5 Keys to Food Security in Extreme Weather, for Home Gardeners

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Back in August 2015, I wrote a post about the findings of a joint task force of experts from the U.K. and U.S. The group had released recommendations for Extreme Weather and Resilience of the Global Food System. You can read the original post on food security here: 

Read More: “Extreme Weather and Food Resilience for Home Growers”

Quite frankly, that report was pretty scary. It detailed all sorts of reasons why our global food supply was in serious jeopardy. When that report was released in 2015, I had noted how relevant it was in light of a number of catastrophic weather events going on at the time, wreaking havoc on crops and raising food prices in some areas.

Now, just a couple of years later, the situation has become even worse. Hurricanes, mudslides, drought-related fires, disrupted weather patterns, wars, and more have caused crazy fluctuations in food supplies around the world.

In March 2017, the Food Security Information Network (FSIN) released a Global Report on Food Crises 2017.1)http://www.fao.org/3/a-br323e.pdf In that report, they indicated that the number of people suffering from severe food insecurity had increased by 35% since the release of the 2015 report.

Quite a bit of that lack of food security was related to conflict. However, catastrophic weather events like droughts had also driven up the costs of staple foods, making them unaffordable for large groups of people.

If you think this can only happen in poor, war-torn countries, then consider this. In the U.S. in 2017, there were at least 16 weather events that cost over a billion dollars each and resulted in losses of crops, livestock, and other resources, as well as of homes, businesses, personal property, and lives.2)https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events/US/2017 In 2016, there were 15 of these weather catastrophes; in 2015, there were 9; in 2014, there were 8; and in 2013, there were 9.

It might be too early to say that 15-16 catastrophic, billion-dollar weather events is the new normal for the U.S. However, new data modeling shows that there are real risks that both the U.S. and China might simultaneously experience catastrophic crop losses that could drive up prices and send more countries into food famine in the coming decades.3)https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/15/climate-change-food-famine-study

In 2017, due to a weakened dollar, food prices in the U.S. increased by 8.2%.4)https://www.thebalance.com/why-are-food-prices-rising-causes-of-food-price-inflation-3306099 That trend hopefully won’t continue in 2018, but between weather and world volatility, isn’t it better to bank on building your own food security independent of global markets and events?

We think so, too! So, we want to give you some ideas to help you build your own food security at home.

Food Security Recommendation #1: Understand Your Risks

Building on the ideas from our earlier post on “Extreme Weather and Food Resilience for Home Growers,” it’s really important to know the risks for your area and plan your gardening practices to be resilient even when disaster hits.

Many  governments and global non-governmental organizations have made predictive models for the likely regional effects of climate change available. You can use these models to identify trends in your area. Here are a few example models available:

Even if you don’t live in one of these areas, a quick Internet search for “climate change impacts” for your area should give good results. This search may link to articles about impacts as well as to modeling tools. Focus on search hits from government or academic websites for more comprehensive, peer-reviewed climate change data.

Food Security Recommendation #2: Consider Using Permaculture-Based Landscape Design

There have been so many weather-related disasters recently that it is hard to know what to prepare for anymore. In California, extreme dry weather and winds made for a devastating fire season. Then, the loss of vegetation from the fire season led to severe mudslides during torrential rains. Parts of Australia have also been suffering similar catastrophic cycles of drought and flooding.

In Western North Carolina where I live—a locale that we chose specifically because it is expected to be less impacted by climate change (e.g., sea levels rising, coastal hurricanes, etc.)—we’ve had extended dry periods followed by heavy rains that led to lots of vegetation losses in our area.

Drought-flood cycles are extremely damaging to plant life. In dry periods, plant roots dehydrate and shrivel. Soil also shrinks from water loss. Then when heavy rains come, the soil and roots no longer have the water-holding capacity they once did. Rather than the rain being absorbed, it sits on top of dry, compacted soils in flat areas, causing flooding. Or it moves downhill, taking topsoil and vegetation with it as it goes, causing mudslides and flash flooding in other areas.

When you use permaculture design in planning your foodscapes, you take into account these kinds of cycles of drought and heavy rain that would otherwise be damaging to vegetation. In fact, you make them work for you. Simple solutions like catching and storing water high on your land can help you better weather the cycles of drought and flood.

By applying permaculture principles, you can help safeguard your food security by making your landscape more resilient to weather extremes and diversifying your food supply to ensure you get good yields regardless of weather.

To get an idea of how permaculture works, check out this tour of Zaytuna Farm given by Geoff Lawton.

Also, if you want a short but powerful introduction to what permaculture can do in extreme landscapes, check out these titles by Sepp Holzer:

Food Security Recommendation #3: Manage Your Microclimates

Every property has microclimates. For example, in North America, it will almost always be a bit warmer along the edges of a south-sloping blacktop driveway. This is because the path of the sun will cast more sun on southern-facing slopes. They are literally like sun scoops, catching its rays.

food security - blacktop asphalt

“Closeup of pavement with grass” by User:Angel caboodle is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Additionally, dark colors absorb more heat than light colors. If you painted that same driveway white, it would still be warmer due to its southern slope. However, the white paint would reflect light and heat away from the driveway and would keep that same area cooler than with a blacktop driveway.

The physical mass of blacktop asphalt material also acts as a heat sink. It draws in heat during the day and releases  it back into surrounding areas as air temperatures cool at night. The same driveway made with light-colored concrete might not absorb quite as much heat as an asphalt driveway due to its color. However, it would still act as a heat sink by virtue of its mass.

The shade of a large oak tree creates a cooler area than the dappled shade of a pruned fruit tree. Large bodies of water will help regulate extreme temperatures. A wide, stone knee wall around a raised bed will insulate the soil inside better than thin wood boards because of its mass. Boulders in your landscape are also heat sinks. Even things like black trash cans can impact temperatures directly around their vicinity.

Gaining a basic understanding of how colors attract light waves, learning how different kinds of mass (rocks, soil, trees, etc.) store heat and divert wind, and knowing the path of the sun at different times of the year in your area can help you use microclimates to moderate the effects of extreme cold and heat. Using your slopes, like north-facing slopes to keep things cooler and south-facing slopes to heat things up, can also help. Working with shade patterns to minimize or maximize sun exposure can help moderate hot and cold temperature extremes.

For example, I live in USDA planting Zone 7a. With the extreme cold weather we’ve had this year, our conditions were closer to Zone 5.  Some of my plants—like rosemary, which is hardy to zone 7—were killed by the cold. After our last risk of frost passes, I plan to replant rosemary bushes in front of our south-facing house and mulch them with dark stones. In that location, even if we have Zone 5 conditions again, my rosemary should make it just because the heat mass from our house and the stones, the southward orientation, and the wind protection give it the right microclimate.

Cold frames, greenhouses, and underground areas (e.g., walipinis) are also good ways to create microclimates on your property to ensure longer and more secure food production in extreme conditions. Check out this post from Marjory to learn about building your own underground greenhouse.

Read More: “Underground Walipini Pit Greenhouse Construction”

Food Security Recommendation #4: Go Big on Organic Matter in Your Soil

If I pour a bucket of water over some of the heavy clay soil in my landscape, water runs off on slopes. In flat or cratered areas, it sits on top, eventually making a big muddy mess that becomes algae-covered if we don’t have enough wind or sun to dry it out.

If I pour a bucket of water over the same approximate amount of area in one of my vegetable garden beds, loaded with compost, the bucket of water soaks in. Even on sloped beds, the water sinks and stays put rather than running off.

Soils that are high in organic matter are more porous and spacious than compacted soils.

If you try the same experiment with sand, the water will also soak in as it did in my garden bed. Unfortunately, it won’t stay there. Come back a few hours later and that water will be gone, which means it is not stored in the root zone for later use by plants.

Soils that are high in organic matter also preserve moisture better than sandy soils.

In order to hold water in your soil during droughts and catch it during heavy rains, you need a lot of organic matter in your soil. Here are a few easy ways you can up your organic matter quotient at home.

  1. Add compost.
  2. Mulch with things like wood chips, straw, old hay, grass clippings, and mulched leaves.
  3. Plant, then chop and drop cover crops like grain grasses, clover, mustard, or chicory.
  4. Use no-till or minimal till practices and leave decaying roots and plant matter in the soil.

Check out these TGN posts to learn more about these methods.

“No Till Gardening: Homesteading Basics (VIDEO)”

“Build Your Compost Pile Right On Your Garden Beds!”

“From Weeds to WOW: The Weed Island”

“No Bare Soil! Vegetable Garden Cover Crops”

Adding organic matter not only slows the flow of water in your landscape and sinks it deeper into plant roots, but it actually sinks carbon dioxide, too.

Yes! Building soil that is higher in organic matter can actually help solve our CO2 problem. And solving our CO2 problem will moderate the disastrous effects of climate change and can mitigate future weather extremes. (No, this one answer won’t solve all our problems—but if lots of us do it, it will help!)

Food Security Recommendation #5: Remember ABC—Always Be Cover-cropping

Plant roots are like plumbing for your soil. They create little channels that help divert water down into the earth so it can be accessed by the plant and other biological soil inhabitants. By growing something in your soil at all times, you keep those pathways open for water to filter down into the soil.

