Friday, September 5, 2014

What To Do During A School Lock Down

With an increase of school-based violence taking place nationally during recent years, it’s crucial to know what can be done in the case of an emergency school lock down. According to one recent survey taken, more than 20 states now require emergency drills dealing with lock downs and 30 more states have even more comprehensive plans in place to deal with emergency situations of most every nature. This article addresses the crucial school lock down procedures concerning the school/staff, parents and the students as well.

School/Staff Strategies

One common problem triggered when a school has fire or lock down drills is that some people, including students, fail to take them seriously enough. Time is of the essence. Locking a classroom and going to a prearranged windowless place for hiding may be more difficult in an actual emergency; however, with planned escape routes and hiding places sufficiently rehearsed, lives will be saved in the case of a real lock down.

Equally crucial is silently keeping out of sight of threatening danger and drawing no attention to where a teacher’s students are hiding until they can be rescued.

Furthermore, if placing a phone call is impossible, having a predetermined code to text to a designated phone number proves to be a vital security measure during a lock down situation. As a rule, having lock down drills every four to six months is now mandatory for many schools.

Moreover, school districts and principals would benefit greatly if they had the services of a professional security force working hand-in hand with the local police. Such a security firm could come to the school and evaluate that school’s lock down strategy well before a real disaster takes place.

Parent/Student Strategies

While it’s good for a school to provide security measures, parents on the home front need to take the following precautions with the children. A survival backpack with a cell phone or texting device and other items could very easily offer a way to sustain a student and other students in a lock down emergency.

A good, reputable online survival website is one place to start for school emergency resources. Some typical items to include in a Classroom/Teacher kit are a cell phone, water pouches, wet wipes, an energy bar, some bandages, leather palm gloves and a flashlight. Student emergency kits offer a couple of days of needed necessities that help make a lock down situation a somewhat less stressful experience. Our Classroom Lockdown Kit contains items for sanitation as well. Lastly, a list of predetermined family gathering places and phone numbers of friends, relatives and local hospitals adds a measure of safety to this scenario.

In today’s unpredictable world, some peace of mind is still possible by planning ahead for many emergencies. Consequently, a combined effort of precautionary measures by law enforcement officials, school authorities and parents, acts as a three-strand cord of preparedness.

Monday, August 18, 2014

CERT Kits Protect Communities in Emergency Circumstances

CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Teams. Individuals serving on CERT teams are authorized to respond immediately in the case of a natural disaster or other community emergencies. Though they are not necessarily certified or trained firefighters or paramedics, they do have training in emergency response.

CERT kits are designed to assist those responders so that they have instant access to needed supplies. There are small kits that provide the basics and larger kits that contain everything a well-trained emergency respondent may need during a flood, hurricane, explosion, wild fire or many other emergency situations.

What Are the Basics?

The Basic CERT Kit provides the basic items for CERT professionals. This is also a good kit for families to keep in the home. A green CERT hard hat holds the basic supplies needed to respond to an emergency, including:

  • Leather gloves
  • Goggles
  • Safety vest
  • Dust mask
  • Whistle
  • Flashlight with batteries

CERT Kits that Have It All

For serious CERT professionals who want to ensure that they have more tools on hand when an emergency occurs, there are Intermediate and Advanced CERT kits. The Intermediate CERT Kit contains a more extensive collection of responder tools into a duffle bag, and the Deluxe and Ultra Deluxe CERT Kits offer even larger collections of tools packed into easy-to-carry backpacks.

For situations that require responders to stay mobile, the larger kits are more convenient. They are carried on the back, so responders can quickly move from one person or one disaster area to another without holding their kit.

Selecting a CERT Kit

While the Deluxe CERT Kit and Ultra Deluxe CERT Kit certainly offer the most protection for communities experiencing emergency situations, the Basic and Intermediate kits have their benefits as well. For instance, the Basic CERT kit is compact, so it fits easily into some storage areas that are too small for the larger kits.

