Friday, November 17, 2017

Protecting Yourself & Your Family from the Flu

What is the flu?


Influenza, also known as the flu, can be caused by three types of upper respiratory viruses: Influenza A, B and C.

Influenza A

This is the most complicated of the flus because it has more than 30 known subtypes that can infect animals as well as humans. Currently, only two of these subtypes circulate the human population, however, because subtypes are constantly undergoing small genetic changes, Influenza A has the potential to lead to worldwide outbreaks known as pandemics. One of the Influenza A subtypes transmissible to humans is H1N1, the flu you likely remember as "swine flu". In 2009, an epidemic of swine flu affected large portions of the United States. Epidemics like these occur when flu subtypes undergo unpredictable mutations.

WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference & Research on Influenza

The most common Influenza A virus known today is subtype H3N2. If you've had the flu recently, it's highly likely that H3N2 was to blame.

The Centers for Disease Control carefully monitor these small genetic changes in viruses across the globe, constantly keeping an eye out for any indication that a mutation we don't already know about has occurred.

Influenza B

The Influenza B virus is just as capable of making you sick, but with no subtypes to account for, this flu is much more predictable. Influenza B also undergoes small genetic changes responsible for various "strains" of the virus, however, because Influenza B only affects humans and mutates at a rate two to three times slower than Influenza A, it cannot result in a pandemic.

Influenza C

Influenza C is an extremely mild version of the flu. This type of flu has never been responsible for an epidemic and could easily be mistaken for a nasty cold.


What are the symptoms of the flu?


The flu is most commonly associated with muscle aches, coughing and fever. Other flu symptoms include chest tightness, congestion, sneezing, headache, fatigue, sore throat and shortness of breath. Although some people experience intestinal discomfort or vomiting while sick with the flu, there is no such thing as a "stomach flu" or "stomach virus". Similarly, any flu-like symptoms lasting only 12-24 hours are not the flu.

The flu will last one week or longer once symptoms begin to show. However, you're contagious up to two days prior to any symptoms.




How is the flu transmitted?

The flu is transmitted easily in water droplets from coughs, sneezes and even talking. You can catch the flu from doorknobs, handshakes, and being confined with others in indoor spaces.


How can I prevent the flu?

Because the flu is highly contagious and can be transmitted before symptoms occur, it's important to take extra precaution during flu season, which generally lasts from October to January.

• Don't share drinks or utensils
• Wash hands often
• Use disinfectants in high-traffic places such as schools, work, public transport or the supermarket
• Vaccinate

The CDC recommends being vaccinated against the flu no later than October, and earlier if a vaccine is available. However, it’s never too late to get the flu shot.

The current 2017/2018 flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three most common flus: H1N1, H3N2 and Influenza Type B. The CDC currently does not recommend nasal vaccinations as these have not been as effective in the past.


How effective is the flu shot?


Flu shots are developed using data from more the 100 influenza centers all over the world. These centers keep an eye on flu trends year-round in order to
predict the flu strains of the coming season. Twice a year, the centers collaborate to select the strains to grow for vaccination. Flu vaccines develop antibodies that keep you protected should a flu virus find you, but they do not contain a live virus and therefore cannot make you ill. Since the seasonal flu originates in Southeast Asia, scientists can predict the efficacy of flu vaccinations based on the types of strains most commonly seen there. Once a virus has been isolated, it is grown inside of a chicken egg. People with chicken egg allergies are not candidates for the traditional flu vaccine but can use Flublok, which is not grown in this manner.

Once the flu shot has been administered, it takes about 2 weeks for your body to form the antibodies it will need to protect you.


Why do I need to be vaccinated yearly?


The small genetic changes, also known as antigenic drift, that occur in the flu virus, make you susceptible to the flu every season. Although these strains are very similar, last year's vaccine cannot protect you from this year's flus.


Who isn't a candidate for the flu shot?


• Babies under six months
• People with severe allergies to vaccination ingredients

What should I do if I get the flu?


• Don't take antibiotics
• Take painkillers
• Stay at home
• Drink fluids
• Rest


When should I see a doctor?

