Posts tagged: hurricane

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

5 Of The Best Radios To Stay Connected In A Survival Situation

5 Of The Best Radios To Stay Connected In A Survival Situation

A serious prepper should not be without one of the best radios in his personal survival kit. And this is because when modern society fails and crumbles (and our means of communications will be amongst the first to go) or if you simply find yourself stranded, you’ll need to keep in touch with the latest news. Information will be vital for your very existence in such a scenario, and your very own survival radio device will get the job done.

So whether hostile armed forces are marching in towards your location or whether a natural disaster is heading your way, you’ll hear it all and have enough time to take whatever precautions are necessary. Choosing a radio for a SHTF situation won’t be as easy as choosing one for everyday life.

These tiny gadgets can be very complex, but their complexity is a plus if anything. You can have radios that are set to pick up certain wavelengths that transmit the status of natural disasters. Some support multiple power sources, some can charge your small appliances (phones, etc.) and others have a crank system that will allow them to work when there is no electricity. Here are some of the best choices that are available on the market.

The American Red Cross FRX3 With Built In Smartphone Charger is a radio made to work indefinitely, despite the fact that there might be no electrical power running through the plugs anymore. Of course, it does have the capability to stay plugged in, but when the plugs fail to deliver, you can use the crank shaft to power up its internal NiMH battery. And if your hand gets tired, you can just point it towards a strong enough light source and the solar panel will do the rest. It’s not just a radio, it’s an intricate device that gets AM / FM bands, all the NOAA (National Weather Service) bands, has a flashlight attached and a USB port to charge up other devices. If you’re the type of person that often losses things, you’ll be happy to know that the Red Cross FRX3 is very hard to misplace, as it has a glow-in-the-dark locator and a flashing red beacon.

American Red Cross FRX3

The Kaito Electronics Inc. KA500BLK Voyager is a radio that is very light, well built and comes with many gadgets that can prove very useful in all sorts of situations. It has many choices when it comes to power sources (AC, Battery, computer, hand crank and solar), ensuring its autonomy in all sorts of environments. The solar panel is situated at the top of the device and it’s adjustable at a 180° angle. This feature is very convenient, as you won’t have to turn the whole device towards light sources. But its strongest feature by far is the array of lightning options you get with this radio device: a flashlight, a red strobe and if these weren’t enough, it also has 5 LEDs for reading light. It gets all sorts of wavelengths (even shortwave broadcasts). And for those of you for whom esthetics matter just as much as anything else, the radio comes in black, red, blue, green or yellow.

Kaito Electronics Inc. KA500BLK Voyager

The Grundig S450DLX is an excellent digital radio device, very strong and reliable. It’s very good especially when it comes to shortwave signals. It has a preset channel function that will allow you to preset you favorite radio channels and to access them with the push of the button; you get 50 slots for preset channels (10 per each band). The large LCD display is clear and easy to read and the knobs work perfectly (both the normal tuning and fine-tuning). It receives a high quality signal, with very little background noise, mainly thanks to its excellent anti-interference. And if somehow you’re still having trouble getting a clear signal, you can attach an external antenna. Aa a power source, it uses DC IN (9V) or 6 D batteries.

Grundig S450DLX

The Epica Emergency Solar Hand Crank Digital Radio is a radio similar to the model used by the Red Cross, except theirs is smaller. Personally, I’m having doubts whether this is a radio or a flashlight first, as the 3 LED lights fitted on this device are very powerful. As power sources, the internal batteries can be charged by USB, hand crank or through the solar panel. The display is easy to read and the radio picks both AM / FM bands, as well as all 7 NOAA weather bands. Most of the device is incased in a rubber-like housing, which acts as a shock absorbent and also waterproofs the circuits.

Epica Emergency Solar Hand Crank Digital Radio

Staying in touch with the world is a must for all of us. But a simple radio just won’t do. As you can see, there are plenty of choices out there for preppers when it comes to survival radios. And there are plenty more models to check out in order to find the “perfect fit” for you. But get your very own radio, and fast. You’ll never know what’s going to happen next.

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

How To Survive Any Disaster Part 2: How To Survive An Earthquake

Italy Earthquakephoto: ehiac.com

I tried to picture how I’d react if my house was just about to crash over me and my family.Just like most people, I’d probably freak out and do exactly what I shouldn’t: run down the stairs to get the kids and then go straight out the door and stop in front of the house, where approximately 100 things can fall on me, starting with the house walls and ending with the tree in my yard.

So what’s a man to do when he realizes he’s not actually as prepared for a disaster as Bruce Willis? Well, I don’t know what you’d do… but I started researching earthquake survival like there was no tomorrow. Here’s a brief of what I found:

What you should do before an earthquake:

– Get informed!Read more articles, books or courses on earthquake survival. And watch some documentaries about the biggest earthquakes in history. You’ll notice a whole lot of deadly mistakes you can avoid.

