While you may not realize it, many functions of your body are carried on by means of electricity. Certain substances, called electrolytes, are necessary for our wellbeing, and these include sodium, chloride, potassium, and bicarbonate. One of the most important functions of these electrolytes is the absorption of fluids. Fluids are necessary to keep our cells and organs functioning, but when certain conditions occur, fluids can be lost before they can be replaced. Dehydration and all its serious effects can result. Diarrhea, vomiting, heavy sweating can all cause dehydration. Athletes are very susceptible to this when performing for long periods in hot weather. Drinking water is often not the answer, as there will be no electrolytes in the water to allow it to be absorbed.
Using electrolyte restoration drinks can be a very effective way of dealing with dehydration, and could well save a trip to the emergency room or a stay in the hospital. Most of these products are relatively low in cost, and the homemade variety is probably the most economical of all.
Fortunately, there are plenty of drinks that will help to restore electrolyte balance so that proper bodily hydration will occur. Nearly everyone has heard of Gatorade, and this is great at getting fluids into a dehydrated body. There are a number of other very good electrolyte replacement drinks available, such as Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink and Ultima Replenisher. Besides these energy drinks, you can also use Pedialyte, which will perform just like the others.
Homemade Electrolyte Drink
There can be times and places when a commercial electrolyte drink is not available. However, it is relatively easy to make your own electrolyte drink out of products you probably have right on your kitchen shelves. You will need one quart of water, to which you will add eight level teaspoons of sugar and one half level teaspoon of salt. Fruit juice or a ripe banana that has been mashed can also be put into this solution to contribute potassium. Stir this well, and let the dehydrated person sip it. Do not give large quantities at once, but rather allow the body to absorb small amounts at first.
If you have occasion to use your bug-out bag, you may find yourself outdoors during times of the year when insects can be a problem. Mosquitos are found nearly everywhere in North America and besides being annoying, mosquitos can also spread West Nile Fever. Other biting insects such as black flies, no-see-ums, and deer flies can make anyone who has had to flee from the safety of their home miserable. Besides these flying insects, arachnids such as ticks, spiders, and mites, can also bite. Ticks, especially, are capable of passing on a range of nasty illnesses such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain fever. Some species of spiders have poisonous bites that can cause serious problems. However, it is possible in several ways to keep these tiny predators from biting, and keeping at least one of these solutions in your bug-out bag will keep you both more comfortable and healthier.
There are several approaches to insect repellents, and one of them will be bound to work well for you. Having a repellent right in your bug-out bag will mean that help will be there when you need it. Some insect repellents, such as All Terrain Herbal Armor or Ultrathon Insect Repellent will be applied right to your skin. All Terrain Herbal Armor does not contain DEET, while Ultrathon has a very small amount. Both of these are very effective in repelling insects, and most people who used these products reported few or any bites after application. Avon Insect Repellent Towelettes are also an effective product and as these are in individual packages, can be easy to fit into your bag.
Insect Repellent Clothing
There are two ways to get insect repellent clothing – either buy items that have been made especially to perform this, or make your own clothing insect repellent. There are a number of sprays available that will help to make your hat, shirt, or pants anathema to insects. These sprays can also be used on tents. Sawyer Insect Clothing Repellent contains pyrethrum, which is refined from chrysanthemums, to keep insects away from you. Once this spray has applied not only will it drive insects away, but will actually kill those that alight. 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent Clothing & Gear is also a good product that will keep you free of biting insects and ticks, and its effectiveness lasts for 8 hours. Remember to apply the repellent to your hat and shoes as well.
Clothing that contains fibers that repel insects is also available from several manufacturers. This clothing depends on Insect Shield to keep biting insects and ticks at a distance. ExOfficio, TrailHeads, Zorrel, and Craghoppers all make clothing that is already prepared to repel insects.
Bug Baffler also has a head net that will keep insects off your face and head, which can be combined with their shirt for more complete protection. These will not actually repel insects, but will serve to form a barrier between you and pests.
Do Your Part
While insect repellents will do a good job keeping biting insects away, you should also take care to provide protection yourself. Wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants will give biting insects less chance of accessing your flesh. Make sure you tuck your pants into your socks or boots as this will keep ticks from crawling up your leg inside your clothing. Keep your shirt tucked in, too. When you have a chance, check yourself thoroughly to make sure you have not picked up any travelers, and if ticks are present, remove them safely.
