Category: Disasters

How To Prepare And Survive In Case Of A Hurricane

How To Prepare And Survive In Case Of A Hurricane

The U.S. has had its fair share of hurricanes in these past decades. Hurricanes Sandy, Rita and Katrina have hit pretty hard. They took so many lives and the process and produced massive infrastructural damage. No matter how far we’re willing to go as far as preparations go, we will never be completely safe from nature’s wrath. But every precaution can be a small battle won and +1 when it comes to our chances to survive in case of a hurricane.

In order to beat the storm and come out on top, we must understand what a hurricane actually is. Hurricanes are immense storms that cover great areas. Because the winds blow in a swirling motion, powerful air currents are created that can be strong enough to pull out trees out of the ground, lift cars and even lay whole cities to the ground. Wind speed is a major factor in considering how devastating the hurricane is going to be; according to wind speed, hurricanes fall into the following categories:

  • Category 1: winds reach speeds of 74 mph – 95 mph
  • Category 2: winds reach speeds of 96 mph – 110 mph
  • Category 3: winds reach speeds of 111 mph – 129 mph
  • Category 4: winds reach speeds of 130 mph – 156 mph
  • Category 5: winds reach speeds of speeds of over 157 mph

Hurricanes will most likely form over warm ocean surface, and they sometimes have the tendency of going towards land. When this happens, it also sends a wave formation (storm surge) towards land alongside heavy precipitation. These two combined can cause major flooding to urban or rural areas. Even though hurricanes cover large areas at a time, the intensity of the storm is not constant throughout the entire area, but it’s rather varied from zone to zone. Based on intensity, hurricanes are comprised of the following parts:

  • Zone 1: the eye of the hurricane is the portion in the middle of the stormy area (central zone); it’s the zone that’s least affected, where wind and precipitations are at their lowest
  • Zone 2: the eye wall is a circle of thunderstorms that swirl around the central zone (the eye); the wall is where storm activity is at its highest, with heavy precipitations and strong winds
  • Zone 3: rain bands stretch from the eye wall towards the outside; they’re a weaker reflection of the eye wall, comprised of storm clouds, precipitations and possibly tornadoes

Preparing for an incoming hurricane

As I’ve said before, there is nothing you can do that is 100% hurricane proof, but every measure of precaution you take might just be enough to save you or your property. First and foremost, my main advice is to consider of building your very own underground bunker or disaster-proof room somewhere in the vicinity of you home and have it filled with as many provisions as you can. Just be sure to consider flooding and the need for oxygen. If such a room would be too much trouble, you can also reinforce a room in the house (possibly the basement), turning it into a safe room and hope for the best. If you want to save as much of your property as possible and limit the damage, cover your windows with special, permanent storm shutters; if you can’t find any in your vicinity, just use some plywood instead. Roof straps will reduce the damage and maintain the structure of the house as whole as possible. Trimming your bushes, trees and shrubs around the house will make them less likely to fly off and damage or even kill somebody; the trimmer they are, the less “grabby” their surface will be when it comes in direct contact with the wind. Rain gutters should be unclogged, in order to fight off flooding.

What to do during the storm

If there’s a massive storm coming your way, you need to stay informed. Follow any sort of alerts and directions the authorities issue on the tv, radio or internet. Secure your house as best as you can by closing all the doors, even those inside the house. The less the air flows through, the safer you’ll be. Any sort of small object left in your shed or front lawn should be moved in the house. If they get picked up the storm, they could become serious projectiles that can do permanent damage or even kill. When the storm hits, turn off all the utilities and keep away from the phone as much as possible. Propane tanks should be switched off, as well as the refrigerator. If things get serious, go to your panic room or your provision room. Keep enough food and water supplies. You cars should be fully fueled, because if the opportunity should arise, you must be able to drive without stopping as far as you possibly can. Also keep cash on you; banking and ATM systems will most probably be shut down. If you’re eager to evacuate, take a moment and think things through; acting on impulse might cost you your life. Wait for things to settle down a bit and listen to the directives given by the local authorities.

Dealing with a hurricane is a stressful and life-threatening situation. Take all the necessary precautions you can in order to limit the damage, but remember that nothing’s more important than saving your life. You safety should come first, before everything else. So if you’re taken by surprise, flee for safety and don’t waste any time in securing your property.

By My Family Survival Plan

Keep Breathing: Some Of The Best Gas Masks You Can Afford

Keep Breathing: Some Of The Best Gas Masks You Can Afford

We’re all aware of what a gas mask is; at least we have some idea about them. Gas masks (aka. respirators) are heavily used in society. The Police force has them, the Special Forces have them, the firefighters have them, spray painters have them etc. The basic use of a gas mask is to serve as filter for the air you’re breathing in and to stop possible irritants and noxious substances from getting into your respiratory system and affecting you general state your health.

The best gas masks (or respirators) are based on the same principle: the air is pulled into the canister that has a filtering system (on 3 layers: aerosol filter, charcoal filter and dust filter) and then is released towards the interior of the mask; the filtered air is safe to breathe.

The air is sucked into the canister as the wearer breathes. There are also battery operated gas masks, equipped with a fan, that will syphon air inside, but become useless when the batteries die out. There are also some that work just like a scuba breathing system: they don’t have a filtering canister, but a pressurized air canister, that is completely sealed.

A gas mask is a real asset for any serious prepper. It’s an absolute must-have in case of a chemical or biological attack. Works just as well in a combat zone, as it’ll filter out heavy smoke and even dust clouds. There two main types of masks: half masks and full mask. I half mask will cover your mouth and nose only; they’re used in spray painting and are recommended only if you know what contaminant you’re dealing with. In case of an extremely dangerous contaminant or if you simply don’t know what you’re facing, a full gas mask is the way to go. Not only will it cover your respiratory system, but I’ll also protect your eyes and face from dangerous agents, like Anthrax etc.

Israeli Civilian Gas Mask

This gas mask was issued by the Israeli government, is NATO approved and it’s perfect if you consider the quality / price ratio (it costs about $80). Because of the relatively low price and good features, it’s regarded to be as the standard gas mask for civilian protection. It’s best used in an evacuation scenario from a contaminated area. The mask itself is made out of a soft but durable rubber that covers the whole face (full mask); it offers great protection not only for the respiratory system, but also for the entire face. It has extremely efficient filters (NBC filters) that will keep you safe from almost everything, from nuclear and biological agents (like Anthrax) to chemical agents. This particular gas mask comes in both adult and child versions.

M61 Finnish Gas Mask

The MA61 model was developed in Finland and it’s meant to be used as a heavy-duty gas mask. It’s a side-mounted mask, which means the filter is screwed into the side of the mask, rather than in the font. The rubber it’s made from is extremely durable, but rather soft flexible at the same time. Its flexibility means that the mask will incase the face of the wearer perfectly, making it airtight, so that noxious fumes or chemical agents won’t find their way inside. It uses a twin goggle system rather than a single visor. The exhalation system has a plastic valve with an integrated speech diaphragm, for better communication.

