Monday, August 24, 2015

Essential Items for Your Storm Shelter

It’s estimated that every year 10,000 American lives are saved due to storm shelters and emergency plans. No matter where you live, there is potential for natural disasters to strike. Every state in America has experienced tornados, and many states experience multiple tornados every year. Unlike other natural disasters, when tornados hit, you only have minutes, if not seconds, to make decisions. Tornados can demolish entire homes, trap victims and leave people in the dark or even without shelter for hours to days.

There’s no better time to start organizing your family’s emergency plan than today. We’ve come up with some of the top storm shelter emergency supplies you should store in your storm shelter.

Basic First-Aid Emergency Kit

Although it may seem obvious, it’s important not to overlook the basics. You should create a tornado shelter emergency kit that includes all the basic items such as: first-aid supplies, ample amounts of water, copies of important papers, matches and candles, a NOAA weather band emergency radio, a flashlight and backup batteries. It’s also essential that you stock up on non-perishable food items like canned food, MREs or emergency food bars. You may end up stuck in your storm shelter or your area may be inaccessible to delivery trucks after a disaster hits, making fresh food scarce.

In the event that you are stranded in your shelter due to outside access being cut off or an injury, it’s a good idea to keep an air horn or whistles easily accessible so you can signal your location to others.

Medication & Family Supplies

If anyone in your home needs to take medication regularly, ask your doctor for extra to keep in your storm shelter. You may not have access to a doctor or pharmacy after a disaster hits. If you have children, it’s a good idea to store a few magazines and board games for entertainment. If you have a baby, remember to stock up on extra diapers, ointment, wipes and all other baby supplies you need on a regular basis.

Clothes, Shoes & Comfort Items

When you get notice a tornado’s coming, there’s no telling where you’ll be or what you’ll be doing. Whether you’re working out, watching TV or getting out of the shower, at any given moment you may need to make an instant dash for the shelter. If you end up in the shelter without shoes or clothes, you’ll want to have extra stored away that you can put on. Additionally, you should store a tent, sleeping bags, blankets and other basic camping supplies (think: lantern, toilet paper, hand sanitizer…) in case you get stuck overnight or your home is destroyed.

Finally, it’s also a good idea to keep a battery-operated cell phone in your shelter in case yours dies or doesn’t make it down with you. If you have pets, remember to stock up on pet food and extra water! While natural disasters are destructive and can be devastating, with the right emergency plan you can avoid losing the most important things – your life and your family’s lives.

Monday, July 27, 2015

How to Stay Safe During a Heat Wave

Summer 2015 has officially arrived in full force. Today, heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the US and results in even more heat-related illnesses. However, by educating yourself on the dangers of severe heat and preparing for excessive heat levels, you can protect yourself and your family from becoming a victim of the high temperatures.

When a heat wave is predicted for your area, your weather forecasters will issue either an excessive heat watch, an excessive heat warning or a heat advisory. A heat watch means there is likely to be a short heat wave within the next 24 to 72 hours. A warning means daytime highs for at least the next 2 days are between 105-110° Fahrenheit. An advisory means highs are likely to be between 100-105° Fahrenheit for 1 to 2 days.

Heat Wave Safety Tips

Paying close attention to your local weather is the best way to stay aware of upcoming heat waves. Before the next heat wave arrives however, you should ensure you and your family are prepared. You should keep your phone charged and have a plan for the places you most often spend your time – home, work and school. An emergency disaster kit could be essential in the case of a power outage. Make sure you’re always stocked up on food, water and basic first aid supplies.

If you do lose power and therefore air conditioning in your home during a heat wave, it’s bound to get uncomfortable fast. Plan on places you can visit during the day, such as the library, museum or a movie theater, to find relief. A fan alone will not be enough to prevent heat-related illnesses during extreme heat waves.

What to Do During a Heat Wave

During a heat wave, make sure to stay hydrated and drink water often, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Sweating removes salt and minerals from your body, so it’s a good idea to have sport beverages on hand as well. You should wear lightweight and light-colored clothing (dark colors absorb the sun’s rays) and stay indoors during the warmest parts of the day.

As always - remember to never leave your children or pets alone in an enclosed vehicle. Young and old people alike are particularly sensitive to extreme heat. Babies and young children may not show any signs of heat stress, so it’s important to keep an extra close eye on them and watch for: increased irritability, loss of appetite, going to the bathroom often and generally looking unwell.