For annual growing areas, planting cover crops in off seasons is critical. However, even for the rest of your landscape, having some sort of cover crop is necessary for extreme weather resilience.

Many of us grow lawns as our primary perennial cover crop. Traditional lawns, though, are shallow-rooted and do not contribute much to soil health. Growing grasses with deeper root systems like perennial rye and other prairie- or meadow-type grasses can be even more beautiful and give you deep roots to help sink water further into your soil.

Using vegetative perennials (i.e., that die back in the winter) with expansive root systems is also a great way to prevent soil erosion and build biomass in your landscape. Yarrow, Russian comfrey, curly dock, burdock, vetches, and even invasives like mints are useful for covering bare soil in a hurry. Since these plants lose their leaves each year and can be heavily pruned in the growing season, they make great green manure or mulch plants, too. Tap-rooted trees like black locust and paw paw also drill water and air down deep into your soil.

In addition, having a continuous cover of plants (or leaves from those plants) keeps your soil cooler on hot days and warmer on cool days. This protects all the biological life in your soil like bacteria, fungi, worms, and more so that they can work year-round. Their continued hard work means that your soil will get better year after year so that your plants will have more disease resistance and resilience during bad weather streaks.

Bare soil  = No biological life = More pests, more diseases, and greater weather sensitivity for your plants

Covered soil = Year-round biological workers = Healthier plants better adapted to your weather extremes

If you are willing to do the research and the work, there are plenty of things you can do to mitigate your risks from a changing climate and more volatile weather patterns. These ideas are barely the tip of the iceberg (which is lucky for us since glaciers are now melting at an alarming rate)!

What about you? What other ways are you safeguarding your food security against extreme weather patterns?

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References   [ + ]

1. http://www.fao.org/3/a-br323e.pdf
2. https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events/US/2017
3. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/15/climate-change-food-famine-study
4. https://www.thebalance.com/why-are-food-prices-rising-causes-of-food-price-inflation-3306099

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Conquer Hygiene and Hydration as the Flood Waters Rise

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Conquer Hygiene and Hydration as the Flood Waters Rise The average person is going through a real life changing situation if they are hit by a serious hurricane. Even flooding rains can melt your psyche into jelly. I sometimes forget that the rest of the world is not immersed in natural disaster all the time …

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Houston Flooding Catastrophe

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The Houston flooding disaster is a shocking example of why preparedness and preemptive action is so very important. Unfortunately many did not take appropriate actions and the consequences are stunning. Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, has triggered catastrophic, unprecedented Houston flooding. The rains have broken all-time records. There may be no parallel available to any other rainstorm in U.S. history, based on the number of people affected, amount of water involved, and other factors, meteorologists have warned. Due to its wide geographic scope across America’s 4th-largest city, the ensuing flood disaster may rank as one of the most, if

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Prepare For A Natural Disaster – Your Family And Your Homestead

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Natural disasters happen all the time all over the world, fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. There is pandemonium and chaos, fear and heartbreak each time. Is it preventable? Most of the time, no. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature. But there are some things you can do to prepare for a natural disaster. Do you know how to prepare you, your family, home, pets, and livestock?

Right now, Marjory and her family are preparing for Hurricane Harvey, which is going to hit the Texas coast today.

Her homestead is expecting 20+ inches of rain and sustained winds of 40 mph. She says that is 2/3 of their annual rainfall.

Marjory knows how to prepare for a natural disaster. They’ve been to the grocery store, cleaned up the homestead, boarded up the windows, and scattered cover crop seeds in the pasture. In her words, “We’ve been broadcasting seed for the fall planting of pasture cover crops. Yes, the time to plant is before the rains or your likelihood of germination goes way down—you never know if/when it will rain again.”

Look for updates on Marjory right here on this blog post!

UPDATE August 25, 2017, 8:03pm CST: Hurricane Harvey has intensified. It is now a Category 4 storm as it makes landfall. Marjory has “battened down the hatches.” They are as prepared as they can be.

Prepare your family for a natural disaster

In 2004, my family and I were living in Florida. We went through 4 hurricanes back-to-back. Two boys, two cats, and I were huddled in the inner bathroom of our house. I lost three refrigerators full of food, and we lost power for weeks each time. It was the tornadoes spawned by the storm that finally got us. A 100 ft. pine tree with a 6-ft. diameter missed my car by inches. Our neighbors were not so lucky.

Make a plan

It’s better to prepare for an emergency or a disaster long before it happens. Choose reliable information sources, and know the warning systems in your area. Talk with your family about your plan, even young children will understand and not be so frightened. Be sure to include your pets and even neighbors in your plans.

  • Choose a safe place to meet.
  • Decide how you will contact each other (if cell service or electricity are out)
  • How will you find each other?
  • What will you do in different situations (fire, tornado, hurricane, earthquake, zombie apocalypse)?

Okay that last one was a bit of a joke, but all joking aside … what is your family’s disaster plan?

Create a disaster kit or bug out bag

Your emergency kit should be stocked and restocked regularly. Be sure to consider all of your needs and don’t forget your pets! You and your family may need to survive on your own for several days. You’ll need to be prepared with food, water, and other supplies for at least 72 hours.

Basic Disaster Supply Kit, or Bug Out Bag

Store everything in airtight plastic bags or put your entire disaster supply kit in one or two easy-to-carry plastic bins or duffel bags. Check the items regularly to make sure they work and have not expired.

  • Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. This is for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio or NOAA Weather radio with tone alert. (Don’t forget extra batteries in your kit.)
  • Flashlight – battery-powered, solar-powered, or hand-crank (Personally, I prefer the hand-crank. I know it will work)
  • First Aid Kit – Check it regularly to make sure it is stocked.
  • Extra batteries – make sure you replace these regularly or use rechargables that get charged regularly.
  • Whistle to signal for help – A whistle is much easier to use than your voice and carries over a longer distance. Make sure that each family member has one.
  • Dust mask – in case there is debris in the air
  • Plastic sheeting – makes a great impromptu shelter
  • Duct tape- I never go anywhere without duct tape!
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Manual can opener for your food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with solar charger or a battery backup

Personal Emergency Supplies

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications (pain-relievers, anti-diarrhea, antacids, and laxatives)
  • Glasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet supplies – Crate or carrier, pet food, and extra water for your pet
  • Cash
  • Way to cook food
  • Family documents (copies of insurance policies, identifications and bank account records, saved in a waterproof, portable container)
  • Sleeping bag and warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in waterproof container
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
  • Mess kit, cup
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles, cards, or other activities for children

After you create your disaster kit, remember to check it regularly.

Keep your canned food in a cool, dry place and replace expired items as needed. Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic containers. Rethink your needs each year.

Prepare your homestead for a natural disaster

Now that your family, pets, and you are safe during a natural disaster. Do you know how to prepare your homestead so it stays running?

  • Remove any debris that could become a dangerous flying object. This includes tomato cages!
  • Generator – if you have solar or wind power, it’s still a good idea to have a backup generator in case your alternative energy sources are damaged or destroyed by the natural disaster.
  • Reliable water source
  • Secure your livestock and small animals – have extra food, water, and bedding ready for at least a week. Have your halters and leads ready.
  • Stock up on vet supplies, including bandages, antibiotics, supplements
  • Make sure housing, food, and supplies for small animals (chickens, ducks, rabbits) are ready to withstand high winds or rising water. Create a make-shift pen in your garage, if necessary.
  • Put heavy farm equipment under cover and tie it down.
  • Tools & gloves – There will be a lot of mending after a natural disaster.
  • Keep a written inventory of all livestock, including breeding and expense records, with your other important family documents.
  • Make sure all animal branding, tagging, and other identification information are up-to-date.

Are you prepared? Tell us in the comments below.

Resources:

Ready.gov. Be Informed
Tractor Supply. Storm preparedness on the farm.

 

 

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The #1 Gadget to Have if You Live in a Floodplain

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If you live in a floodplain, you know that with the view come certain risks. Living next to a river can be beautiful but you’re also in a prime location to suffer flood damage when water levels start rising. A sump pump can help minimize the damage, but if you really want to keep your home and possessions safe, you’re going to need a flood detector too.

 

Why Do You Need One?

A sump pump is often hailed as the go-to solution during a flood, but a flood detector offers additional protections. By alerting you when water is sensed where it shouldn’t be, flood detectors can warn you about a leak before your possessions have suffered irreversible water damage.

 

By strategically placing flood sensors throughout your home—especially in your basement and crawl spaces—you’ll have early warning when a flood is coming and will be able to move your possessions and family accordingly. Then, once you’ve had averted most of the damage, your sump pump can be utilized to clean up the mess.

 

Placing Flood Detectors

The key to getting the most use out of your flood detectors is to make sure they’re placed in the right positions. Generally speaking, you’ll want to place flood sensors in the areas that are the most likely to suffer flooding, as well as areas that house important possessions.

 

First, you’ll want to flood sensors installed in every basement room, as these are the areas that are most likely to start taking in water.

