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April Showers Bring May Flowers…and Spring Flooding

Flooded Road

Spring is finally here which means warmer temperatures, green grass and colorful flowers.  It also means changing weather conditions and in some areas of the country, rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is advising Americans to prepare this spring for another round of potentially disastrous flooding of the kind that devastated much of Louisiana, Missouri and Texas late December/early January.

Individuals and families are advised take certain precautions in flood prone areas.  These precautions are simple, but they are steps that could save your life.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the terms weather forecasters use to describe your area’s risk for flooding. A “Flood Watch” means a flood or flash flood is a possibility for your area.  A “Flood Warning” means a flash flood or flooding has already occurred or is imminent for your location.
  2. Ensure your house is stocked with emergency supplies such as a Home Survival Kit that contains a 72 hour supply of non-perishable food and water, emergency lighting, Mylar blankets, first aid items, and a hand-crank/solar powered weather radio in the likely event the power is out. Maintaining communication during a flood event is crucial in ensuring you and your family can safely evacuate to higher ground without encountering closed roads or other deterrents.  Your kit should also contain an emergency gas/water shut-off utility tool, medications, food/water for your pets and an extra set of weather appropriate clothing.
  3. Once a Flood Watch has been issued for your area, monitor changing weather conditions by tuning into your local news station or a NOAA weather band radio. Get yours here
  4. If a Flood Warning is issued in your area, don’t delay, head to higher ground via the safest evacuation route.
  5. Don’t travel through flooded roadways. According to Tom Graziano of NOAA, “flooding is the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S.”  Standing water on roadsides can be deceptive.  A car can be quickly carried away in only 2 feet of water.   Don’t succumb to this avoidable dilemma.  Turn around, don’t drown!
  6. Ensure your home is adequately covered for flood damage. Check out FloodSmart.gov for more information.

Parts of Texas and the Midwest are already experiencing torrential flooding.  Houston, TX declared a State of Emergency this weekend after a foot of rain fell on the city in a matter of hours.  Evacuations are currently taking place and search and rescue operations are in effect.

Communities along the Mississippi and Missouri River basins, parts of the southeastern U.S. from Alabama to North Carolina and low-lying areas in the Ohio River basin and the Tennessee and Cumberland River Valleys are also at risk.

NOAA announced a precipitation outlook for April through June warning of above-average precipitation for these additional areas:

  • Most of California
  • Southwest
  • Gulf Coast
  • Southeast

It is going to be a wet spring.  Prepare, be vigilant and stay safe.

 

Credits: Red Cross Flood Safety

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Are You Concerned About a Nuclear Threat?

nuclear reactors, Georgia

With North Korea threatening the US and other Western countries, you may be wondering about our safety. Closer to home, an accident on March 31 at a nuclear plant in Arkansas resulted in one death. Even though the accident took place in a non-radiation area, it is almost impossible not to think of what could have been.

A nuclear emergency isn’t just stuff that movies are made of. It is a very real possibility that you should prepare for. Most people in the US live relatively close to a nuclear reactor site. Interestingly, 21% of states have no plans to monitor radiation if there is a disaster (according to a 2011 study), so that means you may have to rely on yourself completely.

Do you have a nuclear preparedness kit and a plan?

photo credit: BlatantWorld.com via photopin cc

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5 Wilderness Survival Tips

wilderness survival

Believe it or not, it is spring. At least according to the calendar. That means temperatures will start warming and we will start spending more time outdoors. For many, that means camping, fishing, hiking and a variety of other activities in wilderness areas.

Before you take off into the great outdoors, consider these wilderness survival tips to ensure that you come home safe and sound.

1. Have a plan. Decide ahead of time where you will go, what route you will take and when you will return. Make a copy of this information and leave it with someone who isn’t going along with you. If you do not return when expected, this person will be able to contact authorities for help.

2. Dress for the possibilities. It may be sunny and warm when you leave, but the weather can change quickly, especially if you are in mountain areas. Make sure you bring extra clothing just in case the temperatures drop or a sudden storm blows in.

