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.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Things You Should Have in Your Car for Emergencies

Your engine won’t start, your spare tire blows out, you run out of gas, you get stuck in the mud… car trouble tends to be one of those things where people think, ‘that won’t happen to me’… - until it does. Unfortunately, vehicle breakdowns happen often. Sometimes you may be at home or around people who can help; other times you may not. When disaster does strike, having a roadside emergency car kit can help you get back on the road faster, or at least stay comfortable while you wait.

Car Repair Essentials

With the right equipment and know-how, certain car troubles can be fixed on the spot. Some of the most important repair and maintenance items for you to keep in your emergency car kit include:
  • Reflective Warning Triangles – When you’re trying to change a flat on the freeway or jump a car in the middle of a lane, it can be a dangerous process. Bright, reflective warning triangles can be placed behind your car to warn oncoming traffic of the hazard ahead.
  • Spare Tire – You should regularly check to make sure your spare is in good condition and also carry a tire jack and tire iron so you can change the tire without assistance.
  • Jumper Cables – Familiarize yourself with your engine so you know how to jump your car before the battery dies. You can also keep an emergency battery booster in your car so you can jump the car without waiting for someone to stop and help.
  • Duct Tape – Because duct tape can almost always help!

Safety & Survival Essentials

Sometimes there’s just no fixing your car where it’s at. When that happens, you want to be as prepared as possible in case you are far from help or inclement weather prevents help from reaching you. Creating your own car survival kit allows you to ensure your safety supplies include the necessities, such as:
  • A First Aid Kit – Whether you’re traveling across the country or just to work, there’s no telling when an accident will occur. Keeping a first aid kit in your car allows you to help treat both yourself and others while assistance is still on the way.
  • A Flashlight – Handy for both car trouble and medical emergencies, flashlights (and extra batteries) are essential for any emergency car kit.
  • A Multipurpose Tool – Small, portable multi-tools can be useful in a myriad of situations.
  • Water Bottles & Food – Drinking water is one of the most important items you should stock up on. Nonperishable food is also essential to keep in your kit – energy bars, protein bars and MREs are ideal for situations where you may be stuck for an extended period of time.
  • A Seat Belt Cutter & Window Breaker – Keep it in your glove compartment - not the trunk. This tool can mean the difference between life and death when you or loved ones are trapped in a car after an accident.
  • A Battery Operated Radio
  • An Ice Scraper

Comfort Items

In addition to emergency essentials, it’s a good idea to also keep some items on hand that will keep you comfortable if and when you get stranded:
  • Tissues & Paper Towels
  • A Warm Blanket and/or Emergency Blankets
  • Car Phone Charger
  • Change of Clothes
  • Rain Poncho

Remember, the best way to survive emergency situations is to be prepared before disaster strikes. When you’re starting your own emergency car kit or need refill supplies for your kit, look no further than SOS Survival Products. If you have questions about what else you need to complete your car survival kit, feel free to reach out to the experts! We’re always happy to help.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pet Emergency Preparedness Steps

If you’re like our family, your pets are as much a part of the family as anyone else. You would do anything for them. We often hear stories on the news about cats or dogs being rescued from a disaster and it touches our hearts. If you’re like us and your pets mean the world to you, it’s important to have their needs taken care of in the event of an emergency. Before disaster strikes, take the time to make a plan that will ensure your pet’s safety.

1. First Thing to Do

No matter the emergency situation, SOS Products believes it’s key to have the necessary supplies, and this includes supplies for your pets. A pet emergency kit has everything your cat, dog or other animal will need. Kits should include:
  • Water
  • Pet bowl
  • Waste bags
  • Blanket
  • Can opener
  • First aid supplies

In addition, we also recommend having a pet emergency guide on hand. The guide will provide you with temporary urgent care tips that you can use in case you can’t make it to a veterinarian.

2. Evacuation Plan

In event of a disaster, remember if it’s not safe for you to stay in your home then it’s not safe for your pets either. Take your pets with you when you evacuate so they will not be exposed to injury or harm.

