Extreme Heat: An Introductory Guide To Surviving Hot Weather

Extreme Heat: An Introductory Guide To Surviving Hot Weather

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines extreme heat as “summertime temperatures that are substantially hotter and/or more humid than average for location at that time of year”.  The year 2014 was the hottest in modern history and more hot weather may well be on the way.   Extreme heat and high temperatures can lead to health issues and eventually death if not properly addressed.  Young children, older adults, those who are sick and/or overweight are even more likely to succumb to the effects of extreme heat and temperature.  There are things one can do now, however, to mitigate against the effects of extreme heat.  The following is an introductory guide to doing just that. Extreme Heat: General Preparation Having air conditioning installed at home or place of business is a good starting point.  The system must be in good repair and installed properly. All air-conditioning ducts should be inspected for proper insulation. Do not rely upon fans as a primary source of cooling. On a temporary basis, window reflectors can be installed to reflect heat back outside. Be sure to cover windows that receive sun with drapes, shades, or other coverings. Outdoor awnings or louvers can also reduce the heat significantly. Weather-stripping can be installed on doors and window sills to keep cool air in the building. During a heat emergency, limit your exposure to the sun as much as possible. Cooling showers or baths may be taken to reduce body heat. Be sure to drink plenty of water.  Hydration is key to survival.  For those with medical conditions that require a fluid-restricted diet, consult with your family...
The Winter Storm: Preparing for and Surviving a Blizzard

The Winter Storm: Preparing for and Surviving a Blizzard

A blizzard is an extreme form of winter storm.  It is categorized by massive snowfall and sustained winds of at least 35 miles per hour.  In addition to these parameters, the National Weather Service (NWS) also adds that it is a snow storm lasting three or more hours. As a blizzard is marked by extreme cold, high winds, and reduced visibility, they can present unique challenges and dangers.  Heavy snowfall can result in vehicle accidents, collapsed roofs, disrupted distribution systems, damaged power and communication systems, the death of pets and livestock, and serious injury or death to those caught outside.  The following guide will assist the reader in being prepared for blizzards and related winter weather. Be Informed about Winter Storms First and foremost, one must be aware that such a weather pattern is on the way.  Serious winter storm conditions are generally known days in advance, so one can prepare and adjust plans accordingly.  Governmental authorities, as well as members of the scientific community often provide guidance in the days before a blizzard occurs.  Be sure to tune in your radio or television for regular updates.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also broadcasts information on a continual basis.  These broadcasts may be listened to on the Internet or with a radio receiver. Preparing for Blizzards There are steps that can be taken today to reduce the risk of injury or loss of property due to severe winter weather.  These include: Know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite.  The American Red Cross has information on these life threatening condition. Consider installing or obtaining a generator for emergency electricity....
Fire Safety and Wildfire Preparedness

Fire Safety and Wildfire Preparedness

Wildfires (also known as a brush fire, forest fire, desert fire, or vegetation fire) are uncontrolled fires in areas in which combustible vegetation can be found.  Practicing good fire safety is paramount when wildfires may be imminent. These fires can be started by natural occurrences, such as lightning and volcanic eruptions, or by man-made sources, such as accidents, carelessness, military action, terrorist activity, or arson.  Droughts, heat waves, and climate changes can impact the behavior of wildfires. According to a recent study, wildfires, and related burns, kill 339,000 people worldwide every year.  The majority of the recorded deaths are in Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by southeast Asia.  The death toll is lower in the United States and Canada, but property damage is in the multiple billions annually.  Millions of acres are consumed each year by wildfires. The largest, though not deadliest, wildfire in American history was Great Fire of 1910.  It was dubbed the Big Burn and approximately three million acres in Idaho, Montana, and Washington state.  Eighty-seven individuals, mostly firefighters, lost their life in the event.  The largest wildfire in North America was the 1950 Chinchaga fire in British Columbia and Alberta, which destroyed around 3.5 million acres. While a fearsome force of nature, there are preparations that private citizens and home owners can take today to help mitigate against the ravages of wildfires.  The following are some steps to take before and during a wildfire event. Fire Safety – Preparing for a Wildfire Read up on the the dangers of wildfires and how to be prepared.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state level organizations, the American Red Cross, and citizen-initiated groups all publish...
Flood Survival Tips:  Knowing the Facts

Flood Survival Tips: Knowing the Facts

A flood is a large overflow of water beyond its normal confines that covers normally dry areas.  Flooding occurs in every state in the U.S. and in every region of Canada.  According to the National Weather Service, the average loss of life to flooding is 89 individuals a year and an astounding $8.2 Billion in damages.  Steps can be taken now to lessen the danger and damage posed by flooding.  The following is an introductory guide, resource directory and survival tips to assist the reader in being ready. Survival Tips for Before Flooding Occurs Some things one can do before a flood are: Prepare you home before hand. Modifications to the home can be done to reduce the damage caused by flooding.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) publishes a free guide entitled Protecting Your Home And Property From Flood Damage that will help a homeowner make decisions on how best to avoid property damage and personal risk posed by flooding.  Some state level agencies also publish similar guides. Avoid building new homes in floodplains.  If the building is situated in a floodplain, it must be elevated and reinforced. Construct barriers (e.g., beams, floodwalls, etc.) to stop waters from entering your home. Research and know the areas prone to flooding in your area. Seal basement walls with waterproofing material. Make sure gutters and drains are always clear. Be sure to elevate electrical panels, switches, sockets, furnaces, fuel tanks, etc. if the area is susceptible to flooding. Note that flood losses are not normally covered under homeowner’s insurance polices, so have proper flood insurance for your home or business.  Flood insurance is available...
An Introduction to the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS)

An Introduction to the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS)

For some individuals, volunteers, and family groups wishing to be prepared, the licensed radio services (e.g., Amateur Radio, General Mobile Radio Service, et al.) are not an option.  Unlicensed services (e.g., Citizen Band, Family Radio Service, et al.) may be crowded, lack sufficient range, or be suffering from serious interference.  There is another option though:  Multi-Use Radio Service or MURS. The Multi-Use Radio Service is a private, two-way, unlicensed radio service in the 151—154 MHz VHF spectrum range.  The service has five (5) channels available.*  In some respects, it is similar to Citizen Band and the Family Radio Service (FRS).  The service was originally established by the Federal Communications Commission in the year 2000.  Transmissions may be in the form of voice or data communications.  Unlike amateur radio, business-related radio traffic is allowed on the service.  Unfortunately, “store and forward” type operations are not permitted.  The use of radio repeaters is also not allowed on the service.  The maximum output power is two (2) watts.  As of 2014, Canada is reviewing the possibility of allowing MURS operations in the country. Benefits for Preparation: The Multi-Use Radio service is unlicensed.  Any member of a group or family may use the technology. The output power of 2 watts is four times that of the 0.5 watt limitation on the Family Radio Service. Unlike the Family Radio Service, external antennas are permitted.  MURS antennas can be up to 60 feet above the ground. A transmission range of up to ten (10) miles or more can be achieved with this technology.  Some sources report up to twenty (20) miles under ideal conditions. Unlike Citizen Band,...
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