Don't Get Stuck in a Shower
Our "wonder tool" recommendation for severe weather is a PONCHO - For as low as 74¢, you've got an emergency shelter, cover, wrap, all-in-one wet-weather solution! You can keep them in your desk, car, at home, and always leave a few in your suitcase so you don't forget to pack some for your next trip.
- Tip #1: Prepare your car before you prepare your home. Learn Why...
- Tip #2: Eat food in your freezer after the food in your refrigerator. Learn Why...
- Tip #3: Do not flush your toilets (Yet). Learn Why...
- Tip #4: Change your flashlight and emergency radio batteries every time you adjust your clocks (daylight savings and standard time). Learn Why...
What is the difference between Disaster Survival and Wilderness Survival?
Many lessons learned from camping, hiking and backcountry adventures (and misadventures) over the years have inspired the Disaster Survival and Preparedness mindset and product lines of today. "Roughing it" is the essence of riding out the period after a calamity occurs. Often, even if sheltering in place at home, work, or school, we no longer have the conveniences we are accustomed to - no running water, heat, electricity, medical, or sanitary facilities. This is even more the case when caught on the road. As such, you will find many "Camping" type items in a typical survival turn out or go bag. Just as when planning for an overnighter on the trail, well-equipped survivalists gear up for food, water, warmth, shelter, communication, lighting, and entertainment (yes, it gets spooky and boring sitting in a dark house all alone with no distractions or outside input - don't forget a deck of playing cards and a solar/dynamo/crank radio or LOTS of batteries for other devices!)
The main difference between Wilderness Survival Gear and Disaster Survival Equipment is that the supplies designed and marketed to the preparedness shopper are often made for "one time use" - in order to prepare economically, especially when equipping a larger group such as a school or business. Wilderness and Camping expedition gear tend to be of a slightly higher quality as they are intended to be used repeatedly, and need to be dependable, not for the one-time-you-need-it, but over and over. For this reason, we recommend that you keep your camping supplies with your disaster gear so you can use both - and for our customers looking for the widest range and coolest survival tools, be sure to check out our Wilderness & Camping Supplies as well.
Mitigation-Preparedness-Response-Recovery, It's about avoiding emergencies, preparing for what cannot be avoided, dealing with the crises when they occur, and getting back to normal thereafter. Read our article about these four critical phases of Emergency Management, then read about specific hazard preparedness below.
Learn About Specific Types of Disaster Preparedness
Earthquake: Earthquake Safety is a bit different from other catastrophes, many natural disasters give warning: from weather watches and alerts, to news, even to seasonal likelihood. Earthquakes give no warning. Earth quakes are sudden and can be scary and devastating. First, remember to drop, cover, and hold on. The best thing you can do during an earthquake is to ride it out safely. If you can get under a large and sturdy piece of furniture, this is the safest place to avoid collapsing ceiling or walls, flying debris, and other hazards. If you have no furniture to crawl under, consider interior hallways (if you can put your back against one wall and brace your legs against the opposite, hallways in frame houses are generally more heavily constructed/timbered than other rooms.) or the "Triangle of Life" (lay down along the floor in front your sofa, or on the long edge of your bed - this may help shield you from collapsing ceilings, and even if the roof comes down, you may be able to crawl out an end or have air to breathe underneath.) For Earthquake preparedness, the normal considerations apply, food, water, communication, shelter, but also think about what will happen when the ground starts shaking and jumping, think "Secure", strap down that water heater, attach any large pieces of furniture to the walls - if something would hurt if it fell over on you - make sure it won't. Oh, don't forget the gas and water shut off tool - the most common hazards (other than aftershocks) immediately following an earthquake are flooding from ruptured water lines and asphyxiation and/or explosion from broken gas lines.
