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Author Archives: Emergency Essentials®

Emergency Essentials®
Emergency Essentials, LLC. Helping People Prepare for 25 years. Food Storage, Emergency Kits, Water Filtration, First Aid, Survival, Camping, Preparedness, etc. Utah USA · http://beprepared.com

Picking a Good Survival Knife

I’ve been thinking about knives lately. I really don’t know much about them, myself. Kitchen knives, a good utility knife for projects around the house, and an X-acto knife for craft projects are about the extent of my experience.

So when I decided to buy a knife for my survival gear, I wasn't really sure what to look for. I wasn’t at work when I made the decision, so I had to rely on my own devices to get the information I needed (otherwise I would have just asked my coworkers, since they’re preparedness experts).

I found several helpful articles, but this one from The Art of Manliness, written by Creek Stewart of Willow Haven Outdoor, was my favorite.

Stewart focuses on six features of a good survival knife:

  1. Size
  2. Fixed Blade
  3. Full Tang
  4. Sharp Pointed Tip
  5. Single-Edge Blade with Flat-Ground Spine
  6. Solid Pommel

For more detail on each of these tips, go check out the original article.

Based on his recommendations, I bought two CRKT knives:

The CRKT Onion Shenanigan Tanto

Picking a Good Survival Knife - Shenanigan Tanto designed by Ken Onion

And the CRKT Ultima 5” – Black Blade, Veff Como Edge

Picking a Good Survival Knife - CRKT Ultima 5" knife with Veff serrations

I wanted the flexibility of having a folder and a fixed blade, so I’m using the Shenanigan as my EDC blade, and the Ultima is going in my emergency survival kit. One of our product experts, Joel, has this to say about Emergency Essentials carrying CRKT knives and tools:

"CRKT has the best selection of every day carry (EDC), tactical, and survival knives. I love the variety and ingenious design of their tools and knives.  CRKT is built on innovation from the best designers and quality forged from the finest material."

Check out my knife selections by clicking the links or images above, or take a look at Emergency Essentials’ full selection of survival knives here.


Do you have any other features to add to Stewart's list? What knife or knives do you use in your bug-out bag or everyday carry?

Have you ever had to rely on your knife to save your life? Share your stories and your favorite knives in the comments.


--Urban Girl (Sarah)

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7 Ways to Identify Poison Ivy [Infographic]

Hi, friends!

We've talked about identifying Poison Ivy before (here), but when I came across this infographic, I thought you guys would like it.

So, here are 7 ways you can identify Poison Ivy, courtesy of Treks in the Wild.

--Urban Girl


How to Identify Poison Ivy - Infographic

Infographic authored by Treks In The Wild.
To view the original post, see their article How to Identify Poison Ivy.

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30 Ways to Survive any Disaster

 30 Ways to Survive Any Disaster

I can always count on Popular Mechanics when I need my mind blown on a weekday afternoon. And how can you go wrong with a headline like “30 Ways to Survive Absolutely Any Disaster”? Sure enough, PM has come up with 30 of the most recent—and most awesome—tech innovations to revolutionize disaster preparedness on an individual, national, and global level. I defy Mother Nature to get past all 30 of these!

Author Sarah Fecht divides the list into four categories, involving areas of prediction, protection, response, and personal preparedness. Definitely read the article (at four pages, you’ll be in full emergency prep geek-out mode), but here’s a quick tour.

Prediction – The newest and coolest early warning systems use  established technology in new places (seismometers and accelerometers in the ocean, for example);fancy-pants newer technology (GPS, sensors, drones) to detect flash flooding; and a particularly thrilling combination of new and old technology: underwater drones! (I’m not lying!). And between them, experts can give us ample lead time on earthquakes, flooding, volcanic eruptions, storm surge, tornadoes, tsunamis, and even asteroids. ‘Cause if the Earth is about to be pummeled by pick-up sized space rocks, I need time to pack.

Protection – Companies have been working for generations on bigger and better barriers against the elements, and current technology has taken the effort miles forward. My favorite innovations, however, build protection right into the infrastructure, making things like streets, buildings, and power lines more absorptive, flexible, and resistant.

