wildfires prevention

5 essential tips to prevent wildfires

Bushfires are a huge problem facing the United States, particularly in states such as California, Texas, and North Carolina. Another country that has a huge bushfire problem is Australia. With modern equipment, meteorologists are easily able to forecast conditions that spark wildfires, such as windy and dry conditions. However, there are still steps that we can all take to prevent future wildfires.

1. Extinguish campfires when done

Campfires are a key culprit when it comes to wildfires. If you start a fire pit or campfire, always make sure that you completely extinguish it once you are done. You may use either ashes or water to ensure the fire is totally out. It is also important to keep your sleeping gear and tents away from the campfire to make sure that you do not fuel the fire. Loose branches and kindling around the campsite can also worsen the situation, so make sure you tidy up the area.

2. Don’t dump lit cigarettes out of your car

It is easy for smokers to throw out lit cigarettes from their moving car’s window. But this negligent action has a high likelihood of starting a wildfire. Keep in mind that in the right environment and the right conditions, cigarettes and matches have all the heat it takes to start a devastating bushfire. Cigarettes should be completely extinguished before they are thrown into the trash. Wildfires can start when you carelessly flick a cigarette button on the ground.

3. Exercise caution with inflammable liquids

It is always advisable to exercise extreme caution when using propane to refill heaters, stoves, and lanterns. These devices should only be refilled after they have completely cooled because flammable liquids can easily start a fire. Also make sure that any refilling with flammable chemicals is done outside the house rather than inside.

4. Follow local guidelines for burning trash

People who burn trash outside should ensure that they follow local rules and regulations. Areas that are windy or tend to be susceptible to bushfires will have restrictions for burning trash. Even if you are allowed to burn trash, make sure you have a fire extinguisher on the ready. This would allow you to quickly extinguish any small problems that try to get out of control before they become a huge issue.

5. Use fireworks carefully

Fireworks can easily trigger devastating bushfires that lead to billions of dollars in losses. It is important that people are aware of what to do and not do in order to prevent bushfires. Particularly during the 4th of July Holiday, many Americans love to light up crackers as they celebrate. Make sure not to use these things close to any flammable materials, woods, or anything that can fuel a bushfire.

When taken seriously, these simple tips can go a long way to prevent wildfires that can cause loss of life and property. You should also make sure to call 911 should you notice any fires that seem unattended, or that appear to be getting out of control (even if they are attended).


The 5 worst disasters in recent American history

Disasters – whether man made or natural – ruin lives and lead to property losses. The United States has unfortunately borne the blunt of numerous disasters over the years. Taking a long, deep look at these disasters is an important step towards making sure we take the lessons and prepare for future occurrences. This is a list of the 5 most devastating disasters in the history of the US.

1. Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor has the subject of numerous films, including Midway, Pearl Harbor, Hacksaw Ridge, and the Final Countdown. Many of us have learnt about the devastating man-made disaster that took place here. On December 7th of 1941, more than 180 Japanese aircraft attacked the US naval base on the island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii. Within hours, about 18 US warships had been destroyed or sunk, 188 aircraft damaged, and over 2,400 American troops killed. The devastation of this imbecile attack has remained forever engrained in American’s memories.

2. September 11

On the September 11 of 2001, 19 Islamic extremists from the Al Qaeda group hijacked four commercial airliners and used them to attack the United States. At around 8:46 am, the first airplane crashed into the North Tower of the WTC. The second plane hit the South Tower of the WTC at approximately 9:03 am. At 9:37 am, a third airplane crashed into the Pentagon, while the fourth airliner crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. As a result of these attacks, about 3,000 Americans lost their lives, most of them at the World Trade Center. The devastation of this hideous attack sent shockwaves across the nation. For many Americans who witnessed this attack, September 11 will forever remain an unforgettable national tragedy.

3. Galveston Storm of 1900

By the late 1880s, the resort city of Galveston in Texas was the crown gem of the state. In addition to being the state’s biggest port city, it housed the country’s first electric streetlights and was calibrated with millionaire mansions. All this would come to change on September 8 of 1990. A hurricane travelling at 140 miles per hour landed on the Gulf Coast, causing a devastation of epic proportions. Up to 8,000 of the island’s 37,000 died in the storm, making it the deadliest in US history.

4. 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

On April 18 of the year 1906, San Francisco residents woke up to a shattering earthquake. The 7.9 magnitude earthquake created a 296 mile fissure along what is known as the San Andreas Fault. Multiple buildings and homes were leveled, as hundreds of fires burned in the city due to broken gas lines. Since their water supply was drained due to ruptured pipes, all the city’s firefighters could do was watch helplessly. As a result of this earthquake, more than 3,000 people died, 28,000 buildings were leveled, and over 200,000 San Francisco residents were left homeless.

