Sunday, December 16, 2007

ICE4SAFETY has a New Website!

Yes we do!

More functional than before we will be making it even easier for groups to find materials and tools to help their communities bring ICE to the masses....still FREE.

Hang in while we bring everything back online...feel free to visit of course and send your comments via our user interface and easy links. Thank you.


Friday, November 23, 2007

ICE NEWSLETTER - Template Available NOW!

ICE4SAFETY ICON - Universally More Recognizable

Hard to argue that amongst all the myriad of confusing or hard to recognize symbols applied to various commercial products the ice4safety icon stands out the best. We have looked at them all and for one reason or another they attempt to emulate the original NHTSA "Star of Life" emblem - some with downright infringement - others with poor color choices.

Worst part? You can't use them unless you buy something! We'll keep coming up with more ideas on how to do it yourself.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Preparedness Tip - Flashlights Part 1

Depending on what your plan of action is in case of an emergency and where you might be at the time and where you plan on going - if you can do so, having a dependable light source is essential. Most commercial "survival kits" found online are just garbage with 50 cent flashlights.

Let's try and drill down here so you don't waste a lot of time and effort in acquiring the wrong tools and ending up in a world of poo.

Keep in mind that every item you acquire for the purpose of being prepared should have more than one use - same with flashlights. That said, if you have more than one type of light and they use more than one type of power source (other than say crank powered lights) you need to reassess. If you live in cold climates and need a reliable light it must be powered by batteries that work in and can be stored in cold temperatures without loss of charge.

Remember batteries work by a controlled chemical reaction...the colder it is the less reaction is going on. Lithium and lithium -ion batteries work down to 40 below and can remain charged up to 10 years ( I have some still charged going on 17 years!) There are some batteries that will not work until they are twisted to start up the reaction (Code Red) and these can store 20 years. But to keep it simple (KISS) having a light that requires little effort to turn on is best - you may be injured and have limited use of your hands.

Large deer jacking spotlights with cords or 6V lantern battery lights are heavy and while provide large amounts of light, are simply too big. Old fashioned 2 cell D lights and bulbs are out as well - too fragile. Miniature know the answer - with the exception of Innova MicroLights and Princeton Tec key chain lights or a Princeton Tec Blast Light....carry them always.

Rechargeable lights are great tools for cops and fire/ems as they need them every day. Maglite, Streamlite, Laser Products, Pelican are some well made (and expensive) lights. Innova Lights are hard to break and offer economy and performance using lithium batteries and LED's that will last forever. Some lights are waterproof and others weather resistant...make sure you know what you want...and are willing to pay for. Cheap imitations are just imitations and when you really need them...they generally fail. Carrying spare bulbs can add weight as they require protective containers to store the bulb and reflector as one unit. LED's are permanent.

Rechargeables usually last about an hour to an hour and a half unless you pay a lot more for heavy units that can last up to 5-6 hours....firemen carry these. Laser products offers plenty of models in small sizes and also lithium models that are pretty much top of the line - I have had the original 6P model since they came on the market in the 80's and it still uses the original bulb. The military and police services use these a lot as well. Drawbacks - battery drain is high and if you are not disciplined in using the light you will have a dead lamp real soon.

You can choose to carry a lot of CR123 photo batteries - and they are cheaper now....and the batteries come in a rechargeable RCR123 charging can take some time (especially in the northeast) and there is weight again...but may prove useful if you use this in conjunction with a RCR123 powered UV Steripen for water purification....don't rely on multiple battery platforms or you will go crazy trying to keep them all powered.

First Choice.....Innova 5 LED Lithium powered lamp at about $34 average at Brigade Quartermaster or Target stores. They have a lanyard so you can hand in a shelter and will last 20 hours on one set of batteries - plenty for a 3 day bug out. You can get a case of twelve CR12 Batteries for about $20 or less....Carry one in your car(s) and purse and bug out type bag with some spare batteries wrapped in a paper tube or suitable--- protection so you can find the batteries and use the paper to start a fire or write a note. The light is bright enough especially in total darkness but it is not a spotlight. Carry on your belt or in a pocket.

Need a spotlight using halogen lamps...then spring for the Surefire 6P or G2 Nitrolon in Polymer -$36. Get the Yellow colored version so you can find it after you drop will drop it... There are high output bulbs for the Surefire lights that only work for about 20 minutes on a set of batteries - don't get those. Maglite and Streamlite make a stun strobe light that is super bright but good only for police work or home defense. Let's not be dreamers here thinking we will be lighting up the Super Dome.

Gadgets cost money and take up space and are heavy.

Remember you want a light that is unobtrusive, durable and can work for long periods of time.
Always have a key chain light on your key chain or bag...they have 2 light levels and a strobe...imagine that. You will use these all the time once you have them. Good.

If you opt for something different...a headlamp is a good idea. You can power these in a variety of ways...AAA, CR123's, AA, is on your head so think about weight. Belt power packs are too cumbersome. 1 Watt LED bulbs are plenty bright. Black Diamond, Princeton Tec , Petzyl, are good brands. Brigade has some good lamps ...

In summary: small, durable,LED, Lithium powered, simple on/off with push button. More later.

Read About ICE4SAFETY from Around the World

Some Quick Links from the USA and Europe about ICE...more to come...

