Understanding Insect and Spider Bites

Insect and Spider Bites

It is virtually impossible to go out into the wilds and not get insect and spider bites. The wilds are their environment, and you are an intruder. Some bugs bite for defense and others bite as a way of getting nourishment (i.e., your blood). In all cases, however, it is good to know about insect bites and how to treat them.

Generally speaking, insect and spider bites will bring about some amount of swelling, usually minor in nature. Bites will also bring about pain, redness in the area, and itching in most cases. These are the most common symptoms and are usually mild, lasting from a few hours to a few days. Treatment for minor bug bites can include putting ice on the site, applying anti-itch medication, or doing nothing. That is the good news. Now, the bad news.

Symptoms of Insect and Spider Bites

Symptoms of Insect and Spider Bites

There are many people who will have allergic reactions to insect and spider bites. In some cases, the person may not even know that they are allergic until they are bitten. The medical term for severe allergic reactions is anaphylaxis. While these reactions are not very common, they can be deadly when they do occur. Look for the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness and confusion
  • Shock
  • Sudden cough or wheezing
  • Obstructed airway
  • Unusual swelling
  • Nausea, diarrhea, and/or stomach cramps

The insects and spiders that can cause a reaction in anyone, not just those allergic to them, include:

  • Brown recluse spider
  • Black widow spider
  • Most types of scorpions
  • Wooly slug (aka the puss caterpillar)

Also, there are other insects that can cause reactions as well, mostly because they involve numerous bites at one time. This would include insects such as:

  • Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets
  • Fire ants
  • African bees

The signs and symptoms of these types of bites can include all of the above-mentioned reactions plus large areas of swelling that come on quickly. This area can encompass a whole limb (such as an arm or leg) within minutes of being bitten. There is also an intense redness at the area as well.

Treatment for Insect and Spider Bites

It is imperative that you keep the airway open so the person can breathe. Loss of oxygen, even for a few minutes, can lead to permanent brain damage; any longer than that and death will occur. You may need to do artificial respiration to keep the person alive.

Monitor the person’s heartbeat (pulse). Cardiac arrest (heart stopping) can occur in severe cases. You may need to do CPR.

Treat for shock by elevating the person’s feet and keeping the person warm.

Get medical help ASAP. For the most part, this person must be treated by professional medical personnel. You can do your part to help keep the person alive, but you will not be able to treat the symptoms fully.

Because insect bites (and occasionally spider bites) are common in the wilds, carrying a well-stocked first aid kit (with bite-treatment supplies) is a very good idea. The chances of being bitten while on the trail are much higher than any other type of injury you may encounter, so be prepared.

 

Converting Boot Sizes: What Size Men’s Boot Should a Woman Purchase?

CONVERTING

All women have been there: You have your heart set on a specific set of boots, yet your size is out of stock. Frustratingly, you cannot seem to find your size anywhere, yet you notice that the men’s version of the boot is, in fact, in stock.  However, wait, what size do you wear in men’s boots? This predicament can not only be frustrating, but it often leads to incorrect size purchases and the pain of returning footwear you purchased online, often at an additional investment of time and energy for you. So how do you convert men’s boot sizes to women’s? We will cover that and more as we examine women’s boot sizes and the process of converting between genders.

frustrated-woman-online

When discussing boots, the reality is that the vast majority of boot styles are made exclusively for men, and of course in men’s sizes only. This is a classic case of supply and demand: More men purchase boots, more men wear boots, so, therefore, more boots are produced for men. Without women’s boot sizes, or limited availability for women’s sizes, what is the next step to get what you want? While most boots are labeled as “men’s”, women can, in fact, wear the boots; however a size conversion is in order. The standard adage is for a woman to subtract two sizes off of her standard shoe size to calculate her shoe size in men’s footwear. For example, a woman who wears a size 8 in women’s shoes would, generally speaking, wear a size 6 in men’s shoes.