Some individuals are at higher risk for complications from the flu. Because influenza are upper respiratory illnesses, persons with asthma, heart disease, bronchitis or emphysema should be watched closely. Additionally, babies younger than two years old and those older than 65 are considered high-risk individuals. A weakened immune system due to illness or cancer treatments also poses a risk for additional complications. Pregnant women or those who have recently given birth should consider themselves at higher risk, and should see a doctor if they suspect the flu.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Hurricanes

Where Do Hurricanes Occur


Hurricanes are a threat to those living along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts in the South and, less often, along the Northeast coast. Hurricanes that affect the United States develop in the Atlantic Ocean, travelling at roughly 15 miles per hour across the sea. These windstorms can be several hundred miles across and often pass through a number of Caribbean countries before making landfall.

According to CNN, 117 hurricanes have touched down in Florida there from 1851-2017. That's almost twice as many as the second state on the list: Texas (64). Third and fourth on the list of most frequent hurricane hits are Louisiana (54) and North Carolina (51).


Every state that borders the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico, with the exception of Delaware, was affected by at least two hurricanes during the surveyed period.


Anatomy of a Hurricane

Hurricane winds move around an eye, the central part, in a counter-clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and a clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere. This occurs because air moves from high-pressure areas to low-pressure areas.

Once a hurricane hits land, it begins to decrease in strength because its source of fuel, warm and moist air, is diminished. However, a hurricane's damaging winds can be powerful enough to cause significant damage even hundreds of miles inland.


Types of Damage

In addition to heavy rains and winds, hurricanes cause storm surges. The storm surges caused by hurricanes usually cause the most damage because of the amount of flooding that can result. Storm surges result from winds pushing seawater to much higher levels than normal, similar to how a tsunami causes immense waves.




How to Prepare

First, stay alert to news and emergency broadcasts for the latest forecasts and warnings. Ensure that you know right away whether government officials have made any evacuation orders; if you are asked to evacuate, do so. 



Have a go-bag ready if you do need to evacuate. This can include:

  • Water 
  • Medications 
  • Flashlight 
  • Batteries 
  • Radio 
  • First aid supplies 
Prepare your home or place of business for the hurricane. 


  • Trim nearby trees that could fall on the property
  • Bring in any potential projectiles such as trashcans and patio furniture
  • Ensure that rain gutters are clear of debris to minimize water damage
  • Use permanent storm shutters or board up windows

If you are remaining in the area, be prepared for power and water outages.

  • A portable generator can keep food cold and provide a light source
    • Keep it at least 20 feet from all doors and windows 
  • Turn your refrigerator on the coldest setting possible and keep it closed once the power goes out 
    • Keep a supply of non-perishable foods
  • Don't attempt to drive or walk anywhere until roads are cleared
    • Never drive through moving floodwater


Evacuating with Elderly or Immobile Persons & Pets 

  • Prepare essential medications
    • Utilize a cooler if any medications need to be stored cold
    • Transfer prescriptions refills, if necessary
  • Ensure hotels offer easy disability access & are pet-friendly
  • Remain calm and positive 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Road Trip Tips, Advice & Safety Checklist

Hitting the open road is as exciting as it gets, but the thought of venturing through countless miles of unknown terrain in a less-than-perfect vehicle can be more than a little intimidating. If you want to enjoy the ride without obsessing over every silly little thing that can go wrong, you need to heed one important word: preparedness.

Before you fire up that car or RV, here are some essential road trip safety tips.



Stock Up

Do you have a road trip checklist? If not, you should. We won’t dive into everything you need, but here are just a few essentials that will ensure a safer trip:

• Your passport and driver’s license – A driver’s license may be sufficient if you’re not crossing national borders.
• Spare cash – Don’t keep it all in one location.
• Extra bottles of water – If you break down, you don’t want to be without these.
• A first-aid kit – Like this fannypack
• Any essential medications – Make sure you have enough for the entire trip.
• An extra tire, lug wrench and jack – You can’t always rely on your Auto Club membership in the middle of nowhere.
• Engine coolant – And other assorted engine fluids.
• Vehicle phone chargers – These can be found at most electronics stores.
• Maps or a GPS device – Don’t rely solely on your phone.
• Season-appropriate clothing – Check the weather of all cities and regions you’ll be traveling to.
• Flashlights – Preferably strong LED flashlights, like the Streamlight Stinger DS LED Rechargeable Flashlight.
• Road flares – These are essential for emergency situations.

