Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Preparedness Movie Review: Save Yourselves!

Welcome to our first preparedness movie review! In these reviews, we examine how living a prepared lifestyle can help us be ready for anything. Many disaster situations in movies will never happen to us, but it doesn't hurt to prepare for the worst.

I recently saw the Sundance film, Save Yourselves, a comedy where Jack and Su turn off their phones at a week-long cabin retreat. What is the worst thing that could happen when your phone is shut off? You might miss some messages from work, or a call from a loved one. Or you could miss several frantic voicemails about an alien invasion. You know. Normal stuff.

Looking at this film as a preparedness or doomsday guide, I would say this is more of a “what not to do” cautionary tale.

Without spoiling the plot, here are my thoughts on what they got wrong, and what they did right for an unexpected alien invasion. Hopefully, I won’t have to experience an invasion from another planet. But if I do, I believe the basics of emergency preparedness would help me get to safety.

  • They had no plan in place for evacuation.
  • They didn’t pack any non-perishable foods or extra water.
  • Jack lacked the skills to start a fire.
  • They shut themselves off from all communication. I get it, sometimes I need to unplug from society too. In this situation though, they were also ignoring the news, which would have alerted them sooner to the danger at hand.
  • They lacked even the most basic situational awareness. This led to tons of laugh out loud scenes. For example, while they close their eyes in a meditative exercise, a man runs through the trees and is caught by an alien. They are completely oblivious to the danger so close by.
What they did right:
  • When they finally see the danger, Jack and Su are incredibly resourceful. They use everything they can to adapt to the situation.
  • Jack and Su try to keep an optimistic attitude during difficult situations. When it comes to surviving, your attitude and perspective are powerful.
Although their survival skills were lacking, I was very impressed with their adaptability and positive attitudes. This movie was unexpected, original, and kept me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend going to see it when you have the chance!

Have you had a chance to see Save Yourselves yet? How would you rate their preparedness?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Do You Have The Complete Emergency Preparedness Supply List?

Are you overwhelmed by everything you need to do to prepare for a natural or man-made disaster? Everyone is at first! That's why we're sharing a simple to use checklist of everything you will need when #SHTF. We followed the recommended supply list from FEMA and turned it into a free, easy to follow checklist. The list covers the essentials and suggested items to have at home, at work, and at school. Have peace of mind knowing your family can be ready anywhere you are!

You can download the free list here: Complete Emergency Preparedness Supply List

Friday, May 10, 2019

18 Things You Need In Your Pet Emergency Survival Kit

image of Husky breed dog wearing shirt and backpack
When we’re making plans for worst case scenarios, we plan for ourselves and our human family members to ensure our safety. But what about our pets? If you’re like millions of Americans, you probably have a pet dog or cat (or several pets if you’re lucky). The bond you have with your pet is special and unique. No two pet/owner relationships are the same, just like no two human friendships are the same. Our pets are important members of our families. We may not be able to communicate in the same language, but they want to feel safe and secure too.

Fortunately, preparing your pet for an emergency is very similar to what you prepare for yourself, with a few modifications.

We’ve put together this guide to help you and your pet stay safe, and stay together, in an emergency.

Prepare a kit with these emergency supplies:

