Monday, June 30, 2014

A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home

At present, residents craft a home that has a hard-to-miss curb appeal, and is an energy-efficient space that marries beauty and sustainability. However, people seem to forget or forego the idea that a home should first and foremost secure a family in its every sense. These days, home improvements lack the commitment of fusing home security function to make a home’s value in a more sustainable and more realistic sense. While doors with a personalized marble knob are indeed pretty and Pinterest-worthy, doors must be planned and constructed to guarantee home security and family safety.

This is where practical prepping comes in the picture. With all the disasters and emergencies from social uncertainties, a preparedness guide is now a lifestyle rather than a mere way to prevent damage in families and properties. Here are some items that may help you fortify your walls, just in case a zombie apocalypse comes:

Photo via Pinterest

America’s Gut Talent

Did you know that when you feel there’s something unsafe in your surroundings, you are most likely right to some extent? Humans are wired with nature’s fight and flight mechanism that has been tried and tested since the beginning of our existence. How many times were you able to avoid terrible traffic because you mindlessly took an alternate route to work? Are there times when you chose to stay at home because you anticipated that the storm that was supposedly manageable turned monstrous?

Befriend Cooper’s Safety Color Wheel

What does Jeff Cooper, the father of modern handgun technique, have to do with your life as a prepper? He identified four colors to make situational awareness easier to remember. In a nutshell, situational awareness is the manner by which you and your household can identify risks and dangers in your environment. This way, you stay alert as you deal better with panic and stress.

White means you are totally unaware and unprepared. This usually happens when you nonchalantly switch channels when you hear a breaking news about a protest turned sour, or a storm that damaged a state that is nowhere near yours.

Yellow, on the other hand, is much like the alertness level you have when you are driving a car. As you exit your driveway and take your usual route to work or the kid’s school, you know that while there is no chance of coming across an unlikely situation, you should be prepared, still. An example of yellow-level prepping is having a spare tire or the number of people you’d call should you meet an accident.

Red and Orange for Driveway Safety

The other two colors call for more serious preparedness. Orange alert is when you find yourself in a specific emergency-related situation. For instance, you hear your neighbor’s driveway alarm go off in broad daylight. Considering that you’ve done all checks in your entire home’s entry and exit points, you instantly think about how a burglar can still find a way in your sealed garage. This is the time where you scour your brain as you decide on what to do. Will you contact the police or would you stay inside your home instead? Guided by the orange alert, you must remember that studies revealed that a single incidence of car theft in a neighborhood usually means that there are other burglars lurking within your vicinity.

On the other hand, red alert means that you should be ready to defend your family and property. Should you find your very own driveway alarm go off on a storm-stricken night with no light in sight, get your security gears ready. Driveways are highways of burglars, as many police officials and security experts say; but it must stupefy you. In essence, a safe driveway must be a factor of a safe residential area; so you must work for it at all costs, at all times. Strategically installing driveway entry alarm systems don’t only buy you more time to plan your self-defense tactics (since the police are inaccessible), it also distracts intruders who only take 3 minutes to pry your car open and drive off to his hideout.

How will these be linked to preparedness, you ask? Treating your everyday emergencies preps you for worse emergency situations. Knowing how to act, and when not to attack is essential in preparedness. If you can’t guard your car under normal circumstances, you will most likely lose your battles when you’re dealing with a car thief during an earthquake, a prolonged power outage, or a zombie apocalypse.

Photo via Pinterest

Stick Your Home Security Head Out and Shout

A cheap yet proven way to deter thieves and trespasses is to make the most of your alarm sticker decals. Yes, you may have high security fence, or security trees in place, but you have to think like a burglar. More often than not, burglars get a thrill when they climb, tamper or trespass. This is much like a right of passage to them. As most homes have no fences, alarm stickers that can be seen from 2 or 3 feet from all angles, will instantly up the ante of your home security.

During floods, netizens usually alert friends, families and the public that their area is already in a wreck. While you are posting that you’ve already left your home to evacuate, chances are people who are not prepared for emergencies might think of breaking in your home to get a quick fill and perhaps, easy cash that would come in very handy. A good tip is to post your walls and windows that brandish your home security decal stickers.

Pet Door Might Be Your Home’s Trap Door

Whether your pet door is meant for small breed or larger breeds, it is still a possible point of entry to your home. These days, collars that signal your pet doors are better as compared with just letting them in and out of your house freely. Since dogs are also friendly and sturdy companions during disaster, do not neglect your pet’s preparedness, too. As soon as batteries drain, phones die, and fuel runs scarce, your dogs will still be up and running as you go on to live and tell your own survivalist success story.