Responders should think about where they will store their kit, what type of emergency is most likely to require the use of their kit, and whether they need to remain mobile while using their kit. These guidelines will help every responder select one or more kits that fit his or her needs in a variety of emergency circumstances.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hurricane Season is Coming: How to Make Sure You're Prepared

If you’ve ever been through a hurricane, you know the panic that can set in when local media warns of an oncoming hurricane or tropical storm. Even if you have two or three days before the full storm is expected to hit, you never know when the rain will start falling and the wind will start blowing. Conditions can go from moderate to severe quickly, so never procrastinate when it comes to preparation. The first hurricane warning is your signal to take action.

If It Can Blow Away, Tie It Down

Hurricane preparation starts with covering your windows with plywood so that they are less prone to shatter. You should also pick up lawn furniture and other outdoor items that may blow away. Not only can you lose these items, but they can cause unnecessary damage to cars and homes.

Protect Basic Human Needs

You will need water and food to survive the aftermath of a hurricane. Fill your bathtubs and sinks with water and bottle as much water as possible. Stock up on bread and canned foods. Place coolers with ice in the kitchen so that you can limit opening the refrigerator and freezer. Keep emergency food products and emergency water stored in pouches or boxes on hand for emergencies. Emergency water has a 5-year shelf life. Freeze-dried emergency food can have up to a 25-year shelf life.

If you live in an area prone to hurricanes and tropical storms, invest in emergency survival kits which contain emergency food supplies. Look for kits in backpacks or other easy-to-carry containers. These kits will protect your basic survival needs if you have to leave your home.

Other Needs

Simple items like a few LED hurricane lanterns can make surviving a hurricane more comfortable and much safer. Blankets will ensure that everyone stays warm. Moreover, make sure everyone in your household has easy access to running shoes, coats and other things that they may need if you have to leave the home for rescue.

Take Advantage of Technology

If you have a smartphone, download the Red Cross app before the storm hits. This is something you may want to keep on your phone at all times because it can help rescue workers locate you if a natural disaster leaves you trapped, stranded or otherwise in jeopardy.

Other apps are available to show you how to perform various first aid tasks. This is especially important when your loved ones are injured and rescue workers cannot reach your home immediately.

While you’re preparing your mobile devices, downloading apps for local news stations may give you access to current news if you lose electricity. The Emergency All-Hazards Radio/Flashlight includes a cell phone charger so that you don't lose contact with those valuable apps due to a dead battery. Your cell phone gives you the best chance of calling for help or checking on your loved ones during and after the hurricane.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Incident Command System Vests & How They Can Help Your Team

If you are an incident safety officer, you understand how important it is to be prepared at any time for whatever disaster may occur. You’ve completed numerous drills with your team as well as continually monitor the workplace and other areas for potential hazardous conditions. An integral part of this preparation is having the right safety vests to ensure you and your team can easily be seen in an emergency situation. A perfect solution for any officer is the Incident Command System (ICS) vests from SOS Products.

The ICS vests have a number of unique features that make them a great option for disaster situations. First, the vest comes in a variety of colors allowing you to organize your team by color based on their required job. For instance, red vests could be for those who are assigned to give medical attention and blue vests for those responsible for employee check-in at safe areas.

Additionally, the vests are one-size fits all and come with high intensity 1” reflexite yellow stripes, which allow staff to clearly be seen by those in need. Lastly, the vest has clear plastic pockets on the front and back of the vest where you can place identifiable job title inserts or company logos.

The ICS plays an important role during emergency response situations as ICS officials are often first to the scene of a disaster. You don’t want to have to worry about any equipment including your safety vests during this time. These ICS vests are durable and specially designed with your team in mind. They’ll help you get your job done no matter what the emergency is.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Safety Tips for Traveling Abroad

Traveling abroad can be fun and exciting, but it’s important to be prepared for emergencies while traveling as well. Moreover, being in a strange territory can exacerbate any issues that develop. Fortunately, there are certain precautions that you can take to ensure that your international journey is safe and enjoyable.

Carry a Safety Device

Thieves and other troublemakers often prey on vulnerable tourists. In an unfamiliar city, you might become lost and suddenly being followed by a suspicious character. In many cases, drawing attention to a potential attack is the safest option to avoid trouble. An item as simple as a public safety whistle can attract attention to your situation. A sharp blast on a whistle can be unnerving to many thieves, and the noise is likely to catch the attention of helpful individuals in your immediate area. Additionally, a whistle is easy to carry and won’t be affected by the weather.

