Monday, March 31, 2014

Will A Degree Help You Survive?

From early childhood we are told that a college degree is the answer to all life's problems. Armed with that diploma we can avoid social and economic disparity, achieve a better understanding of the world around us, learn to think rationally and critically, and achieve anything we put our minds to. While there is a lot of truth within the propagandic message of the 'American Dream', how useful is a degree outside the realm of everyday society?

In the recent economic crisis, a degree was hardly a saving grace. Stories ran weekly on CEO's turned coffee baristas, showing that a piece of paper couldn't save anyone. What about real survival? Does a college degree give you an upper hand in natural disasters, war, apocalyptic events or simply getting lost in the woods? Let's look at whether or not a degree is truly beneficial when it comes to the most basic human need- survival.

Mother always said 'get your degree just in case of zombie apocalypse'.

It Depends on the Degree

I have two scenarios for you. The first is set in 2023, aliens have taken over the planet and enlisted all humans as their slaves. The second is next Saturday, your car breaks down on the middle of a dark mountain road and you get lost trying to find help. While one of these may seem more likely than the other, they represent a bigger picture.

Your degree in ballet studies will help you no more as a slave to an alien race as it will building a fire to avoid freezing in the forest. If, however, your degree was in agricultural engineering, the result may be slightly different. With your knowledge on agricultural machinery design you may prove useful to the aliens and get a promotion from slave duties. In the forest, all those classes on land profiling could help you find your way to the nearest town for a tow truck.

The type of degree that will help you survive in an emergency will probably vary greatly by situation, but check out the degrees that help most in an apocalypse to get a better idea on which ones may be more prevalent.

The diploma- a weapon for whatever life throws at you.

Booksmarts vs. Streetsmarts

If we have learned anything from the characters in the Walking Dead, it's that those with street smarts are better equipped to survive. Booksmarts certainly play a role in such scenarios, although the educated are more likely to become leaders or planners than they are swoon worthy survivors.

In a natural disaster, booksmarts won't help you take shelter any better than someone without them. The difference is in the handling of the disaster. A degree may have given you lessons in elocution and taught you how to talk with people. This can be an indispensable skill in a disaster and people who are scared will always turn to the one with confidence for direction.

Doctor turned survivalist.

Find the Balance

The real answer is probably somewhere in the middle, a healthy balance of education and real-life skills. Michigan State recently held a Zombie Apocalypse course for their students which taught them how to survive in catastrophic events. The course was largely a silly elective, but perhaps there is something to combining what-if scenarios into the classroom.

The truth is, a degree in itself can not foster survival. The usefulness of the degree is entirely situationally dependent but the result could be one of the 4 benefits of getting your bachelor's degree. If you are serious about surviving any disaster that comes your way, get your education but strengthen it with skills such as first-aid, wilderness survival techniques, and mental preparedness. At the end of the day, only the smart survive.

Jessica Galbraith is a writer and author of the travel blog The Fly Away American. You can connect with her on Twitter at @flyawayamerican.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

5 Tools For Survival You Should Have In Your Backpack

It would be so convenient if you could carry all your survival gear with you every day, but dragging a bug-out bag everywhere is impractical. There are a few essential items you can pop into a regular backpack, just in case the unthinkable happens.

A good knife is a must-have for survival.


The first item is an easy one: the knife has been the main tool of survival for millennia, and it's still a great choice. It can be used for hunting, digging, peeling bark, building or even self-defense. When putting a knife in your backpack, choose one you're comfortable with so it won't feel awkward when you need to use it. Know how to sharpen it, keep it clean and handle it without endangering yourself or others. If you travel with your backpack, know the laws regarding acceptable knife length and storage methods.

Water Purification Tablets

Water is essential for life. You can exist for days without food, but you won't last long without water. Bottled water makes a backpack heavy and bulky, and there's the chance of leaks. Water purification tablets, however, are almost weightless, take up much less space and can be used to create safe drinking water from streams, springs and other free-flowing sources. Tablets are usually made with iodine or chlorine, and have a limited life once they are opened.

There are also non-chemical water filters like the LifeStraw, which can be reused but has a limited store life of a few years. Whichever method you choose, read all the instructions carefully when you pack your backpack, and occasionally check the integrity of the container.

Paracord bracelets are stylish and handy.

Paracord Bracelet

Emergency bracelets made with paracord are the latest trend, and they come in a wide variety of colors. Their main purpose is to provide you with a strong, light length of rope in emergency or survival situations. While they are easy to find, make sure you're getting real 550 military spec paracord when you buy a bracelet, and it should contain at least ten feet of cord. Use them to build a shelter, create a net trap for wild game, make a splint or tourniquet, tie your supplies up on a high branch, and other survival scenarios.

length of rope

Portable Shelter

Think you don't have room for a tent in your backpack? Think again. While there are some great money management tips for saving emergency funds, keep that cash aside for other survival gear needs and create a make-do shelter by measuring out several feet of clear plastic sheeting. Bring the two ends together and create a large tube by sealing the plastic together with a warm iron set on "low."

For best results, use tissue paper between the iron and plastic. Once it's cooled, fold the tube into the smallest square possible, wrap it in foil or a small bag and pop it into your backpack. In an emergency, you can slip the paracord through it, tie the cord between two trees so the tube hangs down to the ground, and you have a quick shelter from the elements for sleeping or resting.


It seems like a no-brainer to keep food in your bag for emergencies, but you need to select edibles that keep well under adverse conditions and provide you with maximum nutritional benefits, like protein trail bars or even a couple of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) if you have the space. MREs take up more room, but since they were originally developed for the military, they are amazingly shelf-stable at extreme temperatures and come with their own safe heating devices so you can have a hot meal.

Protein or meal bars take up less space, cost less but may need to be switched out of your bag more often due to expiration dates. Whatever food items you choose, include a small bag of corn chips. Not only are they tasty, but they contain oil and a few chips make decent firestarters.

Space in your backpack is always limited, so consider creating a tiny essentials kit for your backpack as well. If you've ever seen mints or throat lozenges in a small tin box, then you've seen the perfect container for assembling a go-anywhere survival kit. Include waterproof matches, Band-Aids, a small tube of your preferred antibiotic or treatment cream for first aid, needle, thread, safety pins, fishing line and a couple of cotton balls.

You can also buff the paint or print off the outside until the box shines, and use the outside as a signaling mirror when needed. This kit will give you the very basic tools for first aid, repairs, fishing and starting fires. You can even seal the box with wax or drop it into a weatherproof bag to keep the contents dry and fresh.

Beth Bartlett writes about business, travel and modern culture for magazines and websites.

Photo credits:Mike Petrucci and GA-Kayaker

Saturday, March 29, 2014

More Durable Solutions for the Long Haul: Water Usage Safety Tips

No matter how thirsty you are, it is not good to drink dirty water. The problems it will cause can last for years and, in some cases, even kill you. If you are in a situation where there is no clean tap water or bottled water at the local shop, you need to know how to purify water to make it potable. This is not as strange as it may sound. There are instances such as during a major flood or hurricane when drinking water is scarce. Also, people who spend a lot of time camping or in the wilderness should know basic water usage safety tips.


Boiling water for one minute will make it safe to drink when it has cooled. About 99.9 percent of bacteria in the water will be killed if it boils for 15 – 20 minutes. Boiling will not remove metals, minerals or solids in the water. After the water has boiled, it can be taken from the fire and left to cool. During this time, the solids, metals and minerals will naturally sink to the bottom of the pot. The pure water will be on the top. Very hot tap water may also be safe to drink if it has been in a water heater tank for a while.