Response – In an effort to get the right people to the right place at the crucial time, researchers are pulling out all the innovative stops. In particular, first responders now have the aid of solar, microwave, drone, cell network, radio, and medical technology. They can even use  sensors to detect a human heartbeat under 30 feet of rubble and a tiny, injectable, antimicrobial sponge to stop bleeding.

Personal – The most immediate and most basic needs of disaster victims have not changed with the times. We still need shelter, water, food, and life-saving information. Under this heading, PM’s article mostly reports cool new gadgets that do what the old ones did, only faster and better—a water purifier that works in 15 seconds, for example, or a solar generator that will run your fridge for a full 24 hours. The standout here is the Survival Capsule, a former Boeing engineer’s response to the 2011 tsunami that battered Japan. Think Life Cube or the All-In-Four Emergency Supply plus Noah’s ark, all in miniature and with seatbelts.

I don’t know about you, but I love seeing all this energetic innovation going toward making us safer in a crisis. I’m not going to stop storing wheat and Band-Aids, but if there’s an app for emergency prep, you better believe I’m going to download it!


What are your favorite high-tech preparedness solutions?


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What to Expect (or not) from El Nino

What to Expect (or not) from El Nino

Here’s a cheerful headline to brighten your week: “El Niño is Going to Make Your 2014 Miserable.” Thank you, salon.com, for the good news.

Actually, 2014 is half over already, and it’s been a pretty fair six months for me, so I’m not getting too hand-wringy quite, yet. I am, however, interested to see what kinds of wacky weather the warm Pacific currents have in store.

The trick about El Niño, as we were informed by the Weather Channel recently (see their article, “Hurricane Season 2014: 5 Things You Need to Know”), is that its effects are famously unpredictable. Even salon.com’s efforts to sound dire are compromised, as experts warn us that the year could be unusually wet or unusually dry…or, um, neither.

“Regions across the U.S. that are normally wet can dry out during El Niño conditions, while normally dry regions can flood.” Worldwide expectations related to El Niño are not always accurate, however. “There is an expectation of drought, but not in every single El Niño event do we actually have drought,” Lisa Goddard, director of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, said.

Well, that certainly clears things up.

Sounds to me like a good time to be prepared for any eventuality. So here are some articles to help get you set for whatever El Niño has in store for your area.

Keep an eye on the skies, and let us know how El Niño is affecting you this year!


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Beat the Extreme Heat: Tips for Surviving Hot Weather

 Beat the Extreme Heat: Tips for Surviving Hot Weather

It’s Summer. And for those of us in the northern hemisphere, that means heat (unless you go too far north, of course). We published an article back in May called Beat the Heat: Staying Safe When Temperatures Rise that gives a great overview of heat-related issues and four basic tips for warmer weather.

But what about extreme heat? The kind that’s not normal summer weather, but can actually be classified as a natural disaster.

The Dangers of Extreme Heat

In extreme heat (especially combined with high humidity), the body struggles to maintain a normal temperature, causing heat-related illnesses. Additionally, the elderly and young children are more susceptible to problems associated with extreme heat (as are those who are sick, pregnant, or overweight).

Extreme heat is often associated with stagnant atmospheric conditions and poor air quality, which means people living in urban areas may be at greater risk during a prolonged heat wave than those in rural areas.

An additional problem with heat in urban areas is the amount of asphalt and concrete. Those materials store heat longer and gradually release it at night, which can raise the nighttime temperatures as well, which prevents cooling.

So, what can you do to stay safe? Plenty.

Before Extreme Heat

Like any natural disaster, it’s important to prepare before it happens. Here are some things you can do:

  • Make sure you have an emergency kit and that extreme heat is covered in your family’s emergency plans.
  • Be prepared to administer first aid for heat-related emergencies
  • Know the risks of heat-related illness and be aware of those who are most susceptible in your neighborhood (elderly, young, sick, pregnant, overweight).
  • If living in an urban area, realize that you may be at greater risk from the effects of extreme heat, especially if prolonged.
  • Be aware of upcoming weather events and temperature changes.
    • Prepare your home
      • Install window air conditioners snugly and insulate if necessary
      • Check your air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation
      • Weather-strip doors and sills to prevent cool air leakage
      • Cover windows that receive a lot of sun with drapes, shades, awnings, etc.
      • Keep storm windows up all year.
      • Install temporary window reflectors (such as aluminum foil) to reflect heat back outside. Place between windows and drapes.

