Safe Summer Camping

Click here to view the original post.

SAFE SUMMER CAMPING

 

Camping Safety

 

The kids are out of school, the weather’s great, and families are planning this summer’s camping trip. Camping is a great way to create bonds and memories that will last a lifetime. A poorly planned outdoor vacation, however, becomes memorable in the worst way, especially if someone gets hurt. A little planning will make sure everyone enjoys themselves safely.

KNOW YOUR LIMITS

Not the best choice for a family camping trip

If you’re not a veteran camper, don’t start by attempting to climb Yosemite’s El Capitan. Start by taking day trips to National Parks or a local lake.  Maybe you could start using that firestarter tool, setting up your tent, and making a campfire in your backyard to get through the learning curve. See how things work out when you don’t have to stay in the woods overnight. If the result is a big thumbs-up, start planning those overnighters.

Whatever type of camping you do, you should always be aware of the capabilities and general health of the people in your party. Children and elderly family members will determine the limits of your activities. The more ambitious you are, the more your plans may be beyond the physical ability of the less fit members of your family. This leads to injuries as the end result.

PLANNING

An important first step to a safe camping trip is knowledge about the weather and local terrain you’ll encounter. Talk with park rangers, consult guidebooks, and check out online sources. Some specific issues you’ll need to know:

  • Temperature Ranges
  • Rain or Snowfall
  • Location and Status of Nearby Trails and Campsites
  • Plant, Insect, and Animal Issues
  • Availability of Clean Water
  • How to Get Help in an Emergency

COMMON MEDICAL RISKS 

hypothermia polar bear club

Probably Not Dressed for Success in the Snow

A very common error campers make is not bringing the right clothing and equipment for the weather and terrain. If you haven’t planned for the environment, you have made it your enemy.

Although Spring and Fall have the most uncertainty with regards to temperatures and weather, storms can occur in any season. Conditions in high elevations lead to wind chill factors that could easily cause hypothermia. Here’s the thing with wind chill: If the temperature is 40 degrees, but the wind chill factor is 20 degrees, you lose heat from your body as if the actual temperature were 20 degrees. Be aware that temperatures at night drop precipitously. Even summer rain can lead to a loss in body temperature if you get soaked.

In cold weather, you’ll want the family clothed in layers. Use clothing made of tightly woven, water-repellent material for protection against the wind. Wool holds body heat better than cotton does. Some synthetic materials work well, also, such as Gore-Tex.

That’s all well and good in cool temperatures, but if you’re at the seashore or lakefront in the summer, your main problem will be heat exhaustion and burns. Have your family members wear sunscreen, as well as hats and light cotton fabrics. Sunscreen should be placed 15 minutes before entering a sunny area and re-applied to skin that gets wet or after, say, a couple of hours.

If you don’t take the environment into account, you have made it your enemy

In hot weather, plan your strenuous activities for mornings, when it’s cooler. In any type of weather, keep everyone well-hydrated;  dehydration will cause more rapid deterioration in physical condition in any climate.

The most important item of clothing is, perhaps, your shoes. If you’ve got the wrong shoes for the activity, you will most likely regret it. If you’re in the woods, high tops that you can fit into your pant legs will provide protection against snakebite and tick bites. Tick populations are on the rise in the Northeast and Midwest, so beware of signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease. If you choose to go with a lighter shoe in hot weather, Vibram soles are your best bet.

Special Tips: Choosing the right clothing isn’t just for weather protection.  If you have the kids wear bright colors, you’ll have an easier time keeping track of their whereabouts. Long sleeves and pants offer added protection against insect bites and poison ivy.

YOUR CAMPSITE

Real estate agents’ motto is location, location, location and it’s true for camping safety too. Scout prospective campsites by looking for broken glass and other garbage that can pose a hazard.

Look for evidence of animals/insects nearby, such as large droppings or wasp nests/bee hives. If there are berry bushes nearby, you can bet it’s on the menu for bears. Berries that birds and animals can eat are often unsafe for humans to eat. Advise the children to stay away from any animals, even the cute little fuzzy ones. Even some caterpillars are poisonous.

bear poop

Bear Droppings! Camp somewhere else!

Learn to recognize poison ivy, oak, and sumac.  Show your kid pictures of the plants so that they can look out for and avoid them. The old adage is “leaves of three, let it be”. Fels-Naptha soap is especially effective in removing toxic resin if you suspect exposure. The resin can stick to clothes, so cur chips off and use for laundering.

Build your fire in established fire pits and away from dry brush. In drought conditions, consider using a portable stove instead, like the EcoZoom.  In sunny open areas, the Sun Oven will give you a non-fire alternative for cooking. About fires: Children are fascinated by them, so watch them closely or you’ll be dealing with burn injuries. Food (especially cooked food) should be hung in trees in such a way that animals can’t access it. Animals are drawn to food odors, so use re-sealable plastic containers.