Purifying System

A water purifying system can be created in the wilderness. It will not make the water 100 percent pure, but it will reduce the amount of microbes in the water. It should only be used in extreme emergencies. The system requires a strip of birch bark or another type of bark that can be removed in sheets and is flexible. Twist the bark into the shape of a cone and tie a piece of string, rope or durable grass around it, so it will keep its shape.

Fill the cone with layers of sand, charcoal, gravel and grass. First, put in the gravel or small stones, then the sand and then the charcoal. If you have a fire, it is easy to get charcoal. You can crush burnt pieces of wood. The water should be passed through the filter several times.


Sunlight will disinfect clear water but not cloudy water. If a clear plastic bottle is filled with water and put on its side on a reflective surface such as aluminum foil, it will be safe to drink after a minimum of six hours in direct sunlight.

Creek water, rainwater and bore well water can be made potable with a few simple procedures. After a natural disaster, you likely will not be able to find the kind of modern water tanks that are thoroughly prepared for holding healthy water for a prolonged period such as Covac GRP water tanks. Therefore, it behooves you to learn various methods such as the preceding tips for purifying the water that you are able to find.

Rianne Hunter is a wife, mother of three active kids, and an aspiring author. She enjoys writing about all things health, fitness, and family safety and well being.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Little House on The Prairie: 5 Must-Haves for Living Off the Grid

country house

There are many reasons why people go off grid. Some individuals seek to be away from the danger of other people in the event of a disaster. Others simply cannot take the stress of the daily grind anymore. Others enjoy braving the elements and seek to prove that they can live off the land. Whatever the reason, it is important to be aware of a few necessities before pulling the plug.

Adequate Shelter

The first concern to address when going off grid is the type of shelter you will need. Some rough and tumble survivalists can get along fine for weeks or months with a tent in the wilderness as adequate shelter. If you are single and your interests are not that mobile, then a one room log cabin or small traditional house might suffice. Alternatively, some people design and build elaborate energy efficient dome homes, because they feel going off grid doesn't necessarily mean one has to sacrifice comfort.

Nutrient Dense Food

No matter how far one moves away from civilization, they still must have nutrient dense food to live. Traditionally, ancient tribes solved this problem by hunting and gathering berries and other plants to supplement their diet. Building on this foundation, the advent of mail order catalogs and the internet has provided people with the option of acquiring prepackaged meats, long-term bulk storage containers filled with dehydrated meals, and bulk seeds for planting a massive garden. Hence, there are many ways to acquire food, even off grid.


Due to advancements in solar technology, it is easier to live off grid today than at any other time. Inexpensive solar panels, cost effective ready-made solar power stations, and even solar appliances, have made it possible to obtain all the electricity a person might need. Alternatively, wind power is another inexpensive choice when looking for ways to generate electricity off grid.


How a person will adequately heat their home, off grid, is certainly an important concern to address. One method may be to install a wood burning stove. However, a more efficient approach might be to install a rocket stove. A rocket stove uses up far less wood than a traditional wood burning stove, burns cleaner, and leaves less residue. The amount of heat that can be generated is massive and makes this type of heating option an efficient choice for many who live off grid.

Septic Systems

If you are ready to get off the city sewer line, the easiest way to make this transition is to install a septic tank. A septic tank collects waste water. Bacteria in the tank breaks the waste down, forming three layers. As more waste water comes into the tank, it pushes out old waste into underground pipes that transport the waste byproduct to a drain field. It is recommended to have a septic tank serviced and emptied once annually for homes with a garbage disposal and once every three years for homes without a garbage disposal. Many people think it is acceptable to ignore this advice, if their toilets are not backing up. However, it is often a costly mistake to neglect one's septic system maintenance. Schedule an inspection from a professional like David Brantley & Sons Raleigh in NC, that can make sure your septic system is working.


From meeting concerns about adequate shelter to waste management, living off grid can be a satisfying lifestyle for some. It is a lifestyle that demands both planning and a hard work to ensure that everything runs smoothly. It is important to take the time to anticipate how one's needs will be met before committing to this lifestyle. With proper forethought and preparation, it is certainly possible to live off grid.

Marlena Stoddard writes on emergency preparation and energy independent homes. Originally from Senoia, GA, Marlena lives in Santa Rosa, CA with her husband and 2 children. When she isn't spending time with her children or writing, Marlena enjoys hiking and photography. For more on Marlena, you can follow her on Google+.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Five Things Every Survival Bunker Must Have

sunker storage

One of the things that you can do to ensure your, your family's, and your possession's safety during a catastrophe is to build a survival bunker. This bunker can be used as secure shelter in the event of anything from a tornado to an air strike. More common crises, like local chemical leaks and ice storms, can necessitate the use of a bunker more often than you'd think. There are many resources available for bunker blueprints and even services to build custom bunkers to your specifications. After building your bunker, there are some essential items that you need to keep on hand.

Nonperishable Food This is one of the first things that you should stock your bunker with. You can build shelves to keep the food on, or you can get a cabinet to place on the wall. Keep track of how old the food is because you want to use the older items before anything that is newly purchased. Examples of foods that are good to keep on hand include crackers, canned foods and foods that are in boxes that don’t need to be cooked.

Water The minimum amount of water you'll want to keep stocked is three gallons of water per person. This should last for about three days. Bottled water is good to keep for drinking, but try to keep the gallon sizes for washing hands or faces. Buying bulk bottled water is best—a large pack is less expensive than purchasing several individual bottles and comes packed tightly, so it will take up less space in your bunker.

Battery-Operated Electronics If you need to use your bunker, then there is a high probability that the power is out or that it will go out soon. Keep a supply of batteries on hand, and test them often to be sure they are still charged. Stock your bunker with items that can be used with batteries like flashlights, cordless radios and portable televisions. It is important to have a way to access the news so that you know what is going on in the area, so keep these electronics and any batteries they require on hand.

Vaults If you have weapons, essential documents or valuables which you'd like to keep secure, especially during a catastrophe, you should equip your bunker with a vault. When you need to head to the bunker, try to get as many important documents as you can, including social security cards, credit cards and money. These can be stored in the vault so that they aren’t ruined or stolen if any looting occurs during a catastrophe. Ted Barnes, a Mission Viejo vaults and safes specialist, advises bunker builders to opt for a built-in vault, ideally placed in the floor of the bunker, for maximum concealment and security.

Clothing You need to keep clothing in the bunker for all seasons. In addition to everyday wear, keep a coat for each person, along with gloves, socks and shoes. You may not be able to wash clothes if trying to conserve your water supply, so you'll need to have a few outfits for each person. Diapers should be included in clothing if you have a baby or toddler.

A bunker can provide the safety needed to outlast a catastrophe, but you need to make sure it is well and securely stocked. Store enough supplies for each person, and check your stores regularly to make sure everything is intact and operational.

Emma is a freelance writer from Boston. Her interests include urban survival training and Urbex. In her free time, she enjoys baking, film noir, and indoor rock climbing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Survival Tips on the Mountain

snowy mountain

We are lucky to live in a world with so many beautiful mountain ranges to explore. Whether your preference is for walking, climbing, or snow sports, mountains offer wonderful opportunities to enjoy their slopes. Going up into them, though, at any time of year and in any weather conditions, always calls for a great deal of preparedness and sensible caution. Mountains, like the sea, must always be treated with great respect. We never know when a sudden change can occur, and we should never venture forth without being appropriately dressed and equipped. To do so is just to court disaster.

Types of Avalanche

This is especially true in the winter (which is not to disregard the other seasons), when avalanche risk in snowy mountains is at its most prevalent. There are two main types of avalanche risk: slab avalanche and loose snow collapse. A slab avalanche is by far the most dangerous but can be preceded by the fall of a wet avalanche, where wet, loose snow which is beginning to melt makes its way down from a trigger point. Excessive wind and rain contribute to the risks, but there are many variables, such as terrain, steepness and sunshine, which alter the weight and shift of the snowpack. It is almost never possible to be certain that an avalanche will not be set off.