For those who work outdoors and cannot easily escape the heat, it’s a good idea to monitor the conditions of your fellow co-workers and keep a Heat Stress Responder Kit on hand so you can prevent and manage emergencies instantly. Cramps, headaches, nausea and dizziness may indicate you need to move to a cooler place. If vomiting occurs or you begin to lose consciousness, ask for assistance and call 9-1-1 immediately.

Have your own summer heat safety tips or activity ideas? We’d love to hear about them – leave us a comment below! And of course, stay cool this summer!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

How to Avoid Insect Bites & Stings This Summer

While summer offers the best, and the most, opportunities for outdoor adventures like hiking, swimming, camping and more, this outdoor season also means dealing with more mosquitoes, spiders, bees, ticks and other stinging and biting bugs. Most bugs are simply annoying, and the majority of bites and stings simply itchy, however, for some people certain bugs can cause major health problems.

Fortunately, serious issues from bites and stings are rare, and there are some simple steps you can take to minimize your risk of ever getting bitten.

1. Make Yourself Less Attractive

No, insects don’t care if you have on an evening gown or pajamas. However, they are attracted to flowers and items they think are food. Perfume, sweet-smelling hair products and even brightly colored clothing can attract bugs to you. Next time you’re headed outdoors, choose earth tones and fragrance-free products to best help avoid attracting bugs and increasing your risk of being bitten.

Additionally, covering your body by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants will greatly lower your chances of being stung and bitten.

2. Apply Insect Repellent

Bug spray is an excellent option for repelling bugs and preventing bites and stings. When out for a full day and/or night, remember your repellent will only continue to be effective if you follow the directions and reapply when necessary. When using both sunscreen and bug spray, you should apply sunscreen first and then your repellent.

There are numerous bug repellent options, so whether you prefer an odorless insect repellent lotion, a traditional spray or even a bug repellent towelette, there is a bug repellent solution out there for you.

3. Avoid the Areas Bugs Love Most

Mosquitoes and flies breed and thrive in standing water, and ticks and chiggers are common in tall grass and weedy areas. Avoid staying in areas that bugs are in most in order to reduce your risk of being bitten. Additionally, you should keep your feet safe from bugs you can’t see by wearing shoes whenever you’re exploring outdoors.

4. Avoid Swatting or Panicking

Eventually, you will come into contact with some bugs. When you do run into a flying insect, it’s best not to swat, shoo or panic and flail your arms around. Instead, remain calm and move away slowly to avoid agitating the bug and getting bitten or stung.

5. Be Prepared for Bites

If you spend a lot of time outside, it’s inevitable that over time you’ll receive some bites. When you do get bitten or stung, the next best thing you can do is be prepared to treat the bites. Sting care wipes provide pain relief, a tick remover makes it easy to remove ticks from both humans and pets and for serious bites, an extractor pump can provide safe extraction of venoms and poisons. When traveling to a new outdoor destination, you should research what bugs you are most likely to encounter in order to best be prepared.

Have your own tips for preventing bites and stings? We’d love to hear ‘em! Tell us about your methods in the comment section below!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Wildfire Prevention & Safety Tips

Every year an average of 5 million acres burns across the United States, causing casualties and millions of dollars in damage. Wildfires can start in an instant and spread at a rate of up to 14.29 miles per hour. Once a wildfire starts, it can be difficult to put out, as new smaller fires constantly spawn up to miles away.

What Causes Wildfires?

While wildfires can be caused by nature, most are caused by humans. Up to 90 percent of U.S. wildfires are started by campfires, burning debris, sparks from trains, vehicle exhaust, discarded cigarettes and even arson. While there is no 100 percent fool-proof solution for preventing wildfires, there are steps you can follow and precautions you can take to help reduce the risk.

Prevention Starts at Home

The easiest way to start reducing your risk is to safety-proof your home. Some easy wildfire prevention techniques include keeping your gutters, eaves and decks clean and free of debris, trimming your trees, creating adequate space (about 100 feet) between your home and surrounding wildlands, and disposing of debris such as leaves and branches immediately. It’s also a good idea to store a firefighting system in an easily accessible area around your home in case a fire does break out. Taking the proper prevention steps before a wildfire breaks out could save your property, and even your life.

Take Care While Camping

The first rule of wildfire safety is: If there is a ban on fire in your camp area, do not start a fire! If fires are permitted, make sure all flammable materials are put away and that there is no dead vegetation around your fire. You should also keep a shovel and water nearby so you can put out your fire at a moment’s notice. Never leave fire unattended, including smoldering charcoal and barbeques. Additionally, do not park vehicles in dry areas, as heat from the exhaust system could ignite the grass.