ADVANTAGE 1000 CBA-RCA Gas Mask

The 1000 CBA-RCA mask is 100% American and it was developed based on a US Military design that was used by the USAF during the Operation Desert Storm. It has a Hycar face piece which is about 40% lighter than most full gas masks and also a customizable fit. There’s also a standard nose cup to eliminate visor fogging and a mechanical speaking diaphragm. The visor is a one piece that’s extremely tough and offers great field of vision. The canister can be mounted on both the left and the right side and it’s effective against all sorts of biological and chemical agents, like Mustard, Lewisite, GA, GB, GD etc. The head harness is adjustable and stable. There’s also an ID tag attached and it includes a CBA-RCA canister. The whole package comes at about $300.

There are plenty of models that are available on the market, it’s only a matter of personal choice. The price of a certain gas mask does not necessarily reflect its quality, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money for a good product that will filter well and fit great. But you’ll need to educate yourself in the matter a bit so you won’t throw your money out the window. Luckily there’s many manufacturer’s and sellers and price ranges vary from one to the other. So keep hunting for bargains, you’ll most likely find them.

By My Family Survival Plan

How To Survive a Plane Crash At Sea

How To Survive a Plane Crash At Sea

Your worst nightmare and first thought upon boarding a flight (or even purchasing the tickets) is not to crash! It’s a possibility. One that you have to come to terms with. There is no such thing as a 100% safe flight, like there is no such thing as a 100% safe walk in the park. Disaster can strike at any time and any place. The chance of a plane crash however, studies show, it’s not that high. And even when it happens, a large portion (even 100%) of the passengers on board survives.

But as long as the slightest chance of danger exists, best be prepared. Follow all the procedures and unwritten rules in order to help your chances of survival. Crashing in water is serious business, and even if you survive the crash, the struggle is far from over.

The main concern though for surviving a crash at sea is to survive the crash itself. The numbers are good in this case, showing that about 95% of the passengers involved in plane crashes survive the initial plane crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Experts have agreed that in order to improve their chances of survival, passengers should be adequately equipped for survival. The clothes you’re wearing in the moment of the crash could make the difference on whether you survive or not. “Imagine having to run away from a burning plane. If you have to do that, how well are your flip-flops going to perform? How well are your high-heeled shoes going to perform?” asks Cynthia Corbett, human factors specialist at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Recent studies and research have proven that the passengers sitting behind the wings of the plane are more likely to survive the those sitting in front of it by well over 40% and that the seats situated near the exit row are the safest on the plane.survivors

After the impact with the surface of the water, the first 90 seconds are the most crucial. It’s essential to keep calm and react swiftly, greatly increasing your chances of survival. NTSB reports that because of overcoming panic or crippling fear, many crash victims are found placed in their seats, with their seat belts still on. Others just sit back and wait for instructions until it’s too late. Cynthia Corbett says that knowing what to do and how to cope in such a scenario is imperative. Act accordingly to survival procedures and don’t wait for instructions. They might never come and it will cost you dearly.How To Survive A Permanent Power Outage

Surviving the open sea is next and it’s the real struggle. Plane crashes at sea present special circumstances than other types of crashes, because the survivors face the adversities of the open ocean, whether they’re alive in life rafts or floating on pieces of debris on open waters. The life raft is the best survival tool for a plane crash survivor lost at sea. They are equipped with medical first aid kits, some drinking water, flares to help you signal your location to passing planes or boats, and a canopy that serves as shelter from the burning sun or incoming rain. It will greatly reduce the fatigue you face, as you can float at ease, without having to constantly kick the water, burning energy and attracting sharks. The bright colors and shape of the rafts might also attract fish and birds, which are the best source of food available. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), life rafts are mandatory for most commercial aircrafts that fly extended over-water operations (distances of over 50 miles offshore). However, if aircrafts don’t fly above 25,000 feet and provides life vests for everybody on board, the life raft ceases to be a necessity.

Fully-inflated life raft

Getting into a life raft doesn’t mark the end of all your troubles. You still have life threatening situations to overcome, dehydration and starvation especially. The human body can go for weeks without food, but only for days without water. Some have been known to survive even over a week without it, but it all depends on individual overall health and general temperature and humidity. You can rely on the surround faun (fish, birds, amphibians) as a source of sustenance. According to Dr Claude Pintadosi (professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Centre), most of the animals found offshore are safe to eat, because toxins among them is a highly uncommon thing. The flesh of the animals is a great source of protein and minerals, while the blood can be drunk fresh. Harvesting and drinking rain-water is also a good method to stack up on vital fluids.

Hypothermia is the main reason for concern, especially if you find yourself in waters of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You can fight hypothermia as long as you’re in a life raft. Simply remove the wet clothes and cover the victim with dry pieces of clothing blankets. For crash survivor that’s permanently in contact with the water, hypothermia is fatal. Contrary to popular belief, sharks are the least of your worry.

As long as you’re not bleeding in the water in order to alert and switch on their predatory instincts, there is very little reason to fear and actual shark attack.

If you ever happen to find yourself in such a situation, don’t be surprised: it happened before, and it will happen again. Just keep calm, keep your wits about you and most likely you’ll survive to tell the tale.

by My Family Survival Plan

Home Essentials You Need for Survival

Home Essentials You Need for Survival

With so many daily work, family, and personal distractions, it’s no wonder so many of us remain unconcerned and unprepared for a potential disaster to strike. But they do strike often, all around the world, and assuming you and your family will be exempt could endanger your lives.

Even though it takes thought and investment, preparing your home and your family for unexpectedly harsh conditions is well worth the sacrifice. In fact, the peace of mind alone might be worth it. If you don’t know where to get started, Modernize offers up a list of home essentials to build off of as you collect survival supplies.


Flashlights, Lanterns, and Backup Batteries
When anticipating a disaster, the last thing you should rely on is electricity. And there’s nothing more frightening than thinking of trying to keep your family safe in total darkness. Make sure flashlights and lanterns are handy in several rooms of the house, and always keep a good stock of backup batteries and bulbs. Solar flashlights are also a great addition, especially if you’re going to need to be on the move.

Hand Crank Radio
Staying tuned in to what’s going on could mean the difference between life and death. Procure a solar hand crank radio that will keep you updated on the news and weather while you keep your family locked up safe.

How To Survive A Permanent Power Outage


Solar Oven and Freezer
Nobody hopes that the aftermath of a disaster will be long-term. But it’s best to prepare for a longer time without electricity than you would like to imagine. Solar ovens are simple, effective, and can cook food in a variety of ways. Ready-to-go, just-add-water meals are very handy for a short term emergency. But a solar oven and a solar freezer to store your food stock could work in tandem to keep your family eating well in spite of the circumstances.

