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Monthly Archives: April 2016

  • America's National PrepareAthon is Today

    Find out where preparedness events are happening in your community, connect with other communities of practice, and add your own activities to the map to demonstrate how you are taking action to prepare.

    PrepareAthon-Take_Action Click the image to take action and learn 10 ways to participate in America's PerpareAthon
    Learn about Disaster Preparedness with these Survival Tips Learn about Disaster Preparedness with these Survival Tips


  • Incident Command System (ICS)

    Image of incident command system chartIncident Command System Core Concepts:

    • Common terminology -use of similar terms and definitions for resource descriptions, organizational functions, and incident facilities across disciplines.
    • Integrated communications -ability to send and receive information within an organization, as well as externally to other disciplines.
    • Modular organization -response resources are organized according to their responsibilities. Assets within each functional unit may be expanded or contracted based on the requirements of the event.
    • Unified command structure -multiple disciplines work through their designated managers to establish common objectives and strategies to prevent conflict or duplication of effort.
    • Manageable span of control- response organization is structured so that each supervisory level oversees an appropriate number of assets (varies based on size and complexity of the event) so it can maintain effective supervision.
    • Consolidated action plans- a single, formal documentation of incident goals, objectives, and strategies defined by unified incident command.
    • Comprehensive resource management -systems in place to describe, maintain, identify, request, and track resources.
    • Pre-designated incident facilities- assignment of locations where expected critical incident-related functions will occur.
    Disaster Emergency Triage & S.T.A.R.T. Disaster Emergency Triage & S.T.A.R.T.

    S.T.A.R.T. Triage Supplies & Kits 

    Triage Supplies & S.T.A.R.T. Triage Kits, Bags & Gear: Suppliers of Triage Kits, Triage Tags, Triage Tarps, Triage Equipment for S.T.A.R.T. (Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment) Triage - Wholesale to the Public Manufacturer Direct Triage, S.T.A.R.T., and Trauma Emergency Care. Triage equipment can be used for disasters & multiple casualty response as well as mass casualty incidents (MCI), triage tarps are used to decipher the severity of injuries during disasters or emergencies, triage equipment is used for prioritizing emergencies and Triage tags use symbols so there are no language barriers:

    Learn more about the S.T.A.R.T. Triage Method!

    Disaster Emergency Triage & S.T.A.R.T. (Also See Trauma & First Responder Supplies)

    Content excerpted from the Urgent First Aid Guide used by permission Copyright 2013
    All Rights Reserved. Get a full copy of the First Aid Guide for under $1!

  • Terrorism

    With America's PrepareAthon this Saturday, we've been address a wide variety of types of disasters on may need to deal with. Terrorism is and emergency situation you should consider. We've discussed EarthquakesFireSpring StormsTsunamisBlackouts & Brownouts, as well as  Disaster ManagementFamily Emergency Readiness, and what to have in your Emergency Grab and Go Kits. Now - let's look at evil...


    ?   Terrorists look for visible targets such as international airports, large cities, major international events, resorts, and high-profile landmarks. Terrorist weapons include explosives, kidnappings, hijackings, arson, and shootings.

    ?   Be alert and aware of the surrounding area. The very nature of terrorism suggests that there may be little or no warning.

    ?   Take precautions when traveling. Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior. Do not accept packages from strangers. Do not leave luggage unattended.

    ?   Learn where emergency exits are located. Think ahead about how to evacuate a building, subway or congested public area in a hurry. Learn where staircases are located.

    ?   Notice your immediate surroundings. Be aware of heavy or breakable objects that could move, fall or break in an explosion.


  • Laboratory Safety

    Today, more than ever, safety considerations are extremely important in our laboratory environments.  Yet often we are so caught up in the work we are doing that we forget or ignore safety practices and procedures.  As a result, accidents and injuries in the laboratory have become all too common.

    There are a number of reasons that we need to pay more attention to safety in our environment.  We work with increasingly complex equipment and apparatus while, at the same time, something as simple as a crack in a piece of glassware can be enough to create a significant problem.

    Lab-SafetyWe have always known that many of the materials that we use can be hazardous if not handled correctly.  That is true today perhaps more than ever before.  Knowing where to go for information about potential hazards, such as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS’s), can make the difference between running a safe experiment or a dangerous one.

