Thursday, July 19, 2018

Extreme Heat Safety

Proper Planning for Extreme Summer Temperatures

Welcome to Summer! With reports of heatwaves already sweeping the nation, chances are it'll be another brutally hot season. Depending on where you're located, you might already be experiencing daily highs in the mid to upper 90s or more, and as August swiftly approaches, these temperatures will only increase.
Heat safety is a serious issue that deserves your attention. Practicing proper precautions could save your life. 

Travel Safety

School's out for summer and you're ready to hit the open road. If you love big open spaces, you might not encounter a town or even another traveler for hours and sometimes even days, depending on how far off the beaten path you like to stray.
Whether you're driving a few hundred miles or a few thousand, it always makes sense to prepare for the worst. While your chances of encountering a major disaster are small, there's nothing more detrimental than finding yourself inadequately underprepared. Check out our road trip safety blog for more information on preparing your car and yourself before hitting the road.

In the comfort of your car's air conditioned interior, it's not uncommon to forget about the extreme temperatures roads can reach. The heat emitted from pavement can easily reach temperatures up to 150 F, and in many locations the night air isn't cool enough at night to provide relief.


It might seem pretty obvious as you're reading it here, but bringing an adequate supply of water is often a forgotten piece of the puzzle for casual travelers.
Whether you're taking the backroads or hitting the highway, many parts of the U.S. remain unpopulated. You may therefore be stranded many miles from anywhere, in the event of a car malfunction. If you're suddenly stranded, calling a tow truck or AAA will likely result in a fairly swift rescue taking no more than a few hours. But in extreme heat, it's minutes that count. When traveling, we always recommend bringing more water than you actually think you'll need. Keep a five-gallon water storage container such as this in your car, to drink from in case you're stuck waiting for a rescue. Remember that once you're thirsty you're already dehydrated, a condition that can quickly worsen in extreme heats, leading to heat stroke and death.

 It's never recommended that you leave your car, since you'll lose shelter and visibility. With adequate amounts of water, you can easily wait with your car for days, whereas an hour in the open could kill you. Don't leave your car unless you're able to carry twice the amount of water to get you to your destination on foot -  and only if you know exactly where you're going.

Car Battery

A dead battery in summer is more common than you might think. According to the Car Council, liquids inside the battery will actually evaporate in summer, causing your car's battery to lose juice. While no battery is intended to last forever, persistent heat could be shaving years off the life of your battery.
If you live in the hotter parts of the country where temperatures commonly approach the 90s in the summer, you'll likely notice that you need to replace your battery more often than you thought. Heat can kill your battery within five years and even less, so we recommend that before hitting the road, you have your battery tested to ensure it's still capable. If you've had your battery for seven years or more, we recommend a test no matter where you reside.
A local car shop or auto supplies store such as Auto Zone will do this for free.


Most of us occasionally have our tires rotated and heed the advice of mechanics when it's time for a set of replacements, but more regular maintenance is another story. The condition of your tires plays a vital role in road safety, and this is even more true in extreme conditions such as heat.
Because heat causes expansion, your tires will be more inflated in the summer than the winter. If you've ever taken your car skiing and not used speciality tires, you likely noticed a significant drop in tire pressure or were even been surprised by flat tires in the morning.
The opposite is true for heat. It is estimated that for every 10-degree increase in temperature, your tire pressure will rise by one pound per square inch (PSI). That means you could add an additional 20 or more PSI to your tires on a very hot day. As you may have guessed, this can make a significant impact.

Over-inflation can break apart rubber polymers, causing the tire to "pop"
Over-inflation causes increased wear and tear, significantly shortening the lifespan of your tire
Over-inflation results in more friction, increasing heat and thus wear

Your initial reaction might be to simply let some air out of your tires. However, if you've been driving and your tire is hot, letting the air out could put you at risk of driving under-inflated. And an under-inflated tire is actually just as dangerous as an over-inflated one. That's because as more surface area meets the road, friction is greatly increased. This additional friction leads to heat, causing premature wear, tread separation and ultimately blowouts.
Check your tire pressure each day before you hit the road, to ensure you maintain safe PSI ranges.

 While driving on under-inflated tires is never recommended, there is one exception. If you're stuck in sand and you tires are spinning out, let some air out to create more grip. Once you're free, drive slowly to the nearest station to fill back up. The rule of thumb for driving on under-inflated tires is to never exceed speeds of 45 mph. This will greatly reduce your risk of a blowout.

Road Hazards

As we already learned when discussing tires, heat causes things to expand. This includes the pavement used to build roads. While highly uncommon on major highways, road buckling does occur and has caused accidents. It's oftentimes difficult to identify road defects in advance, since refraction from heat waves can skew your view.
Being aware of hazards is half the battle. As you drive off into the sunset, remind yourself that you could encounter any variety of road obstructions, from potholes to leaping animals. Always wear your seatbelt and drive the speed limit.

Hiking & Camping Safety


Anytime you're talking about heat safety, water should be at the top of the list. Water is your lifeline in any emergency. Without it, you cannot survive more than a few days, and even less when confronted with extreme temperatures.
Just as with car travel, it's recommended that your hiking or camping trip be supplied with more water than you think you'll actually need. Running out of water in an emergency situation is detrimental. One five-gallon bucket makes an excellent backup for camping trips, and each hiker should carry at least 3 liters of water on an excursion. Carrying your water in a bag like the Camelbak provides an easy and comfortable solution.

Map & Compass etc.

Whether it's a comfortable 70 degrees or a scorching 100 F, the rules of hiking remain the same: know your trail, carry a compass and never hike alone. From snakebites and bear attacks to losing your sense of direction, hiking is filled with dangers. But you can prepare to ensure your hike stays a rewarding adventure and doesn't end in disaster.
First, never hike alone. In the event of an emergency such as an injury from a misstep or a fall, your hiking buddy could save your life.

