Thursday, April 30, 2015

DIY Guide to Keep Your Alarm System in Optimal Condition

Security alarm systems provide homeowners a sense of safety when it comes to their families and properties. This is why it is important to install one in your home given that burglaries and other uneventful things may strike anytime. But just as crucial is the proper maintenance of your alarm system. Aside from ensuring that your alarm will work when it is most needed, maintaining your home security system also prevents false alarms. According to the statistics from the Fairfox County, 95-98 percent of alarm calls turn out to be false alarms, which take away police away from real emergencies.

While security alarm systems offer annual checkups, you can definitely make use of a working knowledge of keeping your alarm system in good condition. From inspecting the components to checking the batteries to making sure that the control panel is able to communicate, here are the tips that you should know for efficient alarm system troubleshooting and maintenance.

Inspect your premises once a week

Schedule regular checks on your house to ensure that everything in it does not adversely affect the performance of your alarm system. The locks on the doors and windows should be in place and in good condition. Look out for the frames around them for any defects. See if your sensors need re-fastening so they are secure. Also, small things like sensors with the cover not put on properly can affect your alarm. Your interior decorations and HVAC equipment should not cause movement and set off detectors. Readjust or change your exterior lights as needed.

Check the cables

All security alarm systems, even the wireless, are connected with at least one cable. Check all cables like for the electricity, telephone line, and so on. Make repairs as soon as you see cut or damaged cords. Make sure that the control panel is securely plugged in and that the outlet or power strip is tucked away in a safe location. If you have babies crawling on the floor, baby proof everything electrical in your home to prevent injuries as well.

Know when to update the batteries

In case of power failures, alarm systems rely on backup batteries. To prepare for power outages or surges, get surge suppressors on your alarm system and make sure that the batteries have four hours of charge at the minimum.

The batteries in your control panel lose their optimal efficiency over time and thus, need to be replaced every three to five years. If you have a wireless security alarm system, the batteries in your wireless sensors and panic buttons need to be replaced more often. It is best to refer to the user manual so you can get a more accurate timeline for the alarm system model that you have.

Immediately tend to beeping signals

Your alarm system may give off beeping signals at the most inconvenient times, but these beeps are your alarm’s way of telling you that there is something wrong with the system. First, make sure the system is disarmed to stop the beeping so you can calmly troubleshoot.

Different alarm systems have different troubleshooting guides, but basically, you will have to refer to the user manual to understand the trouble that the system detected. For instance, to fix false beeping of a DSC alarm system, pressing the star (*) key and then the number 2 will reveal a trouble code number. This trouble code has a corresponding meaning in the user manual. Common troubles are low battery, AC power loss, nonworking telephone line and communication, sensor issues, and loss of time on the system clock.

Regularly clean the components of your alarm system

Having clean equipment makes a huge difference in the performance of your alarm system. Clean cameras provide a clear and unobstructed view of your home. Dirt-free sensors are more able to accurately detect causes for alarm such as a moving intruder and smoke.

Dust dirt from your control panel, detectors, cameras, and other equipment. Use only gentle cleaning substances. If you are not sure how to clean a specific item, check the manual for the instructions. After cleaning, test your devices like the cameras to see if the feed is clear and is recording.

See your alarm system in work by testing it

This is covered in the annual checks if you availed a maintenance contract from your security services provider, but you can also do this on your own. Older security systems need to be tested every three months. If you have a newer alarm system, every six months will do.

To start, call your central monitoring station and let them know that you are testing your alarm system to avoid having dispatchers respond to your alarm test. Turn on the alarm system and trigger it by opening a door or window. After the alarm rings for 15 seconds, enter your code to turn the alarm off. Call again your central station to ask if they got the signal from your alarm system.

The user manual is your guide to everything concerning the specific model of your alarm security system — from the functions to troubleshooting to proper maintenance. Carefully read the instructions. If you keep the hard copy, put in somewhere everyone in your household can easily access it, preferably somewhere near the control panel. You can also download a soft copy, which is helpful for when you remotely monitor your alarm system.

