Saturday, September 27, 2008

Germany Embraces E.123 ICE Standard!

Welcome Germany!

ICE4SAFETY is pleased to announce a fledgling new ICE Foundation in Frankfort Germany that is dedicated to promoting the use of ICE in Europe!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Jogger/Car Accident Suggests Need for ICE

This is another tragic example of how maybe running or biking in a highly congested traffic zone may not be the best fitness alternative and how not having any ID or ICE information on your person can cause inordinate delays in your receiving appropriate medical attention or having emergency contacts/family members or partners with you when you need them.....
ICE4SAFETY has left word online at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and with article authors as well so that maybe someone with influence in the public safety field there can spur on some realistic ICE initiatives and help advance personal safety in that area.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Prep Tip - Fire Starter Idea

FIRE FIXINS by Jay Boggs

Adapted for the ICE4SAFETY Blog with permission from CampingSurvival.Com

Fire Fixins started as a father and son project with my son Wyatt. Wyatt and I are both involved with Scouting and we both enjoy learning woodcraft stuff. I have always believed that fire making is a skill that everybody who ventures into the wild should be able to do. As with any skill, one must learn and practice.

The Fire Fixins kit contains Jute string that has been infused in wax, and a piece of fat wood that is easily lit because of the high concentration of pine resin. The idea is to take a piece of jute string, pull it apart into very small strands. Then take the fat wood and scrape wood shavings onto the jute making something like a birds nest.

Once completed, light with a lighter, match or my preferred method, magnesium/iron fire starting rod. This kit should help a person light many fires and give you ideas on how to make your own fire kit.


This is a great fire starter and I will now include it in all my fire starting kits. In fact Jay also sent me a picture of the jute attached to his knife sheath. That is a great idea. Not only is the product great for what it is, but the jute has wax worked throughout it. Wax can be great for many things in the wilderness and survival. For example, the wax can be used with a fire bow to lube the handhold or socket that you use to put downward pressure on the spindle and keep it moving freely without getting friction on the top.

Several times since Jay sent me the first sample of his new jute and fat wood fire starter I tried it and every time, I find myself thinking, why didn't I come up with this? All I did was cut a about a 2 inch piece of the jute string and work it out a bit to fray it and spread it all out so it catches the spark easily. Then I scrape just about a half dozen pieces of fat wood. I throw a spark and every time, it goes right up and burns for a couple minutes. This stuff is great. Actually, both the wax/jute and the fat wood can work by themselves. The two of them together can't be beat for fire starting even when wet.

I highly recommend that you have this in every kit and with you every time you go into the woods.

Tom SciaccaPresidentJHL Supply /

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Back to School - Mobile Phone Know How

Not very much in this publication about teaching your kids some safety tips for the "back to school" publication by AT&T. There is however a big emphasis on texting and options for your phone.
Nothing at all about using ICE or programming safety contacts or messages into your new phone. AT&T should be able to do better than that.
The phone giant might also be better served by making their sales staff more knowledgeable about some of the "other" uses for their products. Show us your know-how AT&T.

Prep Tip - Vehicle Survival Kit - ICE Fishing Sled

Winter might not affect all the sates in the union, but in the northern most states and Canada, Winter is a reality for 4-5 months of the year. If your vehicle breaks down on a remote stretch and for some reason you need to relocate - being able to carry all the gear you want or need may be hard to accomplish.
One way is for you to have a backpack/daypack/rucksack to assemble what you need and move on but having an ICE Fishing Sled in your trunk can make a world of difference.
This molded polyethylene sled can play many rolls in your day to day activities as well.
It can double as a trunk organizer, beach gear carry all, snow sled and it can be outfitted with an elastic cover and tow bar. Carrying a small child might exhaust you in short order but being able to slide them along with you to safety can now be accomplished.
It can also be the foundation of a shelter or sleeping quarters for young children. They come in various sizes as you will see from the link below and will fit in SUV's and most mid sized and even smaller cars. These were made to be towed behind snow machines, ATV's or by hand.
We would recommend you place DOT strip reflective stickers on the sides and back. They come with a tow rope installed but you might consider having a front and rear rope to facilitate a two person operation that has more control.
About $25 in Gander Mountain/Bass Pro/Cabela's

Friday, September 12, 2008

Prep Tip - Emergency Power Source - UPS

Don't overlook this source of emergency power. Maybe your home or office has a few around to power down sensitive computer systems and offer surge and line protection for phone and fax/printer systems.

