Crash On The 105 – Luminaid Solar Powered inflatable Light

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Driving home from Arizona, towing a UHaul trailer in traffic on the 105 freeway at about 8pm on a Thursday night.

I’m driving 60 in the slow lane, using cruise control so I don’t get another ticket for speeding with a trailer.

Impending Doom

Headlights behind me, weaving in and out of traffic, coming up too fast.

I slow down.

This isn’t good.

Something is going to happen.

A car flies by, moves to the right, towards my lane.

It tries to get back to his left, but he’s going too fast.

The back of the car gets loose and comes around.

He’s sliding sideways.

It shoots him towards the center divider.

Impact

Sparks. Smoke. Screeching tires.

He nails the side of a small pickup in the car pool lane.

The impact spins it around and shoots it backwards across the freeway.

He travels from left to right, across 5 lanes of freeway, right in front of us.

He hits the right side retainer wall.

The car has finally spent all of it’s energy and comes to a stop.

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Traffic stops.

No movement from the car.

We’re OK.

I park our truck in the slow lane to block traffic with my flasher lights on.

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My wife tries to call 911 while I run up to the car, expecting to see blood or an unconscious body.

A young man, (a very stupid young man) is moving inside.

I ask if he’s OK. He nods and mumbles.

I open his door and help him from his mangled car.

We walk to the back of his car and sit him down.

A nurse appears and starts to help him.

Light

The nurse wants a couple blankets. We get them out of the back of the truck to keep the young man warm.

She needs a light.

I grab the Luminaid Solar Powered inflatable Light that I keep in the camper shell of the truck.

Yes, this is a product pitch.

Luminaid Solar Powered inflatable Light used at the crash scene

Luminaid Solar Powered inflatable Light used at the crash scene

I gives a general light to the scene of the young man, but she needs a more focused light to check his pupils.

OK, so the Luminaid Solar Powered inflatable Light isn’t perfect for every situation.

Buy a flashlight too.

Chaos Ensues

The next events are a bit of a haze.

I remember personally stopping 3 lanes of traffic to retrieve the plastic front fascia from his car and dragging it out of lanes so traffic could pass.

My wife couldn’t get 911. She dialed multiple times and nothing happened.

Another woman stopped behind us and she called 911.

I remember a CHP car finally coming, but going to the center divider, where the disabled truck was stopped.

We waved our hands and yelled.

Paramedics came, and they too stopped at the center divider.

Excuse me, but we have a guy laying on the ground and shaking, while his eyes rolled up into his skull.

Firetrucks arrive to us and paramedics drive towards us from the center.

They ask everyone if they are OK.

They don’t seem to have any sense of urgency about anything.

“Hey! what about…?”

“Oh. That’s the CHP. They’ll take care of that. Not us.”

“Just stand over there.”

One fireman gives the woman, who stopped with us and called 911, his card, and tells her that if she ever wants to go to a Kings game, give him a call.

Really? A date?

Traffic Stop

There is a full traffic stop, although I could see no reason for it.

I got to see a very, very rare event; no traffic on a freeway in LA.

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There were actually 2 traffic stops. The second one clogged the freeway while the second ambulance tried to reach us.

I heard one CHP officer ask another one if he had requested the traffic stop.

“Nope. They must just being nice or something. You can tell them to go.”

Really? Shutting down a freeway for no apparent reason?

No one seems to be in charge or know what is going on.

Everyone is focused on their own job and that’s all.

Taking

The paramedics take the young man away.

The CHP takes our statement.

The tow trucks take the 2 battered vehicles away.

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We finally leave, safe and sound, but dazed from the strangeness of what just happened.

We drove home and I reflected on what just happened.

I’m glad we have firemen and paramedics and CHP officers.

I’m sure they have a difficult job to do and they are brave, and strong, and true.

But this whole scene made me glad I wasn’t the one who had to depend on someone else for help.

When seconds count, help is only minutes away.

I drove a little slower.

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Good Guys

I believe in the good guys.

I’m also a life time member of the NRA.

No, they aren’t right every time, but are the biggest force for freedom in the area of 2nd amendment rights.

I fully support them and I think you should too.

Because you’re a good guy.

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Los Angeles Earthquake Swarm, Part Two

A Chevron station in La Habra is a bit of a mess after Friday's swarm of quakes. (Allen Schaben / Los Angeles Times / March 28, 2014)

A Chevron station in La Habra is a bit of a mess after Friday’s swarm of quakes.
(Allen Schaben / Los Angeles Times / March 28, 2014)

We’re laying on the bed, watching TV, when the cat starts to scratch himself.

