Tuesday, December 22, 2015

5 Items You Need in Your Survival Shelter

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We can never know when disaster will strike. But rather than waiting around for it to come before deciding our next steps, we can take proactive measures to ensure we’re ready to handle whatever is thrown our way.

One such step includes the construction of an underground survival shelter. These structures give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you and your loved ones will be safe even in the event the unthinkable occurs.

These kinds of shelters come in all shapes and sizes. They can be custom designed to your specific property, and you can rely on the insights and recommendations of experts who will help you build the one that makes the most sense for your needs.

Not Exactly Roughing It

It’s important to remember that thanks to breakthroughs in technology and design, today’s underground survival shelters can be much more than dark, safe holes in the ground, so to speak. In fact, as you go about planning your survival shelter, you will be better off thinking about building an underground home of sorts.

Indeed, today’s shelters can have it all, everything from closets to flushable toilets to fully functional kitchens and more — the sky, or your wallet, truly is the limit.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at five essential items you need in your shelter:

  1. Food and Drink

    First things first: You’ll want to stockpile at least three days’ worth of food and drink for each person you expect would make use of your survival shelter in the event disaster strikes. Generally speaking, you should set aside a gallon of water each day for each adult.

    For food, get as many non-perishable items if you can, unless you choose to go to the underground full kitchen route, in which case you can stock your fridge and freezer. Things such as crackers, pretzels, canned vegetables, soups and canned meat will do the trick.

  2. Electricity

    While we don’t need electricity to survive per se, it’s safe to say our lives would be significantly inconvenienced if we’re forced to live without it for an extended period of time. Great underground survival shelters are outfitted with enough electricity to allow you to live a somewhat normal life. Be sure to search for the electrical gear you need to produce desired outcomes.

  3. A First-Aid Kit

    You never know when someone might get sick or hurt. Be sure to stock a first-aid kit full of band aids, gauze, sterile bandages, splints, tweezers and scissors. Also stock up on Tylenol and Aspirin.

  4. Tools

    It’s better to have a hammer and not need it than need a hammer and not have it. Put together a tool kit and stick it down in your shelter. Be sure to include wrenches, screwdrivers, a battery-operated radio, flashlights, a fire extinguisher and other relevant items.

  5. Entertainment

    Since you’re going to be living underground for at least a few hours, it’s wise to put some things in your shelter you can turn to for entertainment, particularly if you have children. Some folks go as far as building complete home entertainment systems underground. You don’t necessarily have to do that. Just be sure to store board games, books and playing cards in your shelter.

    Let’s hope the only use you get out of your underground bomb shelter is when your kids play hide and seek. But should a catastrophic event occur and you need safety without having to sacrifice comfort, you’ll find everything you need in your underground survival shelter. Stay safe!




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 in Pennsylvania and blogs in her free time at Homey Improvements.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Becoming the Hunted: How to Protect Yourself During an Animal Attack

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Whether you're out in the wild, or in your neighborhood, it's best not to approach unknown animals. Even if they seem friendly or look familiar, you’d be wise to never approach without cause. Unfortunately, it's not only wild animals that will attack you, but seemingly domesticated pets are known to bite as well.

While this doesn't mean you should be automatically scared when you see an animal in the wild, it's best to stay alert to the possibility of attack. It's also important to understand the steps you should take to defend yourself from an attacking animal.

Bears

If you live near a region that has bears, or if you're camping or hiking in their territory, you should never leave food where bears can access it. It's best to bear proof your property to avoid encounters with them. Bears are opportunistic, so you should reduce the things that will attract them. Make sure your garbage cans have airtight coverings. Remove bird feeders since bears will knock them down and eat the seeds. If a bear approaches your home, stay inside and let the bear scout your backyard. You can call a wildlife or animal control officer if the bear tries to get inside the home or will not leave the backyard. If the bear approaches you, stay completely still. In the case of a bear charging or attacking you, lay down on your stomach and play dead until the bear moves out of the area.

Moose

People are often surprised that moose are aggressive, but they are wild animals, too. They can be especially protective if they have newborns in the area. Moose are easily surprised and unpredictable. They can't climb so if a moose attacks, you should climb into the nearest tree. A moose shows signs of aggression by walking towards you, stomping its feet or grunting. The best way to interact with an aggressive moose is backing away slowly and speaking softly. If the moose charges, you can move behind a rock or a tree. A moose weighs approximately 1500 pounds, so you don't want to get hit trampled by one. If you can't move away from it, curl into a ball on the ground and protect your head with your arms.

Dogs

A dog wandering your neighborhood might seem like it's not a threat, but more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the U. S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to a dog bite lawyer in Austin, TX, these attacks says can result in disfigurement, scarring, and mental anguish. If you think a dog may attack, do not run. Their first instinct is to chase you and you can't outrun a dog. Stay very still while avoiding eye contact with the dog. Eye contact is a sign of aggression. Don't yell or scream at the dog. An attacking dog might knock you to the ground. If this happens, curl into a ball and put your arms over your head and neck to protect yourself. Try to shove your clothes, purse, or backpack into the jaws of the dog while it's attacking, if possible.

Mountain Lion

Whether you're hiking or camping, mountain lions can be a threat especially to children. If you encounter one, do not approach it. They don't like confrontation and will look for an escape, make sure you're not cornering it. Allow it to run away from you.

It's important that you don't crouch or bend over when you see a mountain lion. You'll want to stand tall and appear larger so you don't look like prey. If you're crouched, you look like a four-legged animal to them. If you're attacked by a mountain lion, it's best to fight back with anything close at hand like rocks or sticks. A mountain lion will try to attack the face or neck, so make sure to stay standing and face the animal with a weapon.

In the case of wild animals, it might be awe-inspiring to witness them out in their natural environment, but you should never be close enough to interact with them. They're wild and distrustful of humans. They can attack if they feel threatened or if they think you're prey. Play it safe and, chances are, you’ll enjoy nature to the fullest without ever putting yourself in harm’s way.


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.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Emergency Preparedness: What You Can Do Today to Be Prepared for Disaster

While people may not like to think about it often, a disaster could strike at any moment. A nearby river could flood, a tornado could develop suddenly and a nuclear plant could have a meltdown. No matter what could happen, you need to be ready. Below are six things you can do to prepare for a disaster.

  1. Create a First Aid Kit

    During a disaster, you or your family members may become injured. Even worse, you may have no ability to call 9-1-1 or drive to a hospital. This is why having a first aid kit prepared is so important. Stock your first aid kit with things like adhesive bandages, dressings for wounds, antibiotic ointment, cold compresses and more.

  2. Receive Training on How to Remove Hazardous Waste

    Not all disasters are natural. Some are manmade. If this is the case, materials that are radioactive or poisonous may be released into the environment. Keeping your family safe in this situation may require knowing how to safely remove these contaminants from the environment. To do this, you should receive training from the National Environmental Trainers. This can help you prepare to clean up hazardous waste and contaminated sites.

  3. Store Food and Water

    A disaster may result in a family being forced to stay inside their home for a period of days or even weeks without electricity. If this is the case, being able to survive will mean having a cache of food and water. Stock up on water bottles as well as nonperishable food items that have very long shelf lives.

  4. Consider Self Defense

    After a disaster, there may be more threats to your family than just bad weather or the environment. There could be rioting, roving mobs or worse. Consider your options for self-defense including the possibility of purchasing a firearm.

  5. Stay Alert

    While a disaster could strike at any moment, in most cases, they don’t come without warning. If you live in an area prone to natural disasters like severe weather, consider investing in a weather radio to help you track bad storms as they develop. This way, you can take steps to protect your family and property before it’s too late.

  6. Make a Plan

    Lastly, you need to have a plan. Develop a plan for what each member of your family should do during an emergency and go over it with them more than once. This way, there will be less panic and mistakes made during a worst case scenario.