During Extreme Heat

Once you have done your best to prepare, what can you do while a heat wave is raging?

  • Listen or watch for critical updates from the National Weather Service (radio, internet, or television)
  • Never leave pets or children alone in closed vehicles (this applies year round, of course, not just during extreme heat waves).
  • Stay indoors as much as possible, and limit exposure to the sun.
    • If you must go outside, avoid extreme temperature changes (cold air-conditioned house to extreme heat outside) by acclimating yourself before going outside and by wearing light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothes, and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities, and consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings where there is more air circulation (which can increase the evaporation rate of perspiration).
  • Drink plenty of water (even if you’re not thirsty) and eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals.
    • If you’re on a fluid-restricted diet, make sure you talk to your physician before increasing your intake.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. These types of drinks can cause you to become dehydrated very easily.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. If you must work outdoors during extreme heat, don’t do it alone, make use of the buddy system, take frequent breaks, and stay hydrated.
  • Check on friends, family, and neighbors who may not have air-conditioning and who spend much of their time alone. Also check on pets frequently to ensure they are not suffering from the heat.
  • If your home loses power during extreme heat, go to a designated public cooling center. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter, or check you city’s website.

Extreme heat is dangerous and potentially deadly. Take time now to be prepared for any heat wave that may come your way. For more tips check out FEMA's website at  http://www.ready.gov/heat

Have you experienced extreme heat? What did you do to prepare and what did you do to stay safe during the heat wave?



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What we can Learn from the Survivors of Chile’s April Earthquake

Lately we’ve heard a lot about earthquakes in the news—and this one’s got to be the biggest one yet because it didn’t just cause the ground to shake. Did you know that powerful earthquakes often cause other natural disasters? On ...

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The Effects of California’s Driest Year

The Effects of California's Driest Year

This post is the second installment of a three-part series highlighting the 2014 California Drought. Check out Part One of the series: "California Drought: Four Months in Review

For the last three to four years, drought conditions have spread all across the western US, but recently, California has been hit the hardest, facing dry temperatures and withered land. The following infographic from Drought Monitor shows you just how dry (and as a result, at risk for fires) certain areas of California are. 100% of the state of California is now in “severe” to exceptional drought.

California Drought Monitor

Conservation Mode

The state is in emergency water conservation mode until further notice. According to Kathleen Miles from the Huffington Post, Governor Brown has advised residents to cut their water use by 20%. All lawn watering and car washing is banned. Homeowners who don’t promptly fix leaks have been fined by city governments.

Coin-operated car washes must only use recycled water. Restaurants and private citizens are encouraged to use paper plates and cups, and water is served in restaurants only upon customer request. Newly-constructed swimming pools may not be filled. Earlier in the year, cities were squabbling over who gets how much water; and in Mendocino County, the sheriff’s office is keeping a close eye out for water thieves who try to pump water from Lake Mendocino into trucks and haul it away to sell or use.

According to a Huffington Post article from May 16th, 40 city employees in Sacramento have even been “re-designated as ‘water cops’ tasked with reporting and responding to wasteful maintenance.”

Industry Affected

Tourism is also adversely affected. California’s ski industry struggled all winter for the lack of snow. Fishing has been banned in several rivers to protect drought-stricken salmon and steelhead trout that may be in danger of extinction if the drought continues. The wine industry is also suffering, with grapes growing slowly and ripening before they’ve reached mature size.

Wildfires Increase

California is especially vulnerable to wildfires during times of drought. On average, 69 fires are reported monthly during normal conditions; however, just from January 1 to January 25 of this year, 406 wildfires were reported. The California wildfire season typically occurs during the summer and fall, but the drought has caused wildfires to become an all-year-round occurrence.

According to the National Journal, as of May 15th “brush fires in California had burned nearly 10,000 acres, destroyed 30 homes, threatened multiple military facilities, and forced thousands to evacuate.” The state has also faced a series of heat waves, with highs between 98 and 106 degrees F that are not helping the situation.


These drought conditions are severely taking a toll on daily life in California and other areas in the west. Check out our Insight Articles to help you conserve water in the future by building up your own water storage supply today:

Tomorrow, check out Part III of our California Drought Series  "California Drought: the Impact on Farming and Produce"

-Sharon, Kim, and Angela

Photo Courtesy of the United States Drought Monitor















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California Drought: Four Months in Review

California Drought: Four Months in Review

This post is the first installment of a three-part series highlighting the 2014 California Drought. 