Italian Red Cross Website

How about the North River area near Chicago supporting ICE

Boca Raton Florida support of ICE

Munson Health Care, Traverse City, MI

Delaware Citizen Corps

Sites You'll Like

Traverse City Record-Eagle

Midlothian Texas - DFW's Southern Star - Free ICE Stickers at City Hall


Chesterton Health Info

Skokie Valley Power Squadron - Running Lights Newsletter

Rocket Madness Motorcycle Gear

More to Follow....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Programming ICE - Cell Phones - Detailed Advanced Lesson

There have been many requests for information on how to program your cell phone and what other options might be available to people wanting to be prepared. You can copy and paste this info to help others or read it and do it.
In the safety biz it is called a "Tool Box Talk"... so consider it so.
If you are not a tech-savvy problem...we can take this in small doses....
Many new phones that you receive from the major carriers or large stores offer a variety of services you may not want or ever use that can get in the way of making a simple phone call!
Phones now have at least two places where information can be stored. Some basics.
One storage device is a SIM CARD (subscriber information module) found on today's mostly GSM Phones- a little plastic device that normally resides under the battery and is about the size of a fingernail.
Each provider "locks" their phone so only their SIM works with their phone. Phones can be "unlocked" so you can use a SIM from any provider in any phone. Why you might need this tidbit of info is because you might want to change phones or SIM's and find they don't work and may be wondering why.
(Find out more about SIM cards and locked phones in greater detail at: )
You can store about 250 phone numbers there. Your phone will allow you to save your phone numbers here so that if you decide to change phones at some point - you can remove the card and plug it into another phone and not lose the phone numbers. Convenient.
Additionally, you can opt to save phone numbers (your "address book") in your cell phone memory itself - sort of like the hard drive of your phone. Is there an advantage to this? Yes. If your card fails or it is lost due to accident or dropping (it could happen) or you forgot to put it in your phone because for some reason you change phones (yes, that happens too) then you will have a back-up (like that hard drive again) of the important phone numbers - like ICE CONTACTS resident on your phone's memory! Not sure if it will be able to access the service but the contact info will be on board still.

Okay, is there a third storage method - yes....a small SD Card might reside in your phone to help you store pictures taken with your phone camera (more on that in a second) and video and music downloads. You can store data here and pictures/video and music...but it is generally too difficult for someone to find Emergency Contacts needed in a hurry....please remember that point and the KISS principle in play here. What we can do with this feature if you have it is to store a picture of yourself there and label it "PHONE OWNER" in case the phone is lost or stolen.
You can also take a picture of yourself and use it as the background display for your phone - in some situations like a job site where English is a second language it may be practical.... Some phones have video capability as you could create a short video that someone could view -but in an emergency it won't happen...later on it might be possible but the likelihood is low. An option certainly...but as a first responder I won't be looking at it - no way.
Another good idea is to upload the ICE graphic and use this as a background display and one that displays on the phone cover during opening and closing. Can't problem if you have a camera then take a picture and import it as your display does work when you open the phone - voila' there is ICE. This is another way to increase the chances someone looking in your phone will know it is ICE'd !
If you really want to keep it simple and don't think programming is for you then you could look into a Jitterbug Phone - 3 buttons 911/Tow/Operator......yes, an you remember them? Go to and get more info. These phones are louder and have bigger buttons and simple controls for making phone calls.
Back to the complex stuff again....we will save Blackberry type phones and the newer I-Phones for another day. You may hope that those helping you are savvy enough to use your phone - if not you might better carry and ICE is great but when things go bad - simple rules!
Okay, so now you know you can program phone numbers into both the SIM Card and the Phone Memory and use picture and videos to store info about yourself on your phone and set the background to show your face or the ICE icon and a start up message that says "EMERGENCY CONTACTS IN PHONE" which will pop up when the phone is turned are on your way.
All phones being different, you will want the ICE Contacts to show up first and foremost when the phone address book is accessed.....if you list as ICE MOM or ICE will have to access the "I" part of your phones address book.....try listing this way:
AA ICE EMERGENCY - this will show up on top and scroll across the screen. An icon will tell you that it is stored into either the SIM CARD or the Phone Memory (or both - you want both remember) don't assume everyone knows what ICE means - they DON'T....yet.
You can store more than one number in a group titled as Emergency Contacts or list them separately in order of importance (like who would be more likely to be available).
AA1 ICE EMERGENCY will place this ahead of others then use AA2 ICE Emergency etc....
Another way is to use a symbol like an asterisk (*) in front of the text entry which dictates it goes to the front of the address menu. It works but if you can store the above text - do it...remember in an emergency people are rushed and confused or in might be YOU using your own phone...maybe you are having a psychological issue and not a medical one and need help...try not to let others dictate, pigeonhole or limit the potential of this concept - you will see this from the usual outlets of marginal info. Not here.
Don't forget to let your contacts know about their being on your contact list and just what that do you have a DNR Order on file or are you an organ donor or you have certain medical conditions or religious practices you want adhered to.
Okay, let this suffice for today and I am sure someone might have more ideas and a trip to the Verizon or AT&T store will reveal new products with contact options built in ...Hope this helps everyone with a cell phone.

Monday, November 19, 2007

ICE - Start Your Own Emergency Vial Program

Using the ice4safety VersaCard you can create your own Emergency Medical Information Program for Seniors, Nursing Home Safety Programs and Shut Ins if a large Drug Chain isn't subsidizing an ad campaign to get more business in your area. Even if they are you can do it yourself.

Remember ICE is a free DIY concept.

You can use the ice4safety VersaCard on your home or apartment entry doors and then place an ICE Medical Card on your person or even stick it to the refrigerator door....maybe you prefer EMS not go through your refrigerator unless they need to retrieve some medications.

Meal on Wheels Programs are a good way to distribute these stickers and people can be set up in mere minutes. The picture here shows an ICE Medical Card front and back in a side by side Clear Vinyl Stick on Envelope.

This can be stuck on your wall or refrigerator or on your wheel chair or walker if need be.

Not sure on how to get started...send an email and we can get you going in a snap....more ideas on the burner awaiting time to enter in the blog.....plenty of nursing homes have contacted to get info and CD's to start their own programs.....just takes a moment. Still free....

Sunday, November 18, 2007

ICE - Winter Ski Safety

Let's talk briefly about ski safety today...

130,000 kids are injured every year in snow ski related accidents and most deaths while skiing can be attributed to head injuries....Lesson 1....Wear a Helmet.