 

Second, install sensors in your crawl spaces. These are the second-most likely places to experience water damage in event of a flood.

 

Next, place a sensor in whatever room is holding your computer or other expensive electronics. These items are more susceptible to water damage than regular possessions, so you’ll want to know if that room is getting wet.

 

Finally, place a sensor in the room that holds any personal documents like social security cards, birth certificates, etc. These can be difficult to replace, so you’ll want to move them the second water starts leaking into these areas. Better yet, keep important documents in a disaster-proof safe.

 

Conclusion

While there’s no real way to stop the river from rising, you can still prepare your home against flood damages. By strategically placing flood sensors throughout your home, you’ll know which areas need immediate attention during a flood and will be able to prepare yourself accordingly before turning on your sump pump.

The post The #1 Gadget to Have if You Live in a Floodplain appeared first on American Preppers Network.

The World’s ‘Apocalypse Seed Vault’ Is Flooding; Permafrost Thawing; 1 Million Seeds Stored There

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The World’s ‘Apocalypse Seed Vault’ Is Flooding; Permafrost Thawing; 1 Million Seeds Stored There

Image source: CropTrust.org

The world’s backup supply of seeds for essential food crops such as wheat, beans and rice might be in danger.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault on Norway’s Spitsbergen Island is – for the first time – being threatened by flooding.

Water from melting ice and permafrost is gushing into the vault’s entrance tunnel, The Guardian reported. The vault was placed in an abandoned coal mine on an island north of Norway and expected to survive for centuries without human assistance. It was not designed to survive soaring temperatures in the Arctic.

Store Your Own ‘Personal Seed Vault’ With The Survival Seed Bank!

“It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” Hege Njaa Aschim, a spokeswoman for the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture, told The Guardian. “A lot of water went into the start of the tunnel and then it froze to ice, so it was like a glacier when you went in.”

The vault was constructed to ensure the world’s food supply in case of global catastrophes such as nuclear wars or a worldwide famine. It was placed on Spitsbergen, one of the remotest places on Earth, for that reason.

Nearly a million packets of seeds for major food crops are stored in the vault.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

10 Steps To Be Ready For A Flood

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PeteLinforth / Pixabay

Are there ways to stop your home from getting carried away from a flood, or to protect you and your loved ones? Yes, there are. Preparing for a natural flood is something every household needs to consider, especially in this era of weird weather. Here are ten things you’ll need to do.

Get flood insurance

Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding. You need separate flood insurance for that. Yes, it will cost extra money, but might be the only thing that can keep you afloat after a major flood. Disaster relief funds from the federal government are actually a loan you have to pay back, so don’t rely on those.

Build a flood kit

Any standard bug-out bag will work for a flood, but you should make sure you have two extra things. First, you need enough water for everyone in your family for at least three days. Second, a hand-crank radio will help you know where to go. Floods are unpredictable and you won’t know which roads will be out. Consider a paper map as well. Expect to be out of your home for 3-7 days. Floods longer than that are rare.

Know where your shelters are

If you know where the shelters are, you can head there immediately if you have to abandon your home. Talk with your local disaster planning officials to know where to go. By knowing in advance you can practice going there before the flood comes.

Store valuable or important items high

If you have a second floor, keep your important papers and precious items up there. They will have the greatest chance of surviving if you keep them above the flood waters. You should also have copies in your bug-out bag. You don’t want to be caught without identification and insurance paperwork.

Know the weather warnings

Floods use the same warnings as other weather patterns. A watch means you should be ready to flee if necessary. A warning means there is a flood and it’s time to either leave or shelter in place depending on your local situation. However, if there is a flash flood warning and you believe you are in the way, you must flee. Flash floods are the most deadly kind of flooding and can wash a house away in an instant.

Learn how to sandbag

If you’re going to use sandbags, here’s what you need to do. Fill them only two-thirds full of sand, fold the end over then place it with the open end down on the ground. Stack them like bricks. Place them in front of doors, foundation entrances, and garages. For one door, arrange the bags in a ring so you can open the door after the flood. Sandbags swell and get very heavy when wet. The time to put them out is when there is a flood watch.

Check your sump pump

If you have a basement, you need a sump pump. Check it monthly to make sure it works by pouring water down into the sump hole. Also, make sure it works on battery power.

Install a backflow preventer

Depending on the size of the flood and your town’s sewer system, water may try to back up through your pipes. By installing backflow preventers on your drain lines, you can stop this from happening. Consult with a plumber for proper installation.

Avoid touching flood water

You should do your best to avoid wading in flood water or driving through it. Your car is no protection when driving through flood water. In fact, many deaths from flooding happen because people try driving through it. Flood water also carries unknown contaminants as it flows. Avoid touching it as much as you can.

Know what to do after

Keep the number of a plumber, your gas company, and a water damage repair company in your area with your bugout bag in case you need them. Also, keep a camera so you can photograph any flood damage for your insurance company. Call them first after the flood for instructions.

The post 10 Steps To Be Ready For A Flood appeared first on American Preppers Network.

How to Survive a Flood

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How to Survive a Flood Severe flooding is one of those disasters that affect millions of Americans every years. These floods costs untold billions in damage. Yet, we rarely see them highlighted on prepper and survival websites. This article features a powerful flood article that helps put it in better perspective. There were more flood related …

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Prepping for Climate Change: The Effects on the US

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Prepping for Climate Change: The Effects on the US One of our new writers believes the climate change threat is real, and on our doorstep. What do you think? Does it hurt for a prepper to be prepared for the worst case situation, regardless if climate change is happening now? Let’s do a quick poll: …

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Prepping for Nature’s Worst

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Within the past ten years alone, over eighty hurricanes have occurred throughout the world, leaving thousands without electricity and running water or homeless. During the most recent hurricane in Florida, many were forced to pack up some belongings and evacuate their homes. Hurricanes aren’t the only natural disasters that can occur, though; typhoons, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, blizzards, and more can happen at any time. Here is a guide that will help you gather all the supplies you’ll need to be able to survive nature’s worst.

Prepping for Nature’s Worst

Food and Water

So, this may seem obvious, but it’s crucial to your survival. Ready.gov, the official website for Homeland Security, suggests having three days of non-perishable, canned food on hand, enough for each family member (and don’t forget the manual can-opener). Also, you should not eat home-canned food or jarred food because the seal won’t be as tight. If you lose electricity, you can still eat frozen food if it has ice crystals or is cold to the touch by cooking it over a Sterno stove. (You’ll also need cooking and eating utensils and disposable plates).

Remember that bacteria can form quickly, so be careful about what you consume. Also, have at least one gallon of water per family member per day for drinking and sanitation. We recommend a personal water filtration system, contained in a water bottle, which removes bacteria in water without the use of chemicals.

And don’t forget about your furry friends! Keep pets’ food with you and consider getting a gallon of water for them for drinking.

Light

Be sure to have a flashlight and extra batteries for it. Also, for other sources of light, you can purchase a hand-crank lantern or you can have emergency candles on hand – just don’t forget the matches or a lighter. In a pinch, a crayon can burn for thirty minutes. It’s also a good idea to have a battery-operated radio for weather updates.

Clothes and Shoes

Have up to three days of clothing for each family member, including coats and shoes. It’s also wise to have leashes for your dogs handy and carriers for cats.

Be sure to have one blanket per family member and sleeping bags if possible.

First Aid

You should keep a First Aid kit stocked and ready to use. If anyone in your family is on medication, keep that on hand. They also suggest buying dust masks to protect against air contaminants and plastic sheeting and duct tape to create a makeshift shelter.

Sanitation

Keep a stock of garbage bags, moist towelettes, and plastic ties for sanitation (in the event your plumbing doesn’t work).

Tools

Every survival kit needs a pocket knife, especially if it has a can-opener on it. You should also consider a survival fixed blade knife (i.e. a Bowie knife) or machete.

Emergency Contact

Have a solar powered charger on hand for your cell phone. More suggestions for contact are a whistle or solar flares.

Recreational

Fun might be the last thing on your mind, but especially if you have kids, you’ll need something to keep busy while waiting out the storm (or whatever it might be). Coloring books and crayons (which double as a light source), decks of cards, books, magazines, and board games are all great ideas. For the adult smokers, this would be a good time to try out a vape starter kit as an alternative to smoking.

Other

Keep important documents (birth certificates, Social Security cards, marriage license, etc.) and family mementos (i.e. albums) with you, along with extra cash, credit cards, and a local map. If you have a baby or toddler, make sure to have formula, diapers, and toys for them.

Surviving a disaster isn’t impossible, but keep in mind that this list is made for surviving indoors, in your basement or shelter. (To survive outdoors you would need much more supplies). Just follow the guide above and, with some planning and preparing, your family will be able to survive whatever nature throws at you.