Secondly, get a hiking map and a compass - and learn how to use these. During the course of a hike through unmarked territory, it's surprisingly easy to get turned around and lose all sense of direction. If you need additional inspiration, we recommend reading this article about an adventurous woman who took on the Appalachian trail without a compass.

Lastly, know your trail. Whether it’s your first time or you’ve hiked a particular area on previous occasions, knowing the hazards of the trail can mean the difference between a successful hike and a disaster experience.

Flash Floods

It's summer and it's dry, and when it rains, what would normally become a small puddle can turn into a torrential current. Even at low flow rates, water is capable of lifting away large objects such as cars and carrying them downstream. A flash flood will destroy everything in its path.
Flash floods can occur anywhere, and are the result of poor drainage when it rains. If you're camping or hiking in an area where the soil is particularly dry and water can't readily seep in, you should be aware of flash floods. Flash floods can happen day or night and can surprise you if you aren't properly informed.
As with anything else, it is possible to prepare for and avoid flash floods.

First, understand that just because you're not in a rainy location doesn't mean you can't be affected by a flash flood. Water travels downward and accumulates at low elevations. When setting up camp, stay above water level and secure your site. Knowing the topography of the region in which you're hiking or camping will help you to determine your escape route in the event of a flood. Discuss the escape route with your hiking or camping mates ahead of time.
Don't rely on weather forecasts. Weather can change suddenly and quickly, particularly at higher elevations. Learn to identify clouds to identify the warning signs of impending rain before it's too late, and always stay away from any flooded areas.

Pet Safety

Most of us love our pets dearly and we inherently want to protect them. Your ability to do so adequately begins with information.
Unfortunately, there are certain misconceptions surrounding pets -  dogs in particular, which can lead you down a dangerous path. Aside from providing your pet with proper shelter, food and water, here's what you should know:

While most animals can avoid overheating simply by not moving much throughout the day, your dog is your companion. He requires walks to relieve himself (and his boredom), accompanies you on car rides and provides emotional support in stressful situations.

Whether your dog is a large component in your everyday life, or he's mostly asleep on the kitchen tile, he's susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke just as much as you are.

Myth 1:
Panting = Sweating

In fact, because dogs can't sweat, they're even more at risk than you are for overheating. This surprises most people, since the general school of thought about a dog's pant is that it’s comparable to a human's sweat.

 Unfortunately for your furry companion, panting is simply not as effective as sweating. Much like sweating, panting also utilizes evaporation. But unlike sweating, which cools the skin from the outside in, panting tries to accomplish this task from the inside out. The process is less effective than sweating, leaving your dog at risk for overheating even in temperatures only reaching the mid- to upper-80s.

Myth 2:
Paws are Tough
They're tougher than certain other parts of the body, but they're not immune to injury. The paws contain a large amount of nerve endings to help your dog better navigate rough terrain and to avoid injury. In the summer when pavement temperatures can reach 150 F, paws can suffer second degree burns just like any other body part exposed to heat extremes.

Then What Can Paws Do?

Your dog is a distant relative of the wolf, who evolved to live in cold conditions on rough terrains. The evolution of the paw has ensured that the feet can absorb shock from running and jumping. This is due to a layer of fat, which also insulates the foot sort of like the blubber on a whale. That's why dogs don't need cold weather booties.

A bootie, however, can prevent abrasions and blisters, both from heat and cold weather extremes.

Myth 3:
Cracking the Window Helps

We challenge you to prove this theory by sitting in your car with only the windows cracked for even a few minutes. This horrifying myth results in pet deaths every year, and here's why:

We've already discussed how your dog's pant doesn't equate to your sweat, making him more susceptible to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. But just how hot can a car get?
Even on a relatively cool day, you'll notice a heatwave rolling out of your car as you open the door. That's because your car acts like a greenhouse, trapping temperatures inside. A cracked window will do nothing to alleviate this unless your area is experiencing hurricane-like winds.

As your car sits and collects heat, the temperature will continue to rise based on time. For example, in 10 minutes the inside of your car will experience roughly a 20 degree F rise. As you approach an hour, this number could exceed 40 degrees or more. That means, in the time it takes you to run into the store or stop for a quick chat with a friend, your car's interior could become deadly.
In the summertime, be it a relaxing 70 F or a scorching 100 F, it's never safe to leave your pet in the car - not with the windows cracked, not for only five minutes.

Kid Safety

You might hear your kids complaining about the heat, but it's more likely that in the heat of the moment, they'll overexert themselves before they stop playing. That's why it's important to use common sense, whether you're headed to the playground, the pool or elsewhere.
The good news? Children actually tend to be slightly better at staying cooler longer than adults, because have a higher surface area to body mass ratio. (For this reason, they're also more susceptible to cold.)

But that doesn't mean your kid is immune to heat exertion. Just like an adult, a child's normal temperature is about 98 degrees, which means that summertime can put them at risk for overheating.

When playing outside or traveling about with your child, exercise caution once temperatures climb into the 90s. Provide plenty of opportunities for rest, utilize shade and encourage water consumption.

What's the exception? If your baby is nursing or still consuming formula exclusively, do not provide water. The water in breast milk and formulas is enough to satisfy daily fluid intake requirements, and adding additional fluids to the mix can lead to imbalances and interfere with baby's normal appetite.

We hope you stay cool this summer. Leave us a comment below.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Planning for Evacuation with Pets

At SOS Survival Products, our priority is helping you get prepared so you're never caught off guard when a disaster occurs. Proper preparation begins with information - about potential risks, about your options and about the products that are available to you. Armed with information, you'll be able to craft a strong plan and execute it without major hiccups when the time comes.

Each member of your family should be considered individually when creating your plan for evacuation. This includes any pets or livestock you may own. In the end, all aspects of your plan should work flawlessly together so that no one's left behind in the shuffle.

Get Informed

Better planning begins with information. Whether you're traveling or staying put, being informed about your surroundings and any potentially arising risks will help you make the best decisions for yourself and your family.