Depending on where you’re traveling to, you might also need other incidentals like high-grade sleeping bags, mosquito nets and bear spray. Make sure to research all the routes you’ll be traveling along and then pack accordingly.


Prepare for a Tire Blowout

The dreaded tire blowout is one of the most common road-trip hazards. If it happens to you, slowly coast to a safe location and stop the car. Don’t brake or swerve abruptly. With the car stopped, turn on your hazard lights and activate the emergency brake. Then exit the vehicle, apply wheel wedges to your wheels (to further prevent rolling) and remove any hubcaps. If you don’t have wheel wedges, large stones should do the trick.



Loosen—but do not remove—your lug nuts, and then use your jack to raise the vehicle. The jack should be situated alongside the flat tire just beneath the vehicle frame. You want to raise the vehicle about six inches. Unscrew the lug nuts and then slowly remove the flat tire and replace it with your spare or extra tire. You’ll want to ensure that your spare is firmly mounted to the lug bolts.

With the new tire in position, place the lug nuts back in their original position and tighten them by hand. Then lower the vehicle and finish tightening them with your lug wrench. At this point, the wheel should be touching the ground but still be elevated enough so that the vehicle’s weight is somewhat off the tire. With the nuts tight, finish lowering the vehicle and remove the jack. Replace the hubcaps, check the tire pressure, and continue on your journey. If you’re using a spare tire, head immediately to the nearest tire replacement center.


Keep Your Cool in a Disaster

When you’re driving through different climates, elevations and road conditions, you have to be prepared for the types of emergencies that might not be common back home. Here are a few protocols to keep in mind when you encounter some of the more common hazards:

Flooding – Turn on your headlights at the first sign of heavy rain, and leave extra room between your car and the car in front of you. If you receive a flood warning, try to move to higher ground. If flash flooding begins, slowly pull over to a safe spot on the side of the road and stop the car. Do not under any circumstances attempt to drive through water. Wait for the flood to subside or help to arrive.

Tornadoes – If you can see the tornado and it’s far off in the distance, get out of its path by driving
away from it at a right angle. Then seek shelter in a nearby sturdy building until it passes. If you’re already caught up in the wind in debris, stop the car, put on your seatbelt, and place your head down low, beneath the height of the window. If possible, cover your head with a blanket or jacket. Make sure your other occupants do the same. Wait for the tornado to pass.



Sandstorms – If you’re driving through the Southwest, you may encounter a sandstorm or dust storm. If this happens, first pull off the road completely, then stop by putting your car into “Park”. Never stop in a roadway.
To avoid other motorists from mistakenly using your vehicle’s lights to try and drive through the storm, turn off your lights and keep your foot off the brake. Stay buckled.



Know Your Rest Stops

Rest stops are essential for road-trippers. You can easily search maps and online databases to find a list of rest stops along your route, but finding safe rest stops is a bit trickier. After all, you don’t want to bring your family to a seedy location for R&R. With that in mind, look for rest stops that are well-lit and well-populated. When doing your online research, make a list of rest stops that have onsite security. Finally, don’t spend the night. A rest stop is a great place to recharge your batteries, but a prolonged deep sleep leaves you more vulnerable.


Be Proactive About Your Safety on the Road

It’s important to ensure that your vehicle is in excellent condition before you hit the road. Get the oil changed, make sure you’re up to date on the servicing, and replace any hoses that are leaking or corroding. To prevent overheating, make sure that your engine has the recommended amount of coolant and avoid running your air conditioner while ascending steep grades. If your car does overheat, pull over and stop. Open the hood and let the engine cool off naturally. Refill the radiator with water as a last resort to help you get to a location where your car can be properly serviced.


If you run into any sort of emergency, pull over to the side of the road and turn off your vehicle. Turn on the hazard lights and use any warning signals that you have available, such as road flares. While waiting for help to arrive, remain inside the vehicle with the doors locked. If you don’t have some type of roadside assistance coverage, now is the time to sign up.

