Managing Your Emergency Materials

All too often there is not enough attention that goes into planning. Whether it is planning vacations, planning parties, planning graduation, or planning for emergencies, it seems like somehow someone forgets something. They buy the plane ticket, but forgets to bring it to the airport, or buys the birthday cake, but forgets to bring utensils.

Paralleling this idea, people all too often buy several cases of food storage without having the proper space to store them. Likewise, rarely do people immediately consider that a can opener is needed to open a can when stocking up, or that food storage is no good to anyone if it is expired by the time you need it. Because these things have caused problems in the past for people, the government has created a comprehensive list of tips for managing and maintaining your emergency preparedness supply kits. From these tips, we have extracted these four basic C’s: Cool, Contain, Cans, and Change.

Cool– Your food storage, especially canned goods, should be kept in a consistently cool and dry area. Because root cellars are hard to come by these days and basements are often too warm due to central heating, you may want to consider insulating off a section of your basement for your food storage.

Contain-Just as important, or perhaps more important, than the food you select for your food storage is the containers you chose to contain them in. Remember to select a durable food-grade container (metal or plastic) with a tight lid. This will help prevent your food from spoiling early while also protecting it from outside threats such as pests.

Cans– Throw out any cans that are bulging, dented, or corroded. Also, keep track of the expiration dates on your food storage foods to make sure they don’t go bad.

Change– To be safe, you should be updating your stored food and water every six months. This is why it is smart to buy food storage items that you would not mind eating for dinner normally as they will be rotated into your meals this way. Food Insurance’s freeze-dried foods can last 25+ years however, these foods do not need to be updated. When you go through this process, do it in a systematic way so that you know which foods are the oldest as you slowly add to your supply. A good way to do this is by putting the new items in the back and the old in front. Every year you should reevaluate your family’s needs. Have you gained family members? Have your children grown significantly? Have some moved out of the house? Have you moved locations recently where there are different natural hazards?

Lastly, place all your items in airtight bags and place those in strong, easy to carry containers–trashcans, camping backpacks, or duffel bags. Again, what a shame it would be to have done all these other things only to lose your supplies in a natural disaster because they were not transportable or protected.


*For more helpful emergency preparedness tips, visit the government’s preparedness website at





Camping: The Best Prep


Camping is a great opportunity to connect with nature and prepare for an emergency. In the event of certain emergencies, you may be unable to live indoors for a period of time. Fortunately, there is a fun and convenient way to practice living outdoors through camping!

In many places, there are designated campgrounds and locations where you can easily go pitch a tent and have a camp fire. Doing so may be difficult if you are a first-time camper, but you can make it very enjoyable with a few activities. Here are a couple of camping tips from an experienced camper.

  1. Where possible, build a camp fire: Some locations may not allow this. Please follow the laws of the land. However, if building a camp fire is legal at your camp site, it will allow you the opportunity to practice building a fire, which may be necessary for survival in some situations. In addition, a camp fire will allow you to cook dinner, roast marshmallows and have a good time telling stories.
  2. Do something active: Go for a hike, go swimming, play a game of soccer or football, or do some other physical activity. In our modern world, it is easy to get used to driving to work, sitting all day, driving home, sitting on a couch and going to bed. Part of the fun of camping is to do something outside and active. Enjoy it.
  3. Spend some time looking at the stars: If you live in a big city or near one, you probably don’t get many chances to look at the stars. The sky is absolutely gorgeous. Take a look and just enjoy it. Try to pick out the constellations. You can look them up online and take a guide of what to look for while you’re there.
  4. Be prepared: Be ready for rain or other bad weather than may be possible in your area. It is possible to go to sleep under a clear sky only for rain clouds to move over you and dump their contents all over you. Get a rainfly for your tent, a rain coat for you, and a place to keep food that is covered and safe.
  5. Most of all, be safe: Camping is supposed to be preparatory and fun, but it can quickly become a bad experience if you or someone you care about is harmed during a trip. Make sure the water you swim in, hikes you go on, and everything else you do is safe and the proper precautions have been taken. Be sure to know about the area you are visiting. If mosquitos or ticks are prevalent, then bring the appropriate spray and know how to check for ticks. You should know about other larger animals that could be in the area as well.

Camping can be a lot of fun and it is a good preparatory experience. If done right, it can be one you’ll remember for a lifetime.

Tornadoes: Preparing Before The Threat




One of the deadliest types of natural disasters you can face is a tornado.  As events in Oklahoma illustrate all too well, powerful tornadoes have the ability to destroy everything in their path.  Entire neighborhoods can be wiped out in a matter of seconds by winds that reach speeds of up to 300 miles per hour.  If you live in an area that has any degree of risk for tornadoes, it is important to be aware of the warning signs and know what to do to survive.

