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Preparations for Disasters that Strike Close to Home
Disasters happen every moment of every day all over the globe. Whether it’s the wrath of Mother Nature or some crazed lunatics looking to terrorize and kill, today we live in a world where destruction can happen in the blink of an eye. We can never be too careful, or too prepared. Situations arise all the time that require immediate action. Our fate is in our hands in the face of catastrophe.
Many people fail to recognize the importance of emergency preparedness. The theory “it won’t happen to me” is a popular misconception. The likelihood something awful will happen increases with heightened tensions abroad, natural earth transitions, or as we experienced recently in Boston – young men with extremist agendas.
Stocking our homes with necessities for the unexpected provides us with peace of mind. It’s essential to our livelihood if we should ever need to fend for our lives on our home turf. Compiling a disaster-preparedness kit will aid you in surviving whatever lies ahead.
Stock your kit (and your pantry) with plenty of non-perishable dry foods that are ready to eat in case of a massive power outage. Packaged oatmeal, granola bars, cereals, and the like are fortified with nutrients and require no prepping. Other food items that are commonly overlooked are plants. Regular indoor household plants can be a great source for nutrients when reaching the nearest store is not in the foreseeable future.
Everyone knows tomatoes, herbs, lettuce, and peppers are edible plants. They can also be grown inside your home. Sure, you may prefer to see them in your home garden, but in the event of an emergency where you’re trapped in your home, you’ll want to make sure you have plants like these indoors. In addition to the plants you’d typically find outside, a number of flowering plants like pansies and violets are not only pretty, but they are edible as well. In fact, there’s a large variety of blossoming plants that are perfectly safe to consume.
Essential for the life of all living things, water is a necessity no one or thing can live without. A ruptured water supply line causes devastation. Stock your home with gallon jugs of drinking water. There are also a few battery-operated water purifiers on the market. These devices will take in polluted water (or urine) and remove the impurities, making it perfectly safe to drink.
Flashlights and candles are an inexpensive must-have when the lights go dark, but they cannot be sustainable for the long haul. Having an alternate energy supply is essential to maintain your household as best you can when the power suddenly goes off.
Many homes in regions where natural disasters occur with regular frequency are equipped with power generators. These can be charged with electricity and start up after a break in the power supply. Others are driven by propane gas. If there’s a disruption to the electrical grid, these machines ensure some sort of normalcy when things go wrong.
If a generator seems like a luxury you cannot afford, stock plenty of batteries for flashlights and consider buying a small collapsible charcoal grill. It can act as a heat source for body warmth and you can use it to make food.
Radios are the most effective method of communication. Every area has a broadcast station that only airs content of forecast conditions, weather warnings, and disaster information. But radios provide these services when they have a proper power supply. The use of battery-operated or crank radios will ensure you’ll have contact with the outside world even when electricity is not an option.
Although our hope is to never resort to the resources listed above, today’s changing times forces us to be at the ready. With proper preparedness and careful planning, we can ensure our survival in the face of disaster.
Conservation and Sustainability at the Individual Level
A lot is being done at the local, state and federal level to conserve the planet’s resources and to help lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Thankfully, many utility companies has started to implement renewable and alternative energy into the power that it sends to houses and businesses. Cities have started composting programs, have (controversially) banned plastic bags, and implemented “pay as you throw” trash programs.
With so much being done at higher levels to increase conservation and sustainability, it’s understandable that people have started to slack off at the personal level. If this sounds familiar, here are some things that you can do to get back on track. Each of these is a simple, reasonable change you can make in your daily life.
Shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deals on your utilities. If you live in a state like Connecticut, Ohio or Texas, where the energy industry has been deregulated you’ve got more wiggle room here. Spend some time researching different Texas electric companies (or Ohio or Connecticut, or wherever you live). Look for programs with sustainable or renewable power sources that you can opt into. Consider switching to natural gas, which is better for the environment and your pocketbook all at the same time.
Make some eco-friendly changes to your house. Tankless water heaters will give you permanent hot water, less water use and a tax credit. Solar panel installation can also save you money on your taxes while helping you reduce your electric bill and energy usage all at the same time. Energy efficient appliances save money and use less power as well. You get the idea.
Set up a compost pile in your yard. This reduces the amount of trash that you toss into landfills (in plastic bags so it can never biodegrade). It also provides you with an eco-friendly alternative to fertilizer for your yard. If you live in an apartment or do not have a yard, set up a compost bin. Your town probably has a community composting program that will take your drop offs.
Build a rainwater collection tank if you have the space for it. Rainwater can be used for things like watering the lawn, washing the car, etc. It reduces your water consumption which, in addition to being environmentally friendly, saves you money on your water bill.