  1. Food supply for 72 hours: Pets don't eat the same food as us. Human food can be poisonous to pets, and it doesn't give them the nutrients they need. It is important to have a kit where your pet can have food to keep it healthy.
  2. Water supply for 72 hours: You won't always have access to clean water, so having water set aside in any kit is vital, and the same goes for your pet.
  3. Food and water dishes: Sure, a pet can eat food off the floor, but what about water? It is important to have something that your pet can drink out of so they can stay hydrated.
  4. First aid kit: Accidents happen. Your pet deserves to be taken care of, and this includes making sure that its injuries can be treated. Specific things in the kit?
  5. Pet emergency guidebook: a guidebook specifically geared towards helping you know how to care and plan for your pets in the event of an emergency.
  6. Medications: If your pet is on any medication, they will still need it when an emergency arises. Make sure that your pet emergency kit has all the medications they will need.
  7. Collar and leash: Your pet is going to need to move around. If you don't have a leash, then when frightened, your pet may run away. Pet-friendly shelters will almost always require your pet to be on a leash.
  8. Pet waste bags and/or litter box: Preventing the spread of bacteria and disease is one of the most important considerations during a disaster. All animals create waste, and it is important to clean up after your pet. Having a way to do that will help you maintain a clean shelter.
  9. Emergency reflective blanket
  10. A picture of your pet and you: Your pet might get lost or run away during the frightening emergency situation. Having a picture of your pet is a great idea, but it is even better if you are in the picture as well. This can be further proof to others that your pet belongs to you.
  11. Records: Having documentation is important. Shelters may need a vaccination record and documentation that your pet does indeed belong to you. You may also consider having your pets chipped by your veterinarian. Having information on your pet can also help if you are sheltering your pet at a pet motel or with a friend.
  12. Carrying case: When a pet gets frightened, it might be difficult to get them to safety. They might not walk on their own, and if you simply pick them up they might jump out of your arms. By having a carrier, you can eliminate these problems. In addition to this, the CDC advises that you get your pet familiar with the carrier ahead of time. This will help them understand that it is safe for them to be in.
  13. Rope and stake: By having a rope and stake, your dog will be able to move around freely in a restricted area. This can help keep them at your camp, or wherever you may be, and still have a bit of freedom. This will also take the worry off your mind of keeping an eye on them, or always holding a leash.
  14. Blanket: Having some comfort for your pet can make a huge difference when their world collapses. If you have to evacuate, this can hold a lot of security for them.
  15. Treats: Helping your pet be at ease can make a huge difference for them. Adding treats to your emergency kit can help give your pet comfort and a reward for being good.
  16. Toys: Giving your pet a little security can go a long way. By having toys it can help calm your pet when they are in a stressful environment. If you have small children, it can also help distract them as they play with their pet.
  17. Whistle: There is a possibility that you will get lost, or your dog will. Dogs tend to react to whistles, and it can help them find you. If you and your dog are lost, it can help rescuers find both of you. Take some time to train your dog to come to the sound of the whistle
  18. Bag to store and carry all items easily
You can use this list to build a pet emergency kit on your own, or use it as a guide to purchase a pre-built kit. Purchasing a pre-built kit will allow you to have more time to focus on other aspects of your emergency preparedness plan. You can see our line of pet emergency kits HERE.

For a FREE Pet Emergency Guide, follow the link below. In it you will have access to the information that was discussed here, as well as more in depth information on first aid, sheltering, and other ways to keep your pet safe. It also has places to write down documentation you may need, and a place for that picture of your pet and you.

Sign up to the Newsletter for a free Pet Guidebook(E-Book)

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

What I Learned About The In-Between Things

Are there disaster situations where you would want to save non-essential material possessions? Probably so.

Working for Emergency Zone, I spend plenty of my waking hours thinking about how to prepare for emergencies and what to do if one strikes. When a natural disaster came to my own doorstep, I found out that no amount of preparation and studying the subject could simulate the sense of reality sinking in when you see it with your own eyes from your own house. Last year, during another dry summer out west, a series of large fires broke out around my community and the surrounding towns and cities. A number of communities were evacuated; and the nearby hills, walking distance away, were illuminated by a mountain of brown smoke. I carefully kept updated on the status of the situation, until word came in that my neighborhood was given the pre-evacuation designation. People opened their homes to the evacuees and prayers rose up from all the chapels.

In spite of how near the fire was, the wind was blowing it towards an already evacuated town, meaning I had several days to assess the situation. But the wind only had to change direction and my home would be in danger. We filled buckets and pots full of water and put them around the house, in the hopes of reducing the damage if the fire made it that far. We reviewed our pre-evacuation checklist. The flames were cresting the hill into view when I made the decision to evacuate and stay with relatives.

When your life isn't at risk, but your possessions are.

In spite of all the situations I have considered, this was one I overlooked. I had days to decide what I would leave behind and what I would bring. If I really wanted to, I could have packed the whole house into trucks and trailers and made multiple trips in that amount of time.