While most people don’t like to think about the worst that can happen, it is a very good idea to do so and prepare. If it helps protect your family from harm, it will always be worth the extra effort.


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.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Homestead Protection: 5 Great Solutions for Off-Grid Living

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  1. Tripwire Systems

    While a tripwire may seem a bit primitive, it can serve as an excellent early warning system. A wire strung along the ground and hidden in the grass can be used to sound an alarm. There are also more modern tripwire systems that will activate a camera or battery-operated alarm system.

  2. Dogs

    Very few animals are as much of a deterrent to thieves as a well-trained, menacing dog. In addition to creating security for your homestead, you also get a friendly companion who can be there for you when you get lonely. Dogs like Rottweilers, Dobermans, and other large, intimidating breeds are the best choice. Most of those looking to break in want the path of least resistance—and a dog is certainly not that path.

  3. Thermal Cameras

    Thermal cameras are an excellent choice for homestead security. An expert from Infrared Cameras Inc. reports that infrared imaging is used to collect and record light from scenes. Infrared cameras are therefore a great security solution for night time surveillance. These can be monitored remotely, so if you're away from home, you can still tap into the network and keep an eye on the place. And because they function based off heat, they'll detect threats at night or threats that may be camouflaged to blend in with the surroundings.

  4. Deadbolts and Window Bars

    While these devices won't keep out a determined thief, remember: the goal is to make it difficult for them to get inside. When the doors are secured with heavy-duty deadbolts and bars across the windows, the home gives the impression of an impenetrable fortress that’s far too hard to get into and not likely containing much of value.

  5. Sirens and Solar Power

    In some cases, you may want a sonic-based system -- one that produces a blast of sound when triggered. If you're living off the grid, powering the system can be difficult. Setting up subtle solar power cells to absorb energy to power your security system are incredibly helpful.

For those living away from everyone else, day to day concerns take on another level of meaning. However, with proper forethought and a bit of creativity, most complex situation can be simple to overcome.


Written by Rachelle Wilber

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Off-Grid Living: What Essentials Will You Need?

If you're one of the countless people who are considering "going off the grid," then there are a few things you need to know and acquire before you make you make the transition to off-grid living. Implementing these ideas will make your goal easier to accomplish, as well as make your life simpler.

Know How To Hunt And Garden

If you're going off the grid, chances are you've chosen an extremely rural area in which even the simplest of stores may be several miles away. Having a general knowledge of weapons, hunting, and gardening will benefit you when it comes to providing food for yourself and your family. Knowing how to use a firearm for more than hunting will also prove beneficial if you're going to be living in an area that is known for dangerous, natural predators.

Access To A Reliable, Clean Water Supply

Since water is essential for life, it's imperative that you plan your new home near or around a reliable, clean water supply that can be used for personal consumption, bathing, laundry, and washing dishes. Check water reports in the area you're planning to move to, and also check to see if collecting rainwater is allowed.

Make Sure Your Cooking And Heating Needs Will Be Met

If you're going off the grid, you'll still need to eat and keep yourself and your family warm. If you're planning to move to a heavily wooded area, make sure you're allowed to cut down trees to use for firewood. Investing in a wood stove or propane-fueled stove is also a smart idea, as both can serve as heaters and cooking surfaces. Keeping a propane tank on your property can be extremely useful, though this does come with its challenges. An expert from Powerblanket says cold weather can be hard on propane tanks, making it difficult for them to maintain optimal pressure. If you live in an area which experiences cooler winter temperatures, consider securing a propane tank heater to preserve your propane source.

See If Solar Panels Are Offered At Your New Location

If you're going off the grid but still want to keep certain amenities such as TV, a cell phone, and use of the internet, you may want to consider having solar panels installed. These will afford you clean, affordable (if not nearly free) energy to use for powering appliances (a refrigerator and freezer for storing the meat from your hunting and gardening), laundry appliances, and everything else that requires some sort of electrical charge to work.

Be Prepared To Downsize

Many people who long to return to a simpler way of living are also considering "tiny homes," the ever-growing trend of drastically downsizing one's living space. These tiny homes and other methods of living a less frantic life have their benefits, and are definitely worth checking into.

Off-grid living is a dream for many and a challenge for all who choose to pursue it. The rewards of independence and self-sufficiency, however, are something you will reap the benefits of for years to come.


Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston. When she manages to tear herself away from the computer, she enjoys baking, rock climbing, and film noir.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Six CPR Basics the Whole Family Should Know

Not many people voluntarily learn CPR, and if you know CPR, it's probably because you had to learn for a job. Professionals in everything from healthcare to Houston swimming lessons have to be trained and up to date before being hired. But not knowing this life-saving technique can be a very scary thing if you're ever been presented with a situation that required it, especially if you have children. As a family, you never know the impact it could have if everyone learns how to properly administer CPR.

What to Do If You're Untrained

CPR isn't as simple as it looks. If you aren't careful while administering oxygen mouth-to-mouth, you can cause more harm than good. The American Heart Association has revised its CPR standards, and now advises people who aren't trained in CPR to skip mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Instead, you should only apply chest compressions at the rate of 100 compressions per minute uninterrupted, until medical attention arrives on the scene to take over. This also applies if you're rusty on your CPR skills.

Administering CPR if Certified

If you're trained in CPR, the AHA has also changed the standard of care in regards to CPR. Instead of checking for an airway (or seeing if they're breathing), you should immediately begin chest compressions at the rate of 30 compressions. Once you've administered those compressions, you can check for breathing. If the person is not breathing, you can defer to using rescue breaths alternated with chest compressions.

Knowing When CPR is Necessary

Just because a person is unconscious doesn't mean they need CPR administered. Giving someone unnecessary CPR can be dangerous to their health, especially with babies and children. See if the person is responsive first. This includes opening their eyes, making sounds from the mouth, or moving their limbs. If they're responsive, it's very unlikely they need CPR, and the person answering your 911 call will be able to give you more specific advice.

Calling 911 Right Away Isn't Always the Best Idea

When you see your child or baby unresponsive and needs immediate attention, most parents automatically reach for the phone and call 911. However, current CPR classes recommend performing two minutes of CPR before calling 911, which equals five complete cycles of CPR. Remember that CPR always begins with 30 chest compressions, an evaluation of the airway, and then rescue breaths.

What If the Victim Gasps?

A lot of people will stop giving chest compressions if the victim takes a gasp of air. It's important not to stop giving compressions because a sudden gasp indicates cardiac arrest, and chest compressions will continue to pump blood to the brain. If you start CPR, it's imperative you don't stop compressions until help arrives, or the person is revived. Even if you want to stop to check for breathing, a pulse, or any other sign of life, this move can be detrimental to the person's ability to revive. If you're ever in doubt and the person remains unconscious, continue compressions until help arrives.

If the Person Fully Revives During CPR

There are plenty of instances where CPR revives the patient completely. If the victim wakes up and is breathing on their own, stop compressions and roll them over onto their side with their head tilted back until help arrives. It is critical to keep an eye on them at all times. If they fall unconscious or stop breathing, they might need CPR again.

CPR is a lifesaving skill if you're trained, and know what you're doing. Even if you've never taken a CPR class, it's important to know the basics until the 911 operator is able to give you better instructions.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer, recent graduate from the University of New Mexico, and avid runner. She loves to blog about fitness, health, home and family. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Six Steps for Protecting Your Home from Snow

As your family prepares for the upcoming winter season, you might be excited about the prospect of the first snows. The cold white flakes can be a beautiful sight, and a promise of the holidays and activities to come. Although snow provides an opportunity to spend more time in front of a warm fireplace, it can pose hazards to your home. Snow storms can damage your home's roof, gutters, and siding in extreme conditions. Here are a six tips to help you protect your home from harsh snow this winter.