Essentials to Take

It is essential to pack a backpack with the necessary equipment in the event of getting caught up in an avalanche scenario. Warning signs will indicate high-risk areas, and these are usually in the form of a yellow triangle. Of course, you will stay away from any such parts, but this does not ensure safety. Some mountain lovers will make the mistake of going up into the peaks on a fine day without wearing lightweight base layer clothing. This is always, to put it bluntly, stupid. It may be hot at the bottom, but this is no indicator of conditions at the top, and the temperature can plummet at any moment. Hypothermia is a terrible consequence of being under-dressed. High-calorie snacks and water should also be carried.

Practical Gear

The other items in the pack should include a beacon, a shovel and an avalanche transceiver. Every member of a group should carry these items — not just one of them. In the event of being caught in an avalanche, the main risks are being crushed by the weight of the snow and being buried alive. If you see one starting to come your way, you should shout immediately to alert others. If caught, fight hard to stay on top of it. An avalanche airbag can be an asset here as it assists buoyancy. Try to grab hold of a tree or rock.

Survival Techniques

If the snow does cover you, punch to make an air hole if possible and try to raise a ski pole or arm as an indicator for the rescue teams. Try to remain calm to conserve oxygen — this may include not shouting out if you hear rescuers on the surface, although this urge may be impossible to suppress. The Avalanche Transceiver (aka beacon) will alert the rescue team as to your whereabouts and could save your life.

The moral of the story is to always be prepared for the worst case scenario. Ever heard of The Seven P’s? This adage, often used in life or death situations, came about by the British army and stands for: ‘Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.’ Often used in project planning for near death situations, this is something we should all take into account when thinking about our activities.

Sally Bunce is a snowboarding enthusiast and writes for The Board Basement, an online store stocking snowboarding equipment and apparel. She offers advice about essential checklists for winter sports and how to get the most out of your experience.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How You Can Keep Your Home And Family Afloat After A Devastating Flood

flood house

A flood can happen to anyone, and it doesn't always have to be a result of severe weather. Problems with pips in the home can cause thousands of dollars in damage to homes. If you suffer from a flood, here are some smart tips to help your family cope and stay afloat.

Have Flood Insurance

It will be much easier for you to cope if you do not have to face the financial nightmare of recovering from a devastating flood without flood insurance. Make sure that your home insurance includes flood coverage. If it does not, then add it on or purchase a separate flood insurance policy.

Make an Emergency Kit

Like having flood insurance, making an emergency kit is a crucial part of getting through a devastating flood that must be planned for ahead of time. Start today by gathering items that your family can't be without for too long. One of the most important items to include is any medication that family members take on a regular basis. Include a normal first aid kit and stock other important items like blankets, flashlights, food and water as well.

Get Your Family to Safety

Sometimes people try to fight too long to save their homes from flooding. Do not be one of those people who gets trapped on their roofs as the flood waters overwhelm them. You need to get your family to safety immediately if a flood evacuation order is issued.

Stay Away Until Your Home Is Fixed

You do not want to live in a flooded home. Make sure that you stay somewhere else while your home is being repaired after a flood. Floods can cause mold to quickly grow, which can be a serious health threat to you and your family.

Remove Water as Quickly as Possible

The most important key to repairing your home after a flood is to get the water removed as quickly as possible. This includes not only the removal of the standing water, but also includes drying the walls and floors with fans. If you get the water out as soon as possible, it will help to prevent mold from forming in your home after a flood.

Be Patient

The flood recovery process will not happen overnight. It could be several weeks before you are able to get back to your home. Make sure that you have patience to avoid the stress from overwhelming you.

A flood is never fun, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. If you follow these tips, you and your family can work through it. Keep your chin up and take necessary steps to get your home back.

Informational credit to Quick-Dry Flood Services.

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She enjoys writing about home, family, business and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys spending time with her family and reading a good book when she isn't writing.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Best Vehicles to Flee An Emergency

The most important rule during an emergency, whether it's a natural disaster or a government collapse, is to stay put. But sometimes keeping safe in your home just isn't an option and you're forced to flee. Different vehicles offer different advantages and disadvantages in survival situations. Getting out the fastest is hardly the only factor when considering which form of transportation is the best for you and your family to make a safe escape in a time of crisis.

Dirt Bike

Dirt bikes are relatively inexpensive, easy to ride and can navigate rough terrain. They use substantially fewer moving parts than cars or trucks and third-party retailers sell enough parts to practically build one from scratch.

Photo by Kevin P. Rice via Wikimedia Commons


  • Easy to maintain and repair
  • Navigates rough terrain
  • Cheap to build


  • Only 1-2 people can ride
  • Not ideal for long distance

Hybrid Car

A hybrid vehicle can get you far away, as long as you don't have to go off-road. Assuming you have a full tank of gas, a hybrid car could make it to the next city/safe town without stopping once to refuel. The Toyota Prius can drive more than 800 miles on a single tank under the right conditions. But if the car breaks down, there's not much you can can do. Hybrid engines are very specialized and it's even worse if the electric side of the motor goes haywire.

Photo by NRMA New Cars via Flickr


  • Can drive long distances
  • Fits a family of 4-5


  • Difficult to maintain
  • Not very fast


The SUV is the most balanced option for an escape. It fits at least five and a good amount of cargo and can navigate some rough terrain if necessary. Look for sites that are dedicated to aftermarket accessories designed for off-road use. So if you have the means, there are some pretty sweet mods you can add to this ride.

Photo by NRMA New Cars via Flickr


  • Holds at least five passengers
  • Carries lots of cargo
  • Can handle rough terrain
  • Lots of off-road accessories


  • Poor gas mileage
  • Difficult to navigate through wreckage/cramped space on the road

Jeep Wrangler/Hummer H1

These are bonus vehicles, mainly just for fun. But if you happen to keep a Jeep Wrangler or Hummer H1 in the garage, you're not going to have much of a problem owning the road on the way out of the neighborhood.

Photo by KFearnside via Wikimedia Commons

Jeeps and Hummers are the ultimate off-road vehicles and have dozens of features that make them both practical and repairable. The Hummer, for example, can deflate and reinflate its tires based on the terrain while the Jeep has a transmission and drivetrain designed to handle multiple surfaces. And since the whole family can fit in either vehicle, it's hard to see why you wouldn't want one.

Just carry extra cans of gas because these tanks are guzzlers.

Robert Simmons is an editor, muscle car fanatic, Matchbox car collector

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Don’t give an intruder even a chance

Don’t give an intruder even a chance. To begin with, protection of your own home is a number one priority. The famous saying “My home is my castle” exists for a reason, right? During a lifetime we spend a lot of time and energy on the creation or improvement of home. Let’s admit, each of us has dreamt billions of time how our own “nest” will look like. Nevertheless, every “nest” must be protected from other “birds”.

Modern security systems allow you to resolve this difficult issue completely. The composition of these systems includes not only secure locks and door intercommunication system, but also monitoring devices like cameras. To make your home “smart” and safe is absolutely necessary.

chained house
All elements of the security systems are designed not only to protect your life and property, but also save you and your beloved ones from unnecessary emotions or bad experience. Tranquility and comfort of your home does not begin with stylish and comfortable furniture, the essential is a reliable protection from undesirable invasions on your property. Security systems is a general concept that includes both alarm and video surveillance systems and access control devices. All of these systems are provided for the personal safety and the safety the business, for instance, protecting against theft. Protection system security today is very important in our time is not easy, when any property may be jeopardized to risk. Today, security is popular almost everywhere: in cottages, in houses, inside of apartments and commercial. What important is each of these systems can be used both alone and in combination with other protection systems, thereby increasing its efficiency.

lion house


Be wise and don’t spread information about your leaving for a vacation on your social media pages. Certainly, it’s pleasant to boast about vacation in Spain or Maldives, anyhow, this may be a wake up call for thieves, who will be glad to enjoy your apartment or house, while you enjoy a vacation.