Coats and Boots
Being prepared for inclement weather is essential. Heavy-duty raincoats, winter coats, hiking boots, and rain boots will help keep them warm in dry in case of flooding or freezing weather. It will also help them travel more easily if traveling becomes necessary.

Water Purifier
Aside from shelter, water is the most immediate and vital need in many emergency situations. If you are not prepared to convert unsafe water into potable water, you’re not truly prepared at all. You need to both have ways to filter and purify it. While you’re thinking of your water needs, it never hurts to set up a rain catchment system that will allow you access to running water—though you will still need to treat rainwater to make it potable.

First Aid Supplies
A well-stocked survival first aid kit will include gloves, surgical shears, antiseptic wipes, bandages, pain relieving medication, antibiotic ointment, cotton-tipped applicators, sterile
gauze pads, a thermometer, tweezers, and several other items.

Make sure to thoroughly research and go beyond the basics for your first aid kit.


Pet Supplies
No one overlooks their kids when they plan for a disaster, but a pet isn’t always foremost on everyone’s mind. Pets need their own survival supplies including food, blankets, bowls, a leash, their own first aid supplies, and anything else you determine your individual pets’ need.

Sanitary Supplies
While weather disasters are more common in America these days, epidemics also pose a danger—as do unclean condition potentially caused by natural disasters. Supplies that would come in handy during a dangerous outbreak include: adhesive sealing masks with eye shields, anti-bacterial and anti-virus lotion, anti-bacterial wipes, bio hazard bags, bio hazard suits and gloves, and a supply of antibacterial soap.


Hygiene Essentials
Comfort and cleanliness isn’t usually the first thing on your mind in a survival situation. But if you prepare ahead, you can be more thorough about what your family needs and wants. Items like soap, toilet tissue, toothbrushes and toothpastes, feminine products, deodorant, and razors will come in handy even after just a day of relying on your survival supplies.

Sleeping Bags
Reflective sleeping bags that are cushy and can withstand harsh weather could mean the difference between a safe and good night’s rest and many sleepless, anxious nights. To protect your family from hypothermia, select sleeping bags that offer heavy insulation, fully waterproof materials, and low temperature ratings.

70 howtos for your preps


Emergency Preparedness Guide
No matter how much you prepare yourself and your family, any type of emergency or disaster is bound to come with surprises. Instead of relying completely on your supplies and knowledge, make sure you have the educational resources anyone in your family would need to know how to deal with in difficult disaster-related circumstances.

Multi-Tool Knife
Weapons are certainly an important aspect of a home survival kit, as are tools. Combine them into one item for optimum efficiency and ease of use. You never know when a screwdriver, pliers, or a mini saw could come in handy.

These are simply the foundational items for a home survival kit. Build off of your family’s anticipated needs and show them how to use the supplies in case of an emergency.  

By Mary Saurer


Mary Sauer is a writer who has been published by Babble, Mom.me, and What to Expect. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two young daughters.


Two US Cities Possibly About To Be Destroyed By Natural Disasters

Two US Cities About To Be Destroyed By Natural Disasters

In the last hundred years humanity has gone through its most progressive era of technological advance. Science and technology has flourished and this process is still going strong. With so many breakthroughs in so many fields, it seems that only the sky is the limit now, and who knows what peaks we could reach next: maybe making a neighboring planet habitable or finding the elixir of eternal life. But if you look at the big picture, you simply can’t get too enthusiastic about human status. Before dreaming of conquering new worlds, take a look in our “own back yard”.

No matter how advanced we might think we are at this point in space and time, I can’t help but notice how miserably we fail when confronted with natural disasters. It’s very little we can do to actually counter nature’s wrath, and all our technological power can be at most used for rebuilding, rather than avoiding natural events. And it seems that here, in the US, the worst is yet to come, as two major cities have yet to face critical disasters.

1. New York will face its most powerful hurricane yet

You might think New York can’t be subjected to anything worse than what has already happened: terrorist attacks, violent neighborhoods, crime and the already infamous hurricanes Irene and Sandy. But you might want to reconsider, as the worst is yet to come. If you think the flooded subways, the damaged buildings and the few billion $ were too much to handle, you can’t even fathom what the next hurricane will bring. Bothe Irene and Sandy were category 1 hurricanes, meaning they were as low on the scale as they could possibly go. The next one, that will hit sometime this decade, will be category 3; we’re talking about a hurricane powerful enough to collapse skyscrapers or to flood the JFK Airport under 25 feet of water. And this won’t be a singled out case. Such a hurricane, studies show, will hit every 10 years from now on. As a result of such force, estimated damage costs have rose to about $500 billion. As for encountering such a force, there’s nothing else to do but perhaps flee for safety when the sirens start blowing.

Avoiding this sort of calamity is very unlikely, as New York’s geographical position makes it nothing less than a hurricane magnet. New Jersey and Long Island form some sort of tunnel (a bottled-neck passage) that easily redirects any forming storms towards New York’s coast. So when the wind starts blowing, New York has no other chance but to face the disaster head-on.

2. Seattle could be swallowed whole by volcanic mudflows

The city of Seattle is well known for repeatedly falling victim to all sorts of earthquakes throughout the years, big or small. But what’s to come will be far more destructive and terrifying than everything else this city had to face so far: the threat of ending it all buried in hot mud. According to recent studies and calculations, it could all be set in motion by an eruption of Mount Rainier, which is known to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the face of the planet.

I’m not making this up: Mount Rainier is on the Decade Volcano List. The Decade Volcanoes are 16 volcanoes identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) as being worthy of particular study in light of their history of large, destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas.

The spewing of magma and brimstone will be devastating to some extent sure, but it won’t be anything else but the icing on the cake. The destruction will be brought forth by a little something called a lahar. Don’t get fooled by its harmless name; lahars are true harbingers of destruction chaos. They are giant flows of debris, mud, water, trees and pretty much everything else they assimilate along the way, and are very fast-moving. What’s even scarier as that this entire concoction of destruction is as consistent as wet cement and can reach tremendous heights. Because of its large amount of glacial ice, Mt. Rainier could potentially produce massive lahars. The United States Geological Survey has installed a lahar warning system for the area.

A lahar swallowing everything in its path A lahar swallowing everything in its path

Believe or not, this event won’t be a first. Sedimentology studies show that this sort of event happened around 5,600 years ago, when a gigantic lahar called Osceola Mudflow (which originated in Mount Rainier), drowned a portion of Puget Sound under about three cubic kilometers of water and debris. The Osceola lahar produced by Mount Rainier (Washington) resulted in a wall of mud 140 metres (460 ft) deep in the White River canyon, which covered an area of over 330 square kilometres (130 sq mi)!!! The USGS states that Mount Rainier is behaving in similar fashion to how it has behaved for millions of years – erupting periodically. In other words, at some point, this WILL happen again.