Wrap Your Pipes

During the winter season, pipes have the tendency to freeze. When this happens, there can be serious financial consequences since frozen pipes can burst and cause significant water damage. Protect your pipes from freezing by wrapping them in insulated wrap. Another thing you can do is to keep water flowing through them. If you know you won’t be using that downstairs bathroom much, consider wrapping those pipes or cutting off the water supply temporarily.

Remove Snow from Your Roof

Depending on the condition of your roof, accumulated snow can cause damage over time. The heavy snow can burden struts if the roof isn’t slanted and allows for melting. If you notice a large amount of snow on your roof, call a company for help with removal.

Purchase New Windows

Most windows have a life expectancy of 10 to 20 years. If you have older windows, protect your home from snow damage by installing new ones when possible. This will be an airtight solution to keep winter snow and drafts from coming into your home and zapping the heat you try to keep inside. Companies like Gilkey Windows can often help install new ones on many different window frame types.

Seal Cracks and Holes

Homes that have cracks and holes in the walls or floors have the potential to be damaged by snow, not to mention bothered by pests. The water from melted snow often leaks through these holes and can cause structural damage. Protect your home by sealing all cracks and holes.

Check Your Windows

The frozen icicles that form on the window can provide the setting for a perfect winter portrait. However, icicles can accumulate quickly and become large and heavy. Make sure you knock down big icicles when you can, and if they aren’t melting fast enough.

Secure Roof Shingles

Winter preparation begins months before the first snowfall. If you have shingles that are loose, call for repairs as soon as possible. Make sure everything is secured and ready for the first storms.

If you follow these tips, you and your family can enjoy the snow without any problems this year.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer, recent graduate from the University of New Mexico, and avid runner. She loves to blog about fitness, health, home and family. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

An Elderly Guide To Survive Any Disaster And Future Predicament

As the world becomes a more dangerous place with imminent disasters like hurricanes, blizzards, and floods, it is no longer a question if a disaster is going to strike, but when. Due to both natural and manmade hazards, disaster preparedness is now a necessity. As the public becomes more aware of their surroundings and sensitive to the calamities and disasters happening around the world, there is an increasing need for information regarding how to survive future disasters.

Emergencies and disasters can strike anywhere and anytime without warning. These situations can become a challenge as they push you to your limits while you fight for your safety and survival. But who really needs to be prepared for future disasters? Is everyone equally at risk? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), senior citizens are one of the most vulnerable populations when a disaster strikes.

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The Elderly is More Vulnerable

There are a variety of reasons why the elderly is more vulnerable than most in disaster situations. Some of the obvious explanations is that older people with physical limitations or are mentally impaired will have problems understanding instructions in keeping themselves safe and secure. If an elderly has a mobility impairment, he or she will have difficulty when evacuating, standing in line or resting inside a crowded shelter. People in wheelchairs, and those using canes and walkers will also be unable to climb stairs. Moreover, elderly people are also more susceptible to illnesses when subjected to extreme temperature changes and stress during disasters. Add to these are the social and economic limitations that hinder their ability to adequately prepare for disasters; it is no wonder that the elderly desperately need a guide to help survive future disasters.

In order to fill this need, here are some of the most common and invaluable tips for the elderly to survive future disasters.

Staying Alert Can Save Your Life

Elderly people can sometimes find it difficult to remain aware and responsive to their surroundings especially during disaster situations. To address this issue, you can get convenient alarm systems designed to aid your elderly loved one in any future predicaments. With this type of alarm system, senior citizens can be notified of a possible emergency in advance. Home security and wireless emergency response systems are also beneficial for older adults since they can remain safe inside their homes should the power run out during thunderstorms and blizzards.

Prepare Ahead of Time in Case of Disasters

We all know that planning ahead is always a good idea. Disasters can happen at any moment and putting together a basic disaster supplies kit is a great way to prepare for forthcoming predicaments. A basic supplies kit should include food, water, medicine and other essential items. As the American Red Cross suggests, disaster kits should contain enough supplies for at least three days. You should also store your supplies in convenient containers that are easy to carry while having enough space to hold all your necessities. Labeling equipment such as wheelchairs, canes and walkers is also important so you don’t lose them when disaster strikes. In addition, keeping your kit updated is another crucial tip to prepare yourself for future disasters. Make sure to check the expiration dates of your food and medications as well as replace batteries as needed.

Now You’ve Got a Kit, What You Need is a Plan

Disasters can strike so fast you may not have time at all to act; but when you have a ready-made plan for emergency situations, reducing anxiety and staying calm and collected will no longer be a problem. Support equipment, such as wheelchairs and walkers, and vital records and documents should be accessible in case you need to evacuate your home. Another indispensable tip is to know where the most convenient escape routes are, as well as the designated meeting places for you and your friends and family so you won’t get lost during an emergency.

A Support Network is Always a Good Thing

As part of your survival plan for future disasters, you should always make a point to keep your lines of communication open. You need to be able to contact, and be contacted, by your family and friends at all times during emergency situations. This is very important so they know you are safe and can meet you in safer locations. American Red Cross recommends that senior citizens should develop a support network of close and trusted people during emergencies. This network can be a mutual arrangement where both of you check in on each other. You can decide to exchange important keys or show them where your emergency supplies are kept along with other agreements to ensure your safety.

Be Involved in Your Community’s Disaster Plans

Along with having a great support network, you should also be involved in your community’s disaster management plans and procedures. This is so you know how your community can help you during emergency situations. You can also volunteer to take part in their programs. For example, you can make an arrangement with a neighbor to help you evacuate and transport you to a safer location. By being an active part of your community, you can increase your chances of survival when future disasters occur.

If You Know the Hazard, You Know the Solution

What are the types of disaster or emergency situations that are most likely to happen in your area? To adequately prepare yourself for future disasters, you should find out what type of hazards your community is more prone to. Are you near an earthquake zone? Do floods usually occur around your home when there are typhoons? Is your area frequently hit by tornados? Preparing for a disaster that your area is vulnerable to is one of the key ways to lessen risks during forthcoming predicaments.

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Disaster Has Struck, What Do You Do?

What you need to do to keep yourself out of harm’s way depends on the type of emergency situation you are facing. Keep in mind that you should always be aware and make it a point to listen to announcements through your television or radio regarding an emergency situation. If you are up against a harsh thunderstorm or an extreme blizzard, you will be advised to remain at home. This means that you should stay where you are and keep yourself as safe as possible until the storm passes or you are told to evacuate. On the other hand, you will be asked to evacuate your home if your area is experiencing a wildfire, flood or a tornado. During these situations, you should always lock your home before leaving. When you arrive at the shelter, notify the management about your needs such as food, water, and first-aid.

Remember that the Disaster Will Subside

It is very understandable for people, especially senior citizens to be distressed when facing traumatic scenarios such as a disaster. Whenever an emergency situation occurs, you may experience emotional, physical, mental, and possibly spiritual stress that can lead to more problems for you and the people around you. These reactions could include headaches, insomnia, irritability, depression and disorientation. Being prepared for this as you remain calm and collected can reduce your anxieties and stay positive. Keep in mind that while you are inside your home or community shelter, you are safe from harm during these tough times and can always get back up to live your life to the fullest.

What You Do Makes a Difference

Whatever plan you make on how to survive future disasters, know that all your efforts count. When you’re encountering an emergency situation, having a plan will let you stay focused and alert so you can do what’s necessary to care for yourself. Take responsibility for your safety by remaining aware of your surroundings. With a solid disaster plan, you will be more capable of handling circumstances that will come your way and remain safe and secure at all times.


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.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Panic-Free Steps to Take After a Fender Bender

Getting involved in a fender bender can be frightening. Not only do you have to be concerned about you and the other person’s safety, you must be concerned about the financial effects it might cause.

