After Disaster – Surviving The Urban Wilderness

After the Disaster of hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean Tsunami, earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, mud slides and other disasters, those who survived the original event found themselves faced with another disaster: an urban “wilderness” without running water, sanitation, electricity, groceries, and in many cases without their normal shelter from the elements of sun and rain, heat and cold. This article is far from a full discussion, but offers some ways you can help yourself and others when the unthinkable happens. In California we’re overdue for a massive earthquake that will run through the most populated areas of major cities. There’s no more “IF” Just “when.”

In the days after the Katrina hurricane, the damage was not over. Broken levees did unimaginable destruction to many cities, and people were literally tossed out into the floodplain unprepared. Perhaps what shocked me the most was the fact that several hundred people died needlessly from dehydration and related problems, simply because they did not have enough clean water to drink. There was plenty of water in every home before the storm hit, and there were several full days of warning that the storm was coming. They could have prepared by drawing up drinking water into bottles, buckets, and other containers; it would have been easy to do. But they didn’t.

They died because they didn’t know what to do, and because they expected plenty of outside help to come and save everybody. Tragically, we now know that didn’t happen, and even if it had, the sheer numbers and logistics (no way to get in except by boat, for example) would have made it impossible to do enough, fast enough, to save everybody.
The saddest part of this is that even though many people would have been lost no matter what, these few hundreds didn’t have to be. They could have saved themselves with just a very small amount of effort, if only they had known.

Where I work we take disaster and human suffering very seriously. We believe that whatever can be done, should be done, to prevent it whenever possible. In this article we will not be looking at what went right or wrong in Katrina, or any other disasters that have already passed – we will look at what we all can do to help ourselves survive not only the next disaster, but also its aftermath. We will look at simple, basic needs, and ways to meet them in the “Emergency Urban Wilderness.” These ideas are by no means complete; just the barest essentials of information and do-able actions that all of us need to know in order to survive not just the disaster, but also the difficult and dangerous days that will follow.

1.Water. The number one, most important physical need to sustain life is plain clean water. The human body is made up of about 80% water, and every single cell of the body must have enough of it at all times. Through natural things like sweating, breathing, and passing off the body’s waste products, some water is being lost all the time. It must be replaced and replenished by more water, usually by drinking liquids. However, liquids like fruit juices, colas, and sport drinks don’t do the same job that water does, and may actually worsen heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

When body fluid levels get too low (called dehydration) a whole variety of problems can be set in motion – decreasing the amount & consistency of your blood, and unbalancing essential nutrients and electrolytes. This can cause weakness, dizziness, rising body temperatures, and may even set off some types of heart dysrhythmias. Water is life-giving.

It must be CLEAN. Dirty water carries diseases that cause diarrhea and vomiting, which cause or worsen dehydration and over time can eventually bring on severe weakness and even death. What to do instead: Put up and store clean water in sturdy plastic (not glass) containers in your home, car, workplace. Use 2 drops of chlorine bleach per gallon to disinfect tap water for storage. Later on if you do have to use some water you’re not sure of, you should boil it first before drinking it or using it on any open cut or scrape, since infection can enter that way too.

2.Shelter. Having some protection from cold, heat, and wetness helps prevent many problems associated with post-disaster conditions, such as hypothermia (loss of essential body-core heat) and hyperthermia (heat exhaustion and heat stroke). Shelter location should be an open area away from tall buildings with glass windows, or any structure or large tree that may fall onto you. When you look for a location, remember to look up. Perhaps a parking lot, or an open park with only small trees, and cooking grills. NEVER light any fire, stove, or grill INSIDE a closed space, tent, or shelter! There is the danger of fire, suffocation, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Kinds of Shelters: Tents are great if you have one, but you can also make a simple shelter out of a tarp, blanket, or plastic garden sheeting thrown over low shrubs or bushes, then crawl in underneath. Living plants have heat of their own, which helps you stay warm. You can buy “tube tents” for yourself and each of your family members. They are simply a plastic tube about 6 feet long, just wide enough for one person and a sleeping bag. Most surplus stores have them. Or you could make a “clothesline tent” by tying a rope between two objects (the “clothesline”) and then throwing a tarp, space blanket, or heavy plastic sheeting over it and staking the corners to the ground. Just like you did in the back yard when you were 10 years old. An excellent source of ideas for more emergency shelters can be found in the Boy Scout Handbook, available for free at your local public library.

