Spring is Officially Here?

dreamstime_xl_86642419At least that is what the calendar says! The first official day of Spring was March 20th. Here in Northern California, where spring storms bring a return to winter-like conditions, that is definitely being called into question. It’s supposed to rain on us for the next several days and our California pals to the East are still shoveling ALOT of snow (see the pictures below). Once again, the unpredictable weather brings having a battery operated radio with the weather band and considering one with weather alert to the forefront.

Flooding and mudslides are wreaking havoc not only here in the states (California has been hit hard), but even internationally. Peru was recently hit with huge flooding and mudslides that have left thousands homeless. There a severe weather alerts issued across the Midwest and the South for tornadoes and harsh weather. We think mother nature missed the memo about Spring, but C. Crane has not missed Mother Nature’s memo on why we should be prepared.

We’ve heard from many customers about how their radio alerted them to potential weather threats so they could plan accordingly. If you don’t have a plan make one. If you don’t have a radio, now’s the time to get one – don’t miss the memo! Make sure you’re ready for whatever Spring throws at you.

Keep Your Family Safe – Prepare Ahead of Time

prepkit

Not many people are really prepared for a disaster, especially in areas where they aren’t common. Maybe folks in areas where there are regular hurricanes, tornadoes or winter storms that shut everything down have a good handle on being prepared or people like the Preppers, but the rest of us find it easy to slack on preparedness and then find ourselves scrambling when a real disaster strikes.

It’s easy to make a case for being prepared. Look around at all of the unexpected emergencies like the recent flooding in Louisiana and tornadoes in the Midwest. Emergencies don’t have to be only weather and naturally caused. In California, recent fires that destroyed entire communities have been attributed to arson. With record breaking temperatures across the US and people using electricity like crazy or an even more sinister possibility – an energy grid hack, our next disaster might be extended blackouts or there is the very real possibility of terrorism that continues to plague the entire world.

Here’s a few questions to ask yourself to see how you fare on the preparedness scale:

  • What essential supplies do I need?
    If you are missing some, it might be time to re-think priorities since stores often sell out, are out of service, or have no way to process payments (even cash).
  • Do I have a written list of important phone numbers?
    If you answered no, then you have some work to do. An electronic list on your cell phone isn’t going to do you much good once the phone dies and the power is out.
  • Do you have any cash or would you need to go to the ATM?
    If you answered no to the cash and yes to the ATM then you need to stash some cash. ATMs go down and require power and banks are so automated now and reliant on computers, they often can’t even provide cash from the tellers if there isn’t any power.
  • Do you have copies of important documents stored safely somewhere else?
    As cumbersome as this sounds, having copies of things (think insurance policies, passports, deeds, titles, etc.) stored in a safe deposit box or at a relatives’ home will really reduce the headache and time spent in the event you lose your home to a disaster. It can help even if it’s just a time where you’re out of town and you end up with a water leak that damages your ceiling.
  • Do you have a good emergency radio and flashlight? How about spare batteries?
    No? Well this is the one we can actually help you with! Call us or visit the links above and order online. We’ll get you set up right away.

We’ve written several articles on how to be prepared and what that might look like. REI has a great article on basic concepts with some important additions that people often forget like medications, infant formula and diapers, and pet food.

If nothing else, at least create a basic plan, get a radio and flashlight, write down the list of phone numbers and read about Bob’s potable water trick with your water heater.

Tell us about your emergency plans in the comments below and be entered to win a CC Solar Observer October 11th– the best all-around emergency radio. It covers AM, FM and Weather and has a built in flashlight. You can even use it without batteries and if it came down to it, it even will charge most cell phones.

The Traveling Life

rvcamping

With summer looming on the horizon, we start to hear from more and more of our customers who are preparing to travel. We get to speak with quite a diverse group – from folks who travel seasonally throughout the year and stay in one location for several months or weeks; those who only travel during the summer; others who travel every weekend; or some who now only travel only through books and radio listening.

Whether your travel involves RVs and campgrounds; airplanes, hotels and exotic locations; or books and radio, we have heard some great tips from your fellow travelers on what you need for the best experience.