size conversion chart

 

Simple enough right? While the two size subtraction method generally works, it is important to recognize that there are sizing differences between shoe brands as well as shoe styles. For instance, when purchasing boots, ordering two sizes down holds true more often than not, but this is because heavier socks are typically worn in conjunction with boots. When purchasing sneakers or tennis shoes, which are generally worn tighter, it is recommended that women purchase a size and a half smaller than their female size for male shoes. Furthermore, certain brands run small while others generally run large, so it is important to do some research about the brand’s sizing in order to select the correct size on the first try.

woman-computer-research

So, what does all of this information mean? Well for starters, women’s boot sizes and the conversion from men’s to women’s can be awfully tricky. If you are in a pinch and don’t have time to do extensive research, go with the “tried and true” two size subtraction method. The best course of action, however, involves trying the boot or something similar on for size. If at all possible, find a local store that offers the brand of footwear you plan to purchase online. Locate a similar style of boot and try it on for size. For boots, a proper fit is slightly on the snug side. A loose boot will slide as you walk and can lead to blisters, pain and discomfort over time, while an overly tight boot will do the same. Once you have found the proper size for the brand you intend to purchase, it is safe to use the two size conversion method with relative confidence when purchasing online.

Purchasing boots does not have to be a hassle. While the process may seem overly complicated, ensuring a proper fit is of the utmost importance because getting caught in a combat setting with improper footwear can slow you down. It can also cause pain, and may even compromise your mission. A few simple “steps” now will help you when you have “boots on the ground”!

The Ragged Old Flag of The United States of America

ragged old flag

The Ragged Old Flag

This morning, like many early mornings, I sat at my computer flipping through Facebook with a cup of coffee. This typically takes very little time because most of the drivel that emanates from my Facebook feed is virtually worthless. No, I do not care that you got a bikini wax or that you “Like” some post from a Facebook friend you probably wouldn’t be able to have a conversation with in real life.

However, today was different. A buddy of mine shared a video on his wall that caught my attention. It was entitled The Ragged Old Flag. We are friends on Facebook and in real life. He is a true warrior. My friend is a long time US Army Special Forces operator, a Green Beret. He has been on multiple deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and a few other places he cannot really talk about. He did this well into his late forties until his body finally gave out on him. To me, he is not only a warrior and a hero, he is the embodiment of the American spirit. My friend joined the Army late in life. In his late twenties, he enlisted in the US Army and later volunteered for, was accepted into and earned his place among the elite US Army Green Berets.

The United States Army Special Forces are known as the Green Berets because of their distinctive service headgear. They are a special operations force with five primary missions. They conduct unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, and counter-terrorism missions. My buddy has pretty much done it all. And he doesn’t talk about it at bars bragging of his bravado. He is a silent warrior. Like all true warriors, he doesn’t want or need the recognition.

My friend posted a video that I have embedded at the bottom of this article. It is an old gritty Johnny Cash video where Cash relates the story of the American Flag in a small rural town that has become ragged and worn. It is a story as much about our flag as much as it is about my friend and all service members after years of service and dedication to the homeland that I love. It reminded me of how sickened I am by all of the politicians in our country who have hijacked my homeland and perverted politics to cater to their special interest cause of the day. Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers, I am talking to all of you. You make my stomach turn. You’ve stolen the America I grew up in and turned it into a freak show of politics.

Forget the Republican and Democratic parties. Forget the Tea Party. Whatever happened to the American Party? When I was growing up there were people of opposing views just like today. Some of my friend’s parents were democrats. My own parents were and still are democrats. Some of my friend’s parents were republicans. However, you know what? I would never have known that. Heck, I did not even know what I believed in politically until I was in my late twenties. To me, all of my friends were just Americans. I had Black, white, Asian and Hispanic friends growing up. Their skin color never mattered to me. It was who they were on the inside that mattered. To this day, I couldn’t care less what color your skin is. It is the color of your integrity that matters to me.

