Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How to Prepare for a Power Outage




Power outages can happen for a variety of reasons but occur most frequently during the summer and winter months when weather and temperatures can be extreme and unpredictable. Power outages can happen unplanned in the case of strong winds or vehicle accidents that take down power lines or planned in the case of rolling blackouts which are used as a last resort by energy companies in order to curb energy crises or avoid system overloads.

Rolling blackouts are more common during the hottest summer months when energy needs skyrocket due to increased air conditioning usage, but this type of intervention isn't very common within the United States.

If a blackout occurs in your town or community, the most likely causes are damage to powerlines due to lightning strikes, wind, flooding and snow. If you reside in an area where these are particularly common, it's best to prepare yourself in advance. While power outages are often short-lived, we recommend that you follow a couple of simple guidelines in case an outage occurs so that you and your family aren't caught off guard by such an event.

Do:


Talk to your children about power outages

They may not be ready to hear about the birds and the bees, but talking to your children about possible emergency situations at any age can help you avoid a panic situation. We recommend that you keep it simple by informing them about what causes a power outage and what your course of action will be in the event of one.

Make a plan
Your plans may be as simple as staying put and preparing entertainment for the kids or stocking up on emergency cooling packs or blankets for outages in very hot or cold areas. Regardless of the extent of your plans, we recommend that you start with an emergency crank- or battery-powered light and that you keep extra batteries on hand.

Invest in a surge protector


When power fails, surges in electricity that cause voltage to spike are highly common. When this happens, sensitive equipment such as computers can be damaged. A surge protector limits the amount of voltage that reaches your appliance in the event of a surge. Most power strips have built-in surge protectors and are available for $10 or $20.

Don't:


Leave Candles Unattended

Candles are commonly associated with poweroutages. Use candles with care. If you light candles for temporary emergency lighting, don’t leave them unattended. Do not leave candles burning if you planto go to bed.  Also, keep flashlights you’ll use solely in the case of an emergency stocked in various rooms of the house.   

Open the fridge

When the power goes out, it's only natural to start thinking of your perishables as valuable commodities that must be preserved at all costs, even if that means eating them. But consuming what you can before it goes bad will only lead to bellyaches and rising refrigerator temperatures.

Your fridge is constructed to keep cool air in, and by keeping it shut during a power outage, you avoid compromising the temperatures needed to keep food bacteria-free.

Try to be a hero

It's no secret that electricity is a powerful force, but we'll reiterate it here anyway. If you begin to believe that desperate times call for desperate measures, your judgement may be clouded, leading you to believe you’re equipped to handle things that are outside of the scope of your capabilities. No matter the circumstance of your local power outage, remember that you aren't prepared to repair powerlines.
For additional information about power outages, we recommend contacting your local electricity provider. Your local energy company will also likely have a portion of their online site devoted to power outages in your area, allowing you to confirm your power outage is more than a blown fuse and to monitor outages as they occur and are repaired.

If you have any additional tips for our readers, leave your comment in the box below.




Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fourth of July Safety Tips for Fireworks

 
Planning out your 4th of July probably includes a variety of traditional celebratory activities such as grilling, swimming, a cold beer with friends and, of course, fireworks. But does your Independence Day plan also include proper safety considerations?
If you're like most, you've probably never thought about the possible dangers that lurk among the fun and relaxation, specifically those associated with firework products. Spinners, sparklers and bottle rockets are readily available at roadside stands across the country during the months of June and July, and it's easy to stop in for a quick impulse buy on the way home or to a friend's house.
As the afternoon hours pass and one cold beverage turns to "has anyone seen my beer," the impulse to play with fireworks or take small risks you wouldn't otherwise increases. But it doesn't take an impaired awareness to make mistakes. Misinformation about fireworks is common, from where to place fireworks to how to light them and dispose of them once they've been used.