Don’t let your fun be ruined by the faint possibility of an emergency. As long as you’re diligent and prepared, your upcoming road trip can be one of the best experiences of your life.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Basic Safety Preparation for Everyone

No matter the size of your household, whether you have children, pets, both or neither, basic preparation and emergency planning are always advisable. In this post, we'll outline some of the bare essentials every person should equip themselves with for everyday safety.

When we think of preparedness and planning, we most often consider the major disasters; floods, earthquakes and fires tend to be in the forefront of the planning mind. We'll discuss planning for disasters like these a bit later on, but first let's talk about the five major offenders of accidental death and injury.

According to the National Safety Council, accidental deaths and injuries most commonly include poisoning, vehicle crashes, falls, choking/suffocation and drowning.

Poison Safety

In recent years, poisoning has become the leader of accidental deaths, surpassing vehicle accidents for the first time ever, due to the availability of opioid drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and fentanyl.
To learn more about this epidemic and how to prevent it, visit this link.

The Basics

  • Take medication only as prescribed
  • Never share medication
  • Store addictive substances safely

Advanced



Car Safety


According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, Over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year, 1.3 million people worldwide. The National Safety Council reports that about one-quarter of car crashes are attributable to using phones while driving.

The Basics

  • Don't drive impaired or distracted
  • Adhere to posted speed limits
  • Wear a seatbelt

 
Advanced


Falling Accidents


A fall can affect anyone, no matter what age. However, according to the CDC, falls affect one in three adults over the age of 65. Most often, falls occur at home and can be prevented.



The Basics

  • Declutter walking spaces
  • Secure carpets
  • Add non-slip adhesives and non-skid matts

Advanced

  • Install hand railings
  • Replace lighting to create more visibility
  • Adjust cupboards and appliances to eliminate the need for ladders


Suffocation & Choking Accidents


The Basics

  • Know the risks
  • Recognize the hazards

The most common risks for choking are eating too fast or too much at once. Suffocation occurs most commonly in children under one year of age. Choking occurs most commonly in adults over the age of 80.


The most common food hazards include:

  1. Hot dogs
  2. Meat and cheese
  3. Whole grapes
  4. Hard candy
  5. Popcorn
  6. Bagels
  7. Peanut butter

Advanced

  • Learn the Heimlich Maneuver
  • Learn CPR


Drowning Accidents


According to the National Safety Council, 10 people drown every day and most will be under the age of 15.

Children drown most often in:
  1. Pools
  2. Bathtubs

    The Basics

  • Don't leave kids unattended even for a moment to answer the phone or grab a towel
  • Don't let kids play near water
  • Teach kids about the dangers of water

Advanced

  • Enroll kids in swim lessons
  • Install safety fencing
  • Install door alarms
  • Learn First Aid & CPR

Adults can drown, too. For more information about water safety for everyone, visit this page.

Being prepared for everyday risks provides a great foundation for awareness and safety in more difficult scenarios.


Fire Safety


Accidental fires are the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. More than three-quarters of fire deaths occur at home when residents walk away from the stove, leave candles unattended or smoke inside. For more information about fire risk, safety and prevention, check out this post.

The Basics



Advanced

  • Invest in monitored smoke detectors
  • Install a sprinkler system

Natural Disaster Safety


Natural disaster safety encompasses a wide range of topics including preparedness for earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes. Your chances for encountering one of these types of disasters will depend on where you are located. For more information about which disaster you're most likely to encounter and how to properly prepare yourself for these, check out this post.

The Basics

  • Keep a flashlight and radio handy
  • Download a mobile weather app for warnings and alerts
  • Know your safe place and escape route

Advanced



SOS Survival Products provides a variety of affordable safety training courses including CPR, First Aid, Fire Safety and general preparedness. For more information, see our schedule.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Beat the Heat


 

Summer's heating up and for many places across the country, that can mean extreme daytime temperatures. Depending on the air's humidity, even temperatures below 100 degrees can become downright dangerous.

The way that humidity changes the temperature feel is referred to as the “heat index”, or sometimes the "apparent temperature". It is the temperature our bodies feel when evaporation is impeded due to the moisture already in the air.