As a measure of precaution, make an extra key or several keys and give them to the persons you completely trust, like mother, or sister or the best friend, and put another key in the bank box.

Pay attention to the details, a thief may calculate if you are not home, by uncut grass in front of your house, or by fresh newspaper. As an option, you may buy a dog or a parrot and teach him several easy words, this alive “alert system” won’t let you down for sure. However, ask neighbor or friend to come and feed your pet and to collect e-mail, newspaper and to check if everything is ok inside the house of apartment.

Nota bene!

One should remember that security system works both ways; what I mean here is that security system instead of thief may find out and trap your close ones. For instance, if your friend came to take your e-mail and accidentally does something wrong – system may take him for a criminal and activate the measures of absolute necessity, like electroshock web. The less what may happen is injury and offended friend may to sue the producer of security system.

Security system is necessary thing in house or apartment, nevertheless one must take into consideration all possible consequences of its usage. Protect yourself and don’t do much harm.

About the author: Melisa Marzett is a hard-working write, who collaborates with college paper writing service. Besides, she experts in security, modern technology, medicine, sport and travels. If you are interested, you can find her on Google+.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why A Hatchet Is A Necessary Accessory

In the Newberry Award winning book "Hatchet," by Gary Paulsen, the main character struggles to survive in the Canadian wilderness following a plane crash in which all other passengers died. While ingenuity, vigilance and a positive attitude all contributed to his survival, his most vital tool -- used for everything from protection from predators to carving spears -- was his trusty hatchet. While hatchets are often the fodder of horror movies and old expressions about making nice after an argument, these small, single-handed axes continue to be indispensable tools both in everyday and emergency conditions.

From the Frontier to the Contemporary Home

The pioneers used hatchets for a variety of domestic tasks, such as splitting and cutting kindling, as well as hunting, killing and field dressing game. While life has grown more sophisticated since then, hatchets still maintain a prominent domestic role. In a pinch, these lightweight and malleable tools can substitute for a kitchen knife and be used to chop vegetables!

In the Wilderness

In addition to the above chores, hatchets can also be used in the wilderness -- both as a camping accessory and in extreme survival situations. The ability to build a fire is one of the most important survival skills needed; if you are in need of warmth or light, a hatchet can be use to shave wood for kindling; the same wood can be chopped into a splint to treat broken bones.

Meanwhile, the hatchet's metal head can also be used as a reflector to signal for assistance in an emergency.

During the winter months, a hatchet can be used to dig and cut through snow in order to build a fire pit or shelter; this is not only an effective means of getting the job done, but also spares your hands from dangerous exposure to the elements.

While hatchet-wielding mass murderers may abound in the movies, in real life a hatchet can be a useful deterrent against threats in the field. Whether hunting or being hunted, a hatchet is a powerful defensive weapon.

In all of these situations, the hatchet is particularly useful because of its compact dexterity, making it easy to manipulate and transport. When choosing a hatchet, seek out a lightweight, durable model, such as the popular Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet or other hatchet options, depending on your specific requirements.

No one likes to consider the worst case scenario, but taking the time to do so now is a critical part of surviving in the event that the catastrophic does occur. A hatchet is an invaluable tool that offers a multitude of everyday applications as well as unparalleled utilitarianism in the event of an emergency.

Joanna Hughes writes on all subjects, ranging from lifestyle and home to sports and outdoor activities.

Images Courtesy of franky242 and Hal Brindley/

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Virtual Doomsday Has Arrived, And It's Not A Bad Thing

doom photo:  doom00.jpg

There was a time when the concept of Doomsday was not greeted with delight. Ah, but that was back in the day when D-Day was an actual catastrophe, and not a game. Today, in the age of online gaming, the end of the world can actually be fun, and gamers have more opportunities than ever to demonstrate their crisis handling abilities in a number of formats.

Doom (id Software, 1993)

If the theme is doomsday, is this an apt title to start with or what? The granddaddy of "shooter" games, the story unfolds from the perspective of the player, who takes on the role of a space Marine, fighting demons from hell through nine levels of play through several episodes. This game, originally only available through shareware and mail order, was such a huge and influential hit, it developed its own cult following. Later available through retail, the title generated a slew of sequels through the 1990s, and even a motion picture in 2005. After a break and some technology upgrades, the Doom franchise resumed in the mid-aughts.

Left 4 Dead (Valve, 2008)

You're always in good company when that company happens to be zombies, and there's plenty of the undead roaming around here. The plot is the aftermath of a pandemic with unfortunate side effects, and once again, it unfolds through the eyes of a first person shooter. Left 4 Dead was developed for Microsoft Windows, XBox360 (and won its "Game Of The Year" award) and Mac OSX. There are four separate game modes here, and it's possible for one to eight players to play here. Although an artificial intelligence called "The Director" throws various obstacles into the path of players, the game has drawn criticism for not having much plot. That doesn't seem to have affected its popularity however, and this game has spawned sequels.

Buck Rogers Countdown To Doomsday (Strategic Simulations, Inc. 1990)

Like zombies, it would seem Mr. Rogers is always in fashion, and this is one of a series of games in a number of formats featuring the hero. In Buck Rogers Countdown To Doomsday, each player creates a party of space goers in a race to prevent bad guys from setting off a super weapon. Each of the player's characters comes equipped with "attributes", and can pick up more along the way through devices such as "combat experience". The game playing field is grid based, and players conduct battle through 3D tactical maneuvers. The game can be played on Amiga Commodore 64, MS-DOS, and the Sega MegaDrive/Genesis platforms.

Doomsday Warrior (Laser Soft, 1992)

No pandemics, natural disasters, or terrorists here, just a nasty, super powered wizard, and his six henchmen. Doomsday Warrior can be played on the Super Nes/Fam Com platform, and might be best enjoyed by fans of manga.


Maybe when you're playing with lots and lots of friends, life doesn't look quite so bad? You're not going to find some of the grim titles and themes in MMORPG games that you might elsewhere, but don't worry; life here isn't exactly unicorns and lollipops, either. Some examples of doomsday-themed MMORPG:

Infantry Online (Harmless Games, LLC, 1999) War, any war, is hell. Play it on Windows.

Astrobattle (Lava Lord Games, 2004) Fight for the fate of the galaxy in spaceships you design yourselves! That'll make a mess. Play it on Windows and Linux.

And of course, gaming websites and publications can steer you to yet more doom, with new tragedy due this year. As always, parents should be aware that some catastrophe is more mature than others.

Roxanne Barbeau loves and has played many an end of days game, but she's an up person, really.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Your Bugout Shelter: You've Got Some Major Decisions to Make

Prepping is all about being self-sufficient, so if you're starting off with an almost-zero knowledge base, you might be better off learning some survival techniques first. The best survival shelter is an elaborate DIY structure, but unless you or one of your compound group is a professional builder, you can spend years learning enough to build a safe and secure bunker. If that's the case, relying on a professional can be the smarter choice, but there are still a lot of decisions you'll have to make.


Although many of the 1960s plans for fallout shelters seemed to promote families living in a 10 x 10 room until the coast was clear, that's obviously not enough space to live and remain sane. Your shelter should have multiple rooms, for privacy as well as long-term storage reasons. Having the ability to shut yourself in a room and be alone can be a valuable asset when living in close quarters. Consider how long you may have to live in your shelter as well as the number of people who'll be staying there when planning the size of the building.