Each action you take after the fender bender can have lasting consequences. It is essential to keep calm and act strategically.

Pull Over to the Side of the Road

A minor car accident can be a major inconvenience for you. This does not mean it has to be an inconvenience for the other drivers on the road. If your car is able to be driven, move it to the side of the road. This action will not only improve the flow of traffic, it will also keep other vehicles from hitting your car. If you don’t have space, drive on until you do.

Call 911

As a driver involved in an accident, you want to make sure that your financial and physical interests are protected. If anyone is injured call 911. Dispatchers will often send police officers to the scene of the fender bender. If a person is injured, an ambulance will be dispatched as well. When the officers arrive, a police report will be taken. You want to be sure to get a copy of the report since you will need this information for your insurance provider and other services.

Exchange Insurance and Car Information

This is one of the most important steps you can take after an accident. Each driver should exchange the following information.
  • Name
  • Insurance Company
  • Make and Model of the Car
  • License Plate Information

Contact Your Insurance Company

As soon as you are in a safe location, contact your insurance company. Provide the representative with the facts and information about the accident. If the damage is small, you and the other driver may be tempted to reach an agreement not to report the damage, but it may not a wise move to make.

The extent of the damages to your car or injuries may not be known until thorough examinations are conducted. Allow your automobile insurance company to handle the details.

Seek Legal Counsel

A personal injury attorney or Bulluck Law Group in your area can help you understand the legal ramifications of a fender bender. It might be in your best interest to get guidance in case you are injured or liable.

By following these steps, you can get through the stress of a fender bender, panic-free.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer, recent graduate from the University of New Mexico, and avid runner. She loves to blog about fitness, health, home and family. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Stocking Up: How to Build a Self Defense Arsenal on a Budget

Self-defense is a right that the founders of the Unites States enshrined into the constitution for every single American. Bearing arms is about taking action to protect your family in case something was to go wrong. With terrorism and political instability in the world, who knows what the future may hold. However, building an arsenal isn’t always cheap. Below are a few ways you can purchase what you need without spending a fortune.

Purchase Your Ammunition in Bulk

One of the purposes of building an arsenal for self-defense is to have a cache that can’t be quickly depleted. If you don’t have enough ammunition on hand, you could be overpowered rather quickly. To solve that problem, you should probably purchase the ammunition you need for your firearms in bulk quantities. Thankfully, buying more means saving per shell and per bullet.

Shop and Save Online

You shouldn’t limit your arsenal to weapons and ammo purchased at your local gun shop. Instead, check out some of the major online firearms dealers like Brownells. Some stores have very competitive prices due to the fact they do higher volume business. Also keep a look out on websites that publish online coupons and sales for other websites like Discountrue. You may eventually see a significant discount on something you need for your arsenal.

Buy Used

A firearm does not have to be new to work well. It simply needs to be well maintained. With this in mind, you should consider buying some used firearms if you want to pad your arsenal. Gun shows and pawn shops are both excellent choices. Just make sure to test the guns you buy this way out on the shooting range before you place them into your arsenal.

Take Advantage of Military Surplus

The US has one of the largest military budgets of any government in the world. Not everything it pays for actually gets used. You can benefit from this by purchasing some of that surplus from military surplus stores at a significant discount. While you won’t find surplus military guns and ammo, you can find plenty of other things you can add to your stockade such as ammo cans, knives, survival supplies, military grade boots and tactical gear.

Develop a Relationship with a Dealer

Gun shop owners and sellers at gun shows do have some leeway in regards to what they charge customers. If you are trying to slowly build up a decent arsenal over time, try to develop good relationships with a few sellers. They may be willing to give you discounts because they know you’ll continue giving them business in the future.

Some people take action to protect their families by using the second amendment right to bear arms. Thankfully, there are ways you can do so while not spending all of your disposable income.


Written by Rachelle Wilber

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

First Aid Firsts: What Basics Your Kids Should Learn

Any child could encounter an emergency at some point, perhaps even on the playground. Children who are prepared have greater self-confidence in these situations, and can even save a life. Here are basic first aid skills to start teaching your child.

First Aid for Choking

Even young children can be taught the lifesaving Heimlich maneuver. Discuss what commonly causes choking and how to tell if someone might need help. Have your child practice the Heimlich maneuver on a stuffed toy. Children can also practice the basic movement on each other as long as they understand not to use the pressure they would use in a real emergency.

CPR

Young children can be introduced to CPR, and older children can easily master it. Explain the basics of when and how to use CPR. Avoid creating fear or anxiety about heart functions by answering their questions candidly. Tell them that CPR is only needed when someone’s heart has stopped. Call a cardiovascular clinic in your area like the ICE, Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence to see if they have illustrated pamphlets you can use to explain CPR and basic heart functions to a child.

    The basic steps your child should know are:
  • To listen to the chest and see if the person is breathing, or if they can hear a heartbeat.
  • How to call 911.
  • To start chest compressions -- You can teach chest compressions using a stuffed toy.
  • Rescue breathing is more difficult to teach unless you have access to a CPR mannequin. Explain the steps as thoroughly as you can, and look for instructional videos online.


Stop Wound Bleeding

Profuse bleeding requires immediate care. Teach your child how to apply pressure on wounds using bandages or available cloth. The bandage shouldn’t be removed when the bleeding has stopped. Instead, instruct the child to call 911 or look for an adult.

Stop a Nosebleed

Nosebleeds become an emergency when the bleeding is profuse and shows no signs of stopping on its own. Kids should learn how to help the victim lean his head forward slightly, and pinch his nostrils shut for 10 minutes. If the bleeding continues, instruct children to call 911.

Treating Burns

Burns are one of the most common injuries. All children can be taught to cool burns with running water as soon as possible. When your child is old enough to understand, you can go into detail about the different degrees of burns. Burn cream in a first aid kit can be applied to first-degree burns after the burn has been cooled by water.

Avoid filling your child with anxiety about emergencies. Make the teaching process into a game or song to keep things lighthearted, and go over the steps often to help your child retain the information. With a few lessons they can be prepared and confident no matter what happens.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer, recent graduate from the University of New Mexico, and avid runner. She loves to blog about fitness, health, home and family. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What You Need To Know About Snakebite Survival

Black Rat Snake-
By Stephen Lody Photography (Own work http://www.behance.net/kadoka)
[CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Natural or human-made, disasters have a penchant for bringing out unfriendly reptiles. Even the most prepped of us will find ourselves gathering firewood, foraging for food and water, or seeking shelter in new places when disaster strikes – and that’s just inviting some of the 3000+ snake species on the planet. That’s why it’s so important for the well-prepped survivalist to understand how to avoid and survive a snake attack.

Here’s what you need to do, to ensure you can survive potential snakebites if things go awry.

Understand the different kinds of snakes

Most people fear bites from venomous snakes, but few know that non-venomous bites pose the risk for serious infection as well. While there’s no clear-cut way to distinguish between the two kinds, most venomous snakes have triangular heads, elliptical instead of round pupils, or pits between their eyes and nostrils. Prep yourself up for survival by researching the common kinds of snakes found in your region. Some prominent venomous snakes are rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths, coral snakes and cobras, so familiarize yourself with their features as soon as possible.

Prevention is better than cure

When you step into unchartered territory, you need to steer clear of snakes – venomous or non-venomous. Snakes tend to hide in tall grass and undergrowth, or under piles of leaves, so avoid areas sporting these as much as possible. Wherever possible, go out in the coolest parts of the day; snakes are at their most active in hot weather and during the night. Keep a pair each of thick boots, long pants and leather gloves in your survival bag, so you remain well-protected from snake and insect bites at all times.

