Keep Your Home and Family Safe From These Threats—Here’s How

October 8, 2022

Guest post by Melanie @ DisasterPrepared.info

Maintaining your home and family’s health and safety is always a priority. However, there’s little doubt that the need to take a more proactive stance on these has been magnified as of late. It feels like a multitude of threats from the world at large—both seen and unseen—have become more apparent. Fortunately, the ways to combat them have been made easier and more accessible, thanks to modern technology.

Now is the time to learn about these options. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to keep your home free of the things that could harm it and, by extension, what might threaten your family’s overall well-being. Fedhealth shows you how to protect the ones you love.

Free from Fire Hazards

While there is never a guarantee you won’t experience a fire at home, there are tried and true methods that help ward off potential fires as well as alert you quickly. These methods include keeping anything flammable away from an open heat source, cooking safely, keeping matches out of reach from children and installing smart smoke alarms. It’s also in your family’s best interest to develop an escape plan in the event of a fire.

Free from Contaminants

Less obvious threats to hearth and home are arguably those that can’t be seen by the naked eye. Case in point, consider the water your family is drinking. For the most part, water from the tap is safe to drink. But the fact is, you never really know for sure what harmful contaminants might be present, especially in a city or industrial area. With this in mind, an effective water filtration system is a must to make sure that your family only consumes clean and purified drinking water.

Free from Chemicals

Now, threats to your home and family’s health are also often in the form of germs and bacteria that carry all sorts of viruses. In fact, this is a threat that has been at the forefront of almost everyone’s consciousness recently. On the bright side, this has made people more vigilant about cleaning and sanitizing their homes to effectively combat the threat of disease-carrying germs. However, this has its downsides, too. For example, you could be inadvertently exposing your family to harmful chemicals, which are present in most cleaning products.

Fear not, though, because you can kill all sorts of germs and bacteria without having to use harmful chemicals. In fact, there are actually chemical-free alternatives to Lysol and similar products. Better still, these are items you almost always have in your home at the ready, such as vinegar, lemon, baking soda, and even vodka. It goes without saying, therefore, that you can easily make the healthy switch to these natural cleaning products and, in the process, create a cleaner and healthier home.

Free from Crime

Lastly, don’t forget that crime is still very much present in this day and age, so you must always remain vigilant if you want to keep your home and family safe. Your first step is making sure you have reliable and secure locks on your doors. If you need to hire a locksmith to install locks, view customer ratings and reviews to narrow down your choices. A trustworthy locksmith will be insured and licensed and offer warranties for their work.

While honoring common safety measures at home like simply locking your doors and windows and keeping your entryways well-lighted (to name a few), it can also be very smart to consider making use of technology to boost your home’s security. This is especially true if you operate a home business that could make you a target. Never open the door for unexpected visitors, and don’t assume that a uniform means the person is legitimate. Also, if you travel for work, invest in a good security system as robbers look for vulnerabilities like vacant houses as opportunities to target homes. These days, home security systems already come with a good number of interactive bells and whistles, so yes, there are plenty of things to consider—running the gamut from surveillance camera placement to motion detectors.

Free from Flooding

Although you can’t control the weather, you can be prepared for it. If you live in or near a flood zone, take precautions specific to this force of nature. First, invest in good flood insurance. These policies protect you from damage from floods and are often subsidized by the government. In fact, homeowners in areas that are particularly prone to flooding may be required to purchase this kind of insurance.

Another precaution you can take is to use waterproof or water-resistant concrete in and around your home. According to Best Concrete Mix, Corp, waterproof concrete can divert flood waters and provides long-lasting waterproof construction. You can even create a concrete floodwall to protect your home against this type of water damage. If you want to add concrete to your property, search online for “concrete work near me” and read through the reviews. Look specifically for mentions of waterproof concrete and flood prevention, since that’s the type of work you are most interested in. If they don’t mention it, ask specifically about these topics when you call to arrange an on-site quote.

Your home is only as safe as the steps you take—not just in securing the property itself, but also in maintaining your family’s health and overall wellness. Leaving it all up to chance is simply not an option in this day and age, so you must be proactive through actions, awareness, and even supplements such as flood insurance.

You may even want to work with Fedhealth to create customized books and ebooks with additional safety issues most relevant to your neighborhood and community. Ultimately, you will not regret the measures you take in the name of health and safety.