First, having a radio that also includes the weather band and alert is a priority. As the weather has continued to show this year, it can be completely unpredictable, and sometimes dangerous. If you are traveling somewhere new there is nothing better than a radio that can alert you to weather related incidents that might impact your travel plans (or your life). The local radio is often the best place to learn about where to go and what to do in the event you are caught in a weather related emergency like a fire or tornado.

Second a flashlight or our spotlight can come in really handy. If your vehicle has broken down, or you have a flat tire, or you’re at a campground with less than fantastic lighting and paths, then you will be so thankful you bought that flashlight and stashed in your glove box or emergency bag next to the jumper cables.

And last but not least – this is more for the RVers, campers and long haul truckers than anyone else. If you are at parks or gas stations where the WiFi is weak or spotty, we do have a couple of options that can help you improve the signal reception.

Enter to win:
Are you a traveler? Where are you heading and how do you prefer to travel? Tell us your best vacation story in the comments and be entered to win the CC LED Spot XB. Drawing will take place Friday June 3rd. Limit one entry per person.

Congratulations So Cal Pal, winner of the CC LED Spot XB!

How to prepare for an Emergency – Worst storm to hit the Western US in 5 Years

Flooding in California

Flooding in California – AP Photo/Eric Risberg

After an epic drought year, the pendulum has swung completely the other direction here on the West Coast. Forecasters are saying this could be the worst storm to hit the Western United States in 5 years and are calling the torrential downpour the Pineapple Express or Rainageddon. Although it didn’t hit us as hard as predicted, our Northern and Southern neighbors were pummeled. We were all talking here at the shop and realized, many of us aren’t as prepared as we could be.

Everyone hears how important is it to be prepared, but how seriously do you take it? Do you have a plan? Having stored food and water is a priority for survival but what about staying informed when all communication is down? Your local radio stations are the most likely sources of up to the minute information on what’s happening. This is why the CC Solar Observer was built. After the big earthquakes here in 1992, Bob wanted to make sure we had a small, portable radio that worked if the power was out and it had to have weather so listeners could receive NOAA updates.

Everyone thinks these days, “I have a cell phone” but what happens when you’re without power for an extended period of time and have no way to charge your phone? You say, “I’ll use my car”, but we talked to several customer during Hurricane Sandy whose cars were inaccessible because they were under water or destroyed. Or what if the cell towers are jammed or wiped out? Your cell phone will be useless and where does that leave you? Hurricane Sandy in 2012 left 1.3 Million Americans without power, some for up to two weeks. People traveled miles seeking power sources to charge their devices to call loved ones and get updated power recovery information.

Being prepared with not only food and water but with a battery operated radio, flashlight and extra batteries will be your safety net and lifeline. You may not know, but a radio with an active NOAA Weather Alert feature can alert you up to 30 minutes prior to a major storm. That’s enough time to gather what you need and hurry to shelter or to at least get out the flashlights and shut the windows.

Here are some tips for safety and to help get you better prepared for the big storm.

  • Create a preparedness kit that will last 72 hours for each person in your household. Include in your kit- canned food, bottled water, battery operated radio, flashlights, batteries, blankets, clothing and shoes, first aid kit, money (make sure it’s cash – ATMS need power too), Rain gear and specialty items such as medications, infant food and pet food.
  • Consider purchasing a camping stove and extra propane
  • Pick up a few sand bags and sand
  • Camera for photos of damage
  • Stay home and off the roads if appropriate.

Bob’s tip for potable water – A good source for drinking water in your home is your hot water heater. It can provide you with much needed clean drinking water when your local water services have been disrupted. You should filter the water to remove any contaminates present. You can drain the water using the valve on the bottom of the tank. Be sure to turn the gas or electric supply to the water heater off before draining it.

No matter what the emergency whether it’s snowstorms, floods, hurricanes, fires, landslides or earthquakes or natural disaster – We encourage you to check your kit and plan and if you don’t have one make one.

Below are some additional links to local images and new coverage from our recent storms and predictions for some more.

http://www.weather.com/forecast/regional/news/california-rain-flood-threat-drought-relief-middec2014

http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2014/dec/10/images-rainageddon-photosvideos/

http://www.weather.com/forecast/news/california-oregon-washington-west-coast-rain-snow-mid-december

https://www.facebook.com/CaltransD1