Understand snakebite first-aid

If you or someone you know are bitten by a snake, knowing the right first-aid can slow down the spread of poison and give you time to reach your bug-out bag or shelter for medicine. The fear that comes from a snakebite often does more harm than the bite itself – keep yourself calm if bitten, as stress amps up circulation, which causes the venom to spread faster. To further slowdown the flow of the venom, position the affected area below heart level, remove items such as tight clothing or jewelry from around it, and then use a splint or compressing bandage to restrict its movement. The compressing device you use should be tight enough to slow down circulation, but not so tight that it further damages the affected body part.

Carry antivenin in your bug-out bag

The World Health Organization (WHO) includes snake antivenin in its List of Essential Medicines, as the only specific treatment for envenoming bites. Carry an antivenin that meets WHO requirements in your bug-out bag, to prevent and reverse the effects of a potential envenoming snakebite. There are multiple kinds of antivenins, some of which are specific to geographies and species, so be sure to find the one most appropriate for your surroundings. Ideally, you should be looking for anti-venom that treats snakebites from most of the common snake species found in your region.

With these four guidelines shaping your survival prep and first aid kit, you’ll be well-prepared for snakebite survival, should disaster strike. Just remember that no matter how well-prepped you are, bite prevention is always better than treatment.


Written by James Smith

Thursday, October 08, 2015

How The Recession Changed The Way We Think About Prepping

Before the recession hit, emergency preparedness was largely hypothetical. People usually imagined apocalyptic situations, without a lot of regard to real-life preferences. However, the recent economic downturn has made everyone think twice about their emergency plan. Here are three things you should take away from the recession, so that you can prepare more realistically:

Being Self-Sufficient Is Crucial

Sure, your parents might have emergency supplies stashed away in their basement, but if other people get to them first, you might be out of luck. During emergencies, being able to stand on your own two feet is crucial to your survival. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, some people couldn’t afford to evacuate New Orleans, which left them battling the disaster on their own—without much government assistance. Do yourself a favor and create a tactical plan for your family. Save money and resources, so that you don’t have to rely on anyone else during an emergency.

Choose Food Storage You Will Actually Eat

If you were one of the 7.9 million people who lost their job during the recession, you probably found yourself dipping into your food storage from time to time. Unfortunately, if you couldn’t bring yourself to stomach those bottled peaches or packets of protein powder, you probably spent some of your valuable savings on food and water. To ward off hunger in the future, test out food storage before you invest in a larger supply. Buy small amounts and use the ingredients when you make normal dinners. By experimenting with food storage, you might learn which items to avoid, so that you can stay comfortable during emergencies.

Invest In Weapons Training

Although the recent American recession was generally peaceful, other parts of the globe experience hostile takeovers—endangering citizens that are unable to protect themselves. To keep your family safe, you may have invested in a nice gun cabinet and a few pieces of weaponry. Unfortunately, if you don’t know how to use that gun, you might find yourself at square one during a home invasion. To protect your family, take the time to invest in weapons training. Take a concealed carry course, and practice your shot from time to time. You can stock up on useful weapons by using coupons for gander mountain guns and finding a safe suitable for gun storage. You never know—it might seem like a leisure activity now, but later, it could help you to ward off criminals or hunt for food.

By carefully evaluating your emergency plan, you might be able to avoid common frustrations, so that you can weather any storm life throws at you.


Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston. When she manages to tear herself away from the computer, she enjoys baking, rock climbing, and film noir.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

How You Can Help Others Understand the Importance of Emergency Preparedness

As you have promoted safety and risk awareness at your home or place of business, you may have felt frustrated. Most people do not seem to have the same zeal for the subject that you do. As a result, you worry that they will forget your suggestions and find themselves in critical danger when a disaster strikes. To ensure your message gets through to them, you have to use different strategies. Some people respond better to the methods below than they do to emails and presentations.

  1. Get Your Masters in Emergency Management and Urge Others to Do the Same

    Before you can stress how much safety matters, you have to have a thorough understanding of it. Learn about common workplace hazards and how to respond to them by earning your master’s in emergency management. Get this degree online if you do not have time to attend physical classes. Once you have your degree, you can fully understand and explain the safety measures your building requires. Your community needs experts, and getting the right education is a great way to inform others the importance of emergency preparedness.

  2. Host Contests with Employee Incentives

    Your employees may not give you their full attention when you present safety information by itself. However, when you add prizes to your presentation, your listeners will feel more motivated to participate. You could also host contests after trainings and presentations to ensure your message sinks in. Offer desirable prizes like gift cards and electronics, do not just settle for food.

  3. Role Play and Practice Drills

    As the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” If you want your employees to realize how much emergency preparedness matters, have them act on it. Role play different scenarios such as responding to injuries or fires. Hold drills for floods, fires, earthquakes, inclement weather and intruders. When your employees go through the motions, they should remember your message better.

  4. Post Signs and Instructions in Every Stairwell and Bathroom Stall

    Even if your workers ignore your emails, they will see these signs and instructions every time they take a break. Because they see the sign so often, they will know how to respond to emergencies even if they do not consciously study the instructions. Additionally, if your office has break rooms, post signs and instructions there as well.

Whether you need to improve safety in your home, office, store, educational institution or other building, the tips above can help you boost emergency preparedness. Use these strategies to ensure your peers and employees can respond to any disaster and return whole and healthy to their families, no matter what risks they face.


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.

Friday, October 02, 2015

How to Teach Family Safety Lessons More Effectively

Every family should have an emergency plan. Whether fire or other natural disaster, power outage or other issue, families need to have a clear idea of what to do when a problem occurs. Even the youngest family members should have a good idea of what to do should the unthinkable happen. Here are some ways to keep your whole family engaged while helping them to prepare for possible disasters.

Troubleshoot

When thinking about family emergency planning, the first thing to do is figure out what dangers are possible in your area. Fires and power outage are universal, and should each have a plan. Do you also live in an area common to tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, or volcanoes? If so, you may want to work on plans for each of these as well. Have your kids help you to point out the possible emergencies, so they are aware of what they may be.

Practice

Once your plans are made, be certain to do drills of each. If you have fire ladders on upper windows, get them out of the box and be sure everyone can use them. Time people and offer rewards for the fastest escape. The best-run emergencies are those where people react on instinct. Drills create the muscle memory to act without thinking.

Shop

Prepare an emergency kit to keep you fed and hydrated for a number of days. It should have food and water for all of you, and an alternate cooking source like a camp stove to help make sure you can sterilize water and cook food. The amount of time your kit runs for is up to you; depending on the level of planning, people usually keep storage from between three days to three months. Seven days is usually more than sufficient for most emergencies, however. The other important part of this kit is to go through it at least once a year and replace anything expired. Food, flares, batteries, and first aid items can all go bad.

Plan a Meetup

Another thing to consider in emergency planning is what to do if disaster strikes when you are apart. If the kids are at school or practice, and you are at work or home, then how do you get to them? If you are within walking distance, this is easy. But if an earthquake strikes and you are further apart, consider giving them an alternate person to go to who is closer by and who knows that they are your children's emergency backup people. This means you can head to them and know they are safe.

Take a Class

Whether you want more info on disaster preparedness, or you want your kids to also be first aid and CPR certified, a family class makes a lot of sense when it comes to safety planning. Even if their role is most likely to call 911, a child who is prepared if a parent has a medical accident will be much more likely to respond quickly and maturely, which can mean the difference between life and death. There will be cases where they can do more than this, such as helping to stabilize a broken limb, or other problem while waiting for help. By taking these classes as a family, you open discussion to the roles you play, and the times when those roles can shift.

Revise as Your Kids Grow

Early on, your kids will likely follow and you will lead. However, you will find that your kids are much more engaged in safety lessons if you give them leading roles. Allow them to run drills and give you goals at times. Let them suggest changes or take on leadership roles. Give them real responsibilities in your emergency scenarios. This will give them confidence, and keep them paying attention so that if a real disaster strikes, they are as prepared as can be.

