Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What's the Real Reason Behind the California Dam Breach, and How Does that Affect You?

The Oroville dam and the residents in that area have been on our minds and Facebook feeds for the past few days. It brought back to my mind a flood that happened to me a few years ago. It makes my heart reach out to them even more.

It was a typical Sunday morning, or so I thought... I ran downstairs to our crawlspace we use for storage to grab something from our food storage. And I realized it was a lot more wet down there than I remembered.

There was several inches of water covering our entire crawlspace. I had no inclination that was something I would ever have to worry about in that location or house, but due to recent storms the water table in our area had significantly risen.

It may have been unexpected but we still had to deal with the problem. It took most of the day to move all our boxes and storage from the basement upstairs where it was dry. And in the end we found that the flood had damaged some of our belongings, especially books and papers that we had kept down there.

Even that small bit of water flooding our home caused a lot of headache. And it was headache that could have been avoided.

My run-in with flooding was very small compared to the potential catastrophe that over 100,000 Californian residents are currently facing. For the time being the evacuation order has been lifted but anxiety is still tense. So what is the problem that officials were so worried about?

The Flooding: Deficient Spillway

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Radiating Nuclear Safety

With all the hype that has been surrounding Japan's nuclear power plant radiation leak questions are being asked, such as, what is radiation, what is the big deal, how could radiation potentially affect me, and what do I do if a nuclear emergency happened? We did some research for you and this is what we found.

Understanding Radiation
So how does radiation affect our bodies, what symptoms would we experience and is there any treatments? It works by making small breaks in the DNA inside cells,damaging cells enough to kill them or causing them to mutate, which eventually leads to cancer.

Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Spontaneous bleeding
  • Hair Loss
  • Severe fatigue
  • Mouth Ulcers

However, these symptoms all depend on how much radiation you have been exposed to. If you have been exposed to a large amount you will experience these symptoms and after a couple of days you will feel like you're getting better but in fact you are not. These symptoms will come back worse and eventually will result in death.

Potassium Iodide is used to stop radiation from invading your thyroid gland, but is also used after initial exposure to stop further exposure and flush toxic particles out through your urine.There's a chemical called Prussian blue, an ion exchanger that binds to the radioactive particles of cesium and thallium, reducing the amount of radiation that cells may absorb according to the Mayo Clinic.

What to do in a Nuclear Emergency
Whether it’s an earthquake, a tsunami, or a nuclear bomb the possibilities will always be there for some of us to come in contact with radioactive material. If that happens these steps can help in not getting exposed.   

Step 1:  Get as far away as possible from the exposed sight.
If there is a radiation disaster you want to make sure you get as far away as possible from the exposed place so you don’t get contaminated with radiation. But what can you do if getting away isn’t possible?

Step 2: Shelter In Place.
If getting away isn’t possible and you need to shelter in place what measures can we take to make sure our home is safe from exposure?
  • Remove clothing, shoes, and accessories before entering your shelter area
  • Shower and wash your body with soap and water
  • Close and lock all windows and exterior doors
  • Turn off all ventilation, including furnaces, air conditioners, vents, and fans
  • Use duct tape and plastic sheeting to cover all windows, doors and vents. The thicker you can get it the better. Every couple hours you should remove it for a short period of time to help against suffocation.

Step 3: Stay informed.
It will be important to stay tuned once you get inside for updated instructions from emergency response officials. As officials learn more about the emergency, they will be communicating the latest information to the public. These are the best ways to keep in touch.
  • A battery-powered or hand crank emergency radio.   
  • Try to use text messages.
  • If you have a computer,use email and social media websites.

Any disaster can be a devastating event, but if we can educate ourselves and can follow these simple steps then we can stop any horrible tragedy from happening. Feel free to comment below about any other steps you would take to keep yourself and family safe.

The Chill Pill: Preparing for the Next Big Blizzard

The winter storm that hit the Southeast has now moved up to the East Coast, heavy snow and freezing temperatures have been reported early this week. Commuters are facing windblown snow and slick highways. There is warning of high winds, coastal flooding as well as possible power outages.  So with the weather changing so quickly what should we have with us in case of emergency? Here are some suggestions that we think would be helpful.

Food & WaterHaving non-perishable food that doesn't need to be cooked is a great idea in case you have to be somewhere for a long period of time or if you get stuck somewhere. As well as having water that you know is safe and clean.

Gas (Don't Drive on Empty): It's a bad idea to drive on empty at anytime but especially in a winter storm,keep your tank above half so you are sure to never get stuck somewhere. 

Cash: Not many people carry cash anymore, but in a winter storm there is always a chance of power outages which means you can't always count on your credit card. Carry small bills and change so you can pay exact amounts.  

Jumper Cables: It's always a good idea to have jumper cables in your car because batteries tend to die in the cold. 

Tow Rope: Having tow ropes in the car would help if you are stuck somewhere in the snow and need to be pulled out. 

Gloves: Having a pair of gloves would be helpful if you need to get out in the cold and work on your car. 

Shovel: Having a small folding shovel will come in handy if you had to dig yourself out of the snow.

Ice Scraper: Having some sort of ice scraper is always a good idea in a snow storm in case you need to clear your windows. 

Flares, TrianglesHaving something where you are able to signal for help in case of emergency.

Blanket: If you're stuck somewhere for a long period of time having a blanket with you will be a life saver so you don't end up with frostbite. 

Hand Warmers: Having hand warmers will keep you warm in any emergency.

Boots: Having some sort of snow boots will be helpful if you need to travel in the snow on foot. 

First Aid KitIn case of any accidents or injuries having a first aid kit that has the essentials such as band-aids, gauze, cleaning wipes etc. 

Radio: Having someway to get updated information about the weather conditions would be a great idea.

Flashlight: Not only would it help with signaling if you need to work on your car in the dark or walk somewhere.

These are just a couple ideas on how we think you could be prepared in a winter storm. We would love to hear how your preparing, feel free to share a comment below about some of your ideas.