Tell your family all about earthquake survival. Of course you’ll do everything to protect them if a disaster hits your area, but you’re not a superhero. There are times when you can’t reach your family to provide help. So help them help themselves. It’s the best thing you can do for your loved ones.

Bullet-proof your home. According to The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, here’s what you need to do to get a secure home, that won’t crash on you at the first shake.

  • Bolt bookshelves, water heaters and cabinets to wall studs.
  • Anchor things so they don’t move or fall during an earthquake.
  • Move cabinets and tall furniture to keep them from falling on you or other family members. Anchor them to studs in the wall with steel angle brackets.
  • Put heavy or breakable things on bottom shelves. You can even put “fences” or restraining wires to keep items from falling off open shelves.
  • Put child-proof or swing-hook latches on bathroom and kitchen cabinets.
  • Use screw-eyes or tongue-in-groove hangers to mount mirrors or pictures instead of hanging them on nails.
  • Be sure that ceiling fans and light fixtures are well anchored or have earthquake safety wiring.
  • Anchor computers, televisions, stereos and like items with heavy duty Velcro, at home and at work.
  • Strap your water heater to anchor it to wall studs. In California, water heaters being securely strapped is a building code requirement.
  • Do not assume that anything is too heavy to move in an earthquake. When the ground is going up and down in waves, it bounces even the heaviest equipment into the air.

Enough survival techniques for today, hope you’ll start using them to protect your family against disasters. I’ll be back with more earthquake survival strategies next time, so make sure you don’t miss it! Might save your life one day.

How To Survive Any Disaster Part 2: How To Survive A Flood

How To Survive Any Disaster Part 2 - How To Survive A Flood

How To Survive A Flood

As promised, today we’re going to cover flood survival. This is the most frequent disaster in the US, so knowing the right techniques to anticipate and survive a flood is absolutely mandatory.

Now you may be thinking: “It’s the most frequent disaster in the US, surely I know how to protect myself from a flood!”, but I’ll let the facts speak for themselves: every single year, floods kill more than 100 people and cause more than $4 BILLION in damages (according to the Red Cross).

If people were really prepared the right way for this common natural disaster… do you think there would be so many losses (lives and valuables)? The problem is people live under the impression they know what to do in case of a flood. After all, the country is filled with those ludicrous leaflets that show you what you need to do when you hear the flood warning. My personal favorite: leaflets that look like a comic strip, to make it more “appealing”.

Let’s be serious, that’s all BS. The same outdated info on a tiny piece of paper. That’s not gonna save your family when a flood hits your town… So let’s get to “the real deal” and list some techniques you can actually use:

#1: Estimate Damages

According to Abhishek Agarwal, the survival expert,this is the first step you should take in planning your survival.

It shouldn’t take you more than an hour, so you can do it today, if you’ve got the time. Just imagine the worst case scenario: a major flood hit your town. Your house is under continuous attack by raging waters. What are its soft spots? List the places where water is likely to infiltrate inside. Write down what could happen when water gets into you house (you could get electrocuted, your floor might get swollen, you could lose your electronic devices, you may have pets trapped inside the house etc.).

Then think about the outside of your house. What happens if the tree in your backyard falls on your roof? What becomes of your garden if it gets soaked in water for a couple of weeks? Brainstorming with your family is the best way to cover as many things as possible.

Then, it’s time for financial assessment. Write down how much you’d have to pay if the worst case scenario actually came true. Then calculate how much it would cost you to prevent each problem. If it’s cheaper to prevent them, then start investing, little by little. Take your time and cover everything one by one.

#2: Be annoyingly curious

This means you should always keep a close watch on flood information, whether it’s on the Internet or your local planning agency. Actually, it’s best if you do your research both ways: search the net for the flood “calendar”, listen to the radio as often as you can and be the first to hear the flood warning… and go annoy the hell out of your local planning agency workers. Ask them as many questions as possible. You may not be their favorite guy there, buy, hey, better safe than sorry.

#3: Involve your community

A collective effort is generally more successful than an individual one. To make a stronger survival plan, you’ve got two options:

– If your community has an official survival plan in case of floods, make sure your strategies are aligned with it. Swimming against the stream is not exactly the best decision in this case, so ask your local agency all about the survival plan and take it into consideration when you start planning yours.

– If your community doesn’t have a survival plan in case of floods, make one yourself and share it with as many people as possible. When a flood is about to hit your town, they’ll come to you for help and you can work together to fight the disaster. Remember never to underestimate the power of a community!

#4: Always keep a 72-hour bug-out bag at hand

At the first sign of warning, your can jump into your car and take your kids out of town until it’s over.

ATTENTION: You should never leave your house when the flood has already started or is about to start! You should only flee your home a day before due date.