70% off sale on our customizable paperback for NPM

September 1, 2022

For a limited time our 266-pg standard red preparedness and first aid paperback is only $5 US each (70% off list) on 28 or more copies + freight + FREE custom labels!

IT’S A DISASTER! provides quick-reference instructional bullets in 2-color format with tips about…

  • Family plans and kits;
  • Preparing for, responding to and recovering from earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires, CBRNE incidents, and more;
  • Active shooter scenarios;
  • How to administer basic first aid and much more!

Our customizable book (and PDF ebook) qualifies as public education + provides tons of match (if using grant funds), and makes great giveaways for staff, volunteers, customers and local communities ~ especially during National Preparedness Month.

Learn more about this special paperback sale at fedhealth.net … or get a custom ebook for fans + earn $$$ … and call 520.907.2153 for more information.

And proceeds always benefit the U.S. First Responders Association


Nuclear power plant emergency (dealing with possible radiation exposure)

February 25, 2022

As of 2022, the World Nuclear Association says there are 430+ operable commercial nuclear reactors with over 90 of them in the United States, and 19 power stations in Canada so millions of Americans and Canadians live within 10 miles (16 km) of an operating power plant.

Also WNA reports there are 220 research reactors (50 in the U.S.) mainly on university campuses.

Even though governments and associations monitor and regulate construction and operation of plants, accidents are possible and do happen. An accident could result in dangerous levels of radiation that could affect the health and safety of the public living near a nuclear power plant, as well as people many miles away depending on winds and weather – so tens of millions of North Americans could potentially be affected.

Some other incidents involving possible radiation exposure may be a nuclear missile or suitcase nuke or a dirty bomb.

How is radiation detected?
You cannot see, feel, taste or smell radiation, but special instruments can detect even the smallest levels of it. If radiation is released, authorities will monitor levels of radioactivity to determine the potential danger so they can alert and protect the public. (Consider getting dosimeters [pen units, RADTriage, etc], KFM kits or NukAlerts for your personal kits to detect radiation levels.)

What is best way to reduce radiation exposure?

Limit the amount of radiation you are exposed to by doing 3 things …

Distance – The more distance between you and the source of radiation, the less you’ll receive. During a serious accident you may be told to evacuate.

Shielding – Heavy, dense materials between you and radiation is best – this is why you want to stay indoors since the walls in your home should be good enough to protect you in some cases… but listen to radio and TV to learn if you need to evacuate.

Time – Most radioactivity loses its strength rather quickly. Limiting your time near the source of radiation reduces the amount you receive.

What is the most dangerous part of a nuclear accident?

Radioactive iodine – nuclear reactors contain many different radioactive products, but a dangerous one is radioactive iodine, which once absorbed, can damage cells of the thyroid gland. The greatest population that suffers in a nuclear accident is children (including unborn babies) since their thyroid is so active, but all people are at risk of absorbing radioactive iodine.

How can I be protected from radioactive iodine?

Potassium iodide (KI) – can be purchased over-the-counter now and is known to be an effective thyroid-blocking agent. In other words, it fills up the thyroid with good iodine that keeps radioactive iodine from being absorbed into our bodies.

What if I am allergic to iodine?

According to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, the FDA suggests that risks of allergic reaction to potassium iodide are minimal compared to subjecting yourself to cancer from radioactive iodine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist what you should keep on hand in the event of an allergic reaction.

Many countries stockpile potassium iodide (KI), especially since the Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi incidents. Several U.S. states also stockpile KI in case of an accident or incident, but people would have to wait for it to be disseminated so consider acquiring some for your various kits.

The FDA has approved 4 KI products – Iosat, ThyroSafe, ThyroShield and Potassium Iodide Oral Solution USP per www.cdc.gov. In an emergency, other options may be taking KIO3, applying iodine solution to your skin, or taking kelp pills.


Community Planning for Emergencies

Local, state and provincial governments, Federal agencies and utilities have developed emergency response plans in the event of a nuclear power plant accident. United States’ plans define 2 “emergency planning zones” (EPZs)

Plume Exposure EPZ – a 10-mile radius from nuclear plant where people may be harmed by radiation exposure  NOTE: People within a 10-mile radius are given emergency information about radiation, evacuation routes, special arrangements for handicapped, etc. via brochures, phone books, and utility bills.

