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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Flooding season is upon us - are you ready?

Original Article

Flooding season is upon us - are you ready?
From:  MooMama

photo credit - Library of Congress

As the snow begins to melt and the spring rains fall our creeks and rivers begin to rise. It's prudent, therefore to refresh our knowledge regarding flooding preparedness and associated safety precautions.

Check to see if your property is eligible for flood insurance and if it is, look into buying some.

Make sure your family has a 72-hour kit ready. These are also called Bug Out Bags (BOB). They typically contain clothing, food, water, personal hygiene items, first aid gear, and some comfort items like toys, games, and books. Imagine spending a long weekend in a shelter and think of what you'd wish you had with you.

Be aware of the weather and conditions in your local area. It helps to tune your radio into NOAA channels if your area is especially prone to flooding.

Know what the different types of warnings mean.

- a flood watch means that conditions might contribute to flooding. Stay tuned to NOAA radio or local radio and television stations.

- a flash flood watch means that flash flooding is possible and you should be prepared to evacuate. Stay tuned to NOAA radio or local radio and television stations.

- a flood warning means that flooding is occurring or will occur soon. If you do get a request to evacuate you'll want to do so immediately.

- a flash flood warning means that a flash flood is occurring. You'll want to seek higher ground immediately - in some cases you'll need to evacuate by foot.

Know what you need to do to secure your home if an evacuation is warranted. If you have advance warning you can do things like bring in outdoor furniture or toys and move essential items to an upper floor of your residence. You'll also want to turn off utilities to your home at the main switches or valves. Disconnect electrical appliances.

Determine in advance what the safest evacuation route would be for your family. Have routes planned from your home and also your place of employment. You want to seek high safe ground free from the possibility of flooding as your evacuation point.

Develop and practice a family escape plan. Have your plan include a safe meeting place for your family to gather. Have a plan in place in case flooding occurs while the parents are at work or home and the children are at school.

Know where emergency shelters are located in your community.

Keep materials like sandbags, plastic sheeting, lumber, and plywood on hand to help provide some emergency protection for your home in case of flooding.

Some flood safety tips:

- do not walk through moving water. Even areas as shallow as six inches can be hazardous. If you must walk through water use a stick or other object to press the ground in front of you to determine if it's safe to continue through the area.

- do NOT drive through flooded areas. If you are stuck in floodwaters, evacuate the car and move to higher ground. Cars are often swept away in rapidly rising floodwaters and it is not advised to remain in vehicles during flooding. Water levels as low as six inches will reach the bottom of many cars and can easily cause drivers to lose control and can stall cars. Water levels of a foot can cause many vehicles to float. Moving water of two feet or more can wash away most cars and SUVs and passenger trucks.

- be cautious and aware of any washed-out roads, loose or downed electrical wires, and fallen objects. You may need to drive very defensively in flooding conditions.

Some links to more information about preparing for flooding:

NOAA's National Weather Service Flood Safety

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes Floods Overview Page

National Weather Service Flooding brochure

A Siren Means PULL OVER, Jerk!

An American ambulance also with all its lights...Image via Wikipedia


Okay, listen up, people. When an emergency vehicle has its sirens on and lights flashing, that means there is an emergency and time is critical. A house may be burning down, someone may be bleeding profusely, a person could be trapped in a burning car, or somebody might be about to get murdered. It might not be happening to you this time, but the next time it could be your house, your deep cut, your accident, or you getting attacked. Whether they are responding to someone else's emergency or your own, the emergency personnel need to get to the scene PRONTO!

That means drivers on the road need to get the hell out of the way. On a two-way road, everyone is supposed to pull over to the right-hand curb and avoid blocking any side roads, driveways, or intersections. Generally if on a divided road - you know, where there is a physical barrier in between the two directions of traffic, only cars on the side the emergency vehicles are on need to pull over. At intersections, pull over to the right (never the left) if possible. If there is nowhere for you to move to get out of the way, then just stop and let the emergency vehicles wind their way through. They have training for this but need the drivers on the road to be predictable.

How will you know if there are emergency vehicles on the road when you're driving? Easy. Pay attention. Stop yakking on the phone, stop texting, stop reading a map, stop cranking up your car stereo, stop applying your make-up, and stop eating that cheeseburger. I know you think you don't have time to do those things except when you are driving but your callous disregard for the task at hand - that would be driving - could very well cost someone their life. Are ya good with that? I'm not!

And while we're on the subject of idiots on the road, jockeying for a better position in traffic while pulling over for a siren and then pulling back out into traffic is so not cool. It's dangerous and could easily spark a road rage incident. Heck, look at how pissed off I am but at least I'm venting my anger in an educational post rather than screaming at other drivers. Okay, I screamed a little but my windows were rolled up.

Are we clear now? Pay attention to your driving when driving and pull over for emergency vehicles.

Basic Blacksmithing Book

Original Article

There is a very good book on making basic tools from such things as re-bar as well as coil & leaf springs.  It is written for rural Africa so I’m not sure how many people will kill and skin a goat to make their bellows, but the other steps in being able to get up and running without much external support.
The book is titled “Basic blacksmithing” by David Harries and Bernhard Heer.  A pdf is currently available here.  I’m not sure of the copyright status of this book, but I was able to find a pdf several places on the internet so it may be pseudo public domain.  The sub-title is “An introduction to toolmaking with locally available materials” and really is a book that starts with the basic blacksmith techniques and tells you how to use metals that can be scrounged from a junk yard.
Some items the book teaches you to make are:
  • Round Punch
  • Hot Chisel
  • Cold Chisel
  • Hot and Cold Sets
  • Tongs
  • Fullers
  • Hammers
  • Axe, Hoe & Knife Making
  • Carpenter Tools

Remember “It’s not the tools that make the Blacksmith, it’s the Blacksmith that makes the tools”.

Stealth Prepping - The Invisible Prepper

Original Article

You may not be able to see them but they are out there. Many preppers are largely invisible to the average person during normal times. They live a fairly normal and routine lifestyle not unlike many of their neighbors. The major difference is that they are prepared for most disruptions to that lifestyle while remaining basically invisible in the eyes of the people around them.

Now this scenario can change rapidly when times get tough. When people are searching out resources for their survival, they can and will notice all the little differences in their surroundings. Many will also be quite desperate and willing to do things that they wouldn’t even begin to consider appropriate behavior under normal circumstances.

Even the most insignificant detail might attract unwanted attention. This can and will be a major challenge for most preppers. If you’re the only house on the block with the lights still on, you might as well put a sign in the front yard telling everyone. They will notice you and this may not be a good thing. Remember to keep and use your essential prep items where they are less likely to attract the attention of the average person.

There are quite few things that can be done to help minimize these differences so that they will be less likely to attract unwanted attention. There are even some extreme measures that may be necessary or required in a worst case scenario. You need to remember that when things get really bad, they are going to get even worse for those who aren’t prepared.

Staying invisible during a crisis is going to be a lot harder than you may realize. It will require taking some extreme measures and not so extreme measures in order to avoid unwanted attention in a crisis.

Staying above the water line!