If you camp near a water source, realize that even the clearest mountain stream may harbor Giardia, a parasite that causes diarrheal disease and dehydration.  Water purification is basic to any outdoor outing.  There are iodine tablets that serve this purpose, and portable filters like the Lifestraw and the Mini-Sawyer which are light and effective.  Boiling the water first is a good policy in any situation, although time-consuming. Remember to add one minute of boiling for each 1000 feet of elevation above sea level. Water boils at lower temperatures at higher altitudes, and takes longer to kill microbes.

GETTING LOST

Glen Martin’s Book on Navigation

Few people can look back to their childhood and not remember a time when they lost their bearings. Your kids should always be aware of landmarks near the camp or on trails.  A great skill to teach the youngsters is how to use a compass, a skill you can find in Glen Martin’s new book “Prepper’s Survival Navigation“. Besides a compass, make sure children have  a loud whistle that they can blow if you get separated.  Three consecutive blasts is the universal distress signal. If lost, kids should stay put in a secure spot instead of roaming about. Of course, if you have cell phone service….

INSECT BITES

Even if you’ve clothed the kids in protective clothing, they can still wind up with insect bites.  Carry a supply of antihistamines, sting relief pads, and calamine lotion to deal with allergic reactions.  Asking your doctor for a prescription “EpiPen” is a good idea if anyone has ever had a severe reaction to toxins from insect bites or poison ivy.  They’re easy to use and effective, and few doctors would refuse to write a script for it.

Citronella-based products are helpful to repel insects; put it on clothing instead of skin (absorbs too easily) whenever possible. Repellents containing DEET also can be used, but not on children less than 2 years old. Don’t forget to inspect daily for ticks or the bulls-eye pattern rash they often cause.  If you remove the tick in the first 24 hours, you will rarely contract Lyme disease.

YOUR CAMPING FIRST AID KIT

Get a Medical Kit!

Besides appropriate clothes, insect repellants, and a way to sterilize water, you will want to carry a medical kit to deal with common problems.  This should contain:

  • Antiseptics to clean wounds (iodine pads are good)
  • Bandages of different types and sizes: butterfly, roller, pads, moleskin, elastic (Ace wraps)
  • Cold packs to reduce swelling
  • Splints (splints and larger conforming ones)
  • Burn gel and non-stick dressings like Telfa pad
  • Nitrile gloves (some people are allergic to latex)
  • Bandannas or triangular bandages with safety pins to serve as slings
  • A bandage scissors
  • tweezers (to remove splinters and ticks)
  • topical antibiotic cream
  • Medications:

Oral antihistamines (such as Bendadryl)

Pain meds (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, also good for fever)

1% hydrocortisone cream to decrease inflammation

BZK (Benzalkonium Chloride) wipes for animal bites

Your personal kit may require some additional items to handle special problems with members of the family that have chronic medical issues.  Take the above-listed  items and add more to customize the kit for your specific needs. Maybe adding a tourniquet, hemostatic gauze, and an Israeli dressing for more significant injuries? Perhaps some antibiotics for longer backcountry outings?

In an emergency, the most important thing to do is to simply stay calm. If you have the above supplies, you can handle a lot of medical issues in the wilderness. Gain some knowledge to go along with those supplies, and you’ll have the best chance to have a safe and fun outing with your family.

.

Joe Alton, M.D., aka Dr. Bones

AuthorJoe

Joe Alton MD

Are you ready to deal with medical issues when the you-know-what hits the fan? You will be, if you get a copy of our #1 Amazon Bestseller “The Survival Medicine Handbook”.

The Survival medicine handbook Third Edition 2016

The Survival Medicine Handbook Third Edition

REPOST: SurvivalRing Guide #1: Five Most Important Skills for New Preppers…Set Your Foundation First (plus bonus Bug-out section)

Click here to view the original post.

“Hello…We’re the Preppers…” The “Prepper” movement has grown exponentially in the last few years, thanks to reality TV shows such as “Doomsday Preppers” (aka DDP), and all the knockoff shows and repeats on many other networks, as well as online TV show services like Hulu and NetFlix. Mainstream print and online media is following in […]

The post REPOST: SurvivalRing Guide #1: Five Most Important Skills for New Preppers…Set Your Foundation First (plus bonus Bug-out section) appeared first on SurvivalRing.

FIRE WEATHER to TORCH Europe and US world becomes giant tinderbox ready to IGNITE

Click here to view the original post.
The world is set for blazing fires of epic proportion which are anticipated to strike Portugal, Spain, France, Greece, Turkey and other tourist hotspots around the world, a new study has revealed.

Cities in southern Australia and western North America are also in the firing line. 