Your family’s safety is your number one priority. To keep them safe, make sure you are ready for any kind of disaster. Use these tips and other methods like installing a NorthStar Home Security system for the best results of keeping everyone happy and healthy.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer, recent graduate from the University of New Mexico, and avid runner. She loves to blog about fitness, health, home and family. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Important Renovations to Prepare Your Home for the Worst

When you find yourself surrounded by disaster (natural or otherwise), what do you do? You find safety for yourself and your loved ones. What happens to your house? What is the most efficient way to protect your home as much as possible? Perhaps your next home renovation should include protecting it from severe events.

Wild Fire

Droughts have caused wildfires in many places in the nation. If you live in one of those areas, have you considered changing your landscaping? The types of plants and materials that surround your home can either increase or decrease the effect of fire in the area. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Use pebbles or gravel instead of mulch.
  • Exchange your wooden deck for a concrete patio.
  • Decorate with more rocks and fewer plants.
  • Keep dried leaves and debris from accumulating around your property.
  • Apply a fire-resistant material to your exterior walls.
  • Switch to Class A roofing. This roofing withstands severe exposure to fire from outside of the structure.


Hail Storms

If you live where these storms occur frequently, consider replacing your current roof with an impact-resistant material. Class 4 shingles are the most resistant to hail, high wind, and streaks. These shingles not only protect, but they also enhance the curb appeal of the home.

Floods

    Torrential rains, melting snow, storms, and melting snow are some of the reasons that flooding happens. What measures can you take to prevent as much damage as possible?
  • “Dry proof” your home by applying sealing materials to your walls.
  • “Wet –proof” your house with foundation vents that allow water to flow through it instead of rising inside.
  • Raise switches, and circuit breakers, etc. at least a foot above the flood level of your property.


Wind

    Heavy winds cause your home to be vulnerable. Renovation ideas to better protect them include:
  • Repair or replacing loose or missing shingles.
  • Change to heavy-duty bolts on the doors so they are less likely to blow off.
  • Install impact-resistant windows and doors, like the ones available from Storm Shield LLC.


Earthquakes

If you live in an earthquake zone, and your home is more than twenty years old, you may need to upgrade your home’s foundation in to strengthen it. It is also recommended to apply safety film to your windows and glass doors. Fires, hurricanes, hail, wind, and earthquakes can be devastating. What is the best way to protect your home? If you already have plans to beautify it, why not safeguard it as well.


Written by Rachelle Wilber

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Finding an Inexpensive Survival Knife

CRK Mark IV Everywhere you look people are pushing high end survival knives. But what do you do if you don’t want to drop $200+ on something you might just lose anyway?

Rambo aside a survival knife is basically a good stout knife that will hold an edge, and can accomplish most any wilderness task you set for it.

Native Americans / Mountain Men

For generations Native Americans used stone blades for all their cutting needs. You can still accomplish your cutting needs with a sharp flake of stone if you want to go that route.

The Mountain Men lived with and sometimes against the natives. They usually carried a carbon steel blade very similar to today’s butcher knives. Some of those knives were made in a heavy Bowie or Arkansas toothpick design, but the majority were made thinner out of old saw blades.

These knives are of carbon steal and will rust, but if you use them you will take care of them. Old time steel varied widely in quality (similar to today’s imports) and some of the blades were brittle and broke. This is why Mountain men usually carried several knives, not only for trading but also for replacing lost or broken ones.

Finding these Knives Today

Any heavy bladed kitchen knife will pull double duty as a decent survival knife.

I have a thing for these knives and many times you will find me in the woods with an old carbon steel butcher knife. I always keep an eye out for carbon steel knives.

You can find them at yard sales, flea markets, auctions and thrift stores. I will always go poke through the box of kitchen knives at these places looking for carbon blades.

You can usually get then for $1 each at most. At this price you can afford to have a few extras in your kit. The most I have ever paid was $10 for a bundle of five knives that included a very old mountain man style knife made from a saw blade.

Even Stainless Kitchen blades will work if you must.

Sure your custom made $200 dollar blade looks pretty, but my $1 carbon butcher will do just about the same job, and not cause me to lose any sleep if I drop it in the lake.


Randy Augsburger writes form an old homestead that has been in his family since 1866

Thursday, September 10, 2015

STAND: 5 Keys to Protecting Your Family in Changing Times

Remember the word “stand” as you prepare to protect your family during unforeseen emergencies and disasters. Each letter “stands” for a key component of any successful family security plan.

S is for Seeing Ahead


You've probably watched enough dystopian TV dramas to know that bad things happen to the guy or gal who fails to pay attention to the world around them. But you know something they don't: police scanners and shortwave radios provide advance notice about what's going on in your neighborhood and around the world.

You don't want to become a weirdo who obsesses over every tremor on the planet, but you do want to monitor conditions that may affect your survival. Stay tuned to the financial market reports, weather forecasts, and public safety messages that will impact you.

Having a heads up if there is a flu epidemic at school or a fire hazard in your neighborhood can mean the difference between escaping harm or falling victim to it. Remember that the most important aspect of seeing ahead is making a list of the tools and skills your family must have to survive any potential threats where you are.

T is for Taking Lessons


When you practiced seeing ahead, you made a list of tools and skills you and your family will need during potentially disruptive events. Don't just buy a weapon and let it sit in a gun safe. Don't make an elaborate bug-out plan and never rehearse it.

Go to the gun range and practice firing your weapon accurately and safely. Have regular drills with your family to ensure everyone knows their role in a bug-out situation.

Take classes on edible wild plants, primitive fire starting, and foreign languages to keep yourself on your toes. Every skill you gain is an advantage when your life and your family members' lives are on the line.

A is for Assembling All You Need


When planning for a shelter-in-place or an escape situation, you should have lists of what you'll need for the most likely scenarios you expect to encounter. How will you handle water, food, and shelter needs at home? Begin the assembly process by collecting the food and supplies you'll store there.

You'll need to assemble off-site supplies, too. Where will you store extra fuel for the car, emergency food, and replacement ammunition away from your residence? Gather these items next. A Brownells coupon can help you procure extra ammo and supplies.

You'll need a master plan with a checklist for every emergency criteria, including maps, recipes, phone numbers and backup plans. One copy of the master list should be located with your bug-out bags that you assemble for each family member and keep at home or in your vehicle. Another copy should be located off-site where you can reach it easily if you are forced from your home for any reason.

N is for Nesting or “Nomad”-ing


Once you have the supplies, tools, and training you need to face emergencies at home, and you have solid bug-out plans if things start going sour, you're ready for whatever life throws you. When disaster strikes, you only need to decide whether you will nest or be nomads.

There are times when staying at home is not an option. Flooding or fires may make your home a death trap. Other times, staying home is the best way to remain secure.

The important thing is for your family team to be committed to whichever choice is made. When you nestle in or play nomads as a devoted, strong group, your chances of survival increase. Work out any kinks in your plans and toughen up your family by having “no power” nights at home and by camping in state parks while acting out pretend emergency role playing games.

D is for Defend


Whether you nest or nomad, you must constantly be on guard for weaknesses in your line of defense. How can you secure your home or your bug-out spot from potential threats? Think up methods that will work even if you have no power.

Devise low-tech ways to camouflage yourselves and your supplies. For example, string up fishing line or string trimmer line attached to bells or metal pie plates to make noise if a person or animal walks into a boundary area.

Know the animal, human, and microscopic threats your family faces, and be certain all capable family members know how to defeat them, whether that means aiming a pistol or boiling all creek water before drinking.