While tornadoes can sometimes strike with hardly any advance warning, there are generally several indicators that can help warn of a tornado threat.  Oftentimes, tornadoes occur on the edge of a thunderstorm.  One of the most common warning signs of a tornado is a dark and often green-colored sky.  Rotating dark, low-lying clouds and hail are also indicators.  Sometimes, a tornado funnel is not fully visible, but a cloud of debris at ground level shows its location.  In a severe storm situations, it is also important to be listening to a reliable news source that can provide advance warning of a tornado threat.  When these conditions exist, it is vital that you begin to take shelter as quickly as possible.

If you are in your own home when a tornado strikes, go to the lowest level of the building (preferably a basement or cellar area).  Get as far away from the windows and edges of the house as you can by going to an interior room, putting as many walls between yourself and the outside as you can.  Take shelter under a strong table or another piece of furniture and cover your head and neck.

If you are outside and not close to shelter, you should get into a car and drive to the closest safe building (be sure to buckle up, too).  You need to be especially careful about flying debris from the tornado.   If your car is hit, park on the side of the road and stay in the car.  Don’t park under a bridge or overpass.  Cover your head and neck and duck down below the windows.    If there is ground nearby that is lower than the road level, leave the car and lie down there while still protecting your head and neck.

Even after a tornado has passed, you still need to be extremely careful.  Don’t enter damaged buildings or walk among debris if you can avoid it.  Be especially careful to avoid damaged power or gas lines, and don’t try using any utilities that could be at risk.  Check family members for injuries, and if you are trapped under debris, do all you can to get the attention of rescue workers.  Do not stay in your home if it appears to be structurally at-risk.  Keep listening to the news on a battery-operated radio for updated emergency information, and wear sturdy, protective clothing and shoes.  Cooperate with local authorities and safety officials.

Practice and plan what to do with family members so everyone will be prepared for a tornado.  Preparing now will help you get through any emergency.








Tornado Energy {Infographic}

Don't Forget The Soap!



Often times when people are preparing for an emergency, the focus tends to be on the food and drink aspect and not so much on hygiene supplies.  While food and water should be a top priority as it is a human essential, cleanliness should be given a little more attention. After all, filthy water can be just as harmful as whatever disaster you are experiencing. For instance, when people are creating a food and water storage, they often try and plan for how much everyone in their family will drink per day when, in contrast, rarely do people ever factor in the water they will need for various hygiene purposes such as bathing and brushing teeth. While everyone is caught up in the soup (how many can be stacked? How high? How many can fit in everyone’s backpack?), they should be just as concerned with the soap.

Although soap, up until this point, has always been readily accessible and underappreciated, it has now become a priceless asset to your emergency supply. Although soap is an important necessity for maintaining good hygiene, it should never be out of reach. Soap really only consists of a few key ingredients and can be made at home.

Cold Process (CP) soap is one of the most common and convenient soaps for emergency situations. Another thing to consider is how you are going to wash your family’s clothes. To make your own detergent, all you need are bar soap shavings and equal proportions of borax and washing soda (one cup of each to every 4.5 ounces of bar soap). Of course, this does not help you much if you are all out of bar soap, so let’s start from the beginning. How do you make bar soap anyway?

CP soap is the best option for preparing for an emergency situation as it is sturdy and long-lasting. This soap-making process basically involves the combination of fatty acids, sodium hydroxide, and hydrogen dioxide. In other words, oils, lye, and water are the staple ingredients in cold process bar soap. Various oils can be used interchangeably depending on the preferred fragrance. As lye can be dangerous, you need to use goggles when making CP soap. This particular soap-making process takes about six weeks to complete. As the process is long and somewhat rigorous, you will want to study further into the exact process before making it yourself. You can read on for specific step-by-step instructions on how to make strong, sturdy, yet wonderfully smelling soaps.

Remember hygiene is  just as important as food and water when it comes to you and your family’s well-being, so don’t count soap (or soap ingredients) out when you are preparing your family’s emergency supply kits.



Cold Process Soap

Soap Making Methods

The Original Homemade Laundry Detergent


5 Potential Earthquake Threats Americans Should Know About



Almost everyone knows about the great San Andres fault line that stretches along California’s coastline for 800 miles, but not everyone knows about the various other earthquake hazards across the US from Hawaii to Missouri. Because the San Andres is so long and minor earthquakes occur so frequently, California tends to hog most of the attention. Other significant seismic spots include the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington), New Madrid (Missouri), Wasatch (Utah), Hawaii and Alaska.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone:

As far as strength goes, the biggest hazard is actually just above the San Andreas. That area to the north is called the Cascadia Subduction Zone, it’s just offshore of Oregon and Washington and is capable of delivering level 9 earthquakes, the equivalent of 30 times the damage San Andres could ever do.  In comparison, the sun always shines on California it seems.