Home Security Tricks for Intruder Threats

A preparedness plan can always turn to the adage, “Fake it, until you make it.” Still remember how the movie Home Alone gave kids and parents wicked and witty ways to keep the bad guys out? Keep an alarm system disguised as a shiny object on top of a table that knocks over easily and make sure that it distracts the burglar. Similarly, fake floorboards that are flood-proof can securely hold your emergency food supplies. This does not only save you space, but it also tricks burglars as they come across an empty basement or pantry with good old perishable food.

Seal your Food and Water Safely and Wisely

During disaster situations, people tend to break in stores and homes in search for safety, and food & water supplies that run low during these times. Make sure that your bug out car or your home can hold your food and water requirements for more than a week.

Learn to use bleach to make cloudy water safe enough for drinking. As a rule, a gallon of cloudy water could use 4-8 drops of common household bleach—after sitting for 30 minutes. You can always put canned goods and food inside glass jars in your bug out bag; but in reality, you need a survival food kit that can allow you to move faster sans the literal and figurative weight. Foods that are already packed per meal would easily secure you and your home’s energy needs without minding portion estimates. For larger households, compact emergency food kits that take up the least space are the best options for evacuation. Seek food storage that easily fit in your car. There is nothing worse than having to leave behind your disaster food stockpile just because they don’t fit your current stance and circumstance. Another scenario you wouldn’t want to be in, is when you find out that your food supply do not match the dietary needs of your family members that may stem from allergic reactions or medical conditions.

A Secure Home Should be Where the Heart Is

Remember, a secure home is a home away from damages of all sorts. Families must look at weaving the basics of home security in their preparedness plans. Starting with tweaking your home’s current curb appeal is a good way to make transition from an unprepared pack to a practical prepper in no time, and without exerting much effort that may seem unimaginable and uncalled for.

About the Author: Aby League is a qualitative researcher and a passionate writer. She is an innovator and technology enthusiast. She has been writing about health, psychology, home improvement and technology. You can see more of her articles on Elite Daily. To know her more, follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Foiled Car Theft in Downtown Parking Garage

by Shane White

car theft photo: Auto Theft - Fisher Auto - Car Theft Prevention AutoTheft-FisherAuto-CarTheftPrevention.jpg

I was parked in a parking garage Monday and found an unpleasant surprise waiting for me when I left work.

I approached my car visually inspecting the tires and such as I typically do before I get in the car. I just checked the passenger side and saw nothing unusual and walked around to the other side and noticed that my driver door was opened. A split second later, I noticed a man laying in the floor with his legs hanging out of the car door into the parking lot.

Paraphrasing, here is the conversation that followed this discovery.

"What are you doing?" I asked

"I am trying to get my car started."

"This is my car."

The thief then paused and said, "I will be honest with you. I was going to steal it. But just for a little while."

While this conversation was going on he got up and was maneuvering himself so he could get away. The last thing he said was, "Don't tell anybody." and then he ran away. (obviously I didn't not tell anybody)

I stood stunned and shocked for a few moments amazed at what had just happened and then began to inspect my vehicle. It looked like he had been there for a while. He had taken the time to go through my glove box and center console and then organize what he wanted to keep and left what he wasn't interested in. He also spent some time on the ignition switch trying to force it with a screwdriver or something. After this he took the assembly under the steering wheel apart and started working on the wiring when I had found him.

The only thing that I noticed that he took was my rescue tool/pocket knife.

I got in the car and went home.


I spent Monday evening and the next day thinking about everything that had happened.

What if it had gone down badly.

What if he pulled a knife or a gun on me. I know he had one. He just stole one from the center console of my car.

What if he was high on drugs or reacted violently when he saw me.

I had handled the whole situation poorly. But then in my defense, I had not really thought through what to do when

something like this happens. Here are my thoughts.

If you see someone in your car, don't alert him to your presence. Get security or the police before confronting the criminal. If you should alert him to your presence, keep a good distance from him. Watch his hands and eyes closely for signs that he is going to make a move towards you. If you are attacked, do something to draw attention to yourself. Yelling or screaming would be effective.


Note that the parking garage companies are not in business to do more that give you a place to park. Beyond collecting your daily or monthly parking fee, they have little interest in protecting you or your car. They will tell you that it is not their responsibility if something happens to your car. Their security is basically sending a man through the lot once an hour and they have cameras at the exits. It is your responsibility to keep your car safe even though it is in their garage.

What are your thoughts?

Be safe.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Major Water Contaminants You Should Know About

Clean water is essential to humans, but many of the sources for water became contaminated by natural forces, industrial runoff and other activities. The types of contaminants fall into several different categories. All of these can be hazardous for humans in different ways, even if our present society happens to crumble.