3.Personal Protection. In cold or cool weather, keep warm and dry. Wear layers, Cover your head, hands, and feet. Wool is best if possible, because it still keeps you warm even if wet. If you don’t have gloves, put socks on your hands. If you don’t have a hat, cover your head with a heavyweight paper bag or thick plastic granny scarf (NO PLASTIC ON CHILDREN! – because it is a suffocation hazard). To sleep – dog-piling, invented by our caveman ancestors, is an effective way to share warmth. Make a mat of dry leaves, newspapers, or branches UNDER you to insulate you from the ground cold.

Rain protection: If you don’t have a raincoat but you do have heavy plastic garden sheeting (a roll should be kept in your First Aid kit) Just cut a piece about 8 to 10 feet long (twice the height from your neck to your knees) and about 6 to 8 feet wide (twice the length from your neck to your hand). Then cut a hole right in the middle and stick your head through. Instant Parka!

In very hot weather, try to work in the coolest time of the morning and evening, and rest in the hottest part of the day as much as possible. Use light colors for your clothes and tents, because they reflect light and so don’t absorb heat. In cold weather, just the opposite. A dark-colored tent will gather some heat to last after sunset.

4.Food. This is the least important thing the first few days. Though uncomfortable, a normally healthy person can survive for up to 3 weeks without food, and still fully recover with no permanent damage. (But remember you can only go 2 or 3 days without water.) So when you put aside your emergency drinking water supply, also put aside some canned and packaged foods that can be eaten without cooking. Canned beans, vegetables, meats and fish are good, and powdered milk too, especially if you have kids. Great are mylar-wrapped nutrition bars like granola bars and “Cliff” bars. Make sure you’re not just getting candy or cookies with an athletic-sounding name. Read the labels. Date everything with a magic-marker, and every few months, replace your stashed food with new, and then of course, eat the older ones you take out.

5.Keep well, Keep safe. It’s extremely important to get enough rest and sleep, even in a disaster, to keep your strength going. Drink water, and eat at natural times if possible. You may be tempted to just keep working, but if you do, you will inevitably burn out, and fatigue will greatly increase your risk of accidents and injury. Work with a group, and tag-team frequent time-outs for everyone for rest and water. Watch for signs of fatigue or heat exhaustion in each other.
Keep yourself as well and as safe as you can; that is an important responsibility. You can’t help anyone else very much if you get injured or weakened by dehydration yourself. Always put your own safety FIRST, and that’s how you will be most able to help others.

For more information read “The Days That Follow: Environmental Hazards of Heat and Cold, and Infection Control and Sanitation” in the book: Disaster First Aid – What To Do When 911 Can’t Come. For other practical ideas about wilderness survival, read The Boy Scout Handbook and similar resources in your public library.

Simple And Effective Ways To Lose Weight And Keep It Off

Many give up the idea of losing weight because for them shedding the unwanted pounds mean fad diets and crazy workouts. Weight loss is a roller coaster ride, but it is not as difficult as it sounds. It only demands discipline and commitment. Explained are simple and effective ways to lose weight fast and keep it off.

Food Choices

A healthy diet is the simplest way to keep your weight in check. Shedding the flab starts with making a note of the foods to eat and avoid.

  • Eat this: Fresh fruits and vegetables are the first on the list. Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins without adding unhealthy fats. Fruit and fruit juices should be consumed fresh. Vegetables should be included in a generous amount too. Green leafy and root vegetables provide dietary fiber. Ask for salads to be served without dressing and seasoning. Oatmeal is another food item you should eat for its high-fiber content. Muscle mass helps burn fat faster by boosting your metabolism. Proteins help build muscle mass. Lean cuts of meat such as skinless chicken breast, turkey breast and beef loin, fish, low-fat dairy products, nuts and sprouts should be eaten in moderation. Eat grilled, boiled, steamed and stir-fried foods.
  • Do not eat this: Foods with refined sugar should be cut out or eaten sparingly. So, cookies, candies, cakes, sodas, blended coffee, canned fruit, cake mix, jelly, ice cream, cereal bars, sports drinks and processed fruit juices should be reserved for occasional treats. When you purchase packaged foods, take time to read the product labels. Do not buy products that include High-fructose corn syrup. It is an added sweetener. Burgers, pizzas, butter, cheese and deep fried foods expand your waistline and hence are best avoided.

