Friday, February 13, 2015

How To Make Sure Your Home Can Withstand All Weather Extremes To Keep You Safe

Your home may be a place where you entertain friends and relax after a long day of work, but at the most basic level, a home is a shelter for you and your family. It protects you and your loved ones from the harsh elements year-round. The ability of your home to serve as a protective shelter, however, will be based in large part on how well you maintain your home over time. With a few steps, you can make sure that your home is able to withstand all weather extremes to keep you and your loved ones safe in even the worst conditions.

Service the HVAC Unit Regularly

The most common type of extreme weather conditions you may face relates to harsh temperatures. Both extreme heat and cold can result in injury or even death in some cases, and you need to be able to easily control the climate inside your home. Servicing your HVAC unit regularly will help you to minimize the risk of having your HVAC unit fail during extreme temperature conditions.

Invest in Storm Windows

High winds can wreak havoc on your home, and they can impact your safety and well-being. For example, high winds themselves can break fragile glass in some cases. In addition, when objects become moving projectiles due to high winds, these objects can shatter the glass and fly into the home. Storm windows are special windows that are designed to withstand extremely forceful wind gusts. You may consider investing in storm windows if your home does not already have them.

Repair or Replace Your Roof

Your roof covers a broad surface area on the top of your home, and it will take the brunt of the force in many extreme weather situations. Because of this, you need it in excellent condition at all times. You can request a roofing inspection periodically to learn more about its condition. By repairing or replacing it as needed, you will be able to help your roof do its job most effectively.

Invest in a Sump Pump

If your home has a basement, it may be prone to flooding during some weather events. A sump pump can be installed in your basement to remove water before it reaches a damaging level. You can invest in a new sump pump or take steps to repair or maintain an existing unit.

Making repairs or improvements to your home as needed will help you to keep it in great condition and will ensure that it can protect you and your family during inclement weather. Take time to follow these tips today so that you are prepared for all weather conditions. Informational credit to T. Simpson Roofing.

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, February 12, 2015

7 Food Hacks To Learn For Any Disaster Threat

Hurricanes, blizzards, terrorist attacks, power outages, epidemics, and so on — you will never know what natural and manmade disasters will take you by storm. Such stressful times necessitate every ounce of physical and emotional strength and it is crucial to have an emergency food supply for at least three days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This survival food storage guide will walk you through how to come up with a game plan. This includes advice for planning your food stock and food storage tips for your emergency survival food to last for as long as possible.

  1. Plan Smart According to You and Your Family’s Needs and Tastes.

    The average American male consumes just less than 2,500 calories a day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Practical Preppers consultant Scott Hunt urges preppers to ensure a supply that provides at least 2,200 calories per day and covers basic nutritional requirements. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends including vitamin, mineral, and protein supplements to ensure adequate nutrition.

    Pay attention to individuals with special diets. Babies need liquid formula, in case mothers are unable to nurse. Prepare powdered milk for toddlers and canned dietetic foods, juices, and soups for the ill or elderly. Also, take note of food allergies.

    Try to replicate the diet that you are used to eating. Familiar foods boost morale and give a feeling of security amidst uncertainty. Needless to say, pets should be considered. Store non-perishable food for them.

    Canned Milk
    Photo Courtesy of Kathleen Lupole via Flickr, Creative Commons

  2. Your Survival Food Kits Should Withstand Harsh Conditions.

    Catastrophes often require you to be mobile for safety. Calamity food buckets to help you in cases like natural disasters are highly recommended for being portable, handy, and durable enough make it through any calamity or even mishandling. Some food kits come in sturdy and ready buckets, making it convenient in that you no longer have to deal with packing and worrying about bulky and fragile food containers.

    Another important consideration is space. Choose food kits that take up the least space and are stackable to make things easier for when you need to evacuate.