Common Microorganisms

Many types of microorganisms are found in untreated water. Bacteria, viruses and protozoa are the main types. These microorganisms usually enter the water supply through fecal matter from animals or humans. An effective water filtration system like those found at can remove these contaminants from water for safe drinking. Some gravity water filters do not require power to function, making them ideal for emergency use. Here are some microorganisms to watch out for:
  • E coli – A coliform bacteria, E coli causes intestinal illness and general malaise.
  • Giardia lamblia – Giardia, a protozoon, also causes vomiting, nauseas and diarrhea, which can become a chronic infection.
  • Cryptosporidium – This is another type of protozoa that causes headache, diarrhea and low fever.
  • Hepatitis A – This is a type of virus that causes liver enlargement, lethargy, weakness, anorexia and jaundice. It can be fatal in some cases.

Inorganic Chemicals

Inorganic chemicals in the water can occur because of natural forces or can enter the water through runoff or deliberate dumping of waste. Some common inorganic contaminants found in water include the following:
  • Arsenic – This chemical can be found naturally in groundwater and may runoff from agricultural fields or electronics manufacturing.
  • Asbestos – This chemical leaches into water from decaying cement-containing asbestos and from naturally occurring sources.
  • Barium – A byproduct of drilling activities, this chemical can increases in blood pressure.
  • Copper – This mineral is often caused by corrosion of plumbing materials found in buildings, but it can also result from erosion of natural sources.
  • Lead – This mineral also results from plumbing sources and also is found in nature.
  • Mercury – Mercury can result from runoff from industrial processes or from natural deposits.
  • Selenium – This mineral results from petroleum refining and from discharges from mining activities.

Organic Contaminants

Along with inorganic materials, organic compounds can also be found in untreated water, which can cause a number of health problems in humans:
  • Atrazine – This chemical occurs in water because of runoff from herbicides to control weeds in agriculture and in home lawn care.
  • Benzene – Benzene finds its way into the water supply through discharge from industrial processes and leaching from gas tanks.
  • Dioxin – This chemical leaches into water from waste incineration and other types of combustion, as well as from chemical manufacturing discharges.
Due to rising toxins levels found in humans seemingly by the year, you should be aware of the potential contaminants in drinking water, and protect yourself by testing your water and taking measures to address any present toxins.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

8 Home Security Hacks Every Household Should Learn

Your home is your refuge and safe haven away from this chaotic world. With this said, of course, coming up with effective ways to secure your home is undoubtedly one of your top priorities in life. This priority comes in light of the alarming growing rates of criminal home intrusion activities that have been taking place in every corner of neighborhoods of different backgrounds.

More than 2.2 million robberies occur every year in the United States alone, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. You’ve got to admit, these figures have got to increase your drive to enhance your home security systems more than ever.

There are several ways to protect your house against intruders that won’t cause you any extensive hassle to implement. Being in the know on how to smartly implement these security hacks will save you from the aches and pains of constantly worrying about your home safety.

Sirens come to the rescue

Siren driveway entry alert alarms scare off burglars when they first attempt to break into your house. The intimidating sight and the loud sound that emanate from the siren alert the burglars that the house owner and the neighbors nearby are in the know of their attempted intrusion. Subsequently, burglars will likely leave your premises upon hearing the siren sounds off, before the police arrive at the scene.

Driveways are one of the burglars’ main targets, because they are the places where burglars enter through your house. It would be best to place a very loud sounding device in your driveways to stop home intrusions before they even happen. Sirens save you the hassle of having to undergo physical fights with burglars. Additionally, having a siren means you won’t have to beat the busy signal when you pick up the phone to call 911.

Energy saving security systems

You can find cellular based home security systems in an alarm system store at affordable prices. This is because you won’t need to spend extra money to purchase a landline or broadband connection to avail of these systems, since they are wireless. You can put a loud sounding alarm in these systems to alert you when they sense the presence of intruders in your home.

The difference between wired and wireless alarm is that the latter is more reliable as it works with or without power and is very easy to install. A wireless alarm frees you from worrying about home intruders when power availability is beyond your control.

Communicate with a two-way intercom

Install your two-way intercom beside your security alarm system. When your alarm system goes off, you can easily dash to the intercom to alert your loved one in the other part of your house of the presence of burglars.

Get the help you need from your garage when intruders come in and, in some cases, attack you. You may just save yourself from having to call the proper authorities once the person in the other part of your house comes to your rescue.

Don’t flaunt your valuables

One of the easiest ways to ensure family safety is by not having anything valuable in your house, or at least not appearing to have anything valuable. Don’t show off valuable items in your neighborhood, such as jewelry and expensive items, to avoid tempting potential burglars you may not know are lurking around.

Burglary cases often occur when you make the efforts yourself to attract burglars. Prevent this incident from happening by appearing modest and down to earth in your neighborhood.

Put up a front

Combat burglary by putting up an alarm system sign. You don’t need to actually own an alarm system in your home, but you can do some pretending to scare off burglars or intruders. Knowing what’s in store for them if they proceed to commit the crime scare off burglars in no time.