#5: Protect important documents

This is a crucial measure, as documents are pretty hard to replace (and quite expensive, too). Make sure your documents are locked in a waterproof container, somewhere at hand. During the disaster, keep them as close to you as possible, even if you leave town to your safe haven.

However, if another person (may it be family, neighbor or complete stranger) is in danger and needs your total attention, forget about the documents. After all, they’re just fancy pieces of paper, right?

Next on “How to survive any disaster”: earthquakes. Stay safe!

How to Survive Any Disaster

hurricane-isaac-pounds-louisiana-coast photo source: www.usatoday.com

Part 1: How to survive a hurricane

Ever since Hurricane Isaac was rumored to hit the US, a lot of “How to survive Hurricane Isaac” articole starting flooding the Internet (pun totally intended!). And I sincerely salute this initiative, as it could save millions of lives… if the articles were perfectly correct and not misleading, of course.

Now, I’m not saying ALL the information I’ve read in the past few days is wrong. I’ve read many useful survival strategies (some that I didn’t know myself), but I’ve noticed some rookie mistakes, too, and that worried me a bit.

I mean, if you really want to help someone survive a disaster, at least make sure you’re actually helping them and not making matters worse. Especially since people are most prone to deadly mistakes when they panic. And who doesn’t panic when everything’s on the line (your family, your friends, your pets, your home)?

In this kind of extreme situations, one tiny mistake is enough to crash all your survival plans (if you have them in the first place) and turn you into a living bait. So, at the risk of repeating myself, let me remind you of the Golden Rule of survival:

Always Be Informed!

And I’d also add: make sure the information you read is correct.

Now let’s get to some tips on hurricane survival. More exactly, to the mistakes you need to avoid if you want to get out safe and sound.

Deadly Mistake #1: I heard the warning, but I’m going to stick around till it the weather starts acting out.

This one is the first and most common mistake. People tend to take things less seriously than they should and not realize how much they put at stake for not fleeing the house when they should.

The moment you hear a hurricane warning, just pack up your stuff or take your ready-made bug-out bags and get out of town! Do not endanger yourself and your kids just because “the weather seems lovely”. In two hours’ time, the storm can devastate your house and you won’t even know what hit you. We’re talking about nature here and we’ve got enough proof of its force with Hurricane Katrina, so let’s not repeat that mistake again!

Remember: better safe than sorry.

Deadly Mistake #2: I’ve got time to prepare later, it’s not like it’s going to strike today, right?

Here’s something I’ve seen way too many times: you hear the warning on tv, THEN you go prepare. That’s a huge no-no, because that’s when everyone else starts preparing, too. This means supermarkets will be cramped with people hurrying to buy food and water. And the best window protections will be already long gone when you get to the store.

You need to be one step ahead everyone else and already be prepared for any sort of disaster. All you need is a 72-hour bug-out for you and your family members, a 7-day stockpile, a small generator (usually, the grid breaks down during hurricanes) and strong window protections. If you plan ahead, you won’t have to break your bank account or fight for the last loaf of bread. Be smart and get ready the right way!

Deadly mistake #3: I’ll just tape the windows to make sure they won’t break

This is like saying a wooly hat will protect you in case of a car crash. If you want your windows to be 100% secure, get some rock-solid shutters. Just think about how much you risk if your windows crash: your whole home turns into a whirl that eats everything up. Including you and your loved ones.

And don’t just take my word for it. Dailypress.com warned people about this silly habit of taping windows to make them hurricane proof. Apparently, it’s a common “protection measure”.

Deadly mistake #4: The weather’s getting really bad, I’ll drive out of town before it’s too late.

You’ve got two options here: you either flee your town right after you hear the warning, or you lock yourself in the house and make the last preparations for the hurricane. There is no other alternative. Especially not getting in your car and driving away when you’ve got a hurricane behind you. These things will hit you like nothing you could possibly imagine! If you’re unlucky enough to get right in the middle of things, you’re as good as dead.

So if you didn’t leave when you were advised to do so, then take this option off this list until the hurricane’s all gone and the roads are clear again.

Deadly mistake #5: It’s just going to come and go, like any other hurricane. Tomorrow it will probably be gone already.

Sure, that might be true, but you may still be stuck with torrential rain, floods, closed roads, empty supermarkets and (maybe) with some damage to your house.

So my ultimate advice is: never underestimate natural disasters such as hurricanes. Even if it’s not as destructive as first estimated (see Hurricane Isaac), it can still make a lot of damage. And you need to be prepared for everything, even the aftermath of a disaster.

So make sure you’ve got enough food, water, meds and power for as week or so. Just in case.

These are the most common mistakes people make when dealing with a hurricane. Next time, we’ll cover another disaster that frequently happens in the US: flood. So stay tuned and stay safe!

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