Ingestion Exposure EPZ – about a 50-mile radius from plant where accidentally released radioactive materials could contaminate water supplies, food crops and livestock


BEFORE A NUCLEAR POWER PLANT EMERGENCY:

Learn the buzzwords – Know terms used to describe a nuclear emergency at a plant: U.S. / (Canada)

  • Notification of Unusual Event / (Reportable Event) – a small problem has occurred. No radiation leak is expected. Federal, state/provincial and county/municipal officials will be told right away. No action on your part will be necessary.
  • Alert / (Abnormal Incident) – a small problem has occurred, and small amounts of radiation could leak inside plant. This will not affect you and you shouldn’t have to do anything.
  • Site Area Emergency / (Onsite Emergency) – a more serious problem… small amounts of radiation could leak from the plant. If necessary, officials will act to ensure public safety. Area sirens may be sounded and listen to your radio or TV for information.
  • General Emergency / (General Emergency) – the MOST serious problem… radiation could leak outside the plant and off the plant site. In most cases sirens will sound so listen to local radio or TV for reports and updates. State/Provincial and county/municipal officials will act to assure public safety and be prepared to follow their instructions!


Learn signals – Ask about your community’s warning system and pay attention to “test” dates to learn if you can HEAR it. Nuclear power plants are required to install sirens and other warning devices to cover a 10-mile area around the plant in the U.S. (If you live outside the 10-mile area you will probably learn of the event through local TV and radio, but just be aware winds and weather can impact areas as far as 200 miles [320 km] away!!)

Learn risks – Ask the company operating the plant for brochures and data.

Make a plan – Develop a Family Emergency Plan and Disaster Supplies Kit. Double check on emergency plans for schools, day cares or places family may be and where they’ll go if evacuated.


DURING A NUCLEAR POWER PLANT EMERGENCY:

Stay calm – Not all accidents release radiation – may be contained in plant.

Listen – Turn on radio or TV. Authorities will give specific instructions and information for each specific incident.

Stay or go..? – Evacuate if told to do so by local authorities … and …

  • Grab your Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Close doors, windows and fireplace damper.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with face mask or cloth.
  • Close car windows and vents and use “re-circulating” air.
  • Keep listening to radio for evacuation routes & updates.


As long as you are NOT told to evacuate, do the following…

IF INDOORS – Stay inside and prepare to “shelter-in-place”…

  • Close doors and windows and your fireplace damper.
  • Turn off air conditioner, ventilation fans, furnace and other intakes (they pull in air from outside).
  • Go to a basement or underground area (if possible).
  • Keep a battery-operated radio with you to hear updates.
  • Stay inside until authorities tell you it is safe to go out!


IF OUTDOORS – Get indoors as soon as possible!

  • Cover mouth and nose with a cloth or napkins and find shelter.
  • Once inside, remove clothing, shower & wash hair and put on fresh clothing and different shoes. Put clothes and shoes you were wearing in plastic bags, seal and store. Local authorities can tell you what to do with bags.


IF IN A VEHICLE – Keep windows up, close vents, use “recirculating” air and keep listening to radio for updates. If possible, drive away from site.

Pets & livestock – Get them in shelters with clean food and water that has not been exposed to air-borne radiation, especially milk-producing animals.

Food – Put food in covered containers or in refrigerator — any food that was not in a covered container should be washed first.

Take potassium iodide..? – IF radioactive iodine has been released into the air from a power plant accident, some states may decide to provide KI pills mentioned at beginning of this topic to people in a 10-mile radius.


NOTE: Take KI pills ONLY as directed by local public health authorities and follow instructions on the package exactly!


AFTER A NUCLEAR POWER PLANT EMERGENCY:

Listen – Keep radio and TV tuned in — stay in until authorities say all clear.

Clean up – If you were possibly exposed to radiation…

  • store clothes & shoes – put clothing and shoes in tightly sealed containers or plastic bags and ask health officials what to do with them
  • shower – wash your body and hair to remove radioactive particles
  • land and property – ask authorities how to clean up area

Weird symptoms – Seek medical attention if you have symptoms like upset stomach or feel queasy after a reported incident since it could be related to radiation exposure.

Gardens & crops – Authorities will provide information concerning safety of farm and homegrown products — or check with agricultural extension agent. Unharvested crops are hard to protect but crops that are already harvested should be stored inside, if possible.

Milk – Local officials should inspect cows’ and goats’ milk before using.

Some other incidents involving possible radiation exposure may be a nuclear missile or suitcase nuke or a dirty bomb.