If you keep your family's emergency “stand” in mind, you'll find it easier to organize and prepare your family for anything that develops on this volatile, ever-changing world.


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.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Standing Your Ground: What To Know About Your Rights to Home Defense

SHUT UP! 152/366
You have a right to defend your home and family from force and violence. Self-defense laws have become complex and can be very different from one jurisdiction to the next. You should know a few things about your rights to home defense.

Immediate Threat

There must be an immediate threat in order to claim self-defense. This means the threat is right in front of you and is more than likely going to affect you soon. This is important because self-defense no longer applies if the situation ends or the aggressor leaves.

Reasonable Fear of Harm

You must also have a reasonable fear of harm to exercise your rights to home defense. This means that a reasonable person should be able determine that you were more than likely going to be harmed. This is in place to ensure that irrational responses like shooting a delivery person cannot be counted as self-defense.

Responding Proportionally

If you do take action, then you are allowed only to use the level of force that is being employed against you. This means you cannot use lethal force against someone who did nothing but reach for your body. Responding proportionally is difficult to judge in the heat of the moment. If you face criminal charges, a Keyser defense attorney in Minnesota recommends discussing your options with a lawyer.

Your Duty to Retreat in Some States

Some states make it your duty to try to retreat from any situation before violence occurs. You cannot claim any self-defense in these jurisdictions unless you can show that you tried to retreat and avoid conflict first. If home defense is important to you, then check if you have a duty to retreat in your area.

Trying To Standing Your Ground

Some states have stand your ground laws that negate the duty to retreat. This means you can act in self-defense without trying to avoid the conflict first. Proportional response still applies and lethal force is not part of stand your ground in some states.

The Castle Doctrine

The final right is called the Castle Doctrine. This allows you to use lethal force if someone has illegally entered your home. The exact situation and laws in your state will dictate the circumstances under which you can use the Castle Doctrine to explain your self-defense.

It is important to act with care when faced with a home defense situation. Know the law and try to contact the authorities immediately if you feel threatened in or around your home.


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.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Going Off the Grid: Is Solar Becoming the Best Option?

An off-grid solar system is one that has no connection to the utility grid. It therefore provides all of the electricity for the residence or business, and the owner is responsible for all of the repairs and maintenance.

Staying on the grid is arguably easiest for many people. As Just Energy Ohio points out, solar systems tied to the grid are generally reliable and efficient. Also, if the property owner is leasing the solar system, the solar company is responsible for the repairs and maintenance. On the other hand, being tied to the grid makes the property owner completely dependent on it. In the event of a societal collapse, the property owner will have to hope their power company somehow survives. If they are already off the grid, however, they will be well-prepared to weather such a breakdown.

The first step in going off the grid is to conduct a “load analysis,” in which the property owner estimates the amount of energy they typically use. Utilities measure electricity consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh), and utility bills will tell the property owner how many kilowatt hours they used during the last billing period. Using a year’s worth of bills provides even more information. The property owner should also factor in any energy conservation methods they are using, plus data about the amount of sun they get in their area. Doing all this will help the property owner determine how much energy they use and how many solar panels they will need to install. They will also need to find the best place for the solar panels—and that place may not necessarily be the roof. Solar panels need to be where they will get maximum sunshine and minimum shade.

An off-grid system will need all of the same items as a conventional system: solar panels, an inverter, safety equipment, and a monitoring system. In addition, it will need a charge controller, a battery bank, and a generator. The latter will act as a backup source of energy for those days when the sun doesn’t shine. The battery bank stores any excess energy and the charge controller keeps the battery bank from overcharging. The charge controller also helps maintain the batteries, so getting a good one is vital. Since an off-grid system produces all the energy that a building will need, it will probably be somewhat bigger than a grid-tied system. It is best to get the system components from a local source, for they will also probably have the parts and tools needed for any repairs.

The battery bank will likely be the weak link in the system. While solar panels and inverters can last for at least 20 years, a battery bank has to be replaced every 10 or 15 years – and that’s with good care. The battery bank will need to be cleaned and have its connections checked regularly to prolong its life. It will also need water. The most important aspect of its care, though, is fully recharging the batteries regularly every few days. Even the Tesla Powerwall, which needs little or no maintenance, has only a 10-year warranty. Made by the car company of the same name, it’s a wall-mounted lithium ion battery. It comes in two sizes with the larger battery storing up to 10kWh. Up to nine Powerwall batteries can be linked together in a bank – but a single Powerwall battery costs at least $3,000.

Solar systems work well in many climates, but extreme heat reduces their efficiency. They are at their best on cool, sunny days. Solar panels that can track the sun are more efficient than those that don’t. While getting an off-grid solar system is not something that should be attempted without a lot of thought and preparation, the independence makes it worth it.


Elizabeth Eckhart is a freelance writer with an interest in energy conservation, living off the grid and the outdoors. You can link to her on Twitter at @elizeckhart

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Essential skills you'll need for survival

GoodFon.su - wallpaper A theme of a doomsday has become quite popular especially nowadays when we may see many TV-series on this particular topic, zombie apocalypse etc. lately. Almost each year, there are rumors about the end of the world and prognosis on when it is going to happen. Repeatedly again, these rumors fail and everyone forgets about it until next time. Nevertheless, it is important to be prepared for anything in general and doomsday to come in particular. To be prepared means to obtain certain knowledge upon this matter, knowledge and skills.

It is similar to being able to give the first aid and have a medicine box with you. Speaking of the TV-series, it might be useful to watch some to get oneself ready and see for oneself what might be in use under circumstances like those. In addition, you will be able to offer your medical help in exchange for food or else. To give the first aid is one of the essential skills you will need to survive yourself and to help others. Among the rest, to be able to start a fire, to know at least a few ways how to do that, to build a shelter, to hunt, to get clean drinkable water, to gather food, speaking of which it is important to know which mushrooms and berries are edible, for instance. Along with hunting, one should know how to create traps and how to cook right to avoid diseases and bacteria.

People depend upon electricity and the ability to generate it is highly important and valuable. Communication, cooking and heating are those areas where it is impossible to go without electricity. Also, it would be good if you had an understanding of how to consume and what insects are to consume. This is a technique of survival and one of the most important ones of all time. Insects contain protein and it takes nothing to prepare them. Moreover, one should know how to handle a weapon. To be able to shoot and clean the weapon is a crucial skill too. Think tactically otherwise you do not belong to survivalists.

Start preparing yourself now by refusing to eat fast food, by physical activity and, of course, getting knowledge and skills you will need in case of emergency situations like catastrophes, apocalypses or else. How to shoot a gun or a crossbow, how to drive a car, how to pick edible stuff in the woods will come in useful when the time comes even though it would be better if anything od the kind never happened. One cannot be too careful, you know.


About the author: Melisa Marzett is a wonderful writer who works for the service, which you may look through at: http://cvresumewritingservices.org/ Her posts are great and you would definitely enjoy reading her writings. She is fond of reading and her worldview is unique. The way she writes will definitely touch the strings of your heart. You will find a lot of new stuff for yourself after being acquainted with her works.

Monday, August 10, 2015

In Pursuit: 5 Essential Items You'll Need in Your Wardrobe This Hunting Season

With the main hunting seasons approaching quickly, you need to make sure you're prepared for anything. Check out this list of the five essential items you'll need in your wardrobe this season.

Scent-Free Product

Hunters should wear product that is scent-free on your hunting trip. Why? Animals in the wild tend to have a much greater range of scent capacity than we might think. For instance, deers can pick up normal human scent between 1/4 and 1/2 miles away at the very least. Wash your clothes with scent-free detergent, wear scent-free lotion, and even make sure to use scent-free soaps and lip balms.