    Another thing that has significantly affected our laboratory operations are recent OSHA regulations.  The OSHA Laboratory Standard deals specifically with the handling of hazardous chemicals.  The Bloodborne Pathogens regulations address bloodborne diseases and the ramifications of working with infectious materials.  And with the passage of these regulations OSHA has become much more active in overseeing and inspecting laboratory facilities.

    There are many elements that are crucial to the establishment of a safe lab environment. Understanding the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), safe handling of glassware, vent control, and even proper housekeeping all affect the overall lab safety.  Additionally, knowledge of hazardous chemicals, container labeling and the steps to take in the event of a spill or exposure have become very important in performing our jobs safely.

    Topics for consideration:

    • What are some types of PPE used in your lab, and under what situations are they used?
    • What are some of the various potential emergencies that may be faced in a lab environment?  Discuss the steps to be taken in response to these emergencies.
    • What are the primary reasons for clearly labeling all chemicals in the workplace?
    • What types of information should be present on a warning label? What are some of the symbols and codes you are likely to find on a container of potentially hazardous material?

    Flammables and Explosives

    A flammable can be described as a substance that can readily catch fire and burn under certain conditions.  Conditions that will affect a substance’s likelihood of ignition include the temperature, the concentration of the substance in the atmosphere, and the proximity of other types of chemicals, among others.

    We use a number of flammable substances in our laboratories, and even some materials that are potentially explosive.  The damage caused by either one of these types of materials can be severe.  We need to be able to use methods that allow us to work safely with flammable and explosive substances.

    Being aware of flashpoints, limits of flammability, ignition temperatures and other information governing the way flammables and explosives act is therefore very important to us.  Likewise, knowing how to protect ourselves when working with these materials and what to do if an emergency should occur is also important.

    Topics for consideration:

    • What do the terms “flashpoint,”  “limits of flammability,” and “ignition temperature” mean?
    • What are some examples of common laboratory activities or situations that could ignite flammable or explosive materials?
    • What is the “Fire Triangle?”

    Preventing Contamination

    Handling hazardous chemicals and specimens requires a great deal of caution.  If we don’t contain them, these materials can spread and contaminate the things around them… including you.

    Every day our work calls on us to safely handle substances like Toxins, Corrosives and Carcinogens.  We thing we spend a lot of time protecting ourselves, but are we really doing all we can?


    Topics for consideration:

    • What are the sources of information we can use to find out about potential hazards?
    • What are some of the potential contamination hazards faced at your facility?
    • Discuss some of the methods we can use to protect against contamination.

    Laboratory Hoods

    Many of the materials we work with give off fumes, mists, vapors, particulates and aerosols that are hazardous.  To minimize exposure to these materials we need to take special precautions.  In many cases, this means working within a “hood.”

    Hoods can protect us in several ways.  Their sashes provide protection from hazards like chemical splashes and sprays, as well as fires and minor explosions.

    A hood also creates a protective barrier by pulling air into and through the workspace.  This inward airflow helps keep hazardous fumes and vapors from escaping and reaching us.

    Hoods should be used in much of the work that we do.  To use them most effectively we need to be familiar with how they operate and the proper procedures for using them.

    Topics for consideration:

    • From what potential hazards can hoods protect us?
    • What is Face Velocity?
    • How can you test a hood for proper functionality?

    Handling Compressed Gas Cylinders

    Compressed gas cylinders exist for one reason, to hold large amounts of gas in comparatively small spaces.  By this process of compression, the gas is placed under extreme pressure, and the resulting potential for sudden release or explosion is increased.

    Usually, compressed gas cylinders are very safe.  However, there are a number of situations that can cause problems to occur.  Even a small leak can quickly disperse a cylinder’s contents over a large area.

    In the laboratory, we use compressed gas in a number of situations and, as a result, we need to understand how the cylinders work and how to handle them safely.

    Topics for discussion:

    • What are some potential hazards of improperly handling or storing compressed gas cylinders?
    • What are some of the methods of safely storing pressurized gases?
    • What are some safety considerations that should be observed when moving or transporting compressed gas cylinders within a facility?