Photo by tompagenet via Flickr

Air Filtration

If the situation is bad enough to warrant moving into a shelter, odds are good the air has been compromised in some way. Your shelter needs a sealed system along with a method of air filtration to keep contaminants out. The best is an NBC system with positive air pressure—one that filters out nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) contaminants. The system maintains air pressure in the shelter that's slightly higher than the pressure outside, which moves everything outward and keeps stray particles from coming in. Include silicone seals at all door openings and escape hatches. Apple Rubber makes custom-shaped seals to fit any opening, ensuring the clean air will stay inside.

Photo by Danielle Scott via Flickr

Supplies and Storage

Once the shelter is up, next you'll choose supplies and stock it. The first consideration is a simple math problem: How many people will you feed and for how long? Figuring out the amount of food servings, given an average 2,000 calories a day per person, will give you a rough estimate of the amount of food you'll need to stock. The problem with packing in all those supplies is that no matter how large you've built your shelter, you'll still be short on space. It's a self-correcting problem as the supplies dwindle, but ideally you should feel a little cramped in your space to make sure you have an over-abundance of food and water.

Once you know how much you need to stock, the problem will be to find compact foodstuffs that last. MREs (or meals, ready to eat) are a great option. One MRE will supply a person in a shelter with a day's worth of calories in a balanced diet. Dehydrated foods are another good choice, although you'll have to increase the gallon of water you stock for each person daily.

Photo by Win Henderson via Wikimedia Commons

James Kaufman is a married father of three and a high school teacher. He is a prepper and contributes regularly to prepping sites.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Everything You Need to Know about Getting Safe Water

Upon surviving a disaster, it is likely that your water supply may become contaminated or temporarily restricted. Since water is necessary to live, it is crucial to know where to find and purify it in order to make it safe to drink. It isn’t always easy to get water, so here are some steps to help you get the water you need.

Sources of Water

In your home, sources of water may include the water from your hot water heater, toilet tank water (not from the bowl), water pipes, or melted the ice cubes from the freezer. 

Hot Water Heater

Disconnect the power to the hot water heater and allow the unit to cool down. Next, place a container below and open the valve that drains the water near the bottom of the unit. Until your water services are fully restored, leave the unit turned off.

Water Pipes

By turning on your home's highest faucet, it will release enough air pressure into your plumbing system to then drain water from your lowest faucet. 

Toilet Tank

The water from your toilet tank (not from the bowl) should be safe enough to use unless a sanitizer or chemical treatment was previously added. 

The Exterior of Your Home

Collect spring water, rain water, or water from lakes, rivers and streams. Make sure to purify the water prior to using. 

Avoid Water Beds

Avoid drinking water from water beds as a drinkable source of water. Pesticides are in the bed's plastic casing and it's likely that chemicals were previously added in order to prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and algae. Water beds are only safe enough for laundering and hand-washing. 

Water Purification

Chemical sterilization and boiling are both ways to effectively purify water. 

All water sources that appear cloudy and are obtained from outside the home should be sterilized before drinking. Water that's not sterilized could be polluted with a parasite.

Straining Water

Before starting the purification process, water that consists of floating debris or sediment must be strained with either a paper filter or cloth. 

Chemical Sterilization

Boiling may not be a choice in certain situations. The best alternative is to chemically treat the water. Traditional chlorine bleach may be used. Read the label to ensure the only active ingredient is hypochlorite. Bleach that contains fragrances or soap is unacceptable. 

For every gallon of water, add 8 drops of chlorine bleach (use 16 drops for cloudy water), thoroughly stir, and let it sit. The water should smell and taste like chlorine after 1/2 hour. Once it reaches this point, it's ready for use. If the smell, taste, or appearance is still cloudy, add another dose and simply let it sit. If the water doesn't smell like chlorine after another 1/2 hour, refrain from using it. 

Boiling Water/Heat Sterilization

Boiling water is the preferred way to purify water since harmful disease-producing microorganisms can't survive in such intense heat. 

Bring water to an extreme boil for about 1 minute. Using a few containers, continue to pour the water back and forth to improve the taste. Adding a pinch of salt may help as well. 

Annette Hazard is a freelance that suggests the experts at Oakville Pump Service, Inc. for help in getting clean water. She often writes about saving money and can be found on G+.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Five Things To Learn Now that Could Save you in an Emergency

CPR dummy
There are certain skills that every person should have. With the right survival and emergency skills, you can be ready for almost anything that you encounter in life. Here are the five top survival skills that you should learn now so that you’ll be ready for emergencies that could arise tomorrow.


The Red Cross offers regular certification classes, and you can find a course near you through With this training, you’ll learn what to do if someone is choking, a victim is unconscious but bleeding, or the victim is unconscious and not breathing. Knowing how to keep the heart pumping while waiting for emergency personnel can save a life and prevent brain damage. If you care for young children, then you should sign up for a class that also teaches infant CPR.

First Aid

What do you do if someone is burned? What are the steps to take to prevent someone from going into shock after an accident? What are the steps to take when someone is injured and bleeding. These are the skills you learn with a first aid class. The Red Cross also offers first aid training to help you prepare for emergencies. You can also learn how to stabilize broken arms or legs.

Swimming Lessons

Unless you plan on avoiding water for the rest of your life, you should know how to swim. It’s easy to say that you’ll avoid the water, but you cannot live your life avoiding all boats, neighborhood pools and country lakes. What happens if you encounter a hurricane or a flash flood? You need to know how to swim in case the unexpected happens. Knowing how to swim can save your life. If you don't have swimming skills, adult swim lessons are a great option. It's never too late to learn! If you have this skill, you might even be able to save someone else if they’re in trouble in the water.

Shelter Building and Fire Starting

You may not be concerned about a zombie apocalypse, but strange things can happen. People who don’t have survival skills can still find themselves in extraordinary circumstances if they become lost while hiking or their car breaks down out on a rural road. Shelter and warmth are two of the top priorities. If you know how to provide those for yourself, then your survival chance increase.

Know What’s Safe to Drink

Shelter and fire won’t save you if you’re stranded for a long time with no water. This is one of the top survival skills, yet many people neglect it. Learn how to know whether water is safe to drink, and educate yourself on ways to purify water that looks questionable.

It may take a little time to learn these skills, but they could save your life in an emergency. You never know when you might be involved in an auto or plane accident that leaves you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Learn these skills today to increase your chances of survival if something tragic happens tomorrow.

Kandace Heller is a freelance writer in Orlando, Florida. She studied Communications at the University of Florida. She loves to read and share new techniques with others.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Incoming Emergencies: How to Stay Prepared for the Worst

canned food
Preparing for emergencies is something that many families simply do not want to do, or think about. Often, the thought of a major emergency happening at the home can be frightening, but preparedness is the only way to ensure that the family is safe in case something happens at the house. Each of these three tips will help the family to be prepared whenever disaster strikes their homes or their community.

Keep Food and Supplies Handy

The family that is prepared has food to last them several days and supplies in a place that is secure. Often this is the basement or the attic. Stock up on non-perishable canned foods that are made to easily to eat and to prepare. Flashlights and batteries must be kept close by to ensure the family has light if the power goes out. The family should also have blankets for sleeping, and a hand-crank radio that they can use to get information if they are stuck in their home or fear leaving the home.

Have A Family Plan

Whether the family is large or small, there must be a family plan for securing the home and getting ready to deal with a disaster. Rather than having one person in the house shepherd everyone to the attic or basement, it is better for the whole family to know the emergency plan so they can get right to the emergency location. This prevents people from searching the home for family members, and it also helps to train small children so even they know the family code words and plan of where to meet. Have a plan of where to go as well as what family live nearby that you might be able to call. Go over the plan often to keep it fresh in everyone's minds.