Above extracted from It’s A Disaster! — learn how to order our 266-page preparedness and first aid book or ebook

Proceeds benefit the U.S. First Responders Association


New paperback pricing + short run options in 2022 (ebooks still 70% or more off)

December 9, 2021

Unfortunately with the price of everything going up it is impacting book publishers with increased paper and freight costs, meaning it is going to affect our clients, as well.

For many years our $5 bulk book price (70% off list) included freight in the U.S., but shipping costs have been brutal on us the past 2 years, so we had to make a tough decision that hopefully we can reverse someday if the economy turns around.

As of January 2022, our 266-page IT’S A DISASTER! paperback (both standard red books [by the case] and custom book orders [1k & up] bundled into large bulk prints) will be $6.00 U.S. each (60% off list) plus freight.

We will continue to provide FREE customization and we always pass through whatever freight discounts are given to us (i.e. we charge whatever our printer charges us.)

Also a NEW option for anyone wanting custom printed books in small quantities and on rush orders is short-run pricing that will totally depend on the quantity needed. It will be less than our $14.99 list price, but again, depends on how many custom books you want. We will have some stepped pricing online soon, and we can always provide estimates in the meantime.

Prices will remain the same on our 284-page interactive PDF ebook that starts at only $5 each (~70% off list) and goes as low as $2 each (or less) in large bulk with unlimited customization.

Please call 520.907.2153 or email sales@fedhealth.net anytime for quotes esp. if you want to lock in the 2021 $5 / book bulk price with free freight for now, and learn more at fedhealth.net

Fedhealth is a sole source, small business registered on many local, state and federal procurement systems in case that helps when using grants.


Lightning Safety Myths and Facts

March 6, 2021

Check out some lightning Myths versus Facts from the National Weather Service

Myth: If you’re caught outside during a thunderstorm, you should crouch down to reduce your risk of being struck.
Fact: Crouching doesn’t make you any safer outdoors. Run to a substantial building or hard topped vehicle. If you are too far to run to one of these options, you have no good alternative. You are NOT safe anywhere outdoors.

Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit an average of 23 times a year

Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning.
Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm.

Myth: Rubber tires on a car protect you from lightning by insulating you from the ground.
Fact: Most cars are safe from lightning, but it is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, NOT the rubber tires. Remember, convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open-shelled outdoor recreational vehicles and cars with fiberglass shells offer no protection from lightning. When lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Don’t lean on doors during a thunderstorm.

Myth: A lightning victim is electrified. If you touch them, you’ll be electrocuted.
Fact: The human body does not store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid. This is the most chilling of lightning Myths. Imagine if someone died because people were afraid to give CPR!

Myth: If outside in a thunderstorm, you should seek shelter under a tree to stay dry.
Fact: Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties. Better to get wet than fried!

Myth: If you are in a house, you are 100% safe from lightning.
Fact: A house is a safe place to be during a thunderstorm as long as you avoid anything that conducts electricity. This means staying off corded phones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, computers, plumbing, metal doors and windows. Windows are hazardous for two reasons: wind generated during a thunderstorm can blow objects into the window, breaking it and causing glass to shatter and second, in older homes, in rare instances, lightning can come in cracks in the sides of windows.

Myth: If thunderstorms threaten while you are outside playing a game, it is okay to finish it before seeking shelter.
Fact: Many lightning casualties occur because people do not seek shelter soon enough. No game is worth death or life-long injuries. Seek proper shelter immediately if you hear thunder. Adults are responsible for the safety of children.

Myth: Structures with metal, or metal on the body (jewelry, cell phones, Mp3 players, watches, etc), attract lightning.
Fact: Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt will strike. The presence of metal makes absolutely no difference on where lightning strikes. Mountains are made of stone but get struck by lightning many times a year. When lightning threatens, take proper protective action immediately by seeking a safe shelter – don’t waste time removing metal. While metal does not attract lightning, it does conduct it so stay away from metal fences, railing, bleachers, etc.

Myth: If trapped outside and lightning is about to strike, I should lie flat on the ground.
Fact: Lying flat increases your chance of being affected by potentially deadly ground current. If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, you keep moving toward a safe shelter.