    Wollaston Lake Evacuation
    Photo Courtesy of Jordon Cooper via Flickr, Creative Commons

  3. Mind Their Shelf Life.

    Know what to consume first the moment the electricity goes off. According to FEMA, use first perishable food items from the refrigerator, pantry, garden, and other parts of your house. After that, use the food items from the freezer. A well-filled and well-insulated freezer can have frozen food that is safe to eat for at least two days. Professors Judy Harrison, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Andress, Ph.D. of University of Georgia add that you should consume the foods only if they have ice crystals remaining or if the temperature of the freezer has remained at 40°F or below. You need to limit the number of times you open the freezer door to conserve the remaining cold of the appliance. Stick a list of contents on the freezer. Also, cover the freezer with blankets to hold in cold. Pin blankets back so that the air vent is not covered. Last to be consumed are the non-perishable foods and staples or those that have the longest shelf life.

    Apocalypse Chow Pantry
    Photo Courtesy of Earthworm via Flickr, Creative Commons

  4. Maintain Food Quality by Storing Them Correctly.

    CDC says that certain storage conditions can enhance the shelf life of canned or dried foods, the ideal location being a cool, dry, dark place. Keep food in temperatures between 40 and 60°F. Keep foods away from ranges or refrigerator exhausts as heat causes many foods to spoil more quickly.

    Some food products absorb strong smells so keep food away from petroleum products, such as gasoline, oil, paints, and solvents. Also, protect your supply from rodents and insects by storing them in boxes or in paper cartons. It will also help in preserving food longer if they are heavily wrapped or stored in airtight containers.

    Soup In Containers
    Photo Courtesy of Jody Richards via Flickr, Creative Commons

  5. Be Never Without Water

    One can survive more than three weeks with reduced food intake or even without food (think Mahatma Gandhi). However, it is different with water. Water comprises at least 60% of the adult body and plays a crucial role in every living cell. With this, according to Randall K. Packer, a professor of biology at George Washington University, the longest a person can go without water seems to be a week, which is, however, a generous estimate. The typical period would be three to four days.

    According to FEMA, a normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts (half gallon) of water each day, though people in hot environments, children, nursing mothers, and ill people will require even more. Prepare at least one gallon per person, per day, for drinking, food preparation, and hygiene purposes for at least two weeks.

    You can buy commercially bottled water, which should be kept untouched in its original container until you need to use it. You can also treat water yourself by boiling, chlorination, or distillation. It is best, though, to combine methods for safer water.

    Avoid salty and spicy food, as these will increase thirst. Instead, have salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content. If possible, reduce activity and stay cool to further minimize thirst. You can ration food, but never water. Drink what you need today, and find more for tomorrow.

    Bottled Water Macros December 02, 20106
    Photo Courtesy of Steven Depolo via Flickr, Creative Commons

  6. Always Practice First-In, First-Out.

    Make an inventory of your food items and the expiry dates. Put the best-before date on each item with markers. Work with the shelf life of your stock by rotating them. Store the older supply at the front while put the new ones at the back when replenishing emergency food.

    Photo Courtesy of isafmedia via Flickr, Creative Commons

  7. Cook Food Wisely

    According to FEMA, for cooking indoors, you can use a fireplace. On the other hand, use a charcoal grill or camp stove for cooking outdoors. Keep cooked food hot with candle warmers, chafing dishes, and fondue pots. To avoid further disasters, use only approved devices for cooking and warming food. Canned food can be eaten straight out of the can, but if you heat it in the can, open it and remove the label before heating.

    CDC adds that having the following items on hand will help you in food preparation despite loss of electricity, gas, and water: Cooking utensils; knives, forks, and spoons; paper plates, cups, and towels; a manual can and bottle-opener and heavy-duty aluminum foil. They also cautions to never burn charcoal indoors, as the fumes are deadly when concentrated in a confined place.

    Photo Courtesy of Ken Owen via Flickr, Creative Commons

Never famish despite whatever challenge life throws at you. Events beyond your control should not unnerve you as long as you prepare to the best of your ability. Nothing is certain in this world, but a practical, survivalist mindset will bring a sense of security and make you feel on top of things.

Philip Masterson is the author of AlarmDefense blog. Circle him on Google+.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Blackouts Are About to Be Common: How to Get Ready

Electricity is a lot like air in that you probably only think about it the moment when you don’t have any. And while the planet isn’t on the verge of having an unbreathable atmosphere in the foreseeable future, some reports suggest we may soon have to deal with blackouts with alarming regularity before too long. The steady rise in global population coupled with the fact that an increasing percentage of that population will be using modern electronics means there will be an unprecedented strain on the grid, resulting in lots of blackouts.