Stay Put

With the assistance of a hand-crank radio and supplies, a family should plan to stay put until the disaster has passed. Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and blizzards can all put a family into emergency mode, but the family should rely on their hand-crank radio and get all their information from the emergency radio station, rather than venturing outside to find out what is going on.

Finally, families that are ordered to evacuate before an emergency must do so as quickly as possible. This means families should have clothing and supplies packed for an evacuation if they have to leave their home for several days. It would also be wise to have a family member ready to contact in case something happens so you have a place to go. Getting ready for a disaster and surviving it is merely a necessary step of being prepared and carrying out the family emergency plan.

Brooke Chaplan is a recent University of New Mexico graduate. She now lives and works in Los Lunas where she likes to spend as much time outdoors as possible. In her research of this article, she found that families that were financially prepared with a San Diego cash advance often had enough emergency cash on hand. Contact her via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How Prepared Are You? 6 Must Haves In Case Of An Emergency

You never know when a disaster or emergency will happen. It is important to be prepared for these situations, but what does that mean? This question often comes up when severe storms are being predicted. Don't be left wondering what you need when the situation arises. The following six items are things you should keep on hand for emergency situations.

  1. 72 Hour Survival Kit

    Most emergency situations can be resolved or aided within 72 hours, so it is important to have a survival kit that will get you through that time without any problems. In this kit, you should include water at a rate of one gallon per person per day, non-perishable foods like peanut butter and canned goods, utensils to eat with, cookware, a can opener, a hand-crank or battery operated weather radio, flashlights or lanterns with fuel, batteries and blankets or other bedding. If you live in a colder climate, it will be more important to have extra clothing and blankets available to keep warm. Also consider keeping a camp stove with propane available for cooking.

  2. First Aid Kit

    When an emergency happens, there are bound to be some minor injuries. Keep a first aid kit with your emergency supplies so you are ready to take care of them. Stock it with over the counter medicines and remedies. If you are on any prescription medications, be sure to have a small stock of those as well. Always remember to periodically update your first aid kit to make sure any medications are not expired.

  3. Utility Phone Numbers

    Be sure to have a list of the utilities used in your home and the corresponding phone numbers. Many gas and electric companies will have a special line for reporting an emergency. The experts from Phs Disaster Services say to gather the phone numbers for your water, sewer, electricity, gas and any other utility you have in your home and keep them near your survival kit.

  4. The Red Cross' Phone Number

    If you are a victim of a disaster, it is important that you have the Red Cross' phone number available. You can contact them at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). There is even a program available where you can register you and your family as "safe" so that other friends and family members know you are okay.

  5. Veterinarian's Number

    If a pet becomes injured or missing during disaster, having your veterinarian's phone number available will speed up the process of finding or relieving your pet.

  6. Recent Pictures of Children

    If anything should happen and you become separated from children or elderly relatives, having a recent picture stored in your emergency kit will help authorities find them.

Though no emergency can be predicted with 100% accuracy, it is very important to be prepared when there are warnings for large storms. Having these six things stockpiled in one location for your family can help you be ready for any emergency.

Brionna Kennedy is native to the Pacific Northwest, growing up in Washington, then moving down to Oregon for college. She enjoys writing on fashion and business, but any subject will do, she loves to learn about new topics. When she isn't writing, she lives for the outdoors. Oregon has been the perfect setting to indulge her love of kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking.

Monday, March 10, 2014

How To Keep Your Food Storage In Pantry Free From Different Pests

food pantry

Foods stored in Pantry that are commonly infested include flour, cereals, cracked grains, baking mixes and processed foods, crackers, macaroni, cured meats, powdered milk, dried fruits, nuts, popcorn and spices. Insects that feed on these products may also infest other grain-based items such as pet foods, birdseed and ornamental corn. Insects may be present in several stages (egg, larva, pupa and adult) at the same time in infested products.

An infestation is often present in the form of small brown beetles, moths or worms in cupboards or on shelves. Upon closer inspection, insects may also be found in opened packages or containers of food and in the cracks and crevices of cupboards. Sealed packages may also become infested because some of these insects can readily chew into cardboard and foil packaging.

Once an infestation is observed one should identify the pest and try to locate the source. Occasionally, the source of an infestation can be very hard to find. Rats and mice will sometimes collect seeds or dry pet food and hoard them in walls, under cupboards or shelves where it is difficult to find infestations. So let us check out some commonly found pests and their prevention techniques.

Pests most often found in stored food products are:

Indian Meal Moth:

The Indian meal moth is the most common food-infesting moth found in homes, grocery stores and any place where dried pet foods are produced or stored. It feeds on a large variety of stored food products, but home infestations often get started through dried pet food or birdseed.

Dermestid Beetles:

They are especially common in flour and cereals, but also are found in candy, cocoa, cookies, corn meal, nuts, pasta, dried spices and many other dry foods.

Saw-toothed Grain Beetles:

The Saw-toothed grain beetle is another very common pantry pest. It does not feed on intact whole grains, but feeds on many processed food products such as breakfast food, bran, dried fruits, nuts, sugar, chocolate and macaroni.

Cigarette and Drugstore Beetles:

These small, stout beetles are common in homes where they attack pet food, cereals, spices, drugs, tobacco and other packaged foods.

Flour Beetles:

In homes, these beetles can be found feeding on flour, cracked grains, cake mixes, beans, peas, dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, spices and tobacco.

Spider Beetles:

Spider beetles get their name because many actually resemble small spiders in appearance with their small head, prothorax and large globular-shaped abdomen.


Rats and mice can chew their way into almost any sort of container and, in addition to eating the contents, will urinate and defecate all over your food.


Cockroaches are especially problematic in warmer climates and/or multi-family dwellings. These are generally found in the places that lack hygiene.

Pantry Pest Prevention:

The following preventive measures may be taken:
  • Purchase food in package sizes that can be used up in a short time.

  • When purchasing packaged foods, be certain containers are not damaged and seals are intact.

  • Store dried foods in insect-proof containers such as screw-top glass, heavy plastic or metal containers.

  • Keep food storage areas clean and do not allow crumbs or food particles to accumulate, as exposed food will attract insects.

  • As for bigger pests like rodents and rats, you can use traps and sprays. Depending on the kind of rodent, you will have to order your traps; you will find a wide variety of options at Havahart Traps:

Control of All Stored Food Pests:

Inspection and identification of all potential food sources is essential for control of the infestation. Control requires locating and throwing out all infested items. Infested items can be thrown away or salvaged by freezing them for three to four days. Food can be heated in a 140ºF oven for an hour with the same result. Use vacuum cleaner for cleaning shelves or cupboards.

Do not use insecticides for controlling these or other insects in pantry areas. Washing shelves with detergent, bleach, ammonia or disinfectants will not have any effect on these pests since these insects lay their eggs on suitable food. Removing infested items and thoroughly cleaning with a vacuum is usually sufficient. As for rats and mice, they can be caught by using Havahart Traps.

So take good care of your pantry and keep it away from pests. But most importantly always remember to have regular clean-ups and check-ups of your pantry because you do not want your pantry to be infested again and again since pests grow at an enormous rate and if it gets too late, then situation can go way out of control resulting in huge losses.