No. That’s not why the bed is moving.

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“Is that you?”. Not me.

Hmmm.. Must be an earthquake.

Yup. Hanging light is moving.

Didn’t we just have one of these a couple weeks ago?

This one lasted a good 30 seconds, time enough to get up and walk into the other room and back.

Next thing we always do is check the “Recent Earthquakes” web page, then turn on the TV news.

Here’s the record of the earthquake swarm.

It was very smooth and rolling, with no sharp jolts like we’re used to.

People closer to the epicenter had more to deal with.

We sell earthquake preparedness kits.

The first of a swarm of earthquakes hit the border of La Habra and Brea shortly after 8 p.m. with a 3.6 temblor. About an hour later, at 9:09 p.m., a 5.1 shock hit, followed by at least two more aftershocks in the 3-point range in the next half-hour. At least 20 aftershocks had been recorded by late Friday.

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones said the 5.1 quake has a 5% chance of being a foreshock of a larger temblor.

“There could be even a larger earthquake in the next few hours or the next few days,” Jones said during a media briefing at Caltech.

Read the entire article at:
http://www.latimes.com/

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Keeping Food Safe in an Emergency

imageThe power’s out; the flood waters have receded; the earthquake’s finished rocking your world. Now, you and your family need to be self sufficient for the next several days or even weeks.

You have some emergency food pouches, but you’d like to save them and use up the food in your pantry first.  You’re not sure what’s safe to eat out of the fridge, freezer, and cupboard, how to prevent your food from spoiling, and what needs to be tossed.

I am a great admirer of my local utility companies. They keep juice flowing into my appliances, hot water pouring into my bathtub, and gas heating my oven.

But they’re fair weather friends, laissez les bons temps rouler friends, not the kind I can depend on in an emergency (watch how long they stick around when I stop sending them money).

New Year’s morning, a drunk driver took out two utility poles about a half mile from my house, and 4,337 customers lost power for several hours. That’s all it took to turn off the lights and refrigerator.

It takes a lot of faith to expect life will continue normally during and right after a disaster, so keeping food safe begins now, while everything is running smoothly.

Be Prepared

  • Have a supply of food that doesn’t require refrigeration and can be eaten cold or cooked on a barbecue, fire pit, or portable stove (see our store for options). Purchase shelf stable food, powdered milk, water, canned goods, baby formula, and pet food. You can also purchase single day and multi-day meals designed specifically for emergencies (again, check out our store).
  • Make sure to keep a hand-held can opener with your supplies.
  • Assess the most likely type of emergency you may encounter in your area and plan your food storage accordingly. For instance, if floods are likely, store food on shelves off the ground.
  • In case of power outages, have a couple of coolers and frozen gel packs available, so you can keep your perishables longer.

 Food Safety During an Emergency

So, once the power’s out and the refrigerator is off, how can you know what’s safe to eat and how to keep it safe?

  • If you have experienced a power outagekeep appliance thermometers in your fridge and freezer. These will show you the temperature inside your appliances. Food in the fridge should be kept at 40 degrees F or less and in the freezer at 0 degrees F or lower.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it’s unopened; a full freezer will maintain its temperature for about 48 hours, less if it’s not full.
  • Buy dry or block ice if the power is going to be out for several days. Know where you can purchase the ice beforehand. 50 lbs of dry ice will keep an 18 cubic foot freezer full of food cold for 2 days.
  • If the power comes back on, check the temperature of the freezer, if it’s 40 degrees F or below, the food can safely be refrozen. Foods still containing ice crystals can also be refrozen. Any refrigerated perishables that have been above 40 degrees F for more than 2 hours should be discarded.
  • If you have experienced a flood, toss any food that may have come in contact with flood water that is not in a waterproof container. Non waterproof containers include: screw tops, pull tops, snap lids, crimped caps, cardboard juice, milk, formula boxes, and home canned foods. Discard any cans that show damage such as, leakage, swelling, punctures, deep rusting, holes, or dents that prevent you opening them with a can opener, or stacking them properly. Wash all salvageable cans and commercially sealed retort pouches (shelf stable juice and food in pouches, for example) by removing all labels, if you can. Wash in hot, soapy water, if available. Rinse with potable water. Air dry cans and pouches for at least 1 hour before opening or storing. Re-label with a permanent marker. Use as soon as possible.
  • If you have experienced a fire, discard any food that has been exposed to the fire. The food may appear fine, but spoilage may have been triggered by heat; chemicals used to fight the fire; and smoke. Discard all food in the fridge and freezer, as these appliances are not airtight and can let in contaminants. Throw away all food in permeable containers, including plastic wrap, cardboard, bottles, and screw top jars.