According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, roughly 230 people end up in the emergency room every single day from fireworks-related injuries during the month surrounding the 4th of July. In 2012, an average year for fireworks purchases, roughly 8,700 emergency room visits were directly related to the improper use of fireworks. Approximately 5,200 (or 60 percent) of these visits occurred during June and July. Six hundred were the result of the use of sparklers alone.
The majority of fireworks-related injuries involve burns on the hands and damage to the eyes and are associated with improper lighting, playing with fireworks, improperly lighting fireworks, reusing old fireworks and improper disposal. Fireworks and sparklers burn hot and exert an enormous amount of force and heat when detonated. When used properly, fireworks can be a fun and exciting way to celebrate the 4th this year and every year following.
But much like a grenade, fireworks can cause severe damage to your body as well as to surrounding property.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety has outlined the following useful tips to help you prevent injury and personal property damage when using fireworks:

KEEP AN EXTINGUISHER HANDY
Thousands of fires are caused by fireworks each year. An errant flight path or some hot debris can cause clothing, hair or surrounding areas to burst into flame without any notice. Having a firefighting tool ready and available will be your best chance at stopping a fire before it's out of control.

READ THE LABELS
Fireworks are labeled, but are you actually spending the time to read the instructions? Take a few extra minutes to read each label, and reassure yourself of the proper steps to take when preparing, lighting and disposing of each firework.

NEVER GIVE FIREWORKS TO CHILDREN
It’s never too early to think about promoting fireworks safety for children, and the best way to do this is to let them learn by watching. It might be tempting to let your children discover the wonderful world of fireworks early, but their limited dexterity and inclination toward a short attention span makes children and fireworks a dangerous combination.
Talk to your children about the dangers of fireworks, and help them to understand that they aren’t toys. An early knowledge about safety will last them a lifetime.

*A note about sparklers*
Sparklers are a cheap and entertaining way to get into the fireworks spirit, but they aren't harmless. The center of a sparkler can burn at up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, and its sparks can easily create a fire when ideal conditions are present.
To include kids in the fun and keep them engaged, we recommend using a glow stick instead. Glow sticks come in a variety of colors, and they're a long-lasting and safe way to enjoy the fun without the possibility of burns or fires.


DON'T MISTAKE FIREWORKS FOR TOYS

It's easy to forget that fireworks aren't toys with all of the fun they tend to provide. But fireworks aren't a game. Never light them while you're holding them, throw them, use them for target practice or play other kinds of games with them.





LIGHT ONLY ONE FIREWORK AT A TIME
Professional fireworks are fun and entertaining to watch, so it might be tempting to want to try your own hand at something similar. But lighting multiple fireworks at once is dangerous and requires professional experience and equipment. Never try to light a bundle or a row of fireworks in an attempt to create your own fascinating 4th of July display.

Firework fuses burn at different rates, and hurrying through the process of lighting them all is a recipe for disaster.



DON'T LIGHT FIREWORKS WHILE INTOXICATED

Enjoying a cold one with friends or family is a natural part of a good 4th of July celebration, but if you've had a few too many, you may start taking risks you otherwise wouldn't normally take. Couple that impaired judgment with reduced balance and you're likely to end up a holiday statistic.








DON'T RELIGHT FIREWORKS
It's a common occurrence among fireworks purchased at roadside stands or online:
One or more of your fireworks won't light or won't explode. If you have a dud in your collection, wait 20 minutes, douse it in water, and then throw it away.


DON'T MAKE YOUR OWN FIREWORKS
You may have found some easy instructions online for creating your own fireworks extravaganza, but combining powerful chemicals and igniting them without proper testing is dangerous and results in many devastating injuries every year. Fireworks sold in stores undergo rigorous testing and abide by many predefined safety laws to ensure that, when properly used, injuries are unlikely to occur. The firework you'll create in your garage could cost you more than a few dollars in ingredients.
We hope that these fireworks safety tips provide you with the knowledge necessary to use fireworks properly and without incident this holiday weekend and beyond.