    Safe Handling of Laboratory Glassware

    Laboratory glassware is a well-crafted, highly versatile tool for use in the work environment.  As with any glass however, there is the risk of damage or injury from dropping, bumping, excessive pressure, or drastic temperature changes.  If a piece of glassware should break, there is the possibility of injury from sharp edges or from the release of its chemical contents.

    In order to safely handle this type of equipment, it is necessary to understand its risks and limitations, as well as proper inspection methods, handling techniques, and disposal procedures.

    Topics for consideration:

    • What are some of the proper techniques required for safely carrying or transporting glassware?
    • What different types of PPE should be used when handling glassware in different situations?


    1. Material Safety Data Sheets in the Laboratory
    2. Electrical Safety in the Laboratory
    3. Laboratory Safety Series: 12 Program Package
    4. Orientation to Laboratory Safety
    5. Laboratory Ergonomics
    6. Laboratory Hoods
    7. OSHA Laboratory Standard Refresher Training
    8. OSHA Laboratory Standard
    9. Planning for Laboratory Emergencies
    10. Safe Handling of Laboratory Glassware
    11. Compressed Gas Cylinders in the Laboratory - OSHA Safety Training
    12. Flammables and Explosives in the Laboratory
  • Family Emergency Readiness


    Family members should know:

    • How to shut off the main gas and water valves,
    • The safe spots and danger spots in the house,
    • How to ride out an earthquake or major storm,
    • When to exit the house and where to collect,
    • Where to meet if separated,
    • The telephone number of a trusted friend or family member,
    • The location of the survival equipment and first aid supplies and how to use them.


  • Fire

    In most cases, a fire should be your signal to quickly evacuate the building via the quickest and safest route.  If, however, a fire can be easily extinguished, it can significantly reduce the risk of injury and property damage.


    Be aware of fire extinguisher locations, and know how to use them. In the workplace, fire extinguishers are usually located near the stairwells.  Most extinguishers sold today are “ABC” class.  This means they are designed to extinguish:

    A – Combustibles, paper, wood, trash,

    B – Hydrocarbons, oils, greases, and

    C – Electrical fires.

    See our Fire Prevention & Safety Training Materials! See our Fire Prevention & Safety Training Materials!

    Examine the extinguisher prior to an emergency:

    • Determine if it is an ABC class extinguisher,
    • Check the pressure gauge,
    • Check the safety pin and connector,
    • Check the hose for cracks,
    • Check to see the date of the last inspection or charging.

    To operate an extinguisher:

    P – Pull the Pin

    A – Aim the Nozzle

    S – Squeeze the Handle

    S – Sweep Side to Side


    Earthquakes occur without warning.  To survive an earthquake it is important to be prepared.  Some useful items that should be kept in your home include:

    • Preparedness and Survival Gear: Here. Preparedness and Survival Gear: Here.


    • Portable Radio
    • First Aid Kit
    • Fire Extinguisher
    • Food & Water
    • Tools
    • Medication
    • Warm Clothes / Blankets


    • Secure all tall or heavy furniture,
    • Secure hot water heaters,
    • Secure appliances that may move enough to rupture a gas main or an electrical connection,
    • Remove heavy hanging plants that can sway or fall,
    • Remove heavy objects hanging near beds (pictures, mirrors),
    • Move beds away from windows,
    • Apply latches to cabinets,
    • Avoid placing heavy or sharp objects on top of furniture,
    • Be aware of brick structures (including chimneys) that can collapse in an earthquake.


  • Hand & Portable Powered Tools

    Hazard Recognition

    Tools are such a common part of our lives that it is difficult to remember that they may pose hazards. All tools are manufactured with safety in mind but, tragically, a serious accident often occurs before steps are taken to search out and avoid or eliminate tool-related hazards.

    In the process of removing or avoiding the hazards, workers must learn to recognize the hazards associated with the different types of tools and the safety precautions necessary to prevent those hazards.

    Hand Tools

    Hand tools are non-powered. They include anything from axes to wrenches. The greatest hazards posed by hand tools result from misuse and improper maintenance.

