October 24, 2011
We all know that sinking feeling when the car wheels spin out on ice, in the mud or slushy snow and you realize you are stuck.
To get back on the road again, some kitty litter poured under the tire will provide the necessary traction to free your car. Keep a supply in the trunk all winter along.
August 30, 2011
It doesn't take a Hurricane Irene to create a power outage, but the recent storm scare on the US eastern coast has reminded many of us of the misery of being instantly transported back to the 19th century. Coffee, entertainment, connectivity--all our toys are dependent upon electricity.
Hurricane season is far from over and the weather seems to have gone a little crazy these days. 20 Things to Have on Hand for Power Outages | WiseBread has created an affordable list of items that will help make recovery from a weather disaster a little more comfortable the next time the power goes out. To keep our spirits up and stay connected, must-haves are:
What's on your list?
August 8, 2011
Once a weather emergency strikes, chaos usually ensues, unless you have a plan. Preparation is key for enduring and even surviving any disaster. The Florida Division of Emergency Management in Tallahassee has instituted a fabulous interactive web-site to help us make our emergency plans now.
At FloridaDisaster.org anyone, anywhere can customize a plan for their own situation--a Family Plan, Business Plan, Plans for Kids, How to Strengthen Your Home and Disability Disaster Information. The site is naturally geared for Florida, but has helpful tips for anyone who may face a disaster, and who should know better than Floridians? Here's a sample of the Family Plan:
In a major disaster, emergency workers may not be able to reach everyone right away, and in some cases it may take 3 or more days for help to arrive. What would you do if you had no electricity, no gas, no water and no telephone service? Having a plan for your family and their needs will help ensure their safety and comfort during these difficult times.
Over the next few minutes, you will be asked to provide information about your home, family, and pets. Using the information you provide, this website will create a personalized Family Disaster Plan that you can print out and save for future emergencies. Included in your plan will be:
- Recommended amounts of food and water based on your family information.
- Contact information for your local emergency responders and maps of your local Evacuation Zones
- Checklists of important steps to take before, during, and after a disaster!
June 29, 2011
After all the weird weather this past spring, we are hoping summer calms down a bit. The frenzied tornado activity, even as far north as Springfield, MA, was among the weirdest, not to mention the saddest.
Smaller, less dramatic tornadoes can crop up during any severe storm, including hurricanes. A safe room (see instructions here) or the basement is still the best place to seek refuge upon hearing a tornado warning, if you have one that is. If not, seek shelter in your bathtub during a tornado, advise the good folks over at Accuweather.
The bathroom has strong framing and the pipes in the walls could help hold them together. The bathtub and toilet are directly anchored to the ground (unless your bathtub is the old claw-footed style). They are often the only things left intact after a tornado passes. Once in the bathtub, cover yourself with a couch cushion to help protect you from falling and flying debris. And be sure to remember to grab your Voyager Solar/Dynamo Emergency Radio that has all the features you will need in an emergency weather situation.
For more on tornadoes, check out these Tornado Video Classics.
June 24, 2011
Few places in the US endure a summer sun as brutal as the one that beats relentlessly down on South Florida. Keeping your car cool | Sun-Sentinel offers comprehensive advice on how to best maintain your car in the summer heat, and they should know. This useful article covers the roof, under the hood, engine fluids, windows, interior, a/c, and tires. Some basic tips:
Park in the Shade. As the article points out, try to park in the shade as often as you can--easier said than done we know. Your car and your passengers will thank you. It can lower interior temperatures by as much as 40 degrees.
Children and Pets. Your parked vehicle will start to heat up in as little as 3 minutes. It's not safe to leave a child or a pet in your car while you just run in the store for a few minutes. In 10 minutes, the interior temperatures may rise as much as 20 degrees even with the windows cracked and feel like an oven.
Air Conditioning. Instead of instantly turning up the A/C full blast on "cold", try rolling down the windows when you first get going to air out the intense heat of the car.
Auto Finish. We did our homework, and this is what we use on our vehicles. Meguiar's NXT Generation Tech Wax protects your auto's finish against UV damage. It provides a sharp, wet-look shine and eliminates fine scratches and swirls.
June 23, 2011
Many of us live in areas subject to dangerous, destructive extreme winds generated by hurricanes and tornadoes and worry about the risky of injury to ourselves, our loved ones and our animals.
FEMA issues a publication, FEMA 320 - Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room For Your Home or Small Business, that will help you decide how best to provide "near-absolute protection" for yourself, your family, or employees:
Near-absolute protection means that, based on our current knowledge of tornadoes and hurricanes, there is a very high probability that the occupants of a safe room built according to this guidance will avoid injury or death.