3. After a Disaster

If you’ve been forced to evacuate, keep your pets on leashes or in a crate. Because they’re in an unfamiliar place, they’re a little more on edge and may flee if allowed to roam free.

Further, if you’re allowed to return home, inspect the area for other animals since wild animals can be a hazard for your pets. Also, you may have to keep them in the crate until you’re able to secure the house as floods, fire or other disasters may have caused damage to the home.

4. Unable to Come Home

Unfortunately, disasters can strike at any time and as such, there are times when you can’t make it back to your home to retrieve your pets. In these instances, it’s important to have a backup plan in place. Seek out a neighbor who you trust to care for your pets. Provide the neighbor with a key to your home and let him or her know where the pet food is. It’s also a good idea to go over the pets’ habits so that he or she can make things as comfortable for your pets as possible until you return home.

Taking the time to make an emergency plan for your family, including your pets, goes a long way in ensuring the safety of everyone if a disaster were to strike. Keep these tips in mind as you create your plan and be sure to stock up on disaster supplies. If you have any questions about what you need for your pets or for yourself, reach out to the experts at SOS Survival Products. We’re here to help!

Monday, April 6, 2015

What to Do In the Event of a Flood

As spring and the rainy season approach, floods become more and more of a concern. Any place on Earth where it rains is vulnerable to floods. While most floods develop over time and allow people time to prepare, not all do. Flash floods can be extremely dangerous and kill about 140 people every year in the United States alone. While floods can be treacherous and need to be taken seriously, there are steps you can follow before, after and during floods to help ensure you and your family remain safe.

How Do Floods Happen?

Floods are among the most frequently occurring natural disasters. Flooding occurs when natural and artificial watercourses exceed capacity, typically during periods of long or heavy rainfall. On the coast, flooding can be triggered by other natural events such as tropical cyclones or tsunamis. Flooding occurs most heavily in low-lying areas; however, flash floods can occur almost anywhere.

Flood Disaster Preparedness

Whether you live in an area that frequently sees flash floods or not, it’s a good idea to educate yourself ahead of time about flooding and to stock up on flood disaster supplies. Some of the most important items to ensure you have easy access to during an emergency include:

  • Drinking water
  • Food that does not require refrigeration or cooking
  • First aid supplies
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Waterproof pouches to hold personal items and keep them dry

Make a plan with your family and for your pets about where you’ll go during a flood. Map out routes that are not prone to flooding in case you must evacuate.

What to Do During a Flood

When you first become aware of a flash flood watch (meaning flooding is possible in your area) or a flash flood warning (flooding is already occurring in your area or will soon), monitor your surroundings carefully and get to a safe area as soon as possible. If you are driving, fill up on gas but do not attempt to drive through flooded roadways or rushing water, even if it looks shallow. Flash floods are powerful and can sweep your car off the road as easily as they can knock you off your feet.

If you’re stuck at home and there’s a possibility water may get high enough to seep inside, you should board up your doors and windows as fast as possible. Cut off your utilities – turn off gas, electricity and water – and head upstairs with important items like legal paperwork and expensive electronics. If you have hazardous materials in a shed or your garage, such as oil, pesticides or even cleaning supplies, move them to higher locations so they don’t create even more hazardous water conditions.

Use your battery-powered radio to monitor the latest information and find out when it’s safe to leave again. If you are stranded and are in immediate danger from rising water, contact emergency services immediately.

How to Stay Safe After a Flood

If you’ve come in contact with flood water, be sure wash your hands with clean water and soap ASAP. Stay away from down power lines, watch out for washed out roads and stop kids from playing in areas that are still flooded.

If your home was flooded, check for damage that could affect your gas lines or electrical system. If there is damage, have a professional come check everything out before you turn utilities back on. Finally, take pictures of everything damaged for insurance purposes, throw away medicine, food and drinks that had any contact with flood water, and disinfect everything that got wet. If your home is in need of major repairs, check out the American Red Cross guide Repairing Your Flooded Home for help getting started.