USFRA Halloween 2020 Photo Contest

October 22, 2020

Join us in the U.S. First Responders Association’s Halloween 2020 Photo Contest by sharing your family Halloween pics before October 31, 2020 for a chance to win prizes..!

On November 1, we’ll randomly draw 3 names / winners from photos posted in comments and on USFRA Facebook page and other social media ids.

Prizes eligible for U.S. residents only – click below to learn more or visit . Good luck! ~ j & B

Creative ideas and projects for National Preparedness Month

August 26, 2013

npm2013-squareSeptember is National Preparedness Month (NPM or #NATLPREP) sponsored by the FEMA’s Ready Campaign.

Fedhealth is once again proud to be an NPM coalition member and we are encouraging businesses, organizations and families to take the pledge, join the team and help your community get better prepared for disasters and emergencies of all kinds.

We’ve compiled some creative NPM projects and ideas that some other agencies and organizations are doing (or have done) in case these could benefit your preparedness campaigns.

A key goal is to come up with fun and educational ways to get kids and adults involved..!

30 Days, 30 Ways

logo-30days30ways30 Days, 30 Ways is a disaster preparedness game that started in 2010 by the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) in Vancouver, Washington.

Each September, during National Preparedness Month, they post one simple readiness task each day and a daily winner is selected from among the participants.

The CRESA team has incorporated in current trends, a variety of social media tools and some very cool themes for the Preparedness Challenge. Check out this year’s promo video below…

In the past, 30 Days, 30 Ways relied on community donated prizes which came in all shapes and sizes. This year, they want to reward players with Amazon Gift Cards which are easier to share across the globe and don’t require shipping costs to CRESA. If you’d like to help sponsor 30 Days, 30 Ways and be listed as a Game Sponsor for 2013, visit their GoFundMe campaign site between August 1-31, 2013.

Learn more about the 30 Days, 30 Ways Preparedness Challenge at or follow them on Facebook or Twitter @30days_30ways or #30days30ways.

Emergency Kit Cook-Off

logo-kitcookoffThe Emergency Kit Cook-Off is a National Preparedness Month activity inspired by the contents of the 72-hour emergency food kit; it asks you to vote on ingredients and then create a recipe using those ingredients.

In 2011, the Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) partnered with the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale to design this unique cooking challenge. They have since teamed with additional partners, including the CDC Foundation and the CDC Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response.

Starting Monday, August 19, and during the next 2 weeks the public can vote for the Featured Ingredients for this year’s Emergency Kit Cook-Off. Help pick the 5 Featured Ingredients for this year’s Kit Cook-Off at

Voters select one ingredient from each of the five categories: protein; fruits and vegetables; starches, grains and nuts; beverages; and “comfort” foods. The Emergency Kit Cook-Off challenges you to:

  1. create a recipe that highlights at least one Featured Ingredient and uses only nonperishable pantry items, including (but not restricted to) seasonings, condiments, sweeteners and potable water. … AND …
  2. use manual appliances (e.g., can openers and hand whisks) instead of modern appliances (e.g., microwaves) where possible.

The KitCookOff team is not looking for gourmet cuisine, but they’re also not looking for simple peanut butter and crackers. Get creative and submit your recipes during National Preparedness Month or any time year-round. Learn more at or follow Emergency Kit Cook-Off on Facebook or Twitter @KitCookOff or Pinterest

APHA Get Ready Preparedness Photo Contests

APHA-Thirsty CatAPHA’s Get Ready campaign helps Americans prepare themselves, their families and their communities for all disasters and hazards, including pandemic flu, infectious disease, natural disasters and other emergencies.

In 2012 APHA held a Get Ready Preparedness Cats Photo Contest to coincide with National Preparedness Month as a fun to promote preparedness lessons.

They received over 200 photos and the judges selected 23 winning shots for their 2013 calendar. From cats in bathtubs and sinks to kitties hiding in boxes and under rugs, the photos show that preparedness and cats go hand in hand (or paw in paw)!

