Search results for: 'water storage'

  • 7 Ways to Beat the Heat Without Electricity

    Beat the Heat - Anomalies NOAA

    It’s hot. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last year and last month were the warmest in 135 years. The U.S. had its second-warmest June.

    In extreme temperatures, power companies sometimes struggle to meet demand, resulting in outages and blackouts. About 55 million people in the northeastern U.S. and Canada lost power on August 14, 2003 after a sagging high voltage line hit a tree. Some places didn’t get power back for two days.

    High temperatures cause about 175 deaths in the United States every year. A 1980 heat wave killed more than 1,250 people. Of all natural disasters, only winter’s cold is more deadly.

    “In the U.S., extreme heat may have greater impact on human health, especially among the elderly, than any other type of severe weather,” said NOAA’s “Heat Wave: A Major Summer Killer.”

    Here are seven tips that will help you beat the heat and stay cool should you find yourself without power.


    Stay in the coolest part of the house or in the shade

    Beat the Heat - ShadeWhen it got really hot outside and her power went off, Barbara Benson used to stay in her basement.

    “You really had to,” she said.

    If you don’t have a basement, the north side of a larger building will be cooler than the south side, according to FEMA’s Uncarpeted rooms will be cooler. Keep an eye on the temperature inside. It can become warmer than outside.


    Use the windows

    FEMA suggests covering windows during the day. Cardboard covered by aluminum foil or a reflective blanket works as an inexpensive sunlight reflector. We even have reflective blankets that would also do the job nicely.

    If there’s a breeze during the day, open windows across from each other and put a wet towel in front of the windward side window, suggests Angela Paskett, who writes an emergency preparedness blog. Also open them at night so the draft can cool the house.


    Dress cool

    If you’re in the sun, wear a hat. Sunburns can severely diminish the body’s ability to get rid of heat. Your clothes should cover as much skin as possible and be loose and light colored. Natural fabrics like cotton breathe better than synthetic ones like polyester.


    Drink lots, Eat Cool, and Cook Outside

    Beat the Heat - Fruit Fruit is a great way to beat the heat

    If you don’t have to cook, don’t. Well-balanced, light meals with lots of fruit and vegetables are easier to digest, which produces less body heat and decreases water loss, according to NOAA. If you cook, do so outside.

    Drink water even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, and lots of sugar. Those can cause greater thirst.


    Use water

    To keep her grandchildren cool, Benson built a “Kid Wash,” a PVC pipe contraption with holes punched in overhead pipes. Water flows into the pipes from a hose and drips out like a shower.

    “(My grandkids) love it,” she said.

    Paskett’s blog recommends four ways to use water to stay cool:

    Get in a tub or pool.

    Put a wet towel anywhere you check a pulse.

    Wear wet clothes.

    Use a water-filled spray bottle.


    Check on vulnerable family and friends

    Older people, young children, and people with chronic illness or obesity are at higher risk for heat stroke and death, according to FEMA.

    “Heat cramps in a 17-year-old may be heat exhaustion in someone (age) 40 and heat stroke in a person over 60,” according to NOAA. suggests getting to know neighbors to be aware of those who live alone and might be at risk.


    Recognize heat-related illness

    Humans get rid of heat by sweating and sweat evaporation, pumping blood closer to the skin and panting. When the body can’t get rid of enough heat, or has a chemical imbalance from sweating too much, it goes into heat exhaustion.

    WebMD lists signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion: confusion, dizziness and fainting, dark-colored urine, headache, cramps, nausea, pale skin, profuse sweating, and rapid heartbeat.

    To treat, get the patient out of the heat, give them plenty of fluid and try cooling with water and fans. If symptoms haven’t improved in 15 minutes, emergency medical help may be necessary because heat exhaustion can become heat stroke.

    Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature control breaks down. Core body temperature rises above 105 degrees. Other symptoms include fainting, nausea, seizures and impaired mental state. Heat stroke can kill, so if you feel you’re at risk, call 911 immediately and try cooling strategies like wetting the patient or applying ice packs.