A similar event occurred in 1985, in Colombia, when 25,000 people lost their life. Just to get the big picture, know this: the Colombian event that claimed 25,000 souls is only 2.5% of the volume of what couldo hit Seattle. In 1998 some scientist released a lahar detection system. But it was a failed attempt, as the system did not deliver. Its readings were based solely on volcanic eruptions, but lahars don’t necessarily need volcanoes in order to form.

It’s true, we’ve come a long way, and history proves it. But we’re nowhere near powerful enough to take on God’s wrath. And probably we will never be. There’s no way of fighting back nature, but with enough vigilance, preparation and determination, we might end being survivors rather than victims. No matter what the future holds, we must never abandon hope.

MFSP

The Worst Drought Of The Millennium! What It Means And How We Can Fight It

The Worst Drought Of The Millennium - What It Means And How We Can Fight It

The South-West it’s now in its 11th year of drought. A decade has past and things don’t seem to be getting any better. 2014 was actually the warmest year recorded in California over the past 400 years, but recent scientific studies show that this is nothing compared with what’s to come.

Scientists from the most prestigious universities in the country (Columbia, Cornell and also NASA) had joined forces, and after investigating the matter, released an official paper in the scientific journal Science Advances, warning that the south-west and the central plains are about to face drought conditions unprecedented in the last 1,000 years.

The long cycle of drought in the region (well over 35 years) and little annual precipitation will most likely mean the end of the damp climate we got accustomed to the past 2 centuries. The impact of man on the climate does nothing more than to accommodate the arid conditions that are soon to take over a large portion of U.S. territory. Ben Cook (Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) had this to say: “Nearly every year is going to be dry toward the end of the 21st century, compared with what we think of as normal conditions now. We’re going to have to think about a much drier future in western North America.

The forth-coming aridity will have a devastating impact on agriculture and cattle herds. The prices will grow uncontrollably when the drought sets in, affecting an estimate of about $60 million people from regions who depend on scarce water resources or are based on infrastructures designed during an abnormally moist century (San Antonio, San Diego, Omaha etc). The scientists who conducted the research agree that the desert cities like Phoenix and Lax Vegas will suffer the most damage. Data shows that in the past, on a spam of 4 centuries (9th – 14th century), the region had been subjected to a previous period of intense drought, whom paleoclimatologists have deemed the Medieval Climate Anomaly, believed to have been the cause of perdition to some previous civilizations. But the drought that’s to come in 2050 is believed to be much worse than everything else on record. “We are the first to do this kind of quantitative comparison between the projections and the distant past, and the story is a bit bleak. Even when selecting for the worst mega-drought dominated period, the 21st century projections make the (previous) mega-droughts seem like quaint walks through the Garden of Eden”, says Dr Jason Smerdon, climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and co-author of the study.food grows where water flows

The mega-drought will spell disaster in more ways than one. The upcoming water shortage does not mean only reduced drinkable water, but it also puts a strain on the vegetation. Dried up vegetation highly increases the risks of wildfire. California and Arizona aren’t the only targets of the phenomena. The study suggests that the affected area will be in fact much larger, comprised of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, North / South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas and Louisiana. The chance of extended drought (over 40 years), say the scientists, is over 80%, unless measures are taken in order to attenuate the impact and lower the speed of climate change. The scientists involved in this project say that the level of accuracy of the measurements is really high as, unlike other recent studies, they also took into consideration the rise of carbon emissions. 17 separate computer simulations based on the rate of constant rising emissions and complex climate changes gave more-than-accurate results. Not only will the amount of precipitation (rain, snow) be considerably reduced, but high temperatures will speed the evaporation process, leading to arid and inhospitable conditions.

Last year, the Obama administration announced a budget $200 million in order to counter the recent Drought in California. When asked if this would be enough for the upcoming mega-drought, Dr Cook said no. He thinks that these kind measures are only enough for droughts with a certain amount of climate impact, going on for at least a period of 10 – 15 years. The mega-drought of 2050 will surpass all expectations. It will come down to more than a fixed budget. It will take a collective effort from all of the U.S. citizens to prepare for what’s coming.

Drought Monitor – California, 2014

Drought Monitor – California, 2014

Water conservation tips for everybody

We must be more protective of our water resources! Here are a few tips and tricks on how we can dampen the impact of the mega-drought that’s about to hit:

  • Check the plumbing for leaks and repair what’s damaged, in order to reduce leakage
  • Dripping faucets should be replaced a.s.a.p.
  • Don’t let the water run down the drain if you could find another use for it (for ex. watering plants)
  • Install an instant hot water heater
  • Make sure your appliances are both energy and water efficient
  • Purchase a low-volume toilette, that uses only half the water in comparison to most models
  • Get a ultra-low-flow shower head
  • Dispose of food in the garbage rather than using the sink disposal unit
  • Don’t purchase water toys that require a constant stream of water
  • Don’t install ornamental water fountains
  • Harvest rain water
  • Make sure your lawn sprinklers don’t waste water on non-green areas (like sidewalks or paved areas)
  • Check sprinklers periodically to make sure they’re as water-efficient as possible
  • Plant drought-resistant plants and lawn
  • User mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation
  • Avoid over-fertilization (fertilization requires water)
  • Turn irrigation off in fall and winter and water manually if you must
  • Get a weather-based irrigation controller (a system that sets the irrigation timing and intensity according to the existing weather conditions, not going off when it’s raining)
  • Install a water-saving pool filter
  • Cover your pool or fountain to avoid evaporation

Water conservation tips for farmers and ranchers

Planning ahead and considering the upcoming climate changes can prolong your business. Be efficient and reduce water consumption for as much as possible.

  • Chose the water irrigation system that will make you lose the least amount of water to evaporation, run-off or percolation
  • Find ways in which to improve your current irrigation system, making it less wasteful and more efficient
  • Get a water storage system
  • Store water in ditches in the field
  • Use water measurement tools
  • Reduce soil evaporation with conservation tillage
  • Monitor soil moisture constantly
  • Stack up on food and water reserves for your animals
  • Animals that do not consume high quantities of water are preferable
  • Plant crops and use cropping systems that are less water dependent

The drought that will hit the U.S. in 2050 is not a theory anymore, it’s a scientific certainty. If society fails as a unit, make sure that at least you don’t fail as an individual. Take all the necessary precautions and get ready for what’s about to hit, because it will hit hard!

by My Family Survival Plan

5 Upcoming Disasters That Will Take America By Storm

5 Upcoming Disasters That Will Take America By Storm

Every year the world’s foundations are shaken by natural disasters. Whether we’re talking about hurricanes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, forest fires etc., it’s vital to know in advance and to be prepared. Being caught off guard might be the difference between surviving and not. Recent scientific studies have confirmed some upcoming natural disasters for the whole spam of the 21st century in the US (in both the near and distant future). Here are 5 of the most important calamities to be aware of.