Install surveillance cameras in your front porch to watch over your sign. Vandalism is not uncommon, and you would not want your property to become a victim of it. Immediately report to authorities any suspicious activity you would observe from your CCTV.

Another path for intruders

If you have your air conditioner installed by your window, you need to think twice if you think intruders may not break into it. Install sensor garage alarm systems near the back of your air-conditioner to alert you of a possible break-in. The loud sound emanating from these systems can wake you up even when you are in a deep sleep.

Installing a security system in your garage also prevents possible car break-ins in your home. Car napping can happen anywhere, and your home garage is no exception. Be proactive and kill two birds with one stone in enhancing your home security.

Be selective when it comes to doors

One of the unexpectedly dangerous things in your house is when you don’t know your front or back door is not burglar proof. Avoid having doors that have glass near the doorknob. It is very easy for burglars to break the glass and tinker with the lock of your doorknob, to get inside your house. Get the heads up in advance before you put up all the doors within the premises of your house.

Avoid the social media hype

When going away on a vacation, avoid announcing your trip on social media sites, such as Facebook. You only give away information to potential intruders on the best possible times they can take advantage of the situation, and break into your home. If you wish to inform loved ones and friends of your upcoming trip, send them a private message, an email, text message, or better yet, call them up yourself.

A recent study by Rutgers University reveals that the use of residential burglar alarm systems reduces crimes. Ensure your home and family safety by not hesitating to take the initiative in going the extra mile to implement these security hacks in your home. You will find that the consequent lifelong protection these hacks bring makes all the hard work worth it.

Emily Harper is a writer and a full-time mother. She often writes about sustainability, parenting and issues concerning families and women. She runs the blog

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

If You Love It, Protect It- 5 Insurance Policies You Must Have

Insurance is not a very fun topic for most people. Many people look at getting insurance with the same light as doing their taxes, balancing their checkbooks, or buying their own grave site. However, things happen. Floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, major health problems, disabilities, sudden death, car accidents, and lawsuits could all happen when you least expect and there's little you could do to prevent them. You could, however, protect yourself and everything you love by having an insurance policy that'll minimize your damages. There are five major insurance policies everyone should have:

  1. Homeowner's Insurance

    Homeowner's insurance policies offer great values because you get a lot of coverage for not that much money. However, you must tailor it to your specific needs. For example, if you live in an area that's prone to earthquakes or tornadoes you will need to make sure your policy covers those disasters because they usually don't come standard. All homeowner's insurance policies cover five major areas:
    1. Damage to your home and detached structures
    2. Damage or theft to your household's personal property regardless of where it happened
    3. Financial loss due to any of the above occurrences
    4. Personal liability for injuries and damages that occur regardless of where it happened
    5. Medical expenses for injured guests regardless of fault

  2. Automobile Insurance

    Your vehicle poses the largest threat to you facing legal judgements, injury, death, and property damage. A liability insurance policy will pay financial judgements and medical bills for you, minimizing your overall risk. It's important to understand that this could mean big dollars. Let's say you injure a teacher in an auto accident who ends up missing two years of work. She stays in a hospital for two months then a rehabilitation center for the remaining 22 months. All in all, the total damages could be $100,000 in lost wages, $150,000 for pain and suffering, and $125,000 in medical expenses totaling $375,000. Those figures will only increases if you've injured a doctor, financial professional, or professional athlete instead.

  3. General Business Liability

    If you're a business owner, the last thing you want is someone slipping and falling everyday on your premises forcing you to pay tens of thousands of dollars each time. General liability insurance will protect your business against:
    • Negligence
    • Damages
    • Personal injuries
    • Medical expenses
    • Lawsuits
    • Advertising injuries
    Find out more information regarding business liability insurance at SBA

  4. Life Insurance

    Life insurance protects your loved ones from financial hardship once you pass. Life insurance can be used for funeral costs, debts you leave behind, and as a supplemental income for your family.

  5. Disability Insurance

    Disability insurance will protect you when you have a long-term loss of income due to a disability. Without this coverage, you and your family will struggle to pay for housing, living expenses, food, and additional care.

These five coverage areas are essential to protecting your family's financial stability. Consider speaking with an insurance specialist to build your personal insurance program.

Kandace Heller is a freelance writer in Orlando, Florida. She loves researching, writing and sharing what she learns with others. Informational credit to the Calgary insurance brokers at Thomson Schindle Green Insurance & Financial Services Ltd.

Monday, June 16, 2014

How to Create a Makeshift Splint or Sling in the Field

There's nothing like spending time outdoors when the weather permits. Hiking, mountain biking, fishing, camping, hunting--the options are endless. Everybody enjoys nature in a different way, but you should always be mindful of your surroundings. When you're having too much fun, disaster can strike suddenly. If you happen to get injured out in the field, follow these steps to make a splint or sling to minimize the damage until you're able to receive medical attention.