Have the pertinent details on hand

Prepare a list of the information that you have and the information that you need to know should you contact the customer service support of your alarm security system provider. Be clear not only with the brand and model of your alarm system, but also with the issues that you see with it. Make sure you understand their troubleshooting instructions so you can efficiently fix whatever alarm system problem that you have. Also, communicate any concerns so you know what to do and what to expect.

Securing your home definitely does not end with installing an alarm system. Regular maintenance is important to ensure optimal efficiency and to avoid false alarms. Create reminders on your calendar if you must. After all, better be safe than sorry especially when it is the security of your home and your family at stake.

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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Guide to Treating Burns in the Field

Burns are a common but serious injury, requiring immediate medical attention. When out in the field, immediate precautions must be taken to stop the burn from spreading and preventing others from becoming burned. In order to provide proper treatment, you must first identify the cause of the injury and type of burn.

Identify the Class of the Burn

First degree burns look like a sunburn, often maintaining the shape of the heated object that they came in contact with. This heat has only penetrated the outer layers of skin. Treating a first degree burn is primarily about providing comfort. Second degree burns have blisters in addition to skin redness. Third degree burns have penetrated the layers and skin to reveal fatty tissue, muscle or bone underneath. These are extremely dangerous, and the patient might not understand the severity of their injury since their nerves may have been damaged.

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns refer to all injuries caused by heat whether open flames or heated objects. Check for any flames present on the victim's clothing and put them out immediately. A specialist from The Garmon Law Firm says burn injuries can lead to scarring and long-term emotional distress, so it's important to treat even minor burns as soon as possible. Even if you think the burn isn’t serious, do your best to ensure the victim receives proper medical attention.

Electrical Burns

Electrical burns are blisters caused by electric currents coursing through the body. Touching an electrified person can send the current coursing into your body as well. Assume all wires in the victim's vicinity are active and check to see if any wires are currently touching the victim. If possible, turn off all electrical switches in the area. If the victim is currently laying on an active wire, use a piece of wood or non-conductive clothing to lift them off.

Chemical Burns

Chemical burns are identified by skin contact with dangerous materials, such as quick-lime or ammonia. Liquid chemicals need to be diluted and washed away as soon as possible with copious amounts of water. If the chemical was a dry powder, do not immediately clean with water. First brush off as much as the chemical as possible with dry cloth.

Treating a Burn

After removing the cause of the burn, begin treating the wound. Expose the burned area but leave any clothing or material sticking to the wound in place. Remove any of the victim’s jewelry that might cut circulation should the area swell. Use clean cloth to cover the wound completely without breaking any of the blisters. Do not apply any topical medications to the area and seek immediate medical help. Supply the victim with water to drink to replenish their fluids.

Burns can quickly become open wounds that require medical attention to avoid infection. By following these steps, you can help avoid escalating the injury.

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.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


Getting lost is one of those problems that we all know could happen but we don’t really take it seriously. Our brains are so disoriented due to our modern and convenient way of life that they’ll put us in serious danger should we get lost, particularly in the woods.

Can you blame them? We lived most of our lives safe and secure, only travelled on marked roads, train tracks… We go to work every day on the same route by bus, bike or car and now we’ve got GPS! The road is so predictable that most of the time we’re not even aware of our surroundings… Our mind is elsewhere.

Soon, when SHTF, we’ll be way out of our comfort zone. And then what? If we don’t pay attention to what’s going out around us, we’ll get lost and put our lives in serious danger.

What Can You Do to Avoid Getting Lost?

Before we get to talk about compasses and leaving trails, we need to tackle the most important thing when it comes to orientation: our brain. Wherever you go, even if it just to your workplace and back, you need to make a habit of being aware of your surroundings. If you’re like me when I was unawaken, you probably get a feeling of “I don’t wanna” every time you have to go to a place you’ve never been before.