The media have become that proverbial middle child many families have that gets drunk at the holidays and proceeds to gossip about and criticize everyone under the sun just because deep down inside, they are not at peace with themselves. Sure, it garners good ratings to spread gossip and denigrate those who have opposing views, but it does no good for anyone. For all that attention you are getting at that moment; know that when you aren’t looking, we think your actions are idiotic. We are Americans and we need to start acting like it. We need to stop pushing each other down trying to force the agenda of the day in which we happen to believe. We need to start acting like the Americans who fought and died for the Ragged Old Flag. We need to come together as one and be Americans again. We cannot lift each other up if we keep pushing each other down.

To the politicians of all political parties, I have this to say to you. Fuck you. We are your constituents. If government were a business, we would be your customers. I know it is hard for you to understand at times. But you need to start acting like you give a damn about your customers. Stop telling us one thing to get elected and then doing the exact opposite once you are in office. In my world, we call that lying. In the business world, we call that bait and switch. You’ve cheated the American people and I for one am sick and tired of it. Don’t tell me you are going to fundamentally change the country for the better when you are trying to tear down the Ragged Old Flag and raise one for a country I don’t fundamentally recognize anymore.

Like Johnny Cash states in the video, I thank God for all the freedoms we have in this country. When I enlisted in the Marine Corps I knew that I was willing to lay my life on the line in defense of my homeland and fellow countrymen. I still would today, even for someone’s right to be stupid in America. Because, if we lived in Iraq or Afghanistan or any other oppressed nation, stupidity is not tolerated, it is murdered. Just like the homosexuals, Christians and people merely fighting for freedom that are being martyred, crucified and beheaded by ISIS (or ISIL or whatever flavor of radical perverted Islam they are claiming today.)

Freedom is not free. It never has been. It was won by the bloodshed of our ancestors as they fought the Revolutionary War. It was won as the ocean waters of Normandy ran red with the blood of my countrymen. It was won in Korea and Vietnam. Freedom was fought for in Iraq and Afghanistan. History will judge whether our causes were just, but I believe all of these wars were fought in the name of Freedom. I will always feel our cause was just.

It is time to wake up America. It is time for the American party to rise from the ashes like a phoenix and lead America back to her greatness. Like the Ragged Old Flag, Americans have been “abused, burned, dishonored, denied an’ refused” by the very government for which she stands. Americans are being scandalized throughout the world. We have liberated oppressed people and asked for nothing more than a plot to bury our dead soldiers. We may be thread bare and wearing thin, but I still believe in America. As Americans, we can survive Presidents with whom we disagree. We can survive corrupt politicians of all parties. We’ve been through fire before and we shall prevail because we are one nation under God. We are Americans and I am still mighty proud of that Ragged Old Flag.

What Are the Different Types of Campfires

What Are the Different Types of Campfires?

different types of campfiresIf you are an old hand at camping, you probably already know about the different types of campfires that can be used at your campsite. However, if you are not familiar with these types of campfires, this article can help you quite a bit the next time you sleep under the stars.

Safety First

Many campsites have fire rings already in place. If you have one, clean it out before you try to light your fire. If you need make a fire ring (and you DO if one is not there), clear out the dead grass and other brush where you want to light your fire. Dig or scrape down to bare earth or rock. If you are on soil, dig down a few inches and put that dirt to the side. You can use that dirt to douse a fire that threatens to get out of control. The rest of the dirt, or stones should be put around the area as a firewall.

When you are ready to light your fire, pile some tinder in the center of the ring. Tinder is very light, easy to light material. Think hay, straw, paper, etc.

Different Types of Campfires

tepee type of campfireTepee fires are the most common type of campfires, and it is good for many things including cooking. To make a tee pee fire, start by putting some tinder (light, easy to catch fire material) into the center of your fire ring; build it up like a Indian style tepee. Over the tinder, set kindling such as twigs or sticks into a tepee fashion. Over the kindling, set larger material like larger sticks and smaller logs continuing that tepee style setup. Light the tinder and kindling, and the fire will move up into the larger material.