Use cloth bags at the grocery store. This is better for the environment than using plastic bags. If you live in a city with a plastic bag ban (like Portland or San Diego) it can save you from having to cart paper bags around. It might even save you money since many of the cities with the bans also charge for paper bag usage.
Use reusable coffee cups, cold beverage containers, and water bottles. These save you from having to use paper or plastic cups, which even though these are recyclable now, isn’t as good for the environment as a washable beverage container. It’s also worth noting that many coffee shops will give you a discount off of your coffee if you bring in your own cup, so that’s a money saver on top of being an environment saver.
There are lots of little but important things you can do to help save the world. How many more can you think up?
Your Fear of the Doctor Could Kill You
The older we get, the more important it is to visit the doctor for annual check-ups. During these yearly physicals, doctors not only check patients for obvious signs of ill-health, but they request various blood tests that can alert both patient and doctor to beginning stages of such diseases as diabetes, high cholesterol and even cardiovascular disease. It’s not a stretch to say that, if you are afraid of doctors, your fear may be killing you. By avoiding the doctor, you are risking not only your health but, ultimately, your life. Here are five ways to manage your fear and get through your appointment:
1.Schedule a Visit
It may help to lessen your anxiety if you can meet your doctor face-to-face with no examination required. Schedule an appointment with your doctor simply to discuss your fears and have your upcoming physical explained in detail. Most doctors will be happy to schedule this meeting if you let them know that you’re fearful or anxious. Once you get to know your doctor, he or she may seem less intimidating during your “real” appointment. You can also ask your doctor how he or she suggests that you cope with your appointment; believe it or not, you won’t be the first person that they’ve run across with a fear of doctors.
Take part in a relaxing activity just before your appointment. You may want to go for a massage, sit for a pedicure or even go for a walk on the beach. Different things relax different people; find what relaxes you and do it before you see the doctor. By taking part in some type of activity ahead of time, you will be less likely to spend hours worrying about your appointment, heightening your level of anxiety.
3.Take a Friend
If you’re appointment won’t be too personal, take a friend or family member along. Having someone with you for moral support can go a long way toward lessening your stress. Even if your friend isn’t permitted in the exam room with you, just having them in the waiting room can keep your mind off of your pending appointment. Be sure that you take someone along who will be supportive; avoid asking anyone who will tease you to tag along. Remember that the goal is to lessen your anxiety, not to make it worse.
There’s nothing that will heighten your stress level like a long wait in the reception area. Feel free to call ahead and make sure that your doctor is running on time. Explain to the receptionist that you’re feeling anxious and don’t want to have to sit in the waiting room for an extended period of time. The receptionist should be happy to tell you if the doctor is running behind and can give you a better idea of when to show up for your appointment.
When we get nervous, our body naturally responds by quickening our breathing pattern. Make a conscious effort to slow your breathing to a more exaggerated pace. Close your mouth and breathe in through your nose, filling your lungs deeply. Hold your breath for about three seconds and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this exercise three times and then return to normal breathing. Perform this exercise in your car, in the waiting room and then again in the exam room. This breathing pattern is naturally calming and can help relax your mind.
If your fear of the doctor is causing you to avoid medical care, you could be harming yourself more than you think. Even if you feel “fine,” avoiding the doctor completely can cause you to miss out on early diagnoses that could ultimately save your life. If you can’t get yourself over your fear, you may want to seek the help of a trained therapist or psychologist who specializes in phobias. Getting over your fear will be the first step in ensuring your health and longevity.
Kelly Rhodes writes for health sites. If you’re concerned about your health, check out more information on locations for discount blood work in florida.
How to Bag Yourself an Ex-Military Bargain
As the credit crunch continues and further defence cuts are being made, people with an eye for a military bargain are suddenly finding that they can pick up all sorts of military hardware. In fact, if you know where to look you can pick up anything from ex army surplus wrist watches, through to a Gazelle helicopter.
However, you can pick up some great ex military items that are not so contentious and bag yourself a real bargain.
Seek out Speciality Companies
There are a variety of speciality companies who deal solely in ex-military stock. A simple Google search will pull up many such companies and you’ll be amazed at what’s on offer. In fact you could say that the craze of ex- military items for sale has certainly been fuelled by the internet. With online auctions dedicated specifically to military goods it’s no wonder business is booming.