Here’s the thing, you’re not bad at finding places, you just spent too much in your comfort zone. Wake up that part of the brain that’s currently asleep and notice your surroundings. Maybe it’s a tall building or one that’s painted in a weird color. If you’re out in the wild, look for big or oddly shaped trees and rocks, telephone lines, rivers and so on. Whatever they are, make a habit of memorizing them and regularly look behind to see how your position changed in relation to them.

The next thing you can do is to find connections between these objects and yourself, and I’ve got a kick-ass way of doing that. Imagine yourself leaving your body up, up and away… as you raise higher and higher, you notice yourself and the landmarks becoming smaller and smaller, like little dots on a map.

Then, as you move on that map, see yourself from above, progressing, just like you see the dot moving on your GPS. This is a fun exercise that will activate that part of the brain responsible for orientation and will allow you, in time, to active that “inner GPS” faster and easier.

How do you avoid getting lost? The golden rule is to always follow the marked trails. You don’t want what happened to Mauro Prosperi, 39, who got lost for 10 days in the Sahara desert to happen to you. His big mistake was that he didn’t stay put when a sandstorm hit, but tried to find his way back even though the storm changed the landscape entirely around him. He had a compass, he had a map but absolutely no reference points so, needless to say, he got completely lost when he started to move in an unknown direction.

Now, you probably won’t see the desert anytime soon but you could get lost in the woods or in the mountains, whether you’re camping, mountain climbing or, of course, running for your life after the brown stuff hit the fan. Either way, you need to stay as close to your designated path as much as possible and do not try to explore unmarked territory on your own. You should compare what’s on your map with what you see around you and stop immediately if you’re not sure you know where you are.

Furthermore, don’t be a hero. If you have GPS, use it. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone by using only your compass or only your map. You getting safe to your destination is the most important thing.

Furthermore, don’t give into temptation. Just because you think there may a shortcut, do not deviate from your route and risk getting lost and be forced to build shelter in some part of the forest you don’t know.

You’re Lost, Now What?

Well, if it happens, it happens… and the last thing you should do is panic. Calm yourself down, otherwise you’re going to make the wrong decisions. What you should do is try and remember what the last place that looked familiar was. This works for urban as well as for wilderness situations. Take your time, sit down if you can and focus on what turns you made to get to where you are now.

The next thing you need to do is mark your position, by placing a bandana or a piece of duct tape on a tree. Depending on the situation, you’ll want to do it in a way that will let everyone know you’ve been there or, on the contrary, to make it so that only you know about it.

Either way, you’re gonna have to decide whether you’re going to stay and wait for help or go. If you can find a point in the distance that you recognize, you should probably head in that direction but if you don’t, retracing your steps might be your last resort (apart from staying put, of course).

If you decide to stay, you should have walkie-talkies or other communication methods with your peer group but, just in case you don’t, you can always build a fire so that someone hopefully sees the smoke and comes to the rescue.

If you’re not sure what to do, stick to these two pointers: #1 to stay put and #2 to make yourself as visible as possible until either someone finds you or you figure out what to do. Sometimes, by not rushing to be on the move, you come up with quality ideas that could make the difference between life and death.

Well… what can I say… the big takeaway is to always take precaution measures to avoid getting lost. For example, you can read this previous (and excellent post) about hiking safety tips that will give you further information on the topic.

Author Bio: After working for two top survival info companies, Dan decided to teach on his own and set the ambitious objective of becoming one of the top survival gurus in the world. Teaching and doing are the two words that best describe him in his never-ending quest for top-notch survival content.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The probability of a large earthquake in Los Angeles has increased.