These blackouts, of course, don’t just mean you’ll have to settle for reading a book by candlelight rather than watching a movie on Netflix. No, the results will be far from a minor inconvenience. Blackouts happening as frequently as experts predict can throw systems as diverse as water purification and traffic management out of whack.

That being said, just by reading this article you’re already a little bit ahead of those people who will only start thinking about this problem when the lights start cutting out with some regularity. Now, when things are relatively stable, is the best time to prepare for the time when you won’t be able to rely on that wall outlet working every time you want it to. Here a few tips to get you ready.

Make Sure You Have Surge Protectors

Blackouts are one of the biggest causes of voltage spikes, which can seriously damage your electronics. It’s still smart to have surge protectors right now, but when blackouts are a common occurrence rather than a relatively rare thing resulting from storms or other natural disasters, they’ll be indispensable.

Keep Cash On Hand

Online banking has made everybody’s lives much more convenient, but if all of your money is tied up in an inaccessible bank account when you need to be able to buy key supplies, you’re going to be up the proverbial creek. Barring a total collapse of the U.S. government, cold hard cash is going to be especially valuable when a big percentage of people can’t get to their money.

Store Frozen Water in Your Freezer

You don’t want all your meat to spoil and all of your ice cream to melt every time you lose power. If you keep jugs of frozen water in the back of your freezer, the ice will keep everything in there cold for longer when the freezer is no longer working. Just remember to open and close the door as little as possible to keep the cold air in. If you have space for more than one, move one to the refrigerator the minute you lose power to create the same cooler effect there as well.

Consider Investing in a Generator

As soon as these blackouts become a part of daily life, you can bet generators are going to get a heck of a lot more popular and therefore a heck of a lot more expensive. This, of course, means the time to look into these potentially lifesaving machines is now. Here’s a good place to start if you’re only interested in knowing the ins and outs of renting a generator and aren’t ready to buy one yet. However, remember not to run a generator inside your home; the fumes can cause a buildup of CO2.

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.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Five Essentials You Need To Survive In A Disaster That Leaves You Without Power For Days

It can be easy to avoid preparing for an emergency when a disaster has not occurred for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, it can make it difficult to endure when the event actually strikes. To stock up on essentials that are needed when the power is out, there are a few items to have on hand that will make it easier to stay safe and secure in your home.

  1. Headlamps

    Headlamps are more convenient to use than flashlights and will allow you to perform hands-free tasks in the dark without struggling to hold the light for an extended period of time. This will make it easier to perform tasks in a quicker timeframe and will keep the light secure.

  2. Camping Stove or Propane Grill

    To stay full and cook warm meals each day, a camping stove or propane grill will be an essential item that you'll come to appreciate. You'll be able to boil water, cook raw meat, and heat vegetables with the item. Even with food storage, without a way to heat up your food, you may be in for an unpleasant reality that you don't have as much food as planned.

  3. Spare Rechargeable Batteries

    You'll need rechargeable batteries for both radios and lights that are needed during a power outage, which will allow you to listen to the news and illuminate your home for several hours. Having rechargeable batteries on hand will offer peace of mind, knowing that they won't die or need to be replaced after several days of use. This should come with a battery recharger that can charge multiple batteries. Check out to get started on finding the replacement batteries you need.

  4. First Aid Kit

    It's important to have a first aid kit in the event of any disaster, including one that leaves you without power. Having medication and first aid items in one, easy-to-access location will help you find needed supplies quickly.

  5. Water Filtration System

    A water filtration system is essential to have clean drinking water and to cook with when the power is out and you're limited on your water supply. You can easily rely on tap water without worrying about harmful bacteria and protozoa when using the filter.

When a disaster occurs and the power is out for several days, it can be difficult to survive the harsh conditions with limited supplies. By having the essentials on hand, you'll be able to stay healthy and safe with the help of modern tools or products that should be available in each household.

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.

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