Stay Clean

When you travel abroad, you will encounter a wide variety of unfamiliar eating habits and social customs. There is nothing unclean about most international practices, but your lack of familiarity with foreign customs can lead to unsavory messes and troublesome germs. A small container of antiseptic hand cleaner can handle most bacteria, so you can eat and mingle without worrying about coming down with an unwanted illness. A small bottle is convenient and discreet, allowing you to carry the hand cleaner in your purse or pocket.

Stay Hydrated

While on your trip, stay hydrated with fresh, clean water. If the water source is questionnable, use a water filter to filter the water before consumption. Filters like the Sawyer Mini Water Filter with Pouch is perfect for traveling. This filter fits in the palm of your hand, weighs 2 ounces, and filters up to 100,000 gallons.

Carry First Aid Supplies

Stopping at a corner convenience store for bandages is not always an easy task in some countries. You should always carry a small first aid kit that contains bandages, antiseptic wipes, and antibiotic ointment. These supplies will treat most small injuries and can heal small bumps and bruises without interrupting your plans. Also, moleskin is easy to pack and can help protect areas of the feet that are vulnerable to blistering.

Protect Your Valuables

Few things can ruin an international trip faster than a damaged passport or ruined camera. A waterproof utility pouch is a great tool for protecting your belongings and keeping your valuables in one place.

Hide Your Money

International tourists tend to carry large amounts of money, and many thieves will watch for careless tourists who visibly handle that money. Money belts and other products can be worn under your clothes. You can carry a few bills in your wallet but can keep most of your money safely hidden with money belts. Make sure to separate out your cash as well, that way if something does happen you, it is not all one place.

Enjoy Your Trip

Your safety concerns should never overwhelm your travel plans, but taking precautions can reduce the likelihood that your trip will be spoiled by a bad experience. The tips and products listed above can promote a safe travel experience. Happy traveling!

Friday, June 20, 2014

5 Safety Tips for Outdoor Summer Adventures

Even with blue skies, abundant sunshine and westerly breezes, summertime creates dangerous moments for children and adults. From extreme heat to deadly insects, venturing outdoors in the summer can pose a risk even to the seasoned hiker. Trampling through the wrong underbrush can cause itchy rashes, and hiking over loose rock can cause serious accidents. Before you get excited about summertime adventures, take precautions and head out prepared with these summer safety tips and items.

Water Hydration Pack

While you can live more than three weeks without food, you can only live up to a week without water. If you throw in extreme heat and a lack of shade, you may only last a couple of days. A water hydration pack ensures you have plenty of water on hand in such emergencies. It has zippered pockets for storing items and padded shoulders for comfort. Because the 2-liter bladder connects to a long hose, you can take a drink without having to stop along the trail.

Water Purification & Filtration

When your water supply runs low and you need hydration, do not drink from streams, ponds and puddles without first purifying the water. Untreated water contains thousands of small organisms and parasites, such as giardia, which causes bloating, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Purification tablets not only kill bacteria and viruses but also neutralize the water's taste, color and odor. Also, water filters can effectively remove bacteria and protozoa. For example, the Sawyer Mini is ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and international travel, and emergency preparedness. This high performance mini filter fits in the palm of your hand, weighs only 2 ounces, and filters up to 100,000 gallons.

Poison Ivy Treatment

You never know when the trail will lead you through a patch of poison ivy, a three-leafed plant that causes an irritating rash, blisters and itching. A poison ivy kit can help prevent the itch and make your trek through the underbrush less risky. Apply a pre-contact towelette to your skin before contact with poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac or use IvyX cleanser towelettes after coming in contact with poison ivy, oak and sumac.

Insect Repellent

From fleas and ticks to black flies and mosquitos, these insects turn a pleasant outdoor adventure into a huge annoyance. To make matters worse, some of these insects carry and spread diseases, such as the West Nile Virus and Lyme disease. Use an insect repellent towelette and protect your body from the onslaught of these summertime pests before you head outdoors.