A new report by the U.S. Geological survey has introduced a new earthquake forecast model that changes the forecasts for magnitude, location, and likelihood as compared to the 2007 forecast model. The most significant change is the likelihood of medium (6.7-8) quakes has decreased while the likelihood of large (8+) quakes has increased. Looking at the entirety of California, the chance of a medium earthquake has gone from one every 4.8 years to one every 6.3 years while the chance of large earthquakes has gone from one every 617 years to one every 494 years.

The evolution of the California earthquake forecast model has happened as we learn more and more about the complex fault system under our feet.

As we can see the number of faults has increased twenty fold in the last 17 years. In the 1988 forecast, only 16 faults were considered while in 2015 350 faults were considered to create the model. Much of these recent fault finding efforts (pun certainly intended) were driven by the fact that the 1994 Northridge earthquake occurred on a previously unknown fault. There are two other important things that contributed to this revised forecast, the use of space based geology and the observation that earthquakes jump from fault to fault instead of being constrained to the fault that spawned them. Instead of several major fault-lines, the picture that emerges is of a vast interconnected fault system.

While the implications for building codes depends largely on where exactly structures are located, there are some important general conclusions we can draw. Tall buildings and bridges are more at risk than previously thought whereas small single family houses are less likely to experience catastrophic damage. Also the popular assumption that small quakes release pressure and make large ones less likely has been revisited to take into account the connected multi-fault system.

How to Prepare

  • Identify safe and dangerous spots in each room. Get under sturdy desks and tables, stay away from windows, fireplaces, and hanging objects.
  • Conduct Practice drills.
  • Decide where and how to reunite with loved ones if separated during an earthquake.
  • Learn how to shut off the water, gas, and electricity.
  • Get a first aid kit and learn CPR and basic first aid.

During the Earthquake

  • If outdoors, find an open area away from walls, buildings, power lines, and trees.
  • If driving, pull over to the side of the road and stop, avoid areas around power lines and stay in the car until the shaking has stopped.
  • If in a crowded public place, do not rush for the doors. Remain calm and cover your head and neck with arms.

After the Earthquake

  • Do not attempt to use the phone unless there is an urgent life threatening emergency.
  • Check for gas and water leaks as well as damaged electrical wiring. Call utility companies if necessary. Do not attempt to re-light the gas pilot without a thorough inspection.
  • Stay away from downed power lines.
  • Do not use your vehicle unless absolutely necessary.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks.
  • Help others in need.

Alex Churchill works at Tashman Home Center in West Hollywood. You can follow his sad twitter here.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How To Survive A Flash Flood Situation

Over Flight of Duluth Flood 120624-G-HE371-003

Hi there! For today, we are going to tackle one of the possible disasters we can possibly encounter out there. Try to imagine this, you and the group are exploring a canyon when all of a sudden you noticed something is wrong. There is silence around and it was immediately followed by a violent rumbling sound. You all wonder what it is and then you see from the distance that a raging flood is about to come your way… What are going to do to come out of this situation alive? If you want to better your chances of facing a possible disaster like this, then read this article on how to survive a flash flood situation and know the things you ought to do to survive.


A flash flood is a type of disaster that often occurs after a typhoon, storm surge, hurricanes, and other underlying causes. It is characterized by a rapid flooding of water which is a result of a violent weather and can be accompanied with ice particles, fallen debris, and dam debris due to earthquakes and landslides. Flash flood is very common in tropical regions, but it can also take place low terrain areas like rivers, canyon, and other natural catch basins we can find outdoors.

How To Survive This Type Of Disaster:

Going back into our hypothetical situation, if you see a flood is fast approaching your way you need to act fast to stay alive! Every decision you make is crucial to your survival. Therefore, you need to let your head prevail over your emotions or you’ll just end up dead meat… Here’s what you need to do to survive a flash flood disaster:

  1. Do a quick survey

    Scan the area and find the place where you can go to avoid the flood from hitting your group. If in case you and your friends cannot escape the incoming waters, find some trees and climb up as fast as you can. Get a rope, tie it around your waist and tie it into a sturdy branch to provide support so you can withstand the force of the raging torrent.