Researchers from the University of Idaho, South Dakota State University and the University of Tasmania forecast increasingly dangerous fire weather, as the globe witnesses and alarming increase of devastating fires. 

Video: Surviving a Building Fire

Click here to view the original post.

wildfire21

Joe Alton, MD’s latest video discusses some tragic building fires, especially in public venues. He examines what happens in a fire, how fire behaves, and what you can do to increase your chances of surviving the conflagration.

 

To watch, click below:

 

 

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe Alton, MD

joealtonlibrary4

 

Find out more about house fires, wildfires, burns, and much more in Joe and Amy Alton’s Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way, available at Amazon.

10 Essential Tips for Surviving a House Fire

Click here to view the original post.

In a normal survival situation, fire is something you need for things like light, heat, protection, and the ability to cook food. But in the event of a house fire, it can become your biggest enemy and something you need to escape from immediately. Many people have tragically perished in house fires, and if you […]

The post 10 Essential Tips for Surviving a House Fire appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Oakland Warehouse Fire: Surviving in a Crowd

Click here to view the original post.

wildfire

The fire in an Oakland warehouse that was a refuge for artists and a venue for dance parties has now claimed 36 lives with several persons still missing. In the past, I’ve written about safety in wildfires and also in homes over the years; this time, I’ll explore the issue relating to fires in public venues like concert halls.

Concerts and theatres have long been areas at risk for fire. In 1903, Chicago’s Iroquois theatre was the site of an inferno which caused 600 deaths. In 1942, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston claimed 492 lives. In 2003, 100 perished in the Station nightclub in Warwick, R.I. during a concert by the rock band Great White.

Most public venues have important fire protection strategies such as sprinkler systems, fire exits, and fire extinguishers. Indeed, fire codes have evolved to make most of these places quite safe.

The phenomenon of “flash concerts”, however, places crowds of people in locations without these safeguards. This puts the onus on concert-goers to become more situationally aware, something few patrons of these events even think about.

What is situational awareness? Situation awareness involves understanding what’s going on in your immediate vicinity that might be hazardous to your health. I don’t mean second-hand smoke here; I’m talking about knowing what dangers may exist that you can avoid or abolish with your actions. Especially important for soldiers in a combat zone, it’s now become just as important for the average citizen in any large crowd.

The situationally aware person is in a constant state of what I call “Yellow Alert”, a relaxed awareness of their surroundings. At Yellow Alert, a concert-goer has a much better chance to identify threats than someone with their nose buried in their smart phone. Although many might enjoy the use of recreational drugs, like marijuana or ecstasy, it’s much safer to have your wits about you at these events. Mentally marking nearby exits, fire extinguishers, and alarms when you first arrive will allow you to have a plan of action if the worst happens.

A good spot at a concert is front and center, but you might be safer at the fringe of the crowd. In the center, your choice of escape route is governed by the crowd rather than good judgment.

Who’s at fault? Although Derick Almena, the manager of the Oakland warehouse, was understandably distraught during an interview with the TODAY show, he must bear responsibility for the conflagration, as must the owner, Chor N. Ng (whose daughter claims, says the LA Times, that he didn’t know people lived in the building). Here are some reasons why:

·        The 10,000 foot warehouse, also known as the “Ghost Ship”, had no sprinkler system nor fire alarms. No word on the number of fire extinguishers, if any.

·        Piles of discarded furniture dotted the interior.

·        Staircases were partially supported by wooden pallets.

·        Construction and electrical work was performed on an impromptu basis, often without permits or proper inspections.

·        A number of recreational vehicles, presumably with gas in the tanks, were in the warehouse.

Oakland city officials, however, are also culpable. The LA Times reports that, since 2014, several complaints were lodged for building and fire code violations without apparent action by the city after investigation. The Fire Marshall blames severe understaffing for the shortcomings, the responsibility for which must also be borne by Oakland’s city government. Zac Unger, an official with the firefighter’s union, was quoted as saying “Had a fire inspector walked into that building and seen the conditions in there, they would have shut the place down.”

Unfortunately, the responsibility for your safety may ultimately lie with the average citizen. Incorporate situational awareness into your mindset when in any public venue, and you’ll stand the best chance to avoid and escape becoming a casualty of a fire or any other calamity.

For more information on becoming situationally aware and how to deal with building fires, read my articles “How a Fighter Pilot’s Strategy Could Save Your Life: The OODA Loop” and “Surviving a House Fire”.