    Some examples:

    • Using a screwdriver as a chisel may cause the tip of the screwdriver to break and fly, hitting the user or other employees.
    • If a wooden handle on a tool such as a hammer or an axe is loose, splintered, or cracked, the head of the tool may fly off and strike the user or another worker.
    • A wrench must not be used if its jaws are sprung, because it might slip.
    • Impact tools such as chisels, wedges, or drift pins are unsafe if they have mushroomed heads. The heads might shatter on impact, sending sharp fragments flying.

    hand-power-toolsThe employer is responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees but the employees have the responsibility for properly using and maintaining tools.

    Employers should caution employees that saw blades, knives, or other tools be directed away from aisle areas and other employees working in close proximity. Knives and scissors must be sharp. Dull tools can be more hazardous than sharp ones.

    Appropriate personal protective equipment, e.g., safety goggles, gloves, etc., should be worn due to hazards that may be encountered while using portable power tools and hand tools.

    Safety requires that floors be kept as clean and dry as possible to prevent accidental slips with or around dangerous hand tools.

    Around flammable substances, sparks produced by iron and steel hand tools can be a dangerous ignition source. Where this hazard exists, spark-resistant tools made from brass, plastic, aluminum, or wood will provide for safety.

    Power Tool Precautions

    Power tools can be hazardous when improperly used. There are several types of power tools, based on the power source they use: electric, pneumatic, liquid fuel, hydraulic, and powder-actuated.

    Employees should be trained in the use of all tools - not just power tools. They should understand the potential hazards as well as the safety precautions to prevent those hazards from occurring.

    The following general precautions should be observed by power tool users:

    • Never carry a tool by the cord or hose.
    • Never yank the cord or the hose to disconnect it from the receptacle.
    • Keep cords and hoses away from heat, oil, and sharp edges.
    • Disconnect tools when not in use, before servicing, and when changing accessories such as blades, bits and cutters.
    • All observers should be kept at a safe distance away from the work area.
    • Secure work with clamps or a vise, freeing both hands to operate the tool.
    • Avoid accidental starting. The worker should not hold a finger on the switch button while carrying a plugged-in tool.
    • Tools should be maintained with care. They should be kept sharp and clean for the best performance. Follow instructions in the user's manual for lubricating and changing accessories.
    • Be sure to keep good footing and maintain good balance.
    • The proper apparel should be worn. Loose clothing, ties, or jewelry can become caught in moving parts.
    • All portable electric tools that are damaged shall be removed from use and tagged "Do Not Use."


    Hazardous moving parts of a power tool need to be safeguarded. For example, belts, gears, shafts, pulleys, sprockets, spindles, drums, fly wheels, chains, or other reciprocating, rotating, or moving parts of equipment must be guarded if such parts are exposed to contact by employees.

    Guards, as necessary, should be provided to protect the operator and others from the following:

    • point of operation,
    • in-running nip points,
    • rotating parts, and
    • flying chips and sparks.

    Safety guards must never be removed when a tool is being used. For example, portable circular saws must be equipped with guards. An upper guard must cover the entire blade of the saw. A retractable lower guard must cover the teeth of the saw, except when it makes contact with the work material. The lower guard must automatically return to the covering position when the tool is withdrawn from the work.

    Safety Switches

    The following hand-held powered tools must be equipped with a momentary contact "on-off" control switch: drills, tappers, fastener drivers, horizontal, vertical and angle grinders with wheels larger than 2 inches in diameter, disc and belt sanders, reciprocating saws, saber saws, and other similar tools. These tools also may be equipped with a lock-on control provided that turnoff can be accomplished by a single motion of the same finger or fingers that turn it on.

    The following hand-held powered tools may be equipped with only a positive "on-off" control switch: platen sanders, disc sanders with discs 2 inches or less in diameter; grinders with wheels 2 inches or less in diameter; routers, planers, laminate trimmers, nibblers, shears, scroll saws and jigsaws with blade shanks ¼-inch wide or less.

    Other hand-held powered tools such as circular saws having a blade diameter greater than 2 inches, chain saws, and percussion tools without positive accessory holding means must be equipped with a constant pressure switch that will shut off the power when the pressure is released.

    Electric Tools

    Employees using electric tools must be aware of several dangers; the most serious is the possibility of electrocution.