  2. Rocks and hills are your friends

    Climb up hill if you can or look for large rocks and head there immediately. Expect the flood to rise up at any moment so it really helps to position yourself at a higher ground to keep your body from being submerged and stay alive.

  3. Control the ride

    If it comes up to a point where you end up with the flow, make it a point to keep your head afloat at all times. Point your feet downwards to steer clear of any rock, trees, and fallen debris you might come into contact with. Swim, deflect, and protect your body from these things to avoid getting any injuries. According to FEMA records, one of the main causes of death during flashfloods is when a person is caught up the flow and was hit by fallen debris and other stuff that is drift by the flood. Death by drowning only comes second.

  4. Get a grip

    Fighting the flow of current is useless. So ride it out as best as you can. Get hold of some floating trees and use it to help you keep afloat. Have presence of mind to avoid any obstruction in your path.

  5. Don’t wait to reach the end

    Think quick! Try to hold on to some trees, branches, and other stuff that can help you pull out of the water. Don’t wait until you reach the end of the flow because the tendency is most of the debris will be gathered there and in turn this will make your escape more impossible to do.

  6. Get out of the way

    Once you manage of get out of the water, try to run away as far as you can. Don’t wait for another surge of flash flood to come. Go through your backpack survival kit and find some things to help mend your injuries. You were able to survive the disaster once so don’t wait to get caught the second time around.

  7. Be rescued ASAP

    Try to find a way to contact your family or relatives and seek rescue to treat any injured members of your group. Try to find a way to be dry to prevent yourself from experiencing hypothermia.

Additional Tips:

  1. Always be mindful of the flood prone areas in the location you are heading into.

  2. Inform your family and friends at home about your present whereabouts so they will be able to contact you if any approaching threat is coming near your vicinity. Make it a point to constantly update your loved ones and inform there about your current whereabouts as well as the recent activities you have done.

  3. Make sure to bring your survival must haves and other important things every time you head out in the field. You don’t know what to face out there. So it’s better to be prepared than to leave everything to chance.

  4. Encourage your friends and group members to be aware of the possible disasters you are going to face once you go and proceed to this trip. Set up a meeting before the actual travel and tackle some guidelines to keep your trip save and secure while trying to enjoy your time together.

  5. Never lose your composure once you are facing a flash flood situation. It’s just normal to be afraid, but you should always make it a point to get your head straight immediately so you can make the right decisions to stay alive.


When life’s at stake, the odds of staying alive depend on the choices you make. Learn from the things mentioned in above so you can better prepare for a possible flash flood whenever it comes your way.

Michael Martin is a former Navy Pilot who believes no matter the circumstance, one should always be prepared. Upon entering the civilian world, Michael spent his time traveling the globe and observing different cultures. Growing up in as the son of a serial entrepreneur it was only a matter of time before he took his love of the outdoors and passion for helping others to new heights by founding Bug Out Bag Pro. As a survivalist & entrepreneur, his vision is to help educate and prepare families everywhere with the information, skills and tools to survive any situation they may face!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sunjack Weatherproof LightStick Review

by Shane White

It is always a pleasure to work with the Sunjack folks. I was excited when they asked me if I would like to review their Weatherproof LightStick. This is a LED flashlight in the form of a lightstick and can also be used as a battery as well. It is also waterproof and shock proof and is fairly compact size compared to other lightsticks I have seen around. Let me tell you about some of the key features of this product:


The first feature I should mention is the light. This light stick has four modes. There are three brightness levels up to 350 lumens and a strobe setting. Sunjack claims that the light will last for over 40 hours on the lowest setting on a single charge. I left it on full power for quite some time and it took the battery level indicator a long time to even move. I did manage to get it to shut off after leaving it on its brightest setting overnight. It did drain the battery to one indicator light, but did not drain it completely. It seemed to have shut off when the battery got low.