Remember, if you are in doubt about the safety of any food, throw it out and dig in to those delectable freeze dried emergency food packets.

All information according to USDA recommendations.

 

 

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Survivor Food Review: Mainstay 3600

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This article, written by some guys who work for Mining Australia, a trade magazine, is hilarious and, I’m sure, absolutely accurate.

It’s purpose was to keep miners alive who might be trapped underground in a mining collapse, a purpose that I’m sure it would fulfill.

I’ve been wanting to test some of this stuff myself, but I couldn’t get past the thought of it just never quite found the time.

They opened a package and tasted it.

Attempts to eat more were easily thwarted by a lack of desire.

Read the entire article at: http://www.miningaustralia.com.au

They describe the flavor as “yellow” because they couldn’t figure out anything else that it tasted like.

As a prepper food, if you’re not trapped underground, it’s probably not the best choice, although, if it’s not opened, it will last for a very long time.

If you have an alternative, that is, you’re not trapped somewhere in the dark, then any of the freeze dried food we have would be a better option.

The conclusion of their taste test?

Final verdict: Mainstay 3600 does everything it says it will do. You can eat it, and feel full, and not die… but that’s about it.

Probably better used to lure in and kill a smaller mammal, then you can eat that.

Read the entire article at: http://www.miningaustralia.com.au

If you’re still interested, we’ll sell you a case of Mainstay 3600 here.

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Earthquakes – How to Prepare, Part 3 – After

EARTHQUAKES

A house cracked and broken from earthquake damage

Severe earthquakes are one of nature’s most frightening and destructive phenomena. The forces of plate tectonics shape the earth, as the huge plates that form the earth’s surface slowly move over, under and past each other. Sometimes, the movement is gradual, but often, the moving plates lock together, accumulating energy until the pressure grows strong enough, and the plates break free. Property damage, death, and injuries may occur if the earthquake occurs in a populated area.

In 2011, an earthquake occurred in the East Coast, illustrating that it is impossible to predict when or where an earthquake will happen. In fact, all 50 states and 5 U.S. territories are at some risk for earthquakes, so it is important that you and your family are prepared beforehand.

After an Earthquake

  • Once the shaking stops, look around to make sure it’s safe to move, then exit the building.
  • Secondary shockwaves, called aftershocks, are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to cause additional damage to weakened structures. These may occur in the hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.
  • Assist anyone who is trapped or injured. Remember to help any of your neighbors who may require special assistance, such as infants and the elderly. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move anyone who is seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of. Call for help.
  • Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake, so look for and extinguish any small fires.
  • Listen to a battery or solar powered radio for the latest emergency information (check out our store).
  • If you live in a coastal area, be aware of possible tsunamis. When a tsunami warning is issued, go to higher ground and stay away from the beach.
  • Use the phone only for emergency calls.
  • Go to a public shelter if your home is no longer safe. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362(4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • Stay away from damaged areas, unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or relief organizations. Return home only when authorities say it’s safe.
  • Use caution when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.
  • Your safety should be your primary priority as you begin clean up.
  • Open cabinets cautiously, as objects can fall off shelves.
  • Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency by visiting: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/emergency/index.html
  • Wear pants, a long-sleeved shirt, close toed shoes and work gloves to protect against injury.
  • Clean up any spilled bleaches, gasoline, flammable liquids, or  medicines immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes.
  • Inspect the entire length of chimneys for damage.
  • Inspect utilities.
    • Check for gas leaks and if you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noises, open a window and exit the building. Turn off the gas at the main valve, if you can, and call the gas company. If you do turn off the gas, only a professional should turn it back on.
    • Check for electrical damage. If you see any sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
    • Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you believe your sewage lines are damaged, do not use the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, avoid using water from the tap and contact the water company.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Adapted from: http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes
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Earthquakes – How to Prepare, Part 2 – During

EARTHQUAKES

A house cracked and broken from earthquake damage

 

Severe earthquakes are one of nature’s most frightening and destructive phenomena. The forces of plate tectonics shape the earth, as the huge plates that form the earth’s surface slowly move over, under and past each other. Sometimes, the movement is gradual, but often, the moving plates lock together, accumulating energy until the pressure grows strong enough, and the plates break free. Property damage, death, and injuries may occur if the earthquake occurs in a populated area.

 

In 2011, an earthquake occurred in the East Coast, illustrating that it is impossible to predict when or where an earthquake will happen. In fact, all 50 states and 5 U.S. territories are at some risk for earthquakes, so it is important that you and your family are prepared beforehand.