    Among the chief hazards of electric-powered tools are burns and slight shocks which can lead to injuries or even heart failure. Under certain conditions, even a small amount of current can result in fibrillation of the heart and eventual death. A shock also can cause the user to fall off a ladder or other elevated work surface.

    To protect the user from shock, tools must either have a three-wire cord with ground and be grounded, be double insulated, or be powered by a low-voltage isolation transformer. Three-wire cords contain two current-carrying conductors and a grounding conductor. One end of the grounding conductor connects to the tool's metal housing. The other end is grounded through a prong on the plug. Anytime an adapter is used to accommodate a two-hole receptacle, the adapter wire must be attached to a known ground. The third prong should never be removed from the plug.

    Double insulation is more convenient. The user and the tools are protected in two ways: by normal insulation on the wires inside, and by a housing that cannot conduct electricity to the operator in the event of a malfunction.

    These general practices should be followed when using electric tools:

    • Electric tools should be operated within their design limitations.
    • Gloves and safety footwear are recommended during use of electric tools.
    • When not in use, tools should be stored in a dry place.
    • Electric tools should not be used in damp or wet locations.
    • Work areas should be well lighted.

    Powered Abrasive Wheel Tools

    Powered abrasive grinding, cutting, polishing, and wire buffing wheels create special safety problems because they may throw off flying fragments.

    Before an abrasive wheel is mounted, it should be inspected closely and sound- or ring-tested to be sure that it is free from cracks or defects. To test, wheels should be tapped gently with a light non-metallic instrument. If they sound cracked or dead, they could fly apart in operation and so must not be used. A sound and undamaged wheel will give a clear metallic tone or "ring."

    To prevent the wheel from cracking, the user should be sure it fits freely on the spindle. The spindle nut must be tightened enough to hold the wheel in place, without distorting the flange. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Care must be taken to assure that the spindle wheel will not exceed the abrasive wheel specifications.

    Due to the possibility of a wheel disintegrating (exploding) during start-up, the employee should never stand directly in front of the wheel as it accelerates to full operating speed.

    Portable grinding tools need to be equipped with safety guards to protect workers not only from the moving wheel surface, but also from flying fragments in case of breakage.

    In addition, when using a powered grinder:

    • Always use eye protection.
    • Turn off the power when not in use.
    • Never clamp a hand-held grinder in a vise.

    Pneumatic Tools

    Pneumatic tools are powered by compressed air and include chippers, drills, hammers, and sanders.

    There are several dangers encountered in the use of pneumatic tools. The main one is the danger of getting hit by one of the tool's attachments or by some kind of fastener the worker is using with the tool.

    Eye protection is required and face protection is recommended for employees working with pneumatic tools.

    Noise is another hazard. Working with noisy tools such as jackhammers requires proper, effective use of hearing protection.

    When using pneumatic tools, employees must check to see that they are fastened securely to the hose to prevent them from becoming disconnected. A short wire or positive locking device attaching the air hose to the tool will serve as an added safeguard.

    A safety clip or retainer must be installed to prevent attachments, such as chisels on a chipping hammer, from being unintentionally shot from the barrel.

    Screens must be set up to protect nearby workers from being struck by flying fragments around chippers, riveting guns, staplers, or air drills.

    Compressed air guns should never be pointed toward anyone. Users should never "dead-end" it against themselves or anyone else.

    Powder-Actuated Tools

    Powder-actuated tools operate like a loaded gun and should be treated with the same respect and precautions. In fact, they are so dangerous that they must be operated only by specially trained employees.

    Safety precautions to remember include the following:

    • These tools should not be used in an explosive or flammable atmosphere.
    • Before using the tool, the worker should inspect it to determine that it is clean, that all moving parts operate freely, and that the barrel is free from obstructions.
    • The tool should never be pointed at anybody.
    • The tool should not be loaded unless it is to be used immediately. A loaded tool should not be left unattended, especially where it would be available to unauthorized persons.
    • Hands should be kept clear of the barrel end. To prevent the tool from firing accidentally, two separate motions are required for firing: one to bring the tool into position, and another to pull the trigger. The tools must not be able to operate until they are pressed against the work surface with a force of at least 5 pounds greater than the total weight of the tool.

