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 on the Essentials

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


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


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


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.


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 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.


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 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 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 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.


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 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.


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? 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.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Earth Day Survivalist

Earth Day is here, ready to remind us of our obligation to the planet. For most of us, that goes about
as far as riding a bike or remembering to recycle; we are, after all, busy individuals with established routines.
But what if your routine was suddenly changed? We’ve all thought about the possibility, and many of us have taken at least some steps to begin planning for the event of a sudden emergency. From our go-bags to our CPR training, we’re fairly adequately equipped to brave a minor accident, a prolonged power outage or an evacuation.

At SOS Survival Products, we love that you’re as enthusiastic as we are to prepare yourselves and your families for the unknown. Today, we’d like to take preparation one step further by talking to you about survivalism. And because we can’t neglect Earth Day, today’s survivalist tips all have a positive environmental impact.


You need it, and in an emergency it may be hard to come by. You might already be storing water for two or three days, but what happens if a major disaster turns into a nationwide or even global crisis? Living sustainably now is the best way to prepare you for an uncertain future, and water should naturally be your number one concern.

Collecting rainwater can be tricky business since it does have restrictions.
As early as the 1880s, states have been involved in personal water usage by placing constraints onto consumers. In 2012, 64-year old Oregon resident Gary Harrington was sentenced to 30 days in jail for collecting rain water.
Gary wasn’t collecting a few barrels of rainwater; more precisely, he collected about 20 Olympic swimming pools-worth. But just to be safe, check what your state has to say about collecting rainwater.
If you're permitted to or rebellious enough to start collecting your own water, it's simple.

Runoff can be collected anywhere, for example, from the roof of your house. How much water will
be created through runoff? That varies, but Garden Gate magazine estimates that it’s somewhere around 600 gallons of water within an hour of moderate rain fall. That’s a lot of manna from heaven.

In order to get your runoff into storage, you’ll need something like a gutter or downspout. In addition, your transport system needs a filter that'll trap debris like leaves which can clog your water highway.

Ensure your collection area, like a barrel, fits your transportation system securely so that insects, leaves or small animals like birds or lizards don't end up in your precious collection and contaminate your water.

SOS Survival products carries plenty of barrels including this rain collection barrel, designed to collect your runoff without any major setup requirements.

Storing your barrels on a bed of cinder blocks situated on some pea gravel will ensure that moisture doesn't get trapped under the barrel. Raising your barrel in this way will also create more pressure for spout openings, an excellent solution for gardening.

Collecting, storing and using rainwater for your personal use is a wonderful way to save water and prepare for the event of an emergency. The United States Geological Survey estimates that the average person uses 80-100 gallons of water a day! That number might sound astonishing, but consider all the ways in which we depend on water, from brushing our teeth to washing our laundry. Rainwater collection provides a sustainable avenue for water consumption and will ensure you aren't stranded without this vital resource in the event of a major catastrophe.

But what about using rain water for drinking, food preparation or bathing?

Rainwater looks clean and feels refreshing, but unless you live in remote areas, rainwater contains a variety of pollutants that include car exhaust, chemicals from runoff and various other things we don’t want you to think about while looking at this adorable image of a boy catching rain on his tongue.

One way to eliminate harmful contaminants from water is to boil it. Boiling water for one to three minutes kills viruses, bacteria and parasites.
Keep in mind that water that’s previously been boiled will not remain sterile in a non-sterile environment like a bucket or barrel. You can reuse boiled water, but if you intend to consume it, boil it again.

Another very easy way to stop contaminants is with a filter. Filters come in a variety of materials from ceramic and clay to carbon.
These types of filters work because they trap small particles that include harmful bacteria, protozoa, and microbes. Because of their small size, filters cannot trap viruses.

Ceramic filters have been successfully in use since the early 1800s and continue to be used in many countries where water filtration isn't available. These filters are inexpensive and can even be manufactured at home with the use of some clay pots, cornhusks, tealeaves or coffee grounds.


Depending on what your trips to the grocery store look like, your home might already be filled with materials that can be reused. From cans and bottles to old clothing, survivalists know how to repurpose.

Reusing what you have is a valuable skill, and one that gives our planet a chance to breathe. Although we encourage recycling because it greatly reduces waste in landfills and helps to conserve natural resources, it does not eliminate waste or pollution. Reusing is the only way to temporarily remove your carbon footprint, whether you're planting herbs in old coffee tins or washing the car with a favorite old shirt that simply couldn't be saved.

Aside from the practical applications, reusing can also be insanely fun. Check out these cool DIY projects created entirely from old materials you might otherwise toss in the bin!


You don't need a giant plot of land, expensive tools or a ton of know-how to begin gardening.

Start by growing herbs and vegetables for beginners such as dill, chives, rosemary, parsley, tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers, carrots, chard, lettuce, cabbage or peppers. Gardening books and websites are widely available to help you start on the journey toward home growing. In addition, consider that many of the plants we consider weeds are in fact edible.
These plants oftentimes provide valuable nutrients that may be hard to find otherwise.

No experience necessary, they’ll grow like, well, a weed.

Not really sure why you should grow your own?

Like livestock farming, food farming forces us to use a ton of valuable resources like fuel, land and water while contributing negatively to the environment and our health through the use of pesticides. Although our knowledge of farming has greatly increased since the days of the Dust Bowl, conventional farming methods haven't stopped top soil erosion and have lead to nutrient deficiencies and pesticide resistance. That means we're not only creating unusable land and super insects, we're also depriving ourselves of valuable nutrition that naturally occurs in fruits and veggies grown in rich soil.
If you can't grow enough food to sustain yourself and your family, we can't blame you. The average person needs about 2,000 calories per day to survive. That's a lot of parsley.