   APHA-hypnotic cat

Check out the 2012 winners in APHA’s cat photo gallery and download and print APHA’s 2013 calendar in PDF = Full size (images and months, on separate pages) .. or .. Small size (images and months on single page). And find more Get Ready Cats on Cheezburger

APHA’s 2013 Get Ready Pup Preparedness Photo Contest recently stopped taking submissions since they plan to announce winners during September National Preparedness Month. You can view some entries in their Dog Photo Gallery and check back in September when they post the winners! Learn more about APHA’s Get Ready Campaign at or follow them on Twitter @GetReady

Fairfax Prepares: Prepare 30 Ways in 30 Days

logo-30-in-30-calendarFairfax County OEM‘s Prepare 30 Ways in 30 Days is utilizing a new social media tool called ThunderClap to help encourage preparedness and influence people via their social connections. Fairfax County Emergency Information’s blog explains… “while it’s often perceived as a huge effort, it’s the little things you can do that add up to being better prepared for any type of emergency. And preparedness should be year round, too! In that spirit, we offer these 30 ideas for you to consider in 30 days, 1 week or all in 1 day! Your dedication to preparing your home and family helps build a stronger, more resilient community.”

Learn more about Prepare 30 Ways in 30 Days and read a great post called “Social Pressure: Can it work for Disaster Preparedness?” on idisaster 2.0.

Disaster Kit photo contest

itunes-gift-cardSouthwest Nebraska Public Health Department (SWNPHD) is preparing for National Preparedness Month with a Disaster Kit photo contest. Youth (ages 8-18) in the eight-county district can participate by creating a disaster kit for their family, submitting a photo of themselves with the disaster kit, a list of supplies and an explanation of their kit. Four winners will be selected to receive a $50 iTunes gift card.

Find contest rules and entry form on and follow SWNPHD on Twitter @swpublichealth.

Use customized books as giveaways or fundraisers

IAD_custom_books-smFedHealth discounts our 266-page disaster preparedness and first aid manuals 50% to 75% off list (or as low as $3.50 US) so agencies, businesses, organizations and families can use them as gifts for employees, volunteers and local communities. And books (or CDs or flash drives) can be customized at no additional charge to include logos and special messages to recipients.

A great way for volunteers, schools and youth groups to participate in National Preparedness Month (and year-round) is to use our IT’S A DISASTER! book as a fundraiser while educating local communities.

Also, some Federal grants and budgets close out September 30th so if your agency or nonprofit has dollars that need to be spent before a deadline, consider using IT’S A DISASTER! books to commit those funds. The book qualifies as community education under most grants and provides almost a $4-to-$1 return on match.

Learn more about our book and programs or call Fedhealth at 520.907.2153.

Get Involved

If your agency, CERT, MRC, business, Church or group has not registered to be an NPM Coalition member, visit to learn more. Individuals are also encouraged to register since we all can make a difference by helping others get prepared. Also consider joining FEMA’s National Preparedness Community forum and download their 2013 NPM Toolkit.

Another way to support your community is to join a local Citizen Corps or CERT or Medical Reserve Corps … or call your local Emergency Management, Fire, Police, Health or Sheriff Department and ask about volunteer opportunities.

Or talk to your local Salvation Army or Red Cross office … and get involved!

Please share these ideas with others .. and .. if you’d like us to highlight your National Preparedness Month project, contest or event on our blog, email us an overview and/or link to or call 520.907.2153. Stay safe, j & B

Friday Fotos: Nazca Lines (Mysterious Geoglyphs in Peru)

May 17, 2013

Nazca imagesAccording to the Nazca lines are enormous geoglyphs in arid coastal Peru that cover an estimated 170 square miles (450 square kilometers). Thousands of geoglyphs include creatures from the natural world and the human imagination.

National Geographic explains the drawings on the ground are made by removing rocks and earth to create a “negative” image. The rocks which cover the desert have oxidized and weathered to a deep rust color, and when the top 12-15 inches of rock is removed, a light-colored, high contrasting sand is exposed. Because there’s so little rain, wind and erosion, the exposed designs have stayed largely intact for 500 to 2000 years.