During an Earthquake

Drop, cover and hold on.

Find a safe place using as few steps as possible, and if you’re indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you’re sure it’s safe to leave.

Indoors

  • DROP to the ground; TAKE COVER by getting under a table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t an appropriate desk or table nearby, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the room.
  • Remain in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall, then you should move to the nearest safe place.
  • Avoid glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that might fall.
  • Don’t use doorways unless you’re confident it’s a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it’s close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and don’t offer protection.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it’s safe to go outside. Don’t exit a building during shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • DON’T use elevators.

Outdoors

  • Stay outside.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger lies directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most injuries and deaths resulting from earthquakes are caused by collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

In a Moving Vehicle

  • Stop as quickly as possible and stay inside the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • Proceed carefully once the shaking has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that may have been damaged.

Under Debris

  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Don’t move about or kick up dust.
  • Don’t light a match.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can find you. Use a whistle if available. Shout only if you have to as it can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.  

Adapted from: http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

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Anyone Can Lose Power

There’s a joke in there somewhere.

US Capitol goes dark, thousands lose power

“High winds in the D.C. area are currently causing electrical power surges that impacted power supply to the Capitol,”

Read the entire article at: http://www.nationaljournal.com

The Capitol dome, where power was knocked out for about 30 minutes in a rarely seen event, was not the only building affected by the blast of colder air.

Read the entire article at: http://news.yahoo.com

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Earthquakes – How to Prepare, Part 1 – Before

EARTHQUAKES

A house cracked and broken from earthquake damage

Severe earthquakes are one of nature’s most frightening and destructive phenomena. The forces of plate tectonics shape the earth, as the huge plates that form the earth’s surface slowly move over, under and past each other. Sometimes, the movement is gradual, but often, the moving plates lock together, accumulating energy until the pressure grows strong enough, and the plates break free. Property damage, death, and injuries may occur if the earthquake occurs in a populated area.

In 2011, an earthquake occurred in the East Coast, illustrating that it is impossible to predict when or where an earthquake will happen. In fact, all 50 states and 5 U.S. territories are at some risk for earthquakes, so it is important that you and your family are prepared beforehand.

A seismograph showing the seismic waves of an earthquakeBefore an Earthquake

Below are some things you and your family can do to prepare:

  • Build an emergency kit and plan how you and your family will communicate during an earthquake and it’s aftermath.
  • Fasten shelves to walls.
  • Put large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items such as glass, china, and bottled food in low, closed cupboards with latches.
  • Fasten heavy items, such as pictures, to walls and away from beds and couches.
  • Brace top heavy objects and any large light fixtures.
  •  Get appropriate professional help to repair defective electrical wires and gas leaks. These are fire hazards. Don’t work on gas or electrical lines yourself.
  • Install flexible gas and water pipe fittings to avoid leaks.
  • Secure refrigerators, furnaces, and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall studs and bolting to the floor. You can also have an automatic gas shut-off valve installed that is triggered by strong vibrations.
  • Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations.
  • Be sure your building is firmly anchored to its foundation.
  • Store pesticides, weed killers, and flammable chemicals in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
  • Locate safe spots in your home, under a sturdy table or against an inside wall.
  • Hold earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover and hold on.
Adapted from: http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

 

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GiraDora, A Foot Powered Washing Machine

GiraDora, an inexpensive foot powered washing machine and dryer developed by two Los imageAngeles design students to address the problem of cleaning clothes in impoverished areas, would be a valuable addition to any emergency preparation supplies.

While the focus of the design and manufacture of the GiraDora is to alleviate the problems in the Third World regarding washing and drying clothes without electricity and access to plumbing, this simple piece of equipment, a cross between a picnic water cooler and salad spinner, would also solve the problems associated with cleaning clothes during emergency situations when abundant water and electricity are limited or unavailable.

Developed on site, in a slum in Peru, the students wanted to alleviate the back breaking and time consuming tasks associated with doing laundry in the area. They discovered that washing clothes by hand could take up to as much as six hours a day. The Giradora uses a fraction of that time to wash and partially dry the clothes, is portable, and alleviates the physical strain of the task. It also reduces the incidence of mold growth on wet clothing.

The GiraDora is a blue bucket with a spinning mechanism that washes and partially dries the clothes. The user sits on the lid, while operating the foot pedal. This allows the user to do other tasks or it can even be operated by a child.

I’m surprised it’s taken so long for someone to develop what is really, a very simple and effective machine and could be used not only in impoverished areas, but also for anyone living off the grid, whether by choice or circumstances.

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