Examine the Injury

Before you attempt to build a makeshift splint or sling, you must first determine the type of injury you have and its severity. Splints are most appropriate for serious fractures that either protrude from the flesh or don't. Their purpose is to keep the bones from shifting so as to prevent further injury. Slings, on the other hand, are more commonly used for lesser injuries such as dislocations, sprains, and minor fractures. They suspend a damaged limb in a safer and less painful position. Sometimes both are required to fully stabilize an injury.

Tend to Immediate Concerns First

If your injury involves an open wound, your priority is to control the bleeding. Use clothing, towels, blankets, or other cloth materials to tightly wrap the wound. Once the bleeding has stopped, try to clean the area around the wound to prevent infection. You can flush the wound out with a bottle of water if you don't have a first aid kit on hand.

Locate the Proper Materials

To make a splint, you'll need to find something rigid to hold the broken bone in place. Out in the wild, tree branches and bark are the most obvious materials to use for support. Anything that is rigid enough not to bend under the weight of the broken limb should work. For the padding, safety companies in Calgary recommend packing grass or leaves together to form a cushion layer. Finally, the same grass and leaves can be used to wrap everything together. If you have paracord or some form of rope on you, that would be ideal. A sling is much easier to make if you have the resources—the easiest way to go about it is to cut a shirt or tent open. An emergency medical specialist from 911 Industrial Response Inc reports that any piece of large cloth will usually do, so long as it is reasonably clean and sturdy enough to support the injured limb.

Build the Splint or Sling

First, wrap the cushion materials around the fracture. Then, place the support materials around the padding. Finally, secure the support materials to the padding with any string-like materials. The splint can be put into a sling for even greater support. To form the sling, cut open a large piece of cloth, and tie the two corners farthest away from each other together. Throw the knotted part around your neck, and place the broken arm into the loop.

When building the splint around the injury, remember to leave the body part as is. Do not attempt to shift or straighten out any broken bones as that can make things much worse. The splint should also cover the joints above and below the injured area for optimal support.

When you're out in the wild, anything can happen. Don't let an unexpected injury threaten your life. By creating a splint or sling, you can preserve the damaged limb and increase your mobility on your way to safety.

Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. Her interests include urban exploration and indoor rock climbing. When not writing, she enjoys reading and baking.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Freak Accidents: Five of the Most Surprising Common Disasters

Accidents happen all the time across the world as a result of nature, or lack of preparedness. Some of these strange occurrences can happen at a moment's notice and can cause even the most prepared person to be surprised. These common accidents may come as a shock to you as well. Keep an eye open and stay prepared for even the worst accidents.

Have lightning, Will Travel

The rumble of thunder and a flash of lightning usually causes an occasional power outage. Some forms of lightning can be quick and ferocious. Heat lightning can quickly set ablaze a dry field or strike a tree that can damage the home. Grounding rods and keeping voltage under a fault interrupt device in the home can prevent electrical fires and keep lightning at bay. You might not consider these steps totally necessary but you might be surprised at how common these types of power outages are.

Flash Floods and Downpours

A heavy downpour of rain usually spells disaster for vegetation or the occasionally leaky basement. However, some flash floods can occur without warning and dump several inches of water and mud in an hour. This fast onslaught of water can inundate that basement of a home and complete land-lock streets going into town. Towns without adequate drainage have been known to cause entire foundations of homes to become submerged and damaged during a flash flood. Installing proper drainage in the home far away from the foundation can mitigate this problem. It is also a good idea to have some safe-guard waterproofing done to any basement. This kind of Chicago basement waterproofing can keep basements safe from water damage and freak flash floods.

Grilling Disasters

When spring and summer arrive, many homeowners love to enjoy delicious grilled food on the patio. However, some lack of preparedness can result in some pretty nasty accidents. From gas explosions to runaway flames, grilling can actually be a pretty hazardous summer activity. Gas takes time to dissipate and all gas tanks should be inspected for leaks. Charcoal grills should be allowed to smolder to prevent fires.

Drought Fires

While a flash flood can cause significant damage, total water loss can be just as dangerous. Many of these fires are quite common in drought prone areas and equally surprising in areas that have ample spring and summer rainfall. When the grass becomes more like dry hay it's important to water the lawn occasionally to prevent heat lightning or flammable objects from causing a fire. Even in a drought it is important to keep the lawn and garden at least a bit hydrated.

Rogue Tornadoes

An uncharted tornado can form very quickly and cause significant damage in a brief period of time. Low level hail and cirrus cloud formations are surprisingly common factors in building tornadoes. Maintain low shelter and prevent bodily harm by seeking a low spot during a tornado.

