. And check out these blog posts for more ideas and resources for winter road safety.

    Also, don’t forget to check out our selection of emergency kits to help you start preparing for winter conditions and emergency situations alike.

    Don’t count on luck to get you out of a dangerous situation. Be prepared!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, emergency kit, Winter, Car Kit

  • 12 Days of Giveaways--Day 11

    |6 COMMENT(S)

    This post is part of our 2013 12 Days of Christmas, 12 Days of Giveaways series. This series will run from December 3rd to December 18th, 2013. Each giveaway is open for three calendar days. Special offers are open as long as supplies last.   Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Mountain time on the 3rd day. This giveaway is CLOSED. Click here to enter the giveaway for Day Ten.

    12 Days of Giveaways--Day Eleven

    On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, Emergency Essentials gave to me . . . the Basics Emergency Kit!

    12 days of Giveaways--Day 11: Basics Emergency Kit

    This kit works as either a basic emergency kit or an add-on kit to the supplies you already own. It’s easy to pick and choose what items you may need from this kit to add to an existing one. Or just toss the items into a backpack and voilà—you have a completely new emergency kit.

    A basic emergency kit is a great gift for you or your loved ones because it can help you prepare for a number of situations. Use it at the office, send it with your kids to school, or keep it stashed in the trunk of your car. No matter your emergency, the basics kit will keep you warm and fed during a school or office lockdown or if a flat tire strands you in the middle of nowhere. The kit includes food, water, light, warmth, communication, and more.

    Check out the links above and take our short quiz below to enter to win!  Remember, you can get an additional entry by sharing this post on your Facebook page. Come back tomorrow for our final 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.

    Merry Christmas & Good Luck!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: christmas, 12 days of Christmas, holiday, emergency preparedness, Survival, emergency kit, preparedness, giveaway

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