Skiing injuries are on the increase, but by using a helmet you can reduce your rate of injury by about 53% say the experts...Lesson 2..... Wear a Helmet. Check out Lids on at for more info on this important topic.

Most if not all ski areas are in more remote locations and have volunteer ambulance corps that respond to emergencies...some mountains might have professional crews on site already during peak times....some mountains may have more extensive first aid capabilities....some may not.

When was the last time you sent your kid off skiing/boarding assuming emergency crews or hospital ER staff knew how to contact you or another relative in the event of a serious injury? Sometimes the nearest hospital itself may be 30-60 minutes out....if you are still thinking about it, you might recall from earlier blogs that on average it takes 5 hrs and 51 minutes for someone (you) to be notified in the event of an these folks on ski patrols are a pretty sharp bunch no doubt...and are there in a snap doing what they train repeatedly to do and are right there skiing on the mountain....but they could also benefit from your being more prepared.

If your school ski program has you fill out a liability waiver and emergency medical/contact info sheet that someone else inevitably carries with them on the ski trip...wouldn't it be a better idea to have each child also carry ICE info on their person?
If the school monitors are out of communication ( real easy) with the ski patrol or the lodge office when they find your child...why waste time? Got special medical needs....maybe your child has an alert bracelet that requires you to call an 800 number...more delay....RFID chips?....okay you have them built into your North Face Jacket but that's great if you are lost in an avalanche....not too many of those out east....and if they work.....

Lesson 3 ....Get you school ski club or ski hill to Sponsor ICE and give out the stickers and cards so everyone is on the same page - like how much is this going to cost.....about 20 cents each. Add in a few lessons about the National Ski Patrol's Resonsibility Code at
For sure...take some time and get more acquainted with your school's safety procedures while on the mountain and how those entrusted with your child's safety are trained to respond in an emergency.....and learn more about the relationship between the mountain and the Ski Patrol itself.....or become a Ski Patroller - an investment in time but a good one (if you like to ski).
Plenty of time left this season....have some fun knowing you're a bit more prepared.....In Case of Emergency.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Preparedness Tool Box Talk - Public Utility Shutoffs

Okay, another simple tip here....water lines and gas lines to your home (if you own a home or live in one) in most parts of the country are underground. The shutoffs to these lines are usually located underground and adjacent the roadway as well.

That being the case for many, you can reduce your chances of your house being flooded or filled with gas doing some advance preparation. Instead of waiting for the water utility person (on call) in your area to show up when your incoming line is broken or your internal water shutoffs don't work to contain a leaking water pipe, get to know where the external shut offs are located.

Mark them as would the underground utility locator would (picture) with the APWA Uniform Color Code colors. Learn to recognize what they stand for. That will help the utility folks find them if they get there before you do! Also note that if your shutoff is located with your meter outside your home at the foundation or on your front lawn....get yourself a wrench that specifically fits over the shutoff valve. Teach your family where it is and how to use it. Locate the wrench prominently in a place marked to contain emergency equipment (there's that ICE idea again...). Paint the valve using the appropriate color code above.

Your utility company might stop out free if you request them to "work" the valve by closing it off and on a few times if you haven't done this in recent memory. That way if you have to do in an emergency it will work and it will lessen the chance of you forcing the valve and breaking it - making your problem worse. You can work it yourself periodically to make sure it works easy when needed.

The underground gas shutoff is fairly easy to access. If you improved your landscaping and covered the shut off...find it and mark the location...the valve itself is down in a small shaftway and it might be covered with dirt and debris...use a flashlight as the shut off is reflective. If you can't see it then you need to clean out the access to the valve....don't think it is going to be easy to fix when there is an emergency and maybe your house is going up in flames. A strong vacuuming may just do the trick.

Building a shroud around the shut off if it is below grade may be in order....some PVC with a cap and colored yellow would work...keep it below the lawnmower blade or you will have created an unsafe condition.

Underground water valve wrenches can be obtained at plumbing or hardware supply stores or even Lowe's. Gas shut off's for underground may have to be crafted from a water shutoff because no one want to sell you an underground shutoff. Certainly not the utility as they are afraid you would turn the gas back on after you failed to pay.....

If you have a propane tank outside make sure everyone at your home knows how to shut off the valve and any heaters you have that vaporize the fuel. Some folks use reclaimed water in their neighborhoods....find out more about where they are located and how they are used.
If you have sewer lines in your area that rely on pumps to move the effluent....ask what would happen if those pumps failed for a long period of time...maybe it will be a localized overflow or a major to know ahead of time for a variety of good reasons. Crews with generators that show up at sewer pump stations or manholes when the power goes out would indicate an important (and maybe large) conduit for sewage is traveling nearby.

Both tools might cost about $10 although I got one for 99 cents on clearance. Get your measure out and see if you have the correctly sized tool. Yeh, it could be a pain, but so would shoveling up or sopping up all your burnt belongings....

Friday, November 9, 2007

Minimalist Preparation Tip - Kit in a Can

Some skeptics think they will never find themselves in a predicament they couldn't overcome.....they have watched all the Survivorman episodes on TV and are all set. We all know one or more of these people and they may even be close relatives....well the folks at Coghlan's must know them as well because they put this mini kit together in a sardine can.
Give or take about 28 items in this lightweight and compact kit. If you really hate the thought of assembling or carrying anything larger - maybe your spouse or kids hate it as could potentially have them "hold" this for you next time you venture outdoors...or leave it in their glove box, console or purse....about $12 in stores or from Camping Survival online as well...
TSA won't let you carry this onto the don't try it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Vehicle Safety - Emergency Flares - Prep Tip 1