Myth: lightning flashes are 3-4 km apart
Fact: Old data said successive flashes were on the order of 3-4 km apart. New data shows half the flashes are about 9 km apart. The National Severe Storms Laboratory report concludes: “It appears the safety rules need to be modified to increase the distance from a previous flash which can be considered to be relatively safe, to at least 10 to 13 km (6 to 8 miles). In the past, 3 to 5 km (2-3 miles) was as used in lightning safety education.” Source: Separation Between Successive Lightning Flashes in Different Storms Systems: 1998, Lopez & Holle, from Proceedings 1998 Intl Lightning Detection Conference, Tucson AZ, November 1998.

Myth: A High Percentage of Lightning Flashes Are Forked.
Fact: Many cloud-to-ground lightning flashes have forked or multiple attachment points to earth. Tests carried out in the US and Japan verify this finding in at least half of negative flashes and more than 70% of positive flashes. Many lightning detectors cannot acquire accurate information about these multiple ground lightning attachments. Source: Termination of Multiple Stroke Flashes Observed by Electro- Magnetic Field: 1998, Ishii, et al. Proceedings 1998 Int’l Lightning Protection Conference, Birmingham UK, Sept. 1998.

Myth: Lightning Can Spread out Some 60 Feet After Striking Earth.
Fact: Radial horizontal arcing has been measured at least 20 m. from the point where lightning hits ground. Depending on soils characteristics, safe conditions for people and equipment near lightning termination points (ground rods) may need to be re-evaluated. Source: 1993 Triggered Lightning Test Program: Environments Within 20 meters of the Lightning Channel and Small Are Temporary Protection Concepts: 1993, SAND94-0311, Sandia Natl Lab, Albuquerque NM.

Find some Lightning Safety tips here and download a free 60-page PDF portion of our preparedness and first aid ebook.

Resources:

• National Weather Service Lightning Safety

• NWS Toolkit for Counties and Communities, Stadiums, Parks and Large Venues, and Golf Courses

• NWS Tools for Teachers  


Medical Reserve Corps volunteers strengthen America’s public health

March 2, 2020

Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network of volunteers, organized locally to improve the health and safety of their communities.

The MRC network currently comprises over 180,000 volunteers in 830+ units located throughout the United States and its territories.

MRC units are community-based and function as a way to locally organize and utilize medical and non-medical volunteers who want to donate their time and expertise to prepare for and respond to emergencies and promote healthy living throughout the year. MRC volunteers supplement existing emergency and public health resources.

About the Medical Reserve Corps

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, many Americans asked, “What can I do to help?” Public health professionals were among those who wanted to volunteer their services, but many were not able to find a way to do so. While these professionals had applicable skills sets, they could not be deployed. This was because they were not identified, credentialed or trained in advance. So, the Medical Reserve Corps was created to build a group of people who can assist existing local public health in the event of a true public health emergency or disaster.

MRC was originally a partner program with Citizen Corps and resided under HHS’ Office of the Surgeon General. In 2015 the MRC was welcomed into HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Office of Emergency Management family. MRC also works closely with the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) to enhance MRC units’ ability to meet local, state, and national needs through collaboration, coordination, and capacity-building activities.

MRC units engage volunteers to strengthen public health, improve emergency response capabilities, and build community resiliency. They prepare for and respond to natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, and floods, as well as other emergencies affecting public health, such as disease outbreaks. They frequently contribute to community health activities that promote healthy habits.

Volunteers include medical and public health professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, and epidemiologists. Many community members with non-medical backgrounds—interpreters, chaplains, office workers, legal advisors, and others—can fill other key support positions.

Credit: MDRMRC

Some examples of activities that MRC volunteers participate in and support include:

  • Emergency Preparedness and Response Trainings
  • Mass Dispensing Efforts
  • Emergency Sheltering
  • Vaccination Clinics
  • Responder Rehab
  • Health Education and Promotion
  • Disaster Medical Support
  • Outreach to Underserved Community Members
  • Medical Facility Surge Capacity
  • First Aid During Large Public Gatherings
  • Engaging Youth in Public Health Activities
  • Planning, Logistical & Administrative Support
  • Health Screenings
  • Veterinary Support and Pet Preparedness
  • and more!

Learn how to volunteer or partner with your local Medical Reserve Corps and visit the MRC site to learn more about this great organization.

MRC Network Well Check Webinars

MRC Network Well Check interactive webinars provide MRC unit leaders and State Coordinators with information on a wide variety of topics, largely determined by members’ interests and needs. Through these ongoing wellness check-ups of the MRC network, members will be provided a platform to connect, share, and learn with your peers and leadership, plus some members will also be asked to serve as presenters.