If you'd like to share a story with us or provide your own tips or cautionary tales, we're here to listen. Simply use the comment box below!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Safety Hacks for Everyone

Being prepared for any situation is the ideal scenario, but it's hardly always the reality. Life is full of surprises that range from neat or exhilarating to mildly annoying and, of course, downright awful. Preparing for the big stuff can take time and might require more time and money than you're prepared to spend. But whether you're already prepared for the big emergencies or you're still in the process of making a list, here are a few of our favorite easy safety tips that everyone should know today.



Make Your Own Rehydrating Solution 

An oral rehydration solution (or ORS) can be purchased at most pharmacies, and you might even have a few packages stocked away in your safety kit already, but did you know that the recipe for a DIY ORS requires just a couple of ingredients?

If you or a loved one are struck with serious vomiting or diarrhea, or if you've lost water rapidly through severe sweating caused by high temperatures or above-average strenuous activity, rehydrating properly is vital. Water alone will dilute bodily fluids and compromise the body’s internal balance of electrolytes and sugars, which is where a rehydration solution comes in.


Dehydration is marked by dark yellow or brownish urine, decreased or absent urination, thirst, headache, dry or hot skin, dizziness, confusion, and lethargy. If you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, especially in conjunction with vomiting or diarrhea, a rehydration solution is likely necessary.

To prepare your own ORS, all you need is salt, sugar and clean water. To make 4 cups of ORS, combine 6 teaspoons of sugar with .5 teaspoons of salt. Note that the ratio of sugar to salt is 12:1 - keep this ratio in mind in the event that measuring utensils aren't available and you have to guess.

Remember that although sugar is added to our solution, dehydration cannot be tackled using sugar alone. Therefore, it is important to avoid juices, sodas or other sugary drinks when dehydrated. Known diuretics such as tea, coffee, energy drinks and alcohol should also be avoided at all costs to prevent further dehydration.



Forget the Tweezers or the Needle

We've all been there: while walking barefoot, doing yard work or moving furniture, you hit a snag, literally. A small splinter of wood gets lodged in your palm, the tip of your finger or in the ball of your foot. It's painful, but so is the thought of digging it out with a pair of tweezers or a needle.

Don't worry; you're not the first to think so. Plenty of independent research has been done on the removal of splinters, from soaking the area to applying common household items or even foods.
While we can't back many of these claims with our own experiences, we do know that there are two common household products that will work in most cases for painless splinter removal without the use of tweezers or needles.

Glue

To utilize this method for extraction of splinters, first you must ensure that your glue is non-toxic. Furniture glue, wood glue, superglue or rubber cement are not options here.

Examine the direction in which the splinter has inserted itself
Apply a thin layer of glue to cover the entire area
Wait for the glue to dry
Peel the layer of glue off in the same direction as the splinter is inserted
Wash the area with soap and warm water
Cover the area with Neosporin and a Band-Aid if necessary



This trick is especially helpful with small children who will likely squirm or fuss even at just the site of tweezers or a needle and are familiar with the benign qualities of glue.


Duct Tape


You've always had your suspicions, and this seems to confirm it: Duct tape will fix anything.
The beauty behind using duct tape to remove splinters is that you're likely already well stocked whereas tweezing or sewing may simply not be your style.

Using duct tape to remove your splinter works a lot in the same way as using glue.


Examine the direction in which the splinter has inserted itself
Apply a strip of duct tape to the area
Ensure the duct tape is making proper contact with your finger, but avoid pressing down unnecessarily to make sure the splinter stays intact and doesn't splinter further
Peel the tape off in the same direction as the splinter is inserted
Wash the area with soap and warm water
Cover the area with Neosporin and a Band-Aid if necessary



Increase Your Visibility

Whether you're in your own neighborhood or trekking through unknown territory, we believe that the best way to take yourself out of harm's way before you're in it is to remain visible. From reflective clothing to LED lighting, there are plenty of easy and affordable options that will have motorists looking twice before turning into you.


If you're a regular walker, runner or cyclist, we recommend that you equip yourself with highly visible safety gear such as a vest, reflective strips or LED lighting you can clip onto belts, hats or backpacks.

*Don't Forget Fido

If you're a dog owner, it's likely that at least one of your daily walks occurs in dim, poor or no lighting. Ensure that everyone is seen well in advance by equipping your pooch with an LED of its own or a reflective collar or harness!



