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Archive for May, 2010

May 5, 2010
From the Archives: Essential Gear. ResQme Keychain Rescue Tool
My ResQMe Keychain

My ResQMe Keychain

I decided to re-post this story from February after reading about all the people who died over the weekend in Tennessee while trapped in their cars. This tool could save your life if you’re in the same situation, but the most critical thing to keep you alive during a flood is to remember not to drive through moving water. Read more flood-safety tips here from our Getting Started section.

In the upcoming cover story for the April issue of Popular Mechanics I write about several every-day guys who managed to beat death and survive despite some incredibly harrowing circumstances. I can’t get into specifics until the issue hits the newstands in a couple of weeks, but one of the stories involves a large “multi-vehicle accident.” It got me thinking about being prepared for something like that so I  picked up a little gadget that I hope I never have to use. It’s called a ResQme keychain rescue tool. I got mine up at Amazon for $17.99. I’ll have to go to a junkyard to actually practice with it, but on one side it’s a sort of spring-loaded car-window breaker (note to self: don’t let kids break TV set with keychain) and on the other is a seat-belt slicer.

So, let’s say that you drive off the road into the sea (stranger things have happened), just slice your belt off, puncture the window and float to the surface. Easier said than done. See how it works by watching the video at Houdini also makes a similar tool which comes with a whistle and led light.


May 4, 2010
First-hand Report From Downtown Nashville

earp photoThis account of the flooding, and this photo, from a friend of mine who lives and works in Nashville.

“Thanks for the good wishes.  We’re good, thanks to where we’re situated and a rockin sewer system that was moving so much water that you could hear and feel it roaring beneath your feet.  A few neighbors have unusually contoured lots and ended up with water in their basements and crawlspaces, but most of us around here sailed right through the storm.  But about a mile away in any direction and we run into flooded, impassable streets.  There was flooding and then looting at the nearby farmers market, which is doubly depressing.

I wouldn’t be surprised if life in the metro area is pretty normal by tomorrow.  However the outlaying communities of Bellevue, Antioch, and Franklin are sure to have very deep scars.  There I expect to see whole neighborhoods get dozed to the ground. One of my friends is living in Bellevue.  We played poker Saturday evening and by midnight they were evacuated, and now are living with a brother in law.  My friend and his wife just moved into their new house too.  Very sad.”


May 3, 2010
Massachusetts Water Emergency

boil waterA water main ruptured in suburban Boston Saturday morning and the state promptly, and smartly, declared a water emergency, effecting 2 million people in 30 communities. The emergency urged citizens to boil their water, but it created an aquatic panic in the heart of Red Sox nation.

Citizens flooded into grocery stores to hoard as much bottled water as possible, while some towns set up water distribution centers where cops checked IDs to make sure only locals got their share. You could watch it unfold, as I did, on NECN, the New England 24-hour news network. As of Monday morning, May 3, the rupture has been fixed and the state’s water engineers are now testing and purging the system. The water emergency remains in effect, but as the Boston Globe reported this morning, things were just about to get disastrous: Dunkin Donuts in the area were not able to serve coffee!

If there was ever an argument for setting up even a small back-up water supply at home it’s watching people stand in line, for hours, for water!

Read about Water Safety Storage, Purification from’s Getting Started section here.


May 3, 2010
Flooding in Tennessee, Mississippi
I-24 Near Nashville

I-24 Near Nashville

For those of you who missed it, over 13 inches of rain fell in and around Nashville, Tennessee, during a 36-hour period this weekend. That nearly doubles the previous record from 1979 when Hurricane Fredrick blew through the area.

The storm is responsible for at least 15 deaths in Tennessee and Mississippi, including at least 5 in the Nashville area who drowned in their homes or in their vehicles. Read the latest from The Weather Channel here.


May 3, 2010
Video: Massive Flooding on I-24 Near Nashville, TN

Video, with mobile homes and tipped-over vehicles floating alongside Interstate 24 near Nashville.


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