First-Aid Kit

Always carry a first-aid kit with you on a mountain trek, a forest hike or even a day at the pool. From bumps and bruises to cuts and headaches, a first-aid kit contains everything from antiseptic wipes to aspirin and helps in times of an emergency. A small first-aid case fits neatly in a hiking backpack and has clear pockets with organized supplies.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Surviving a Camping Trip

It’s impossible to predict with pinpoint accuracy when any disaster will strike. If fire, tornado or other unexpected natural emergency should arise, an entire family could find itself having to evacuate.

While living away from the comforts of home can be stressful, it is far less so for those who have camping experience. Learning the tricks of roughing it can help any family stay calm during an actual disaster, but before setting out, it's important to know what you're doing. Without the proper preparation, that long-anticipated camping trip can become a disaster of its own.

Here's what you'll need to succeed.

A Tent
This is your home away from home, so be sure to choose one that's big enough to accommodate your party in comfort. The one that you buy should offer you:

  • Sufficient headroom.
  • Adequate ventilation.
  • Easily manipulated doors.
  • Proper rainfly coverage.

While an inexpensive tent might do for those just starting out, the additional features of the higher-end models will better serve any outdoor enthusiast who intends to continue on additional camping adventures.


Never set a tent on bare ground. A sturdy tarp will not only guard against damage from sticks and stones but also keep the ever-present ground moisture from seeping into the floor of your shelter.

Sleeping Bags

The appropriate specifics of this essential item will vary according to the climate of your intended camping location. The rating on every sleeping bag will indicate the lowest temperature at which it will keeps its occupant warm. If the night air falls below that measurement, the sleeping bag will fail to do its job.

Camp Chairs

Sitting on the ground could make roughing it somewhat rougher than you really anticipated. Before long, you'll yearn for more-comfortable seating. When choosing camp chairs, be sure to consider child-sized ones for the younger set, and don't forget the hammock. For those relaxing afternoons around the campsite, a snooze between the trees can prove surprisingly restful.

Propane Stove

Although campfires can be romantic and fun, cooking food over one can get old in a hurry. A propane stove, particularly the two-burner variety, will make meal preparation far more enjoyable, leaving you with time to do the things you really want to do in the great outdoors.

A Cooler

The proper cooler for the purpose will vary according to its intended use. While a personal six-pack holder may suffice for a daylong hike, a large 70-quart model will serve much better for a weeklong camping trip.

A Water Purification System

No matter how much H2O you carry along, the day may come when you find yourself forced to drink from a pond or stream. Unfortunately, the bacteria, parasites and viruses often found in untreated water can cause serious illness. A purification system will assist in providing the pause that refreshes while averting a pause in the nearest emergency room.

Survival Essentials

The following items are easy to forget until you find them missing once you get there. To stay safe and keep a smile on everyone's face, be sure to bring along:

  • Flashlights.
  • Batteries.
  • Bug Spray.
  • Waterproof matches.
  • A sturdy Mylar space blanket.
  • Cooking pots.
  • Cutlery.
  • Unbreakable dishes or paper plates.
  • Kitchen tools.
  • Paper towels and toilet tissue.
  • A whistle.
  • A compass.
  • A signaling mirror.
  • A first-aid kit.

When Camping, Leave Nothing to Chance.

Regardless of how far afield you plan to roam, a few precautions will help to keep you safe. Take the time to:

  • Carry basic survival gear.
  • Know the area. Thoroughly study a local map and don't leave home without it.
  • Familiarize yourself with the region's plant and animal life. Learn to differentiate between things that are safe to be around and those you must strictly avoid.
  • Tell someone where you're going, who you'll be with and how long you plan to be gone. In an emergency, this could mean the difference between life and death.
  • Always carry a cell phone, portable CB radio or personal satellite-enabled locator beacon.
  • Evaluate the condition of the overhanging plant life at your intended campsite. A 10-year-old Wisconsin girl died recently when a tree branch fell on her sleeping family’s tent.

If an unexpected emergency should arise, remain calm. Sit down quietly, observe your surroundings and give yourself time to think. Remember that in any unexpected situation, panic will be your worst enemy while a good stash of survival materials will be your best friend.

Practice Makes Perfect

The parallels between camping and disaster survival are hard to miss, and a person who is good at the one is sure to do well at the other. A few nights spent in the wilderness can help your loved ones hone their subsistence skills and better position themselves for any emergency that may occur in the future. You couldn't give your family a better gift than that.