    If a powder-actuated tool misfires, the employee should wait at least 30 seconds, then try firing it again. If it still will not fire, the user should wait another 30 seconds so that the faulty cartridge is less likely to explode, than carefully remove the load. The bad cartridge should be put in water.

    Suitable eye and face protection are essential when using a powder-actuated tool.

    The muzzle end of the tool must have a protective shield or guard centered perpendicularly on the barrel to confine any flying fragments or particles that might otherwise create a hazard when the tool is fired. The tool must be designed so that it will not fire unless it has this kind of safety device.

    All powder-actuated tools must be designed for varying powder charges so that the user can select a powder level necessary to do the work without excessive force.

    If the tool develops a defect during use it should be tagged and taken out of service immediately until it is properly repaired.


    When using powder-actuated tools to apply fasteners, there are some precautions to consider. Fasteners must not be fired into material that would let them pass through to the other side. The fastener must not be driven into materials like brick or concrete any closer than 3 inches to an edge or corner. In steel, the fastener must not come any closer than one-half inch from a corner or edge. Fasteners must not be driven into very hard or brittle materials which might chip or splatter, or make the fastener ricochet.

    An alignment guide must be used when shooting a fastener into an existing hole. A fastener must not be driven into a spalled area caused by an unsatisfactory fastening.

    Hydraulic Power Tools

    The fluid used in hydraulic power tools must be an approved fire-resistant fluid and must retain its operating characteristics at the most extreme temperatures to which it will be exposed.

    The manufacturer's recommended safe operating pressure for hoses, valves, pipes, filters, and other fittings must not be exceeded.


    All jacks - lever and rachet jacks, screw jacks, and hydraulic jacks - must have a device that stops them from jacking up too high. Also, the manufacturer's load limit must be permanently marked in a prominent place on the jack and should not be exceeded.

    A jack should never be used to support a lifted load. Once the load has been lifted, it must immediately be blocked up.

    Use wooden blocking under the base if necessary to make the jack level and secure. If the lift surface is metal, place a 1-inch-thick hardwood block or equivalent between it and the metal jack head to reduce the danger of slippage.

    To set up a jack, make certain of the following:

    • the base rests on a firm level surface,
    • the jack is correctly centered,
    • the jack head bears against a level surface, and
    • the lift force is applied evenly.

    Proper maintenance of jacks is essential for safety. All jacks must be inspected before each use and lubricated regularly. If a jack is subjected to an abnormal load or shock, it should be thoroughly examined to make sure it has not been damaged.

    Hydraulic jacks exposed to freezing temperatures must be filled with an adequate antifreeze liquid.

    General Safety Precautions

    Employees who use hand and power tools and who are exposed to the hazards of falling, flying, abrasive and splashing objects, or exposed to harmful dusts, fumes, mists, vapors, or gases must be provided with the particular personal equipment necessary to protect them from the hazard.

    All hazards involved in the use of power tools can be prevented by following five basic safety rules:

    • Keep all tools in good condition with regular maintenance.
    • Use the right tool for the job.
    • Examine each tool for damage before use.
    • Operate according to the manufacturer's instructions.
    • Provide and use the proper protective equipment.

    Employees and employers have a responsibility to work together to establish safe working procedures. If a hazardous situation is encountered, it should be brought to the attention of the proper individual immediately.

    hand-power-tool-safety-tileHand and Power Tool Safety - OSHA Safety Training: Hand and power tools are used every day in many types of business. They make our work easier and allow us to be more efficient. However, we often fail to see the hazards these tools present.

    Our training products on "Hand and Power Tool Safety" show how accidents can be significantly reduced by applying good general safety rules, and review what hazards are associated with the specific types of tools employees use. Topics covered in these products include:

    • Choosing tools that fit you and the job.
    • Protecting yourself and others from tool-related hazards.
    • Personal protective equipment.
    • The special hazards associated with electric power tools.
    • Tool care and maintenance.
    • and more.