 

 

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Disaster Preparedness for Your Family

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No matter where you live, your home is at risk for some kind of natural disaster. Whether you’re on the earthquake-prone west coast or right in the heart of tornado alley, it’s crucial to learn how to prepare your home and family for possible disaster. Disaster preparedness is crucial when it comes to taking care of your family. Here are a few ways to ensure your entire family stays safe in the event of a weather emergency:

 

  1. Make a family emergency preparedness plan.

Not only is it important to sit your family down and discuss exactly what to do in the event of an emergency, it never hurts to have a tangible copy to refer to in the moment. Natural disasters are hectic and panic has a way of making you forget what you’re supposed to do, so having a reference is always a good idea. Create an emergency preparedness plan with your family that covers all the potential disasters for your area. Where should your kids take cover in the event of an earthquake? Does your spouse know where the emergency flashlights are? Do you have a designated emergency contact your children can reach out to if you’re unavailable when disaster strikes? Keep hard copies for emergency reference, but make it a constant conversation to refresh everyone’s memories.

 

  1. Take special considerations for children.

You’ll want to make sure your kids understand the gravity of a true emergency and the importance of acting quickly and appropriately. If you live in the country, your kids should know that the second they hear tornado sirens while in the backyard playing, they can’t waste a single second in dashing to the basement. If you live in the city, talk about “safety spots” near their school — like a trusted friend or family member’s house — they can go in case getting home amid the chaos simply isn’t possible. Make sure they understand that their safety should never be compromised under any circumstances; not even to save your garden from ferocious hurricane winds.

 

  1. Buy a few medical books.

You never know what injuries may occur, so stock up on some emergency medical books — don’t rely on a smartphone’s access to the internet or a tablet having enough charge to pull up the information. A few books on basic first aid, sterilization, and emergency care, as well as any applicable pet emergency care literature should be enough to keep you prepared. This is especially important if you live in a secluded, rural area and rescue crews may take longer to reach you in an emergency. One of the best medical books you can add to your household is “The Survival Medicine Handbook” by Dr Joe Alton and Nurse Amy Alton. Also known as Dr.Bones and Nurse Amy they focus on teaching people how to deal with emergencies in laymen terms so we all get it.

 

  1. Prepare your pets.

Ideally, your pet is micro-chipped with up-to-date information, but never underestimate the power of his collar and ID tags; these items can be a major help to getting him back if he runs away or becomes lost in a crisis. Keep in mind that even if you live in a residential suburb where most people know your pet, he could wander farther than you expect and without tags, a rescuer may assume he’s a stray. You should also make sure his leash and carrier are somewhere easily accessible should you need to evacuate the house in a hurry.

 

  1. Practice, practice, practice.

Practice safety drills in your home on a regular basis. Switch up the times of day and situations in which you alert your family to a practice emergency, including during meals and smack dab in the middle of game night. Go over what to do in situations away from home so that even if you’re somewhere unfamiliar on vacation, everyone will know what to do should emergency strike.

 

When it comes to floods, hurricanes, blizzards, and all of their havoc-wreaking cousins, there’s no such thing as “too prepared”!

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Beginners Guide To Surviving

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Submitted By H.D.

What is it that makes a natural disaster so dangerous? Is it the fact that, we can’t prevent it from happening? Or does it have to deal with our inability to recognize the signs? The answer is neither. The reason why a natural disaster is so dangerous, evolves around preparation. To put it another way, they’re dangerous because we don’t prepare for them. A large percentage of the American population goes throughout their day-to-day lives without ever thinking of a natural disaster occurring. A beginners guide is something we all need to make us aware of what we need to do.

With that being said, ask yourself, “How can we survive something we’ve never prepared for?” it would be equivalent to taking an exam in a subject you’ve never studied for. The answer is simple, you can’t! This is why earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tornado’s rip cities apart, taking thousands of lives and causes billions of dollars in damage.

According to DoSomething.org, between the years of 2000 and 2012, natural disasters caused $1.7 trillion in damage and affected 2.9 billion people. The researchers later discovered that, 2012 marked the third consecutive year worldwide natural disaster damage exceeded $100 billion.

Believe it or not, natural disasters like wildfires can strike at any time, without warning. In other words, even if we tried to recognize all the signs before a disaster hit, one could still strike unexpectedly. Those are the ones that cause the most destruction.

 

Here are some things to keep in mind before a natural disaster hits your home.

 

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

 

  1. Preparing For A Flood

 

Like most natural disasters, flooding can affect anyone, regardless of where they live. Within the United States, it’s actually the most common type of natural disaster. As a result, flash-floods has caused about 200 deaths annually, according to LawHelp. In order to make sure you’re protected, get to higher ground. Don’t attempt to operate a motor vehicle no matter what – otherwise you risk the chance of getting stuck, or even swept away by fast moving water.

 

Ways To Protect Your Home

  • Seal the basement walls with waterproof compounds.
  • If possible, have a sump pump, as well as a backup one that operates on batteries.
  • Check and make sure that all electrical components are no less than 12 inches above any assumed flood levels. This will help prevent you from getting electrocuted.

 

  1. Tornado Watch

A tornado is a combination of wind and water that can travel anywhere from 250 to 300 miles per hour. Needless to say, a tornado can destroy any and everything it comes in contact with. Turning everyday household objects into dangerous projectiles that can kill people and damage property. Before strengthening your living environment, check and make sure your home is out of harm’s way. To emphasize, make sure you live somewhere that isn’t within arm’s reach of the windstorm.

 

Tornado Proof Your Home

  • If you live in an area that’s prone to tornado’s, make sure you cover your windows to protect them from shattering. Garage doors should also be checked and reinforced. Just because it’s one of the heaviest and most powerful pieces of machinery in your entire house doesn’t mean it can’t be blown away by a twister.
  • Schedule a home inspection to have your house and roof checked.
  • Make any repairs necessary in order to ensure your safety.

 

Despite the fact that tornado’s are commonly known to occur in the springtime in areas of the U.S. known as “Tornado Alley,” the truth is, tornadoes have been known to occur in every state and in every month.

 

  1. Hurricane Season

 

Anytime a hurricane is approaching the coast, you will more than likely witness people scrambling to hardware stores buying whatever they can get their hands on. Although this may sound like a good idea, the reality is if you wait until a “hurricane watch” has been issued, you’re too late. During a hurricane, homes might get damaged or even destroyed by high winds and high waves. Meaning that, windows will be shattered and homes can even fall to the ground if they’re built on a weak foundation in extreme storms, like Hurricane Katrina.

 

Don’t Waste Time

  • First and foremost, don’t wait until a “hurricane watch” has been issued to the public before grabbing the hammer and nails.
  • Remove weak and dead trees or tree limbs located on your property.
  • Have a backup plan in case you have to evacuate your home. Also set aside some cash, and make a “grab” and “go” bag that has all your important paperwork, and personal information stored inside.
  • Lastly, make sure you have a battery-powered radio, so you can keep up with the latest news.

 

  1. Tectonic Plates Shifting (Earthquake Preparation)

 

Let’s be honest, if you’ve ever experienced an earthquake you know how scary it can be. According to Ready.gov, earthquakes are defined as sudden rolling or shaking events caused by movement under the earth’s surface. These events happen along cracks within the earth’s surface called fault lines resulting in a release of energy that causes the earth to shift and move; shaking buildings, bridges, and homes. In the United States, earthquakes are more commonly known to occur throughout the western region, however, other states have been known to experience this disaster as well.

Since earthquakes are unpredictable, make sure your home is sturdy enough to withstand intense shaking, no matter where you live. In the case of an earthquake, it’s always better to assume the worst and have too much rather than not enough.

 

Don’t ignore the signs.

 

  • For heavy items that can fall over, secure them to a wall or floor.
  • Breakable items should also be moved closer to the floor or placed on lower shelves as well.
  • Check your foundation for cracks, and any loose wires that may cause a fire. Unlike other natural disasters, earthquakes come without warning. Therefore, you should make repairs to your home immediately after inspection.
  • For families, make sure your children and other loved ones know the earthquake safety drills.

 

  1. The Do’s & Don’ts For All Natural Disasters

 

 

Do Don’t
●       Stock up on food.

●       Don’t forget to purchase lots of water.

●       Assemble a first-aid kit for cuts and bruises.

●       Pack spare clothes in case you’re away from home longer than you expected.

●       Sanitize whatever items you use properly.

●       Drink water you think might be contaminated.

●       Forget to wash your hands as much as possible.

●       Hold on to food items that may have come in contact with contaminated water.

●       Forget to protect important documents. After all, once they’re gone, they’re gone for good!

●       Store food outside.

 

As a final point, even if a natural disaster isn’t threatening you or your family, it’s still a good idea to stay prepared for whatever comes your way. If you live in areas that are prone to disasters, never second guess leaving your residence if you have to. A home can be replaced, but a life can’t.

Be safe out there!

——-

Thank you again for taking the time to read my article. I would like to know, have you ever experienced a natural disaster before? Or, do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’ll be checking for comments, so feel free to express your thoughts on today’s article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H.D. loves taking advantage of the sunny weather outside. If you can’t catch him online reading whatever he gets his hands on, you might be able to catch out playing football with friends, or cheering on the Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at @Davis241.