Know Your Surroundings

It's true in all scenarios: Knowing where you are in respect to your surroundings can be life-saving. From hiking adventures to walking alone at night, we take the proper precautions to ensure that we remain well aware of where we are.

But many of us have come accustomed to the idea of the inevitable blind spot while we're on the road. Your blind spot can easily keep other motorists and cyclists out of your line of sight, creating the perfect opportunity for a tragedy.

Many newer cars already come equipped with a blind spot mirror, but you don't have to trade in your vehicle just yet to create a safer ride for yourself and for other motorists. Self-adhesive blind spot mirrors are available at major auto shops, Sears and even through Groupon. Their low cost and easy installation makes this a smart investment all around.



Become a First-Aid Expert

First-aid can be as easy as 1-2-3, and being equipped to handle a minor emergency is one of our favorite hacks of all. Knowing proper first-aid will prepare you to deal with burns, cuts, bone breaks and more. SOS Survival Products offers a variety of first-aid courses as well as other workshops at affordable costs. You'll learn the basics needed to respond to the most common first-aid emergencies, and upon completion you receive a two-year American Red Cross Certification.

*Did You Know

You can create a splint for broken bones from common household items?

From hiking and skiing to everyday trampoline accidents, broken bones are common injuries, especially in children. While a homemade splint is not a remedy for a broken bone, creating a splint will allow you to stabilize a broken bone to prevent further damage and unnecessary pain en route to the hospital.


To create a splint, you'll need a rigid object that's slightly longer than the length of the affected limb.

Your splint will need to rest on the joint below the injury as well as the joint above it.
You will also need some items to tie the splint in place. Gauze works great, but so do shoe laces, belts or duct tape. Keeping in mind that the limb may swell, fasten the splint tightly enough to immobilize the limb, but ensure that circulation isn't compromised.

Periodically check for abnormal coloring that's pale or blueish, and ask the patient if the limb feels tingly.


Being prepared for the large and the small, living proactively and knowing how to use everyday objects for your benefit are some of the best skills a person can have.

We'd love to hear how you have improved your wellbeing and benefited from your favorite everyday DIY safety hacks. Comment below to share your story, your tips or your question!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Water Safety



May is National Water Safety Month, and SOS Survival Products is here to remind you about the dos and don'ts of swimming, boating and other recreational water activities. Whether you prefer to spend your summers lounging by the pool or beach or you're ready to hitch up the boat or jet ski for a trip to the lake, equipping yourself with proper water safety knowledge is a must.

Drowning happens fast and silently. The CDC reports that between 2005 and 2014, an average of 3,536 deaths per year occurred from accidental drownings. Roughly one in five drowning victims this year will be 15 or younger. 
Don't become a statistic. There are ways in which you can prepare yourself and your family. Learn water safety now, follow the rules closely, and get ready to enjoy a fun and safe summer.


DON'T SWIM ALONE
You've heard it before, but we stand behind this rule 100 percent. By buddying up, you statistically increase your chances of being noticed should your safety suddenly be in danger. So make swimming with a buddy your number one rule for water safety, whether you're taking a dip in the pool or you're planning something more adventurous.

SWIM IN DESIGNATED AREAS
Swimming in areas that are potentially hazardous will unfortunately render the buddy system ineffective. If you and your swimming partner are both caught in an undertow, a sudden tidal change or swept away by a strong, unseen current, neither will be of help to the other — a terrifying and deadly situation. Avoid isolated and non-designated areas with which you aren't familiar in order to avoid being caught off guard.

DON'T CLIFF JUMP OR DIVE
With the exception of designated locations and tourist attractions, we recommend you leave this activity where it belongs: in the movies. Without a dinosaur at your heels, the act of cliff diving simply amounts to you voluntarily throwing yourself off rocks into another set of rocks. While exhilarating, without a proper knowledge of the area, cliff diving can result in serious injuries and death.