So, how many of you reading this can actually say you have a set of road flares in your vehicle? Not many I will venture. If you did would you know how to use them? Are you familiar with setting up a pattern behind your disabled vehicle?
We have had these spectacular items in our vehicles for 6 months now ...they are the modern equivalent of a road flare - minus the burning, smoke, burnt pants and fingers....if you have set up a lot of flares on the highway you know what I mean.
These little LED lights are bright and have magnets so they can attach to your vehicle in a variety of configurations if you are broken down along the highway. They are amber or red and are powered for 20 hours (versus 30 minutes max for a road flare) in the flashing mode and 6 hours of steady-on mode by only 2 AA batteries.
Some people insist on leaving their car flashers on before they take a hike to a service station or exit only to find that upon returning they now had to deal with a dead vehicle battery.
I recommend using lithium batteries to power the flares as they will remain viable for up to 10 years - maybe longer than your car or SUV. They are designed to be set up on the roadway as well and are crush resistant.
They are called FlareAlert and can be purchased in many auto parts, marine and truck part stores or online at We have seen them priced from $6 to $15. You will note the sticker over the battery compartment indicating a vehicle registration they can be traced back to you by the police if they choose to return any you may have left behind. If you can get them on clearance - get 6 for your car.
A more expensive police version of these are TurboFlare 360's but they cost $35 each. At that price, I'd feel bad if someone "borrowed" these from the scene.

Friday, October 26, 2007

California Fires - Fire Fighting Option

We are taking a giant leap here and offering an idea on how to save your own structures during one of these California brush fires....and there is a report of at least one person who prepared in advance - a former forestry school instructor from Syracuse who learned how to fight fires as well while living out west. He cut out the brush near his house and applied thermal gel to his home to prevent the flying embers from starting his home on fire. So far so good.
The question might reasonably be asked why other people with similarly expensive homes did not make the same investment of $326 for a case of fire resistant thermal gel concentrate and a 3/4 inch water hose - all premixed and ready to go. Maybe water pressure would drop or be low so having a water supply and/or a pump to boost the pressure would be in order.
You might equate this to a person living in Central New York having a snow blower and food on hand for the inevitable heavy winter storm.
This stuff has been around for years - one product is called Barricade. It is a hydrating polymer gel that creates a thermal barrier against fire and can satisfactorily applied on vertical surfaces (like your house) and made of metal, wood, stucco and glass. It can even be applied to fuel tanks, vegetation and your vehicle.
We have to ask just how many of those 1500 or so homes that were lost might have been saved if they had been treated prior to evacuation? Or if people stayed in place - when they could. People living in these areas might have benefited by learning some fire fighting skills like the professor and investing in some equipment.
Once again, self reliance, common sense and preparedness would have mitigated the losses.
Check out this Barricade Thermal Gel Product at this link....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Just a little reminder or new info for first timers funds are accepted on these sites and there is no advertising either. Did you happen to notice that fact? This still is an entirely free DIY project.

There are now those who would like to capitalize on years of someone's hard work to keep this info free just to make a quick buck - at your expense.

You want to promote it and give it away or use it for your personal preparedness - just fine. You misappropriate it and use it on a product to make money -then you will most likely get a call and then a subpoena.

California Firestorm - October 2007

Latest information that continues to change is that one half million people have been displaced by these fires in California....400,000+ homes evacuated and over 400,000 acres of land scorched with over 1400 homes or businesses lost to the It keeps getting larger.

This is an area not unfamiliar with these types of incidents.....luckily many were prepared to leave...but not all and those poor souls interviewed on TV claiming to have had only an hour notice to pack and get out....were painful to watch. No sane, rational person enjoys seeing others suffer.

So, if you figure you can get your whole life packed up in an hour then have at it....more reason to prepare ahead of time...these evacuees are finding out that their temporary stay in sports stadiums and the like may prove to be a bit longer than anticipated.....many were observed carrying their belongings in paper bags..... this from people who lived in mansions and in fire prone areas.

Too much tree brush left behind because of environmental laws prohibiting clearing now increases the threat and fuels the fires...nature just took care of this itself. Living on the edge of a desert that has been known to dry up and catch on fire regularly - is not too smart. Call it like it is - great view but you risk losing everything. At least one life has been lost so far...

Now reports have it one or more fires were started by an arsonist. Nothing new there. Another story has a detained terror suspect telling the FBI in Denver this June that they planned to start numerous fires out west in several states and then leave the country. Plausible not hard to accomplish and perfect for terrorists.

In any event, you have a catastrophe, both man made in many respects and naturally occurring. Plenty of state and federal resources on hand working in unison with relief agencies this time to handle the situation and a competent Governor - not like the Katrina mess. National Guard has plenty of assets on hand and the Marines at Pendelton stand ready to help when/if called.

This may not be the case when you find yourself in a situation - it may be more localized or even more devastating and help less available. Still preparation - mentally and physically is key.
Expecting others to serve your every need is an unrealistic expectation - unfortunately one that our younger generation has come to expect.

Does anyone still need more incentive to have a plan and supplies on hand ready to go? How much fun do you think living in that tent at the stadium is going to be shortly? How safe as well? So far it looks good but lots of work will need to be done. Katrina was and is still a mess - sloppy planning/corruption and devastation.

So, no - don't go and hold up in a corner of your house and hide. Schedule in some time to assess your risk potential and take some assertive steps to ensure your family's survival when/if those risks play out. Good luck and to you all.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

ICE Sticker Uses - Prep Tip 1

Just a few uses for the new ICE VersaCard Sticker.....key word - versatile.....need to access those Pandemic Supplies or you are in a hurry to local emergency info in a refrigerator? Need hurricane prep tools or rescue tools....but the person getting them doesn't know what they look about marking them with the ICE Sticker.....during an emergency your focus will narrow and in panic will end up in tunnel vision so cognitive abilities will be limited....keep everything simple....and prepare ahead of time....if the emergency is taking place you are too late.....