New Madrid

On the other side of the states, New Madrid in Missouri (150 miles long) is responsible for some of the United States’ record largest earthquakes. The New Madrid Fault Line is the greatest earthquake risk for the United States east of the Rockies. Similar to The Cascadia Subduction Zone’s relationship with The San Andres, although New Madrid earthquakes occur less often, the damage tends to be far more intense than that of the San Andres fault.


The 240-mile fault line situated through Salt Lake City has caused catastrophic problems in the past. However, the past, in this case, means over one hundred and fifty years ago. This fault line is capable of unleashing earthquakes of a 7.5 magnitude, .6 points off from the San Andres’ 8.1 magnitude rating. Although there has been a minor lull in the Wasatch fault line’s activity, experts say they expect it is due for another earthquake in the near future, as in any moment now.


Alaska is home to the second largest earthquake in the world. At 9.2, the magnitude of the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake was bigger than anything the San Andres, Wasatch, or even the powerful Cascadia Subduction Zone could ever hope to create. After this earthquake, some people said that Alaska looked as if it had just come straight out of an apocalyptic movie. The cracks in the ground were phenomenal; the ground itself lifted as much as 28 feet in places and dropped seven feet in others. This particular quake was caused by the oceanic plate being pushed, uncomfortably I might add, beneath the continental plate, actually causing a tsunami as well. Although Alaska is safe from these plates for an estimated few hundred years, Alaska has a fault line of its own called the Denali Fault which is 30-miles long and stretches into Canada.


The beautiful tropical vacation spot is no exception to US earthquakes. In fact, with a history of a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in 1868, it is right up there with its American west coast competitors. Because the volcanic and earthquake processes are linked, Hawaii is a huge hotspot for potential earthquake hazards. However Hawaii’s nature, being a chain of islands formed from lava with only one large recorded earthquake, makes predicting when the next quake will strike extremely difficult.

If you are a non-Californian American resident, don’t count yourself out of the earthquake hazard zone just yet. As noted, there are areas across the country that are just as susceptible, if not more, to serious earthquakes. So start preparing now for the next big quake. The government has great emergency preparedness materials to reference when building your natural preparedness kit including a comprehensive checklist that can be found on their page. Keep yourself grounded, prepare now.

To learn more about potential earthquake danger zones in the United States, visit Betsy Mason’s article on Below is an infographic by, explaining what to do to in the event of an earthquake.






5 Most Dangerous U.S. Earthquake Hot Spots Beyond California

No Electricity, No Problem



One of the most common occurrences during an emergency situation is the loss of electrical power.  Electricity is something we are accustomed to using every day, and it is easy to forget just how much we rely on it in our day-to-day routine.  Depending on the severity of the event that caused the loss of power, you could be without electricity for just a few hours or for weeks.  That is why it is important to be prepared to adapt to a situation when electricity is no longer available.  Planning ahead can help you and your family cope better with such a situation.

One of the first things to take into account after a power outage is food consumption.  You shouldn’t immediately dive into your emergency food storage in this situation.  You should first eat the perishable food items in your refrigerator and then move on to the foods in your freezer.  Try to minimize the amount of times you will open the refrigerator or freezer door in order to keep more cool air inside.  Foods kept inside a well-insulated freezer should generally be safe to eat for up to three days after electricity is lost.  However, if your food begins to appear questionable in its quality, it is better to just play it safe and throw it out rather than risk food poisoning or disease.  Wait to start using non-perishable food items (such as emergency food storage or canned foods that don’t need refrigeration) until after you finish off the perishable foods from your refrigerator and freezer.

A lack of electricity can affect other aspects of your life and daily routine as well.  For example, if you have an electric stove, cooking could become problematic.  Purchasing a small gas-powered stove or grill can provide an alternative cooking solution during a power outage.  Learning how to safely build and maintain a fire can also prove useful for a variety of purposes, including staying warm, purifying water, and cooking.

Be sure to have a portable battery-powered radio so you can remain informed about changing circumstances.  Keeping informed during any type of emergency is absolutely crucial.

Depending on the time of year that the power outage occurs, another important issue to consider is the need to either stay cool or warm.  If you lose power during the hot summer months, it is important to stay cool.  Stay in more shaded areas of the house, such as a basement, and avoid overexertion in order to prevent heat exhaustion and other heat-related problems. Drink lots of fluids.  Shutting your blinds during the day and then opening the windows at night can also help keep your home cooler.