Tropical countries are often visited as vacation spots as the weather is always warm and they offer an opportunity to see unique wildlife and scenery. However, accidents are possible, and if you find yourself marooned in a tropical forest, you will have to take measures to ensure your safety and survival. A light plane can go down in the forest or you could become lost while exploring. The dense canopy of leaves can make it difficult to tell directions, so it could be some time before you are rescued or manage to find your way to human habitations.
The Greatest Hazards
Because of the constant warm and humid weather found in many tropical regions, your greatest danger will come from insects which can spread bacteria, viruses, worms, and protozoa. Mosquitos and other flying insects can transmit a number of nasty diseases to you including malaria, Chagas Disease, yellow fever, West Nile Virus, and filariasis. All of these are extremely unpleasant conditions, and the only way to protect yourself from being bitten is by wearing clothing that will keep you covered up as much as possible.
Injuries that would be minor and heal up overnight in temperate or cold climates can become infected within hours in the tropics. If you sustain a cut or scrape, it must be washed and disinfected immediately, and covered with a bandage. You will have to keep a close eye on the wound to make sure that it does not fester, and if there are any signs of infection, it must be kept washed off as much as possible to keep the infection from spreading until medical help is available.
Food and Water
Considering the number of pathogens that can be found in a tropical area, you should never drink any water before purifying it in some way, especially if it is river water. Hopefully, you will either have some water purification tablets with you or will have an implement such as a pot or even a metal cup that you can boil water in.
It may be difficult to procure animal protein in the jungle as many of the animals live high above the ground. However, if you are not overly squeamish or are desperate enough, grubs can be found in rotting logs or under leaves that will provide a food source. Fruits can often be found that will be edible, but try a little bit first and spit out anything that tastes bitter or sour.
Finding Your Way Out
Unless you have a compass, it could be difficult to find your way back to civilization. Water courses are a good way to find your way out, as a brook will eventually join a stream, which will find its way to a river. The people in even a very small village will be glad to help a lost traveler.
Earthquakes are among the most devastating and serious forces unleashed by nature. In a quake of any appreciable magnitude, it is inevitable that a range of injuries will occur, as well as fatalities. In some cases, the injuries will be dependent upon what sort of architecture has been used – wooden frame houses are less likely to simply collapse than will structures made of concrete. Buildings made of wood will have some ‘give’ to them, and unless the earthquake is of a high magnitude, will probably only sustain minor damage. Because the buildings themselves are not as severely damaged, neither will be the people who were in them.
Homes in certain areas of the world, and most commercial buildings, will be made of concrete. These structures, unless specifically designed to be earthquake-proof, will tend to pancake down, with disastrous results for anyone in them.
Relatively Minor Injuries
A great many of the more minor injuries received during an earthquake or its aftershocks will involve objects falling on the victim. Heavy decorative items on the wall of a home can fall down when the quake strikes. Being struck on head by a picture with a heavy frame may warrant a trip to the emergency room to check for concussion, but will be unlikely to be serious or fatal. Other injuries from earthquakes can come about because people fall over and become bruised or receive a cut.
High magnitude quakes can cause the complete collapse of buildings. In this case, serious injury or death can result from head or chest wounds. The earthquakes in Haiti and New Zealand involved many injuries of this type, unfortunately. Injuries can also occur when driving if an overpass collapses when vehicles are beneath it, or if a car plummets off a broken highway.
Earthquakes that occur near a coastal area often cause tsunamis. A major tsunami, such as struck Japan, will cause the collapse of buildings, resulting in crushing injuries or deaths, and can also cause death by drowning. The catastrophic nature of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami meant that the infrastructure of the area was nearly completely destroyed, and only those living above the level of the tsunami with excellent emergency supplies would be able to get through the disaster in any measure of comfort.
Disruptions caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes can often lead to broken bones. Falls, either at home or when in the wilderness, can result in fractures as well. These are painful injuries that can cause the person involved to go into shock, so understanding how to deal with a fracture before medical help is available will help the victim come through the ordeal much more easily.
