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.