Joe Alton, MD

Survival Medicine Hour: Gatlinburg Fires, Stress, More

Click here to view the original post.
wildfire21
On this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour, your hosts, Joe Alton, MD aka Dr. Bones and Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Nurse Amy discuss the devastating wildfires that have damaged or destroyed more than 400 structures and taken the lives of at least 13 innocent people, with more than 80 injured seeking help at local hospitals. The severity of the entire disaster is still unknown right now, and we will give you an update on the status of our own house in Gatlinburg. We live in South Florida so it has been a maddening few days to find out the results of the fires that spread up Chalet Village and Ski Mountain areas. Please donate to Red Cross to help fund those who need it so desperately and have lost their primary residence. There are so many without so much. Our prayers are with those who need it right now.
Christmas is almost upon us and the pressure to shop is causing some stress in shoppers. Dr. Alton discusses ways to decrease your stress levels and still have a fun-filled time during the holiday season (one tip: don’t be afraid to ask what they want!). Nurse Amy shares what she wishes for Christmas and what we all really want inside (hint: love, family and kindness). Relax and enjoy your Christmas with friends and family, we are all lucky to be on this beautiful earth together.
Listen in by clicking below:
Please follow us on social media:
Twitter: @preppershow
Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,
Joe and Amy Alton
AmyandJoePodcast400x200

The Altons

Wildfire Preparedness and Our Gatlinburg Home

Click here to view the original post.
2015 Birdhouse Inn Mountain Paradise View!

The view from my home as I’d like to remember it

It’s been a very busy year for firefighters, with heat waves, drought, and human malice or carelessness causing large areas to burn from Canada to California. You may have heard me say that you probably won’t  be affected by a disaster today, tomorrow, or next week. Over a lifetime, however, the chances aren’t quite as small. Add in your children’s lifetimes, and their children’s, and the odds are greater still. I’ve personally been through hurricanes, tornadoes, civil unrest, and the Mariel Boatlift unscathed other than for some missing roof tiles and a conversion to positive for tuberculosis (thanks, Fidel). We were even stranded in Europe due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland.

And now wildfire. A particularly intense one recently struck a place I know and love: Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Home to the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I’ve had a vacation home there for 20 years and spend Spring and Fall there. I love hiking in the backcountry, and if I cannot say that I’ve walked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, I can say I’ve walked its entire width.

With multiple fires spreading through the popular resort town, the mountain that my house is situated on lit up like a match.  In the dry, windy conditions, hundreds of homes were burnt to the ground. As of this writing, I have not yet heard of the fate of the home in which I’ve accumulated 20 years of memories. The likelihood is that it no longer exists. Much more importantly, homes of many permanent residents have been destroyed, leaving them homeless; the businesses that employed those people were incinerated.

Putting my feelings aside for a moment, let’s talk about what you can do in the face of an irresistible force like a wildfire. How can you protect your property (and yourself) from being devastated by fire? Two main principles for property defense are 1) vegetation management and 2) creating a “defensible space”. The main strategy for personal defense is “Get Out Of Dodge”.

An important factor in wildfire preparedness is what we call “vegetation management”. With vegetation management, the key is to direct fires away from your house. There are several ways to accomplish this, all of which require vigilance and regular maintenance. 

You’ll want to clean up dead wood and leaf piles lying within 30 feet of your building structure. Pay special attention to clearing off the roof and gutters. Although you may have spent time and money putting lush landscaping around your home, you may have to choose between attractive, yet flammable plants and fire protection.

You’ll want to thin out those thick canopied trees near your house, making sure that no two canopies touch each other. Any trees within 50 feet on flatland, or 200 feet if downhill from your retreat need to be thinned, so that you’re pruning branches off below 10-12 feet high, and separating them by 10-20 feet. No tree should overhang the roof. Also, eliminate all shrubs at the base of the trunks.

Lawns and gardens should be well-hydrated; collect lawn cuttings and other debris that could be used as fuel by the fire. If water is limited, keep dry lawns cut back as much as possible (or remove them).

wildfire1

From a wildfire perspective, a defensible space is an area around a structure where wood and vegetation are treated, cleared, or reduced to slow the spread of flames towards a structure. Having a defensible space will also provide room to work for those fighting the fire.

The amount of defensible space you’ll need depends on whether you’re on flat land or on a steep slope. Flatland fires spread more slowly than a fire on a slope (hot air and flames rise). A fire on a steep slope with wind blowing uphill spreads fast and produces “spot fires”. These are small fires that ignite vegetation ahead of the main burn, due to small bits of burning debris in the air.

Woodpiles and other flammables should be located at least 20-30 feet away from structures. Gardening tools should be kept in sheds, and those sheds should be at a distance from the home.  Concrete walkways and perimeter walls may serve to impede the progress of the fire.

Attic and other vents should be covered with screening to prevent small embers from entering the structure. Additional strategies for the home can be found at firewise.org.

Of course, once you have created a defensible space, the natural inclination is to want to, well, defend it. Unfortunately, you have to remember that you’ll be in the middle of a lot of heat and smoke.