Determining If A Fracture Has Occurred
At times, it can be difficult to tell whether an actual fracture is present or if the problem is just a bad sprain or strain. When there is doubt as to the extent of the injury, treat it as a fracture, it is always better to err on the side of caution as regards medical matters. There are several types of fractures, but they will all need to be treated in roughly the same way.
The most serious fracture is an open fracture. This is when the bone has broken through the skin and is exposed to the air. Do not try to push the bone back in, this will only increase the risk of serious infection. Cover the bone with a sterile gauze pad and tape it in place, then stabilize the affected part with a splint.
While some fractures are obvious, such as the open fracture or one where the line of the limb is obviously askew, some fractures are more subtle. Sometimes, only one side of the bone will be broken and at times, the bone will bend profoundly, but will not actually break. Fractures will make themselves known, however, by limiting movement of the limb or by causing a high level of pain. At times, the sound of the bone breaking will be audible.
You do not need anything fancy to make a splint, the point is to stabilize the affected part so that no further damage will be done. While we generally think of a splint as being made of sticks, you can use newspapers or magazines to make good splints. These will be quite rigid when rolled around the broken limb and once secured in place with cloth or tape will provide good support. Ice cubes wrapped in cloth or in an ice bag will help to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Sometimes, the pain and stress associated with a fracture will cause the patient to slip into shock. In this case, while waiting for medical personnel, raise the legs above the level of the head, loosen clothing, and cover with a blanket if the person is cold. Do not give anything by mouth.
Most of us depend upon electric stoves, gas stoves with automatic ignition for our cooking, or even have gas fireplaces which usually start at the push of an ignition button. It is probable that many people (unless they smoke) never see a match from one year to the next, and may not even have matches in their home. However, there can be situations that arise when you will need to light a fire – during an emergency the gas and electric to your home may be cut off, or you can be in a wilderness area and will need to light a fire for warmth, cooking, or to purify water.
If you are going to be spending any time in the wilderness, it would be an excellent idea to have a fire starter in your backpack. Even if you carry waterproof matches, if the striking panel becomes wet, these will not work. A fire starter, on the other hand, will generally work wet or dry, as long as dry tinder is available. These starters work in one of several ways; you can shave off magnesium into your tinder then strike a spark while another type uses a ferrocerium rod along with a striker. Several reliable brands of fire starters are Swedish Firesteel, Gerber Survival Series Fire Starter, and Emergency Fire Starter.
No Matches or Fire Starter
This situation need not be as desperate as you may think if you take some time to learn beforehand how to light a fire with only the raw materials at hand. Bear in mind that if everything is wet, however, you will not be able to start a fire.
Before you start trying to get a fire going make sure you have everything you need to keep it burning. Dry grass, bark from trees, and even feathers and fur can be good tinder. A pile of dry twigs and small sticks should be ready to use as kindling, and a good supply of larger sticks that will serve as should be nearby.
Friction will produce heat and this is a good way to start a fire if you have no other implements at hand. You can make a simple bow drill that will cause the temperature of the wood used in the drill and the wooden platform to catch fire. Once a flame has started up, use your tinder to get it going, then go on to the kindling and fuel.
If you wear glasses or happen to have a magnifying glass handy, you can use either of these to focus the light of the sun onto tinder. The tinder will catch quickly when the proper focus has been found so be ready to feed the fire to keep it going.
Winter is a beautiful time of clean air and snow, but it can also be a time of extreme danger if you are not prepared for the unexpected. Disasters or emergencies can cause a disruption of electrical power and this will mean that in most cases there will be no heat in the home. Furnaces of nearly all kinds depend on electricity to either ignite the fuel and to power the blower or pump to deliver the heated air or water to the rooms in the home.
Travelling during the winter always presents something of an adventure, especially when there might be a storm coming. If your car breaks down or goes off the road, you could be in trouble. Likewise, many people engage in winter sports, some far out in the wilderness, and if an emergency arises, they might suffer from the weather conditions. Doing your best to be prepared regardless of where you are will help you and your family survive the worst that winter can deliver.
Driving In The Winter
Unless you will only be going a few minutes away from home, prepare for every trip in the winter as if you are expecting to be stranded. The car should contain at least one heavy blanket, warm clothing, emergency food, and perhaps a means to stay warm and melt snow for drinking. Never eat snow if you are thirsty, the energy needed to melt it and the fact that it will cause your core temperature to fall, will put you in danger of hypothermia.