Make no mistake. Family is what's important in life and the value of material things cannot come close in comparison. As long as you have each other, you are truly rich. In an immediate emergency, trying to save your possessions could get you killed. But this situation was different.
Thanks to the valiant efforts of the firefighters, my neighborhood was spared. But say the wind changed. Say that 2% chance of my house burning down came true (When it's your house, that number feels a lot bigger). I would be sitting there thinking how I could have saved more of my possessions at no risk to my life or my family. Sure, you can get your house insured and you can buy several replacement things, but there are things of yours that are sentimental and could never be replaced. Precious family heirlooms, memorabilia, things with a deep, personal history that you look forward to passing on to the next generation. These are the in-between thingsfloating in the grey area between the important and the unimportant. They especially become a concern with the more frequent, slow-moving disasters where your odds are good, but the danger is much higher than normal. How do you decide what is worth putting in the effort to save, and how do you weigh that against the risk of it being lost?

Losing your house is a tragedy, and there's no way to make it not a tragedy. That's not what I'm trying to do here. This is about easy, simple things you can do to reduce the impact of such an event. It's not worrying and obsessing. It's preparing.

Three categories

All you need to do is divide the things in your life into three categories:

  • Necessities
  • Non-Necessities
  • Sentimental (In-Between Things)
You may have the first two already separated out, especially if you are a prepper, but I will go over these, too, to show where they fall in relation to the in-between things.


This is what preppers live for. Collecting the supplies you need to survive for when all hell breaks loose. Shelter. Water. Medical supplies. When you are sheltering in place, these supplies can be extensive; but, since this article is focusing on evacuation, these are the things that will go in your "bug out bag." Here is an Ultimate Guide to 72 Hour Kits and bug out bags. Bug out bags can also carry a few of the smaller sentimentals, like a picture of your family.


To minimize the impact of losing your possessions (including some of the sentimental ones), do three things:
  • Get it insured. Homeowner's insurance if you own, renters insurance if you rent. Your landlord's policy most likely doesn't cover your personal possessions.
  • Get it digitized. Take well-lit photos of your belongings in every room of the house, especially the valuable things. This is for the insurance company, but it may also allow the memory of things to live on. Scan and digitize photo albums, documents, journals and letters. In many cases, the digitized will not be the same as holding the original, but it's better than nothing.
  • Back it up. If your files were not already valuable to you before, they are now that they contain all of your pictures and precious documents for future generations. There are many options for data backup, and they all have their pros and cons. Cloud storage means your files will always be miles away from any local disaster, while external storage is the most difficult for hackers to access and could make a great addition for your bug out bag.

The In-Between Things.

After doing everything above, the remaining part is simple. Make a list of those irreplaceable things in your house. This is much easier to do now than when you are frantically putting things in order with the approach of a disaster.

Not everything on the list has to have some kind of deep meaning. Simply stated, an in-between thing is something an insurance payout cannot replace. You keep that autographed poster of your favorite band because you would rather have it than the money it's worth, right? Might as well put it on the list. Still, the list should be short. If it's not, that either means you curate a personal museum of artifacts, or that you should re-prioritize where material things belong in your life.

The hardest thing, by far, is assessing an incoming disaster and deciding when the risk is significant enough to go to the trouble of moving the belongings on the list out. If you have your list stored alongside your emergency supplies, however, you will be better prepared and equipped to make these decisions in the moment.

Make note of what things you will need help with transporting, like an antique piano. These belong in a subcategory, and you decide beforehand how high the risk has to be before you enlist support in moving them out of the area. You should make friends with your neighbors, so you can help each other during a crisis and so you know who to trust. A stereotypical prepper thinks his neighbors would murder his family for a bottle of ketchup as soon as things go south, but the truth is disasters bring out the best in people more often than they bring out the worst.