Webinars are typically held on the first Tuesday of each month at 2p ET and run about 60 minutes long primarily focusing on a specified topic. Many include a Q & A period and highlights from the field, as well.

Many MRC units use customized It’s A Disaster books

Since Medical Reserve Corps’ creation in 2002 many Health Departments and MRCs (+ EMs, CERTs, etc.) have purchased our 266-page preparedness and first aid manuals customized both in the print process and using standard red books with stickers for volunteers, events and local communities.

Our IT’S A DISASTER! bulk price is only $4.50 U.S. each delivered (70% off list on 10 or more copies) … and we can customize them for free to include data about your MRC unit, how to become a volunteer, public health information and more. And our book qualifies as community education on most grants providing about a $4-to-$1 return that can be used on matching grant programs.

Download a free portion of our book in PDF and learn how to order paperbacks (or ebooks) at www.fedhealth.net or call 520.907.2153.


Tornadoes 101 (tornado basics, videos and safety resources)

March 9, 2019

Most of us have seen a tornado on the news and the Internet, but a vast majority of people have never personally witnessed the power and destruction of a twister.

The U.S. averages about 1,200 tornadoes a year and Canada is ranked #2 in volume of tornadoes (averaging about 80 per year) with several high risk areas mostly in central provinces. Nearly 3/4 of the world’s tornadoes occur in the U.S. annually with a majority of them touching down in “tornado alley” across the central U. S.

But keep in mind tornadoes can occur anywhere in the U.S. — with sightings in all 50 states — and across every continent except Antarctica.

Did you know…

  • even though the National Weather Service (formerly called the Weather Bureau) has been tracking storms since 1870 … they were not allowed to use the word tornado in its forecasts for fear of panic until 1950..?!
  • According to NOAA, 2004 had a record 1,817 tornado reports in the U.S.
  • In 1974, during a 21-hour period, 148 tornadoes ripped through 13 states and 1 province between Alabama and Ontario, Canada killing 315 people.
  • Tornadoes can last for several seconds or more than an hour, but most last less than 10 minutes.
  • Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer, but tornadoes can happen at any time of the year. Also, tornadoes can also happen at any time of day or night, but most tornadoes occur between 4–9 p.m.
  • The 1925 Tri-State Tornado rode a straight-line path for 3.5 hours across 219 miles of Missouri, southern Illinois and Indiana, making it the longest single tornado track anywhere in the world. With a mile-wide diameter it looked wider than it was tall and caused 695 deaths — a U.S. record for a single tornado — and injured thousands.
  • A waterspout is a tornado over water but isn’t recorded until it hits land.
  • The force of a tornado can strip asphalt chunks off roads, rip clothes off people and pluck feathers off chickens.

Tornado basics

tornado photo by noaaAccording to the National Severe Storms Laboratory tornadoes are rare and unpredictable, but NSSL admits experts don’t fully understand how tornadoes form.

Basically a tornado is a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Because wind is invisible, it is hard to see a tornado unless it forms a condensation funnel made up of water droplets, dust and debris. Tornadoes are the most violent of all atmospheric storms.

The most destructive and deadly tornadoes occur from supercells, which are rotating thunderstorms with a well-defined radar circulation called a mesocyclone. (Supercells can also produce damaging hail, severe non-tornadic winds, unusually frequent lightning, and flash floods.) Tornado formation is believed to be dictated mainly by things which happen on the storm scale, in and around the mesocyclone.

Learn more in below 2 educational videos and scroll down to find some free safety information about tornadoes and other severe weather topics from our IT’S A DISASTER! book and other resources.

Anatomy of a Tornado by TWC’s Jim Cantore from 2015…

This 2018 video by Cantore and TWC is longer but takes you inside a storm like you’ve never seen before with amazing graphics…


Safety Information

Download a free ebook portion of our IT’S A DISASTER book with tips about storms, kits and more.

Additional Resources:

National Severe Storms Laboratory Severe Weather 101

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (Tornado page)

National Geographic Tornado 101 (video)

How Tornadoes Work

Storm Prediction Center Tornado FAQ


Become more #CyberAware during October Cyber Security Awareness Month

September 30, 2018

Cyber Security Awareness Month is an internationally recognized campaign held each October to inform the public of the importance of cyber security.