The Cross Fire Type of Campfire

The cross fire is great for those who want a long-lasting fire, good light and heat. Lay down your kindling and tinder and add a few larger twigs to it once the first is going. Then add logs in crisscrossed fashion. Do not add too many logs at one time or you could snuff out the fire.

The Cabin Type Campfire

log cabin type campfireThis type of campfire lasts a long time and it is good for providing light and cooking. Start by setting up your kindling in tepee fashion over your tinder. Put down two logs of firewood on each side of this cone that you have made. Then, put two more pieces of firewood over these, thus making a square. Once this is done, add shorter pieces of wood on top as you build up what looks like a log cabin.

Putting Out Your Campfire

When it is time to go, make sure you put your campfire correctly. Use water to put out the fire and to cool off the ashes. If you are in a state or federal park, follow their procedures. Some parks do not want you to “drown” the fire as someone else may be coming to your site later and the ground will be too wet for them to start their fire. Once the flames are out, it is always a good idea to shovel some dirt over the area to smother any possibly remaining embers.

We hope you have found our information on the different types of campfires helpful.

Hot Weather Hazards You Should Avoid

Hot Weather Hazards

Hot Weather Hazards to Avoid

It does not have to be the dog days of summer for someone can to succumb to hot weather hazards such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. These three conditions hit thousands of Americans each and every year. In some cases, these conditions can be fatal. The good news is all of these hot weather health hazards are easily prevented and treated.

Heat Cramps:

Heat cramps come upon those who have been perspiring a lot without replacing lost electrolytes, namely, sodium (salt). Drinking bottled water or tap water will not replace the salt that you lose when you sweat profusely. The loss of this salt can lead to painful cramps in the stomach and large muscles (thighs, back, shoulders). Heat cramps are rarely fatal, but it can (and will) become more painful until lost salt is put back into the body.

Treatment: The treatment for heat cramps is to get some salt back into the body. Salt should be placed in water, and the water taken in slowly. Salt tablets can also be used, but many medical experts shy away from them these days. The victim should be placed in a shady (or cool) place, clothing loosened and allowed to drink the salt water slowly.

Heat Exhaustion:

military hot weather hazrdsHeat exhaustion occurs because of a lack of water. A person suffering from heat exhaustion will sweat profusely, become red in the face, and weak. He or she may become dizzy and confused and will often have a headache if the problem is not treated. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, so it must be dealt with fast.

Treatment: To treat someone with heat exhaustion, first get them water, which they should not gulp down as that will lead to vomiting. Next, get them into a shady area and loosen their clothing and boot laces. The person should remain at rest as they drink the water. They will feel much better within 30 minutes or so.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is one of the hot weather hazards that kills. It is that simple. A person suffering from heat stroke must be treated quickly or else. When heat stroke occurs, the person will not be sweating (compare this to the above conditions); they will often appear pale (but can be red, in some cases), and their skin will be clammy. The danger with heat stroke is that the internal temperature of the body will cause brain damage that can be permanent or can be fatal.

Treatment: The treatment for heat stroke is to lower the person’s body temperature as quickly as possible. If there is a body of water near, put them into the water (stay with them!). Remove clothing and boots and fan the person. Apply cold compresses if possible. Once the person’s temp is lowered, give them water and keep them still. Monitor their vital signs (breathing and pulse) and be prepared to do CPR if needed. Seek professional medical assistance as soon as possible.

ALL of the above situations are hot weather hazards you can avoid. Prevention is the best cure. When you are outdoors during hot weather make sure you drink plenty of water and get the salt that you need. If you begin to feel dizzy, or begin to feel cold, understand that you are heading for a heat-related problem. Get some water, get out of the sun, loosen your clothing, and rest. Stop a heat problem before it starts.

