Tuesday, February 23, 2010

First Aid - Hemostatic Agents - Updates

Watch this short video on the different types of Hemostatic Bandages and Products that should be a part of your first aid kit.

Driving in Snow & ICE

This year much of our country has experienced snow & ice in considerable quantity - including Florida.

Our nation’s capital was closed for several days as they were unprepared for driving in the deluge of snow. Maybe that was a good thing.....

Some safety organizations and government sources will advise you not to drive at all in bad weather which might seem reasonable in some instances - but certainly impractical in others.

Many people absolutely have to get somewhere for one logical reason or another. It makes sense therefore that you know how to drive in all conditions! Some folks who live/work in snow belt areas already be aware of this, but surprisingly many others still don't.

Here are some “Best Practice” Driving Tips:

· If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is mechanically sound and you have
secured preparations like a survival kit on-board and that you know how to adjust and drive
your vehicle in various road conditions. Snow tires will work far better than all-season tires.
· It's helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you're familiar
with how your car handles. (Police Agencies train officers how to drive in various emergency
conditions - so why shouldn’t you learn as well?)
· Some vehicle owner’s manuals contain tips on how to drive in adverse conditions specific to
your vehicle. Check there as well.
· Consider taking driving courses from professional driving schools that teach EVOC courses for
police/fire/ems if you really want to become proficient.

How to Drive Safely on Icy Roads
· Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three
times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
· Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
· Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
· Keep your lights and windshield clean.
· Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
· Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
· Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze
first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in
shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
· Don't pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you're likely
to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind. (They travel at 35MPH in NY)
· Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive
vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

Handling a REAR Wheel Skid...
· Take your foot off the accelerator.
· Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer
left. If they're sliding right, steer right.
· If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward
that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely
under control.
· If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
· If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the
brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.

Handling a FRONT Wheel Skid...
· Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don't try to steer immediately.
· As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in "drive" or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.

If You Get Stuck...
· Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
· Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
· Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
· Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
· Pour sand, cat litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
· Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner's manual first — it can damage the transmission on
some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you're in gear, give a
light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.
· Carry an emergency “Rescue Strap” in your vehicle – it is designed to pull your vehicle out of
the snow /mud/ditch - make sure you do not use a “Tow Strap” which is only designed for

Adapted and Supplemented from National Safety Council; New York State Department of Motor Vehicles; Washington State Government Information & Services

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Writing Pads - Low Tech Solutions That Work

On a trip, in your car, boat or in your evac pack ready to go should be one (or more) of these water resistant writing pads. Also included should be a pen like the space pen or rite in rain pen that can write upside down and in the rain as well.
Given the probability that electronic gear will be unreliable and possibly fail altogether in a protracted emergency, you should never underestimate the utility of low tech methods of storing and transmitting important information.
You should absolutely keep one of these in your vehicle to record the part numbers of replacement bulbs, fan belts, radiator hose sizes, fluid specs and other important operating info that would take much longer to find in the operators manual...assuming you still have one.
Remember you need to spend time to save time...when an emergency is underway and you need every minute you can find...taking 10 minutes to research part numbers on your computer or in the store just might not cut it.
Lost in the woods...or on the road and don't want to be lost later on - record your trip and landmarks in the notebook because you might be needing it later. Phone numbers, access codes or addresses? Try getting that out of your USB Drive on the fly. You can label pages with appropriate titles to direct your attention to the right pages and have one end free to write and detach notes for others if need be.
Maybe you don't have any gear that is electronic and don't care to. In that case these pads and papers should be in your plan. Small sizes fits in your shirt pocket or pants....large sizes will pack well and fit in cargo pants.
You should also maintain your emergency Medical Information Forms found on the ICE4SAFETY website (free as always) on a waterproof paper so it will remain readable when needed. Simple, useful......smart.
Did we forget to tell you to include the ICE Sticker on the covers to easily discern the pad from your grocery lists....it is weather resistant as well!

http://tinyurl.com/ybg7zez Purchase Rite in Rain and Space Pen Supplies Here.
http://www.ice4safety.com/diy.html Download ICE Medical Info Forms Free Here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Amazing Survival Story or Need for Preparedness?


It is always difficult to criticize as an armchair quarterback but the only way others learn sometimes is by example.

This story on Fox News 2-18-10 about a fellow named Jason Pede on a business trip stranded 73 hours on a snowpacked Colorado road because of a wrong turn or bad directions is a good example. We are relieved he made it out alive....let us use his example to help others.

Some background:
Pede was operating a Lincoln Navigator - A large SUV with plenty of room. He was a professional driver by trade. He was admittedly out of shape and only had high sugar content soda and sugar wafers in his car for food. He was given directions on the road that may have been wrong and his GPS may have provided incorrect directions as well.