Depending on the unit, the UPS will most likely have 2 sealed 12V 7aH gel cell batteries connected inside that provide the power to an inverter. This unit is rated in the 600-800 watts range.

Short Term - you can power a 15 watt (60w equivalent) fluorescent bulb for 6-7 hrs or charge up some important devices like cell phones or lights for short periods.

Long Term - remove the battery pack and recharge with solar panel or small generators that might be in use. Run other 12v devices. You may want to take a mental note as well as use your labeling device to note the location and the ratings of the batteries for that potential use.

If you find one of these for could swap out the old batteries and exchange them for new ones at an electronics supply house or one of the 330 BatteriesPlus Locations near you or online at

Prep Tip - Vehicle Safety/Survival Kits - Part One

Let's get to it.
Having suitable supplies on hand in your ride is important. With severe weather emergencies a daily occurrence, having preparations on hand can be a life and death difference in some emergencies. Having the right equipment on hand is critical.

We will cover this in a few articles to make it more palatable.

Pictured above are just a few components of a kit found in one SUV vehicle. When you think "kit" you might be conceptualizing a big duffel or box filled with all kinds of gear. In some situations that may be accurate.

With so many types and sizes of vehicles on the road, you have to balance the size of your supply on hand with the reality of where you are most likely to drive your car. Where you are going, how far, how long and what kind of climate you will encounter will dictate some of the kit contents .

In some parts of the world you could be subject to multiple road/weather/climate conditions - snow/rain/heat/elevation.....all in one day.

Vehicle "survival" kits should reflect the type of climate you expect to encounter and the anticipated radius of operations. You wouldn't prepare for a winter snowstorm packing summer shorts & sandals on board.... You could in fact get stuck in your vehicle less than a mile from your home or other safety - and not survive.

Having some supplies on hand can make the difference and some everyday annoyances less so. You might want to purchase one of those made up kits from local car stores or the AAA but they were designed solely on price consideration. The best kits are the one's you make yourself.

Might this kit be a substitute for a full blown "go bag"? The basic elements of the car kit should reflect the model followed by you extended evacuation or "go bag".
Let's start with some of the basics:

Basic Car Emergency Supplies
[ ] First Aid Kit
[ ] Road Fusees or Electronic Strobe Flares
[ ] Fire Extinguisher
[ ] Durable High Intensity Flashlight - Battery Powered
[ ] Spare Batteries for Flashlight (Lithium)
[ ] Reflective Safety Vest
[ ] Spare 911 Cell Phone
[ ] Prepaid Phone Card
[ ] Emergency Blankets for All Occupants
[ ] Duct Tape
[ ] Spare Change (Roll Quarters)
[ ] Jumper Cables ( 6 Gauge)
[ ] Tow Strap/Receiver Hook (if equipped)
[ ] Leather Work Gloves
[ ] Spare Electrical Fuses (assortment)
[ ] Spare Tire - Inflated Properly
[ ] Spare Wiper Fluid
[ ] Tool Assortment (more on this later)
[ ] Permanent Marker
[ ] Coolant Hose/Belt Repair Kit (older cars)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

E.123 Standard - How To Program Phone Poster

This poster should prove useful when providing instruction on how to program your cell phones with emergency contact information. A lot of uninformed sources are still advocating the old and less advantageous method of using the prefix "ICE".
You can retrieve a PDF Version online at the International ICE Standard page of the website

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Prep Tip - Cell Phones - Sim Cards - E.123

Quickly - some phone service providers use SIM Cards to store data on and identify phones with. These cards can be interchangeable with other phones offered by the same provider ( for instance AT&T). If you change cards between phones - the phone with your SIM card now is identified as being yours by the carrier. Verizon does not use this technology

So, what does that mean for you in terms of safety and using ICE?