All the western states, including California, are naturally subject to periods of drought. But according to B. Lynn Ingram, University of California Earth Science professor, a study of tree rings shows California’s current drought to be the most severe in the last 500 years.

Not only did California receive zero rainfall this January (normally the rainiest month of the year), recent past conditions have illustrated the decline in moisture. In 2013, California received a total of 7 inches of rain; the average yearly total is 22 inches. The Sierra snowpack, which gives California 1/3 of its water, was 88% below normal as of January 30, 2013.

In early 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared the state a “primary natural disaster area,” and President Obama announced over $190 million in drought aid. With almost twice as many fires and acres burned between January and March of this year than last year, California needed more than light rain and overcast skies to pull them from this drought. Unfortunately, over four months later, California has not seen the type of precipitation to pull them out of the drought and reduce wildfires in the state.

The lack of rain over the past few months has led some, such as the Santa Clara Valley Water District, to alert cities and companies that only 80 percent of requested treated drinking water will be provided for the rest of the year. The companies and cities losing this water typically provide it for about 1.5 million people. However, it’s not only thirsty cities receiving less treated drinking water, but irrigated farmlands are forced to turn to alternate sources of water such as wells.

During our lifetimes, we’ve become accustomed to California being the garden of the nation, producing nearly half of the fruit, nuts, and vegetables for the whole country. The sight of fallow fields, blowing dust, or browned seedlings failing in the heat is an image we associate more with the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma back in the 1930s than with California. But that may not be the case this year unless there’s a significant change in the weather.

National Journal reporter, Marina Koren, believes that in order “to break its historic drought, California would need to see 9 to 15 inches of precipitation in one month. That’s more than half a year’s worth of average rainfall for the state.” This lack of precipitation for the state has created water restrictions.

A water restriction for both irrigation and drinking (whether due to drought, a chemical spill, or another emergency) is a great reason to keep your [water storage] up to date. Check out these articles to learn more about the importance of water storage:


-Sharon, Kim, and Angela

Come back in the next couple of days to check out the rest of our California Drought Series:

Part II “The Effects of CA's Driest Year"

Part III "How does  the CA Drought Effect your Grocery List?"


Photo Courtesy of the Huffington Post via the Associated Press








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Tokyo’s Morning “Quake-up” Call

Tokyo's Morning "Quake-up" Call

Tokyo awoke to an early-morning quake on Monday, May 12th.

According to The New York Times, “NHK [the national broadcasting station] said it was the strongest quake felt in Tokyo since the aftershocks of a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 off the northeastern coast.”

Read the full New York Times article.


If you’re not quite earthquake-ready, you can prepare for an earthquake with these resources:

Quake, Rattle, and Roll: Easy steps to take before the big one hits

Quake, Rattle, and Roll: What to do during an earthquake

Quake, Rattle, and Roll: What to do after an earthquake

Earthquakes and your Mental Health

Free Disaster Guide, Part 1: When Disaster Hits Home

Free Disaster Guide, Part 2: Are You Ready?

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Wildfires Plague Southern California

iStock_000009049804Small_Wildfire__Save to Stock - Natural Disasters

This week has been a scorcher in Southern California, no thanks to extreme drought conditions and the familiar Santa Ana winds. Those two factors unfortunately created the perfect storm for wildfires to burn like crazy in several areas Tuesday, Wednesday, and likely into Thursday.

More than 11,000 Carlsbad residents and 20,000 in and around San Diego were asked to evacuate—though most of the San Diego evacuees have been allowed to return home.

Hundreds of firefighters have been working to control these blazes—and, luckily, only two minor injuries have been reported among them. Many will work through the night tonight to keep up containment efforts.

Read the rest of the article at FoxNews.com.


Would you be ready to evacuate within minutes if you received a notice from the Fire Department? Learn how you can be evacuation-ready:

"Evacuation Plan

"Evacuating from Home in an Emergency


Prepare yourself and your home for wildfires with these tips:

"Emergency Fire Safety

"Fire Season Safety Preparedness Tips


--Urban Girl

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