 

 

Sources:

 

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21 Things To Do Before and After a Flood

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Recently I was reading about the flooding in Louisiana (which is now considered the worst US disaster since Hurricane Sandy), and it occurred to me that my site doesn’t have a single article about how to deal with floods. Well, I’m fixing that right now. There are bound to be plenty more disastrous floods in […]

The post 21 Things To Do Before and After a Flood appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Flood – Fire – Evacuation

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Two of the most common reasons to evacuate your home, workplace, or any other safe area are flood and fire. Right now, both are being delivered in spades, and perhaps, your family is being affected by an emergency evacuation.

In the Los Angeles area, nearly 90,000 people are being evacuated due to the Blue Cut wildfire that is virtually out of control, still. Where do 90,000 people go? That’s the first question that crosses my mind. Are they all headed to hotels? The homes of friends or family? How many have nowhere to go and can’t afford even a single night in a hotel?

Louisiana residents have been slammed this month with massive amounts of rainfall. They’ve been forced from their homes, too, and at least 10,000 of them have had no choice but to stay in official shelters. Vehicles, ruined gardens, family heirlooms, brand new school supplies — gone.

Flood and fire all too often mean a complete loss of everything. Can you imagine losing all the contents of your home? Take a quick scan right now and think, what if I lost all of this? That must be one of the most devastating feelings anyone can experience — to watch as your home fills with water or is consumed by flames.

Yes, we care!

At this point, those of us who are safe and sound can help by providing financial assistance directly to organizations that have reputations for managing their money well and quickly getting on the ground to meet the needs of those affected by the disaster.

Organizations like American Red Cross definitely have trained personnel and funding, but sometimes it’s just the little random church or scout group who load up pickups and trailers with cases of bottled water, blankets, baby formula, tents, tarps, and rope, and form a rag-tag caravan to more quickly deliver the goods where they’re needed most. They hit the road using their own debit cards along the way at gas stations and fast food joints, neither expecting nor wanting reimbursement.

That’s the America I know and that I grew up in. We’re there for each other when it’s needed most, and what you look like or what you believe is immaterial.

Here are a few links to organizations that have good reputations for managing their funds wisely and being able to provide the most essential help, quickly:

Samaritan’s Purse

Salvation Army

American Red Cross in Louisiana — Local chapters of American Red Cross are quite good at mobilizing quickly and utilizing local resources.

Operation Blessing

Second Harvest Food Bank

And what about FEMA and the massive amount of money they have at their disposal? I just heard that FEMA is finally getting to Louisiana to provide help. A day late and a dollar short.

Get out quick when it matters most

Unfortunately, once we donate that $10 or whatever we can afford, there’s not a whole lot more to do except step back and give serious thought to, “What if that happened to us?”

Could you and everyone in your home, pets included, get out fast when it matters most? Have you thought ahead to where you would go and do you have some funds set aside to pay for that hotel room or those meals at Subway? You must take your pets with you — please don’t even consider leaving them to their lonely and fearful fate. It’s easy enough to put together a pet emergency kit, like the one detailed in this article. Even a couple of large ziplocs loaded with dry dog or cat food and a plastic bowl for water is better than nothing.

When I wrote my latest book, Emergency Evacuation: Get Out Fast When It Matters Most, these are the scenarios I had in mind. It’s a quick read. Probably won’t take you more than a couple of hours, but I loaded it up with the kind of help, advice, and tools that I would want if my family ever had to vamoose out of our home. I also knew that my readers would have pets, babies, toddlers, and even handicapped loved ones to consider — so I made sure to include advice for those special situations as well. Get it in Kindle if you want to start reading and preparing and don’t want to wait for the paperback to arrive.

Probably the most important thing you can do right now is to make plans to evacuate. This isn’t a time for perfection. Man, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen into the trap of not taking care of something important because I had this idea in my head of how it should be and I didn’t have the money, the time, whatever to do it perfectly. Fill those ziplocs with pet food. Buy a cheap case of water bottles and have it near the back door ready to grab. Go through your drawers and closets and put together an outfit or two for each person and put them in The Evacuation Suitcase, The Evacuation Bucket, or whatever else you have handy.

This isn’t time for coordinated outfits or dithering over which suitcase to use. Just get ready! You can always go back and make improvements, but if you ever have to get out fast, you may not have time to do any of this. That’s how urgently some of these emergencies occur.

I hope I’ve given you a huge nudge to put basic plans in place. I hope you, me, none of us ever have to experience the terror and bewilderment of an emergency evacuation, but if we do, the plans and supplies that are in place will make it less traumatic.

Want to really get prepped?

Join me for 10 full weeks of Prepping Intensive, starting in September. I’ll be giving you weekly prepping assignments, challenges, assessments, and even check in with you on Sunday nights to listen to your progress. You’ll get to hear from prepping and survival experts like Jim Cobb, herbalist Cat Ellis, Fernando Aguirre, Michael Snyder, Arthur T. Bradley, and Selco in a small group setting where you can get your questions answered. You’ll have their attention and my attention, as our goal is to help you and your family get solidly prepared in 10 weeks.

There’s a lot more I have planned for Prepping Intensive students, and you can read all about it here, but the important thing is to sign up to receive a notice when registration opens, because we’ll have a Flash Sale in that email that won’t be available anywhere else.

Whatever you do, take just one action today and each day, so you aren’t caught offguard.

 

 

 

Reporter Saves Driver from Flood in Houston

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reporter saves driver

Man swims to safety as reporter rescues him

Texas is known for a lot of things – delicious BBQ, horse-back riding, but one of the most unfortunate things the Lone Star State is also known for is flash floods. Flash floods are rising waters that occur during heavy rainfall and can happen at any moment. They are also incredibly dangerous, especially for those who have never experienced one. This was exactly the case when an AP reporter saw a trapped passenger sinking in rising floodwater.

The reporter sounded disgruntled as the car sunk, the passenger still inside. “What should I do?” the passenger yelled in desperation. He was an old man and had just opened the passenger-side door to ask the reporters for help.

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“Get out of the car!” the reporter shouted. “Get out and swim!”
The old man was hesitant, still holding the car. “What do I do?” he asked one more time, to which the reporter said the exact same thing.

“Stay in the car?” the old man asked.

“Get out of the car!” shouted the reporter.

Finally, the old man plunged himself into the water and immediately the reporter vocalized his doubts. “No,” he said negatively, the old man struggling in his pants and suit.

The old man had a little ways to go, but for him, it may have felt like miles. Immediately, the reporter raced for the old man’s safety, lending him a hand to help him out of the water. “Are you okay, sir?” the reporter asked the shaken man, staring into the camera of the news station.

“Thank you,” he said, standing up and fixing his pants. “Yeah, I’m okay.”

As soon as the two walked away, the old man gasped. “My car,” he said. “I didn’t think the water was that deep.” Looking back, the man had a terrified look on his face, staring down as he paced. Luckily, he walked away safely, but only due to the thankful advice of the reporter.

Watch Video Reporter Saves Driver Below

(click here if video does not display)This article first appeared on American Preppers Network and may be copied under the following creative commons license.  All links and images including the CC logo must remain intact.

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Rising Waters: Electrical Safety Awareness in a Flood

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Rising Waters: Electrical Safety Awareness in a Flood

flood-waters-around-blue-house_d412e240fc66a4f1e3c5bd8ef5799747_3x2One of the most devastating natural disasters is a flood. In additional to the potential for loss of life through drowning, the destruction of property can be significant, requiring significant time to recover from the devastation. When the initial impact of the disaster has passed, there is a natural proclivity to get back to a sense of normalcy; however, attempting to move too quickly in getting things back to the way there were, prior to the disaster, people often put themselves at unnecessary risk. One way that they do this is by ignoring the danger of live electrical wiring.

Fortunately, there a several steps that people can take when attempting to resume their lives after a flood, reducing the risk of being accidentally electrocuted.

One of the most common places where accidental electrocution takes place is in structures that are still flooded, with basements at the top of the list.

 

Never Blindly Enter a Basement that Still Has Standing Water in It

Once a basement has been flooded, it will be necessary to have the utility company, or a licensed electrician, come out to check for live wires and to disconnect the power source to the home. It is common knowledge that water is an excellent conductor of electricity, but it is surprising how many people completely ignore that fact during a flood. It could be that exposure to so much water over a certain period can desensitize a person to its presence, but whatever the reason, ignoring the danger associated with the mixture of water and electricity is not a good idea.

The reason that it is a good idea to have a professional come out to the home is that the only way to ensure that the electrical connection to the home is completely severed is to remove the electrical meter from the home, and that has to be done by a trained professional.

 

Discard All Electrical Equipment Impacted by the Flood

While the idea is to recover and save as much of the property as possible, people should understand that any electrical equipment that has come in contact with the flood waters will most likely being permanently damaged. Even if it is still operable it will pose a fire hazard. All Electronics will have to be replaced. Very few electronic devices in residential homes have the electrical rating that will allow them to survive submersion, even when it is only submersed for a short period of time.