Insulated Boots

It is important to wear insulated boots when hunting because of how painful it can be to keep your feet wet for prolonged periods of time. "Trench foot" leaves a painful prickling feeling in the feet in addition to swelling and blistering. If you have symptoms like this, see your doctor, but reduce your chances of getting trench food in the first place by wearing insulated boots that protect your feet from moisture.

Base Layer

Base layers from places like www.Core4Element.com are a useful tool for any hunter to remain comfortable and safe while hunting. It is important to wear materials that will protect your skin and your body from the elements, but you don't want to be weighed down by busy material. Base Layer is light-weight and easy to wear. If you're hunting, consider buying a hoodie, boxers, or any other product from Base Layer.

Gloves

You should always wear gloves when hunting. If your hands are too cold, they can get stiff and cramped. If they get too warm, they can become fatigued and sweaty. If you somehow get a blister on your hands, they may become swollen, bloody, or irritated. There are so many situations in which your hands could be negatively impacted when hunting, so protect them with a pair of gloves.

Masks/Face Covering

Covering your face protects you from harsh environmental conditions. It also helps conceal any scent you are carrying. It can also hide you while you are hunting. Many animals in the wild see at least 10x further and wider than the average human, so wearing something to cover your face is critical.


By following this list and obtaining these items, you will be much prepared for the upcoming hunting seasons. For more information on what to wear from a different source, check out:http://www.howcast.com/videos/460885-what-should-you-wear-hunting/.


Written by Rachelle Wilber

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

How You Can Help The Community In The Event Of A Natural Disaster



When it comes to natural disasters, every family should prepare for the worst. Droughts, flash floods, earthquakes, and storms can happen in the blink of an eye, and failing to plan for these events could be a deadly mistake. Here is a look at how you can make preparations for your family's safety, as well as the safety of your neighbors and community.

Start Researching Before Moving

Before purchasing a home or moving to a new community, it is important to take a little time and research the history of that area. Many families are surprised by natural disasters simply because they did not consider them a possibility in that area. One of the best ways to do this is to speak with local home insurance providers. These companies keep close records of typical natural disasters in that area. While you can't avoid every disaster, you can make smart choices about the location of your home. For example, homes closer to a local lake may be more prone to flooding than other homes in the area.

Lead By Example

You will not do your community any good whatsoever if your family is not prepared for a disaster. Community organizers must lead by example when it comes to everything from drafting emergency plans to storing food and equipment. Families should start teaching their children as early as possible what to do if they are at school or playing with friends when a disaster strikes. Limiting your own risk factors during these events will give you a better opportunity to help others.

Communicate

Every community must draft an emergency plan and then keep everyone well-informed of these plans. While many towns do have emergency plans in place, they are often unknown to the average resident. If your city does have an emergency plan, then you can request a copy of these plans to hand out to family, friends, and neighbors. Smaller towns that do not have an emergency plan generally use the local police or fire department as a resource for a natural disaster.

Train for Disasters

Those that want to get serious about planning for natural disasters should consider furthering their education and training. Getting an education the field is not only useful when it comes to the safety of your family and neighbors, but it can also open up a number of new career options for those that are interested in this field. If you want to take a lead role in disaster response and preparedness, an EKU master's in emergency management can help you reach your goals.

No one wants to have the lingering feeling as if their community is not ready for a natural disaster. Regardless of where you live, taking a little extra time to plan for these events could be one of the most important decisions that you ever make.


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.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Five Sounding Things You Need To Know About The Future Of Home Prepping Security

The future trends of home security seem to hint at more integrated systems and ones that are a lot more accessible for normal households.

The general lack of Home security has always been a problem despite the overarching need for them. According to alarm.org, in the USA alone one burglary happens every 15 seconds and one robbery every 1.5 minutes. In a survey, 90% of burglars who were interviewed admitted that they avoided homes that had some form of alarm system and in 2012 74% of uncompleted intrusions are credited to audible alarm systems.

Despite these numbers, most households still don’t install home security systems because of the prohibitive cost.

However with the current developments in technology and the rapid decrease in the cost of security systems, it’s likely that the industry will grow even more in the coming years.

It’s important to keep up with these home security trends because they let us know what’s available in the market. Compatibility is another reason, especially if you’re a DIYer. You’ll always want to make sure your systems are future proof (upgradable).

So for those interested, here are today’s trends in the home security industry.

    ISC West 2007 - 9
    Photo courtesy of Exacq via Flickr, Creative Commons

  1. IP and integration is in

    Traditional home security videos used to be done in analog and a lot of systems existing today still use analog for videos because it’s generally cheaper. But with the direction that technology is headed and with the understandable consumer desire for much more integrated systems, IP (Internet Protocol) videos are being pushed forward. They have better resolution and are more compatible with current and future security systems.

    Access control, intrusion detection, alarm systems, and the like are being integrated into the IP technology trend as well because it’ll allow for much more flexible systems and easier control.


  2. CeBIT-2014-Cyber-Security-7357
    Photo courtesy of CeBIT Australia via Flickr, Creative Commons

  3. Rise in cyber security

    Another expected trend in the industry is a continued rise in systems that will protect individuals and organizations from cyber attacks.

    This becomes relevant to home security because the continued integration of security systems to the internet and its use of networking technology makes these systems vulnerable to unauthorized remote access.

    Analog systems require actual physical presence to access or manipulate so cyber attack is not a problem but IP based security systems are remotely accessible. Integrated systems will have to communicate with each other over the internet or over a network and this is where a potential threat can arise.

    Signals being sent from one device to another can be intercepted and false signals can be broadcasted to fool an alarm system into thinking that nothing is wrong.

    The security community is aware of this though and is actively conducting research and development to ensure that their systems are safe from both physical and cyber attacks.

    Awareness seminars are conducted at events like Blackhat and DefCon where individuals and organizations in the security industry come together to discuss the trends and issues that should be addressed in the field.


  4. exacqVision Android app
    Photo courtesy of Exacq via Flickr, Creative Commons

  5. Better integration with Mobile Technology

    Given the technological capabilities of current mobile devices and the “mobile everything” trend, access and control of home security systems through the use of mobile apps will become even more popular.

    This is possible because of the developments in mobile technology and the continued integration of IP into home security systems.

    Your phone or tablet can become the control center for your system. You’ll be able to activate or disable locks and monitor activity in your home through streamed video. This will allow users to comfortably leave their home and control centers without worrying about a decrease in functionality.


  6. Big cable and telco companies are entering the security industry

    Companies like Comcast and AT&T have started offering security services to their subscribers.

    Their entry into the industry means greater competition for traditional security companies especially since they already have a large base of households subscribed to their other services; and being bigger companies have larger budgets.


  7. Bonecam mockup
    Photo courtesy of Csete via Flickr, Creative Commons

  8. Continued increase in DIY systems

    Not everyone will be able to afford a complete home security system and continued support from companies that install them. This shouldn’t be a problem however for the experienced few who can create DIY home security systems with store bought components. There are a number of online guides available for homeowners who feel they’re up to setting their own systems up themselves.

    There are a lot of companies that offer affordable DIY home security devices that can perform some of the functions of a complete security system. Remote video surveillance systems as well as sensor systems are some examples of these. Their advantage is that they’re low cost and are a one time purchase (no monthly fee required).

    Granted that these may not be as robust as full systems that even include call center support (alarm verification and dispatches), but they are cheap and can perform some of the needed security functions well enough.


Some people will continue to patronize their favorite security companies of course but a segment of the market will appreciate these less costly “alternatives”.

The trends in home security have always been tied to the continued evolution of technology.

Before home security was as simple as connecting an alarm system to the phone. Now consumers want remote monitoring, integration with mobile, and generally more automated systems.

The one thing that has never changed however is that what consumers really want is peace of mind. The means to provide it may change depending on what’s technologically and economically feasible.

At the end of the day, homeowners will always seek peace of mind.


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.

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