Pede was 7 miles away from any assistance when he became stranded and no one knew where he was. His wife lost contact with him as his cell phone battery may have died out or was out of range or both. He got his truck stuck in hood high snow when he tried to turn around.
His decision to not walk out (ok decision actually) was because Mr. Pede was out of shape (not a good decision). He managed to make fire "during the day"which melted his truck panels.

He "survived" by drinking Mountain Dew and eating Sugar Wafers until he ran out of gas for his truck. He then decided to walk out to seek help. Was he lucky?

As we have repeated here for 5 years....knowledge in an emergency is critical. More so than high tech gear.

He admitted now if he knew to only run his vehicle 10 minutes per hour to stay warm he would have conserved fuel and could have stayed in the truck.

Ok. What might YOU have done differently?
Some of these items below may have been in play already. We have detailed these in a training memo last year which is on the website.....

Some suggestions:
Notified someone (wife in this case) of your new route via cell phone.
Mark Route on paper so contact knows it - and so rescuers can start an effective search
Carried at least one emergency evacuation/survival kit on board.
Flares/Lithium Powered LED FlashLights or Headlamps
Spare Batteries/Chargers
Aerial Flares/Rescue Strobe Light (Marine or Military- not toy versions)
Survival Food for 3 days - minimum
Water 2 1/2 gals - not sugar loaded soft drinks
First Aid Kit
Alternate Heat/Cooking Gear - Alcohol Based OK
Survival Candles - Long Duration High Density - Can be used for Cooking /Heat
Sleeping Bag or Mylar Reflective Blankets - 1 per occupant
Parachute Cord
Survival Knife
Spare Warm Clothing Appropriate for Inclement Weather - Hats/Gloves
Portable Shelter (aka Tent/Tarp)
Tire Chains as required by State Law in many instances
Road Map
Firearm for Protection if licensed
Been in Better Physical Condition
Don't rely on your phone as your only survival tool.
Left an emergency survival manual in this large vehicle.
This would have been an actual bonified good opportunity for using OnStar (GM still knocks those of us who can't afford it and are personally prepared using ICE)

We will add more as we go forward...... He could have stayed put with this gear.

Jason has commented below....and makes a great point! If you have two cars (or more) all cars should be equipped with some basic essentials for survival.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Emergency Physicians Rate Smart-ICE

Read the latest about the Medical Emergency App smart-ICE that is taking Smartphones to a new level! You will also be linked from there to sites where you will learn about people having disappointing experiences with all the other "flash in the pan" unsupported applications we warned you about purchasing in the past.....we warned you ....so now you have to repurchase and you wasted all that effort on something hyped as "hot".

Avoid the Hype when it comes to safety ok?

We blogged about support from Emergency Room Nurses Association in the past.....support for ICE just continues to grow.

Get the genuine article - supported, endorsed and tested! smart-ICE!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Smart-ICE - It Talks for the Patient!

Learn more about how smart-ICE can be such an enormous help to those of us with Smart Phones that wish to take advantage of the latest in cell phone technology and make it work to your advantage when it comes to personal safety.
We encourage you to check this article out - short and to the point. Just like ICE.
Developers Tim Green and Wil Craport are featured in this trade article describing their innovative ICE products available through Apple i-Tunes.
As more and more people learn about smart-ICE the more they like it. So much so that ICE4SAFETY has had to take legal action against others hoping to cash-in on the success of these products by infringing on the trademarked image ICE4SAFETY licenses the developers to use.
So if your business has an innovative way to use ICE just know we protect the mark and you if you are properly licensed - and if you mistakenly decide to infringe on the trademark using a look alike - know that we will take aggressive and swift legal action against you.
Plan on using this product if you have an I-Phone/ I-Pod and coming soon to Blackberry and others....it is the best and one all the others try and copy - we can prove that.
See what emergency room physicians say about smart-ICE http://tinyurl.com/ykjoyu6
Visit ICE4SAFETY @ www.ice4safety.com

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dependency Impacts Initiative & Responsibility

Hurtling Down the Road to Serfdom - John Stossel
ICE is a DIY concept espousing self reliance dependent on personal freedoms and initiative. According to Mr. Stossel, that independence and initiative is being sapped from the majority of Americans who are reportedly leaning more toward total dependency on government for all their needs.
Stossel also indicates that roughly 60% of citizens are dependent for government for their very existence. Loss of freedom to choose and act is a disturbing trend. If you are a proponent of increased government intrusion into your life instead of self reliance, chances are you are not using ICE.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CPR - Expedient Version - Compression Only

Knowing how to save a family member or friend if they are stricken by a heart attack is an important part of your preparedness efforts. Watch the adaptation from the Mayo Clinic that may just save a life. This is the chest compression only version without rescue breathing.