Hundreds are simple lines or geometric shapes; more than seventy are zoomorphic designs of animals such as birds, fish, llamas, jaguar, monkey, or human figures. Other designs include phytomorphic shapes such as trees and flowers. The largest figures are over 200 metres (660 ft) across per Wikipedia.

The vast majority of the lines date from 200 BC to 500 AD, to a time when a people referred to as the Nazca inhabited the region. The earliest lines, created with piled up stones, date as far back as 500 BC. says no one knows why the prehistoric Nazca culture went through the effort of making the geoglyphs, though they may have had a ritual role or linked up to constellations in the sky. Another idea is that the lines play a role in pilgrimage, with one walking across them to reach a sacred place such as Cahuachi and its adobe pyramids. Yet another idea is that the lines are connected with water, something vital to life yet hard to get in the desert, and may have played a part in water-based rituals.

Whatever the case… the Nazca Lines are fascinating and mysterious.

Nazca Spiral


nazca hummingbird

Photo: LiveScience

Nazca monkey

Photo: Wikipedia

nazca figures


nazca spider


Have a great weekend everyone! j & B

Friday Fotos: Stunning Turquoise Ice on Ancient Lake

April 5, 2013

Russian landscape photographer Alex El Barto Trofimov, who lives in the heart of Siberia, travels nearly 400 miles south to photograph one of the world’s most voluminous and oldest freshwater lakes – his favorite place to take pictures, according to

Lake Baikal contains roughly 20 percent of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water and more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, with more than 80 percent of the animals being unique to the area.

The 25 million-year-old lake’s water is so clear that when it freezes over in the winter you can see a little over a 100 feet below. The lake can be crossed by foot when it freezes, but those who choose to cross it run the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.

In March, due to a natural phenomenon the lake is particularly amazing to photograph. The temperature, wind and sun cause the ice crust to crack and form beautiful turquoise blocks or ice hummocks on the lake’s surface.

Below photos by Alex Trofimov

Siberia's Lake Baikal turquoise ice

Siberia's Lake Baikal turquoise ice by Alex Trofimov

Have a great weekend everyone! j & B

Friday Fotos: More Volcanic Eruptions and new study suggests massive spewage caused widespread extinction 200 million years ago

March 22, 2013

Although we did a Friday Foto post on volcanic eruptions last month, a new study suggests that mega volcanoes may have led to the extermination of half of Earth’s species some 200 million years ago.

pin-volcanoAccording to LiveScience, the release of gases from giant eruptions caused climate change that led to the End-Triassic Extinction, the widespread loss of land and sea species that made way for the rise of the dinosaurs, the research says.

The new study, published Thursday, March 21, in the journal Science, shows that a set of major eruptions spanning from what is now New Jersey to Morocco occurred very close to the time of the extinction.

Scientists suspected previously that such volcanic activity and the resultant climate change were responsible for this major extinction and at least four others. But researchers weren’t able to constrain the dates of the eruptions and extinctions well enough to prove the hypothesis. The new study, however, dates the End-Triassic Extinction to 201.56 million years ago, the same time the volcanoes were blowing their tops.

Facts and figures about volcanoes

A volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a reservoir of molten rock (like a huge pool of melted rocks) below the earth’s surface. Unlike mountains, which are pushed up from the earth’s crust, volcanoes are formed by their buildup of lava, ash flows, and airborne ash and dust. When pressure from gases and molten rock becomes strong enough to cause an explosion, it erupts and starts to spew gases and rocks through the opening.

Volcanic eruptions can hurl hot rocks (sometimes called tephra) for at least 20 miles (32 km) and cause sideways blasts, lava flows, hot ash flows, avalanches, landslides and mudflows (also called lahars). They can also cause earthquakes, thunderstorms, flash floods, wildfires, and tsunamis. Sometimes volcanic eruptions can drive people from their homes forever.

