Monday, October 31, 2016

How Solar Panels Can Be a Boon in an Emergency Situation

How Solar Panels Can Be a Boon in an Emergency Situation

In an emergency situation such as a power outage, natural disaster or man-made disaster, being able to generate your own electricity can help to keep you and your family safe. One of the most cost-effective and easy to use ways to generate electricity is with solar power. Solar panels can be installed onto your rooftop, requiring as little as 12 square yards of roof surface.

Operating Heating and Cooling Systems

A wintertime blizzard, ice storm or nor'easter could result in widespread wintertime power outages. Having solar panels on your home could supply enough electricity to keep your heating system on. This would allow you to stay in your home and off the unsafe roads. A summertime severe weather event such as a derecho could also cause widespread power outages. Your solar panels could deliver enough power to keep your air conditioning working.

Maintaining Essential Appliances

If you have a medical condition such as sleep apnea or COPD that requires the use of breathing machines or other appliances, having a steady supply of electricity is crucial to your health. With solar panels in place, you would have enough energy to power these life-saving systems. The solar panels can also power a refrigerator to keep baby formula safe and can even run your hot water or oven for cooking.

Do-It-Yourself Solar Kits

Do-it-yourself solar panel kits allow you to save money on the cost of installing a solar system. A typical 4kW system can cost a homeowner about $18,000 in 2016, explains the Energy Informative. About 15 percent of that cost is the installation fees. By installing your own solar panel kit, you could save about $2,500. This level of savings shortens the payoff period of your solar system.

Security Systems

Solar panels can also help to keep your home safe in an emergency situation. The panels can be linked to an inverter that stores the energy you do not use. Some professionals, like Jeff Long, know that the stored energy can be used to power your home's security system even if the electrical grid is down. You can also use the power to charge your cellphone in order to call for help or make contact with family. Solar panels are an environmentally friendly way to generate your own electricity. The systems pay off in 18 to 22 years, but their lifespan is about 25 years. By installing a solar panel system on your home, you can be safe in any type of an emergency situation.


Written by Rachelle Wilber

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Disaster Ready: Best Ways to Insure Your Family Against the Worst

Family Being the head of a family requires taking on many different responsibilities. The most important of which should always be providing security and safety for your family. To do this, you must always plan for the worst. Below are some ways you can protect your home and family from disaster.

Homeowners Insurance

First of all, you need to make sure you purchase homeowners insurance to protect your house against a disaster or act of nature. Homeowners insurance should cover acts of nature such as lightning strikes, fire, strong winds, and hail. According to Bachus & Schanker Law, good homeowner’s insurance policy should also pay for damage done by criminals such as vandalism or burglary. Check with your provider to see what might be missing from your policy and what you should think about adding.

Earthquake and Flood Insurance

Even basic homeowner’s insurance policies won’t cover everything. In certain cases, you may need to purchase extra coverage to protect against certain kinds of disasters more likely to occur in certain areas. You may need earthquake insurance if you live near a fault line and alternatively, you may need flood insurance if you live within a flood plain. Keep in mind that even if earthquakes or flooding happen rarely in an area, it is still a possibility in many parts of the country.

Health Insurance

Not all emergencies affect your property, some affect the livelihood of your family directly, as is the case with medical emergencies. Make sure everyone in your family has adequate health insurance coverage. If you don’t receive health insurance through your employer, purchase it through a state run healthcare exchange to receive a discount from the federal government. Obtaining state healthcare insurance or federal coverage such as Medicaid, Medicare, or health coverage from the Veteran’s Administration is another good option to save money.

Legal Representation

Some injuries are the result of the negligence or malicious acts of others. You or your family members may have received a significant disability due to the action or lack of action of another party. However, health insurance may not provide for everything in this situation such as loss of income or loss of quality of life. If this is the case, it may be best to contact a personal injury lawyer in Denver or your local areas to represent you or your family members in court. Civil court exists to help correct losses brought on by the negligence of others.

These of course are only a few of the things you should do to protect your family members and home against disaster. Stay vigilant and be proactive about providing physical and financial security for your family. You’ll be able to rest much easier if you do.


Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Journalists in Danger: What Writers Face on the Front Lines

Field journalists are daring enough to face the reality of a situation in order to reveal the truth and get the real story. Many have fallen prey to risks that not only hinder their ability to produce a hard-hitting story, but create a situation that could threaten their very lives. It's crucial to learn what you can do to avoid these outcomes when reporting from the front lines. Here are three of the most common risks that apply to a broad base of field journalists.

Disease and Illness

When abroad, traveling journalists are at risk for mild to severe diseases after being exposed to a foreign environment. To avoid getting sick while in the field and thus jeopardizing your news story, be sure to be aware of the specific environmental risks of the location you're visiting. For intercontinental travel, this would mean researching water conditions and food quality. Even US-based journalists visiting a neighboring state must look into the local health hazards of a location. For example, that restaurant you visit for lunch could give you food poisoning, so check the Yelp reviews before putting anything in your body that may have harmed others before you.

Legal Troubles or Imprisonment

Even if you have a Master's in global affairs, there are undoubtedly some important laws you should be aware of in your new location. Do some research before risking becoming imprisoned in a foreign land. Though close to home, visiting a different state or province could be risky if you are unaware of regional laws such as speed limits, cell phone regulations, even eating while driving.

Culture Clashes

As a journalist, it's natural to want to push boundaries, but sometimes this could cause a situation that not only prevents you from getting your story, but from leaving the area safely. A lot can be avoided by respecting a region's local culture. This can come down to a question of altering your personality, such as keeping quiet when you disagree. Remember, your goal is to create a story worth sharing. Remain tactful and polite, so as not to spook the locals and spark suspicion. Before traveling, be sure you are up to speed with the local values and customs.

You may have noticed a common strain in avoiding field journalism pitfalls is research, research, and more research. Now that you've gotten some tips, it's your turn to prioritize and research the stigmas, taboos, and legal regulations of the place you're visiting. Remember, you have a greater purpose of spreading truth, so don't get in your own way.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She writes for many online publications and blogs about home improvements, family, and health. She is an avid hiker, biker and runner. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

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