DON'T LEAVE CHILDREN UNATTENDED
As a parent, you're already aware of the dangers of drowning, but we believe this point is worth driving home. Drowning is a silent killer. Forget what you think you've learned from beach dramas and soap operas; the signs of drowning aren’t apparent. Drowning victims don't flail, thrash or scream because complete submersion occurs in seconds. Don't be distracted by your phone, a conversation or a daydream. Keep an eye on your child(ren) at all times.

BE AWARE OF WEATHER CONDITIONS
A sudden change in weather can ruin a trip to the beach and can be devastating if you're planning on boating this summer. Always check the weather before leaving and stay up to date on changing weather conditions while out. Drops in temperature, heavy rains and increased wind speeds can quickly turn your boating trip into a disaster.

WEAR A LIFE JACKET
As adults, we've become accustomed to the idea that life jackets are for small children and those who can't swim. But in the wrong conditions, boating without a life jacket can be the equivalent of jumping out of a plane without a parachute. Moving water contains an unimaginable force, and oceans and lakes are crossed by strong and unseen currents that can be difficult to navigate. Because of this, we recommend that unless you've dropped anchor in calm waters, you keep your life jacket on and follow other recommended boating safety tips at all times.

PREVENT DEHYDRATION
Dehydration can happen quickly and unnoticed. We lose an average of about 3 liters (or 3 quarts) of water per day through breathing, sweating and urinating. A few hours in the warm sun combined with swimming, volleyball or other recreational activities can cause dehydration quickly, even when you may not feel particularly hot or thirsty. Once dehydration has set in, you may experience loss of balance, headaches and confusion. Make adequate fluid intake a vital part of your pool and beach safety plan by drinking water regularly, even if you aren't thirsty, and avoiding sugary drinks like juice or soda.

DON'T DRINK AND SWIM
A margarita by the pool, a cold beer while tubing or a glass of wine while boating — swimming and alcohol tend to want to go together like s'mores and camping. But when combining the effects of alcohol with a prolonged exposure to sun and heat, drinking in or near water can have devastating effects. Impaired judgement sets in quickly, allowing you to take risks you wouldn't normally take. Decreased balance combined with increased carelessness can quickly result in a tumble overboard and the inability to know which way is up. Don't risk injury or death. Swim now, drink later.

LEARN CPR
No matter what your plans are this summer, we recommend you make CPR a part of your knowledge repertoire. CPR is easy to learn, easy to perform and it can help save lives. Don't find yourself unprepared in the event of a drowning accident or injury, and ensure you are prepared anytime should a family member, friend or neighbor require your assistance.

From lounging and tubing to adventurous sports and boating, summer provides the perfect opportunity for a variety of water-related activities. Stay safe throughout them all with these water safety tips from SOS Survival Products.







Friday, April 22, 2016

Millennium Energy Bar

Most emergency energy bars get the job done, addressing the caloric and nutritional needs of the average person. These basic requirements can be fulfilled simply by packing calories and nutrients into a compact edible food, but there’s one aspect that energy bars consistently fall behind on: taste. Millennium Energy Bars are different. These life-sustaining bars contain a healthy mix of essential carbohydrates, fats and proteins in a compact form, and they are so good you’ll forget they’re not a snack food.



Millennium Energy Bar – Lemon

U.S. Coast Guard-approved, these bars are popular among professional travelers and adventurers because of their effectiveness and easy storage. These high-calorie emergency food bars clock in at about 400 calories each, so by only eating one, you’ll be getting all the nutrients a full meal offers! By replenishing your energy with quality ingredients that won’t dehydrate, you’ll increase your strength and ability for survival. With a shelf life of up to five years, Millennium Energy Bars can be stored away now in the event of a disaster later. Keep them in your car, in hiking packs or designated emergency storage containers.