Considering traditional CPR may result in a 1% success rate if done effectively (read perfectly) we think that having this knowledge and applying it can save a life. If you already have had CPR training you can watch this and be able to respond immediately if you witness an event take place.

Always call for assistance from 9/11 or others nearby to help before the "diffusion of responsibility" effect kicks in.....

Preparedness Credo

Simple - yet effective. Use it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"Prepositioned Assets" and ICE

No one said being prepared had to be a fashion show but being able to protect and find your emergency equipment when it is needed is a must.
Now you will never find this level of preparedness information in one of those fluff newspaper articles written by the new intern coughing up an old story link about those "preparedness boxes" of junk some other intern assumed covers all emergencies. They don't. You have to take responsibility for these things yourself - relying on that crap is a big mistake.
That said, if you have a serious groundwater issue or experience occasional flooding in your basement - or want to be prepared for this possibility here is at least one idea for you. If you have a heavy duty cast iron oil-filled sump or rough duty (dirty water) pump you should store it ready to go in something clearly marked and placed in a logical spot where it can be deployed immediately. Maybe right near where you are likely to hook it up and discharge the effluent.
Also you should store whatever tools and connecting devices such as clamps, adapters, one way valves, flex hoses, tools, laminated instructions, tie wraps, extension cords, GFCI's and whatever you have predetermined will be required to get your pump in action. This item here happens to be a tested and ready back up sump, hose, fittings kit ready if need be. If using a PVC pipe make sure all the connections are aailable or if flex pipe that it is long enough to move the water far enough away.
Always assume that you may not be the one having to use it but someone else in your family or a neighbor(s) who may be helping you out when you are away. For emergencies like a pump failure, water pipe burst, water heater leak you may also need some personal PPE like boots, gloves, masks, (sewage) sponges and assorted cleaning tools not to mention disinfectants (clorox, lysol etc). Granted most people will not have a heavy duty sewage pump on standby unless they are experiencing some regular problems. It is not however unusual for people to have a standby power backup for their pumps because of heavy drain activity.
Having all of this - or at least the pump kit ready and sealed up may make a rapid and effective first response a success. Knowing when to evacuate your area if the source of flooding is a river overflowing is critical as well.
We previously discussed having your main water shutoff (if you are on public water) identified and having the tools to shut it off yourself in lieu of waiting for the utility company truck to show. Still a good idea for when resources are spread thin and there is a long wait.....
The kit you see here in the plastic 5 gallon pail could just as easily have been a sanitation kit or portable stove and cooking supplies....hey no one says you have to be stylin' to be prepared.
Using an ICE Sticker makes this item easy to identify - which is what they were designed to do.
Bucket - Home Depot
ICE Stickers - www.ice4safety.com

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Emergency Stove - Butterfly #2412 Kerosene

Kerosene stoves, refrigerators, heaters, lanterns all are available to people looking for an alternative to high pressure, highly volatile fueled devices or those requiring on-grid or regular service delivery.
On the smaller side and a bit safer would be this copy of the venerable Swedish made Optimus-45 brass kerosene pressure stove called the Butterfly 2412 Pressure Stove.
Assembled in Indonesia the stove is put together well enough to last out most emergency situations and carry on for years. It would make one of several good choices to have stowed away in your emergency gear or camp because it is not expensive to own or operate.
The butterfly has some advantages over higher priced stoves in that the fuel required is relatively inexpensive in comparison and available in bulk from gas stations ($2.99 gallon) if need be. Gas station fuel is tinted red for IRS purposes but works just fine.
K-1 fuel can also be obtained seasonally from chain hardware stores like Ace, Lowe's and Home Depot in 1 or 5 gallon cans. (Hint: Remove the child safe plastic cap you see here on the metal can as it is a pain to open if injured or weak in an emergency)
A clean burning kerosene alternative is Klean-Heat which is about $10 a gallon at Home Depot.
There are no wicks to replace and the stove operates by placing a small quantity of 90% alcohol or fire ribbon paste in the lower cup and igniting that in order to heat up the tubes in the burner. These heated tubes will vaporize the kerosene when it is pumped up using the built in hand pump. That vaporized kerosene will be forced out of the small orifice in the burner and ignited either from the flames below or with a match or lighter. Flame can be adjusted higher by more pumping or lowered to a simmer by opening the bleed valve on the tank cap.
This unit will accept large pots unlike most backpacking stoves and can also be broken down into several parts. It can be carried in an upright position with the tank cap valve slightly open or it will leak out the orifice. A small cleaning needle is included with the stove as kerosene can leave deposits that need to be periodically cleaned from the orifice. Soaking the burner in vinegar or using carb cleaner periodically will keep it free of deposits.
Learn to take care of yourself folks...this is inexpensive insurance. Plus you can use it camping.
Can use the same fuel as alternative heating/refrigeration devices.
Fuel is less volatile / safer to store and widely available.
Can accept larger cooking pots and you can build a support for larger pots around this easily.
Can work with multiple fuels - bio-diesel, fuel oil, diesel, mineral spirits as well as kerosene.
Folds up compact and can be stored easily.
One gallon of fuel can last for up to 32 hours of cook time.
All you need is a small funnel to fill the tank.
Can be purchased for $50 from St. Paul Mercantile who is carrying spare parts as well.