Construction job sites....Name Tag and ICE Sticker on helmet signifies emergency contact and medical info are located inside in case of an accident or illness on time to waste calling the office to look up some paper file while the office manager is out sick or on lunch.....have it with you as a part of your Emergency Action Plan. Plenty of seal up type pouches that will stick to the inside of the helmet to secure the info

As a communications tool, it can be used to help people locate essential emergency equipment and supplies - especially those who might be in a better position to help you out. Got your files backed up and the CD amongst all your other disks.....maybe not the best idea you've about prominently marking which one to take from your media or burglar safe?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Communication - Prep Tip 3 - Emergency Notification Services

If you or your organization wishes to participate in being notified of an emergency situation in your area or multiple areas and wish to have the info sent to your email address, cell phone, PDA, etc., then you may want to take a moment to check into this free notification service.

There are provisions for schools, corporations use as well as individuals to be notified in case of an emergency, school closing, health alerts, severe weather from local, regional and national government sources.

Commercial service upgrades are mentioned on the website so if your company wants to broadcast messages in multiple areas, it may require more than a simple subscription.

You can select the types of notification and also when you do not want to receive NON-Emergency information. You can unsubscribe as well if you do not find it suitable.

You can reach this service at and follow the prompts....

Monday, October 8, 2007

Prep Tip - Water 2 - Shelter in Place

Water - Here is a low profile and obvious way to store upwards of 60 gallons of clean water without really trying. Most homes and apartments have water heaters that are easy to get to.
You have to flush the tank regularly to remove solids and sediment - mark the tank prominently with a big high visibility label stating "purge monthly". This will involve opening the drain valve and overpressure valve to flush out the minerals and sediment precipitated out from heating the water.
If the overpressure valve doesn't work - replace it - water heaters can explode. You need to drain the unit yearly if you have the ability and means to do so (a hose and drain lower than the tank drain valve will work).
If you are getting a new tank - replace the cheap plastic drain valve with a brass boiler valve that won't leak the first time you use it - and then flush it regularly once a month. If you have a whole house sediment or chemical filter even can adjust your flushing schedule accordingly.
When the situation calls for it, turn off the supply valve to the tank turn off the gas valve or electric supply and drain water as needed. You may want to have a butane gas stick lighter on hand to reach the gas pilot if you start it back up.
One half inch of sediment can result in 70% more energy use so do yourself a double favor - save money on heating and keep your back up water clean and handy.
Got a tankless system - see water prep tip 1.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

ICE - Law Enforcement Public Relations - Traffic Stop

How many times do we encounter people operating their vehicles erratically because the driver is using a cell phone? Too many times to count probably....

Any objections to our law enforcers providing a bit of additional (useful) information on how to use ICE to program a cell phone with emergency info as a part of the traffic stop - at their discretion of course.
Positive reinforcement and encounters can result in changed behaviors and attitudes.

Imagine, getting an education instead of a ticket.....have a good day!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Communications - Prep Tip 2

Communications - Tip 1
You will need a radio that works and that can receive various signals from a variety of sources - some of which may be working in an emergency or shortly after. These two here the Kaito KA007 works off 4 power sources and receives on 10 Bands...sells for about $34. Thousands are in use across Afghanistan and Iraq distributed by the US and UK military.
Designed in UK and made in China, they function, are reliable and can work even if your batteries die out. NiMh batteries are on board an can be charged by crank/solar/transformer and AA backups supplied by you. Make sure your AA's are rechargeable Hybrids that you can charge via small solar charger or Lithium based to ensure they work in the cold and store for 10 years.
One drawback - the shrink wrapped rechargeable NiMh battery pack is not made to be replaced according to our research.
Check the manual out here
More info and order:

Grundig (made by Eton) makes the FR200, a crank operated rechargeable radio that is dependable as well and has battery backup -same rule applies to those solar option on this radio but it is simple and rugged and widely available for $39 and it has a bright light built in. The rechargeable pack is removable and you can get easy to replace battery packs at Radio Shack - available from L.L. Bean, Radio Shack and many other stores. AM/FM/SW/Weather... AC Adapter NOT included. Comes with a case.

These are not miniature radios but are lightweight and durable as radios go nowadays - and most people can afford them. They come in many variations and colors.... do you need to get aviation channels in an emergency? Up to you....but there is a better chance of using VHF police signals. These are one-way radios - receivers - not transceivers....remember keep it simple. You won't be using these to entertain in an emergency - but you can indeed use them for that in normal times.

Another option is handheld Multi-Band Marine(boat)/FRS/AM-FM Waterproof Transceivers - cost is a factor for some and not recommended for casual use around town on Marine VHF...if you are near the coast or large waterways, the Coast Guard may be around....some float, get weather band and are simple to use. Potential drawback - they cost upwards of $100-200.

There are some Family Radio and GMRS multiband radios but if your major reason for selection is communication with other FRS users because you see the 22 mile range...think again - that is only if you are on a mountain top transmitting into a valley - read the fine print. We will look into these as well soon.

Keep in mind, if you are standardizing the batteries your electronics use, then AA (Lithium or Rechargeable Hybrid NiMh) are the most widely available type going. Need info on batteries or to purchase at pretty fair prices try All

Make sure your other gear uses the same batteries too. Super small radios are available for small kits. We will discuss those later.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Preparedness - Food - Prep Tip 1

Tip 1 for having food on hand when you need to bug out...remember it has to be simple, not require enormous amounts of water or fuel to process or reconstitute and not be so heavy you can't carry it or stow it. That narrows it down some....forget the notion that you are going to actually live on a few grubs, worms and polluted water - unless you definitely have those skills and are caught in that situation. Othewise read on...

USCG/CCG and Department of Defense SOLAS Survival Rations come in a variety of flavors and sizes....made especially for temperature extremes and nutritional content as well as high "shelf life". No preparation is required. Boaters may recognize these from their on board survival kits.
Brands to buy are Mainstay, Datrex and Mayday and they come in 1200, 2400 and 3600 calorie sizes - SIMPLE. You can store these in your car all year and you can have 3 days worth on hand in a day pack with you when you travel. $4-$7 each.... a no brainer if you can afford them. High carb candy bars are a bad option...they will make you too thirsty - and fast.