Freak accidents can strike anyone at any time. It's unfortunate to hear of events in the news and local events that cause devastation to a community or ruin a family event. However, taking precautionary measures and have a plan can keep the results of these disasters at bay.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. For this article she used Safe-Guard waterproofing as a resource. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Steps To Take After a Home Flood

flood photo: flood pic 02 flood08002.jpg

A toilet overflow, heavy rains, a burst pipe or a malfunctioning washer can turn into a residential flood disaster. After a flood, homeowners must deal with salvaging their valuables, treading through the destruction, and finding a temporary place to stay while the property is being dried and restored. Taking the right steps following a home flood can make dealing with the nightmare much easier. Here are some of the most important steps any homeowner should take to ensure the site is safe and the mess can be cleaned up quickly:

Step 1: Have Electricity Disconnected

There is nothing more hazardous than an active electricity line and puddles of deep stagnant water. If you have standing water in your basement or on the lower level of your home, contact your electric company to disconnect the service until it is clean up. You should call if you noticed downed power lines or gas lines. The alternative is to call an electrician to inspect the damage for hazards.

Step 2: Contact Your Insurer Immediately

Floods and water damage are a sensitive topic when it comes to insurance. While standard plans do not cover all types of flooding, the first step to take when you are safe is to call your home insurance agent so that you can file a claim. When you file the claim, the agent will let you know about the water restoration companies that the company contracts with so that you can make an emergency appointment.

Step 3: Stay Out of the Home and Call a Water Restoration Company

Do not rush to go back to your home while it is flooded. Stagnant flood waters can be hazards and affect your health. Once you and your family are safe away from the site of the flood, call a water restoration company for emergency services. Be sure to keep all of your receipts if you stay in a hotel or you buy food or clothing. You may be reimbursed for these expenses.

Step 4: Be Sure the Restoration Company is Drying Out the Elements

Mold starts to grow 48 to 72 hours after a flood. This is why it is important to start drying out your carpets, padding, drywall and anything else that is soaked in the home. A restoration company will remove all of the flooded home finishing, set up driers and then set up other machines to suck the water out of the air. By pulling the humidity out of the air and running driers, the relative humidity in the room will go down.

Step 5: Start Salvaging Your Belongings and Your Home

Go through items taken out of the home to determine what can be salvaged. As you salvage your belongings, you can start to pick out carpeting and finishing that you can purchase. Stay in touch with your insurance agent so that you know if personal property coverage will apply.

Recovering from a home flood can be difficult, but if you are prepared it will be much easier. Take these steps to avoid mold and mildew, and to avoid any other hazards that can lead to more damage.

Tips provided with help from Leak Busters restoration services, specializing in water damage restoration and mold remediation in San Juan Capistrano, CA and surrounding areas

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer from Sacramento, California. A mother of two, Hannah enjoys writing on blogs of all niches.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

How to Create Your Own Animal Trap: the Mohave Treadle Snare

rabbit trail photo: Eastern Cottontail Cottontail_SJH_6417.jpg
You’re in the middle of nowhere.

Whether by choice or by accident, you need to be able to fend for yourself. Even if you brought your own modern traps with you, the more of them you have working simultaneously, the higher your chance of snagging some grub.

One of the easiest traps to build is the Mohave Treadle Snare. It’s also moderately simple to set, and you only need to come prepared with some kind of thin trapping line and possibly your knife.

*Note: Keep in mind that in most states, it is illegal to set and leave primitive traps unattended. Obviously, if you’re in danger of starvation, then the law can make an exception, but in most cases, you may only construct primitive traps temporarily for educational purposes.

Let’s take a look at how to build your own Mohave Treadle Snare.

Find a Trail

One issue with deadfall traps is that are notoriously difficult to set, and you will kill the critter almost every time you have a successful trigger. Personally, I’m a fan of traps that will keep the critter breathing, because live meat never goes bad. Some of the best bugout-survival traps are from Havahart – as those are made so they don’t do in the animal when it triggers, and they’re extremely effective if you baited them correctly.

Nevertheless, treadle traps can swing both ways in terms of keeping a critter alive or killing it; as much of that has to do with the strength and positioning of your trap’s engine and how the snare synchs.

The Mohave Treadle Snare is also extremely versatile, and it can snag just about any size critter. However, for this post, we’re just going to go with rabbits as our target – simply because they’re probably best for this kind of setup.

Your first task is to find a good rabbit trail. Scat and tracks are always a good sign, and they’re a breeze to identify if fresh snow is on the ground. Though rabbit scat can often be mistaken for that of a deer, the absence of obvious deer tracks should be a dead giveaway.

Once you’ve found a good, well-trafficked rabbit trail, it’s time to set your treadly right on top of it.