    Get a Quote for a Class:
    Hand and Power Tool Safety Live Instruction Training Courses at YOUR Location

  • Happy Earth Day


  • By way of the Manteau (Via Poncho, not Pancho Villa)

    OK - So much for the clever title... We're here to talk about the all-in-one, really inexpensive (alright, darn it - cheap!) wonder tool for emergencies, survival and comfort: The Poncho.

    For as little as 74¢ each, these thingamajigs can be your salvation in a storm, and much more.

    Here are some interesting uses for a poncho:

    Use the poncho as a bag: Ever find yourself in need of a bag? We're not just talking about in an emergency - what if you are out and about, then the bag you are carrying precious cargo in bursts? Or you find a pile of free "what-evers" you want to collect? Well if you have your emergency ponchos stashed in your purse, backpack, glove box, desk, wherever - just tie off the neck and arms and BAM! You've got a large plastic bag!

     In an emergency, these are great for water collection, portage, and storage: Water is the most essential survival need. It can be scarce in survival situations. A poncho can be used to collect night-time dew, rainwater, or you can fashion it into a bladder for carrying or storing fresh water from a clean water source.

     A Poncho as a Tarp: Whether you need it to catch fallen items or protect from moisture below, or avoid dropping items or rain from above, what is a poncho but a sewn ‘sealed up tarp? Well... if you need to spread it out, just it open and just it flat!

     A Poncho can be Shelter: Open up and drape over a cord as a makeshift tent or shelter!

     Protection from the cold and wind: Warmth is critical to life and comfort - wind can pierce the warmest woolens, but these ponchos block the breeze and keep you snug as well as dry.

     First Aid: with a poncho - while everyone should have a good first aid kit with them at all times, there are situations one may find where improvisation is critical to first aid care giving.  A poncho can be used for a great number of first aid purposes, you can use as a sling, swathe, wrap, or tourniquet. If you must move the injured person, you can use it as a stretcher/drag/tow thingy. You can even make the same water bag mentioned above and fill with cold stream water to use as a cold compress!

     Emergency Signaling: Ponchos are often obnoxiously bright and can be used for signaling your location, waving or placing in a high location (on a peak, up a tree) to alert overhead searchers to your whereabouts,  and can also use to send smoke signals, or even as a trail marker.

     Cord/Rope: Ponchos materials have great tensile strength when twisted into a rope! Since quality ponchos are made from rip-resistant nylon or PVC, they are strong enough to turn into cords you can use for anything that needs to be tied. Just use scissors to cut them into long strips and braid if you need thicker/stronger!

     Shade: We typically think of ponchos for rain - but they are really useful protection against sun, too... set up a lean-to, canopy, or just hold over your head for protection from the sun's heat and UV rays.

     Bedding: Yep - in a pinch you can use a poncho as a pillow or mattress. Just stuff with leaves or extra clothing. Ponchos can also serve as make-shift Sleeping bag, or as a Sleeping bag cover, or bag liner!

     Sail: Sound far-fetched? Not really - a sail can be used to help float your way to safety on the raft you just lashed together with the poncho-made cording above, or can add a sail to a sled or drag you've fashioned to help bear the weight of your supplies or an injured person you are pulling along as you send your way to safety.

    While we can't spend a week writing this article, there are many, many more creative uses for a poncho. We've listed some here for you to use your imagination... if you don't "get it", write to us and ask us to explain how you would use a poncho for any of these in particular:

    Bear-proof food storage (tie in a tree using rope), Bellows for fire, Blanket, Body Bag, Bug-out bag cover, Gather fruit, berries and nuts, Gear raft or float, gloves / Hand Protection, Greenhouse, Hammock, Haul / Drag firewood, Insulation, Latrine bag (bucket liner), Mask (as in dust/protective, not Halloween - although there could be some fun ideas for that, too!), Mattress, Minnow trap, Padding, Papoose, for Patch and/or repair, Privy privacy, Sandbag, Scarecrow, Seat cushion, Shoe liner / Shoe Repair / Waterproofing  shoes, Sled, Sling seat, Solar shower/water heater, Splint padding, Waste or trash bag, Window covers... we could go on...

    Oh, yeah - you can use it as a poncho, too.
    Wow - what do you think? A good investment for 74¢?

    One-Size-Fits-All Disposable Rain Ponchos serve a myriad of uses - Rain Suits, too!

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