The Wildfires

wildfiresHarvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) finest have concluded their research in the field with a grim prediction: by 2050, natural wildfires will become even more dangerous! Wildfires are bound to last 3 weeks longer compared to today’s rate, will release twice the amount of smoke and will engulf a large portion of West coast per each passing year. In the last 15 years, the territorial range afflicted by wildfires has grown from 2.2 million acres (starting 2000) to 6.5 million acres annually. According to Dr. Loretta J. Mickley (senior researcher in atmospheric chemistry – SEAS), the root of “all evil” regarding wildfires is gradual climate change. The climate changes have raised the Earth’s temperature, creating optimal conditions for out-of-control wildfires. The greater the temperature, the graver the danger. It’s been predicted that the range of forest fires will vary between 30,000 to 50,000 per year. This one is close to home as 4 of my friends lost their homes in 1 wildfire in California last summer. It’s a reality.

The Earthquake-Tsunami Effect In Oregon

The Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisor Commission has conducted various experiments throughout 2009-2010. The scientists and volunteers involved in the project have determined through scientific research and calculus that a at some point in the next 50 years, an earthquake of 8.0-9.0 Richter magnitude will hit the coast of Oregon, that’s soon to be followed by a tsunami. The exact date hasn’t been determined yet, the all the measurements seem to point to the inevitable disaster. The predictions seem to estimate that there will be around 10.000 dead and if portions of the West Cost get split from the main land, estimated damages can go up to $32 billion!

The source of the unforgiving earthquake-tsunami combo is considered to be the Cascadia subduction zone, an 800 mile crack in the Earth’s crust 60 miles offshore from Oregon, created by the Juan de Fuca and the North American tectonic plates.

The submersion of the East Coast

NASA’s scientific research program have suggested that wind activity and sea level trends are bound to leave a great portion of the East Coast underwater by 2100. John Boon, an emeritus professor of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science has shown that sea level has constantly been increasing by 0.3 millimeters per year ever since 1987. This will gravely affect the East Coast from Key West (Florida) to Newfoundland (Canada). A group of scientists from Florida that recently ran a US Geological Survey confirmed that East Coast sea levels are rising up to 4 times faster than usual.

In 2013, the ex-mayor of New York (Michael Bloomberg) proposed a $20 billion flood system before leaving office, but the proposal was refused. His intention was based on studies that showed that the north-western coastline is mostly at risk. The sea level in the New York City area is expected to rise 31 inches by 2050. In the present 25% of New York is exposed to a watery calamity, but by 2050, it might be around 95%.

The “Big One” earthquake in California

earthquakeCalifornians have been holding their breaths, waiting for that one serious earthquake for decades. And they will get it, sooner or later. The USGS division, UCERF3 (Third Uniform California Rupture Forecast) stated that an 8.0 Richter magnitude earthquake or above is bound to hit the West Coast sometime in the next 30 years. The chances of smaller quakes (6.5 – 7.0 Richter magnitude) are as high as 30%! There are differences of opinion as to where the “Big One” will originate exactly. Some scientists believe that the shockwave will commence from the breaking of the San Andreas Fault, while others consider the point of origin to be the Hayward Fault (near San Francisco).

Regardless the point of origin, the effects will be more then devastating. A group of scientists created a computer simulation of the outcome. The shockwaves will travel at speeds of approximately         7,200 mph, reducing highways and main roads unusable instantly. The White House is currently funding the Earthquake Early Warning System that is able to pick up seismic activity and give pertinent warning one minute in advance of an actual earthquake. $5million have been invested so far, but the alert goes off only 10 seconds before the shockwaves hit, which is nowhere near enough.

The solar storms

Solar storms are the worst natural disasters that can hit us in the near or distant future. There’s no running from them, there is no escape.

It’s important to understand that the Sun’s activity is cyclical, inconstant and ever-changing. The cycle consists in alternating the periods of low nuclear activity with periods of full energy outburst.

Such outbursts result in spewing CMEs (coronal mass ejections). These are massive clouds of magnetized plasma that acts as an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) on all human-made electronics. The circuits get burned instantly, rending useless everything that’s electrical. Such solar storms also contain high level of radiation (mostly UV), solar flares and more. In 2012 a solar flare hit the space station TEREO-A, but it came dangerously close to hitting the Earth instead.

Pete Riley, a scientist for Predictive Science Inc. analyzed the solar storm phenomena recorded in the last 50 years and concluded that there is a 12% chance of the Earth actually getting hit by a solar storm by 2030. When this happens, it will firstly disrupt radio signals, GPS coordination units and satellite communications. Next it will disable power grids, as the alien energetic particles causing the breakdown will ultimately be responsible for the ultimate worldwide blackout! The costs of the ordeal are estimated to $2.5 trillion and a full recovery (if possible) will take longer than 15 years.

No matter what’s in store for us, we can’t avoid it. Be prepared for what’s to come, take all the precautions needed and in case of calamity, make sure you are fully stock. Because in the end, it might come down to pure survival.

By My Family Survival Plan

34 Post-Disaster Health Musts to Fight Disease!

34 Post Disaster Health Musts To Fight Disease

Disaster has struck and everything you planned for at its worst, unfortunately, is unfolding right before your eyes. You think you’re ready. You’re armed, educated, in your shelter or bunker and your survival instincts have switched from the first 24 hours to the rest of your life. The question you have to ask yourself now is do you know how to defend yourself or your family from the unseen enemy, because when SHTF, nature’s diseases tend to feast on the sick, the foolish and the unprepared.

Good hygiene isn’t the only thing you’ll need to do to survive. Here are some guidelines for you to consider as you practice and prepare for surviving a really bad day. Let’s break down what to do and why you should do it based on possible sources of illnesses.

 Animal & Insect Attacks

When all hell breaks loose, so do people’s pets. Dogs, cats and every other critter once under control may very well roam free where you are. Since they’re trying to survive just as much as you are, they may be an active threat all by themselves. Stopping a known threat is pretty academic if you were smart enough to put survival weapons in your shelter. Rifles, shotguns, handguns and even archery equipment can do that job if you’re up to the marksmanship challenge and remembered to stockpile ammunition. Besides unavoidable encounters, the CDC says to avoid animals after a disaster, along with any sort of biting or stinging insect. Good advice, but certainly not breaking news. So how do you do that? Keeping critters away, which might not have your same level of dedication to keeping clean and healthy, is paramount. The CDC recommends keeping food sources secure to minimize attracting animals of all kinds, including rats and other animals that serve as hosts for disease-carrying pests.

” … if the water is contaminated, then you have to pick your poison … Do you die from dehydration or do you take your chances with questionable water?”

Minimizing your exposure to dreaded insects like mosquitoes also plays a significant role in reducing your exposure to malaria, West Nile Virus and dengue fever. Officials at the CDC said, “To protect yourself from mosquitoes, use screens on dwellings; wear long pants, socks and long-sleeved shirts; and use insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin. Follow directions on the product label and take care when using DEET on small children.” Some of the things you can do to help reduce the mosquito population are to remove standing water in and around your shelter. Places like abandoned tires, flower pots, pools and flooded areas all serve as standing-water mosquito breeding grounds and should be eliminated whenever possible.