We Have a Problem with Homegrown Radical Islam

 We Have a Problem with Homegrown Radical Islam

Homegrown Radical Islam

This is hard to stomach fellow citizens. Homegrown radical Islam has reared it’s ugly head in Colorado. I struggle to understand why in the world a natural born US citizen would want to join ISIS, a barbaric terrorist group consisting of radical Islamists who hate America. Their stated mission is to kill us all. A 19-year-old Colorado teenager, Shannon Conley, plead guilty Wednesday to trying to help the militant Islamic State. The plea deal in the terrorism case requires her to give authorities information about other Americans with the same intentions.

Shannon Conley was wearing a black and brown headscarf over her striped jail jumpsuit as she entered the plea in federal court to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine is what she faces when she is sentenced in January. But don’t worry fellow Patriots, the prosecutor has already stated they will seek a reduced sentence for her as long as she cooperates with authorities. Is it just me or shouldn’t a citizen who willfully sought to join a terrorist organization hell bent on killing us be given no reduction in their sentence? This is homegrown radical Islam folks.

Conley’s public defender, Robert Pepin stated after her hearing that she has been horrified by the atrocities committed by the Islamic State group since her arrest and offered her condolences to those who have been caught up in its slaughter and oppression. Really? I’m sure James Foley and Steven Sotloff’s families are supremely grateful for her regrets. Court documents showed that she wanted to aid ISIS swith her skills as a nurses aid and the skills she learned during her time in the US Army Explorer program.

The following news report is an interesting peek into the lamestream mainstream media coverage. My question to the news station is why they had to so opportunistically and repeatedly show this homegrown terrorist in her US Army Explorer battle dress uniform with her traditional Islamic headwrap. They show the same images over and over throughout the report. Why do you think they did that? Here is the video.

Tell us what you think fellow patriots.

Military Homecomings

Military Homecomings

Have you ever been at an airport and seen the many military service men and women waiting for flights? I always wonder if they are leaving or coming home. At times, we tend to take for granted all the service men and women serving our country at home and abroad. These brave men and women bravely leave their families behind as they deploy and do their jobs. They spends months in less than ideal conditions. Many stare into the face of the enemy on a daily basis. When they return home, some of the best military homecomings occur.

Over the last decade, these heroes have endured deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have been separated from their families for extended periods of time. They have done their job and deserve the best when they come home. These homecomings have been caught on video time after time. We’ve found one of the best videos of these military homecomings.

Get the tissues out, this video is an awesome compilation of military homecomings.

Military Homecomings Video

Didn’t get enough tears out from our video pick? Welcome Home Blog is a whole website devoted to military homecomings. Check them out for some happy tear moments!

Pros and Cons of Open Carry Laws

Pros and Cons of Open Carry Laws

Please Note: The information contained in this article is for general purposes only. Not all states have open carry laws. Each state that does has their own very specific rules. Check with your state before carrying your weapon on your person openly or concealed. Here is a list of the states that allow for open carry of weapons.

What Is Open Carry?

Open Carry LawsTo begin, let’s define what open carry means. Some states allow their residents to carry their firearms on their persons without a carry permit as long as the weapon is carried outside of a person’s clothing. In other words, the weapon can be seen by anyone looking at the person. Most people carry their weapons in a side-holster. While having a permit is generally not required for carrying the weapon openly, some individuals, convicted felons, for instance, are not allowed to carry a weapon under any circumstances. Restrictions vary from state to state.

Pros of Open Carry

The obvious benefit to open carry laws is that more people are armed at any given time. With violent crimes on the increase, many responsible individuals want to have protection within easy reach. Open carry allows these people to defend themselves, and others, should they find themselves in a dangerous situation. Many people believe that having an armed citizenry decreases crime. Lawbreakers are less likely to commit their crimes if they know locals may be armed and ready to take action against them.