If your phone is found on your person and the battery is expended but it is marked as having ICE Information inside then someone may be astute enough to retrieve the card and place it in a functioning phone - which is much more realistic than finding a spare battery somewhere that powers your phone. Phone numbers should be able to be retrieved using this method.

E.123 Tip!
If you follow the E.123 Standard to list your contact names and numbers in your phone individually this will allow them to be viewed immediately in the phone being used to read your SIM Card.

If your contact numbers are stored in a folder in your phone there is a chance that a potentially lower-tech non folder capable phone could be used to read your card which will only display one of the numbers in your ICE folder(s) and not the others.

That could make a considerable difference and should be investigated with your current phone.
Check it out.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Preparedness Tip - Home Evacuation Bag

How many times have you watched TV to see fire victims in their jams or a blanket outdoors at the scene of a fire? That could very well be you - and without shoes or boots. Some of the worst fires are in the winter months and your survival may rely on your being able to function in the cold. If you have great neighbors - wonderful! If not, or they are quite a distance away in deep snow or rough terrain in the dark...get the picture?

This colorful and water resistant fishing bag can be loaded with sufficient supplies, stored next to your bed and be filled with essential items that will help you escape and survive....and not be found frozen to the pavement in your pj's.

Rule of thumb for Fires - Get OUT - FAST!

Short List:

[ ] Easy on Shoes - Boots
[ ] Long Pants - Socks - Shirt - Underwear
[ ] Light Jacket-Rainsuit or Stuffed Down Jacket in Winter
[ ] Face Mask- Hat - Gloves
[ ] Glasses
[ ] Emergency Contacts List - Medical Information
[ ] Insurance Company and Emergency Contractor Contact Information
[ ] Spare 911 Cell Phone
[ ] Lithium Battery Powered Flashlight - Spare Batteries
[ ] Prescription Medicines properly labeled and in a zip lock bag
[ ] Keys to House/Car on Whistle Ring - Neighbor Key?
[ ] Secure Keys to Bag Securely with Good Steel Ring
[ ] Rescue Blankets for all occupants
[ ] Small First Aid Kit
[ ] Small quantity of high energy food or ration bar
[ ] Water
[ ] Spare Identification / Drivers License / Cash $$
[ ] Large Plastic Garbage Bags - Easy Open & Close
[ ] Bright colored water resistant duffel like bag - durable.

You might be lucky and live in a ranch home and can jump out or walk out with no problem. If you are already injured or ill and can't move quickly then discuss how you will evacuate. Practice if you can (almost everyone does not) and have a bag for young children or teens and instruct them on evacuation. Second floor evacuation may require a chain ladder be deployed - that requires some practice on how to.

Toss your bag outside and go. Don't carry it with you - it will cause you to fall off the ladder. It is brightly colored and you can see it easily. We wrote a real life evacuation story a while back which is online that depicts a Katrina survivor who bailed out in an evacuation for a leaking tank car without shoes, clothes or his prescription medicines he needed....not good.

This is an easy one.

Preparedness Tip - Refrigeration to Go

This might seem like a luxury during an emergency situation, but then every situation is different and everyone has different circumstances. Your situation may require you to maintain something essential to your health during an emergency or as a part of medical treatment or therapy when the alarms sound. That is no time to make ice or stop at the shop and rob - but you see video of this every storm....

If you have medicines that require refrigeration and you live in the Gulf States you might recall the 14 hour ride in your car during the Hurricane Gustov evacuation of August/September.

While you may not be able to stuff a large cooler in your car as tempting as it sounds - you may have to provide a refrigerated source for ill children or elderly folks on board.

Forget ice or plastic freezer packs because this cryo-gel dry ice replacement is better because it lasts longer - up to 96 hrs in some ideal situations.

We've had them out in the open over 5 hours and in collapsible insulated containers for days. They are used to ship food and drugs via UPS or FedEx. Non-toxic, water soluble and can be disposed of easily, they can be molded to a degree of usefulness unlike solid plastic containers.