During the winter, your needs after a power loss are the opposite.  If you live in a particularly cold area, staying warm after a power outage can prove to be a difficult but extremely important challenge.  Be sure to wear multiple layers of clothing, and drink warm liquids to heat your body.  Periodically move around to keep your blood flowing.  During extended power outages, you can focus on making one or two rooms of the house the “warm rooms” where you and other family members can stay warm together.  Close the doors to the other parts of the house and bring the most important items to the “warm rooms” so you don’t have to leave.  When sleeping, use multiple layers of sleeping bags, heavy blankets, etc.

Keeping these simple things in mind can help you and your family be better prepared to deal with power outages.  Make sure your family knows what they need to do in order to be fully prepared.

First Aid Kits: What's The Point?



You can never be too prepared when it comes to medical emergencies. First Aid Kits are always a must. You never know when there may be the need for first aid. A simple scratch could turn fatal if not properly taken care of. Any emergency situation, whether you are dealing with floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, or other natural disasters, first aid is often part of the immediate reaction.

However, having first aid supplies goes beyond just the immediate aftermath. In the event of a disaster, first aid supplies may become scarce, meaning having a first aid kit ready to go may be a necessity in the aftermath of a disaster. Meaning, you should already have some type of first aid kit in your bug-out bag.

Fortunately, first aid kits are plentiful today and relatively cheap. You can get the things you need for them and just resupply as needed.

This has the advantage of preparing you for more than just what we typically think of as a disaster. We all get cuts, bruises, and scrapes from time to time. It is a normal part of life. If you have children around you, this becomes even more common as they are constantly getting minor injuries caused by running around and enjoying life.

Having a first aid kit, just for the normal flow of life, is critical. It would be wise to have it easily accessible and ready to use at all times. Say you cut your finger while preparing food. The last thing you want to do is bleed all over everything while you rifle through your stuff to find a first aid kit. It would be better to have first aid supplies ready and in the kitchen to help you get the problem remedied.

In addition to having a first aid kit, be sure to know how to use it. Do you know how to clean out a wound so you’re sure it won’t become infected? Can you deal with other minor bumps and bruises? What kinds of medicine (Ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc.) are appropriate for which circumstances?

Today, the internet has the answers to those questions readily available for you. However, in the event of an emergency, you may not have internet access. Even if you do, it is hard to tell someone to sit still and not bleed too much while you look online to figure out how to handle a simple issue.

Simply put, it is better to have the resources and the knowledge ready and accessible so that you can be prepared in the event of a major disaster or emergency.

Similar to getting that first extra weeks’ worth of food, getting a first aid kit is nice because it doesn’t really cost much extra money. Instead, you are purchasing something you will most assuredly need in advance.

Once you purchase a kit and have a list of items you need, you can simply purchase in bulk and replenish supplies as you need them. Doing so will make sure you get good prices and are always ready in the event of a need.

It is also advisable to print out different treatments that are common in case you happen to forget how to treat a wound in an emergency. Thanks to CPR Select, below is an infographic about 7 Outdoor First Aid Myths.


Seven Outdoor First Aid Myths by CPR Select

Hurricane Preparedness



Hurricanes are probably one of the most known types of natural disasters; especially for those who live on the east coast of the United States. One of the main reasons they are so notorious is that there is an ongoing threat of hurricanes or tropical storms that affect the east coast and some big enough to even affect the west coast every year. Since there are so many hazards caused by hurricanes including high winds, heavy rain, flooding, etc., it is important to know what you and your family should do if you live in an area that is at risk for hurricanes.

As every prepper should know, preparation should begin long before a hurricane becomes a threat.  A good place to start preparing for a hurricane is to, of course, start by building a food storage supply while stocking up on other emergency items such as battery-powered radios, flashlights, and first aid kits.  Be aware of whether your property area is flood-prone and learn what the local evacuation routes are.

On your spare time, practice and prepare for an approaching hurricane. First, you’ll need to cover the windows in your home.  If you do not have permanent storm shutters, cover windows with sturdy plywood.  Bring in all outdoor furniture and any other things that are not secured outside.  Make other plans to secure your home as necessary.  If you live in a high-rise building, try to take shelter below the 10th floor, as the winds caused by a hurricane are stronger at that level.  Pay close attention to local news broadcasts that could provide important information.  If an evacuation order is issued for your area, leave!  Those that live on the coast or near other bodies of water are especially at risk from storm surge or flooding.