Open carry laws are a true reflection of our Constitutional right to “keep and bear arms.” Legal open carry is, for some, a demonstration that they know their rights and are willing to exercise those rights.

Cons of Open Carry Laws

As with anything, misuse and abuse can happen. Most states that allow for open carry do not require any type of weapon’s training at all for their residents. If a person is legally eligible to carry a weapon, they may do so regardless of whether they know how (or when) to use it or not. This can lead to a variety of unfortunate incidents.

It is simple math that the more weapons that are being carried in any given area, the more accidental misfires will happen. Misfires can occur due to weapons being dropped, weapons falling out of holsters, weapons being carried with rounds in the chamber and the hammer cocked, and so forth. The good news is misfires that lead to physical harm are rare.

This last issue is purely social in nature. While there are many who believe fervently in open carry laws, there are also those who believe that citizens walking around, visibly armed, reflects poorly on their communities. It is a misconception to assume that these individuals are all “bleeding heart liberals”; they are not. There are more than a few professional law enforcement personnel who would prefer to see less firepower on the street than more.

In closing, if you live in an open carry state and are considering arming yourself, do invest whatever time it takes to become proficient with your weapon before you begin carrying it. This is time well spent.

Social Media on the Modern Day Battlefield

How Social Media on the Modern Day Battlefield Has Affected the Military

social media on the modern day battlefieldWith continually developing technology, the ways in which members of the military connect with friends, family and the civilian world are changing. We need to take a hard look at social media on the modern day battlefield. Think back to the days of World War I, where the only means for soldiers to keep in touch with their families was by writing letters. Since the Internet and social media were invented, nowadays communication is a whole lot quicker and easier.

Social media was at the epicenter of the military operation to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. A coffee shop owner in Abbottobad Pakistan unknowingly tweeted commentary about the sound of the helicopters carrying Seal Team Six operators as they were en route to the Bin Laden compound. Sohaib Athar quite literally broke the first news about the Bin Laden operation when he tweeted “”Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)”

The Use of Social Media by Terrorists

Just this week, we have seen the barbaric acts of ISIS in Iraq and Syria being splashed across social media by ISIS itself. In fact, the Department of Defense believes that a US born America is behind the social media blitz. Ahmad Abousamra, a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston with a degree related to computer technology, is suspected of being the social media manager of ISIS. He is on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. The terrorists are literally embracing social media on the modern day battlefield as a terrorist tool.

In the 1980s email was introduced to workplaces, and the whole world’s communication changed forever. In those days, information was sent out via email, and it spread only as quickly as people checked their emails (not counting the time it took for dial-up Internet to connect, as well!). Now, with just one click, an enormous amount of potentially crucial information can reach millions of people within seconds.

Social Media on the Modern Day Battlefield Risks Operational Security

This has had a tremendous impact on the way the military operates. Social media is not something which can be ignored; the majority of serving members of the military have grown up with social media. It has to be accepted and embraced as it has become such a big part of everyday life. The Department of Defense did exactly that in 2010, making social media accessible to service men and women on work computers.

The cause for concern comes in where there is such a fine line between what information is official, and what is not. Twenty or thirty years ago, an official statement was made, and that was taken as fact. Fast forward to now, and anyone can post information, thoughts, opinions, viewpoints, experiences, pictures and hearsay, which some people may mistakenly take to be an official statement. This can be damaging, and even dangerous.

As it has become so much easier for information to enter the public domain, soldiers have also been placed at a much higher risk than they were in the 1980s and 1990s. It was much easier to keep details of their locations and operations secret before the days of social media. Information was kept on a need-to-know basis. These days, with the uploading of a single picture or a simple message posted about homecomings, details are put out there which can potentially put soldiers’ lives at risk, if it gets into the wrong hands.