This product is IP68 rated. This means is that it is dust proof as well as immersion proof. This rating means that you can basically drop it into 1 meter (3 feet) of water or up to 3 meters depending on the manufacturer. Sunjack's website indicated it was good for six feet (2 meters). While running my own tests, I found it to not only be waterproof, but I also found that it floats which can be nice should you drop it in a lake or river. In other words, unless you plan on swimming under water with the light stick, you probably won't need to worry about it going even a few inches below the surface.


Having a backup battery is a very important thing to have. I don't know how many times I used up the battery in my smartphone and was stuck because I was off somewhere where it was not possible to charge. The 5200 mAh rechargable internal battery offers some serious battery life. This is around twice the battery life of a high end smartphone. With the 2 amp USB output, you have plenty of charging power for plugging your cables into the standard USB port. Recharging the lightstick battery is simple with a standard micro USB input. Both the USB output and the micro USB input are protected under a waterproof cap to keep the ports protected while outside or in storage. Sunjack also offers solar chargers that do an excellent job of keeping the lightstick charged so you can keep your it charged this way instead of plugging it into your wall or car chargers if you prefer. Also, with the lightstick battery you can easily charge larger devices or even batteries that allow for USB charging.

Other Features

  • LED Indicators
  • The LED indicators make it very easy to determine how much battery life you have left. I found the LED indicators to be bright enough to be used for a night light, but I couldn't figure out a way to keep them on for a length of time without it being charged or charging something. Anyways, it probably wouldn't make much sense anyway since they would go off one by one as your battery drains.
  • Shock Proof
  • If you are hard on your equipment, this lightstick can take a beating.
  • Lanyards
  • I like the two lanyards on the lightstick. This means you can easily hang it vertically or horizontally.

Overall, I think this is another excellent product by Sunjack. I plan on keeping this in my truck with my Sunjack solar charger so I should theoretically never have an excuse to be without power for my mobile devices. be sure to check them out.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Simple Home Tests to Determine Whether Your Bullion Is Real or Fake

Just about all bullion investors worry about counterfeits. Those concerns are magnified when someone is buying for the first time. Stories about fake coins from Asia and gold bars drilled and filled with Tungsten have been in the headlines recently. But the truth is, counterfeiting is just about as old as the concept of money itself.

Fortunately, making phony coins or bars isn’t easy. The equipment involved is significant – it takes far more than a color printer and the right paper. And making fakes good enough to pass a few simple tests is darn near impossible.

Some testing equipment, such as mass spectrometers and sonogram machines, are expensive and impractical for the typical person to use.

However, here are some lower budget ways you can determine whether or not the bullion you hold is genuine:

Size and Weight

Gold and silver are extraordinarily dense metals – much denser than just about any base metal (even lead and mercury in the case of gold). That means just about all fakes that weigh correctly will be too large in diameter and/or thickness. Or they will be underweight in order to achieve the right diameter and thickness. Simply comparing the diameter and thickness of the coin in question with others known to be genuine could be enough to put you at ease.

If not, an inexpensive set of calipers and a jeweler's scale are a good way of checking. Every coin or round is produced with close tolerances in terms of diameter, thickness, and weight. You can find these dimensions on the “Specifications” tab on our coin and round product pages.

Investors might also consider Fisch Testers. Genuine coins will be both small enough in diameter and thin enough to fit through a slot in the tool, while remaining heavy enough to tip the tool on its fulcrum. Simple and very effective.

Sound or “Ping” Testing

Authentic gold and silver coins chime when struck and the difference is notable versus base metals.

Base metal coins will sound duller and their ring will be shorter -- much like the difference between clinking crystal versus glass champagne flutes.

Try balancing the coin on your fingertip and strike it with another coin. This video provides a good demonstration.

Investors with an iPhone can also install the CoinTrust application and test a short list of the most popular gold and silver coins by gently spinning them on a hard surface with the phone’s microphone positioned nearby.