What to Buy
This really is the million dollar question, but when it comes to ex army surplus one of the best buys has to be a vehicle. Of course I’m not talking a hulking great tank, but rather an ex-staff car or even a Land Rover. Believe it or not most of the vehicles up for tender haven’t even been anywhere near a war zone and they are serviced more regularly than most other vehicles. What’s more, they’ve probably done less miles than you think. As a result, you can pay as little as a couple of thousand for say an Ex military Seat Toledo which is only a few years old. Land Rovers tend to range from the nearly new to the nearly knackered and can fetch somewhere between £1,000 and £5,500
Cold Weather Gear
This time of year as the chill sets in it’s time to pick yourself up a cold weather bargain. Items such as wind proof fleeces, lined sleeping bags and dry sacks are always very popular. Contrary to popular belief the British army gets issued some of the best kit in the world and as a result it’s made to last. So chances are even though it may be ex-army surplus, you’ll be sure that you aren’t buying complete tat. What’s more the prices you pay are very reasonable too.
Finally, if all else fails, take a look on EBay. As the trend towards ex military gear is taking off, there’s a real wealth of people selling all kinds of military stock from clothing to equipment. If you’re patient enough you can bag yourself a real bargain. However as always it pays to do a little homework before you make your winning bid.
So there you have it. A wealth of places where given a little luck and of course the right timing you can bag yourself the bargain of the century. One of which you could be still using in many years to come.
Planning For Two Possibilities
Sometimes you get things because you need them, sometimes because you want them, and occasionally, to be honest, it is just because you like them. None of these are bad reasons at all. Many of us like to say we only get or do what we need but realistically some want and like are typically involved as well. The answer to this has always been very simple – If you like or want something, can you find a way that it has potential use if you should ever need something. In this way you can indulge interests in some things while allowing for other purpose as well.
You may not need to grow your own gardens at this time but it makes sense to. It may be a very helpful ability and knowledge and save some money so is practical. It is also very practical should the need to have your own organic based food sources come up.
Some considerations are always- staples based on your climate of things such as corn, tomatoes, potato, general fruits, berries, and vegetables. They serve good healthy practical purpose now and in the future and are simple ways to be prepared.
You may want to consider a few other additions that might not come to mind right off the top of your head. Why not add some flowers, seasonings as well? You may want to consider ornamental landscape lighting. Some reasons to consider these additions may or may not be obvious.
Purple cone flowers – cold and flu remedy
White Willow – aspirin is made from this; for fever and pain
Marigolds – for lotions skin soothing plus teas
Aloe Vera- for treating burns
Garlic – as an antibiotic as well as seasoning
Ginger- for nausea as well as seasoning
Obviously a huge number of things could be included on this list that would serve both simply an indulgence in a beautiful garden, but with some small planning could be excellent preparation for an as yet unknown need.
Solar landscape lighting – as well as being a simple ornament, it is a rechargeable light. Less obvious on face is that if you open them up and look inside it is actually just a solar powered recharger with typically 2 AA rechargeable batteries. These batteries can be used in any device that uses AA batteries and the charger can be used to solar charge many other rechargeable batteries as well. Once again, something on first glance to be of little added value could fulfil a very important need.
It is difficult to apply that to every purpose for every item, but the point is to simply consider ways to use things in several manners. If a similar type item can serve multiple purposes it is far more useful. This also works in reverse – if there is something you want to make you more prepared for future eventualities then you might find it here at Nightgear. Sometimes you can take something that is meant to be prepared for disaster preparation and find an everyday use for it as well, getting dual purpose in that manner. It always pays to look for alternative uses.
You might have already talked to your doctor about getting a flu shot this year in an effort to combat seasonal illness. Now, this vaccine is readily available in places like health clubs, neighborhood pharmacies and community clinics, too. On a related note, the Women’s College Hospital and University of Toronto collaborated on a study, which found that influenza vaccine could reduce the risk of heart attacks, whether or not a person who received the vaccine had a prior cardiovascular risk.
During the study, researchers looked at clinical trials from the 1960s to the current time and noticed that the vaccine cut down on deaths of all types by approximately 40 percent, and that people reduced their probability of a major cardiac problem by half. Also, the study analyzed over 3,000 patients, and the pool was split almost evenly between people who had prior cardiac problems, and those who did not.
Helpful with Cardiac Implants?
There was also a study at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, which looked at the effects of the influenza vaccine on patients who had cardiac defibrillators implanted inside of them. The study was inspired when lead researchers discovered that their patients tended to have more incidents of needing assistance from their defibrillator during flu season.
The results showed that individuals with implanted defibrillators who received the flu vaccine were about three percent less likely to be reliant on their defibrillator. Researchers seemed optimistic at this evidence, and said that it could be good news for people who have already potentially compromised their lifespan.