 

Give Careful Attention to Grounding and Bonding

Before resuming business as usual, it will be necessary to contact an electrical professional like the ones at ElectricalConnection.org to have them come out to conduct a thorough inspection of the grounding and bonding components of the home’s electrical system. Every home has two primary aspects to its electrical system — the part of the system that is designed to carry electrical current throughout the home, and the part that is designed to direct electrical current into the ground if something were to go wrong. The latter component of the system is known as the grounding and bonding system, and it is immensely vulnerable to damage from flood waters.

Once the system has been examined, and all damaged parts replaced by a professional electrician, other electrical components within the home can be addressed.

 

Extra Precautions

Even after a professional has completely disconnected a building from the electric grid, a person should never attempt to enter a building unaccompanied, until the building has been declared safe for reentry. When entering a building that still has standing water, it will be necessary to be properly prepared and equipped.

The person should have on chest-high waders, and they should carry a flashlight that can be clipped to the waders or the hat, eliminating the need for the individual to carry it in their hands. The most important thing is to have someone present in case the person finds themselves in a situation in which they need some assistance.

When a building has been flooded, and the electrical current disconnected, it will be dark, with visibility being at a minimum. It is also likely to be very slippery and difficult to navigate, increasing the risk of injury. When a room is submersed under water, it is impossible to know what is on the floor, or to detect any types of holes or pits in the floor. It is better to proceed with extreme caution than to rush in. The damage has already been done, so rushing in will not change anything, other than increasing the risk of injury or death.

 

Max Douglas is a health and safety inspector who has experience working with schools, offices as well as residential properties carrying out safety assessments. His informative articles appear online on both business sites and homeowner blogs.

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Emergency Evacuation Kit

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Emergency Evacuation Kit

 

Lets talk about why you need to know how to make an evacuation kit. Everyone is at risk for emergency evacuations due to some type of disaster. The two main reasons you will need to evacuate your home are due to floods and wildfires. Now, before you dismiss this article or think that you are not at risk just take a few minutes read through this and view the risk area maps below. Evacuation kits are easy to make and relatively affordable. You can even buy complete survival kits already put together for you.

Two weeks ago flood survival was receiving a lot of attention as several of the Southern States experienced massive flooding. Now we are looking at surviving wildfires as over 400,000 thousand acres of land has burned in Oklahoma and Kansas this past week. Crews are still battling the blaze that started almost a week ago.

This is just the beginning of the severe weather season and it is also the rainy season. More floods are sure to come and later in the year when the rain subsides there will be more wildfires. Almost every area in the U.S. is either prone to flooding or flash flooding and the same is true for wildfires. Some areas are definitely at a higher risk than others but no one is 100% safe. You may think you are safe from wildfires and floods but the truth is, even if they don’t effect your home directly, they can still cut you off from the rest of civilization by way of causing damage to or blocking roadways. Wildfires have a reputation for starting homes on fire that are miles away from the actual fire due to burning embers floating through the air and landing on or near the homes.

Flood Risk Map

Presidential disaster declarations related to flooding between 1965 and 2003, shown by county.
Red: four or more flood disaster declarations
Orange: three flood disaster declarations
Yellow: two flood disaster declarations
Green: one flood disaster declaration
Wildfire Risk Map (FEMA)
By reviewing the maps above it is evident that most of the country is at risk of flooding and more than half of the country is a risk for significant wildfires. So whether you are at risk for flooding, wildfires, or both; it would be wise to be prepared and have an emergency evacuation kit ready to go. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making your own kit you can buy survival kits that already include the items you’ll need. Many kits have extra room for you to add additional items like a spare change of clothes, personal hygiene products, and other items to customize the kit to fit your needs.

How to Make an Evacuation Kit

Simply find a duffle bag or a large backpack and fill it with items needed for basic survival. Remember, room is limited and you are preparing for “Survival” and not for comfort. The space inside your bag/backpack is extremely valuable – so fill it wisely. Create a customized evacuation kit for each member of the family.

What to include in your Evacuation Kit:

– Backpack or Duffle Bag
– Bottled Water and/or a Water Filtration Kit or Water Purification Tablets
– Long Term Food Items (dehydrated or freeze dried food, granola or cereal bars, peanuts, beef jerky, snack items, etc.)
– Reliable Fire Starting Materials
– Small Camp Stove
– Cooking Vessel to boil water and to cook food in (small lightweight camping pot or stainless steel camping mug)
– Eating Utensils
– First Aid Kit
– 550 Cord or Rope
– Sharp Knife
– Wood Cutting Tool (Hatchet Axe, Small Machete, or Small Saw for chopping/cutting wood for fire or emergency shelter support.)
– Travel sized Personal Hygiene Items (tooth brush, tooth paste, deodorant, tampons/pads, shaving items, lotion, etc.)
– Trash Bags (for human waste, water/rain catch, moisture barrier, etc.)
– Baby Wipes / Biodegradable Camp Wipes for wipe down showers and for cleaning your self after using the restroom outdoors
– Sun Screen
– Insect Repellent
– Flashlight (rechargeable-by-hand are good so you don’t have to worry about batteries)
– AM/FM Radio (rechargeable-by-hand so you don’t have to worry about batteries)
– Flares (use for rescue signaling and for starting fires)
– Kem Lights / Glow Sticks
– Cell phone charging pack or solar charger
– Waterproof case for your cell phone
– Extra Cash
– Change of Clothes (Include tennis shoes in the event you have to walk a long distance, include a couple pairs of cotton sport socks to keep your feet clean and dry – don’t use ankle socks. Keeping your feet healthy and dry is a must if you need to walk a long distance for any reason.)

About the Author:  Darren Gaebel is a U.S. Army Veteran and has a decade of experience with natural disasters as a catastrophe claims adjuster. During Darren’s catastrophe experience he has seen the toll it takes on families who are unprepared. For this reason he created this blog to help educate and spread awareness for disaster preparedness. Darren also created UrgentSurvival.com to provide a way for individuals, families, and disaster relief organizations to have access to a stress free solution for getting prepared.  A portion of all proceeds from the website are donated to non-profit disaster relief organizations.

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Incredible Escape Story: Two American Airmen and a Near-Deadly Flood

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Incredible Escape Story: Two American Airmen and a Near-Deadly Flood

Incredible Escape Story: Two American Airmen and a Near-Deadly Flood

All that stood between them and a raging flood was a tiny cement shack—and time was running out.

For two days, Typhoon Neoguri had battered the Japanese island of Okinawa with 100 mph winds, uprooting trees and ripping wooden buildings from their foundations. On Kadena Air Base, the hub of U.S. air power in the Pacific, 20,000 residents—service members, families, and civilian employees—had been confined to quarters under an emergency order. By nightfall on July 8, 2014, however, the worst seemed to be over. At 10 p.m., when Airmen First Class Brandon Miles and Roderick Jones arrived for their shift at the munitions-dump guard shack, all that remained of the tempest was the relentless rain.

As their ride dropped them off, Miles noticed that a small pond had collected in an underpass 200 yards away. “Bro, I bet that water’s going to be up to the shack by morning,” he said with a laugh. Jones agreed, adding, “Hopefully, not until we’re off duty.”

Inside the concrete shack, it was dry and snug. Jones—a husky, six-foot-two-inch 20-year-old from Houston—settled behind the single desk. Miles, 21, an Oklahoma City native who was four inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter, hunkered on a bench. Although both men wore the uniform of the security forces, the branch of the Air Force responsible for law enforcement and base defense, their personalities were as different as their physiques. Jones was quiet, easygoing, and upbeat; Miles was outspoken, intense, and irascible. Jones loved to explore the local beaches and restaurants; Miles disliked swimming and was leery of foreign food. But they relished each other’s company and had been close friends since basic training. In their free time, they often took long drives around the island. Jones let Miles—a former college DJ who played piano, trumpet, and drums—pick the tunes on the car stereo.

02-airmen-soldiers-paTonight, they spent the watch studying their workbooks for a career-development course and opening the entrance gate for the few vehicles that came through. At dawn, the rain was still sheeting. Glancing out the window, Miles grinned. “See? I told you,” he said. Several inches of water covered the pavement. Around 6:30 in the morning, the men heard a metallic crashing sound, like a ship being battered by waves. Looking out, they saw that what had been a shallow pool was now a knee-deep, chocolate-colored torrent, carrying twigs and other debris and rising rapidly. Miles went to the door, but it wouldn’t budge; the pressure of the flood was too great. “You try,” he said to Jones. “You’re bigger.”

Jones threw his weight against the door, without success, as water began seeping across the threshold. Grabbing his two-way radio, he called the base defense operations center, half a mile away. “We’re in trouble,” he said. “We’re going to need somebody to come and get us.”

T. Sgt. Kevin Spain took the call. “We’ll send someone out there as soon as we can,” he said, “but our patrols are tied up right now.” There was minor flooding all over the base, he explained, and the security force’s vehicles were out trying to keep traffic moving. Spain, 31, tried to sound nonchalant, but the crew-cut father of three knew how treacherous a typhoon’s wake could be. He radioed an alert to his scattered troops and waited with growing anxiety as 15 minutes ticked by.