Find these items discussed at length and for sale at
You are now going to ask about MRE's of course....if you've never had them and don't know how to use them....yes you need to familiarize yourself ahead of time.....experiments have shown folks with advanced degrees could not figure out how to use them....and if you can't function well...this may be a difficult task....they decay quicker in high heat so 5 years for SOLAS rations and 1-3 years for MRE's. When the military dropped pallets of them in Afghanistan no one knew what to do with them - but the boxes were so nice and sturdy they were used to build homes - out of food!

Hey, MRE's are great to have on hand in the car on trips and day hikes and if you can carry them on your hasty departure, all the better...just remember the mindset tenants below. Oh and also remember that some brands DO NOT come with heater packs (buy separately) so your food will be cold (safe to eat) unless you find a way to heat them up.....

Don't buy these surplus as they most likely were stored in high heat or are too old...actual military versions are not sold to the public...but you can get the almost identical thing from the same companies....also learn more about and purchase if you like at
Keep these dry and cool under 70 degrees and you can keep them for up to 10 years! We might talk about other less desirable bug out food options another time. Shelter in place food storage is a whole other animal....plenty of options and plenty of opinions......another time.

Mindset - Emergency Management - Tip 1

Being prepared for emergencies in the Corporate World is called Emergency Management and Business Continuity Planning - it is big business in itself right how about having the same attention for you and your family? Sure thing.

Here are some bullet points to keep in mind while you formulate your plan(s) for being prepared... as you get your "gear" in place and integrate more situational awareness into your busy lifestyle you will develop more options - and options are what you want. As mentioned before, being on a roof waving for help is not your best option.
Let's refresh some things you likely already know but need to think about again as you plan....
  • During and emergency, whether it be natural or man made, you and your family may suffer injuries that could be life threatening or at least hamper your ability to help yourself.
  • You may temporarily suffer from emotional or psychological shock that can and will disorient or confuse you to the point you may not be able to think or act appropriately.
  • Complex tasks may become nearly impossible to accomplish for some period of time.
  • The weather may be extremely hot or cold, rainy or windy or dry.
  • Power, water, communication, security, mobility, shelter may all be unavailable.
  • You may be (far) away from your home and emergency supplies or cut off by a natural disaster or massive influx or exit of other people relocating.
  • You need to decide whether to "shelter in place" or "bug out" (common parlance nowadays) and you should have criteria in place for making that decision when/if the time comes.
  • Your plans to meet other members of your family may become impractical due to a variety of reasons...but pre-planning helps you to better understand what needs to be done in situations and what others can and will do if the designated plan can not be enacted. They call this innovation or Plan "B" or "C"....
  • Crowds and lawlessness in large disasters happen, being alone without help may require some drastic measures.
  • Help from the government agencies as portrayed on TV are not realistic and you need to realize this right now - your friends and family as well.
  • People in some parts of the country that don't suffer many disasters may think you are crazy for taking the time for being prepared (these are also the first to show up at your door for help as well). This may include members of your own family so be prepared for that.
  • You can accomplish some level of preparedness no matter where you live and where you are and you can improve the odds or your coming out okay as well. You need to put yourself in the proper mindset.....more to follow.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Prep Tips 1 - Water

Water - the body can't work without least not for very long.
Studies say 3 days...whether it is hot or cold the body respires and you exhale water gallon per day per person is the current usage standard. Couple this with the YOYO72 theory (see below) and you will need to have 3 gallons on hand - minimum. This is a can do and MUST DO item. No water - you expire - simple. You will need something to store and transport the water.
At this point you shouldn't be surprised that many people don't even have 1 gallon on hand....bad idea. So if you haven't paid attention to this detail yet, here are some tips....
The very best portable containers from a quality standpoint are the Scepter Brand (Canadian) Water and Fuel Containers. You can find the consumer versions ($10-15) in 5 gallon sizes from auto and marine supply stores or online. They are blue and lighter gauge plastic. They are functional and easily transportable. 7 gallon plastic recreational containers can be too heavy(60#) when full so you may decide to avoid them.
Scepter military cans stack and consumer versions have pouring spouts.
Larger 15-30-55 gallon plastic food grade barrels are long term stay-in-place storage options and a topic for yet another day.

Pictured above are the military version Jerry cans transported on a SUV rack. These are heavier duty construction and can even be used as an emergency support for repairing vehicles. If you drop a full military container, it won't break.
They come in 10L ($19) or 20L ($25) sizes and are the best choice for anyone who plans on "bugging out" with any quantity of water. The 10L cans can be left in your vehicle 24/7 and won't split open if frozen. They also can slide under a bed if you live in an apartment.

You can find them at Brigade Quartermaster Online at ( and sometimes cheaper from a military surplus dealer.
Coffee break is over. More on water to come.....

Preparedness Tips - A Feature on the ICE Blog

Lots of info out there now on how to be prepared and quite a few lists on what to have on hand and sometimes even where to buy.
ICE4SAFETY.COM will be providing a more micro view of some of the more essential macro topics - starting with many of the most important. Labels will begin with Prep Tips and then the Subject for easy searching.
Many people cannot stomach the task of even discussing being prepared much less read long reports on what to have on hand and what to do. This will take some time, but it is simply just one additional way to get it done for those who just can't stand the thought of being prepared (the reasons why are a personal issue)
Another option is to join in conversations with certain survival-oriented blog sites but many people prefer not to go that route - and sometimes the discussions can go off track.
FEMA has improved their website resources but if you want to do it yourself (DIY) and be ahead of the curve maybe this will help. We will get info from a variety of sources and personal experiences. So, if the suggestion to have food, clothing and shelter on hand just doesn't cut it for you then stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remember 9-11-01

Remember to fly your flag on this day to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on 9-11-01 at the hands of terrorists that attacked our country.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Wilderness Travel and ICE

So, you find yourself out in the early morning mist on a remote lake paddling around with a friend .....or maybe you are solo with your kayak...remember the YOYO concept below? If not, "you are on your own" means it is best to be prepared in case you need someone to help you if you get hurt....average time before anyone is contacted is 5 hours 51 minutes.....might this be longer in a situation like this? Let's not find out. If in the Adirondack Mountains, you can stop at Eastern Mountain Sports or the Mountaineer Store and locate some essentials to have on hand and of course.....use ICE. This picture is not too is Mirror Lake in the early morning mist in Lake Placid, NY.....

