Tuesday, December 22, 2015

5 Items You Need in Your Survival Shelter

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.


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.


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.


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

Janev - Boss
  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.

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