The safest recommendation, therefore, would be to get out of Dodge if there’s a safe way to leave. It’s a personal decision but realize that your family’s lives may depend on it. If you’re leaving, have a bag already packed with food, water, extra clothes, batteries, flashlights, and more. Don’t forget to bring your cell phone, any important papers you might need, and some cash.

As an added precaution, make sure you shut off any air conditioning system that draws air into the house from outside. Turn off all your appliances, close all your windows and lock all your doors. Like any other emergency, you should have some form of communication system established with your loved ones in case you’re not together.

Medical kits should contain masks, eye and hand protection, burn ointment (aloe vera is a natural alternative) and non-stick dressings. Specialized burn dressings are available that incorporate both. Gauze rolls and medical tape can be used for additional coverage. Round out your kit with scissors, cold packs, and some eyewash (smoke is a major irritant to the eyes).

If your routes of escape are blocked, make sure you’re dressed in long pants, sleeves, and heavy boots. A wool blanket is very helpful as an additional outside layer because wool is relatively fire-resistant. Some people think it’s a good idea to wet the blanket first: Don’t. Wet materials transfer heat much faster than dry materials and will cause more severe burns.

If you’re inside a building, stay on the side farthest from the fire and with the least number of windows (windows transfer heat to the inside). Stay there unless you have to leave due to smoke or the building catching fire. If that’s the case and you have to leave, wrap yourself in the blanket, leaving only your eyes uncovered.

If you’re having trouble breathing because of the smoke, stay low, and crawl out of the building. There’s less smoke and heat the lower you go. Keep your face down towards the floor. This will help protect your airway, which is very important. You can recover from burns on your skin, but not from major burns in your lungs.

As of this writing, I’m still waiting for public access to my part of the mountain in Gatlinburg to be reinstated. If my home survived, it could have been due to the principles I’ve followed above, but it could also be just the wind direction or some timely rain. I’d like to believe it’s the former, but, heck, I’ll take the latter.

Joe Alton, MD

Please take a moment to include firefighters, medical personnel, and the citizens of Gatlinburg in your prayers. Also, a donation to the American Red Cross can be sent to First Tennessee Bank to aid fire relief efforts. The Johnson City Press reports that the First Tennessee Foundation will match donations up to $50,000. Send a check for any amount payable to the American Red Cross to:

First Tennessee Bank              

P.O. Box 8037

Gray, TN 37615

attn: Ms. Teresa Fry

Video: Wildfire Safety Tips

Click here to view the original post.
wildfire

Wildfire Safety

The West coast has been in the grip of several wildfires that have caused millions in damage. In a companion video to a recent article, Joe Alton, MD discusses strategies that might save your home (and your life) in a wildfire.

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

 

Get medical preparedness tips for any disaster by checking out Joe and Amy Alton’s brand new third edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Help is Not on the Way.

American Survival Radio, June 25

Click here to view the original post.

shutterstock_119509171

 

American Survival Radio is Joe and Amy Alton’s second and latest podcast, focused on current events, health, and politics. It is separate and distinct from The Survival Medicine Hour, which continues as before focused mostly on health issues as they pertain to preparedness and survival.  If you’re interested in Survival, your own and that of your country, we bet you’ll like both!

In this episode of American Survival Radio, Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP discuss the issues of the day, which seems to include terror events and active shooters more and more as time goes on. Of course, with that, the political battle over gun control rages while, perhaps, the discussion over how to make Americans more difficult targets gets ignored. Plus, the state of California”s lawmakers pass a bill to allow Obamacare to be offered to undocumented immigrants, something President Obama himself had guaranteed repeatedly would NOT happen. Listen to how California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D) found a loophole in the law, and how, unless, they find funds to pay the premiums for these immigrants , Obamacare is still going to be unaffordable to most even if offered.

On the natural disaster front, a deadly heat wave in the West is causing problems for the 3500 firefighters trying to control multiple wildfires in the area. Yes, a heat wave is a natural disaster: A major one in 2003 on the European continent killed tens of thousands of people. Joe and Amy Alton tell you how to stay safe in the hottest weather. All this and more in American Survival Radio #14!

American Survival Radio

The Altons

It’s A Cruel, Cruel Summer: Heat Waves

Click here to view the original post.

house on fire burning

Well, Summer is here and the West is experiencing record high temperatures in a series of heat waves that may continue until Fall. Even worse, the scorching temperatures are igniting scores of wildfires that are threatening communities throughout the region.

Officials predicted a high-risk situation as the heat surpassed 100 degrees across much of Southern California; desert cities throughout Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico hit temperatures reaching the 120s. These temperatures place the more than 3,000 firefighters in the area in extreme danger for heat-related complications.

The power grid is being tested by the millions of air conditioning units set on “max cool”, and we can expect to see some major issues if the electricity goes out and people have to fight the heat with hand fans.