Get Informed About Natural Disasters

Start by learning which common disasters could affect your area and which seasons carry the highest likelihood for a natural disaster to occur. Use this previous blog post to help you get started.

Once you're aware of the risks around you, we recommend downloading an app such as this one to receive up-to-date weather alerts from the National Weather Service. These alerts will provide you with valuable information about weather occurrences such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. Apps such as these also provide safety tips and preparedness reminders about a wide range of common disasters, and will help you to locate a shelter should you need one.

Because modern technology such as 4G, Wi-Fi and satellites can become unpredictable during a disaster, we also strongly recommend adding a hand-crank emergency radio capable of receiving NOAA weather stations to your list of essential items. Use the National Weather Service website to make a note of all relevant transmitter names, call signs and frequencies in your area, and keep a list with your emergency supplies for later. 

Get Informed About Fires

No one likes to think about the potential for a house fire, but the truth is there are over a million fires in the United States each year. While a fire can occur anywhere and for a variety of reasons, an overwhelming number of fires are caused by neglectful cooking practices such as walking away from the stove or cooking while tired or intoxicated. A staggering 80 percent of fire deaths occur in the home, so fire preparation should be a top priority on your family's list.

Unlike many natural disasters, fires occur without warning. You won't have apps or radios to help you navigate to safety, so it's important to practice fire safety and plan ahead for the worst today.

The best way to ensure you remain safe should a fire occur, is to confirm that your home’s smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and sprinklers are properly maintained. You'll also need an action plan for yourself and everyone in your home, in the event that a fire forces you to evacuate.

If you live in an area known to be affected by wild fires, we recommend reading this article to help you prepare for the event of a planned fire evacuation.

Make a Plan

When planning for an emergency, it's important to consider the needs of each family member individually. Your pets are no different. Your animals depend on you 100 percent; you cannot teach them to use a cell phone or expect them to learn your family's evacuation plan. 
To begin, consider your pets' needs from start to finish.

How will you safely get your pets out of the home?
Where will you go with your pets?
What items or contacts will you need?

Under no circumstances should your evacuation plan include leaving your pets at home or in the backyard where they'll be unable to fend for themselves. A pet that's left behind is at risk for injury and death; planning each detail of an evacuation ahead of time will give you all the best chance of survival.

Leaving the Home

You may be warned to leave your home or have to evacuate very suddenly. If a sudden disaster occurs, don't panic. If your pet isn't by your side, check his or her common hiding places: under the bed, the couch or in the closet.

Reward-based training that uses foods or toys to teach your pet to respond to verbal or other audible cues can save lives and is well worth investing in. Whether your pet's escaped off the leash, slipped out the front door during a pizza delivery or is hiding away during a disaster evacuation, getting him or her to come to you on demand is a most valuable asset.

In an emergency situation, your pet may become inconsolably nervous and be unwilling to trust their surroundings. Nervous pets may not be capable of listening; if you know your pet can't calm down in a thunderstorm or during fireworks, for example, ensure you have the proper restraints available so there’s no chance of escape. Restraints could include a hard crate, a soft carrier or a leash and properly fitted harness.

You should practice getting your pet into a crate, kennel or to the car just as you'd practice an evacuation with your children. If your pet isn't normally confined in a crate, getting him or her to comply with you during an emergency can become a real struggle. If you plan to move your pet into a crate or other strange confined space in an emergency, we recommend properly introducing these items to your pet prior to an emergency using plenty of treats and praise.
Never under any circumstances, leave pets – or children – in the car alone.

Evacuating with livestock during a disaster event, while much more large-scale, is no different. In order to evacuate quickly and safely, you'll first need a plan that answers how you'll get your animals to safety, where you'll evacuate to, and what sort of items, contacts or identification you'll need once you've made it to safety.

Just like with any animal, it'll be important to get your livestock accustomed to being loaded into a transport trailer. Practice this so they’ll go willingly when the time comes. Always plan to evacuate with your animals whenever possible. Map out potential routes in advance and ensure all transport vehicles or trailers are available, up to date and fully functional.

If it's not possible for you to evacuate your livestock on your own, you'll need to decide if there's time to move the herd to a shelter or if you'll need to turn them outside.

Where Will You Go?

Your evacuation plan begins with how you'll leave and ends with where you'll evacuate to. The route you take might differ depending on the disaster, and you should practice each from start to finish in order to address any potentially unforeseen obstacles before they have a chance to arise. Your destination should be outside of the danger zone where you’ll have access to food, water and vet care.

Ensure that your animals can be part of your complete evacuation plan if you're forced into a shelter. If you find that no hotels or even shelters can accommodate your pets during an evacuation, it's time to contact boarding facilities or animal hospitals to get an understanding of their capabilities during an emergency situation.

If you're able to leave your area to evacuate to another town or another state, ensure you create a list of hotels or Airbnbs that will accept pets. If you have friends or relatives nearby, discuss your needs in the event of an emergency with them ahead of time. Update your list of contacts and pet-friendly homes or hotels once every six months.

Don't wait to have these difficult conversations until it's too late. Planning ahead for the worst-case scenario today will keep you from ending up in unforeseen yet avoidable circumstances such as being forced to remain in your home or sleep in your car during unsafe conditions. 

What You’ll Bring

When packing for yourself and your pets, it's important to adhere to a strict list so nothing important gets left behind and you don't end up with a trunk full of toys and Christmas sweaters.

Emergency Contacts 

Keep a list of contacts with your go-bag so it's always where you'll need it.

Friends and family
Boarding facilities
24/7 Emergency vet clinics


Handling equipment
Emergency kit
Shot records


Although the goal of evacuation is to escape to a destination that's capable of providing shelter, safety and other survival essentials such as water, we recommend never evacuating your home without at least some water. That’s because, depending on the severity of the disaster, it may be unlikely that you'll be able to acquire these basics for a few days. Therefore, your go-bag should contain water for three days for each member of your family - at minimum.