3. Know the area. If you are visiting a place you’ve never explored before, have a map to help you find your way around. Stay on established trails if at all possible. Nothing ruins an outing faster than getting lost.

4. Be aware of your surroundings. Pay close attention to loose rocks and other hazards that may cause you to fall and injure yourself. Keep an eye out for local wildlife so you can avoid dangerous confrontations.

5. Bring emergency supplies. At the very least, bring a small first aid kit, extra food, water and/or a water filtration bottle, and an emergency blanket or two. Also carry a flashlight and have a way to start a fire. If you get lost or hurt, you will need these items to stay warm, build a shelter and signal for help.

photo credit: Zach Dischner via photopin cc

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Know Your Kit: Ultimate Deluxe Roadside and Severe Weather Kit

ultimate deluxe roadside and severe weather kit

I was watching Dual Survival last night and as the guys cannibalized a disabled vehicle to survive, I started thinking about what should have been in that truck. Of course, that got me thinking about my Ultimate Deluxe Roadside and Severe Weather Kit. Do you have one yet?

The first thing you need to know when you get your kit is what not to do. Do not just get your kit and throw it into the back of your vehicle. If you do this, when the time comes when you need to use it, you will have no idea what to do with it. And that is not a good thing.

Open your kit, and learn what’s it it and how to use it. Only then will you be truly prepared for an emergency.

Warning Reflective Triangle: This is in a red rectangular plastic case. It needs to be assembled in order to use it, so practice this a few times. If you’re in an accident, you may be too flustered to figure it out, even though it is simple to put together.

Auto Emergency Safety Hammer: This handy tool also has a light, you take it out of the box and put the batteries into it. It should also be mounted someplace where the driver of the vehicle has easy access to it in an emergency. In an emergency, you can use this hammer to cut your seatbelt and break the windows, if necessary, to escape the vehicle. Leaving it in the bag in your trunk will make it impossible to use.

Collapsible Safety Hazard Cone: This also needs the batteries put into the light in order for it to work when needed. Get it out, pop up the cone, and put the batteries in the light to try it out. When not in use, I prefer to keep the light in the little box it comes it, just to keep it protected in the bag.

Folding Shovel: This is easy to use, but it is a good idea to practice unfolding it and tightening it up, just so you’re comfortable with it.

Jumper Cables: Do you know how to use jumper cables if you need them? Here is a quick tutorial to show you how to do it:

These are just a few of the items in your Ultimate Deluxe Roadside and Severe Weather Kit. Make sure you are familiar with everything so you can get the best use out of it when you need it.

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Emergency Preparedness Plan – Learn Your Kit

 

Every person should have an emergency preparedness plan. If you have a family, you should make a point of going over your plan on a regular basis so everyone understands it. It may seem inconvenient at first, but you’ll be thankful if there is a disaster.

Each person in the family should have a basic survival kit as well as a few personal items like clothing, medications and important papers. But, the worst thing you can do is get everyone a kit and forget about it. A big part of your emergency preparedness plan should be to learn your kit.

Pull out those items and explore what they are and how they work. Fill out the out of state contact cards as part of your emergency preparedness plan. Try out the hand crank/solar radio and see how all the functions work. Check out the various tools on the Swiss Army style knife so you know what they all are used for.

Make sure you read the survival guide. This is information you need to know before a disaster strikes. Don’t wait until there is an emergency and then try to look up the information you need, because that will waste valuable time.

Go through the items in your first aid kit and make sure you understand how to use them. A first aid kit is useless if you can’t use the items in it. Also, read the first aid guide for valuable information that could help you in an emergency.

You should also take some time to unfold an emergency blanket and the emergency tent. Try the food bars and see how easy it is to use the emergency water. Don’t worry; these items can be replaced. Right now, when there is no disaster to worry about, is the time to get familiar with everything in your survival kit.

If knowledge is power, learning about everything in your kit will empower you and your family to survive an emergency.

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