About the Author:

Robert Bryant is a blogger and writer. He likes blogging about Social Media, Online Marketing, Health & Food and Legal Issues etc. You can add him on Google+.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Real Self Sustainability: What Your Backyard Farm Needs to Be Fully Functional

chicken coop photo: coop 800px-Chicken_coop_in_winter.jpg

Creating a small backyard farm in can be a rewarding experience for the entire family. In addition to the fun you’ll have while taking care of plants and animals, the bounty you’ll enjoy can save a lot of money on grocery bills and help your family to be more “green”. Before you start turning over garden beds and picking out baby chicks, however, make sure you have some practical items in place ahead of time so that your mini farm can be fully functional.

Ample Storage Space

Shovels, hoes and rakes can rust quickly if they are left out in the rain, so having a a good shed is essential for small-scale farmers. Besides garden tools, you’ll also need a decent shed to keep animal feed, straw bales and any seeds you may be storing for the next growing season. Depending on the needs of your family’s backyard farm, you can find small eight-by-eight prefab garden sheds or large, two-story prefab sheds that look like miniature houses.

A Home For Your Chickens

If you buy baby chicks thinking you’ll have time to build a coop for them before they leave the incubator, think again. Having an outdoor home in place before adopting chickens will make the transition outdoors much easier on everyone. You can find portable chicken coops from that are perfect for a small backyard flock. Add your own chicken run to increase the safe roaming area of your precious feathered friends.

A Composting Structure

There are many different ways to build a composting structure, and your backyard farm will benefit from having your chosen structure in place ahead of time. Whether you go with an automatic compost bin, a compost tumbler or a homemade worm bin, the nutrient rich organic matter a compost structure produces will be a key ingredient in your backyard farming success. A composting structure usually takes between three and six months to make its famous “black gold”, so start the process early.

An Automatic Watering System

Although an automatic watering system for your backyard farm may sound too good to be true, they are actually surprisingly affordable. Treat yourself to this convenient farming technology by making a relatively small investment in a water timer and soaker hose. For busy backyard farmers, an automatic watering system can lead to increased yield and reduced stress by saving valuable time that would otherwise be spent bent over with a watering can.


Having the right supplies in place ahead of time will ensure that your backyard-farming venture is a relaxing and fruitful experience. When planned well, a backyard farm can be run smoothly for years, bringing immeasurable joy and fulfillment to those who participate in its daily operation. Although getting started may take an initial investment of some time and money, you’ll be rewarded in the long run for your efforts.

Chaleigh is a freelance writer that lives in NYC. She enjoys writing and lifestyle photography. She writes about anything from wooden sheds in NY, to how to properly pave your driveway. In her spare time she likes to take pictures, snowboard, golf, and play ice hockey.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Winter Storms

Though the worst of the winter storms and polar vortices seem to have passed (although then again, maybe not), the widespread cold is still taking its toll, whether it be through broken and burst pipes, immobile frozen cars, or businesses racing to make up for days of work lost due to employees’ inability to even get to their offices. Cities like Chicago and the surrounding midwestern areas, especially, have already seen their winter funds depleted by all of the plowing and salting that’s had to take place. Many residents of these areas have even been notified that, unless their homes are on main roads, to not expect any further plowing. Add the high numbers of delayed and canceled flights to the list, and you may begin to fathom how much time, energy, and money, these storms have wasted.

It goes without saying that severe weather causes issues, but in some cases the disarray was more than a little disturbing because it reflected how grossly unprepared everyone affected was. After all, if this much damage has been caused by a few weeks of difficult weather, imagine the chaos that could be caused by a sudden ice age, or shift in climate. It may seem unreasonable, since after all most people seem to fear the opposite: a planet that is becoming too warm. But, all it really takes is a large enough change to the surface of the earth (including under the oceans) to alter circulation patterns in the oceans and atmosphere and send us spiraling in either direction of climate change.

For example, an asteroid might hit the earth with enough force to knock it on its side, even slightly. The changed axis would result in an entirely different pattern of glaciation. Ice might appear near the equator, as many scientists expected it did somewhere between 800 to 540 million years ago, before the earth was righted to its current 23 degree tilt. If people were worried now, try to imagine the panic an even larger, unexpected shift to winter might cause.

Social media has been integral in communication of issues and news regarding weather concerns and closings, but it’s also been a factor in the reemergence of apocalypse discussion, which just goes to show how quickly worry can be transferred from one person to the next.

According to social media analytics tool Viral Heat, last Friday alone resulted in almost 100k tweets about the winter storms and nearly 5k Instagram posts of winter damage and landscapes. Images displaying states completely frozen over, like this shot of Michigan below, have also been trending.

America Frozen
Source: Grand Rapids Press (

It’s great that modern communication channels keep everyone up to date, but as we all know, misinformation can often cause a blow-up or exaggeration of events, which leads to panic, overreactions, and well, we’ve all seen the films. Imagine if the amount of images like this wrecked semi buried in snow on I-74 in Illinois tripled on your social media feeds:

truck in snow
Photograph by: John Dixon, AP

You might find yourself feeling the urge to buy out your local grocery store, stock up on canned goods and bottled water, and prepare for the worst (which might be a good idea anyway). This kind of behavior creates even more panic, and soon enough the entire country will have convinced itself we are in a state of dire need, with food shortages, and sudden price increases on remaining supplies.

So what does this teach us? For one, not only should people be more prepared for unexpected weather, they shouldn’t expect the government and officials to be solely responsible for fixing unexpected issues. As Chicago has demonstrated, the process of implementing forces to keep urban areas running efficiently are costly, and budgets don’t allow for a ton of wiggle room. This is all the more reason why every person should think ahead to what his or her most dire needs are, in case a trip to the grocery store suddenly becomes a non-option. We can only hope that this winter will serve as a warning for future occurrences, but in case it doesn’t, be sure to prepare yourself.

Elizabeth Eckhart is a blogger and entertainment writer, currently surviving the winter storms in Chicago, IL. She can be followed on Twitter at @elizeckhart.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Make Sure Your Family is Ready for the Worst: 5 Emergency Preparedness Tips

preparedness list
An emergency can happen anywhere at any time and no one is immune to the risk. While no one can tell the future, being prepared allows families to be ready for whatever nature or man may dish out. These five emergency preparedness tips for families will help make sure that your family is ready for the worst.

Be Informed

Know where to go for information during an emergency. Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked weather radio and regular radio. Do not rely upon technology in order to get information, as conditions may result in disruptions to telephone and electrical utilities.

Assess Your Needs

Each member of the family will have his or her own unique needs for emergency preparations. Perhaps one child has a fear of the dark; an extra flashlight and batteries may be good to have on hand. Take the time now to assess your needs as a family so that you can make your shelter in place and evacuation plans accordingly.

Stock Up

Some emergencies may result in the need to shelter in place for a significant amount of time. In an event such as the contamination of the water supply, you will need to have plenty of potable water for consumption and hygiene purposes. Consider the installation of a Liquivault to collect and store rainwater for your hydration and cleaning needs. A supply of non-perishable, nutrient-dense foods is also essential. A first aid kit, over the counter and prescription medications and a few comfort items should complete your emergency supply rations.

Make a Go Pack

Some emergencies may necessitate leaving your home and evacuating to a safer area. You may only have a few minutes to gather your belongings before you have to leave your house. The pack should contain a change of clothing, basic personal care items, a small amount of cash and 2 to 3 days worth of bottled water and non-perishable food. A week's worth of medication should also be included.

Make a Family Plan

Know how to reach every family member at any time of the day. Decide on where to meet and how to contact each other during an emergency. Have a way to check in and account for each other.

Being prepared for the worst allows you the peace of mind that comes with proper planning. Acting now may reduce stress and allow you to respond to any emergency situation in a calm and logical manner.