    No matter what happens this summer, make sure you find ways to stay cool and well hydrated.


    - Melissa


    How do you beat the heat? Let us know in the comments below!

    Posted In: Heat Tagged With: heat exhaustion, heat stroke, beat the heat, summer, dehydration

  • Natural Inconveniences - Are You Prepared?

    Now that we’ve re-hashed the super-massive, Pacific Northwest-destroying super-earthquake (courtesy of the Cascadia subduction zone), let’s talk about another, just-as-important earthquake.

    Natural Inconveniences - Tiny Epic EarthquakesIt happened on July 1, 2015 in Nova Scotia, Canada, right in the middle of their Canada Day celebrations. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, and Natural Resources Canada reported there was no damage. After all, “none would be expected” by the small, 3.6 earthquake.

    Wait, so why are we even talking about this small-scale earthquake if it’s of no consequence?

    Because it is.

    You see, many people assume that their area is immune from earthquakes, and so they don’t prepare. But as we can see from this example, earthquakes do happen, even if we don’t think they ever would.

    Mike Springer was at his home when the aforementioned earthquake struck. He was quite surprised at the occurrence.

    “Holy mackerel,” he said, as reported by CBC New. “I didn’t think we had earthquakes in Nova Scotia.”

    Welp, turns out you do. But don’t worry, Mr. Springer, you’re not an anomaly.

    Shortly after the major Nepal quake, an extremely rare 4.2 earthquake shook up Michigan. According to a Michigan Live report, this quake was unusual because “Michigan is not on a major plate.” Which goes to show that we can’t necessarily predict the regions in which earthquakes will occur. Ironically, footage of the shaking was captured on video during a pastor’s appeal to donate to those effected in Kathmandu from the Nepal Earthquake. You can see that video at this link.

    Although both these recent earthquakes mentioned have been small and the effects were moot, it helps us realize that, no matter where we are, we are at risk for a potential disaster. It’s not just the Nepal earthquakes or the Cascadia subduction zones we need to be prepared for. We need to be prepared for the smallest inconvenience. After all, if we’re not prepared for an inconvenient natural disturbance, it could end up being more than just a little proverbial thorn in the side.

    Power Outage with CandlesWith the right magnitude or with the epicenter in the right spot, you could be dealing without power. Do you have your alternate energy sources? Earthquakes don’t wait until it’s convenient. One could strike as you’re getting ready for bed, so if you don’t have an extra light or some source of power, brushing your teeth could be done in the dark.

    Speaking of brushing your teeth…What if a water main broke because of the quake? Sure, you could go without brushing your teeth for a morning or night, but that’s not the best for your teeth – or those around you (no offense, but it’s true for all of us). Having an extra source of water could come in really handy then.

    Essentially, we need to be ready for anything. While you may not think that earthquakes happen where you live, you have just seen two examples of quakes that, according to probability, should never have happened in your lifetime. And yet it did. Fortunately, they were just small ones and no harm was done. But before a bigger one happens that should also never happen, go on out and get prepared.


    How have you prepared for those natural inconveniences?


    Earthquake Banner - Call to Action

    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: Nova Scotia, inconvenience, Earthquake, natural disaster

  • The Desolation of Cascadia...and How to Prepare

    |5 COMMENT(S)

    So, the Pacific Northwest is going to get pummeled by a super-massive earthquake followed by a monstrous tsunami. Worst case scenario, everything West of Interstate 5 will be unrecognizably devastated.

    When I last left you following my latest post about the forthcoming destruction of the Pacific Northwest thanks to the Cascadia subduction zone (check out that article here), I promised to come back and talk about the implications such a disaster could cause. But before we jump into that, let me sum up what we’ve discussed thus far:

    • Cascadia subduction zone - Japan tsunami 2011 Japan tsunami, 2011 - Australian Geographic

      The Cascadia subduction zone is 72 years overdue for a super-massive earthquake, bigger even than what the San Andreas Fault could dish out.

    • FEMA asserts that everything west of the I-5 will be destroyed from Northern California up into British Columbia.
    • A monstrous tsunami will come about 15-30 minutes after the earth stops rumbling.
    • Devastation

    Now that you’re caught up, let’s talk implications.