Man-Made Disasters: Mankind - always in such a hurry to destroy ourselves. War is always a concern, radiation from the ever-present concerns about nuclear holocaust, but what about combination natural/unnatural disasters like the earthquake and tsunami that resulted in the Fukushima nuclear accident (and resultant radiation poisoning scare) in 2011? Some Man-made disasters, such as Global Warming are not sudden, and we as a species have time to plan and adjust, others are more sudden, but with some warning (wildfires, flooding due to dam failure) and then there are the sudden ones like plane crashes, train derailments, mine and pipeline explosions, and structural collapses. How does one prepare for these? Well, there are some things people acquire like potassium Iodide pills and hazmat suits when they are truly afraid of contamination, but being generally "prepared" is usually the most reasonable thing to do - just make sure your home, work, school, car, and family are ready to evacuate if necessary, or shelter in place with food, water, warmth, shelter and communication if need be.
Hurricane & Tsunami: Hurricanes, Tropical Storms, Cyclones, Storm Surge and Tsunami, Whew! First let us point out that Hurricanes are not just a coastal concern. Hurricanes cause serious harm inland as well. Don't think that you won't be impacted by hurricanes just because you are many miles from the coastline. You are not necessarily immune to the ravages of Hurricanes and Tropical Storms. Tropical cyclones often produce widespread, torrential rains in excess of 6 inches, which may result in deadly and destructive floods. In fact, flooding is the major threat from tropical cyclones for people living inland. Flash flooding, defined as a rapid rise in water levels, can occur quickly due to intense rainfall. Longer term flooding on rivers and streams can persist for several days after the storm, and a Storm Surge (water from the ocean that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the hurricane. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides and can increase the water level by 30 feet or more) can back up rivers and estuaries that normally flow freely to sea - creating overrun riverbanks upstream. Preparedness for these onslaughts includes raingear and ponchos, standard preparedness supplies and evacuation plans - plus all the flood considerations below and extra attention to communication devices as landlines and mobile phones will almost certainly be out after major winds.
Fires & Wildfire: While house fires happen most often between Halloween and the New Year (due to heaters, candles, and decorative lights) and Wildfires are generally a Summer to early Autumn concern, either can happen at any time. Be sure that you and your family or co-workers know basic fire safety principles; the common causes of fires, the importance of good housekeeping, how to prevent office, home and wildfires, and how to use a fire extinguisher. Know your fire escape plans at home, work, and school. Conduct drills, and find out what your community's evacuation routes are depending upon location and direction of a wildfire. Smoke is a major killer in fires. Have escape hoods or protective masks and stay low when escaping a fire. Whether for business or personal fire preparedness, protect important documents with fire bags, and do not delay in protecting your irreplaceable family photos and quintessentially important inventory (insurance) photos of property by backing up digital copies of all these far away from the originals, like in the cloud.
Tornadoes: Tornadoes can strike anywhere in the United States with little or no warning and are capable of causing significant loss of life and billions of dollars in damage. Tornadoes are one of nature's most violent storms. They generate from powerful thunderstorms and cause overwhelming destruction in minutes. During violent weather, stay tuned to a local television or radio station for tornado reports. Tornadoes can develop during severe thunderstorms and hurricanes. Most injuries and fatalities from tornadoes are caused by being struck or cut by falling or wind-borne debris. When a tornado threatens, your goal is to go to the safest place for protection before the tornado hits and to take additional measures for personal cover. If a storm shelter or basement is not available, plan to find shelter under heavy furniture or mattresses near an inside wall of your house on the ground floor. Provide animals in your household with a safe area and keep them confined. Tornado Preparedness includes all the standard emergency kit items (food, water, shelter, warmth, etc.) Additionally, for Tornadoes, add monitoring weather reports provided by your local media - Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, do an Internet search with your town, city, or county name and the word "alerts." Consider buying a NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) All Hazards receiver, which receives broadcast alerts directly from the NWS. Remember - just as with Hurricanes above, likelihood of land and mobile communication (as well as internet) services being unavailable is extremely high, so do not count on cell phones, TV, or your computer - have other communication devices available and ready to use. Think "whistles". "walkie talkies", "bull horn", too - while it is important to listen to reports and directives, you may need to signal out to rescuers as well.