Step Up Fluid Intake

Experts suggest drinking green tea, black tea and a controlled amount of coffee for fast and effective weight loss, but the most important liquid is water. 8-10 glasses of water are a must every day. Water cleanses the body of toxins. Drinking a glass of water before meals also enables one to reach satiety faster. Green tea is the next beverage we would like to turn your attention to. It speeds up fat metabolism, suppresses appetite and improves body hydration.

You should avoid sugary, carbonated drinks as they contain empty calories. You should also limit your intake of artificial flavored fruit juices, full-fat milk and alcohol.

Say Goodbye to a Sedentary Lifestyle

Lack of exercise is the main culprit for the fatty bulges that pile on each day. Hence, saying goodbye to your sedentary lifestyle is one of the easiest ways to kick start your weight loss program. A daily routine of rigorous exercise for 20-30 minutes every day will help melt all the extra fat and flab. Working out at a gym enables you to adopt a more disciplined and committed approach to weight loss. However, you can work out at home too. Moderate intensity exercises such as walking, cycling, swimming, running, jogging and skipping are great exercises to lose weight. You can also perform strength training exercises to build muscle.

Stress is often the cause for mindless eating. At the end of each day, take time to relax. Yoga and meditation are easy and inexpensive ways to de-stress.

On an ending note, remember our bodies are designed differently and therefore the time it takes for each one of us to drop weight varies. Let you body take its time to get rid of unwanted fatty deposits for severe diet restrictions and strenuous exercise will only cause your body more harm!

2012 Maserati Quattroporte S: Technology and Standard Equipment

The Maserati Quattroporte S is a luxury sport sedan offering uncompromising performance, unique style and craftsmanship. The car features a Ferrari 4.7 liter V8 engine which highly contributes to provide this sensational sedan superior handling and balance: such engine in fact ensures fluid and rapid gear change, resulting in superior driving performance, comfort and captivating driving experience. It develops 425 hp at 7,000 rpm, has a peak torque of 361 lb-ft at 4,750 rpm, and delivers a top speed of 174 mph and 0-60 mph acceleration in just 5.3 seconds.

The automatic transmission featured in the Maserati Quattroporte S provides smooth gearshifts without compromising performance or power. The driver can furthermore modifies the transmission response to better suit his own driving style by selecting Sport or Low Grip modes. Low Grip is more indicated for icy or slick road surfaces, where the sport mode makes the transmission more aggressive with fastergear changes at higher revs. The Maserati Quattroporte S can also be driven in Manual mode and optional paddles can be used to control gear-changes, with the manual / sport combination providing the most sport-engaging driving experience.

Maserati Quattroporte S Standard Equipment

Electronic opening assist for doors and trunk
6-speed adaptive automatic transmission
Alarm system with immobilizer
Automatic climate control, dual zone with rear outlets
Bi-xenon headlamps with automatic activation, washing system and fog lamps
Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity
Bose® surround sound audio system
Brake calipers painted red
Dark look head-lamp surrounds
Dual power / heated / auto dimming exterior mirrors. Auto dimming rearview mirror.
Electric rear sunshade
Electrically-adjustable power rear seats
Electronic parking brake (EPB)
Floormats, color carpeted
Heated front power seats with 14-way adjustments and 3-position memory (Dr.)
Homelink Garage door opener system
iPod interface with USB connection
Poltrona Frau™ leather upholstery
Maserati Multimedia system with HD Navi, 30 GB jukebox and CD player
Maserati Stability Program (MSP)

Metallic paint
Multifunction leather steering wheel with audio and communication controls
Power steering column adjustments (4-way) and easy-entry feature
Rain sensor wiping system
Rear Isofix / LATCH attachments
Rear parking sensors
Remote key unlocking system with trunk release
Shadow-line dark look exterior trim finish
Sirius satellite radio (subscription required)
Space saver spare wheel 18-inch
“Sport” button for trans., acceleration, MSP
Sunroof power
Tail-lamps with LED technology
Front grille with vertical bars and trident with red accents
Skyhook – electronically variable active damping system
Wenge wood interior trim
Alloy wheels in 20-inch staggered setup