Millennium Energy Bar – Raspberry

Unlike some long-lasting energy bars, Millennium Bars are lightweight and maintain their consistency in and out of the packaging. Because they were designed to withstand extreme temperatures, you don’t need to worry about how and where you’ll store this emergency food. Some energy bars can melt, leak or spoil in hot cars or storage areas. Millennium Energy Bars will last and remain flavorful and edible no matter where you store them.
Millennium Energy Bars are available in several different flavors – raspberry, blueberry, coconut, apricot, orange, lemon, vanilla, cherry and tropical – and each of them offer delicious nutrition without the added unwanted extras. Once you decide on a flavor, you can buy individually, order a nine-bar combination pack or stock up completely with a case consisting of 144 bars.



Millennium Energy Bars – Combo Pack

We can’t predict the future, but we can prepare ourselves for the possible. No matter if you’re trekking through the mountains, camping in the wilderness or simply in your home during an emergency, you might find yourself in desperate need for food. When it comes down to it, there’s no better food bar to rely on than the Millennium Energy Bar. Other products don’t compare with its lasting durability, shelf life and great taste. This product has been proven effective time and again to provide nutrition and calories without sacrificing taste. At SOS Products, we carry every Millennium Energy Bar at a great price to make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected. Browse through our store today, and find the right emergency bar for your needs!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Natural Disasters by Region: How to Prepare for a Likely Natural Disaster

Disaster Preparedness by Region

The United States has been subject to a broad spectrum of natural disasters during the course of recorded history. The size of the country allows so many various natural calamities the ability to occur, and depending on the state or region in which you live, you may be prone to more than one type of natural disaster. It’s important to know what potential risks you face and to be prepared accordingly. A disaster management plan will ensure you and your family face the best odds in the event of a flood, hurricane, earthquake or tornado. To assist you with your preparations for disaster management, we’ve outlined the most likely occurrences of certain natural disasters by region.


Earthquakes

 

Although earthquake activity has been recorded in various portions of the United States, 10 of the states with the most overall occurrences are Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Oregon. It is important to note that because these statistics are based on the number of earthquakes alone, your state’s region may be overall more prone to floods, tornadoes or hurricanes than to earthquakes. Check out USA.com for additional information about the likelihood of certain natural disasters over others in your area.

If you reside in an earthquake-prone region, we recommend you plan accordingly by first ensuring you are safe inside the home. Bolt bookcases to the wall, seal cabinets properly and reinforce heavy lamps. Once your home is free of potential falling hazards, decide on the best place to hide during an earthquake. Because of the hazard of falling objects, you will be safest under a sturdy desk or table and away from windows. Although you may have heard of the “Triangle of Life” approach to earthquakes, which suggest that you should place your body near and not under an object in order to create a safe space for yourself in the event of a ceiling collapse, the Earthquake Country Alliance strongly advises against this because buildings rarely collapse in a “pancake” fashion in developed countries.

 According to the Red Cross, the Earthquake Country Alliance and FEMA:

 Do:
  • Drop to your hands and knees immediately to avoid falling Crawl to cover 
  • Cover your head and neck Hold on until the shaking stops 

Do NOT:
  • Get into a “Triangle of Life” pose 
  • Stand in a doorway 
  • Stay near windows 
  • Attempt to run outside 
  • Get out of bed if in bed 

    If you are not indoors when an earthquake occurs, you can still prepare yourself properly. When not indoors, follow these guidelines:

    Do:
    • Be aware of falling objects like trees, signs, buildings and powerlines 
    • Move to a clear area if possible 
    • Cover your head and neck 
    • Pull over if in a vehicle 
    • Avoid stopping on bridges and overpasses 

    Do NOT: 
    • Leave your vehicle 
    • Attempt to move fallen debris 

    If you experience an earthquake that lasts longer than 20 seconds and you are located near the shore, do not wait for an official tsunami warning; prepare to evacuate to higher ground immediately.