Barter and Survival Coins

Given the mounting dollars in debt and increased spending on entitlements along with large scale discounting of the world reserve currency (US Dollar), many have taken to the purchase of silver coins to support their other preparations for an emergency.
We are not discussing the diversification of your investment portfolio here but instead providing some quick insight into a medium of exchange that would prove useful were the financial system to fail (or be temporarily suspended with restricted access to funds) under the current lack of government leadership or because of war.
Some might recall the desperate situations and currency collapse in Argentina or Paraguay in 2002 or the German Republic after WW1 as examples of what could take place.
Relying on your old foreign coin collection and a few silver dollars to get you through likely won't cut it longer term unless you possess considerable quantities of some other form of barter such as toilet paper, food or ammunition.
What will prevail is metal that is easily recognizable for the content - e.g. silver, gold, platinum, etc..
Most people would not immediately recognize what a foreign coin silver or gold content would be or if in fact they were even authentic. Yes, there are fake gold and silver coins. You need something that will work immediately and without any discussion.
Using a high value gold coin or bullion makes little sense as no one will have "change". You would quickly run out of "money". Gold coins that could serve as a useful exchange medium would be the 1/10th oz American Gold Eagle - small, more affordable, transportable and easily recognized - they could work in situations requiring a higher exchange rate.
As for silver, pre-1965 US Silver coins are the best bet. The most relevant players here would be the Franklin Half Dollars, The Walking Liberty Half Dollars and Mercury Dimes. All of these contain 90% Silver content and can be purchased in various quantities for that silver content. There are no clad versions of these coins unlike Roosevelt Dimes or Kennedy Halves. So put the KISS principle in play - no confusion or dispute when you can least afford it.
There are also "Silver Rounds" which look similar to coins but are not legal tender - instead they are .999 silver bullion. Silver bullion can also be had in bars that range from 1oz, 10oz, 100oz with the larger sizes meant for investments. Silver rounds would be the best bet here as they are stamped with their content but bars can be stored more easily assuming they are not wrapped in plastic. You can decide if people would more likely accept known coins or bullion.
Silver coins can be purchased in bags of what are termed "junk coins" that have no numismatic value and are pegged to the spot silver market price - as always buy when low. Depending on the spot price for silver you can secure hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of "exchangeable" silver coins.
If you are looking to make this preparedness investment over $10,000 you might consider gold as you will soon need an armored truck to move that many silver coins around. If you can swing silver and gold coins - good for you.
Don't buy numismatic collector pieces for this purpose because when TSHTF few will be collecting coins. Instead, people will be using them and exchanging them for their silver content only. The premium you paid for the investor quality mint condition coins will have evaporated.
Having a manageable quantity of silver content pre-1965 coins on hand to be used in emergency situations may be a good idea. Smaller sized dime coins can be added to your prepositioned assets or evac bags and they can be used as a means of exchange if the current system quits such as in an EMP attack (see earlier blog).
If you consider this type of investment as "insurance" at least it is one that will retain (some) value over time and you can cash in because it does not expire.
If you visit a local merchant use common sense.....if they are a pawn shop or someplace in a seedy neighborhood - don't go there. Online sources can provide you with a good source of information and prices you can gauge the integrity of the local silver merchant.
Check the spot market price and if it continues to dip lower - consider going out and buying some of the coins above. Inspect them for really worn out pieces and see if you can exchange for recognizable coins.
Added: We had some comments on whether silver coins would be recognized for their content during a severe downturn in the economy or social upheaval.....historically civilizations have resorted to some alternate form of exchange in those times and had fallen back on valuable metals.
Depending on the nature and duration of such events you might find regionalized "economies" adopting some form of exchange and coins would be the most logical and available means to do so. People would quickly come to realize the value of pre-1965 silver coins.
Those with valuable skills other than keyboarding and texting their friends would be able to exchange their services for food/supplies. While we hope these times never come it would be foolhardy to simply ignore what is taking place all around the world and in our own country. As always the choice is yours we just offer the suggestions.