Still, something horrific has happened for you to be in disaster-survival mode and chances are there are going to be animal carcasses around. If you decide to leave your shelter, or worse, if the dead animals are in your shelter already, what are the best ways to get rid of them? The CDC says wearing personal protective equipment like gloves are key, and to dispose of the remains via plastic bags. The CDC also says to call authorities to come get the carcasses, but for our situation, the emergency services, police and other first responders have all collapsed. Dead bodies, animal or human, are a problem, but they’re not the biggest problem facing survivors with regard to the spread of disease if a natural disaster like a flood or super storm is the cause of the deaths. According to The Communicable Diseases Working Group on Emergencies at the World Health Organization (WHO), “The risk of (disease) outbreaks is associated with the size, health status and living conditions of the population displaced by the natural disaster. Crowding, inadequate water and sanitation, and poor access to health services, often characteristic of sudden population displacement, increase the risk of communicable disease transmission.”

Water Dangers

So what is the most important thing survivors should worry about when it comes to staying healthy after a disaster? The WHO again serves as our expert source by saying, “Ensuring uninterrupted provision of safe drinking water is the most important preventive measure to be implemented following a natural disaster.” Why? The reason is the need for water is irrefutable, and if the water is contaminated, then you have to pick your poison, so to speak. Do you die from dehydration or do you take your chances with questionable water? Here are just a few of the most likely water-borne illnesses you might encounter in a disaster situation: diarrhea, cholera, hepatitis A and hepatitis E, and many more. According to WHO documents, an outbreak of diarrhea reached more than 17,000 cases following a flood in Bangladesh in 2004. Terrific.

How do we clean our water if it’s contaminated? The experts at the WHO said, “Chlorine is widely available, inexpensive, easily used and effective against nearly all waterborne pathogens.” Still, the takeaway here is to plan for a clean source of water.

Infectious Crowds

During a disaster, however, bad water isn’t your only pitfall for encountering a deadly disease. Being around crowds of people who are displaced is bad news for your immune system as well. Here are a few diseases, according to the WHO, you can expect if you find yourself amongst quite a few friends who share in your horrible day. Measles can spread like wildfire, especially if immunizations in the region afflicted have gone lax or are even non-existent. Another game-changing illness is meningitis. Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) will rear their ugly head as well because they feast on disaster recovery’s inherently high risk factors.

Wound Care

Rusty nails, dog bites, cuts and other injuries can make you susceptible to tetanus. According to the WHO, “Tetanus is not transmitted from person to person,300x100_smd_02 but is caused by a toxin released by the anaerobic tetanus bacillus Clostridium tetani. Contaminated wounds, particularly in populations where routine vaccination coverage levels are low, are associated with morbidity and mortality from tetanus.” How do you take care of wounds? In best-case scenarios you can seek professional medical attention, but that may not always be available.

Blackout Safety

When the power goes out, whether it’s in your house, on your street or throughout your entire county, there are things you need to be aware of to help fend off life-threating diseases or illnesses after a disaster. With the power out, going to your generator makes sense. If and when you do, be sure to ventilate it so that carbon monoxide doesn’t claim your family before you’ve had a chance to open your bug-out bag. The CDC said if the power is out longer than two hours, throw away food that has a temperature higher than 40 degrees, and of course try to verify that your drinking water is safe to drink.

Remember, if the power goes out it means the power may go out at sewage treatment plants, or other municipal utility services, so even if you are getting your water from the tap after a disaster, verify that it’s clean and safe through proper authorities or your own water quality testing. If the weather’s particularly hot, try to stay cool to avoid heat illnesses.

Prepping For Health

Years of prepping for the apocalypse can be wasted if you don’t respect nature and the dangers you can’t see. You must prepare for diseases, as they can wipe out a lot more than just the elderly. There’s no need to go back to medieval times to see Mother Nature wipe out armies who didn’t practice good hygiene.

According to an article in the 1995 May-June U.S. Army Medical Department Journal regarding the impact disease and illness had on the Soviet Army during its Afghanistan campaign, nearly 70 percent of their in-country military was hospitalized due to some form of illness. “These illnesses included 115,308 cases of infectious hepatitis and 31,080 cases of typhoid fever. The remaining 233,554 cases were split between plague, malaria, cholera, diphtheria, meningitis, heart disease, shigellosis (infectious dysentery), amoebic dysentery, rheumatism, heat stroke, pneumonia, typhus, and paratyphus.”

So, wash your hands. Keep yourself, your food and your shelter clean and ensure everyone you care about practices your same healthy habits. After all, if you think the wait in the doctor’s office is long or expensive now just wait until the end of the world.

Flu Shot

AVOIDING DISEASE AFTER DISASTER

  • Clean up, disinfect and practice good hygiene to avoid illness from bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew.
  • Get medical care if you are injured, sick or having trouble coping with stress.
  • To prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning, only use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline-, propane-, natural gas- or charcoal-burning devices outside and away from open windows, doors and air vents.
  • Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids to prevent heat-related illness.

WOUND CARE 101

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water if possible.
  • Avoid touching the wound with your fingers while treating it (if possible, use disposable latex gloves).
  • Remove obstructive jewelry and clothing from the injured body part.
  • Apply direct pressure to any bleeding wound to control bleeding.
  • Clean the wound after the bleeding has stopped.
  • Examine the wounds carefully for dirt and foreign objects.
  • Gently flood the wound with bottled water or clean running water (if available, saline solution is preferred).
  • Gently clean around the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Pat dry and apply an adhesive bandage or dry clean cloth.
  • Leave unclean wounds, bites and punctures open. Wounds that are not cleaned correctly can trap bacteria and result in infection.
  • Provide pain relievers when possible.

Used with permission from RealWorldSurvivor Website

How To Stay Alive When Lightning Strikes

How To Stay Alive When Lightning Strikes

Lightning is lethal. Fact. In fact, almost 350 people in the United States became victims of lightning strike from the year 2003 to 2012. And although only 10% of these individuals actually died because of the incident, the rest were not able to escape its severe long-term effects. Lightning can strike anytime and anywhere. In fact, a young girl in the Philippines became a recent victim of this as she was sitting outside the balcony of her neighbor’s house while waiting for the rain to stop. It is an unpredictable force of nature. Therefore, we need to prepare if it’s going to strike our area anytime soon. In this post, we are going to tackle this emergency checklist on how to stay alive when lightning strikes and better our chances of surviving when the unthinkable happens.

Lightning is a type of electrostatic discharge that often occurs during a thunder storm. It is produced when the negatively charged air particles in the clouds (particularly, cumulus-nimbus clouds) will react to the positive ion particles in the earth’s surface causing the opposing particles to produce electricity, like in a battery. The electricity will try to reach the ground in flashes, forcing it “branch out” as it heads to the surface with bolts having a charge of about 150 kA which is enough to power 5-6 homes.