When a Humvee returned to headquarters, Spain gathered a few defenders (as security personnel are called) and jumped behind the wheel. The base’s perimeter road was impassable, so he navigated a muddy hillside, picking up his fellow flight chief—M.Sgt. Brad Reeves, who’d been trying to reach the shack on foot—along the way. Around seven, they arrived at the first of two gates separating the main base from the munitions dump.

One of Kadena’s fire trucks was already there. But the gate was locked, and no one had the key. To their horror, the defenders saw that the guard shack, down the hill, was almost submerged. Just then, a call came in from the operations center: The video screen monitoring the area had gone blank. Spain realized that water had engulfed the camera, which hung from the eaves of the shack. If the team couldn’t get in quickly, it would be fishing out a couple of corpses.

While they waited for help, Miles and Jones switched off the shack’s circuit breaker to avoid being electrocuted. Outside, the flood surged above the windowsills; inside, it rose to their shins. Jones crouched on the desk and Miles perched on a stool, but the water soon crept to their waists. The men’s hopes lifted as they watched the rescuers’ vehicles pull to a halt. Then the water outside reached the top of the window, and they could see nothing—except for small fish swimming through the murk.

Jones radioed for permission to shoot out the glass. “Denied,” Master Sergeant Reeves responded. “It’s bulletproof. A ricochet could kill you.”

Find out more about using cold weapons for survival on Bulletproof Home

By now, the water inside the shack was just a few feet from the ceiling. The two men struggled to stay calm. They told each other jokes, not all of them printable. When a spider skittered across the surface, Jones flicked it toward Miles, for the fun of watching his arachnophobic buddy flinch. But it was becoming harder to distract themselves from the seriousness of their plight. Jones felt a need to take some sort of action. “There’s too much water in here for a bullet to ricochet,” he told Reeves. “At least let me try it.” The flight chief relented, and Jones fired 15 shots from his 9 mm pistol. The slugs barely dented the pane before sinking away.

Jones turned to Miles. “If we don’t make it,” he said, “I want you to know I love you, brother.”

“Shut up, bro,” Miles answered. “You know I love you too.”

After a firefighter severed the padlock with a bolt cutter, the vehicles splashed across a waterlogged highway and drove downhill toward the second gate, which barely rose above the flood. Spain swam to it, clambered over the barbed wire, and plunged underwater to slice through the lock. He and Airman First Class Cody Watson then swam to the guard shack, whose gently curved roof was its only visible feature. They dove again and again, feeling along the walls for a way in, but the effort was futile.

The firefighters—some of them Air Force, others Japanese civilians—rigged a rope line from their truck to the shack and began ferrying tools and rescuers along it. Soon there were seven or eight men on the roof, hacking at the foot-thick concrete with axes and sledgehammers. They worked in shifts as the rain pelted down. But the shack had been built to resist grenades, and the furious pounding left it virtually unscathed.

Inside, Jones and Miles were treading water, with inches of breathing room left. To keep their hands free, they’d dropped the radio. Now the only sounds in the shack were their rapid breathing, the sloshing of the flood, and the muffled blows of the rescuers’ tools. Both men were praying for themselves and their families. Miles, who was raised by a single mother, repeated silently, “Please don’t do this to my mom.”

Outside, a second fire truck pulled up at the gate, delivering a K-12 rotary saw—specially designed for first responders. Around the same time, Jones bumped his head against the ceiling and dislodged a gypsum tile. Pushing it aside, he discovered another two feet of space between the ceiling and the roof. Suddenly, both men were energized. Jones began tearing at the web of metal struts from which the ceiling hung. Miles, who’d worked in construction as a teenager, found the latches that held the system in place. The struts fell away, giving him and Jones precious headroom.

An instant later, they heard the saw’s motor roar to life, followed by the snarl of its blade biting into concrete. The trapped airmen cheered and pounded on the underside of the roof. Within minutes, two 18-inch slits had appeared above them, slashes of brightness piercing the gloom. The smell of exhaust filled the air, and grit sprayed their faces. Then came a grating sound, followed by silence. “Keep going!” the men yelled.

On the roof, the rescuers groaned: The saw had jammed. They returned to their sledgehammers, abetted this time by chisels and crowbars. Chunks of concrete showered Miles and Jones as the slits widened and merged. But the rescuers soon faced another obstacle: layers of inch-thick rebar, arranged in tight grids. They used an ax and the bolt cutter to chew through the iron rods. The water kept rising. Once again, the trapped men had only inches left.

Finally, the opening formed a rough square. A hand reached down, and Miles grasped it. Jones watched his friend rise to freedom. When his turn came, however, his shoulders wouldn’t fit. As the rescuers frantically expanded the hole, a firefighter offered to escort Miles to a waiting ambulance. “I’m not leaving until my wingman does,” Miles answered.

At 7:30—an hour after he’d radioed for help—Jones emerged, gasping for breath. The rescuers whooped and hugged. At that moment, the rain stopped.

Although Miles and Jones were physically unharmed by their ordeal, they were changed in other ways. Both discovered that they’d lost the sense of immortality that buoys most young men. “It made me more introspective,” Miles says now. “For the first time, I actually value my life.” Jones suddenly awakened to the transience of time: “Before I die,” he declares, “I want to do something in my career to leave an impression.”

The guard shack, too, underwent a major alteration—its roof was fitted with an escape hatch. And 17 responders received Air Force commendation medals for their courage in the flood. “They were there for us all the way,” says Jones. “They were willing to do whatever it took to get us out.”

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Source : www.rd.com

Other Useful Resources :    

Mega Drought USA:(Discover The Amazing Device That Turns Air Into Water)-DIY

Survive The End Days (Biggest Cover Up Of Our President)

Survival MD (Best Post SHTF Medical Survival Guide Ever)

Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness guide)

Bullet Proof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home )

Backyard Innovator (All Year Round Source Of Fresh Meat,Vegetables And Clean Drinking Water)-DIY

Conquering the coming collapse (Financial advice and preparedness )

Liberty Generator (Easy DIY to build your own off-grid free energy device)

Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)

Family Self Defense (Best Self Defense Strategies For You And Your Family)

The post Incredible Escape Story: Two American Airmen and a Near-Deadly Flood appeared first on Backdoor Prepper.

3 Emergency Survival Tips!

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3 Emergency Survival Tips!

12-21-15 katrinaThere are many types of natural disasters in the world today. There are hurricanes, tidal waves, bush fires and floods. Most of these emergency disasters manifest themselves when you least expect them. Their effects can change lives and even kill people in the hundreds of thousands. If you are prepared for the event before it happens, there is a far greater chance that you and your family will be able to weather it out (no pun intended) and be safe and sound at the end of it all.

Whether you buy gold for prepping or food supplies to stockpile on,
there are going to be many ways you can prepare for impending disaster and not appear to be a doomsday nut to your neighbors. Here are a few useful tips you can follow to ensure that you are prepared for natural disasters and their aftermath:

Have breakout tools

If your region is prone to floods, make 12-21-15 emergency floodsure your home has the equipment necessary to deal with this on hand at all times. This includes an axe to clear out any obstacles as well as life vests and preservers for emergency situations. In hurricanes and major storms, people can get trapped in their homes. The rising water levels will then gradually reduce your breathing space until it runs out and you drown. With an axe in hand, you will be able to cut your way to the roof of your home and stay safe, high and dry until rescue comes for you.

Water will save your life

Water is one of the most important survival items that you can have. It is integral to your survival and your life. While you could live for days, and even weeks, without food, you wouldn’t last three days without water. If it is a hot climate, you will die in a day or two. Make sure that you have a gallon of water per day for every person in your family unit set aside, for at least three days. This is a lot of water, but it will definitely pay off when the going gets tough.

The minimum amount of water needed for a person to live during a normal day is about 1 quart. This means that there can be no physical activity either. You will still feel dehydrated, but in reality you will be at the very edge of that cliff looking over. Remember that during natural disasters like landslides and storms, water supplies can be contaminated and become undrinkable. You will be thankful for the disaster storage tank of water you have in your attic then.

Get a portable filter

Homespun 150x1501In order to ensure that you can have water to drink even after your supply of stored drinking water is over, get a water filter for your home. There are natural water filters that use layers of sediment and rock in order to purify contaminated water and make it good for drinking. While it won’t be as good as boiled and treated water, it will provide a low-toxicity supply of drinking water indefinitely. In addition to this, if you stock up on chemicals to purify water, you are going to be good to go for a few weeks if you want to.

The post 3 Emergency Survival Tips! appeared first on The Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Disaster Declared: How Authorities Respond

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disaster declaredWe’re all familiar with how Police and Fire Departments respond to a car accident here, or a house fire there. Police Officers and Firefighters go through months of training as emergency responders, and they do it day in and day out. Cops are good at cop stuff, Firefighters are good at what they do.

But what about those who respond to disasters of all types? How do they determine what their priorities are in the midst of a major catastrophe? Governments, from federal to state to local all have limited budgets and do provide a level of emergency services  but it’s almost never enough to respond to a disaster.