A small folding stove will be sufficient for these needs, but be extremely careful when using this in the car and keep a window cracked to prevent buildup of carbon monoxide. You can also run the car for 10 minutes every hour to keep it warm, but make sure that snow is not blocking the tailpipe and keep a window opened slightly.
Every time you leave the house during the winter it would be a good idea to have a thermos with a hot beverage in it. Do not leave the stranded car unless you are right next to an inhabited building, it is very easy to get lost during a snowstorm and subsequently freeze to death.
Keeping Warm At Home
Hopefully, you will have provided for some kind of alternate heat source in case your primary one is unavailable due to loss of electricity. If you have a kerosene heater or wood stove, make sure that there is enough air entering the house to provide a source of oxygen. A carbon monoxide detector is a good idea, and can alert you to danger from that direction.
If you have absolutely no other source of heat and are unable to leave to go to relatives or friends or a motel, dress everyone in the family as warmly as possible. Use layers of clothing rather than one thick garment, and make sure everyone is wearing a winter hat. Babies, children, and older people will be those who will be more affected by the cold and care must be taken to keep them as warm as possible. Hang sheets around a bed to hold in as much heat as possible, then get the family into one bed and pull up the covers. The body heat generated by a number of people should be enough to prevent hypothermia until your normal heating source is restored.
It would probably be safe to say that few travelers choose to go into a war zone, however it does sometimes happen that someone will find that they are in a dangerous situation. If you have been working in a country that perhaps is not the most stable politically or economically, it could come to pass that insurrection and fighting could break out. Alternatively, you could also be trapped while in transit, and find yourself unexpectedly in a war zone. Visiting relatives in an unstable country or conducting business there could also expose you to danger.
If you are unfortunate enough to be caught in a war zone, try to make yourself as small as possible. Do not go out to gawk at people fighting in the street, and if you happen to be another race or religion of those involved in the conflict, do not take sides or let those who might be hostile know about you. Remain indoors and if you must go out for food or water, wear dark clothing and choose a time when things are quieter. Do not make eye contact with anyone on the street, you will be much less memorable if you do not look anyone in the eye, and some might take it as a challenge. Do not run around taking pictures, you will be sure to offend someone.
Be Prepared To Leave Quickly
Even if the hotel or home in which you are staying seems safe, you should always keep in mind that you may have to get out fast. You should always have two exits in mind so if one becomes useless you can always use the other. If you are trying to leave by car, you may come up against roadblocks. Stop at the roadblock unless you fancy shooting it out with those manning it. Be polite and friendly and be prepared to offer a bribe to get you through the roadblock without trouble. Do not get out of the vehicle if at all possible and keep the doors locked and windows up. Keep women as inconspicuous as possible. If you and your party must get out, keep together in a group.
If you are in a major city, try to get to your nation’s embassy, it will afford you some protection, and they will help you leave the country. Before going abroad, unless you are going to a country that is stable, check your government’s website, they will provide traveler information.
A fire in the home can be one of the most frightening occurrences possible. We are programed to flee from fire and smoke, and in many cases, that is precisely what you should do – get yourself and your family outside. A serious fire is so dangerous that it is imperative that you not even delay to phone 911; that can be handled at a neighbor’s house.
Deciding To Fight A Fire
You should never try to fight a fire that is already larger than a wastebasket, and whenever you do fight a fire, make sure you have a door at your back – you may need to escape quickly. Do not stay to fight a fire if there is already a good deal of smoke in the room, smoke inhalation is not only dangerous to the lungs, but the smoke could cause you to become disorientated. A fire that begins to spread is beyond your ability to fight, and you should leave and let the fire department handle it. Fighting a fire is a job for adults only, you should never allow a child to do this. Also, be sure that you have the correct type of fire extinguisher for the fire, using the wrong one could cause more harm than good.
Types Of Fire Extinguishers
There are actually five types of fire extinguishers – Class A, B, C, D, and K. They are designed to handle different kinds of fires that may arise in the home or a business. Class A extinguishers are water based and are used on combustibles like paper and wood, but these extinguishers should never be used on a grease fire as the water will actually make the grease flare up and possibly ignite the entire kitchen.