Dispose of Cigarettes Properly

Make sure it’s out! Not only is tossing cigarettes out littering, but discarded and, still-lit cigarettes can also start a fire in an instant. Dispose of your cigarettes properly in order to completely reduce your risk of accidently starting a fire.

How are Wildfires Extinguished?

There are many factors that determine how fast a wildfire will spread and how difficult it will be to put out, including temperature, wind and moisture. Warmer temperatures allow fire to both ignite and burn faster. Wind supplies fire with the oxygen it needs to keep burning, and strong winds greatly contribute to fire spreading faster. Finally, the more saturated with moisture the air is, the more suppressed a fire will be.

Fortunately, every year thousands of firefighters are willing to put their lives on the line to stop these dangerous events. Wildfire firefighters are either considered hotshots, those who surround a fire and try to keep it from spreading, or smokejumpers, those who jump out of planes to put out smaller fires in remote areas. Once on the ground, smokejumpers use the same tactics as hotshots to extinguish fires. Finally, helicopters and air tankers are often sent in to drop thousands of gallons of water and retardant onto fires.

By taking just a few precautions, you can greatly help reduce the risk of wildfires, save lives and prevent thousands to millions of dollars worth of damage.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer Safety Guide for the Family

It’s finally that time of year we’ve all been waiting for. Longer days, warmer temperature and bright sunshine make these next few months a glorious paradise for anybody who likes to spend time outdoors. I’m talking about summer, of course, and while this warm-weather season has its many perks, there are safety hazards that should not be overlooked, especially if you have young ones tagging along for the fun. So before you head to the park, pool, barbeque or beach (if you’re lucky!), be sure you consider this summer safety guide for the family.

Sun Safety Tips

Apply early and often – For children six months and older (as well as adults), be sure to apply sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher to ensure you are getting full-spectrum protection. It’s also important to apply about 15-30 minutes before sun exposure so it can absorb into the skin and decrease the likelihood of it being washed off. We recommend reapplying about every two hours and any time after swimming, sweating or drying off with a towel.

Wear clothing that covers – Dress yourself and your kids in protective clothing. There are many sun-protective styles that are great in covering the neck, elbows and knees. We suggest wearing darker colors and thicker fabrics, as well as topping off any sun-safe outfit with a hat with a forward facing brim.

Be mindful of shade – Contrary to popular belief, you can, in fact, get burned while sitting in the shade. This is because light is scattered and reflected, so even though you are getting relief from heat, it does not provide the UVR protection that is needed.

Water Rules

Be attentive – Whenever your kids are in the water, be sure you are off your cell phone and watching them at all times. Avoid distractions at all costs, because drowning can happen quickly and quietly.

Put up a fence – If your house has a swimming pool, fencing of at least four feet surrounding all sides of the pool and doors that close and lock by themselves is a pool safety necessity. This will keep your tykes out of the pool when you’re not around, but it is also important to train your kids so they know never to go near the water without an adult.

Take a class – Be prepared for any scenario by attending a CPR class and getting certified. Parents that are knowledgeable about water safety skills are extremely important because you can never be too careful around water.

Safe Barbequing

Thoroughly cook all meat – It is very important all meat you feed your children is well-done, and not a spot rare. Cut through any meat before serving it to your kids, and you can make sure you’re cooking at the appropriate temperatures by obtaining a meat thermometer.

Never leave grill unattended – An adult should always be standing by the grill when it’s on or in use, so little ones don’t touch it and burn themselves severely. The sun isn’t the only thing hot in the summer!

Follow these summer safety tips, and you and your family will have the exciting and fun filled summer you planned for. Be sure to visit SOS Survival Products to stock up on all your summer safety supplies and ensure that your family enjoys the warm weather responsibly!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Top 10 Camping Essentials for Your Trip

You’ve planned for your big camping trip for months now, and you’ve done everything you can think of. You reserved a campsite, organized all of your gear, and planned activities to keep everyone in your group entertained. However, there are lots of little things that can easily be overlooked that could potentially save you or others in a moment of desperation.

Here are the Top 10 Camping Essentials:

1. First-Aid Kits

An obvious necessity for all camping trips but oftentimes overlooked, first aid kits come in handy in many situations. It is important the kit you bring contains treatments for blisters, adhesive bandages of varying sizes, gauze pads, tape, over-the-counter pain medication, disinfectant and gloves. These items should alleviate pain caused by typical camping activities as well as minimize the chances of infection.