Supplement what you can grow on your own by taking a trip to your local farmer's market once a week or until you can find your own little plot of land to get started on. The foods you'll find there are grown sustainably without pesticides, and because they don't have to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to get to you, their carbon footprint remains minimal.


We don't all have the opportunity to ride our bike to work or school every day, but utilizing alternative modes of transportation whenever we can offers an enormous amount of benefits. Each time you ride your bike or walk, whether it's across town or to the corner store, you're saving natural resources and helping your body by conditioning your cardiovascular system. And that's important because, let's face it, a sedentary lifestyle isn't exactly conducive to survival.

Want to kick your survivalist skills into high gear? You've got plenty of company. Functional
intensity training continues to be a major workout trend all across the world, and with good reason. By using natural movements such as jumping and pulling, you're doing more than conditioning your glamour muscles. In addition, by exercising regularly, whether you use a high intensity interval program or a regular weight and cardiovascular combination, you're creating core strength, increased mobility, better cardiovascular health and the endurance necessary to survive disasters.

Did we miss something? We’d love to hear from you. Use the comment box below to share how you’re reducing your carbon footprint while becoming an expert survivalist.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring Forward to Safety

Daylight Savings Time happens this Sunday, March 12, at 2 a.m., and it'll be more than just a great way to seize an extra hour of sunlight through November. Spring is a great time to get your household back in gear, shake off those winter blues and plan for a new year ahead. As temperatures begin to rise, we know you'll be ready to take on a whole new set of adventures. Among these, it's important to keep safety and preparation in mind. Use the checklist below to ensure 2017 is on track for safety success.

1. Fire

Most new smoke alarms are designed to function properly for ten years, but in order to ensure your safety and that of those around you, we recommend that you test your smoke detectors once yearly. This task holds the number one spot on our list because it's a quick and easy way to save lives and stay prepared.

All smoke alarms have a test button located either on the side or on the bottom of the plastic casing. Pushing the test button sounds an alarm just like the one you’d hear in a real emergency. If the alarm sounds, your unit is receiving power. This is the first step to testing your smoke detector.

Next, test the smoke sensor. Start by purchasing a smoke detector aerosol, available at most local hardware stores for under $10. Spray the aerosol as instructed on the back of the can to ensure the alarm sounds.
Skipping this additional step might be tempting, but unless you frequently burn your casseroles, it's the only way of knowing whether the smoke detection on your alarm is functioning as intended.


If your smoke alarm is located near your kitchen, it may be more than plain old smoke that sets it off. Atomized fats, steam and even heat can trigger smoke alarms.
If your smoke alarm's noisy habits are burning you up, don't remove the batteries. Use your sensor's "mute" option to turn off smoke sensitivity while you cook, or turn on vents or fans to remove smoke before it has a chance to build up, switch to an oil with a low smoke temperature such as canola and make sure your smoke detector is free of dust. If all else fails, consider moving your unit further away from the kitchen.

2. Lifesaving

Emergency training, first aid and CPR are invaluable skills, both in everyday and emergency situations. Whether you're already certified or you're only vaguely familiar with these, there's never a better time to pursue professional training.
SOS Survival Products offers a variety of training courses for emergency preparation, fire safety and CPR, so you can use that extra hour of daylight to learn how to protect yourself and those around you.

If you don't live in the Van Nuys area, don't despair. Fire safety, first aid and CPR are taught in most cities, and classes can be found through sites like

3. Preparation

Emergency preparation takes planning, gear and rations. If you're just starting out, SOS Survival Products is a great place to begin. We offer a large selection of emergency preparedness supplies, free information and training equipment.

If you're already prepared to handle an emergency, you know that maintenance is key. Ensure your
preparations are up to date by checking for damage, punctures, leaks and expiration dates. Additionally, review your checklist to make sure it's up to date. If you've recently started taking new medications, brought pets into your home or moved, your preparation kits and supplies will need an update.

4. Escape

Just like the fire and earthquake drills in school helped you to learn how to respond to potential emergencies, a review of your escape plan will allow you to feel confident in your ability to execute safety procedures as planned. Since practice makes perfect, we recommend taking every opportunity you have to review your safety steps, but do this at least twice a year. Use March 12 as a reminder to review, adjust and practice the steps of your safety and escape plan.

Involve everyone in your household so that if the time should come, you're all prepared.
In time, your family's safety and emergency plan review will become part of a routine, ensuring everyone is capable of taking care of his or her part in a real emergency situation.

5. Home, Vehicle & Yard

Safety preparedness isn't just about staying ahead of a major catastrophe. There are plenty of unexpected dangers lurking right nearby, making it vital not to neglect your home, yard and vehicle this spring.


  • Clean your dryer vent
  • Stock your safety kit
  • Replace flashlight batteries
  • Test fire extinguishers


  • Keep tire pressure at the recommended PSI - the recommended pressure can be found in your owner's manual or on a sticker inside your door, and is usually between 30 and 35 PSI
  • Change your oil every 6,000 miles or sooner
  • Update your safety kit checklist


  • Check your fence for loose slats and damage
  • Inspect decks for structural safety
  • Cut down loose, dead or drooping branches
  • Ensure the structural integrity of pool security