See if you can get them at shipping stores like the UPS Store and save those you do get with your next birthday cake or steaks in the mail. Keep them in your freezer. We suggest placing them in a Ziploc bag while storing and in use.

Prep Tip - Marking Equipment for Safety

Recalling earlier articles here about keeping it simple and having substance rule out over style - well here are some additional examples. The photos here depict the labeling of an emergency household inverter circuit (IC#5) that can easily be identified in case of power outages as being back up power. Some circuits can use colored labels but we chose to be more subtle. In the shop use yellow - it stands out well.

This practice is common in commercial buildings for a variety of reasons. Suffice it to say having someone in your home/office/shop able to locate viable outlets might have a better chance if the circuits were labeled. Regular circuits should be identified this way also to help during repairs of other household electrical problems. Simple.

Make sure you test and affirm you have everything labeled correctly. Commercial circuits and medical facilities use colored outlet covers....but we suggest you keep it simple to avoid undue attention.

Battery charger or voltage converter input/output voltages are listed in notoriously small print or molded in black lettering to black cases making reading them in an emergency a ridiculously difficult and even hazardous.

The voltage converter with a similar 5.5mm tube connector may look the same as the one for your backup electronics but when hooked up (maybe by someone else helping you) could destroy the device in an instant. Also, if the unit is something you might want on an evacuation it could make matters worse if it was meant for a critical medical device or battery charger.

During an extended stay somewhere you might find additional uses for whatever it is you labeled because you are able to easily identify compatible components. If the component is something required in an emergency then mark it with an ICE Sticker ( still available free by SASE - see website) for rapid identification.

Having eyesight issues or working in low light can also warrant the use of large easily read (or marked with a marker) labels can make a world of difference. There is no need for eyeglasses. Label devices are less expensive today and sometimes you might be able to borrow one from work or a friend.

Having someone home who is not particularly attentive to electrical or utility details and faced with an emergency and needing power will find this preplanning a blessing. Trust us we tried it.
Preplanning and redundancy. Don't forget to label the circuit breaker box properly and keep a back up list/chart in a file. No electrician is required. DIY.

Prep Tip - X Date Codes Made Simple

The practice of revolving your stock of survival supplies on hand - medical/food/power/water etc can benefit from the use of simple date coding. In an emergency or when you are looking to expeditiously find something like the Benedryl that may need rotation - mark the various surfaces with the expiration - or "X" date as shown here. Simple no expense but if you are older or have poor vision then looking for the worn out or obscured date on the bottom of the box is an unnecessary chore. Spend time now to save valuable time later!!!

On dark colored containers you can use the silver colored Sharpie Metallic Marker 39100 described in earlier blogs here. Find them at Lowes or where construction supplies are found.

Preparedness Tips - National Preparedness Month

We are getting back to the practice of providing more practical preparedness tips - and since September is National Preparedness Month, we plan to do as many as we can that are both informative and practical. ICE has become so popular here that we have had to spend considerable time in administrative duties.

ICE4SAFETY is fanatically into substance vs style. The messages will be short succinct and to the point. We then will compile them and provide them online so organizations and business risk managers can use them for posters or newsletter items for the people they serve.

All of the discussions have either been vetted with professionals in the field or from our own expertise and experiences. We may be interjecting information from various sources to save you time in researching on some of the more technical or bizarre survival sites online.

The recent exodus from New Orleans for Gustov shows how important it is to plan ahead for all contingencies. Many did just that. Others still don't get it and many who live in denial or in la la land may never get it until it is too late. Your choice - but officials now have said that if you remain - you are on your own.

Reading about survival can be frustrating and downright painful at times - you know you have to do something to improve your odds and prepared but the very thought of it reminds us of our own mortality.

We will break the topics down to size so you can chose them in a more palatable form. We think you will appreciate that and we know it will be easier to accomplish in this manner. No crepe hangers here...just practical folks that want to share with others. Thank you for the overwhelming support we have been receiving from across the globe!