Don't waste water, but don't conserve it either. Drink water regularly and before you become thirsty. Once thirst sets in, dehydration has already begun. Give your pets free or regular access to clean drinking water. Plan that each member of your family, including pets, will require 64 oz. of clean water daily. 

Livestock requires much more water daily. On average, one horse will consume up to 20 gallons of water per day. You’ll need to plan for this in the event of an evacuation by bringing along adequate water to keep animals alive and healthy.


Keep at least three days’ worth of food in your go-bag. This includes food for each member of the family. Keep food in airtight and waterproof containers.

We recommend using compact, high-calorie foods with a lengthy shelf life such as the Datrex food bar. These survival bars are designed to provide ample carbohydrates, fats and proteins in affordable packages that are Coast Guard approved.

Most dry foods for dogs and cats are safe to consume for up to a year after manufacturing, while canned foods generally last slightly longer. Unopened cans of pet food can last up to five years,   depending on the kind of preservatives used.

Livestock is generally capable of surviving well without food. By providing adequate amounts of water alone, you should be able to ensure the wellbeing of your livestock for days and even weeks without access to food supplies.

Handling Equipment

Not being able to properly handle your pet or livestock in an emergency situation can result in disaster. The type of equipment you'll need will depend on the type of animal you have, but be careful to consider that a fearful animal who normally walks happily with only a leash might become panicked or even aggressive when disaster strikes.

While you cannot predict how your animals will react during a fire, a storm or an earthquake, you can prepare. There is a wide range of handling equipment available for pets and livestock.


Emergency Kit

Every family needs an emergency kit to mitigate potential injuries such as cuts and scrapes. We recommend participating in a First Aid course for children, adults and pets to adequately prepare you to properly apply bandages and splints, deal with blood loss and more.

An affordable pocket guide such as this one will provide a quick reference during emergencies to help you provide proper daily care, first aid, injury assessment and more.

Your kit should include bandage rolls, bandage tape, bandage scissors, antibiotic ointment, gloves, rubbing alcohol, saline solution and tweezers. These are minimum requirements.

Medications, Identification & Shot Records

It's absolutely vital that all animals in your care have proper identification records. This includes registration information, purchase or adoption papers and vaccination records. Your city ID and rabies tags should be attached to your pet's collar, along with any identification information such as name, address and phone number,

Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping or enrolling your pet in a national recovery database.
Whether your pet gets occasional ear infections or needs a daily insulin shot, plan ahead so that you have spare medication when you need it. Over-the-counter antihistamine such as Benadryl may be used to calm your pet, however, ensure that you know how your pet will respond to a specific medication before administering it.

You can give your pet 1 mg of Diphenhydramine HCl (Antihistamine) per one pound of body weight. Never administer OTC pain medications to a pet. Ask your vet about which medications are appropriate to provide for pain, allergies, stomach upset or nervousness and in which dosages. Your vet is able to prescribe affordable alternatives many of the over-the-counter medications you use.

Other Items to Consider

Poop bags
Cat litter & box
Paper towels
Wet wipes
Treats & toys
Blankets or bedding

Thinking about encountering potential emergencies involving your pet is difficult and scary. However, by planning ahead, you’ll be able to provide the most advanced care and best chance of survival for everyone involved. Don’t wait, plan today.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Camping Essentials for Beginners

Basic Camping Skills & Necessities

It's that time of year again: camping season! Before you load up the truck with snacks and smash ball, let's talk essential items. While each camping trip is different, we recommend starting each excursion with some basics.
We offer a range of high-quality camping products, whether you're headed to the mountains with friends or taking the family out for a holiday weekend. Check out our most recommended must-haves below.


We aren't worried you'll forget one, but choosing the right kind of tent for your trip will be a vital part of your overall experience. With so many kinds of tents on the market, it can be difficult to narrow down your best options. That's why we've done the work for you. We've tried and tested our products for quality and effectiveness and have concluded that either a basic dome tent or an instant pop-up tent will suit most beginner campers.

Basic Dome Tents

These tents are true to their namesake because they pop up into a dome shape. This means that, unlike with an a-frame tent, you're in for a pretty roomie experience. These tents aren't made for walking around in, but unlike some single-sleeper tents, they still offer plenty of room to breathe. At 4.5 feet high and 8 feet wide, this tent provides enough room to sleep four people, but we certainly won't judge anyone who's looking for that Weasely camping experience.
Dome tents are painless to assemble and break down, and are light and compact for easy transportation. Because these tents are free-standing, you can assemble them completely before staking them into the ground. You should stake your tent securely on all four sides to prevent it from blowing away as soon as a gust of wind comes your way.

Instant Tents

These miniature bedrooms are ideal for extended stays in one location. Setup is easy, although all
instant tents featuring an articulated frame will require more than one person. The more people you have, the easier it is to set one of these up. With the help of your family, your instant tent can be completely up and running in just two or three minutes. A tent like this will easily sleep six people.
These homes away from home are a perfect combination of comfort and the outdoor experience. At 6-feet tall, they offer enough room for most people to walk around in, and the ten by nine-foot floor space provides plenty of space for cots, mattresses, and any additional gear you might want to bring in with you.
The advantage of an instant tent is, of course, its unparalleled convenience. However, this tent will not be for you if you're looking for a backpacking experience, you're traveling alone or you're setting up in windy conditions.

Yes, you could just grab a couple of blankets out of the closet, but here's why you shouldn't:


Unless you're camping in your own backyard, you'll need to pack your gear in a car or truck. As survivalists, we naturally prefer the minimalist approach, but we're sure you'll agree that having adequate seating room for everyone on your trip is ideal.
Sleeping bags are light and compact, they roll up neatly and you can squeeze them virtually into any corner of your car. Depending on how much you're willing to spend, sleeping bags easily fit into or onto your pack, giving you a hands-free experience if you're hiking to set up camp.


