Jim Acosta

Jim has spent time as a volunteer firefighter, Emergency Medical Technician, and wildland fire hand crew member. He is currently a Certified Emergency Manager. In 2011, Jim authored “I Can Overcome That: The Practical Guide to Surviving the Next Big California Earthquake.”

Wildfire Season: Harden your Home to Survive a Firestorm

Brutal Reality As I write this article, Washington State is experiencing the largest wildland fire (Carlton Complex) in the state’s history; California’s drought stands like a Grim Reaper, unleashing over 200 wildfires a week statewide; and Colorado recently observed the one year anniversary of a fire that slaughtered the majority of an elite firefighting crew. Wildfire (also called “wildland fire” or “wildland-urban interface fire”) is a natural process that periodically renews forest and semi-arid landscapes, and allows certain plant species …

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lucifer's hammer

20 Survival Principles From the Classic Book, Lucifer’s Hammer

A classic novel in the TEOTWAWKI* niche is Lucifer’s Hammer, published in 1977, by veteran science fiction writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The story line is a classic end of the world scenario. A previously-unknown comet is discovered only months before scientists realize it is on a near-collision course with Earth. Naturally, virtually no one in the world is prepared when the comet breaks apart and strikes the Earth in several places. As the story continues, it focuses on …

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7 Reasons to Protect Your Devices Against Electromagnetic Pulse

Definition: Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP): A burst of electromagnetic radiation that can damage electrical and electronic devices, observed as a byproduct of a nuclear explosion. EMP risk Could an atmospheric nuclear explosion in just the right place over the U.S. cause massive damage from the ensuing EMP pulse? Absolutely, the evidence is strong that potential EMP effects would be wide-ranging and would be very difficult from which to recover. When many people first learn of this potential, devastating disaster, they often …

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disaster survival

Calling for Backup: How to Stack the Deck in Your Favor When a Disaster Strikes

For many of us, it’s hard to ask for help. We pride ourselves in our preparedness for emergencies; in many cases we are the go-to people in our social circle for what to do in case of…fill in the blank. Or at least we know who to ask or where to look up the answer. But as strong as we are, there are many things in nature and in our industrialized world that are much stronger. In some cases, we …

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neighborhood emergency preparedness

Love Thy Neighbor: Preparing to Help in a Crisis

How often do we think about preparing to help our neighbors in a crisis? Neighborhood emergency preparedness isn’t something that gets a lot of attention, sometimes because in urban and suburban neighborhoods, we rely on our system of laws and the ability to call law enforcement to keep order. Neighborhood kids are known and the informal phone network keeps a close eye on them. Change is usually predictable or occurs at a reasonable pace; renters move in and out, trash …

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A Disaster Professional’s Nightmare Scenarios

I have to admit that I’ve been resisting writing this article. Maybe it’s that superstition that says if you can think about it and describe it, it’s more likely to happen. But my friend Lisa, The Survival Mom herself, is persistent and she finally talked me into revealing my ultimate nightmare scenario. Why me? I currently work for a large state’s emergency services office, in a very large metropolitan area. I’m being a little cagey about exactly who I work …

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bugout vehicle

Pimp Your Bugout Vehicle on a Budget

A reliable vehicle is a very important part of our preparedness planning. Not only is it transportation out of a bad situation, but your vehicle can provide lighting, heat/air conditioning, electrical power, and shelter. Most of us don’t have the luxury of procuring a dedicated bugout vehicle; we have to make the best of what we have. The good news is that you can add important capabilities to your existing vehicle without breaking the bank, and at your own pace. …

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disaster declared

Disaster Declared: How Authorities Respond

We’re all familiar with how Police and Fire Departments respond to a car accident here, or a house fire there. Police Officers and Firefighters go through months of training as emergency responders, and they do it day in and day out. Cops are good at cop stuff, Firefighters are good at what they do. But what about those who respond to disasters of all types? How do they determine what their priorities are in the midst of a major catastrophe? Governments, …

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Liquid Gold or Liquid Death: Liquid Fuel Safety

Whether it is used to power a vehicle, run a generator, or fuel a lantern, few people escape the need to buy and store liquid fuels like gasoline, kerosene or diesel. In normal times, we have easy access to fuel at the gas station, and safety is taken for granted. But are you aware of the potential dangers of liquid fuels, and how to mitigate the hazards? If not, please read on! Liquid Fuel vs. Pressurized Gas Fuel The two …

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flood survival

Take Your Flood Fight to the Next Level

We’re all familiar with the humble sandbag and it’s part in a flood fight: a natural or synthetic fiber, open-ended bag used to stop bullets, water, or mud. Filled with sand or stone aggregate, they do an adequate job at stopping flood waters if properly filled and stacked. Government agencies provide information to the public on how to use sandbags, such as this Lake County, Illinois video, but did you know that sandbags come with limitations? Sands through the hourglass …

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