Our bodies are covered in sweat glands, which help us to perspire. Perspiration is unfortunate when it happens in an interview or on a date, but it is absolutely vital to survival otherwise.

When your body's temperature rises, whether from exposure to heat or from exercise, your nervous system sends a signal to your glands produce sweat. As sweat reaches the surface of your skin, it evaporates to cool your body.

This effect can also take place through artificial methods such as spritzing yourself with a water bottle or applying a wet towel.

Drink Water

It's obvious but it has to be said: Sweat consists mostly of water and it must be replaced. In order to sweat properly and avoid dehydration, it's important to drink plenty of water every day.
Your body uses two to three liters of water to perform its basic functions, on average; in the summer, your body might require twice that depending on your activity level. When you aren't hydrated enough, you'll find that your urine is more yellow and your sweat more salty.

Understand Diuretics

The most common diuretics include alcohol and caffeine. When you consume a diuretic, your nervous system becomes confused and believes that you're retaining too much water. As a result, you run to the bathroom a lot more often than you normally would.

Don't confuse your frequent trips to the John and your clear urine with hydration. Once the effects of caffeine wear off, your body will realize its mistake and you'll find yourself with a dry mouth, dry bladder and potential head and body aches.

The dehydrating effects of caffeine can't be avoided, but you can curb them by understanding them. Be aware that just as with sweat, your body's precious water resources need to be replenished as your body loses them.

Don't Wait Until You’re Thirsty

When your body signals thirst, it's likely due to a fluid imbalance that increases the salt concentration in your cells. Because you are already sweating more, it can be much more difficult to correct the imbalance than to keep it from occurring in the first place.

Drink a few ounces of water every hour to ensure your body's cells remain hydrated. However, avoid drinking extreme quantities of water at once, especially after sweating excessively. Just as your cells can become unbalanced with salt, they can become saturated and unbalanced with water. Both can have deadly consequences.

Use a Fan

Because your body always loses tiny amounts of water through its pores, evaporation happens around the clock. Air conditioning is an ideal way to keep your home cool, but you can up the comfort level without upping the energy costs with the simple use of a fan. Whether you opt for a basic box fan or go with a fancy solution, the outcome will be the same. As air moves across your skin, hot and humid air is displaced and evaporation occurs. In the wintertime, you know this effect as the "wind chill".

Children & Babies

You may notice that children tire less quickly in hot conditions. They'll happily run on the playground without pause while you're chugging away on ice water in the shade of the trees nearby. Why?
Because kids have a higher surface area to body mass ratio than adults, the relative area where heat dissipation can occur is larger. Generally speaking, this means that children are better at staying cooler, especially in low-humidity climates.

However, it doesn't mean that children are immune to the effects of heat. Like adults, they do sweat and can become dehydrated, and extensive stints in the sun can absolutely cause heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Use Common Sense

If it feels unnaturally hot, don't risk it. During the daytime hours between 11 am and 3 pm, the sun's UV effects are normally the most intense. During this time, heat builds up, oftentimes peaking around 5 pm in the summertime.

Let your kids play outside in the morning hours before 11 am or in the evening when the sun has made its descent.

Don't Forget Sunscreen

Swimming can provide hours of fun and exercise without the risk of overheating. But did you know that many adults are still confused about sunscreen? We can’t blame them – sunscreen’s application instructions are vague at best, and cosmetic companies haven’t made education a priority.

It’s important to note that sunscreen isn't a one-and-done deal. In order for it to be effective, it must be applied liberally and often. The term "liberally" can be subjective, but the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends you use "the equivalent of a shot glass (two tablespoons) of sunscreen to the exposed areas of the face and body – a nickel-sized dollop to the face alone."

The sunscreen you choose should be labeled "broad-spectrum", which means it doesn't just block the rays that cause you to burn but also those which can cause skin cancer later. It should list zinc oxide as an active ingredient - the higher the concentration, the more effective its sun-blocking powers. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside, and every hour after that.

Finally, skip the spray sunscreen since it is oftentimes not applied properly or liberally enough, and it can be easily inhaled.