At higher altitudes, summer temperatures can easily still drop into the 30s and 40s at night. Covering yourself back to front in a comfy cocoon will ensure you don't shiver through the night and wake up stiff and miserable. Choose a sleeping bag appropriate for the weather by checking its temperature rating. We offer summer, winter and three-season bags.


Finally, a proper sleeping bag will still keep you warm even when moist or wet. Although you may not be planning on rain, when camping, it's better to be prepared for the worst-case scenario than not. Nothing will ruin a camping trip faster than being underprepared for the weather.

Butane Stove

If you're camping for more than a night, a stove like this will be an absolute essential. Unlike a camp fire, these flames are predictable and will help you prepare more than just s'mores.
If you'd planned to cook food over a fire, consider this:

Temperature control is pretty difficult with an open flame. We get it, a camp fire is one of the backbones of the experience, but we recommend saving the open flame for warmth and light. The temperature control on a portable stove will allow you to boil water to make beverages or cook rice, and it'll ensure that your entre doesn't become a charred brick as soon as you take your eye away from the kitchen for a minute or two.

A butane stove is easy to assemble and disassemble, and doesn't require any wood or other burning materials. You'll use it in conjunction with one of these disposable butane gas canisters, which can be refilled with the help of certain adaptors.
Portable stoves are easy to clean and store.

Gerber knife or Multi-Tool

Think the Swiss Army Knife on steroids. If you think you don't have a lot of use for such a complex tool, think again. While they may look like they require the handling or an expert outdoorsman, Gerber knives and multi-tools are a must-have on the campground, whether you've a professional or a novice.


Multi-tools offer a number of effective solutions to the everyday problems you'll encounter while

camping. They can look intimidating, but consider that they're great for basic tasks such as tightening a lose screw, opening a bottle, picking something out of a tight crack, measuring a space or cutting something open. You don't have to be a wilderness expert to utilize a multi-tool in this way, and it'll save you hundreds of frustrating trips to and from your car or toolbox to keep one of these in your pocket.
Keeping a multi-tool with you while camping helps you to prepare for the worst without a ton of extra equipment. These little tools can take on a variety of big jobs to save your time and sanity, and you'll be glad you have one if things ever do go wrong.

Gerber Knives

These knives are similar to multi-tools with the exception that they focus heavily on the knife-aspect of things. Knives tend to be even more intimidating than multi-tools for novice campers, but don't worry: these blades aren't intended for protection. While having a knife in a life-or-death camping situation is obviously more ideal than, say, not having a knife, we know that 99.9 percent of camping trips won't call for violence.
So why bother bringing a knife?
Knives help you to prepare and eat food, cut kindling for a fire or rope for the tent. If you plan on fishing, you'll need a knife. Is there anything a knife can't do? With a creative approach, your knife can handle anything.

First Aid Kit

Let's be real. Whether you're camping alone or with family, both are equally as likely to end with at
least one scraped knee or splinter. We recommend keeping a permanent first aid kit (along with a small fire extinguisher) in your car at all times so that no matter where you go, you're prepared for life's little hiccups.
A small fanny pack stocked with the essentials is a convenient way to keep what you need on your person without taking up extra room in your pack.
Keep a basic starter kit at the campsite or on your vehicle. Your basic kit should contain the following, at minimum:

  • Sterile gauze
  • Tweezers
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Butterfly wound closures

We also recommend carrying eyewash for those pesky dust or ash particles that are a part of every camping experience.

Become an Expert Camper & Outdoor Survivalist

If you want to take your camping or wildlife experience to the next level, you'll need more than the proper tools; you'll need proper preparation. There are plenty or websites and books on the topic of minimal and wilderness camping, but when it comes to emergency preparation, we prefer a hands-on experience.

The 2-day wilderness first aid course will teach you everything you'll need to know about making proper assessments, treating cold or heat-related injuries, taking care of broken bones or spinal injuries and more.
You'll have a superior hands-on experience and receive expert advice and answers to your questions along the way. Remember that you need to be CPR certified in order to take this course and be at least 14 years of age. We offer training classes throughout the year, or check with American Red Cross to find a class that’s starting now.
This course is based on the Boy Scouts of America Wilderness First Aid curriculum and doctrine guidelines, and uses OSHA's best practices for workplace First Aid training programs.

The Fire Starter

Ready to try your hand at an advanced skill today? The fire starter is one of our favorite camping tools because it is easy to use, affordable and small enough to tuck away in any pocket.
You learned it on Lost in Space: Magnesium burns hot and is unaffected by water! Never mind the logistics of melting ice with a magnesium fire, all you'll need for your camping trip is one block of this fire starter and, of course, your knife or multi-tool.
This little guy isn't just a cool way to impress your friends, it'll be your lifesaver in an emergency. This fire starter will let you build a fire with little other resources at hand.
If you're considering taking your camping experience to the next level, be sure you check out our article on fire safety and wildlife fire prevention.

What you'll need:

To successfully start a campfire, you’ll tinder, kindling and firewood.

Tinder is the stuff that helps you start your fire. It's super dry and will burn up quickly, such as dry leaves and dry grasses. One major advantage to using a fire starter is that it will allow you to work with damp tinder.

Kindling consists of small sticks that will help you to grow your fire. Make sure you have plenty of kindling to get a sizable fire going before laying on any large firewood.

  • Start with a small amount of tinder and surround it with a "teepee" of kindling.
  • Take your magnesium block and, using a knife, scrape off some shavings of magnesium into your tinder. These shavings are incredibly flammable and will burn very hot and very quickly once they come into contact with a spark.
  • Now, use the fire starter to create a spark. 
  • Keep adding kindling to grow your fire.
Once your fire is burning strong and you can feel the temperature rising, it'll be time to add larger logs one at a time.
You can continue the "teepee" method by laying blocks of wood against one another or you might prefer a pyramid approach. Don't add too much firewood at once. Making a lasting fire takes patience.