    Floods 



    A flood can happen any time during prolonged or severe rains, in places with poor water drainage, during heavy snow melt, and because of sudden rises in sea level due to strong winds or tsunami. Read the guidelines below to prepare yourself in case of a flood.
    If you live in a state where floods are common, it is wise to equip yourself with a mobile weather app which will allow you to receive warnings and severe weather alerts. Understanding your risk of a flood before it occurs will allow you to act accordingly, whether that means preparing for evacuation or staying at home. Remember that flooding can occur quickly and without much warning in the event of a flash flood. If you are walking or hiking in or near canyons or riverbeds, move to higher ground immediately at the first sign of flooding, such as faster or muddier water flow that contains debris like twigs or leaves. If you are camping in low areas or near a river, plan to head home if sudden rains occur. Flash floods may reach full peak in minutes, but can take hours to develop. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns that more deaths occur from flooding than from any other severe weather hazard because people underestimate the force and power of water. Many of these deaths are preventable. Remember these tips when faced with a flood:

    Do:
    • Heed evacuation warnings 
    • Have a plan 
    • Use extra caution at night 
    • Move to higher ground 
    •  
    Do NOT:
    • Attempt to drive or walk through moving water 
    • Attempt to remove powerlines or debris from water 
    • Camp or park alongside streams during rainy conditions 

    Because standard homeowner’s insurance generally does not cover flooding, you may want to consider additional insurance to help cover water damage related to hurricanes, tropical storms and heavy rains.


    Hurricanes
















    If you are located in the southern portion of a state alongside the Gulf of Mexico or the East Coast, chances are you’ve encountered a hurricane threat. Hurricanes are classified in five categories by wind speed and can form rapidly over ocean water when warm air rises. As a hurricane begins to near, low winds can create rip currents even at large distances, creating unseen hazards for swimmers and surfers. During its approach, a hurricane will cause water levels to rise, and large ocean swells may result in water damage miles inland. Hurricanes often produce massive amounts of rain and flooding, and flash floods can occur quickly due to intense rainfall. If inland winds reach 74 mph or more, buildings are in imminent danger of being destroyed, and evacuation should have been completed.

    During the approach of a hurricane, you may be in danger of several hazards even at a distance. It is therefore important to prepare for all possible events accordingly. Take care when swimming and heed all warnings regarding strong currents. Regularly trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe, secure lose items on your property, and keep your car in good working condition in the event you have to leave suddenly. If you live in an area where hurricanes may approach land, it’s important to know your evacuation route. Make note of marked routes and plan ahead. In the event that you are asked to evacuate, don’t delay. If you will not be evacuating, take note of the following tips in order to help you stay safe during a hurricane:


    Do: 
    • Stay alert with mobile or radio updates 
    • Review your evacuation plan 
    • Cover windows 
    • Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case of lost power 

    Do NOT: 
    • Approach windows during a hurricane 
    • Go outside for any reason 
    • Attempt to remove large debris or power lines after a hurricane 

    Because of a hurricane’s high potential to inflict damages to powerlines, consider investing in a heavy-duty solar generator which will allow you to store backup power for emergency lighting, laptops and mobile devices. The Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests that, for those living in high-risk areas, a safe room will provide near-absolute protection from hurricanes as well as tornadoes.
    Because traditional insurance will likely not pay for any damage incurred through subsequent rains not directly associated with a hurricane, we recommend you cover any damaged portions of a roof with a tarp as soon as it is safe to do so.


    Tornadoes 




    Many regions across the southern, Midwestern and eastern portion of the United States are capable of experiencing tornadoes. An average of 800 tornadoes are reported each year, with the region lying between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains, also known as Tornado Alley, reporting the highest number. However, because tornadoes can occur nearly anywhere, it’s important to know the warning signs and what you can do to prepare.
    Because tornadoes develop quickly and have unpredictable paths, we recommend establishing a safe place that you can access from your home. Stay alert with mobile updates specific to your area, and be on the look-out for dark or greenish clouds, increasing wind speeds and hail. Know the difference between a tornado warning and a tornado watch: if you receive a watch alert, the weather service has declared conditions in your area conducive to a tornado. A warning, on the other hand, means that a tornado has been sighted. If you receive a tornado warning, take cover in a basement or storm cellar immediately. If no underground shelter or safe room is available to you, a small, windowless interior room such as a closet or hallway on the lowest level of a building is the safest alternative. Do not stay in a mobile home. If you are located in a mobile home, quickly get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. During a tornado, follow these steps in order to stay as safe as possible:

