Monthly Archives: February 2014

When The Lights Go Out…

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“Winging it is not an emergency plan.” ~ Ready.gov

During times of extreme weather like we are experiencing TODAY, there’s always the threat of a power outage.  That means no lights, no TV, no computer and possibly no heat.  The heat part may last you a little while but, for those long, creepy and cold blackouts, you may want to have some extra blankets on standby.  The silence and the dark can do a number on people if they are not prepared to deal with this situation, if you aren’t let’s share some tips on how to be prepped and ready when the lights go out.

  1. First, be sure to stock up on batteries.  You can never have enough of them to go around so why not stock up on them.  Mainly buy the battery sizes that you need and make sure to you’ll know how to find them in times of darkness.
  2. Flashlights/Light sticks! We can’t stress how important it is in times of bad weather to always have flashlights handy.  I have 2-3 of them within my reach, right now as well as the flashlight on my cell phone.  I recommend adding a flashlight application to your cell phone; it would be beneficial since we’re connected to our phones most of the time.  Candles are always a good resource, just be careful of the potential hazards of walking around with fire in the dark.
  3. Wall Lights.  Mount some emergency wall lights to your walls so that you’ll instantly light a whole room in case of a black out.  The light from these should give you enough light to navigate around and find the important stuff you’ll need to make it through the power outage.  They’re aesthetic and you don’t have to carry anything extra.
  4. Portable Radio.  In order to get updates and news about any emergencies in your areas.  There are radio applications that you can download to your mobile device.  You can purchase an emergency radio that takes batteries or a crank radio that requires manually powering the device.
  5. First Aid.  Knowing where your first aid kid is during an emergency can be a literal lifesaver. Detachment from power can lead to irrational behavior and many mistakes can be made even in your own home.  Walking into a wall, getting a cut or tripping and falling.  Some of us are afraid of the dark so that sudden jolt into darkness can throw our senses off.  So in case medical attention is required for a small accident at home, know where your kit is.
  6. Clothing / Blankets.  Since there may be no heat for a while, it’s best to do the best you can to preserve your body heat.   A hooded sweater, hats and blankets are the best way to keep warm during long periods of darkness.  If you have candles and can burn them safely, light as many as you can to keep the air heated.  Burn some candles in a small room close the door and use that room for warming up.  Remember to be safe with candles; they can be a potential fire hazard.
  7. Know your home.  Practice walking around your home in the dark or blindfold yourself and walk around the house.  Get used to the walls and the stairs and learn to navigate without sight in your house, look for important items you may need that will help you if the lights go out.
  8. Planning.  Have a plan.  Know where you’re emergency lights are, your wall lights, your batteries and anything you may need that will keep you and your family safe.
  9. Laptops and cell phones.  Be sure to have an alternate power source for your cell phones.  A great way is to use the power from your laptop to charge your cell phone and keep it charged until the lights come on or you lose power on your laptop.  Unplugged, you can get a decent amount of time on your computer to play games, watch videos or even listen to music to pass the time.  Monitor the power levels on your devices regularly.
  10. Don’t panic.  Losing control is the last thing you want to do during an emergency.  If the lights go out, the lights go out.  You know where everything is and there is no need to panic.  Of course the shock of losing power is natural but, how you respond during an emergency makes a tremendous difference.  Understand that you are in control of how you react, how you plan and how you survive.  You can invest in a Storm Kit, which includes: fresh water, food, first aid, matches and multi-tools or you can create your own Survival Kits.  Hike4Life will be partnering with Urban Outdoor Gear to bring our community B.O.Bs. (Bug out Bags) that will have several essential items that are needed during emergencies and survival situations.

Thank you for taking the time to read this information. I hope that you have learned a few things and that you will practice being safe and secure in your homes in times of a power outage.  Any questions, you can always email Hike4Life @ info@hike4life.org – Jerel

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Enjoying The Journey

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I think that will be the theme for this year.  “Enjoy The Journey.”  Many of us worry about what’s at the end of the destination; talking about how much fun we are going to have when we get there.  Some of us unfortunately, don’t get there.  They never arrive at a preset destination or the destinations they are working so hard in their lives to reach.  We give everything of ourselves to the end goal and sometimes forget to “stop and smell the roses” or for many of us, forget to stop and have some fun along the way.   So, enjoy the journey.

Hike4Life had a great Hike this past Saturday with a great group of people.  We hit trails in the Blue Hills that we hadn’t traveled as a group before and everyone loved it.  We started with a meet and greet while we waited for a few of our friends to arrive.  Many of the faces were familiar to us but, not everyone knew each other so it was really cool to introduce everyone and create new connections.

261796_207176732815201_1094757838_nAfter everyone had finally gathered, we did a short group stretch and headed out on our adventure.

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The scenery was beautiful; A winter scene, within an evergreen dream.  Under a partial blue sky, we strode on fresh untouched snow and stepped cautiously over rocks slicked with ice.  With each step we stepped further into the unknown, not knowing what the trail conditions were like ahead.

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This group was very energetic, hyped up would be a better word to describe the energy that was felt throughout the hills.  Folks were asking about Deer and other animals, I told them maybe we’d see something if they couldn’t hear us coming from a mile away which drew more laughter.

Up and up we climbed; calves and thighs burned as it was our first crack at the trails since the Walk Off The Turkey Hike in November and by the way my heart was beating it was evident that some of us (me) were out of trail-shape.  After a few more inclines, my body “remembered” and I was huffing it with some of the guys as we ran from the ladies whose attempts at spirituals and songs that never end, echoed across the reservation.  It was so much fun.

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As we neared the top of Chicatawbut Hill, we finessed our way through some low lying branches of Pitch Pine and Chestnut Oak and finally made our way to the second highest peak along the Skyline Trail.

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We were blessed as the Sun poured over us and awarded us with warmth and much needed Vitamin D!

The scenery at this time year is beautiful.  We didn’t have the rich dark green that covers most of our state, so we could see hundreds of neighborhoods and homes that appeared tiny to us from high atop the hill.  Large urban areas normally hidden by thickly lavish landscapes, stood out partially nestled amongst the grey-brown trees that long for the coming of Spring.

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As far as our eyes could see, this was Massachusetts.  No sirens, no noise, other than our breathing and conversation.  Fresh air filled our city-scarred lungs, as we inhaled deeply and exhaling our troubles to be carried away with the wind.

This was where we needed to be.

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We left the comfort of our daily contrivances and the safety of the city, to explore the muddy paths of the Blue Hills Reservation.  Hike4Life is fortunate to have so many good people support us and allow us to present this beautiful area, that is natural, open and free to explore.   There’s no bar, no dance floors, no restrooms and no convenience.   There aren’t any halls or clubs and at times, the element of danger can and is real and so is the thrill of adventure.

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Before the Hike everyone didn’t know each other but, by the end of the hike, everyone was the best of friends.  Hiking is great for team building and camaraderie, group encouragement and care for one another is developed as we trek and ramble through the woods.

In total 11 of us left our boot prints for over 3 miles of terrain, snow and ice.  There were a couple of slips but we made it out unharmed and unscathed.  Overall, we got a great workout, spent some time under a comfortable Winter Sun and everyone genuinely had a great time!

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Our feet may have hurt from walking, but so did our faces from all of the smiling and laughing that we did as we Hiked for our lives!

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