When talking about survival and emergency preparedness, discussing nonessential material belongings can seem counterintuitive. Could a fondness for material things bog down our chances for survival? My thoughts go to my grandmother, who passed a few months prior to the fires at the age of 101. She was a serious prepper ready for the end times and very familiar with poverty and survival from her early life. In spite of this, she was very sentimental about her possessions, and her house was filled with all kinds of art and antiques. If she could find that balance, maybe we can, too.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

12 Life Saving Items to Keep in Your Car This Winter

Picture this: it’s late at night and you are stranded on the side of the road. Snow is falling around you, and your car won't start. There is no heater, and your phone is dead. With the following twelve things in your car you will be better equipped to help yourself, and/or wait out the storm until help arrives. 

1. Ice Scraper and Brush: Being able to see out your windows is crucial when driving. By having an ice scraper you will be able to better see out your windshield and other windows. 

2. Shovel: A collapsible shovel is small enough to fit in your car, and can be a life saver to help you if your car gets stuck. 

3. Warmth: If your car dies so does your heater. In winter time this can be deadly, especially if you have no way to stay warm. Whether that's with a blanket or extra clothing stored in your car, ensure there is a way to keep your body warm. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

If Black Friday Is Deadly, Imagine a Disaster

Picture this: You are getting ready to do your Black Friday shopping at your local Walmart with a plan all mapped out for getting the best deals. You arrive early and get a great parking spot. It must be your lucky day; little do you know a man is about to fly into a deadly rage and open fire over that parking space. On November 25th, 2016 this actually happened at a Walmart in Reno, Nevada, where a Black Friday shopper was shot and killed over a parking space.


Now imagine that either a wildfire, blizzard, hurricane, or earthquake tore through your town. Your family is starving and on the brink of hypothermia as there is no power. Since 2006, 12 people have died and 117 people have been injured on Black Friday; if people are ready to kill each other for a sale what will they be capable of when the lives of their families and children are at stake?

3 Tips on How to Better Prepare Yourself for the Chaos

Have your emergency kit in an unmarked bag:

An emergency kit is a life saver, having others know about your supplies... that can be deadly. If people are willing to shoot another for a parking spot, imagine what they would do if you are advertising survival gear. An ordinary looking backpack allows you to better blend in with the crowd and increases your safety in an emergency.

Have a plan ahead of time:

A disaster can happen any day at any time. If you work an 8 hour job, then 1/3 of your time is spent at your work. If your child attends school, then they are there between 6-7 hours a day. If they are in extracurricular activities then they are there even longer. Statistically, there is about a 33% chance you won’t be with your family when a disaster strikes.
Planning ahead can help you know what to do when an emergency occurs. Schools and workplaces should have an emergency plan already laid out, being aware of what that plan is ahead of time can help you better structure your own. Knowing what your child's school will do can help you know when and where you can pick them up and head to an emergency shelter, or if possible a remote bug-out location.

Have extra food and medication stored: 

The hope is that when a disaster strikes help arrives rather quickly, however this is not always the case. After Hurricane Michael, homes were broken into and ransacked for supplies. Some areas even spray painted signs saying "Looters will be shot" and "You steal, we kill". FEMA recommends that every person have food and water supply for two weeks.
If anyone in your family is on medication, having extra medication on hand can help when pharmacies run out, and supply trucks can't get to you. The CDC recommends to have at least 7-10 days of medication and medical supplies.
These are the items that will most likely be in the shortest supply and the highest demand, so people will be the most desperate to find them.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Wildfire Facts and Prevention

Did you know that there are actually benefits to wildfires?  They help clean the forest floor, kill diseases, provide habitats for many wildlife, and even helps certain trees and plants reproduce. However, the destruction they leave can be devastating as seen in recent disasters. Learn more about what people think can be done to help reduce the damage, while still seeing the benefits that they produce.

Recent Wildfires

Camp Fire: 

On 11/8/18 a fire broke out in Butte Country leading to the state of emergency later being declared. 
As of 7:00 am "Camp Fire" has burned 151,000 acres, and is 66% contained. This fire has already lead to 15,573 structures being destroyed by the flames.
77 civilians have lost their lives, and 3 firefighters have been injured. 
Camp Fire is expected to be fully contained on 11/30/18.