ICE Makes the New York State Fair 2007

SUNY Upstate Hospital in Syracuse, NY had a booth at the NYS Fair and was promoting the use of ICE as a means of improving your chances of coming out ahead if you find yourself a victim of an accident or illness and hospital staff need to contact someone in the know who can help you.

Yet another hospital/health provider finds ICE.....

That makes what, 7 State Fairs this season for

Monday, August 27, 2007


No, we haven't gone bonkers.....just wanted to provide you with another instructional acronym to use when discussing the act of being prepared.
YOYO stands for You're On Your Own ....the ASSE refers to YOYO 24 or the time between an emergency situation and the time help/relief becomes can see from recent events such as Hurricane Katrina that this could be extended and at minimum you might use YOYO 72 for personal situations....
What does this mean for the average citizen? In short in means that safety professionals - public and private have recognized that the reality is we the people have to get our collective act together in order to pull through some of what life, nature and those crazy zealots are dishing out....
So, if it suits you or your organization prepared for YOYO72 at minimum.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Job sites are usually fluid and often a dangerous mix of trades people working in unison to construct (or demolish) structures. On many an occasion, operations run into trouble and people get hurt - lack of training, complacency, inattention due to medical conditions, substance abuse (recent studies indicate that 1 in 12 construction trade and restaurant workers have a substance or alcohol abuse issue) or working in proximity to other, shall we say...less astute or trained persons who create a hazardous situation.

Federal Law requires that Emergency Action Plans be in effect on job sites so that in the event of an emergency, workers will know who to call or what to do.....
So, in your personal you carry any emergency information or instructions that would allow others to call for you?

Let's go beyond specialists on site...big project, time crunches, multiple subcontractors everywhere - supposedly all aware of your site safety procedures, policy and location of emergency info - right?......okay, maybe not .....
Visual devices and color are important on a jobsite....trained workers can understand the different meanings on OSHA and ANSI type signs, but during the emergency situation a phenomenon called "tunnel vision" overwhelms you and your focus becomes very limited and your responses can seem to take longer than they do (the term "forever" is sometimes used).

If you have to denote locations for Emergency Equipment or Info and you have the bare minimum of time to train newbies coming on site - how about employing the ICE image ?
ICE cards in helmets, ICE PHR records inside a sealed pouch in the helmet or in a wallet, ICE
signs denoting safety rescue equipment, first aid or emergency communications devices and EAP plans...the reality is that while some of these trainings actually do take place, they sometimes are not repeated, done in haste or various communication (language) barriers exist.

When tunnel vision hits....ICE may be fresh in their minds.
So, ICE fits well within the KISS (Keep it Simple ...)principle.

Can't miss the colors...they are not red/green so your colorblind crewmembers (25%)can't confuse that one. Just a refresher....something to think about.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

September - National Preparedness Month!

You now have 2 weeks to prepare your organization to recognize National Preparedness what are you going to do? Not enough time...can't think of anything......well how about taking an hour and working up some ICE posters or handouts for your group or community to get them thinking about being prepared.

Many people still have not heard of ICE and even worse are still not the least bit prepared for anything....much less any serious incident like a storm or accident.

If you visit the website Preparedness Forum Page you can download an ICE Calendar Poster for September 2007.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Unique Water Rescue Tool and An Idea......

Here is a really great device from Hyde Engineering Group in Brooksville FL. Check out how it works at

The Liverpool, NY Police Department was recently featured on television demonstrating the use of the rescue tool being carried by their department which patrols a large shoreline along Onondaga Lake and the adjoining parks/marinas.

This forum doesn't endorse any particular safety products but this one caught our eye as it helps demonstrate the other potentially effective uses for ICE as a universally recognized symbol of preparedness.

Since this symbol was developed and protected with free educational use as the goal, it makes perfect sense to adopt it for this purpose. Other commercial products will lock you into their profit picture. Who does that serve? You have options and they are good and getting better - still all for free!

So, ICE4SAFETY.COM will be soon be facilitating a way for people to acquire high visibility and durable ICE Stickers in a variety of formats that adapt to a variety of other common sense is not just for cell phones anymore folks....if you can afford to do it yourself....go ahead ...just don't be selling them for a profit .....its not about the money here folks..its about getting the job done right and doing it for the common good.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Back to School

It is that time of year again.....what happened to Summer you say? It was suggested that school is right around the corner again and maybe a good time for teachers or administrators to develop a lesson plan on being prepared......imagine kids the smarts to think about what to do in case of an emergency...not just fire drills......granted in some parts of the country we have instruction on what to do for regional disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes and even flooding. So what about the rest of the country? Guess you would have to ask yourself that question and then take some action. Since ICE is free here it shouldn't hurt your tight school budgets any and kids already know about their "fave 5" in their cell phones....taking it further couldn't hurt.
So, any teachers out there who would like to submit a lesson plan for elementary, middle school and high school curriculum...feel free. We'll post it and you get the cred. Colleges are taking some action now partly in response to some real terrible incidents involving deranged individuals with guns...good for remember the story about the police officer hurt on duty who was a single one knew for quite some time who to contact when he had to have emergency surgery while on the, you would think- right? what are the chances when your kids are out of the home in an unfamiliar town and off-campus somewhere enjoying themselves and get in harms way....just when might you be finding out.

Your call. Education and ICE - good combo. Postcard Courtesy of Delaware Americorps 2007.