Dry chemicals are used in Class B, C extinguishers and are generally good for dealing with any kind of fire that you may experience in your home. These extinguishers will not only be good for putting out fires based on combustibles, such as paper and upholstered furniture, but can also be used for electrical fires, grease fires, and to put out fires burning on inflammable liquids like gasoline.
A good rule of thumb is to choose a fire extinguisher that has been designated as being able to be used safely with Class A, B, and C fires. The other two types, D and K, are made for use in chemical laboratories or restaurants.
Handling A Grease Fire
Although home fire extinguishers will handle nearly every small fire you might have in your house, be aware that a grease fire burning in a pan should be treated differently. If your frying pan starts to blaze, put the lid on it and turn off the stove. If you have no lid, use a cookie sheet. A wet dish towel can also be used; wet the cloth under the tap, wring it out well, and place it carefully over the pan. Remember, never throw water on a grease fire, the results will be disastrous.
How To Fight The Fire
If you have determined that the fire is small enough to be fought, make sure that your fire extinguisher is the right type to handle it. Stand about 7 feet away from the fire, and once again make sure that you will be able to leave quickly and easily. You will need to remove the pin on the lever before the extinguisher will operate, then you can depress the lever and begin firefighting operations.
Aim the nozzle towards the bottom of the fire and use a sweeping motion to access as much of the fire as possible. If you are able to put out the fire with your extinguisher, wait a few minutes to make sure that the fire is really out, the over-heated material that was burning can sometimes re-ignite. It is always best to contact your local fire department once you have successfully put out the fire to make sure that the fire is out.
Dogs have lived with man for thousands of years. The bones of a dog were found in a woman’s grave dating back ten thousand years. These animals have served us as companions, shepherds, and guards, and it’s their fearless devotion to their humans that have made them so valuable in their guarding and defense. During a serious disaster or prolonged emergency, the services of a good guard dog can be invaluable, as the dog will alert you to the presence of an intruder before you will be able to detect him, and will often deter a malefactor simply by being there. Remember, however, that even a small dog, such as a Pekingese or Chihuahua will be valuable by barking to let you know if a stranger is approaching.
Choosing A Breed
Regardless of what breed of dog you ultimately wind up with, be sure to get one from a reputable breeder. Avoid dogs that have been subjected to inbreeding or linebreeding, as these practices might lead to an animal that looks beautiful, but is seriously flawed mentally. The sudden rage that has surfaced in recent years can be traced to these awful practices.
Probably the first breed that comes to mind for guarding is the German Shepherd. This dog is extremely trainable and its lightning reflexes mean that it is always ready to protect and defend. The German Shepherd is also a very affectionate dog, and must be treated as a member of the family. Another very good guarding breed is the Mastiff. This breed can grow to quite an enormous size, however, and this should be taken into consideration. Mastiffs tend not to be dogs that roam, and will prefer to stay near the house rather than stray. These dogs are very dependent upon their humans for affection, and must be given a great deal of attention.
Schnauzers, either standard or giant, also make very good guard dogs, and these dogs also do well with the family, and are considered to be quite affectionate and protective of children. Schnauzers will get along well with other dogs and family pets, such as cats. Another breed, relatively unknown, that also makes a capable guard dog is the Bergamasco, an Italian breed. While these were originally herding dogs, they are great at keeping an eye on the house and their humans. The Bergamasco has a thick, corded coat which should be allowed to become felted.
All of the above dog breed will become very closely bonded with their family, and will need considerable attention to remain happy.
This is one of the most important aspects of dog ownership, especially when you have a large dog. A large dog, like a German Shepherd or a Mastiff, is considerably stronger than a human being, even discounting the teeth. If you decide to get a dog to act as a guard, it must receive obedience training. Most dogs enjoy training that is given in a measured, calm, and kindly manner. No dog should be beaten while being trained, it simply is not necessary and will only help to produce a neurotic, untrustworthy dog. There are dog training classes available that will help you to focus on the proper way to train your dog.
Attack training is not only unnecessary, it is potentially dangerous. If you dog loves you, and most dogs do love their human families, it will do anything possible to protect you, it does not have to be trained to do this, it comes naturally to the dog. Our little French Bulldogs, who have actually received no training whatsoever, have come to our defense without hesitation – it is the dog’s instinct to protect and defend.