Shots for the Needle-Phobic
If one of the reasons why you’ve been putting off your flu shot is because of the needle, there’s a new method to explore. Fluzone intradermal offers a new way to administer the flu vaccination. It uses a very short needle that’s less than 1/10 of an inch long, and only about as thick as a strand of hair. In an article on ABCNews.com, Dr William Schaffner, the chairman of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine also mentioned that the vaccine might also help patients avoid the persistent deep muscle aches that are common with standard flu shots. That’s because the intradermal versions go just under the skin’s surface.
Things to Ask Your Doctor
The possibility of a flu shot reducing the risk of heart problems adds to the already established recommendations that certain groups of the population, such as young children and women who are pregnant, should receive the flu vaccination. It’s also suggested for people who have prior health problems, because when flu strikes, symptoms can be worse for these individuals. If you work in the healthcare field, it’s particularly important to get vaccinated, especially since your potential level of exposure to the flu is so much higher than that of the general population.
However, if you have an allergy to eggs, tell your doctor. Some versions of the flu vaccine include a type of egg protein. Also, speak up if you’ve had a suspected adverse reaction to the flu vaccine before. It might not have been connected to receiving the shot, but it’s good for your doctor to be informed, anyway.
Thanks to advancing technology, the flu is no longer something that you automatically have to start worrying about whenever winter approaches. Be proactive and get vaccinated today.
Kara Martin writes for nursing blogs that feature articles on nursing jobs and higher education including the benefits of second degree nursing programs.
by ”Miz Peaches ‘n I”
- Have you heard these comments?
- Why are you laughing, don’t you know this is serious?
- Talking isn’t going to help anything; just put up and do it!
- Get over it, stop the crying. Don’t you know we have work to do?
All are common responses to stress. Why did the phrase “saving for a rainy day” come into play? Everyone knows it’s going to rain sometime, so get ready for it. It may sprinkle, thunderstorm, hail, give spring rain, or bring a rainbow. We just don’t know.
It’s the little things and building a savings account of smiles, laughter, warm or furry hugs that we make withdrawals from when needed that can bring resilience to our lives. What’s resilience you say? The ability to “roll with the punches”, or to “bounce back” when life is stressful. It’s what brings the relief with shared laughter, tears, and when alone to “pull back” and see the “whole picture” rather than only feeling the smart of a stubbed toe.
How can we bring this into our lives intentionally? Practice. Not an exciting word. Most good things require practice if you want them ready to use at a moment’s notice. We never will know when that moment’s notice will say, “Olly Olly Out N’Free, Ready or Not, Here I Come”
- getting up, going to bed, meal time, answering a phone find something to be grateful for
- jot them on a calendar, a journal, a social networking website anywhere you can look at them later
- Friends, family whether local, distance, or online
- Don’t forget the face to face, phonecalls, and snail mail, someday they may be easier that other means.
- Reach out, don’t only wait to be reached towards someone may be waiting for you.
- A pet, a furry friend counts as well. Yes, I said that! Unless a medical reason, consider it. Emotional support animals are allowed in public housing with a medical professionals prescription or note.
Exercise: What you say? Move your body to help your feelings?
- Outside! Sunshine 15 minutes a day without sunscreen helps, just amble and enjoy the flowers.
- Pets enjoy the air and sunshine too. They ask to go out, and give you a reason to get out too!
- Even mild exercise such as walking for 10-12 minutes, start with 1-2 if necessary, can bring benefits.
- Invite a family member or a friend if there’s someone’s company you’d enjoy.
- If caught inside due to weather or something else. Put on music, walk thru your place, sweep, dust, mop to the beat, or do the house maintenance guys.
In conclusion, laughing in the rain, walking out in the sun, visiting with someone whether in person, letter, email, phone, or online are paramount to our overall health. Next, it is up to each of us to take the time and make a decision to do it.
Me? I may lose the way occasionally, and need to re-find it. These habits hold me in good stead and good company most days. It’s easier to re-find a path during a dark time, than to clear it for the first time in the dark. Practice makes not perfect, but much easier to keep bouncing back! Keeping it simple and being resilient is pleasantly summarized in one of Louie Armstrong’s hits, Bare Necessities.
Finally, how? (How Now Brow Cow? Smiling?) A simple plan helps. What, where, how often, with whom are parts of a plan. Writing it down and telling someone helps us remember to do it. Brave enough to ask someone to remind you?
A note from Rourke: I want to give special thanks to Bev who wrote this guest post. Bev has been a frequent commenter and writer over at one of my other preparedness sites – ModernSurvivalOnline.com. Bev has writen several excellent preparedness articles and also has won prizes for her endeavours.
A Wealth of Knowledge