Step #1: Your Engine

You’re going to want to find a sapling to work as your ‘engine’ or your ‘spring.’ For the purpose of snaring a rabbit, your torque doesn’t need to be extremely heavy, but it’s best to err on the side of having more spring weight than you need. This is largely going to be an issue of feeling, trial and error.

Make sure the sapling is close to the trail, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be directly on top of it. Much of that depends on how much line you have at your disposal.

Also, whether you dig it yourself or find an existing one, make sure your desired set location has a shallow divot that’s about three to four inches deep, 14 inches long and as wide as the trail itself. The divot will allow the treadle to drop and trigger the trap.

Materials list:

  • Rabbit trail
  • ‘Sapling’ trap engine
  • Spot on the trail with a small ditch or divot

Step #2: Your Vertical Supports and Horizontal Bars

Next, you need to find your vertical support bars. It’s best if you can find ‘Y-shaped’ sticks. Break them down to size if you can, that way you won’t have to use up your knife steel.

They need to be sturdy enough to support the weight of your sapling engine, so go with non-decomposing wood at about the thickness of your thumb. Make them each about seven inches long.

Essentially, you’re looking for your ‘Y’ sticks to have one side fixed in the ground at a 90-degree angle and the other jutting out an inch or so at 45 degrees.

Drive the long side of those sticks vertically, straight into the ground at least three inches, and keep them about 12-14 inches apart.

Make the inch-long ’45-side’ of the sticks face into the trap, perpendicularly.

Your horizontal bars merely need to be sturdy, but not too thick, as the two will be able to share the engine’s spring weight. These need to be longer than the distance between your two ‘Y’ sticks in the ground and roughly the thickness of a pencil. Find two of them.

Materials list:

  • (2) ‘Y’-sticks: ‘thumb’ thickness, seven inches long on one side and roughly an inch on the other at a 45-degree angle.
  • (2) 16-inch sticks: pencil thickness

Step #3: Your Line and Trigger Toggle

For this step, I recommend tarred mariner’s line or trotline (bank line), as it tends to synch quite easily, and it’s just the right thickness. How much you need depends on how far your engine is from the trail, so this will vary set by set.

You will also need to find your trigger toggle. This stick needs to be a little less than four inches long and roughly thumb-thickness.

Tie your line to the top of your sapling and determine how much spring weight you’re going to need versus how much distance it is to your set. Again, this is going to be almost all guessing in the beginning.

Next, you’re going to tie on your toggle stick at the spot where you have adequate weight to run the trap and at the spot that’s in between your two ‘Y’-sticks.

You will also need to leave space on the line for your snare after your toggle knot. You should make the snare large enough so a rabbit could just about sit inside the loop.

Materials list:

  • (1) Toggle stick: four inches long, thumb-thick
  • Adequate amount of line for your snare and for the distance between your engine and the ‘Y’ sticks

Step #4: Your Treadle

Once you’ve tied your toggle to the line, you will need to play with your set a bit to get the mechanics and your ‘trigger weight’ just right. However, your first step is to actually setup your treadle.

All you will need is thin sticks to rest on the lower horizontal bar, and then you cover it with grasses, leaves and other materials, so your critter can unwittingly walk right onto it.

Materials list:

  • Assortment of thin twigs of the same length

Step #5: Your Set

Here’s the tricky part…

In order to set the trap, take your toggle in one hand.

With your foot, press the upper horizontal bar into the cradle of the ‘Y’ in your support sticks to hold it in place.

Next, take the lower horizontal bar and treadle in your other hand and lift.

The key is to rest the toggle perpendicularly on both horizontal bars, allowing the weight of the engine to hold the treadle in the air over the divot.

Because this is a fairly stable trap, you can go ahead and arrange your snare on the treadle.

Springing the Trap

If all goes as planned, a curious rabbit will be hopping along the trail, and onto your treadle… right into your snare.

Its weight will force the lower horizontal bar downward and release the toggle. Then, the sapling will twitch up, ensnaring the rabbit.

If this happens successfully, you’ll come back to a furry meal – and the knowledge that your survival skills paid off yet again.

Alicia grew up in Alaska where she earned her hunter and wilderness safety license at age 13. She now works as a content coordinator for a tech company and blogs in her free time at Homey Improvements.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

How to Put Your Home on Lockdown: 8 Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim

boarded windows photo: lovely arched windows - thoughtfully boarded up on the inside so you can still see them 273_35052387576_2800_n.jpg

When a state of emergency is declared, it's unlikely that people will still respect the law. It'll be a world where everyone is out for survival, which means that looters, murders and other malicious fiends will be roaming the streets for whatever they can.

We spoke to home insurance experts from Anthony Clark Insurance Brokerage about how to better secure a home against potential robberies and other crimes. They gave us eight tips to better lock down a home:

  1. Invest in Curtains

    Windows are your greatest threat in a state of emergency. Individuals can peer in to know both who is inside of your home and what you have.