You might not consider a heat wave a natural disaster, but it most certainly is. Heat waves can cause mass casualties, as they did in Europe when 70,000 died of exposure (not in the Middle Ages, but in 2003). India, Pakistan, and other underdeveloped tropical countries experience thousands of heat-related deaths yearly. A pre-monsoon heat wave in April killed hundreds in the region. There are already several recorded deaths in the American West.

So how exactly does heat kill a person? Your body core regulates its temperature for optimal organ function. When core body temperature rises excessively (known as “hyperthermia”), damage occurs that leak toxins, cause cell death, and major inflammation. These deaths can occur very quickly without intervention, even in those who are physically fit. Even in modern times, hyperthermia carries a 10% death rate, mostly in the elderly and infirm.

The ill effects due to overheating are called “heat exhaustion” if mild to moderate; if severe, these effects are referred to as “heat stroke”. Heat exhaustion usually does not result in permanent damage, but heat stroke does; indeed, it can permanently disable or even kill its victim.  It is a medical emergency that must be diagnosed and treated promptly.

The risk of heat stroke correlates strongly to the “heat index”, a measurement of the effects of air temperature combined with high humidity.  Above 60% relative humidity, loss of heat by perspiration is impaired, increasing the chances of heat-related illness.  Exposure to full sun increases the reported heat index by as much as 10-15 degrees F.

Simply having muscle cramps or a fainting spell does not necessarily signify a major heat-related medical event. You will see “heat cramps” often in children that have been running around on a hot day.  Getting them out of the sun, massaging the affected muscles, and providing hydration will usually resolve the problem.

heat stroke vs heat exhaustion

In addition to muscle cramps and/or fainting, heat exhaustion is characterized by:

  • Confusion
  • Rapid pulse
  • Flushing
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Temperature elevation up to 105 degrees F

If no action is taken to cool the victim, heat stroke may ensue. Heat stroke, in addition to all the possible signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, will manifest as loss of consciousness, seizures or even bleeding (seen in the urine or vomit).  Breathing becomes rapid and shallow.

If not dealt with quickly, shock and organ malfunction may ensue, possibly leading to death. In heat stroke, the skin is likely to be hot to the touch, but dry; sweating might be absent.  The body makes efforts to cool itself down until it hits a temperature of 105-6 degrees or so. At that point, thermoregulation breaks down and the body’s ability to use sweating as a natural temperature regulator fails. In heat stroke, the body core can rise to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

You’ll notice that the skin becomes red, not because it is burned, but because the blood vessels are dilating in an effort to dissipate some of the heat.

In some circumstances, the patient’s skin may actually seem cool.  It is important to realize that it is the body core temperature that is elevated. A person in shock may feel “cold and clammy” to the touch.  You could be misled by this finding, but simply taking a reading with a thermometer will reveal the patient’s true status.

heat-stroke

When overheated patients are no longer able to cool themselves, it is up to their rescuers to do the job. If hyperthermia is suspected, the victim should immediately:

  • Be removed from the heat source (for example, out of the sun).
  • Have their clothing removed.
  • Be drenched with cool water (or ice, if available)
  • Have their legs elevated above the level of their heart (the shock position)
  • Be fanned or otherwise ventilated to help with heat evaporation
  • Have moist cold compresses placed in the neck, armpit and groin areas

Why the neck, armpit and groin? Major blood vessels pass close to the skin in these areas, and cold packs will more efficiently cool the body core.

heat stroke graphic

Treating heat stroke: Only give fluids in someone that is awake and alert

Oral rehydration is useful to replace fluids lost, but only if the patient is awake and alert. If your patient has altered mental status, he or she might “swallow” the fluid into their airways; this causes damage to the lungs and puts you in worse shape than when you started.

Heat stroke is preventable in many cases. The Arizona state department of health recommends the following:

  • Drink at least 2 liters (about a half-gallon) of water per day if you are mostly indoors and 1 to 2 additional liters for every hour of outdoor time. Drink before you feel thirsty, and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and use a sun hat or an umbrella to deflect the sun’s rays.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of large ones.
  • Avoid strenuous activity.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Take regular breaks if you must exert yourself on warm days.

In a heat wave, it’s important to check on the elderly, the very young, and the infirm regularly and often. These people have more difficulty seeking help, and you might just save a life if you’re vigilant. Know the warning signs and how to help those with hyperthermia.

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

Preparing For Wildfires

Click here to view the original post.
wildfire

Wildfire

After experiencing a hellish wildfire season last summer and fall in the U.S., a huge conflagration in the Canadian province of Alberta has us thinking again of wildfire preparedness. The wildfire in our northern neighbor’s territory has burned 400,000 acres so far and destroyed or damaged 1600 buildings. Two have died in a car crash while attempting to escape the flames, which has caused the evacuation of 100,000 people. The grid is damaged, the water undrinkable, and even local firefighters are seeing their homes burn to the ground.