America’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) campaign – under leadership from the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – has grown exponentially, reaching consumers, small and medium-size businesses, corporations, educational institutions, and young people across the nation.

Fedhealth has been a proud Champion of NCSAM since 2004 promoting awareness about online safety on our blog and enews.

Cybersecurity begins with a simple message everyone using the Internet can adopt: STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Take security and safety precautions, understand the consequences of your actions and behaviors online, secure your IoT devices , and enjoy the benefits of the Internet.

NCSA has resources, weekly themes and social media tools to help families, businesses and educators get #CyberAware and involved at staysafeonline.org/ncsam. Follow NCSA on Facebook or on Twitter @STOPTHNKCONNECT and @StaySafeOnline and search #CyberAware for more cyber safety tips and resources.

Canada’s Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM) was created to educate Canadians about Internet security and the simple steps individuals can take to protect themselves online.

Canada’s #CSAM campaign is divided by themes which highlight different aspects of cyber security each week. Learn more at getcybersafe.ca and follow @GetCyberSafe or #CSAM on Twitter.

And the European Union advocacy campaign European Cyber Security Month (ECSM) aims to raise awareness of cyber security threats, promote cyber security among citizens and organizations; and provide resources to protect themselves online, through education and sharing of good practices.

Visit http://cybersecuritymonth.eu/ to learn more and to find events in Europe and follow @CyberSecMonth and ‪#‎cybersecmonth on Twitter.

Whether you use one computer, a smartphone or a massive network, it is critical to keep systems protected from viruses and attacks. Some things you can do include…

  • Make sure computers and all wireless devices have current anti-virus and anti-spyware software and firewalls … and schedule them to scan daily or weekly. Also set virus patterns, operating systems and browsers to update automatically. Encourage employees to protect their personal home devices too.
  • Set security preferences as high as possible on Internet browsers and anti-virus packages.
  • Use a strong password to protect your home wi-fi router and create a “Guest” password for people who visit and need internet access.
  • Be aware some flash drives may have trojans or viruses, or be used to copy sensitive data off secure systems, so consider limiting access to critical files and/or systems.
  • Although it is best to not open emails or attachments from unknown sources, that’s not feasible in the business world. But implement precautionary procedures like having employees save attached files into a temp directory and scan them before opening.
  • Discourage accessing financial institutions from mobile devices using apps or email links. Instead, visit banking and credit card sites directly using a browser window.
  • Be aware there are lots of “scareware” scams online! Do NOT download or click on a screen that says it found “X number of viruses or spyware on your system” suggesting you download their package — it will most likely be a virus.
  • Use long passwords (using both numbers and letters [and special characters if possible]) on banking, social media and other systems, change them often, and don’t share them with others.
  • Backup data often and keep a daily or weekly backup off-site.
  • Make sure someone knows how to download patches or fixes in case a computer or system gets infected. And have a backup plan in case that person (or team) is not available.
  • If your business is hacked, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov
  • Stay current on cyber threats by joining DHS’s US Computer Emergency Readiness Team www.us-cert.gov and visit NCSA’s www.staysafeonline.org

Please share these resources with others and post your #CyberAware tips in comments below.

Happy, safe surfing, j & B


Fire Prevention Week is Oct 8-14, 2017

October 5, 2017

Did you know fire kills more Americans every year than all natural disasters combined? Fire spreads quickly so there is NO time to grab valuables or make a phone call.

That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan.

Some key FPW messages from the National Fire Protection Association include:

  • Draw a map of your home by using NFPA’s grid in English (PDF) or Spanish (PDF) with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

Find more Home Fire Prevention and Safety Tips  … and learn more about FPW at www.firepreventionweek.org


Flood safety tips and resources

August 26, 2017

Floods are the most common natural disaster. Some floods develop over a period of several days, but a flash flood can cause raging waters in just a few minutes.

Mudflows are another danger triggered by flooding that can bury villages without warning, especially in mountainous regions.

Everyone is at risk from floods and flash floods, even in areas that seem harmless in dry weather. Always listen to the radio or TV to hear the latest updates. Some other types of radios are the NOAA Weather Radio and Environment Canada Weatheradio with battery backup and tone-alert feature that alert you when a Watch or Warning has been issued.