Android users can install the Bullion Test app. Choose the coin from a drop down list, press the microphone button, then balance the coin on your fingertip and strike it with a fingernail or another coin. Results are instant and accurate.


The above video on ping testing also references another simple technique for using a magnet to identify fakes. Gold and silver are non-magnetic. Placing a strong magnet on a coin and tipping it to watch whether the magnet slides off, as it should, or sticks, like it would to a counterfeit, requires only an inexpensive magnet and a few seconds. (Note that some base metals used in counterfeiting are also non-magnetic, so we suggest doing this in conjunction with some other techniques listed.)

Thermal Conductivity Testing for Silver

Silver is one of the best conductors of thermal energy found in nature. That makes it easy to test silver bullion using nothing more than an ice cube. Place an ice cube on top of a silver bar, coin, or round, and you should see it begin melting almost instantly as heat is quickly transferred. Holding a coin or round between fingers or in the palm of your hand makes the results even more noticeable as the silver rapidly cools to your touch.

Acid Testing

Investors can purchase inexpensive acid test kits for gold and silver. Watching the color change in a drop of acid can reveal whether or not a sample is genuine. However, acids should be handled carefully. Your items can be permanently discolored.

Since bullion coins, rounds, and bars are valued for their metal content, not their beauty, discoloration is unlikely to reduce the value of your bullion by more than a small amount. But it’s still wise to use acid testing sparingly and with caution.

A Word about Tungsten Fakes

Some of the hardest to detect counterfeit gold products involve tungsten. Tungsten’s density is close to that of gold, and it is relatively inexpensive. Here are some of the best ways to avoid problems:

Avoid large gold bars. 10-ounce and larger gold bars are among the easiest to tamper with as they can be drilled, filled with tungsten, and then plugged again with gold. This is more difficult with units 1 oz and smaller. Tungsten is extraordinarily hard whereas gold is soft. This means tungsten is very difficult to use in minting or fabricating small items. It is brittle, and stamping it with a design will result in coins with less detail unless it has been plated with a thick layer of gold.

Ring testing as outlined above should still offer defense against tungsten fakes.

If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Never buy gold bullion below its melt value unless you know and trust its origins.

Buy silver. No metal shares a similar density to silver, making it even more difficult to make good counterfeits than with gold. Plus, the financial incentive is lower.

Recently some of the more prominent mints and refiners have begun employing technology to mark products with seals that assure authenticity. For example, Sunshine Minting rounds and bars carry a seal that reads “VALID” when viewed using their proprietary lens and oriented correctly.

Investors can expect this sort of technology to be more widely used in the coming years. (Note: the lens carries a cost of around $20.00 and needs to be purchased separately from the metal itself.)

As mentioned above, the best defense against fake bullion is to buy from a reputable dealer. Money Metals Exchange sources products directly from well-regarded mints and refiners and employs good quality controls. That is why we can confidently stand behind every product we sell – guaranteeing authenticity, weight, and purity.

Clint Siegner is a Director at Money Metals Exchange, perhaps the nation's fastest-growing dealer of low-premium precious metals coins, rounds, and bars. Siegner, a graduate of Linfield College in Oregon, puts his experience in business management along with his passion for personal liberty, limited government, and honest money into the development of Money Metals' brand and reach. This includes writing extensively on the bullion markets and their intersection with policy and world affairs.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

How to Rotate Your Food Storage Effectively

An emergency news advisory flashes on the television screen. Authorities strongly advise its citizens to stay indoors amidst an impending threat. Power gets cut off shortly and chaos erupts in the streets. Your family is forced to stay indoors, with no outside contact. Your family has to rely on your food storage for survival. You bring out all the necessities that you’ve amassed while prepping- spare batteries, flashlights, emergency survival kits. Weeks go by and it is still unsafe to leave the house. “It’s ok,” you say to yourself. Our food stock can still last for quite some time. Then, as you rummage through your food storage, you realize that you have made one fatal flaw. You have all the necessary survival food kits, you have read every preparedness guide and followed them to the letter but you forgot about one basic thing: proper food storage rotation.