    Curtains act as a primary line of defense by hiding the contents of your home from prying eyes. This deters break-ins and other crimes.

  2. Lock Your Windows

    Most intruders bypass doors completely unless they're ajar. They'll instead go for windows, which are generally poorly secured.

    Invest in locks that will stop your windows from being opened from the outside. If you find yourself in a pinch, you can drill a hole in the window frame and insert a bolt.

  3. Reinforce Your Doors

    The only thing that keeps doors locked tends to be one or two locks that can easily give way with a little force.

    To keep your doors secure, consider replacing your door jamb with a steel frame. This will make it next to impossible to kick your door in.

  4. Don't Be Afraid to Board Your Windows

    In a state of bona fide emergency, it may be a good idea to board your windows up from the inside. This will protect you from intruders whom would be willing to break your windows to gain entry into your home.

    To take this one step further, you can add bars to your windows to deter people further. Unlike boards, you can easily see through iron bars. This may let you get the drop on a would-be intruder.

  5. Secure Your Basement

    Basements are one of those forgotten entrances that burglars will use to break into your home. It may be worth investing in bars for basement windows to prevent thieves from sneaking into your home.

  6. Don't Make Yourself a Target

    When in a crisis situation where looters and other ne'er-do-wells are rampant, it's important to keep as low of a profile as possible.

    This means minimizing your outside activity and keeping noise to a minimum. You don't want people to know that you're home unless they're people whom you can trust.

  7. Build a Support Network

    If you stock up on supplies that people will need during an emergency, then you'll find that your neighbors will value you highly. By building a support network, you can establish a community that will watch each other. This will ward off all but the most militant of trespassers

  8. Invest in a Dog

    While lights and other man-made deterrents may not function when the power goes out during a state of emergency, animals will. This makes having a dog that can guard your home key to warding off intruders.

    The best part about it is that most would-be intruders will be scared off by just the dog's bark. The dog's bite, on the other hand, is just an insurance policy.

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer from Sacramento, California. A mother of two, Hannah enjoys writing on blogs of all niches.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Earthquake Preparedness: Five Ways to Quake-Proof Your Home

If you live near a fault line, one thing you must be prepared for is an earthquake. Whether you like it or not, you will likely have to live through one someday. Being prepared could mean saving your family and property from harm. Below are five steps you can take to help quake proof your home.

Make Sure Your Home Is Properly Anchored

One of the first things you should do is check under your crawlspace. Look where your walls meet the foundation slabs. Are they properly anchored to the slabs? If not, during an earthquake, it is likely that your home will slide along the slabs. Properly install anchor bolts along the sill plates every five feet to make sure this does not occur.

Protect Your Gas Line

One of the worst things that can happen during an earthquake is the gas line being punctured. The results can be deadly. Thankfully, you can do something to stop the gas if an earthquake were to occur. A shut off valve can be installed on the main gas line to turn it off automatically when an earthquake happens.

Purchase Heavy Handmade Furniture

You should also consider earthquake preparedness when you decorate your home. This certainly includes furniture. Instead of my flimsy furniture, go for more heavy handmade furniture. Wood is the best choice. Calgary wood furniture is solid and unlikely to be damaged during an earthquake. Your family can also use it for cover from falling debris. If you are in an earthquake prone area that you might consider anchoring top heavy furniture as well.

Protect Your Water Heater

Something else that is likely to be damaged during an earthquake is your water heater. To protect it, you will need to install a brace to give it extra support. The bracing in question should consist of sturdy metal stripping that is securely affixed to wall studs. You can purchase some from a hardware store.

Reinforce Masonry

Masonry walls that do not have extra support are especially at risk of being damaged by an earthquake. This includes walls made out of brick, cinder block, adobe and clay tiles. Whatever the case, one way to protect fragile masonry is to build a steel frame that the masonry will attach to. Consult with a structural engineer about this possibility.

Overall, most homes are not completely earthquake safe as is. If you live near a fault line, be sure to take the proper steps to make sure your home and belongings will be safe if an earthquake were to occur.

Informational Credit to The New Oak Tree

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.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Doomsday Giveaway for June 2014!

For our June 2014 Giveaway, The Doomsday Giveaway is giving away a Rothco Deluxe Adventurer Survival Kit Knife.

The Rothco 3235 Adventurer Survival Kit knife comes with fish line, hook, sinkers, band-aids, pencil, harpoon, signal mirror, Morse code, finger tip saw and more (matches not included). All of these items fit in the hollow handle of the knife. A threaded top with a built in compass screws into the knife handle to keep everything dry.

All you need to do is use the rafflecopter tool below to enter. You can tweet about this giveaway or another link on this blog, follow us on Twitter, "like" us on Facebook, share us at your favorite social network, or follow this blog. Easy as that. On July 1st we will select the winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Good luck!

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