Don't Give Water to Babies

We are 60 percent water, and in babies, that concentration is even higher. So it only makes logical sense to drink water often and regularly. However, babies don't require additional water. The water contained in breast milk or formula satisfies all of their fluid needs, and adding additional liquids to the mix can cause imbalances, interfere with the absorption of nutrients and curb baby's appetite.
If your child is under six months, we recommend avoiding the heat as much as you can so that baby doesn't sweat unnecessarily.

Dogs

Unlike humans, dogs don't have the ability to sweat all over. While dogs do have some sweat glands in their noses and on their feet, they rely mostly on their lungs to evaporate moisture and produce cold air. This is why dogs pant.

Although this is an effective solution to the problem of heat, it doesn't mean that your dog is immune to heat-related illnesses. In fact, some dogs are much more prone to overheating than you are. Short-nosed breeds such as bulldogs and pugs have compromised airways because of their genetic makeup, which is why many of them snort, snore or pant excessively even in cool temperatures.


This above chart from gopetplan.com allows you to see how even moderate temperatures can affect dogs. Dogs are at higher risk of heat-related illness when they are very young, very old, have short snouts or are large or overweight.

Exercise

If you find that your dog is lagging behind, even at a slow pace, don't push it. Read your dog's body language and understand that when he pumps the brakes, so should you. Reserve long walks for early mornings or late nights, and keep your pup inside during the day.

Don't Give Your Dog a Summer Cut

If your dog has an undercoat, a summer cut will compromise his ability to regulate his own body temperature. You can easily recognize the undercoat by running your hand backward through his fur. An undercoat will be shorter, sometimes differently colored and feel different from the top coat.

Common dog breeds that have undercoats include the Husky, Chow, Sheep Dogs, Pomeranians, Collies, Corgis, German Shepherds, Golden Labs, Retrievers, most Spaniels and Terriers, Schnauzers, Shih Tzus and longhaired Dachshunds.

Watch the Pavement

We've all walked across the pavement barefoot only to end up in a panicked run when the realization of just how hot things are sets in. The darker the pavement, the more heat it'll absorb, but even lighter colored sidewalks can heat up to uncomfortable temperatures. According to this data, the surface temperatures of asphalt can reach 158 degrees during the summertime with concrete hovering around 120 degrees.


While the pads of your dog's feet are tougher than human skin, the extreme temperatures of asphalt during the summer mean you should take special precautions. If the pavement you're walking on feels too hot to you, use your judgment; it's likely to be uncomfortable or painful for your pup.

Stick to unpaved areas and move your walks to cooler times of the day before the sun's come up and after the sun's gone down.

Heat Kills

You've heard it before: Don't leave dogs in cars. If you've ever gotten into your car on a warm day, you know that the indoor temperature of your vehicle does not reflect the outside, even with the windows down. Let's break down how this works.

Whether it's 100 degrees outside or 65, a car will effectively become a greenhouse over time. In the sun, the temperature inside a vehicle will rise almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. In 25 minutes, the rise in temperature reaches nearly 30 degrees. In an hour, the temperature inside your car will rise over 40 degrees.

That means that in the time it takes you to buy a pack of gum at your local corner store, your vehicle's internal temperature can rise from 100 to 120 degrees in the summertime. No matter the breed, age or size of your dog, temperatures above 90 are unsafe.



Questions? Comments? Leave them below.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pet Preparedness with SOS Survival Products


At SOS Survival Products, we believe that preparedness is the key to conquering any emergency situation. By equipping yourself with the right products and the right knowledge, you and your family can prevent the unthinkable.

If your family includes a pet, you'll need to take additional steps for preparation.
If you have not yet planned for yourself, check out this blog post geared to help you get started.


Your pet has basic needs similar to yours. Food, shelter and essential medicines will ensure that he or she will make it through an emergency alongside you. In addition, we offer a variety of products to help you ensure that you're prepared and well stocked otherwise. Our emergency preparedness products for pets include books, ready-to-go emergency kits and helpful accessories.



Emergency Books


During an emergency, time is of the essence. When disaster strikes, you'll need to know who is in charge of your pet or pets, what you will take and where you will go. Practice your escape plan with your pet in order to gauge how long each step in the process will take you. Is your pet skittish? Where are his or her most common hiding spots? Will your pet respond to food? Is it difficult to confine your pet? These are all questions you should ask yourself when making a plan for you and your family.