Remember that no matter where you are, building your fire safely so that it can't burn out of control should be paramount. If you don't have a fire pit to work with, you'll need to create your own. Keep in mind that you should only be building your own fire pit in an undeveloped area in case of an emergency. Build a fire to stay warm, deter wildlife or to signal for help.
Do you have a favorite camping tool or safety tip? Let us know in the comments below.

Friday, April 20, 2018

All About Droughts

Nearly every part of the United States will experience a period of reduced rainfall this year. While droughts can be stressful for a number of reasons, preparedness is the key to surviving drought season. Read on to learn more about what droughts exactly are, how they affect us, and what we can do during dry times.

What is a drought?

To put it simply, a drought is a period of unusually dry conditions that results in water-related economic problems. For a farmer, a drought is a period of low rainfall that impedes growth of the crops he is cultivating. For a water manager, a drought is a water-supply deficiency period that negatively affects water availably and water quality. Droughts are usually recognized by a lack of precipitation and low streamflow.

Drought Regions 

Almost all parts of the country experience droughts at some point. To check if your hometown or state is experiencing a drought right now, you can check the University of Nebraska Drought Monitor Map here. Some states are much more likely to experience drought than others. At the top of the drought-prone list are Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, Nevada and California, with Southern California especially known to have some of the worst drought conditions in the nation.

Can droughts be prevented?

Yes and no. While you obviously can’t control the weather, you can help preserve water so there’s a sufficient reserve during dry months and the stress on your area isn’t as severe. There are lots of ways to do this, but a few of our favorite tips are:
  1. Use low-volume water conservation appliances in your home. This can hugely impact things like flushing your toilet and taking a shower. Look into installing these appliances – you’ll save water for drought season and save money on your water bill.
  3. Get your home regularly checked by a plumber. Dripping adds up. A leaky faucet wastes 5 gallons of water per day, or 2,082 gallons per year. A pipe leak even the size of a pencil tip can waste 970 gallons of water in just one day, and that’s at low water pressure. Make sure you’re not wasting water with faulty appliances.
  5. Plant local plants & drought tolerant grasses. Plants that are adapted to your local climate don’t need water as frequently and can survive long dry periods. Because they’ve adapted to local conditions, they also don’t need additional care involving pesticides or fertilizers, providing a highly eco-friendly solution. 

Worst Case Scenario

We could all sit back and do nothing during drought season, but this has some serious consequences. Water scarcity means more than just shorter showers, brown grass and dirty cars. According to the United States Food and Agriculture Organization, severe drought destabilizes the food supply and threatens food availability. As a result, prices increase, livelihoods are lost, purchasing power plummets and human health is endangered. In 2015, for example, California suffered a severe drought, and over 560,000 acres of farmland went unsown as farmers had to code with water shortage. That’s a lot of food that never arrived in grocery stores.

What can I do to help?

Nobody wants to experience the devastating effects of a worst case scenario situation. Luckily, there are lots of things we can all do to help today. In addition to taking preventative measures before drought season is upon you, making small habitual changes during droughts can really help on a macro scale.

If you must wash your car, look for a commercial car wash that recycles water (they’re more common than you might think). If you have to water your lawn, do so early in the morning or late at night when temperatures are cooler to prevent waste through evaporation. Remember that most of the year lawns only need one inch of water per week. If your grass springs back up after your step on it, it doesn’t need to be watered.

Try to make conscious effort to reduce your use of water whenever you can. Ask the waiter to not bring water at restaurants if you know you’re won’t be drinking it. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Only use the washing machine for a full load.
While it might seem like these changes only save small amounts of water, every drop adds up immensely, especially when we all work together to save.

Droughts happen, but if we educate ourselves about them, we can greatly reduce our human impact. Working together is key to maintaining a safe water supply and good quality of life for everyone. Got any good ideas on saving water before and during drought season? Leave it in the comments!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

SOS Survival Products Awards

Welcome to the 2018 SOS Product Awards! We think it's about time that some of our products get the recognition they deserve, so we've selected a few of our favorites (and yours) to ensure everyone gets a chance to see what all the buzz is all about. Without further ado, we present...

Best Visual Effects!

The Streamlight Strion features three easy-to-control brightness settings and one strobe functionality.
To ensure your safety, whether you're stranded roadside or use your flashlight for tactical purposes, the LEDs on this torch produce 500 lumens on the high setting, the equivalent of a 33-watt incandescent lightbulb. On this setting, the Streamlight Strion is capable of running for one continuous hour. Its low setting produces a comfortable 125 lumens and will provide you with light for more than three hours.
Because the torch is rechargeable, you'll never need to worry about stocking up on batteries or finding them in the dark. The Strion recharges within just three hours.
This bright flashlight earns its spot as number one in the visual effects category because of its lumens. A lumen is a measurement of total visible light. When the Strion's lumens are concentrated into a tight beam, they produce 10,000 candela reaching up to 200 meters.
For a more concentrated beam, try the Streamlight SL-20L. This rechargeable flashlight can't compete with the Strion in terms of lumens, but with an astonishing 60,000 candela at its disposal, its beam reaches 490 meters!

Not sure how lumens and candela differ?

A lumen is a unit of measurement used to describe how much visible light is produced by a light source such as a flashlight or a lightbulb. Because light scatters, a flashlight's lumens aren't necessarily indicative of how far its light will reach.
A candela is a unit of measurement that describes how far away you can be from a light source and still see it. The more concentrated a beam of light it, the more candela, or candlepower, it will have.

Best Design!

At SOS Survival Products, we're all about functional living, preparation and survival. We know that
in the event of an emergency, the more minimal your dependence on outside resources, the better your chances of success. Check out our blog about collecting rainwater here.
The Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator is an alternative solution to small gas-powered generators. This unit is perfect for the home or for camping trips. The Yeti stores 150 watt hours of power, and can be charged using an AC wall adapter or solar panels.  This gas-free, noise-free and fume-free power generator is ideal for smaller devices such as lights, cooling fans, phones and laptops. An indicator display lets you know how much time and power is left at all times.
With two USB, one 12V and one AC outputs, it's easy and convenient to plug in several devices at one time.  Power it up in preparation for a storm to keep all of your electronic devices readily charged during an outage. This unit is incredibly easy to use, easy to setup and easy to understand.