2. Alternate Clothing

Even if the forecast calls for all sun, the weather can change at the snap of a finger. Alternate or extra clothing allows you to swap out wet clothes for dry ones or add extra layers in the cold.

3. Emergency Water Supplies

Whether it be a means to purify water or emergency drinking water, you should always ensure you have a means to obtain clean water just in case your supply runs out or is diminished.

4. Pocketknife

Known as a Swiss Army Knife, these useful tools take up essentially zero bag space and contain things like a knife, corkscrew, saw, scissors and more. With a pocketknife by your side, you have a tool for any scenario.

5. Fire Starters

It’s all fun and games until it gets dark outside and you realize you forgot matches or a fire starter. Having a fire at your campsite is essential for cooking food, providing warmth when it’s cold out and producing a source of light so you can see where you’re going. Plus, what’s camping without roasting marshmallows?

6. Sun Protection

Sunglasses, while stylish, also provide eye protection from the sun’s UV rays that have been linked to the development of cataracts, so it’s a win-win. Sunscreen (SPF 30+) should be worn at all times and reapplied throughout the day to decrease your risk for painful burns.

7. Emergency Shelter

Emergency “space” blankets or tarps should be packed, just in case getting lost or injured leaves you stranded for an extended amount of time. These are especially helpful when it’s windy and rainy, as they can keep you from getting sick and keep you warm.

8. Navigation

Maps and compasses are camping necessities, especially when moving from campsite to campsite and for situations where you find yourself lost. You don’t want to be the guy who refused to bring a map because you “know you’re not going to get lost.” It happens to the best of us, so better safe than sorry.

9. Flashlight (and Batteries)

Flashlights can not only show you the way when it’s dark but can also be used to signal for help during an emergency. That’s why it’s important for every member of your party to carry their own flashlight. And don’t forget batteries!

10. Rope

Last but not least, rope is especially useful if you or someone else in your party can tie various knots. Rope can be used for clotheslines, creating shelter, or even towing someone out of a tight situation.

With these items packed for your camping trip, you can rest easy knowing you’re prepared for every scenario. Remember, you can find most of these camping essentials and much more at SOS Products! We also carry tents and privacy shelters. Now have fun and be safe!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How to Choose the Perfect Emergency Radio

Including an emergency radio in your disaster survival kit is a common piece of advice. However, not many people know how to pick out a reliable emergency radio that’s actually going to help them get through a crisis. Not all radios are made equally, and when you’re in the midst of an emergency without power – whether you’re at home or traveling – your survival may depend on the gear you’ve stocked up on. We’ve come up with some radio tips to help you choose the perfect emergency radio for you.

What Type of Radio Should You Get?

When it comes to emergency radios, you first and foremost need a self-powered radio that will deliver NOAA alerts. The primary use of your emergency radio will most likely be to stay informed about the outside world. A standalone AM/FM receiver allows you to tune into any local FM stations that are still broadcasting and keep up with NOAA alerts, relief instructions and more information that is sent via AM radio. During severe emergencies, FM stations are not likely to be available, so having a radio that broadcasts AM is extremely important. If you want to be able to communicate with others via your radio, you’ll need a two-way radio; however, most people do fine with a standalone receiver.

Battery-operated radios are often the go-to option for new radio buyers; however, it’s ideal that you find a radio that is supported by multiple power sources. An AC adapter is perfect when you have power. Solar and hand-crank radios are a better option for traveling or as a backup for when the power goes out. Remember: if your radio has extra features, the power will drain faster.

What Size Radio Should You Get?

For your at-home emergency stock, it’s a good idea to purchase a large radio with special features of your choice (see below) and one small radio in case you need to relocate. For your car, office, boat or cabin, it’s recommended you keep a smaller radio on hand that you can continue to travel with when necessary.

What Makes an Emergency Radio the Best?

As discussed, the best emergency radios broadcast both FM and AM and can run without electricity. Solar and hand-crank radios are always a great option. Battery-powered radios also make great emergency devices, as long as you remember to stock up on extra batteries. However, what makes some radios stand out more than others is the additional features they come with. Some of our favorite options include:

Finally, you should consider searching for radios that offer SAME – Specific Alert Message Encoding. SAME allows you to receive warnings for specific areas, so you can be notified when there is a hurricane, tornado or another natural disaster headed your way.

For a wide variety of the best emergency weather radios, search no further than SOS Survival Products. If you’re still wondering which radio is right for you, give the experts at SOS a call! We’d be happy to help you find the best emergency radio for you.