If you remain in your home during a hurricane, it is important to remain aware of what is going on so you can keep your family safe.  Pay attention to TV or radio broadcasts; turn off utilities and propane tanks if told to do so, and close all the interior doors. If part of your house is damaged by the storm, these steps can help lower the amount of damage to other parts of the house as well as provide additional protection to your family.  Take shelter in an interior room on the lowest level of your house, away from windows and glass doors.  Even if it appears that the wind outside is dying down, you should remain indoors until you are told it is safe.  A lull in the wind could merely be the eye of the hurricane, which means that the storm will soon pick up again.

It is important to be careful after a hurricane is over.  Even after the main storm has passed, there could still be additional rains and flooding in the area.  If you evacuated, you should not return home until government officials say it is safe to return.  Be especially aware of potential hazards such as flooded roadways, downed power lines, gas leaks, or structural damage to your home.  Do not enter your home if it appears unsafe.

Below is an infographic to further explain the financial damages past hurricanes have had on the United States.



Zika: The Hurdles Ahead For Vaccinating a Pandemic

Summer is on its way and with the warming weather, brings the return of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes have contributed to several cases of diseases such as Malaria, West Nile, Yellow Fever, etc. Recently, the World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency for the Zika virus.

According to the CDC, the Zika virus, “… is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.”

For those who don’t know what Microcephaly is, the CDC defines it as: “a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. During pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size. Microcephaly can be an isolated condition, meaning that it can occur with no other major birth defects, or it can occur in combination with other major birth defects.”




This is only the fourth time that a global emergency has been declared by the World Health Organization since 2007. These four being H1N1, Polio, Ebola, and now Zika. Zika is now in the beginning stages of the vaccination process and as you can see in the infographic below, this could be some bad news. The average vaccine takes anywhere from 10 – 15 years to finalize. This is the start of a long road to the hurdles ahead for Zika and the public.





Bandages That Should Be In Your Bug-Out Bag



First aid in an emergency situation should never be overlooked. Even the smallest cut can get infected and could potentially turn fatal. This is why you should always be prepared with bandages and ointment. When deciding which bandage you should pack for your first aid kit in a bug-out bag, here are some things you should consider:


As adorable as those Hello Kitty bandages are, they’re probably not the kind of bandage you want as first aid in your bug-out bag. As far as simple adhesive bandages go, fabric based bandages are preferable. The woven fibers in fabric bandages allow for more flexibility and overall movement than the plastic ones. If you are a more active person or need to place the bandage in an unusually bendable area, such as your elbow, you’ll want to use a fabric bandage.


For any type of wound that needs to be pulled back together, use a butterfly bandage. Butterfly bandages are fat on the sides and skinny in the middle. The skinny middle is stick-free as to avoid getting stuck to the actual wound. As butterfly bandages are often used for deeper cuts, you may need to use something thicker, like gauze pads, first while putting pressure on the bleeding point before placing a butterfly bandage over the wound.


Despite what its name would lead you to believe, moleskin is not actually made from a furry rodent but is a soft blend of cotton fabric that can be used as a preventative measure against blisters and to alleviate the pain of a blister. As blisters often form on the foot, you will most often be using moleskin there. Because of moleskin’s thick, furry properties, it creates an effect that is kind of cushiony which allows it to give fairly easily. Moleskin helps to avoid the blister from rubbing against your shoes, skin, clothes, dirt, or anything that could, potentially, irritate or infect the blister further. Adhesive moleskin that you can buy for first-aid kits does not cover the blistered area but surrounds or frames it. Most moleskin comes in squares or rolls that will likely need to be cut just bigger than the blistered area. Then it will need to be cut again to create a hole as big as the blister. This will make the moleskin piece resemble a flat, unappetizing donut.  The blister should fit snuggly in the hole you’ve just cut out so that it is still exposed and not covered, with a ring of moleskin bordering it.


For unusual areas that a normal bandage won’t fit, such as between toes, fingers, knuckles etc., or require high mobility, you can use a liquid bandage. Liquid bandages are exactly like they sound, it is actually just a special, sticky liquid that often come in what looks like a nail polish bottle. Applying a liquid bandage to your wound creates a strong waterproof seal to pull the skin back together and to keep out infection.

Bad Bandages

In reality, there really is no such thing as a ‘bad bandage,’ unless it has already been used and contaminated. This idea would be an oxymoron as even the cheapest bandages can help you heal.  But, that being said, not all bandages are created equal either. There are bandages for big cuts, small cuts, blisters, burns, and the list goes on, but not all bandages are for external bleeding and, of those that are to help with bleeding, some tend to stop the bleeding better or stay on longer than others. These are just a few preferable bandage options you should seriously consider when adding bandages to your emergency first-aid kit.