Best Sound!

During an emergency or extreme weather event, it's critical to stay informed. These days, most of us largely rely on our phones, computers or televisions to stay up to date on weather alerts and emergency broadcast.
The Midland ER200 radio is there for you when other sources of communication fail. During power outages, when your stock of batteries has unexpectedly been emptied or when cell towers are overwhelmed, this hand-crank NOAA radio will be by your side.
The Midland includes a powerful three-setting flashlight, AM/FM radio, NOAA Weather Alert Radio, USB and headphone jacks and an SOS beacon which uses Morse code to signal for emergency assistance. Although it contains a rechargeable battery and a small solar panel, it is also fully functional when cranked by hand. Attach it to a larger solar panel for quicker and more efficient charging in an emergency situation.

Most Original!

Sometimes originality comes in small, simple packages. The LuminAID PackLite lantern started out as a project designed to provide light to earthquake victims in Haiti. Today, LuminAID accompanies hikers, backpackers and emergency aid workers alike.
This uniquely powerful little lantern has come a long way since 2010. Designed to fold flat for easy and convenient storage, it features five brightness settings, adjustable straps and a microUSB charge port. As always, the LuminAID lantern remains 100 percent waterproof. On its highest setting, it puts out an impressive 75 lumens.

Lead Product!

Emergency planning starts with just a few essentials. Although we rely heavily on a variety of basics including food and proper shelter, we can't survive long without water. Up to 60 percent of the human adult body consists of water, powering our cells, lubricating our joints, regulating body temperature, converting food to energy and more. We are so reliant on water, that it only makes sense that our most-ever purchased product is, well, water.
We carry a variety of water pouches, water containers, water collection barrels and water purifiers. To start, we recommend every household contain an absolute minimum of 25 ounces of clean emergency drinking water for every person. Just six single packages will be enough for this. These pouches are tough and will store safely for up to five years, so keep them in your emergency pack, in your car, your camping gear or at your desk at work.
Looking for a bit more? A kit such as this provides the most basic essentials for only $8! This three-day kit contains six single Datrex drinking water pouches, one emergency blanket and a 2,400-calorie food bar.

Best Overall!

Emergency planning encompasses a variety of aspects. Creating an emergency plan and stocking up on the right products can turn a disaster around into a success. If you're not sure quite where to start, or your funds are limited, we recommend one of our kits. The two-person Deluxe kit is designed to offer the biggest bang for your buck, with products including water, emergency lighting, emergency blankets, rain ponchos and a wide range of first aid products all in one place. Everything is neatly contained in a convenient Everest backpack and is designed to provide for two people for three days.
Prepping for an emergency can become an involved process. While it's important to consider your ultimate goal when putting your emergency prep plan into action, we recommend beginning with the basics: a plan, water, shelter, first aid and emergency communication. It takes just a few products to provide some initial peace of mind in an emergency situation. From there, the sky's the limit.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

NOAA’s National Weather Service Saves Lives Every Day

The National Weather Service was established on February 9, 1870 and we have President Ulysses S. Grant to thank for it. However, he wasn’t the first person in our country’s history to recognize the importance of weather tracking. Weather patterns are so critical to our daily life and survival that even our Founding Fathers made regular weather observations and recorded temperatures. In fact, Thomas Jefferson owned one of the only barometers in America at that time. Unfortunately, there was no way of making large scale, impactful insights until the invention of the telegraph.

Momentum started building in 1849, when the Smithsonian Institution provided basic meteorological instruments to telegraph companies like Bell. With the help of telegraphs, 150 people that year were able to record weather patterns and temperatures side by side, and then share them with the network to create the very first weather maps. Just over a decade later, there were roughly 500 weather stations set up throughout the US, all tracking weather observations on a daily basis. For the first time, enough people were measuring weather patterns at the same time to be able to chart the data and make predictions about the weather.
During the next decade, the first national weather service – later officially called The National Weather Service, grew from a volunteer network of various weather stations. Back then it was a division of the Army, but by 1890, Congress passed legislation that reassigned weather services to the U.S. Weather Bureau in the Department of Agriculture. In the next year, they started issuing the first flood warnings.

Just at the turn of the century, cable connections were made between U.S. and Europe, allowing for weather warnings to be passed back and forth at greater distances. By this point, communication was beginning to be so expansive that the Weather Bureau could actually forecast events up to three days in advance. Having already established a hurricane warning network in the West Indies, the Weather Bureau was able to start the hurricane warning service in 1935.
With the growth of the Weather Bureau came the realization that weather services weren’t just an invaluable tool for farmers and workers in the Agriculture industry, so the whole assembly was transferred to the Department of Commerce in 1940. In 1950, the first official tornado warning service was established, and in 1960 the first weather satellite started orbiting our stratosphere.
By 1970, the Weather Bureau was renamed to the National Weather Service after being absorbed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). What started out as 150 volunteers sharing weather observations was now a major national organization with over 11,000 weather stations.

Today, the National Weather Service is more accurate and expansive than ever. A person can easily check weather forecasts, storm maps, and local Doppler radar information on the National Weather Service website.

