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.


Tents

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:

Space

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.

Temperature

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.



Moisture

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

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.
  2.  
  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.
  4.  
  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.

Checklist:


  • 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.

Checklist:


  • 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.

Checklist:


  • 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

Checklist:


  • 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.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Emergency Preparedness Kits

SOS Survival Products offers a wide range of emergency preparedness packs. We recommend an emergency preparation kit for every home, office and dorm room. Here, we'll break down four of our most popular kits and their purpose.

Basic Emergency Survival Kit

This survival kit is intended to sustain one person for three days. This kit does not contain first aid management products. It is ideal for situations where a person may become stranded without access to clean water, food or shelter. We recommend every home stock at least one of these affordable packs for every individual in the household.



Included in this basic kit is one Mylar thermal blanket, 2,400 calories of food and just over three cups of individually packed drinking water satchels. The food and water in this kit have a 5-year shelf life, giving you long-lasting assurance whether at home or away.




How do I use this kit?

Drink water regularly to ensure dehydration does not occur. Eat if you are hungry.

A Mylar blanket's reflective silver side can be turned inward or outward to offer protection in hot or cold conditions. You may use it to reflect heat toward you or away from you. Wear the sheet like a blanket, tucking in loose ends, make a makeshift shelter to keep out rain or sun, or cover your home’s or car’s windows.


1-Person Deluxe Emergency Survival Kit

This kit contains nearly ten cups of water, 3,600 calories and an emergency blanket. This is a more robust and complete 1-person solution to basic emergency preparation, whether at home or on the road. In addition to food, water and shelter, this kit also includes a variety of first aid products to stop bleeding and infection. This kit also includes emergency lighting, a whistle to help you get noticed, an emergency radio to help you receive important updates, rain gear, a knife, heavy-duty gloves and more. This selection of vital emergency products is stored neatly and conveniently in a bright red Everest backpack. Keep it in your trunk or under the bed for easy access no matter where you are.

This kit is also available for two or four people.



Pet Emergency Kit

We strongly recommend that your emergency stock includes enough supplies to support each member of your household for three days. In an emergency situation, when you may have no access to clean drinking water, you shouldn't have to face difficult choices like how to divide your resources appropriately.


This pet emergency kit gives you the peace of mind you'll need should disaster strike. Each kit contains 100 ounces of clean, individually-packaged drinking water, a dish, universal lids for canned food (you supply your own favorite brand), can opener and emergency blanket. Additionally, your pet kit supplies a variety of first aid products for minor injuries such as cuts, scrapes or splinters.

Pro Tip
In an emergency situation, you want each member of your family to feel as comfortable as possible. We recommend speaking to your vet about a carefully dosed NSAID you can add to your pet’s emergency pack. Never administer medications intended for human consumption.



5-Person Trauma First Aid Kit

This kit is a perfect addition to your family’s three-day food and water emergency preparedness kit. This 5-person bag provides a variety of products to clean, treat and bandage wounds ranging from eye injuries to bleeding. This pack contains everything needed for first response, but also offers an excellent solution for family homes or small businesses. The included first aid manual provides instructions and information to help remind you how to provide basic first-aid in the event of an emergency.

When disaster strikes, knowing the basics can be the difference between life and death. This emergency pack and its handbook are designed to help you put to use the skills you've already learned during an emergency course. We recommend preparing yourself for a real-life emergency with a hands-on course in first aid, CPR or both. If you reside in the Van Nuys area, check out our upcoming schedule for classes in first aid, pet safety and outdoor survival.

This kit is also available for 15 people.











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.