Flooding: There are so many risks, dangers, and considerations for floods - it is difficult to know where to begin. Obviously follow any directives, such as evacuation notices. Learn about your community's emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters. Identify potential home hazards and know how to secure or protect them before the flood strikes. Be prepared to turn off electrical power when there is standing water, fallen power lines, or before you evacuation. Turn off gas and water supplies before you evacuate. Secure structurally unstable building materials. Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Flash floods often bring walls of water 10 to 20 feet high. A car can easily be carried away by just two feet of floodwater. If driving, remember "Turn Around, Don't Drown." Floods can come expectedly or suddenly, so be prepared to evacuate flooded areas on short notice, prepare by having a "Go Bag" ready at home, work, school, and in your car.
Did you know that fire is a major risk during floods? It's true! Water and electricity do not mix well - not only is there risk of electrocution, but wet wires spark and can ignite a fire. Have a licensed electrician raise electric components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring) at least 12" above your home's projected flood elevation. Buy a fire extinguisher and make sure your family knows where it is and how to use it. Waterproof your basements, clear debris from gutters and downspouts, and consider purchasing flood insurance.
Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Survival Tips
Tip #1: Prepare your Car before your Home. Why? 90% of Americans own a car and travel in it regularly... far more than any other nation. Your vehicle is almost always with you... whether at home or away. Keep your Emergency Preparedness Supplies in your vehicle and odds are you will have them handy when you need them.
Tip #2: Eat the food in your Freezer after the Food in your Refrigerator. Why? Even though prepared Americans typically will have a well stocked supply of Emergency Preparedness Food and Water, it is advisable to eat and drink what you have in your home BEFORE you break into these supplies. Eat and drink what is available in your home first in case you need to take the Emergency supplies with you - You may be evacuated or find a need to move. Save the more portable Emergency rations for that purpose. Eat and drink what you have in your home sensibly. Do not even open your freezer to take stock of what is inside, in fact, if the power goes out - tape your freezer shut to hold the cold inside. Eat the food in your Refrigerator First, as it will spoil while the freezer food is slowly thawing in the sealed freezer compartment. This can buy you an extra 24 hours in a well stocked, well sealed freezer. After depleting the perishables in your fridge, then move on to the freezer items, but do it quickly - If you have items still frozen in there (towards the middle of the freezer) If so, pull the thawed items to your refrigerator for another cold storage location, work through that, and allow the still-frozen food to remain in the freezer until it thaws... repeat until all perishable food is consumed, and only then move on to your canned and dry goods. This will help you stretch your food supplies for days.
Tip #3: Do Not Flush Your Toilets (Yet) Why? The water in your toilet tank is potable water... same as your tap water. Save it for Drinking water... If you flush your toilets, your are using gallons of safe, drinkable water that could help sustain your family. Remember, too, that if you have a tank water heater, this may also have many, many gallons of safe water for your consumption so use it for drinking.
Tip #4: Change your flashlight and Emergency Radio batteries every time you adjust your clocks (daylight savings and standard time) Why? This is an easy way to remember to keep your emergency supplies ready to use. Each time you adjust your clocks forward or back, change the batteries in your Emergency supplies and while you are at it, check the condition and expiration dates of everything in our supply packs... it may be time for replacements or to augment what you have gathered with additional supplies.
Preparing for Winter? Read our Severe Weather & Winter Safety Tips
ESSENTIAL SURVIVAL TOOLS:
The Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps (www.citizencorps.gov) are encouraging individuals across the nation to take important preparedness steps that will greatly improve their ability to survive and recover from all types of emergencies, whether natural or man-made. These steps include getting an emergency supply kit, making a family emergency plan, becoming informed about the different emergencies that may affect them, and getting involved in community preparedness and response efforts. PREPARE NOW.
Ways & Places for you to Prepare Now! - See these emergency products in the categories above.