Did you know…

  • at least 20 volcanoes will probably be erupting as you read these words?! For example, Italy’s Stromboli has been almost continuously erupting over 2,000 years.
  • there are an estimated 1 million volcanoes on the ocean’s floor that pump out roughly 3/4 of the lava reaching the earth’s surface?!
  • the “Ring of Fire” that encircles the Pacific Ocean has about 450 historically active volcanoes?!
  • more than 65 active or potentially active volcanoes exist in the U.S. and over 40 of them are in Alaska?!
  • Yellowstone National Park actually sits on top of a supervolcano which erupted 3 times in the past 2 million years forming 3 massive calderas (or huge craters). The largest one — Yellowstone Caldera — is more than 60 miles (100 km) across. Some other large calderas formed by supervolcanoes are in Alaska, eastern California, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand and South America.

Nature’s fury and beauty

Although volcanic eruptions can create havoc, misery and death with their fury, they can also provide spectacular views and beautiful photos. For example…

Lightning flashes around ash plume of the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain near Entrelagos, Chile. (Carlos Gutierrez/Reuters

Puyehue-Conron Caulle volcano in Chile

An arching lava fountain, about 12 meters high, spurts from an early vent in the Puu Oo eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii. U. S. Geological Survey photo by Jim Griggs

USGS photo of arching Lava fountain in Hawaii


 Mount Etna

Mount Etna

Mt Etna spew

Lightning over Sinmoedake peak REUTERS/Minami-Nippon Shimbun/Handout via

lightning over Shinmoedake peak

Shinmoedake volcanic eruption with lightning

Also check out our Friday Fotos: Amazing Volcanic Eruptions (and links to our As the Earth Hurls series) …

Have a great weekend! 🙂 j & B

Friday Fotos: Mysterious Ice Circles

March 8, 2013

Ice CirclesLast month we did a Friday Foto post about a magical frozen bubble lake and while researching it, we stumbled upon another type of mysterious frozen beauty called ice circles.

According to Wikipedia, an ice circle, ice disc or ice pan is a natural phenomenon that occurs in slow moving water in cold climates. Ice circles and discs have most frequently been observed in Scandinavia and North America, but they are occasionally recorded as far south as England and Wales.

Ice circles are thin and circular slabs of ice that rotate slowly in the water. It is believed that they form in eddy currents and they vary in size with some reported to be more than 4 metres (13 ft) in diameter.

Ice discs form on the outer bends in a river where the accelerating water creates a force called ‘rotational shear’, which breaks off a chunk of ice and twists it around. As the disc rotates, it grinds against surrounding ice — smoothing into a circle.

Ice pans are surface slabs of ice that form in the center of a lake or creek, instead of along the water’s edge, according to river specialist and geography professor Joe Desloges. As water cools, it releases heat that turns into frazil ice — a collection of loose, randomly oriented needle-shaped ice crystals that can cluster together into a pan-shaped formation.

There are many gorgeous photos and videos about ice circles online and below are some of our faves…

photo of ice circles by Gary Lane - Wapiti River Guides

ice circle

ice circle in river

Sheridan Creek, Rattray Marsh in Ontario, Canada (Source)

view of ice circle in Russia's Lake Baikal from ISS

Lake Baikal in Russia (Spotted by ISS astronauts)

ice circles in Russia

 Russia (Source)

See more cool ice circle photos and watch a short video on … and have a great weekend everyone! 🙂 j & B

Friday Fotos: Massive Sinkholes

March 1, 2013

Last night a Florida man fell into a sinkhole that opened suddenly and swallowed the bedroom of his suburban Tampa home. CNN reports the sinkhole is about 20 feet to 30 feet across and may be 30 feet deep, but sadly there are no signs of life as of tonight.

Sinkholes are common in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The state lies on bedrock made of limestone or other carbonate rock that can be eaten away by acidic groundwater, forming voids that collapse when the rock can no longer support the weight of what’s above it. In fact, many of the lakes in Florida are relic sinkholes.