BEFORE A FLOOD (OR HEAVY RAIN):

Prepare – Review some Flood Mitigation tips

Learn the buzzwords – Learn the terms / words used with floods…

  • Flood watch – flooding is possible
  • Flash flood watch – flash flooding is possible so move to higher ground if in a low-lying area
  • Flood warning – flooding is occurring or will occur soon so listen to radio or TV for updates or evacuation alerts
  • Flash flood warning – flash flood is occurring so seek higher ground on foot immediately
  • Urban and Small Stream Advisory – flooding of small streams, streets and low-lying areas is occurring

Learn risks – Ask local emergency management office if your property is a flood-prone or high-risk area and what you can do to reduce risks to your property and home. Find out what official flood warning signals are and what to do when you hear them. Ask if there are dams or levees nearby and if they could be hazards.  

Be ready to evacuate – Listen to local authorities and leave if you are told to evacuate.  

Make a plan – Develop a Family Emergency Plan and Disaster Supplies Kit. And download Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium’s “Flood Recovery Booklet” to learn how to dry materials like artwork, books, photographs, etc. at www.iowaconserveandpreserve.org

Learn to shut off – Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves — and ask local utilities for instructions.

Get insurance…? – Talk to your agent and find out more about the National Flood Insurance Program or visit www.FloodSmart.gov

Did you know…

  • you can buy federal flood insurance through most major insurance companies and licensed agents?!
  • you do not have to own a home to have flood insurance as long as your community participates in the NFIP?!
  • NFIP offers coverage even in flood-prone areas and offers basement and below ground level coverage?!

Put it on film/chip/drive – Either videotape or take pictures of home and personal belongings and store them in a safe place with important papers.

DURING A FLOOD (OR HEAVY RAIN):

Be aware – Listen to local news and watch for flash floods especially if near streams, drainage channels, and areas known to flood. Be prepared to fill and place sandbags in areas as instructed to help combat rising waters.

Get to higher ground – If in a low-lying area, move to higher ground.

Prepare to evacuate – Review some evacuation tips, and IF time also…

  • Secure home and move important items to upper floors.
  • Turn off utilities at main switches or valves if instructed by authorities and DO NOT touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water!
  • Fill up your car with fuel.

Obey warnings – If road signs, barricades, or cones are placed in areas – DO NOT drive around them! Find another way or you may get fined.

Things to avoid:

  • moving water – 6 inches (15 cm) of moving water can knock you off your feet and 2 ft (0.6 m) can float a car
  • flooding car – if flood waters rise around your car, get out and move to higher ground if you can do it safely
  • bad weather – leave early enough so you’re not trapped
  • flooded areas – roadways and bridges may be washed-out
  • downed power lines – extremely dangerous in floods!!

 

AFTER A FLOOD (OR HEAVY RAIN):

Things to avoid:

  • flood waters – avoid since they may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage or may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines – local authorities will say when it’s okay to return
  • moving water – 6 inches (15 cm) can knock you off your feet and 2 ft (0.6 m) can float a car
  • flooded areas – roadways and bridges may be washed-out
  • downed power lines – extremely dangerous and report them to the power company

Obey warnings – If road signs, barricades, or cones are placed in areas – OBEY THEM! Most areas fine people who ignore posted warnings. DO NOT drive around barricades… find another way to get there!

Strange critters – Watch out for snakes and other wildlife in areas that were flooded. Don’t try to care for a wounded critter since it may try to attack you… call your local animal control office or animal shelter.

Flooded food – Throw away food that has come into contact with flood waters since eating it can make you sick.

Drinking water – Wait for officials to advise when water is safe to drink. If you have a well that gets contaminated, find another source or boil water.

Wash your hands – Wash hands often with clean water and soap since flood waters are dirty and full of germs!

Use bleach – The best thing to use for cleaning up flooded areas is household bleach since it helps kill germs.

Sandbags – If any sandbags come into contact with floodwaters, wear rubber gloves when removing them and follow officials’ instructions on where to discard them since they’re most likely contaminated.

Listen – Continue listening to radio or TV for updates on weather and tips on getting assistance for housing, clothing, food, etc.

Insurance – Call your insurance agent or representative to discuss claims.

Mold – Consider asking a restoration professional to inspect your house for mold and visit www.epa.gov/mold for flood cleanup tips.

Above extracted from our book called IT’S A DISASTER! …and what are YOU gonna do about it?

Additional resources:

Flood mitigation and safety resources

Information and tips about NOAA Weather Radios

Landslide and debris flow safety tips

Tips and resources about disaster declarations, response, assistance and recovery

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