Tips To Follow When Lightning Strike Is About To Happen:

We just learned how powerful lightning can be. Now try to imagine this amount of current flowing through your body at an instant… Will you be able to survive? Not likely. So it’s better to be prepared that to be fried-out. Here are some things you need to follow whenever lightning strikes:

  1. Assume the best position – According to the Art Of Manliness, every person can assume a safe position if they are trapped outside and lightning is about to strike and this is called the “Baseball Catcher” position:
  2. Expect the unexpected – When the hair in your body is slowly rising up and you feel your skin is tingling, then this is a sign that lightning is about to strike. Assume the crouch position immediately.
  3. Crouch but don’t lie down – Go as low as you can but NEVER lie down. The lower you are, the better the chances of avoiding a lightning strike.

III. Cover your ears – This will prevent you from suffering possible injuries which can impair your ability to hear due to the loud sound of thunder as the lightning will hit the ground.

  1. Touch your heels together – This will enable the electricity to escape your body as it enters through your foot and exiting on the other.
  2. Extend your feet as high as possible – The balls of your feet should be the only part of your body that is touching the ground. This will lessen the possibility of the electricity to pass through your body after the lightning hits the surface.
  3. Run to a lightning-proof shed or to your car if you still have time to do it – A lightning-proof metal shed or your car is a great protection to avoid the harmful effects of a lightning strike as these objects will act as a Faraday Cage which allows the current to pass through the conductor without even harming what’s inside. The Faraday cage/suit was invented by Michael Faraday when he did experiments about electricity during the 1800’s. Today, electrical linemen employ the use of this device whenever they need to work high-voltage powered environment.
  4. Follow the ‘30-30 rule’ – Don’t be stupid enough to stay outside when a storm is coming your way. Use the 30-30 rule to determine the distance of the storm. To do this, observe the first lightning you can see then count how many seconds until you hear the thunder from your location (which is about 30 seconds or less). If you hear the thunder after 10 seconds, then the storm is 10 miles away from you and is fast approaching. So run away as fast as you can or seek shelter inside a safe area if possible. Once you hear the last clap of thunder, wait at least 30 minutes before going outside again.
  5. Things to avoid during a lightning storm – Seeking protection under a tree is not advisable since it is actually one of the many things that are usually struck by lightning. Aside from that, you need to avoid these object or activities when under a lightning storm:

– Wooden objects

– Electrical appliances

– Vinyl

– Cellular phones

– Open grounds (picnic sites, ball parks, golf course)

– Doing laundry

– Washing the dishes

– Taking a shower

  1. Know the data – According to the National Weather Service, about 2/3 of the fatalities caused by lightning occurred while people were doing leisure activities outdoors. The top 10 outdoor activities where people are likely to be struck by lightning are:
  2. Boating
  3. Camping

III. Fishing

  1. Playing soccer
  2. Swimming at the beach
  3. Farming

VII. Social gatherings

VIII. Motorcycling

  1. Walking beside the street
  2. Doing yard work

Conclusion:

Being informed with this survival checklist can save lives. So learn from it, prep up for this situation as much as you can, and don’t hesitate to share it to your friends so they too can survive whenever lightning strikes their way.

About The Author:

Michael MartinMichael Martin is a former Navy Pilot who believes no matter the circumstance, one should always be prepared. Upon entering the civilian world, Michael spent his time traveling the globe and observing different cultures. Growing up in as the son of a serial entrepreneur it was only a matter of time before he took his love of the outdoors and passion for helping others to new heights by founding Bug Out Bag Pro. As a survivalist & entrepreneur, his vision is to help educate and prepare families everywhere with the information, skills and tools to survive any situation they may face!

How To Survive An Avalanche

How to Survive an Avalanche

Last year, 25 people were killed by avalanches in the United States alone. The number may not sound like much, but that’s 23 more than were killed by sharks last year, and 25 more than have ever been killed by a Yeti.

The victims are typically backcountry recreationalists—skiers, snowboarders, climbers, and snowmobilers. Snowmobilers account for twice as many avalanche fatalities as the other groups, mostly because of their surging numbers, and also because the weight of the snowmobile and rider is greater than that of a person on skis, making them more likely to stress the weak layer in a snowpack and set off an avalanche (the noise isn’t the reason, by the way. The idea that noise can cause an avalanche is a myth). Avalanche victims are often risk takers that set aside safety concerns in the pursuit of their goals, and 89% of them are men.

While the majority of avalanches happen naturally, 90% of avalanche fatalities occur in avalanches triggered by the victim himself, or by someone in the victim’s party. So avalanches aren’t exactly freak accidents, and there is a lot you can do to avoid getting swept up in one and to increase your chances of survival if you do.

Now here in Oklahoma, the avalanche threat hovers right around zero percent. So I called up Sarah Carpenter, an instructor at the American Avalanche Institute in Victor, Idaho to fill me in on how to prepare for, survive, and help a buddy out of an avalanche.

Preparation

Of course the best way to survive an avalanche is to avoid getting into one in the first place! How do you do that?

Education

Avalanches will never be 100% avoidable, but understanding and watching for the elements that make avalanches more likely to occur can significantly reduce your risk of becoming a victim of one.

The factors that increase (or diminish) the likelihood of an avalanche occurring are surprisingly complex; things like weather, sun, temperature, wind, the angle of the mountain’s slope, and snowpack conditions all play a role. And the avalanche hazard level can fluctuate daily and even hourly as conditions change.

Thus, the ability to scout for potential avalanches takes a goodly amount of both know-how and skill. You should be able to do things like measure the angle of the slope and test the stability of the snowpack, in addition to being trained in how to search for a buried victim using a transceiver.

In order to learn this life-saving knowledge and skill set, it is highly recommended that you take an avalanche safety and survival course. And I’m not just saying this because Sarah was so nice and helpful with me! Talk to any mountain or ski guide and you’ll hear the same thing: if you’re going to be heading out into the backcountry, you need to take an avalanche course.

Avalanche professionals make up less than 1% of avalanche fatalities, and the closer you can get to thinking like a professional, the better.

Equipment

In addition to your knowledge and skills, you also need to carry a few key pieces of equipment into the backcountry with you.

Transceiver. Sometimes referred to as a beacon, a transceiver is a radio that both transmits and receives electromagnetic signals. If you’re buried by an avalanche, the signal from your transceiver will allow your partner to find you. But obviously you both must be wearing one, and you need to set your transceiver to transmit when you head out. People have died because they got buried with their transceiver set to receive. Using a transceiver takes skill, so you want to practice with it before your backcountry adventure.

Avalanche probes. Using a transceiver will get you close to the victim, but a probe will allow you to pinpoint him in the snow. The best kind to get are collapsible probes that you put in your pack and assemble like a tent pole. Ski poles that can be screwed together to form a probe are also available. If you lose your probe in the avalanche, try using a long tree branch–it’s better than nothing.