Chaleigh is a freelance writer that lives in NYC. She enjoys writing and lifestyle photography. She writes about anything from emergency preparedness, to how to properly pave your driveway. In her spare time she likes to take pictures, snowboard, golf, and play ice hockey.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

At the Ready: Principles of Disaster Response

When disaster strikes, whether it’s natural or human-caused, how that disaster is met should never be mismanaged. Some countries and communities have shown tremendous foresight in developing and reviewing risk profiles in regards to real and perceived threats. Most countries and communities attend to the ongoing training of emergency medical personnel and military units like the National Guard, because when it comes to responding quickly and assuredly to a disaster, preparation is key. Those interested in becoming an integral part of a disaster response team should click here to learn more.

In the United States, because hurricanes can be as big a threat to national security as bombings, emergency management and disaster response follows well-thought-out processes and procedures. That way, when it comes time to implement those procedures, the discussions about what to do, when and why, as well as the training regarding it, have already taken place. Here is a look at the dominant principles and logic of disaster response that aim to restore order and safety, mitigate suffering and bring relief to those who need it as quickly and efficiently as possible, whether those who respond are the Boston Fire Department or FEMA.

Search-and-Rescue and Emergency Medical Services Are Primary

When disaster strikes, it can be easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees — especially when there are a lot of trees, and they all legitimately need something. To most efficiently use resources to meet the tasks at hand, emergency responders focus on those needs that are most pressing: search-and-rescue and any emergency medical services. While some people may need shelter and others may need to find loved ones, in the immediate aftermath of a large-scale emergency, those very real concerns have to go on the back burner.

Widespread Injury Will Potentially Overwhelm Medical Services

Because the vast majority of the most serious injuries occur in the initial moments after a disaster, the need for medical personnel like doctors, nurses, surgeons and technicians is the greatest at the exact time their availability is the most stretched. Services are in constant use and so seem unavailable, and supplies like blood and medicines will also dwindle in supply and availability. During these moments immediately following an emergency, medical facilities, ambulances, infrastructure and the like are all pressed beyond their normal capacities, causing a further increase of strain on the health care systems trying to absorb the initial needs.

Shelter, Food, Water and Medicine Must Be Found

After 72 hours, the need for shelter, food, water and medicine must be resolved. Because disasters often disrupt communications and transportation, new supply lines and sources will often have to be developed and established on the fly.

Assessing Ongoing Risks

Disasters create an ongoing instability that lasts even after the threat has passed. Whether looters, unstable structures, the threat of water-borne disease or running out of supplies, a tenet of disaster relief is that ongoing risks must be continually evaluated and assessed to be met.

The Disaster Determines the Health Needs

Different types of disasters create different problems and needs, and thus they require different types of medical assistance. Earthquakes tend to result in broken bones and cuts, blunt-trauma and other weight-related injuries like crush syndrome. Hurricanes and floods can lead to water-based illnesses, upper respiratory infections, cholera, dysentery and the like. The injuries that result from explosions and bombings create similar types of health needs: massive blunt-trauma and blood loss, lacerations and lost limbs.

Logistical Flexibility Is Essential

Even with excellent preparation and training, service providers and responders must respond to a disaster and the havoc it leaves in its wake with both humility and flexibility. A rigid devotion to an emergency handbook or methodology can miss the needs and opportunities that a more loose and creative approach might be able to see. While training is heavily relied upon in order to get through the difficulties of a disaster and its aftermath, logistical flexibility must remain a priority.

Large-scale disasters are something no one wants to experience, but tornados and terrorists continue to exist. In order to respond as efficiently and helpfully as possible, disaster relief has developed its own version of best practices so that as few as possible will be lost.

Erica Taylor is a blogger who covers a wide variety of topics but specializes in topics concerning homeland security and emergency responses. You can find her on Facebook and Google plus.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Four Things That Will Help you be Self-Sufficient in a Disaster

Sand Bags

Everyone wonders what they would do in the event of a natural disaster. Rather than finding the entire family unprepared when faced with natural disaster and subsequent power outages and food shortages, every family should do these four things to ensure that they are well-prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

Have Plenty of Food Preparation Options

Every family can remain well-fed during a natural disaster with a little foresight, planning, and effort. Many families should consider making meals ahead of time that can be stored in the freezer and easily reheated. Also, families should keep in mind that gas stoves can be lit even if the power is out. This means that canned foods and frozen foods can be prepared on the stove for as long as there remains gas to power the stove.

Make Sure There Is Running Water

In a disaster situation, there will be a great demand for clean water. Having a working water line coming into the house is of the utmost importance. If a family is concerned about having clean water, they should prepare by keeping large drums of water in the house (usually in the basement or garage) which can be used if, for any reason, the main water line becomes unusable. Ellen Kirk, a specialist from K & S Plumbing Services who works in water line repair in Houston, recommends that a household consider investing in an emergency water tank designed to connect with a home's water line. These are available in several sizes, and work to provide clean, running water in an emergency situation.

Secure The Home

Securing the home means much more than locking the doors. Every home should have weatherstripping and insulation on all of the windows and doors. If there is a severe heat wave or blizzard and the power goes out, proper insulation will keep the interior of the home liveable. Keeping sandbags on hand is useful in areas prone to flooding, as these will keep both water and hazardous debris away from your property. When using sandbags, arrange in a u-shape, with the inner curve of the 'u' facing and sealing in the area you wish to protect.

Establish a Family Plan Before You Need it

Every family must have an emergency plan which allows them to handle dangerous and disastrous situations. Families should create a list of jobs for everyone to do, from locking down the house to locating candles and flash lights, as soon as disaster strikes. When family members know their roles and responsibilities in a potentially dangerous situation, they are less likely to panic and better able to work as a group towards effective self-sufficiency. If a family does not have a plan for dealing with natural disasters, something could easily be forgotten or ill-executed, resulting in a failed disaster management plan and wasted effort.

Emma is a freelance writer from Boston. Her interests include urban survival training and Urbex. In her free time, she enjoys baking, old movies, and indoor rock climbing.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Sudden Disasters- How To Prepare For Anything

disaster photo:  Japandisaster22.jpg

Disasters are events that happen without warning, so many of us are not prepared for one. However, it is essential for you to take the time to prepare for a disaster. There are several things that you will need to do to prepare for a disaster. Below are some essential tips:

Get Trained In CPR And First Aid

Medical emergencies commonly arise during or after a disaster. During a medical emergency, every second is critical to helping people. In many cases, if a person does not get help until the paramedics arrive, then he or she will not survive. That is why it is important for you to learn CPR and basic first aid. You may also want to learn how to use an automated external defibrillator, or AED. Furthermore, you should encourage your family members to do the same.

Put Together A Disaster Kit

You and your family members could potentially be without power for a couple of days if a disaster occurred. It may also be days before you can get someone to help you. A disaster kit will help you and your family get by until help arrives. This disaster kit will need to have bottled water, non-perishable food items, first aid supplies, blankets, flashlights and batteries. One thing to never overlook – a portable water filter. Water is such a necessity, and having the ability to filer water anywhere is huge to survival. You can find great water filters at, if you’re serious about getting some.

If someone in your family uses medication, then you should put it in the disaster kit also. Make sure that you have enough supplies in the disaster kit to last at least three days. Update this kit every three months and put it in a place where you can easily find it.

Put Together A Disaster Plan

You and your family members will need to put a plan in place so that everyone knows what to do in the event of a disaster. This plan should include an immediate location outside of the home where everyone can meet, such as a community park or your neighbor’s home. It should also include an out of state location and a list of family members or friends in that area. Rehearse your disaster plan several times.

Disasters are unfortunate events that can strike suddenly. However, you will know how to deal with one if prepare for it. You and your family members should take a CPR and first aid course. It is also important to put together a disaster kit and plan.

Tricia Borren is a mom and a blogger from Beverly Hills.

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