Our selection of books includes the Pet Preparedness Guide, an affordable pocket-sized book geared toward helping you create an emergency evacuation plan that includes your pet. This book provides helpful steps to assist you before, during and after a disaster.


If you choose to purchase any of our first aid books, we strongly recommend that you and your family also enroll in a first aid and CPR preparation course for your pet. Courses like these are becoming increasingly more common, and can therefore easily be found through your local resources or here, if you reside in or near Van Nuys.



Emergency Kits


Once you have solidified an evacuation plan, you'll need to prepare a go-bag for yourself as well as for your pet. You can purchase completed kits through our site here. Our ready-kits include basics for survival such as water and blankets, as well as common emergency products including antiseptic wipes, gauze and eye wash.


To create your own pet evacuation kit, first make a list of your dog's daily needs. This list should include water, food, warmth and any medications your pet needs on a daily basis. Additionally, your pet may need to be confined, require a leash, identification tags and waste disposal bags. We recommend that you keep these items separate from the items you use every day so that an exit from your home can be swift and easy.
In addition to the daily essentials, your pet's kit should include first aid equipment. The emergency kits sold on our site offer an affordable solution and provide products for a wide variety of emergency scenarios.



Emergency Accessories


Our selection of emergency accessories for pets includes harnesses, collars and leashes, tick remover, collapsible food bowls and more. Although you may already own all of these items, we simply recommend doubling up on essentials like these. As you prepare to leave your home, it's not uncommon for Murphy's Law to take over. Items can break or be forgotten, creating the potential for additional disaster.


SOS Survival Products provides items and resources for emergency preparedness for your entire family, including your pet. If you don’t see something you’re looking for, contact us today.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wildfire Planning & Prevention

For decades, Smokey Bear has warned us of the dangers of wildfires. As responsible and concerned citizens, we've done our part to properly extinguish campfires and heed burn ban warnings. Nevertheless, humans continue to cause roughly 90 percent of wildfires in the United States. These fires, which occur more frequently in drier climates, can move up to 14 miles per hour, destroying everything in their paths, from properties to livestock.


Preparing for a wildfire is similar to preparing for other emergencies that require evacuation. We'll talk about how you can prepare yourself and your loved ones for the event of a wildfire in detail below. But first, let's recap some wildfire prevention tactics.


Most of us aren't strangers to wildfire safety. We've heard the warnings and seen the posted signs. However, the fires we intentionally start continue to be the number one cause of unintentional wildfires in the U.S.

Campfires

Campfires are a wonderful way to enjoy an evening with friends of family; some might call them a necessity of camping, whether for cooking, warmth or atmosphere. While you may have some trouble getting your fire started, you know that once aflame, the blaze will continue for hours without much attention to detail.

1. Campsites equipped with fire pits will allow you to keep your fire safety contained in approved containers that have passed rigorous safety tests. If your campsite doesn't have a fire pit, don't attempt to create one on your own. If a fire pit is absolutely important to you while camping, check your local camping registration website or call the desired location directly to inquire about this feature before setting up a date to camp.

2. You're snug by the glow of the fire, the marshmallows have been roasted and the conversation is winding down. Before you retreat to your tent for the night, ensure you've extinguished your campfire completely. Never leave a campfire burning, or even smoldering, unattended. Unanticipated gusts of wind need only to catch a small burning ember to start a flame.

3. Campgrounds may change the rules about campfires throughout the course of the year, depending on the perceived risk for fire. These rules are intended to prevent wildfires, not to ruin your camping trip. Don't start fires when it's prohibited, even if you believe you are starting a fire safely while taking proper precautions such as properly extinguishing your flame.

Yard Waste Fires

In many areas around the country, it's acceptable to burn yard waste such as leaves or brush. However, like campfires, these types of fires must be carefully monitored, as they are one of the leading causes of wildfires.

1. Burn yard waste in proper receptacles such as burn barrels. Your city likely has strict regulations regarding what constitutes a proper receptacle. In addition, your city will be able to give you additional information regarding the types of materials you can burn, when you can burn and where you can burn.