Once information has been sent into cyberspace, there is no way to get it back, and even if it is deleted, there’s no way of knowing just who might have seen it or what website archived it. All you need to do is check out twitchy.com to see some of the best archived tweets around. This is one of the major downsides to social media and the military, as it’s so hard to tackle. There are guidelines for service personnel and their families on how to conduct themselves online, but this is certainly something which soldiers of years gone by never even had to think about. Always remember operational security when posting to social media sites.

Whether we like it or not, social media has affected all of our lives. It is something which the military has had to tackle head on, and it definitely has its advantages. On one hand, the ability to release information quickly and easily is a useful tool for the Department of Defense. On the other hand, there are always risks surrounding what information is released and when. Keeping in touch with friends and family is always a plus point, but communicating with potentially dangerous individuals is risky. It seems as though social media has both advantages and disadvantages for the military. It is, however, something that they don’t really have a choice about. Social media is growing exponentially these days, or so it seems. When you consider how far technology has brought us over the last thirty years, where will the next thirty take us? Post your comments below!

Putting Together a Winter Survival Kit

Putting Together a Winter Survival Kit

survival backpackYes, in many places it is still hot as hades, but now is the time to get started on your winter survival kit. Countless Americans will put this off, even forget about doing it until it is too late. One of the best reasons for working on your winter survival kit now is that you will be able to find everything more easily because demand will be much lower for those items you need in your kit. You can also find that you can save money as many items will be on sale during the summer months.

Cold Kills – Winter Survival Kit Tips

When winter rolls around, and it will, and temps fall below freezing, humans are at risk. Every year, hundreds of people perish because they were not prepared. Your winter survival kit can save your life and the lives of those you love. These kits are not expensive, and they can be put together in little time. There is no reason not to have one.

What You Need In Your Winter Survival Kit

Let’s begin by saying that the following is a basic list. You can add whatever you like to your winter kit. Also, keep in mind that it is a very good idea to have two types of winter survival kits. One for keeping in the home should the power go out, and the second type for keeping in your vehicles (all vehicles should have their own survival kit).

Blankets, Gloves, and Hats

Few things are as important as blankets. It is imperative that you stay as warm as possible during a winter emergency, and blankets are one of the keys to your survival. Sleeping bags will also work  but they can take up a lot of room in a vehicle. If you have a smaller car, consider getting space blankets. Your vehicle kit, especially, should have extra gloves and hats.

Fire for Staying Warm and Cooking

If the power is out for any length of time, you may need to start a fire for cooking, added heat, or keeping wildlife away from you at night. Have some waterproof matches or lighters in your kits. For both home and vehicle winter kits, having a few candles on hand can be very handy.

Shovel, Survival Knife/Tool, and Traction Aids

For your vehicles, have a shovel in the trunk as well as something to help you get some traction in case you get stuck. Sand, cat litter, or tire chains will all work (in most cases). If you cannot get the chains onto the tires, lay them out as flat as possible in front of the drive wheels. This may provide enough traction to get you going again. A good survival knife or survival tool can be worth its value in gold for cutting wood, skinning game (if it comes to that), and protection.

Food and Water

You should always keep some non-perishable food in both auto and home. This can be anything from MRE’s to energy bars. Make sure you have enough food and water for everyone who normally drives or stays with you. Bottled water will last a long time if it is not opened, even so, rotate your food and water supply once every couple of months.

First Aid Kit

Every home and vehicle should have a first aid kit in it year round. You can purchase inexpensive kits just about anywhere, and they can be life-savers when needed. Make sure your first aid kit has what YOU need; add to it or buy a better kit if it does not.

Flashlight

A light source is very important for both home and vehicle kits. Make sure you need fresh batteries on hand. You do not want to skimp on your flashlight; get the best you can afford.

Whistle, Mirror, Red Cloth

All (or any) of these can be used to signal others that you need help. If help cannot see or hear you, they cannot help you. Sometimes it can be the simplest of things that can save your life. For more information on how to use signal mirrors, see our previous blog post on signal mirrors.