    Do:
    • Find shelter as soon as a warning is issued 
    • Cover yourself with blankets, if possible 
    • Keep your pets near you 

    Do NOT:
    • Stay in a mobile home 
    • Stand near windows or in open areas 
    • Use candles in case of broken gas lines 

    If you are in a vehicle at the time of a tornado:

    Do:
    • Keep your seatbelt on 
    • Place your head below the windows 
    • Cover your head and neck with your arms 

    Do NOT: 
    • Leave your car, unless you can safely get to a noticeably lower area than the roadway 
    • Try to outrun the storm 

    As in any other disaster situation, it is not recommended that you try to remove large debris, and that you remain on the lookout for loose, weakened or fallen structures, powerlines and sharp objects.

    A natural disaster can occur anywhere. Being aware of the potential risks and planning ahead can save you property damages, insurance costs and, most importantly, your life. When planning ahead, keep these basic questions in mind:

    • How will my family and I receive emergency warnings? 
    • Where will we go in case of an emergency? 
    • How will my family locate me if we are separated? 
    • How will I let others know I am safe? 
    • What supplies will I need in the event of a natural disaster? 

    Don’t let a natural disaster catch you and your family off guard. Be prepared in every instance. 

    Tuesday, January 5, 2016

    How to Stay Safe During and After an Earthquake

    While minor earthquakes occur deep beneath our feet every day, earthquakes we can feel are much less common. Most major earthquakes happen along the edge of oceanic and continental plates. In the United States, most earthquakes occur in Alaska, California and other western states, however it’s possible to experience an earthquake anywhere. Whether you live in an earthquake hotspot or you’re preparing for every disaster possible, we’ve come up with earthquake safety tips you should follow to remain out of harm’s way both during and after an earthquake.

    Earthquake Preparedness

    If you live in an area that expects earthquakes regularly, it can be a good idea to consult a professional to learn how to make your home sturdier. Bolting bookcases to wall studs, installing latches on cupboards and securing your water heater will not only save your property and personal belongings, but will also help ensure your personal safety. Think ahead of time about where you’ll go if shaking begins while you’re at home. It should be in a room where nothing is likely to fall on you. Additionally, make sure you know how to turn off both your gas and water main lines in case there is a leak.

    Staying Safe During an Earthquake

    If you find yourself at home when an earthquake begins, retreat to your safe room or drop down, take cover under a desk or table immediately and hold on until the shaking stops. Stay put and stay indoors until the shaking stops and it’s safe to leave. Make sure to keep away from windows and anything that could fall on you. If you are in a high-rise, don’t be surprised if fire alarms and sprinklers go off during the quake.

    If you are outside when the earthquake starts, do your best to find a clear spot away from tall buildings, power lines and even trees. If you are driving, slow down safely, drive to a clear place and stay inside the car until it stops shaking. Remember: Aftershocks are always a real possibility and can even cause more damage than the original earthquake. Stay safe and sheltered until you’re positive no more shaking will occur.

    Staying Safe After an Earthquake

    In the case of a major earthquake, it is possible to get stuck and stranded inside your own home. You should prepare an earthquake prep kit with: non-perishable food, an emergency water supply (at least 1 gallon per person in your home), dust masks, goggles, a flashlight and a battery-operated radio (with extra batteries). If anything has collapsed, make sure to wear your mask and googles, as well as quality shoes to protect your feet from broken glass. Use your emergency radio to monitor the overall situation in your area and receive the latest updates and instructions. Stay away from damaged buildings as they may still collapse, and do not move injured people unless it’s absolutely necessary to get them to safety. Instead, check your phone for a signal and call or text for help as soon as possible.

    While earthquakes can be scary, they are not nearly as dangerous as many other natural disasters. With the right preparation and safety steps taken before and during an earthquake, you and your family have a high change of surviving unharmed. Have your own earthquake survival tips? Share them with us in the comments below! The more we all know, the safer we all are.