FEMA provides a free manual, Safe Room Construction Plans and Specifications
, which provides safe room designs that will show you and your builder/contractor how to construct a safe room inside and outside your home or small business. Download it from the site
or order a hard copy or CD-ROM from the FEMA Distribution Center.
Graphic: Photographic Poster Print by John Dominis, Residents Trying Out Newly Built Community Storm Shelter, After Tornado Devastated the Area
June 8, 2011
With the start of the 2011 hurricane season we got to thinking how hard it had been to find and stay in touch with relatives and friends during the last few we endured in 2004 and 2005. First comes that depressing moment when the power dies and electrical activity grinds to a halt. Then cell towers are overloaded or even go down and landlines are flooded out. Where is everyone and are they okay?
Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes. Have you ever thought about how you'd stay in touch with your loved ones if you experienced a natural disaster or other emergency? Safety Maps is a free online tool that helps you plan for this situation. You can use it to choose a safe meeting place, print a customized map that specifies where it is, and share this map with your loved ones.
[via The Consumerist]
March 15, 2011
If a major disaster befalls your area, it likely will be several days at minimum before vital services are restored. Factor #1, the disaster happened to your local emergency crews as well.
Many of the complications begin prior to the disaster, during evacuation. In the recent Japanese earthquake a substantial number of tsunami victims were trapped in traffic jams trying to evacuate. Roads transform into parking lots as people evacuate prior to the event, and they often are impassable afterward -- damaged, blocked by live wires and fallen trees, or dangerously chaotic with no working traffic signals. When the supply trucks can't make it in, food and gas shortages arise and the ports can even be closed.
Electricity is either disabled by the event itself or intentionally shut down by the provider. Stores and homes lose their ability to cool and preserve perishable food. Central water can become polluted, phone lines downed and cell phone towers damaged or their service overwhelmed. Curfews are imposed. Flooding creates life-threatening sanitation issues with both septic and sewer systems.
In a lifetime spent living near the Atlantic Ocean, we have experienced this nightmare several times after hurricanes--mild compared to a Haiti or Japan--and the first time here in sunny Florida were not as well-prepared as we might have been. www.72hours.org is a San-Francisco based web-site that will help you to prepare yourself--as well as any elderly, infirm, children and pets in your household--for an emergency. You can also learn what to do in response to a specific disaster, like a tsunami, earthquake, terror attack, evacuation, contagious disease and more. Forewarned is forearmed.
March 8, 2011
You just never know what awaits around the corner in this world. Upon relocation to sunny Florida, we experienced 3 hurricanes within a year, after a *dry spell* of decades -- two within 3 weeks, both direct hits. A relative recently took a dream trip to New Zealand and experienced the 6.3 earthquake within 5 hours of arriving in Christchurch.
If you suddenly found yourself in a natural disaster or survival situation, would you know what steps to take to save yourself and your loved ones? The National Geographic Complete Survival Manual by Michael Sweeney offers essential instructions for weathering eight different natural disasters, from hurricanes and tornadoes to earthquakes and forest fires, including an entire chapter on home-based survival.
It focuses on how to survive in six of the world's most hazardous environments--from building a snow fort if you're lost in a blizzard, to surviving a rattlesnake bite in the desert, to navigating safely through the dense rainforest. Ten National Geographic explorers, photographers, and scientists, candidly share their own near-death stories and how they lived to tell them.
The manual includes 200 color photographs and maps, how-to's, bulleted lists, a glossary, cross-referencing, an appendix, and an index.
September 12, 2008
We've been researching options for a storm shelter given the current hurricane season, and think we've found something interesting with Storm Safe. The severe storm Hurricane Shelter is designed in a hexagon shape, and fabricated from heavy aluminum. The shelter is designed to be assembled quickly, and stores away concealed from others who might want to barge into your storm shelter. We're not sure with high winds we would want to be in the Storm Safe without it being secured, but because it's water tight, we might be a bit more inclined to not worry about being washed out to sea. Whatever you decide, the best option is always to evacuate if you're told to, and we think a storm shelter is a good last option to have in your arsenal of emergency tricks.
It has the following key features:
- 4 Person Capacity
- 8x7 foot
- Stores in a Small Space
- Assembles with hand tools
- Can be disassembled from the inside
- 4 air-vents, plug-gable
- Can be secured to the ground
- Watertight and floats
- Inside lighting with light sticks
At Hurricane Shelter Storm Safe