5. Hurricane Maria

In September 2017, a category 5 hurricane nicknamed Maria struck the US region of Puerto Rico. It also devastated Dominica and the Virgin Islands, leading to a death toll of at least 2975 people (although the official death count had been previously reported at 64). More than $90 billion worth of property was lost in Puerto Rico alone.

Technology in disaster relief

How technology can help improve disaster relief

The United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) says that more than 700,000 people died due to disasters in the period of time between 2005 and 2014. In the United States alone, 2017 was the most expensive disaster year on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimated that disasters resulted in more than $306 billion in damage. In light of these devastating statistics, it is becoming increasingly important for our government to leverage data and technology for better and faster disaster mitigation and relief.
This article shows four ways in which technology can help us respond better to disasters.

Robots can go where people cannot

Robotic technology can greatly improve our response to disasters. Aerial robots, including drones, can go where people cannot, or where the risk to the lives of first responders is high. This technology shows a lot of potential for transforming delivery of humanitarian aid. Organizations mandated with recovery efforts can utilize this advanced technology to map up the rescue terrain, increase situational awareness, and assess damage in real time. These ‘digital responders’ are lighter in weight, lower than cost, and are able to perform in life-threatening situations, dramatically increasing success of rescue efforts.

Technology can break barriers to connectivity

Basic connectivity is crucial in times of disaster. It connects victims of disasters to the resources they need to survive, as well as makes it possible for humanitarian organizations to promptly deliver life-saving info. A good example of this technology at work is Cisco’s Tactical Operations, also referred to as TacOps. This project uses the latest development in mobile networking to ensure connectivity during disasters. Over the last 15 years, the TacOps team has responded to over 40 disasters across all 6 continents, often providing connectivity faster than local providers and governments can. Take for example how lonely seniors within long-term care facilities were able to use facetime and zoom in order to feel connected to their loved ones amidst social distancing and global pandemic of coronavirus.

Mobile solutions can improve relief communications

Mobile technology, social media, and digital communities are technologies that can help organizations and governments communicate much more effectively to their beneficiaries. This kind of technology has been used to increase awareness amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Food Program (WFP) is tasked with assist tens of millions of people who are facing hunger. Effective data collection is very important for this organization to do its job. Through its mVAM program, the WFP is able to roll out more than 20,000 surveys each month. This allows them to gather the right information, save up to $5 million in annual costs, and reduce the time spent in survey collection by over 75 percent.

Big data can improve disaster response

Disasters create huge amounts of data, including medical, personal, geo-location and survivor tracking information. For many organizations and governments, managing this data can be a challenge. But when property collected and analyzed, this raw data can provide crucial info on what to prioritize during recovery efforts. A good example is RC View by the American Red Cross. This data visualization platform improves situational awareness by providing key data on shelter mapping, water levels, and road closures.

katrina hurricane

The devastating hurricane Katrina

Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane from the Atlantic ocean that proved to be one of the most devastating, leading to more than 1,800 deaths and over $125 billion in economic losses. The August 2005 hurricane – along with the flooding disaster that followed – left millions of Americans homeless in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast. This page highlights essential facts about Hurricane Katrina.

How Katrina was formed

Hurricane Katrina was formed about 200 miles in the Atlantic Ocean from the southeast of Bahamas. According to the NOAA, Katrina started as a tropical depression. In the morning of August 24, a band of storm clouds started to form around the north side of the circulation center. At this time, wind speeds had already reached 40 miles per hour. By the time the hurricane was hitting the Florida coast on August 25, it had already reached Category 1 status. Two people were killed there and this looked like nothing more than a typical hurricane. But when the hurricane got over water again in the Gulf of Mexico, Katrina regained its strength and turned into a Category 5 storm by August 28th. By this time, winds were blowing at 175 miles per hour. The storm then weakened and turned to a Category 3 before land falling on the Mississippi Louisiana border in early August 29. At this time the sustained wind speeds had already reached 120 miles per hour.

Impact of hurricane Katrina

By the time Katrina was making its final landfall, it struck Gulfport and Biloxi in Mississippi, causing immeasurable devastation in both cities. A huge storm surge that was up to 28 feet high struck the coastal areas of Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana. It immediately exposed design flows in the floodwalls and levees that had been built by the Army Corps of Engineers, leading to a widespread flooding of New Orleans. All in all, about 80% of New Orleans and huge swathes of the nearby areas became flooded for weeks. The human displacement that resulted was one of the worst since the Great Depression. Studies show that up to 1 million people in the Gulf Coast region were displaced by the storm.

Politicization of Katrina recovery efforts

The National Guard was activated to assist the hundreds of thousands of people who were directly impacted in New Orleans and surrounding areas. But rescue and recovery efforts became very politicized. Local, state, and federal officials were pointing fingers right from the onset. Many critics blamed the design and engineering of the federal levee system, while others pointed fingers at a slow local and state response for leading to the massive loss of life and property. More so, many residents did not obey initial evacuation warnings, thus placing a severe strain on rescue efforts. Following this political storm, the director of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), and the New Orleans Superintendent of police were forced to resign. The Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, and state governor Kathleen Blanco were highly scrutinized for delaying to order the evacuations.