In a news conference today, authorities state that, although the spread has slowed, the fire might continue to burn for months and threatens the neighboring province of Saskatchewan. The region affected is the heart of Canada’s oil industry, with the third-largest reserves in the world. A quarter of the country’s oil production has been suspended, leaving questions about the effect the natural disaster will have on Canada’s economy.

Many people are concerned about disasters that threaten their way of life, and wildfires should be high on the list in many areas. But how can you protect your property from being devastated by fire? Two main principles are 1) vegetation management and 2) creating a “defensible space”.

 

VEGETATION MANAGEMENT

wildfire1

vegetation management is key to fire protection

 

An important factor in protecting your home is what we call “vegetation management”. With vegetation management, the key is to direct fires away from your house. There are several ways to accomplish this, all of which require vigilance and regular maintenance.

 

You’ll want to clean up dead wood and leaf piles lying on the ground close to your buildings and off the roofs and gutters. Although you may have spent time and money putting lush landscaping around your home, you may have to remove some of the vegetation close to the structure. Some people place thorny bushes by windows to deter home invaders, but these would have to go if your concern is fire protection.

 

You’ll want to thin out those thick canopied trees near your house, making sure that no two canopies touch each other. Any trees within 50 feet on flatland, or 200 feet if downhill from your retreat needs to be thinned, so that you’re pruning branches off below 10-12 feet high, and separating them by 10-20 feet. No tree should overhang the roof. Also, eliminate all shrubs at the base of the trunks.

 

Lawns and gardens should be well-hydrated; collect lawn cuttings and other debris that could be used as fuel by the fire. If water is limited, keep dry lawns cut back as much as possible (or remove them).

 

DEFENSIBLE SPACES

 

From a wildfire perspective, a defensible space is an area around a structure where wood and vegetation are treated, cleared, or reduced to slow the spread of flames towards a structure. Having a defensible space will also provide room to work for those fighting the fire.

 

If you’re building a home in an area where wildfires are common, consider the materials that your retreat is made of. How much fire resistance does your structure have? A wood frame home with wooden shingles will go up like a match in a wildfire. You should try to build as much flame resistance into your forest retreat as possible.

 

The amount of defensible space you’ll need depends on whether you’re on flat land or on a steep slope. Flatland fires spread more slowly than a fire on a slope (hot air and flames rise). A fire on a steep slope with wind blowing uphill spreads fast and produces “spot fires”. These are small fires that ignite vegetation ahead of the main burn, due to small bits of burning debris in the air.

 

Woodpiles and other flammables should be located at least 20-30 feet away from structures. Gardening tools should be kept in sheds, and those sheds should be at a distance from the home.  Concrete walkways and perimeter walls may serve to impede the progress of the fire.

 

Attic and other vents should be covered with screen mesh to prevent small embers from entering the structure. Additional strategies can be found at firewise.org.

 

ESCAPING A WILDFIRE

 

Of course, once you have created a defensible space, the natural inclination is to want to, well, defend it. Unfortunately, you have to remember that you’ll be in the middle of a lot of heat and smoke. Therefore, you’re probably not going to be able to function effectively unless you’re an Olympic athlete. It stands to reason that most of us will not be up to the task.

 

The safest recommendation, therefore, would be to get out of Dodge if there’s a safe way out. It’s a personal decision but your family’s lives depend on it, so be realistic. If you’re leaving, have that bug-out bag already in the car, as well as any important papers you might need to keep and some cash.

 

Before leaving, make sure you shut off any air conditioning system that draws air into the house from outside. Turn off all your appliances, close all your windows and lock all your doors. Like any other emergency, you should have some form of communication established with your loved ones so that you can contact each other. Make sure your medical kit contains some eyewash; smoke is a major irritant to the eyes.

 

TRAPPED IN A WILDFIRE

 

If your routes of escape are blocked, make sure you’re dressed in long pants, sleeves, and heavy boots. A wool blanket is very helpful as an additional outside layer because wool is relatively fire-resistant. If you don’t have wool blankets, this is a good time to add some to your storage, or keep some in your car.

 

If you’re in a building, stay on the side of the building farthest from the fire with the least number of windows (windows transfer heat to the inside). Stay there unless you have to leave due to smoke or the building catching fire. If that’s the case and you have to leave, wrap yourself in that blanket, leaving only your eyes uncovered. Some people think it’s a good idea to wet the blanket first. Don’t! Wet materials transfer heat much faster than dry materials and will cause more severe burns.