    Cascadia subduction zone - Hurricane Sandy Power Poles Hurricane Sandy left millions without power

    As reported in the New Yorker article, if this quake were to happen, “the I-5 corridor…will take between one and three months after the earthquake to restore electricity, a month to a year to restore drinking water and sewer service,” and the list goes on. Not taking into consideration the amount of time it would take to rebuild the major infrastructure, it will require an estimated 18 months for health care facilities to come back online. During that year and a half, you’ll want to be prepared to take care of yourself and your loved ones, because emergency services are going to be reserved for the worst-case patients.

    But that’s just around the I-5. Towards the coast, things will be even worse. With a one to three year wait for drinking water and sewage systems to be back in action, you will definitely want a few alternate sources of water. In this case, water filters and desalinators would be a great option, as they are portable and can supply you with clean drinking water even if you have to evacuate your home (which you more than likely will).

    But the setbacks don’t stop there. With that much damage, FEMA expects that U.S. taxpayers will have to cover at least 75% of the damage. They wouldn’t be surprised if taxpayers even had to pay 100% of disaster recovery. Because of this and other massive expenses, “the economy of the Pacific Northwest will collapse.” Even if you live in the worst-hit location, having an emergency food storage will help see you through a season where you may not have any income for quite some time.

    I’ll be honest, the New Yorker article referenced here and in my last post was pretty disheartening. The author went into great detail as to the nature of this disaster, the history of the Cascadia subduction zone, and how the adjacent regions would be effected. It was a well-researched piece of writing, however, and it most certainly stirred the pot. But did it achieve its purpose?

    You betcha.

    It got people talking. As the good men of G.I. Joe say, “Knowing is half the battle,” and that article provided you with 50% of what you need to win against a devastating earthquake. The other 50%? Implementation.

    Cascadia subduction zone Cascadia subduction zone - Carleton College

    In response to the New Yorker article and all the hullabaloo surrounding it, FEMA released a statement in which they didn’t apologize for a single word that was published. Instead, they gave it their proverbial stamp of approval. They also agreed with the masses of commenters in that “the science in the article isn’t new” regarding the Cascadia subduction zone and its threat. This is something we’ve been warned about again and again. Most importantly, however, they are glad the article got your attention. That’s “the first step to get better prepared,” they said, “because you are better informed.”

    Don’t let this discussion be just another meal-time conversation that’s forgotten by tomorrow’s breakfast. FEMA admonishes people everywhere to “take it further by making a family emergency plan and starting your emergency supply kit.”

    You know what’s coming, now go do something to prepare.

    As FEMA suggested, get an emergency kit. We have plenty to choose from, as well as individual items to help supplement your already-existing kits. Do you have an alternate energy source? You should, because it’ll be a long time before you get power back if you’re stuck in the effected region.

    Aside from the traditional preparations – including food, water, and power – one commenter queried how many people knew important phone numbers should they lose their phone? It may be hard to memorize all the numbers you need to know, but there are free apps you can download for your devices, such as CS Matrix It for Android and Contacts to Excel for iOS. These apps will help import your phone contacts to your computer, and from there you can print out your contacts list so you can always have them with you should you need them.

    The Cascadia subduction zone is a real threat, but once again, if you’re prepared you’ll be in a much better position than if you’re caught unawares.

    FEMA did not apologize for the forward nature of the New Yorker regarding this looming disaster, nor should they. They want you to know what to expect, so you can be better prepared. In lieu of that, I would like to reiterate the importance of acting on what you know. You read the article because you were interested. Now that you are aware of what could happen, go and prepare for it.

    Even if you don’t live near the Cascadia subduction zone and the area in question, there are plenty of other disasters that could affect you. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Start preparing today!


    Are you preparing for “the big one” in your area? Let us know how!


    Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake Banner

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Emergency Kits, Planning Tagged With: desolation, cascadia subduction zone, Cascadia, the really big one, the big one, be prepared, Tsunami, Earthquake

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