Shovel. Digging with a shovel is almost 5 times faster than digging with your hands, and as we’ll discuss below, the speed with which you can dig is absolutely critical in saving the life of an avalanche victim.

What to Do If You’re Caught in an Avalanche

Sarah says that “If you’re caught in an avalanche, the best thing you can do is try to get out of the avalanche!” Sound advice. How do you do that?

When the Avalanche Starts

If the avalanche starts right under your feet, try running uphill or to the side to get off the fracturing slab of snow. If you’re on skis or a snowboard, head downhill first to gather some speed, and then veer to the side and off the slab. If you’re on a snowmobile, continue in the direction you were going and throttle it off the sliding snow.

If you’re not going to make it out, drop your ski poles, pack, and equipment, and abandon your snowmobile—you want to be as light and buoyant as possible in order to minimize how much you sink into the snow.

dig

Once the snow topples you, “swim” to try to stay on top of the snow. You may have heard that you should swim like you’re bodysurfing a wave, but that will actually take you towards the “toe” of the avalanche (the tip of the avalanche debris) which is the most turbulent zone of the avalanche—not a place you want to be. Instead, you want to roll to your back with your feet pointed downhill. Do the backstroke and try to head uphill. You can also try to dig into the bed surface–the layer the avalanche is sliding on–with your feet in order to slow your descent.

You may have also heard that you should try to crouch behind rocks or trees, but this is a bad idea. Trees and rocks slow snow down, causing it to pile up in that area. Hiding behind a rock will just bury you deeper in the snow.

If you can grab onto a tree, do it. But being able to do so is easier said than done. “Grabbing onto a tree is a lot less likely than it sounds, as avalanches move at a high speed,” says Sarah. “Grabbing trees is possible when the avalanche is first triggered.  It is much less likely as the avalanche gains momentum.” Indeed, avalanches can move at 60-80 mph!

Once the Avalanche Has Buried You

If the avalanche buries you, and you’re still alive, consider yourself lucky. About 1/3 of avalanche victims are killed by trauma; the avalanche can carry you into a tree or over a cliff and the debris it picks up as it storms down the mountain can clobber you.

Once the avalanche stops moving, it will begin to set around you like concrete. So your window for taking any kind of action is very small.

Avalanche2

Immediately create an air pocket by putting your arm across your face—this gives you a little room to breathe. As the snow begins to set up, take a big breath. This expands your chest, which can give you a little extra breathing room as the snow hardens around you. If you’re near the surface, try to reach an arm or leg up to penetrate it; this will obviously make finding you a lot easier.

But which way is the surface? You may have heard about the trick where you spit in order to see which way is up. But you’ll likely be so entombed that this will be very difficult to do, and knowing the direction of the surface won’t help you anyway; unless you’re very near the surface, once the snow sets it’s going to be impossible to dig yourself out.

The big thing is to stay as calm as possible, which Sarah admits is “easier said than done.” But the calmer you are, the slower you’ll breathe and the less quickly you’ll use up the oxygen. Don’t yell either—the snow is so insulating that rescuers are unlikely to hear you.

Now you just have to wait for your buddy to rescue you. Hopefully, he’s prepared.

What to Do if Your Partner Gets Buried by an Avalanche

If you see an avalanche sliding towards your friend, do your best to keep your eyes on him and track where he ends up. Once the avalanche stops, be sure the danger is over, and immediately begin to search for him.

Don’t go for help. It might sound counterintuitive, but one of the worst things you can do for your buddy is hike to a rescue station for help. To survive an avalanche, time is of the essence. There are different sets of data on survival rates, but generally speaking, the best chance of survival is within the first 15 minutes of getting buried; if the victim hasn’t been killed by trauma, he has about a 90% chance of making it if he’s rescued during that window. At 30 minutes, his chances of surviving drop to 45%.

So again, it’s essential to begin your rescue efforts right away.

If you weren’t wearing transceivers, Sarah recommends looking “for clues on the surface–skis/poles/hat/gloves.” “Oftentimes,” she told me, “people are buried in line with these surface clues.  There are also likely burial spots that should be searched with a probe–above rocks and trees, on the outside of the avalanche path if it curves, on benches. These are areas where people tend to be buried, based on the dynamics of moving snow.”

How to Dig for an Avalanche Victim

When you picture yourself trying to rescue your friend from an avalanche, chances are you imagine frantically looking for where he is buried. But locating a victim with a transceiver and probe is the easy part; it’s the digging that takes the longest. In uncovering an avalanche victim, you’re going to have to move 1-2 tons of snow—that’s no easy task.

Thus, understanding how to dig efficiently and effectively is one of the most important keys of avalanche victim rescue.

If the victim is buried under a meter or less of snow, just start digging like a mad man. But if they’re buried in snow that’s over a meter deep, you should employ one of two different digging strategies, depending on how many people you have with you.

If you have a big group of available diggers, use the “V-shaped conveyer belt” method. The rescuers line up like a flock of geese in a “V.” The front person does the digging, and moves the displaced snow just a little ways behind him. The two people behind the digger then push the snow to the people behind them, and on down the line. The front person is rotated every minute or so, so that the digger remains fresh.

If it’s just you and the buried victim, you’ll want to employ the “strategic digging” method.

Avalanche3

When you locate someone with a probe and know exactly where they are in the snow, you don’t want to dig straight down into where the probe is sticking out of the snow. The probe might be at their legs, and when you dig down, you may shovel snow behind you and onto their air pocket, collapsing it. And you’ll end up with a cone-shaped hole that’s not at their airway.

Instead, shift downhill from the probe, about 1.5 times the length of the depth the victim is buried, and start digging into the side of the slope, straight into the buried person. To save more time and energy, shovel the snow out to the side instead of behind you, until the snow rises to your waist—then start moving it downhill. Uncover their face and clear an airway as soon as you can.

If there are two available shovelers, position one just downhill of the probe, and the other downhill 1.5 times the depth of the buried victim. You should both start digging the hole, moving the snow to the side. When you have to lift the snow above your waist, start shoveling it downhill—the digger furthest downhill works on keeping the hole clear as the front digger keeps shoveling into the victim.

Another advantage of strategic digging is that you can create a platform onto which you can pull out and then work on the victim. From this position, it will be easier to clear their airway, perform CPR, and administer first aid, if needs be.

By Brett & Kate McKay – www.artofmanliness.com

A big thanks to Sarah Carpenter for her patience in answering my many, many questions for this article! If you’re looking to take an avalanche course, be sure to check out the American Avalanche Institute. For more than 35 years their seasoned experts have been teaching recreationalists and professionals alike with hands-on courses that are at least 60% field-based.

Additional Sources:

Forest Service National Avalanche Center

National Snow and Ice Data Center: Avalanche Awareness

Strategic Shoveling with Backcountry Access

Illustrations by Ted Slampyak

WordPress Themes