 

If you’re having trouble breathing because of the smoke, stay low, and crawl out of the building if you have to. There’s less smoke and heat the lower you go.Keep your face down towards the floor. This will help protect your airway, which is very important. You can recover from burns on your skin, but not from major burns in your lungs. For some more information about smoke inhalation, click this link to a short article: http://www.doomandbloom.net/smoke-inhalation/

 

BUILDING A FIRE-RESISTANT HOME

 

If you’re building a home in an area where wildfires are common, consider the materials that your retreat is made of. How much fire resistance does your structure have? A wood frame home with wooden shingles will go up like a match in a wildfire. You should try to build as much flame resistance into your forest retreat as possible.

 

You might consider building with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs). These are polystrene blocks made to fit together. Filled with concrete, ICFs create solid insulation that locks out sound, weather, and gives some fire resistance. Mostly used in commercial buildings and schools, constructing a home with ICFs cost a little more, but is superior to wood.

 

Flame-resistant roofing and siding is important, also. Asphalt shingles are used in most roofs, but there’s a fiberglass variety that offers better fire resistance. Decking can also be fire-resistant if constructed with Class A composite materials made from PVC and wood fiber. Windows using heat-reflective glass reduce the  heat that  enters your home in a wildfire. The heat-reflective coating acts to reduce up to 90 percent of the heat. Metal or fiber cement siding is superior to wood or vinyl products. As you might imagine, all these fire-proofing strategies come at an increased cost.

 

Wildfires and other catastrophes, whether natural or man-made, can threaten your life and the lives of your loved ones. Planning before the event will give you the best shot at getting through them in the best shape possible.

 

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4
Learn more about wildfire safety plus how to deal with many other events that threaten your survival with The Survival Medicine Handbook, with 300 5-star reviews on Amazon!

How To Build a Self Feeding Fire That Lasts 14+ Hours

Click here to view the original post.

How To Build a Self Feeding Fire That Lasts 14+ Hours I love this idea. This video by Rob Hansler shows some great pointers on how to make a self feeding fire with materials you can find around you in the wilderness including how to get it started and ensuring that it keeps burning strong. …

Continue reading »

The post How To Build a Self Feeding Fire That Lasts 14+ Hours appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Why Is The United States Being Hit By So Many Fires, Floods And Earthquakes?

Click here to view the original post.

North America - Public Domain

By Michael Snyder – End Of The American Dream

What do you get when you add together one of the strongest El Ninos ever recorded, the worst year for wildfires in U.S. history, and unprecedented earthquake swarms in diverse places all over the country? Since the end of the summer, America has been hit with a truly unusual series of natural disasters. The state of Oklahoma has already set an all-time record for the number of earthquakes that it has experienced in a year, more acres have been burned by wildfires in the U.S. than we have ever seen before, and a “1,000 year rainfall” caused horrific flooding in South Carolina. Those are just a few examples of what we have been seeing, and many believe that this is just the beginning. So why is this happening? Is there something that connects all of these natural disasters together?

Let’s start by talking about earthquakes. In the past, we would expect to see earthquake activity along the west coast, but not much elsewhere.

Today, things have dramatically changed. For example, this year the state of Oklahoma has seen nearly eight times as many magnitude three or greater earthquakes as it did just two years ago

As 2015 nears its end, 850 earthquakes of magnitude three or greater have stirred the state of Oklahoma. Compared to 584 of the same magnitude in 2014 and 109 in 2013, the trend is clear: earthquakes are on the rise.

Other areas of the nation are experiencing highly unusual seismic activity as well. Just recently, east-central Idaho was hit by a swarm of more than 40 small earthquakes

More than 40 small earthquakes were recorded in east-central Idaho last week in what experts say is another earthquake swarm in the region.

Officials in the Challis area on Friday reported no damage from the micro-quakes that started Tuesday and have mostly gone unnoticed or unreported in an area with residents accustomed to more vigorous shaking.

But the temblors ranging up to 2.9 magnitude have perked up scientists trying to understand the fault system in the area where a 5.0 magnitude quake struck in January.

So why are we seeing so many earthquakes all of a sudden?

That is a question that none of the “experts” seem to have an answer for.

Meanwhile, we are currently on pace for the worst year for wildfires in the history of the United States. Earlier in the year this was not the case, but in August and September there was a sudden explosion of massive wildfires, and now it looks like we are going to easily break the all-time record by the end of this month

Continue reading at End Of The American Dream: Why Is The United States Being Hit By So Many Fires, Floods And Earthquakes?

About the author:

Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years.

Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream

Read his new book The Beginning of the End

Filed under: Earthquakes, News/ Current Events, Weather

INFOGRAPHIC: Risk Areas Of Natural Disasters in the USA

Click here to view the original post.

Life throws you curveballs, and there are many things in life that you can’t prepare for. However, you can prepare for natural disasters and severe weather that’s likely to come your way. Different areas of the United States are more likely to encounter certain kinds of dangerous weather, and by knowing what your region is […]