More importantly, even during emergency situations with power outages, it’s still possible to receive weather updates on radios with hand crank or solar powered functionalities. The National Weather Service makes it possible to get weather updates and check the weekly forecast from your phone by downloading the National Weather Service app. However, critical weather alerts in your area are sent to your phone via SMS, regardless if you have the app installed.
Every year, the National Weather Service saves thousands of lives with their weather alerts. Prior to their detailed forecasts, the population had little to no warning of severe weather or storms. Today, thanks to major technological advances, strong communication, and better forecasting than ever, the National Weather Service can predict and broadcast alerts about major events such as Hurricane Harvey, which resulted in fewer than 100 casualties last year.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Winter Preparedness

The first few weeks of a new year can feel like the start of something fresh and exciting, but for many U.S. residents, this is merely the halfway point. Winter is just beginning, and several states have already seen record-breaking low temperatures.
Meanwhile, the West Coast has been rocked with wild fires, mudslides, earthquakes, and drought.
We recommend reviewing your emergency preparedness plan often, particularly with changing seasons that can bring extreme weather conditions. Let's examine some steps you can take to keep you and your family prepared this winter.

Winter Storm Planning

When extreme weather is in play, there's no such thing as over-preparedness. Facing conditions below freezing can mean the difference between a snow day and a disaster situation, particularly if other factors such as power outages are involved.

In general, winterizing your home keeps energy costs low, but in the event that you've lost power, the additional insulation adds vital protection against the cold.
Keeping a small generator on hand – and the fuel to run it –  will allow you to power a space heater, the effect of which can be amplified through the use of cheap solar blankets. If your home has a fireplace, use it. However, ensure that you know how to build and tend a fire in advance. If you plan on using a fireplace or wood burning stove, make sure that it’s clean and ready for use. Never leave a fireplace unattended.
Ensure your car is stocked with antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, oil and gas, and that everything in your car is working as expected. If you don’t already have winter tires, then it’s time to upgrade them.
Don't leave pets outside under any circumstance.


  • Winterize your home & car.
    • Cover windows.
    • Store additional fuel.
    • Invest in a windshield scraper.
  • Keep a battery-powered weather radio on hand in the event you lose power.
  • Map out and practice your safety evacuation route. 
    • Consider marking a map with a preferred and secondary route as well as safe locations.
  • Keep your emergency kit fully stocked.
  • Ensure you have alternatives such as firewood or a generator for keeping warm. A small heater such as this uses a propane tank and can accommodate a 100 sq. ft. area.
    •  Fuel
    • Generator
    • Solar blankets
  • Make extra blankets and warm clothes readily accessible.
  • Bring animals indoors and provide adequate shelter and blankets to livestock.

General Planning

Not all parts of the country are affected by extremely low temperatures. For any emergency situation, you and your family should have a plan of action in place. For example, determine who is going to carry important documents, how you'll load the car and which route you'll be taking in case of an evacuation. It’s important that in addition to your own family plan, you are also aware of your town’s evacuation plans and routes.


  • Sort out the chain of command, meeting places, and other important details for ensuring your family sticks together. 
  • Run practice drills with your family, particularly if you have younger children.
  • Keep a list of important contacts and other information readily available for any disaster situation. That includes the police, fire department, insurance, utility service companies, and loved ones. 
  • If you or anyone in your family takes medication, be sure to keep a detailed list of what they take, how much, and why.
  • Make sure that important documents, like birth certificates and property deeds, are kept in a fireproof safe so they can survive any disaster.
  • Keep your emergency kits stocked and go-bags ready and up to date. 
    • Stock at least three gallons of water per person.
  • If you have pets, make sure you create an emergency action plan to ensure their safety  in case of a disaster. Account for additional water your pet will need. 
  • Stay up to date on weather alerts with local stations or an emergency weather radio.

Earthquake Planning

If you’re one of the tens of millions living in an earthquake-prone area, we recommend practicing readiness frequently. Earthquakes can escalate quickly, causing heavy objects around you to fall. It’s as important to avoid these spaces during an earthquake as it is to secure items prior to such an event.
Practice drills are vital when preparing for an earthquake. Find safe places in each room of your house.
Be prepared for how you’d react to an earthquake in your workplace, at a friend’s house or in public, and talk to your children about what they should do away from home.

The CDC recommends that you drop to your hands and knees immediately if an earthquake starts. Crawling is safer than running as it eliminates falls and potentially serious injuries.
Once on all fours, move to cover. For example, crawl under a strong, sturdy desk or table.  The
stronger the shelter you find to hide under, the better.


  • Before an earthquake, take precautions by protecting your home by securing heavy items that could topple over.
    • Reinforce lighting fixtures.
    • Consider organizing your shelves so that larger, heavier, and breakable items are closest to the floor.
    • Secure items on your walls, such as pictures or mirrors.
    • Install latches on cabinet doors.
  • Know how to shut off your gas valve.
  • Keep a flashlight ready. 
    • Every person in your home can benefit from a flashlight by their bed at night.
  • Stock an emergency radio to keep you updated in the event of a power failure.
  • Map an evacuation route and practice evacuating with your family.
  • Keep an emergency kit stocked and on hand.
  • Establish your safe places for cover at home, workplace, and/or school – practice DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON in your safe places.

Wildfire Planning


  • Ensure you have home insurance protecting your assets. 
  • Regularly trim foliage and other flammable objects around your property. 
    • Clean your gutter and roof of dried leaves or anything that might work as kindling.
  • Consider building walkways and other “fuel breaks” to stop wildfires from spreading to your home.
  • Set aside any tools that could be used to help extinguish a fire. This includes rakes, shovels and buckets.
  • Water down your roof so it’s less likely to catch fire.
    • Keep an extra-long garden hose around that can stretch to any part of your house and property.
    • Fill garbage cans, the bathtub, and any other large container with water. 
    • If you can afford to, consider installing a pool or pond in your yard – any extra water source will help protect your home. 
  • Keep your windows, doors, and vents closed. 
    • Shut off anything pulling air in from the outside so that the air inside stays clear of smoke and dust.
    • Shut fireplace screens and open the dampers if you have a fireplace.
  • Stay tuned into your radio for updates. 
  • Evacuate if you're advised to.
    • Make sure that your car is ready for an evacuation – the tank is full, there’s an emergency kit, and extra clothes in the car.
  • Check appliances that could be explosive when exposed to fire and take the necessary precautions.