ICE at the State Fair

This very nice young lady sporting the ICE Hat will be representing the State of Delaware at the upcoming State Fair this month at a booth dedicated to promoting ICE ! Please stop in and say hello!

Kathleen Aviles works for the State as the Disaster Services Volunteer Coordinator (DHSS) and as such works directly with CERT Groups, DEMA, Americorps, Delaware Citizen Corps and the Governor's Office. These folks get it.

Pennsylvania State Senator Andy Dinniman gets it as well...members of his staff are currently distributing ICE Palm Cards at the PA Fair in the 19th District this week and we are told the reception has been indeed quite positive!! Thank you Deb Woolson and Senator Dinniman for being advocates for personal preparedness!

Now let's see...if you were the head of an ambulance corp, fire company, boating safety/power squadron, police or university security force looking for a simple way to advance the safety agenda this summer...and you finally ran out of all those "Dial 911" stickers ....
you might want to consider doing what these folks are doing.

Lost Kid Tags are quite visible with the always free ICE design on them....that is a suggestion for the New York State Police...just in case they happen to visit this site.....
You can design your own template for these using the tools we describe in the blog.....way too easy....

Just One More Free Tool Tip - This Week

Now if you feel awkward downloading free Word Files onto your computer, you can simply use this online software feature from and design your family's ICE Card or group brochure, sticker, magnets etc.....and you were going to pay someone to do this...c'mon people.....time to wake up...

Anyone needing the suite of Avery Word Templates can hit the email link and ask so we can send the small zipped file to you asap. We now have the card cutter described earlier and it works just fine......ahhh! Okay your groups can mass produce cards if you like and change the design on the fly this county and state fairs described above....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

ICE Card Making 101 - It just Got Easier.......

Okay quick lesson in card cutting - two is to use prefitted templates if making small numbers of cards yourself....this can get pricey but it you can use a good color copier laser printable paper (about 100 weight) with a high gloss side ...print your cards.

There is a device called a Cardmate Business Card Cutter that reduces the amount of time needed to cut perfect business sized cards...about $100 but it is slick and you can check one out at or at better paper suppliers..... this thing would pay for itself if you were printing your own business cards as well.....
Just learned...Avery released yet another free business software program called the Avery Wizard 3.1 and it can be downloaded from This version works using macros in MS Word and has some added functionality when creating multiple cards for multiple people - you can do them all at once or a whole page at a time and save them in Word....nice. Teamed up with the above're there!
Even more good news..this same company offers card lamination pouches that accept the ICE Cards...if you have access to a laminator and want to do a bunch of these, they are about $4 for a box of 100.

Construction Workers and ICE

What could possible go got up, went to work...climbed onto your rig as always and hey, no problemo.....except maybe the subcontractor has a few "new" guys on the job today that somehow didn't go through the normal orientation (and the new guys) could find yourself in a nasty world of hurt......

"Hope" is not an operative word in the safety field, so hoping it won't happen is not going to make it go away or not need to actively identify and remove hazards whenever possible...and constantly be vigilant.

It is not just the safety managers job! The best contractors out there have safety as their highest priority.

Construction job sites are by nature in a constant state of change and therefore everyone involved has to be knowledgeable about those changes and prepared to take action to prevent accidents. Being prepared to deal with an accident that does in fact happen is essential as well.

Affixing an ICE symbol to your required on-site posted Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is one simple way to use ICE. Any visitors and subcontractor employees having ICE Cards wouldn't hurt....making safety high profile and easy to identify is smart!
More as we go along.......

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Low Cost ICE Containers

No need to spend tons of cash on your emergency kit or ICE this case a 5 or 6 gallon plastic pail outfitted with a Gamma Seal Lid ($7-9). Sturdier pails are stamped with .090 on the bottom.....this lid can be found online or in some paint is not food choose one of the other bright colors...this lid allows ease of opening or closing with one hand...just in case one is broken.....women will like these as you don't have to use a lid tool ($1 at Lowe's) to pop a well seated standard lid. You can set aside a real basic collection of emergency equipment like food/clothing /water purification /communications/cash/batteries/lighting/multi tools/heat tabs/fire starters and boat matches/handkerchief/plastic bags that you can store near your exit to dump in your car or keep in your car/truck. Packs are nice....not very waterproof but pails are inexpensive and widely available for free. Oh, and this floats...some of the kits and lists of contents out there are pure crappola.....don't rely on junk...if you can afford quality equipment - get it....we'll put some online.....

NYC Explosion - A Reminder

This week 7-18-07 had seen a major pipeline explosion in NYC hurtling debris and sending people scurrying for looks like barefoot as well....a busload of children were so very close to the gaping hole in the street.....this would be a good time for low tech devices and practice/training on what to do in an emergency....

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Opening Files from ICE4SAFETY.COM

Just a quick note for those folks wanting to use the free tools located on the ICE website....the only "unusual" documents located there are the ICE Cards and Stickers created using the free Avery DesignPro 5 software that is available from Avery at .

In general, you wouldn't normally be able to open those files unless you first download the program that was used to create the document. You can later import those documents into a variety of other programs and convert them to PDF, JPG etc.

Programs used to create ICE documents are PowerPoint, MS Word, MS Excel, MS Publisher. Hope this helps.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Save $$ Using ICE Tools from ICE4SAFETY.COM

Simple Tip from Gus at Office Max in Cicero, New York.... a ream of 90# or 100# paper and print out your cards using Avery Templates on a laser printer (both sides) and use a paper cutter (guarded or course) to cut up your cards and pass them out. Thanks Gus.....

Many businesses and homes have these items in use already so you can get going almost as soon as you access the ICE website. Laser printing (or commercial printer) is best as the image does not run because it is fused into the paper.

Still saving money for a small job for your family? Use laminating sheets or pouches designed for the purpose....cut the sheets up at a Kinko's/Fedex.

Now using a laser printer that can print both sides automatically is a dream...HP has a few..some manual double feeders are now only $225 on sale. Sweet!