But sinkholes can happen anywhere in the world as shown below…

APTOPIX Germany Landslide and sinkhole

sinkhole in parking lot

sinkhole in road

collapsed segment of a street in Germany

sinkhole in Guatemala

Guatemala sinkhole

Great blue hole

Have a great weekend! 🙂 j & B

Friday Foto: Tucson Moonrise from Kitt Peak

February 15, 2013

Arizona gets breathtaking views of our night skies so we wanted to share a gorgeous shot of the moon rising above the Rincon Mountains as our Friday Foto.

This spectacular photo was taken by Emily Berkson, Kitt Peak Visitor Center Staff. Kitt Peak National Observatory is about 56 miles southwest of Tucson on the Tohono O’odham Nation.

According to Kitt Peak National Observatory’s Dec. 4, 2012 facebook post that accompanied photo…

Cannon 500D T1i
300mm lens
Two exposures, stacked in Photoshop:
City of Tucson – 4 second exposure
Moon – 1/50 second exposure

KPNO also explained “…yes, photoshop was used, but only to keep the Moon from being over exposed or the city lights under exposed. Both shots were taken on the same night, from the same location.”

Kitt Peak is home to twenty-four optical and two radio telescopes representing eight astronomical research institutions. The Kitt Peak National Observatory Visitor Center is open to the public daily and they offer Guided tours. Plus you can stargaze at Kitt Peak with their Nightly Observing Programs, or spend the night at a telescope with the Advanced Observing Program. Learn more

Stay safe and have a great weekend! 🙂 j & B

Friday Fotos: The Magical Frozen Bubble Lake

February 8, 2013

Today’s Friday Foto comes from Abraham Lake located on the North Saskatchewan River in Alberta, Canada. This beautiful man-made lake at the foot of the Rocky Mountains creates spectacular frozen methane gas bubble formations each winter.

So where does the methane come from? NPR explains it beautifully…

“…Methane gas comes from leaves (and trees and grass even dead animals) dropping into the water, where they sink to the bottom and get munched on by bacteria that poop out methane, producing that familiar “marsh gas” smell. Some gas is much older, squeezed out of ancient oceans or from deep down near the Earth’s mantle. When that older methane rises to the surface and bumps into freezing lake or ocean water, it fuses into a hard white substance called methane hydrate, a white, pasty rock. As long as it’s frozen at the lake bottom, the gas is trapped, but when it warms, the gas fizzles out of the rock or mud, forming these lava lamp clumps that float up in six, seven, ten foot columns. …”

Check out some stunning photos of Canada’s magical frozen bubble lake…

Alberta frozen bubble lake
Above photo by Emmanuel Coupe

Sources: and NPR

Stay safe (and warm) … and have a great weekend! 🙂  j & B

Friday Fotos: Awesome Volcanic Eruptions (and links to our As the Earth Hurls series)

February 1, 2013

A few years ago Twisted Sifter compiled some incredible photos of volcanic eruptions so we wanted to share some of our faves in today’s Friday Foto post. We’re also including some links to our “As the Earth Hurls” series we did back in 2010 for APN.


Chaiten Volcano, Chile – May 2, 2008

lightning and eruption at Chaiten Volcano Chile


Mount Rinjani, Indonesia 1994

Lightning and eruption at Mount Rinjani volcano in Indonesia

Photograph by OLIVER SPALT

Eyjafjallajokul Volcano, Iceland – April 17, 2010

volcanic eruption and lightning


See more volcanic eruption pics and stats and check out our 3-part “As the Earth Hurls” series from 2010 on the American Preppers Network blog — shortly after Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull (a.k.a. Eyjafjöll or Eye-Eye) eruption.

Part 1 of 3 – Iceland  (one of the most geologically active places on the planet)

Part 2 of 3 – Supervolcanoes

Part 3 of 3 – Safety tips  (things to do before, during and after a volcanic eruption)

Stay safe and have a great weekend! j & B


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