18) Outdoor Clothing - If disaster strikes, there's a good chance you won't be reporting to work in an office downtown, but you may find yourself helping out neighbors and others in your community by building shelters and repairing houses that may have been damaged. With this in mind, be sure to have clothing that can handle being outside in the elements.


DO: Ride only off-road. Paul Vitrano, executive vice president of the ATV Safety Institute, says, "Soft, knobby tires are designed for traction on uneven ground and will behave unpredictably on pavement." In some cases, tires will grip enough to cause an ATV to flip, as in the recent Nevada incident. "If you must cross a paved road to continue on an approved trail, go straight across in first gear."


We all know that dehydration can be dangerous, leading to dizziness, seizures, and death, but drinking too much water can be just as bad. In 2002, 28-year-old runner Cynthia Lucero collapsed midway through the Boston Marathon. Rushed to a hospital, she fell into a coma and died. In the aftermath it emerged that she had drunk large amounts along the run. The excess liquid in her system induced a syndrome called exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH), in which an imbalance in the body's sodium levels creates a dangerous swelling of the brain.
After Hurricane Sandy, many homeowners used portable generators to replace lost power, leaving the machines running overnight and allowing odorless carbon monoxide to waft inside. The gas induces dizziness, headaches, and nausea in people who are awake, but "when people go to sleep with a generator running, there's no chance for them to realize that something's wrong," says Brett Brenner, president of the Electrical Safety Foundation International.
14) Pepper Spray - Whether it's wild dogs that have gotten loose, or cougars or bears that have strayed down into your community – pepper spray that's strong enough to ward off Grizzly bears – called "Bear Pepper Spray" for it's strength – can prove to be a life saver. Consider buying 3 - 5 large bottles, or one for each member of your family. You can also use it to fend off looters (as long as they're not pointing a gun at you).
Photo by F. TronchinDepending on the geographic location of the wilderness area you are visiting and the time of year, temperatures can vary dramatically over the course of 24 hours. Layer your clothing to stay warm and keep your pack light. Pack silk long johns, t-shirts, trekking pants that convert to shorts, underwear, socks, and nightclothes. A fleece jacket, windbreaker, and waterproof outer jacket should be enough to handle most conditions. Wear a good pair of hiking boots, but pack a pair of sandals and water shoes. Round out your wardrobe with gloves, hat, and a scarf.

Photo by mr.smashyContingencies in the wilderness abound, so it is important to plan for as many as possible. A compass will help you find your way; even better is a handheld GPS device. Flashlights and glow sticks help you find your way in the dark, and a flare gun will assist others in finding you during an emergency. For setting up camp, Paracord or rope, a tarp, duct tape, and cable ties are indispensable. Also vital is a good multi-tool, folding shovel, and gloves. Include waterproof matches, lighter, and fire starting kit; redundancy is a good thing in this instance. In a small tin, pack fishhooks and line, razor blades, sewing needles and thread, safety pins, nails, a small magnet, and some cash.


Some people think that plumbers should be paid more than doctors because they prevent disease. Having a good sanitation kit can help prevent illness and disease for your family during an emergency. Don't buy into the idea that there will always be a bathroom for you to use. One of the first things you might need to gain access to during the case of an earthquake, hurricane, fire, or other disaster is a first-aid kit. Make sure you have enough first-aid supplies to take care of everyone in your family and enough to care for others who may need your help.

Helping out other people in need – especially in an emergency, such as a widespread natural disaster – is the right thing to do. Be generous with what you have, and generous with what you know. Be prepared to teach your neighbors some of the methods you should start teaching yourself, such as how to distil water from contaminated sources, as well as how to make home-made water filters (which I link to at the top of this article) for procuring water that's safe to drink.
Photo by marcos ojedaPrepackaged meals are the perfect camping food – lightweight, convenient, and easy to prepare. While many prepackaged meals are commercially available, you can save money, get the types of meals you want, and have fun by making your own. Fill a small freezer bag with ½ cup quick-cooking oats, a tablespoon of dry milk, a teaspoon of sugar, and a handful of dried fruit and nuts for a nutritious breakfast. For lunch, try a third of a cup of dry couscous, ½ cup freeze dried vegetables, a tablespoon of shelf stable shredded Parmesan cheese, a teaspoon of vegetable bullion and a few seasonings. How about rice with beef and mushrooms for dinner? And let’s not forget about desert; how does a mixed up fruit cobbler sound?
Found on small or moderate-size streams and rivers, low-head dams are used to regulate water flow or prevent invasive species from swimming upstream. But watch out. "They're called drowning machines because they could not be designed better to drown people," says Kevin Colburn of American Whitewater, a nonprofit whitewater preservation group. To a boater heading downstream, the dams look like a single line of flat reflective water. But water rushing over the dam creates a spinning cylinder of water that can trap a capsized boater.
×