Every good prepper keeps a well-stocked food storage for emergency situations. Keeping it well stocked however, is not enough. To keep an effective food storage system, a good prepper must practice proper food storage stock rotation.

Why the need for food storage stock rotation?

Every food item in your prepper shelf––be it dried fruits, cured and freeze-dried meats, canned goods, or dry grains- have their own shelf lives. Though they last longer than average food items like fresh goods, they will not keep from spoiling indefinitely. So if you don’t consume the food items in your prepper shelf before they expire, they might end up going to waste. Worse, in case of an actual emergency situation, you might find the food supplies you have stored useless because they have already expired. A good system of food storage stock rotation will prevent this from happening.

What is food storage stock rotation?

Food storage rotation is rotating the food supplies in your storage into your daily meals, and replacing it with newer items. Rotation means cycling out and using the products you've had on your shelves for quite some time and bring in newer products to replace what you've used. Simply put, you use food items and then replace them with newer items to 1) prevent food items from going to waste and 2) make sure that the food supplies in your storage have maximum shelf lives.

How to practice effective food storage stock rotation?

  1. Visibility

    The most import aspect in an effective food rotation system is the visibility of your food supplies and their expiration dates. Many families consider the basement or the back of their food pantries as the ideal places for their food storage. Because these storage places are usually dry, cool, and dark, they increase the lifespan of food. However, these out-of-the-way places, don't usually prompt us to use food storage on a regular basis. To remedy this, it is a good idea to make a habit of regularly checking your food storage and keeping a supply in a highly visible area in the kitchen, such as a kitchen cabinet. By keeping your food supplies visible, you will be able to check which items are about to expire and need to be replaced.
  2. Shelf-life awareness

    It is not enough to stock your food storage with supplies, you must also be aware of the shelf life of all your items. If a product is store bought, it usually has information about its expiration date, along with the conditions that it needs to be kept in. To make it easier for you to keep track of your food items’ expiration date, you can use markers to write the expiration dates on top of the cans. You can also write on durable sticky tapes which you can then paste on your food item. By doing this, you will be able to easily keep track of the expiration dates of your food items with one look.
  3. Proper Organizing

    Proper organizing is something that every grocery store does which you can also apply to your home. Items are placed on shelves according to their shelf lives. Items that have been on the shelves longer, meaning those that have shorter shelf lives are pushed to the front, while items that have just arrived and have longer expiration dates are placed behind them.
    You can apply this idea when stocking canned goods. Whenever you restock your supply, put the newly bought cans with longer shelf lives at the back and restock your kitchen with cans from the front. If you want to take it a step further, you can add a left to right way of consumption. You can do this by always placing older cans with shorter shelf lives at the left side. Whether you or a family member uses a can or two for consumption, always take the can at the left side.
    Applying this concept to your other food items ensures that your food storage stays safe, fresh and not in danger of expiration.
  4. Weekly diet incorporation

    Keeping a substantial amount of food in storage is ideal for emergency scenarios. But since you can never tell when this emergency scenario will happen, it is important that you consume and replace the food items in your food storage. You can easily do this by incorporating food items from your emergency food storage into your weekly diet. For example, try using your dried meats and canned goods in your cooking thrice a week. You can use your powdered milks and dried grains for baking and desserts every weekend. Doing this not only ensures proper rotation in your food storage but also familiarizes your family with the food items in your storage. In that case, when the real emergency comes, everyone in your family are already used to eating these food items.

There you have it, 4 simple steps in ensuring that you practice proper food rotation for your food storage. Remember that in order to be fully one hundred percent prepared, it is not enough that you stock on items. You must also be familiar with the ins and outs of how they work and what you need to do in order to keep them in good condition. So that when the real emergency comes, you and your family will be able to deal with it.

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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