The Next Level

The larger full-government response to a disaster is much more complicated. Even the relationships between cops and firefighters are not always positive: In 2014 in the San Diego area, a California Highway Patrol Officer arrested a firefighter because he would not move his fire engine from a freeway lane while responding to a traffic accident. So imagine during a disaster, adding together a bunch of others that normally don’t work together, like Public Works, the Red Cross, Animal Control, tow services, etc. Personalities, egos, and previous relationships can affect how well these people work together. It can go really well, most of the time it goes OK, but it can go very badly. Like cops arresting firefighters.

In the chaotic first hours of a disaster, the staff on shift are overwhelmed; 911 centers try to keep up with the volume of calls, supervisors try to call in as much off-duty personnel as possible, but in most disasters there is a period of hours-to-days that victims need to do the best they can to take care of themselves. As time goes by, staffing improves and outside resources arrive to assist victims, and local authorities are able to get a handle on things.

Of course, the disaster victim doesn’t care how “hard” it is for the responders. They are hurting or have suffered material losses, and they just want help, the sooner the better. Time slows to a crawl…the normal events of the day like work and school shift to the back burner. Attention to things like salvaging family pictures and putting tarps on the roof tend to isolate the victim from what is going on in the big picture. It’s easy to become so focused on survival that recovery seems a distant fantasy.

Never assume someone else will pay

In general, Disaster Relief is provided to keep you alive, not to completely make you and your property whole. It is only in the most severe disasters that financial grants are provided to victims; in the great majority of small and medium-sized disasters, only loans are available for residents and businesses. The surest financial resource in the short term is good homeowners insurance.

Who is on your side when a disaster is declared?

The last thing you want to be in a disaster is anonymous. You must make your needs known quickly ad with multiple organizations and individuals. Local governments conduct “Initial Damage Estimates” within their jurisdictions. If you are in need, and are not confined to a hospital bed, you need to get the word out to as many people as possible. Use this checklist:

• Your elected reps: City council/Mayor, County Supervisor or Judge, State/Federal reps
• Local American Red Cross
• Your nearest VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters)
• Local Emergency Management/Emergency Services Office
• Your insurance agent
• 2-1-1 is a national number and web site www.211.org to help find community resources
• Local news shows often have consumer assistance phone numbers that may lead to help.

These folks are often in close contact with each other after a disaster, and if you are known to be in need (mud in your house, debris in your yard, you’re disabled living in your damaged house) often volunteers are available to help out. For example, volunteer groups like Team Rubicon and Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief  travel to disaster areas at the invitation of locals to help victims clear their property and mitigate flood damage, free of charge. But they have to know you need help so make sure you make your needs known.

Who is ready to take advantage of you?

In disaster after disaster, predators delight in taking advantage of the chaos to separate you from your money. Building repair scams are epidemic…here are things to avoid:

• Never pay cash, always have a paper trail (check, money order)
• Always document the work to be done in writing (a simple contract is better than none).
• If someone solicits you door-to-door, be very suspicious.
• Check with neighbors, friends and relatives for recommendations.
• Never pay 100% up front, split up the payments based on work completed
• Take photos of damage before work begins in case insurance or disaster relief will pay for repairs

TIP: Right now, make a list of various tradesmen and companies you are familiar with or have been recommended to you and their phone numbers/websites. Include: electricians, roof repair, storage unit company (in case your home is uninhabitable and you must store your belongings somewhere), tree service, plumber, etc. Keep this information in your Grab-n-Go Binder and on a thumb drive or stored in the Cloud via Dropbox or another online service.

The Bottom Line

In most cases, you are very much in control of your destiny in disasters. You can research risks in your area, build your home preparedness supplies, and get a good set of insurance coverage. Keep aware of the weather, sign up for emergency alerts in your community and monitor the Twitter and Facebook posts of your local police and fire departments. And don’t be anonymous!

disaster declared

When Flooding Comes to Your Town: My Best Tips

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A flooded house in North Charleston, South Carolina, after Hurricane Joaquin. Photo by Ryan Johnson, shared via North Charleston/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

A flooded house in North Charleston, South Carolina, after Hurricane Joaquin. Photo by Ryan Johnson, shared via North Charleston/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

 

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Areas in South Carolina are experiencing an unprecedented emergency—one that many of the affected residents never thought they’d need to prepare for: devastating flooding.

“We haven’t seen this level of rain in the low country in a thousand years,” Gov. Nikki Haley said in a press conference.

“The flooding is unprecedented and historical,” Dr. Marshall Shepherd, director of the atmospheric sciences program at the University of Georgia, told the Associated Press.

The rains are starting to subside, according to The Weather Channel, but there’s more flooding to come from the overflowing rivers. And then there will be the aftermath, which can be as bad as or worse than what happens during the storm.

I think devastation caused by flooding is often underrated. People lose everything they own—sometimes even their lives. Here are some of the dangers people are facing—beyond the floodwaters themselves—and what to expect in the days to come.

The Biggest Medical Concern Right Now

One big concern I have for the people in the flooded areas is whether they can get to a hospital if they need it—and whether ambulances can get to them. The Weather Channel is showing roads that have been “completely destroyed” and is reporting that 550 roads and bridges are closed.

But the most widespread medical issue right now, ironically, is whether people have enough water to drink. WISTV.com, in Columbia, South Carolina, reports:

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division says there are more than 30,000 to 40,000 people without water in the state. Many folks could be without water for 3 to 4 days.

In the City of Columbia, all water customers receiving Columbia water are being asked to boil their water for a full minute before using it.

Ready.gov recommends storing three days’ worth of water—at least a gallon per day per person—in case of emergency. I recommend more if possible. Either way, if they’ve heeded such advice, many people should be prepared for this outage and will do relatively OK without the tap. We can hope. It’s certainly a cautionary tale for the rest of us: Prepare for the unexpected.

 

What About Filtering the Floodwater?

Some people may consider purifying the floodwaters, but that’s very risky because most “purification” techniques don’t remove chemicals. Those that do don’t remove all chemicals. And chemicals are plentiful in floodwater.

If you absolutely must use the floodwater for survival, following are the methods that will at least remove some chemicals, along with most germs. These are in order of preference:

  1. Distillation
  2. Boiling the water and then using activated charcoal.

Click here for more information on each of these methods. In addition, Berkey and some other commercial filter brands claim they manufacture products that remove a lot of chemicals along with most germs.

 

The Number-One Mistake to Avoid

The most common mistake I see people consistently make after flooding is getting into the floodwater. Though that water may look like a river, it is not. It’s more comparable to sewage—chockfull of germs and chemicals. If you can help it, don’t even touch floodwater, much less get in it.

Sometimes people have no choice; they have to wade the waters to save their lives. If you must do this, protect yourself as best you can, if you have time to prepare. (Here’s one way to waterproof your shoes, for example.)

More Information About Surviving Floods

Colorado faced unprecedented flooding a couple of years ago. Here are some lessons we learned then.

And here are some of the dangers people will be facing after this flooding—with tips on how to thwart them.

Have you ever faced flooding? Do you have any tips? How’s the weather in your area right now?

 

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Important Renovations to Prepare Your Home for the Worst

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When you find yourself surrounded by disaster (natural or otherwise), what do you do? You find safety for yourself and your loved ones. What happens to your house? What is the most efficient way to protect your home as much as possible? Perhaps your next home renovation should include protecting it from severe events.

Wild Fire

Droughts have caused wildfires in many places in the nation. If you live in one of those areas, have you considered changing your landscaping? The types of plants and materials that surround your home can either increase or decrease the effect of fire in the area. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use pebbles or gravel instead of mulch.
  • Exchange your wooden deck for a concrete patio.
  • Decorate with more rocks and fewer plants.
  • Keep dried leaves and debris from accumulating around your property.
  • Apply a fire-resistant material to your exterior walls.
  • Switch to Class A roofing. This roofing withstands severe exposure to fire from outside of the structure.

Hail Storms

If you live where these storms occur frequently, consider replacing your current roof with an impact-resistant material. Class 4 shingles are the most resistant to hail, high wind, and streaks. These shingles not only protect, but they also enhance the curb appeal of the home.

Floods

    Torrential rains, melting snow, storms, and melting snow are some of the reasons that flooding happens. What measures can you take to prevent as much damage as possible?

  • “Dry proof” your home by applying sealing materials to your walls.
  • “Wet –proof” your house with foundation vents that allow water to flow through it instead of rising inside.
  • Raise switches, and circuit breakers, etc. at least a foot above the flood level of your property.

Wind

    Heavy winds cause your home to be vulnerable. Renovation ideas to better protect them include:

  • Repair or replacing loose or missing shingles.
  • Change to heavy-duty bolts on the doors so they are less likely to blow off.
  • Install impact-resistant windows and doors, like the ones available from Storm Shield LLC.

Earthquakes

If you live in an earthquake zone, and your home is more than twenty years old, you may need to upgrade your home’s foundation in to strengthen it. It is also recommended to apply safety film to your windows and glass doors. Fires, hurricanes, hail, wind, and earthquakes can be devastating. What is the best way to protect your home? If you already have plans to beautify it, why not safeguard it as well.

Written by Rachelle Wilber