2. When burning yard waste, ensure you stay nearby at all times. Never leave a fire unattended; a small spark can become a flame in a matter of seconds.

3. Keep fire extinguishing materials such as a hose or fire extinguisher nearby as you attend your yard fire. In the event that sparks ignite, make every attempt to control the fire yourself. Direct another person to call 9-1-1 or, if you are alone, call the emergency services if you feel like you cannot control the fire on your own.

Although wildfires most commonly start in the two ways above, there are many other ways in which fires can begin.
In order for a fire to start and continue, only three things are needed: oxygen, fuel and heat. Since oxygen exists in our atmosphere, a fire can start virtually anywhere if fuel and heat are present.



Fuel

Fuel is anything that allows a fire to continue burning. Fuel can consist of chemicals such as petrol or of natural materials such as grass or wood. The latter are especially susceptible to becoming fuel sources during dry months.

Heat

Heat can originate from flames on matches or cigarettes, but heat is widely available nearly anywhere, especially during the summer. Your car's engine provides heat, as does an afternoon desert wind.

When heat, fuel and oxygen are combined, they create a perfect trifecta necessary for combustion.
Below are some other common man-made ways in which wildfires start.

1. Cigarettes
2. Chimneys & stovepipes
3. Lawnmowers
4. Cars parked on grass
5. Faulty machinery - general

In order to do your part to prevent wildfires, know the risks, heed the warnings and take proper precautions.

Planning

Make your home safer by clearing dry brush as required by local regulation. Also, clear all debris from your roof, gutter and spouts.

If you have never practiced an evacuation with your family, do so at least twice per year. Practice a scenario in which you're able to leave together in an organized fashion as well as a scenario in which you cannot.

If a wildfire strikes your area, you'll likely be warned well in advance. If you receive an emergency warning about a wildfire in your area, don't delay. Put your emergency evacuation plan into action immediately.

Your emergency plan for evacuation should include the following:

  • What you will take
  • How you will leave
  • Where you will go

What should I take?

Looking around your home and planning which items to leave behind is not an easy process. Each item in your home likely has a memory attached to it, from your books and music to your furniture.

Irreplaceable Items

Some items truly can't be replaced; your grandmother's wedding ring, a childhood blanket, your autographed first edition of Cosmos. Keep these items together in a safe place that's easily accessible in case of an emergency.

Identification

Identification can be replaced, but it's usually a long and expensive process. In addition, there's not a lot you can get done without proper identification, from driving across town to renting a hotel room. You can store important papers in one of our waterproof document pouches in order to keep them safe, dry and in one place.

  • Passport
  • Driver's license
  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security card
  • Health insurance card
  • Car insurance card


In addition, consider keeping a copy of your bank account number, your home's deed, your car’s title and your emergency contact information in your safe place.

Prescriptions

If you take life-saving medication, we recommend that you store an extra set of your prescriptions with your emergency evacuation pack. This might also include medication you give to your pet or pets.


How should I leave?

Ready.gov is a site dedicated to helping you and your family to make a plan. You can utilize the make-a-plan section in order to figure out all of the important aspects of your emergency evacuation including how to decide on an emergency meeting place, how to practice the evacuation plan and what supplies you should gather ahead of time.


Where will I go?

Deciding where you'll go in the event of an emergency is a vital part of making a proper plan. Consider the following when narrowing down your options.

  • Kids
  • Pets
  • Mobility
  • Distance


2. If a wildfire surprises you, your evacuation plan will differ. You may not have time to communicate with your family or gather your essential supplies. Although it's a scenario no one wants to think about, it's an important one to consider and practice. Adequate preparedness is your best line of defense in the event of a disaster.


When preparing for a sudden emergency, consider the following:

  • Are the devices in your home designed to warn you of fire in working condition?
  • Does everyone in your home have access to a fire extinguisher?
  • Does everyone in your home have access to an escape route, such as a fire ladder?
  • Does everyone in your home know where to meet in the event of a home fire?
  • Are you prepared to apply first aid or CPR if it's needed?
  • How will you safely remove pets from the home?


If you have any questions about disaster preparation, just ask us. We're available via phone, email, snail mail or at our store location in Van Nuys.