Lessons learnt from hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina led to an evacuation of 400,000 people from New Orleans alone, and up to 1.3 million from the region as a whole. According to a report published on the New York Times, thousands of people stayed in the city simply because they could not afford to leave. Despite the immense loss of life and property in hurricane Katrina, lessons were learnt that have been applied in more recent disasters. Some of the key lessons learnt include business continuity and insurance coverage, as well as impact of storms and demand surge in recovery. Preparedness turned out to be a crucial factor for mitigating elevated storm losses especially in high-risk areas.

world's billionaires

10 Surprising Facts About the World’s Billionaires

Billionaire they may be, but these surprising facts prove that just like us, they are also humans capable of keeping both the most beautiful and the most astounding truths.  One thing these wealthy people have in common is they don’t need to buy long term care insurance.  Long Term Care Insurance is a type of coverage that pays for the high cost of long term care which can reach $100,000 per year in some states.  This high cost of long term care is a problem for the average person but not the ultra wealthy.  This site did a decent job at giving the basic concepts of long term care insurance and who should get it.  https://www.ltctree.com/long-term-care-insurance/

The wealthy people of the world with 2-million + of assets generally don’t need to buy Long Term Care Insurance.  The rest of us, we do.

David Rockefeller

Completing the list of billionaires who are over 90 years old, the 99-year-old David Rockefeller’s main source of wealth comes from the banking and oil industry. Being the world’s oldest billionaire by turning 100 on June 2015, David Rockefeller’s wealth greatly superseded that of his other siblings and family members. But if you think the good old billionaire doesn’t have hobbies, you got it all wrong. In fact, he is known to have a collection of beetles that reaches approximately 160,000. Quite a fascination, isn’t it?

Another important organization the Rockefeller’s have set up is a department for Long Term Care Insurance study for here.

The family also has a Alzheimer’s research program they head.  Alzheimer’s is the number one claim reason for Long Term Care Insurance so the Rockefellers funding goes a long way to help find a cure for the disease.  http://www.rockefeller.edu/research/intercenter/cenzach/

Jocelyn Wildenstein

If you think cosmetic surgery is always on our side, think again. This Swiss socialite is rumored to spend millions of dollars to have feline-like features to please her husband, Alec Wildenstein, who loves exotic wild cats. Nonetheless, the multi-million cosmetic surgery did not please Alec. In fact, he was caught sleeping with a 19-year-old Russian model. Jocelyn received an astounding 2.5 billion dollars for their divorce settlement, with an extra allowance of $100 million every year for 13 years.

Peter Thiel

Being an investor in Facebook and a co-founder of PayPal does not make Peter Thiel take his eyes off his rather eccentric goals. Included in his to-do list is the search for the key to human immortality, artificial intelligence and the creation of oceangoing floating cities. He is firm in his belief that these are important for the sustenance of the human species.

Mr. Thiel will never need to buy long term care insurance but many of his employees will need to do so as they don’t have the money Thiel does.

Clive Palmer

It would be an embarrassment to scratch Clive Palmer off our list, especially since he is most famous for his grandiose ideologies. This Australian businessman/billionaire had been reported to plan the cloning of dinosaurs to lure more guests into his 5-star resort. When it didn’t work, he customized around a hundred animatronic dinosaurs to make sure his guests in the resort would not be left disappointed. His latest project? A replica of Titanic. This is expected to be completed in the year 2016.

Silvio Berlusconi

Nobody is perfect—not even millionaires. This is exactly what we can learn from Silvio Berlusconi, an Italian billionaire who faces extreme charges that include fraudulence. But despite of being proven guilty in some cases, the most controversial case against Silvio is having sex with an underage prostitute famously known as “Ruby the Heartstealer”. But even though this man has a bucket-full of charges, he still has a spot on our list of billionaires because of his major stakes in some of the most successful businesses in Italy.

Robert Durst

Having the freedom to live your life to the fullest is the most priceless thing on earth, except for Robert Durst who seems to be successful in putting a price on freedom. This billionaire has had a very traumatic childhood as he witnessed his mother commit suicide when he was just 7 years old. It seems that this has really taken a toll on Robert as his wife went missing in the year 1982—and yes, her body was left unfound. When the case was re-opened, Susan Berman, a friend of Robert and a possible witness for the case, has been shot to death. This didn’t stop there as the floating body parts of his old neighbor were found in Galveston Bay. Nonetheless, Robert has been acquitted of murder, thanks to his defense lawyer, Dick DeGuerin.  He might be free to roam around in streets, but he is now surrounded by terrified neighbors who are keeping a close watch on him.

God Nisonov

This might sound a little strange, but do you know that one billionaire is named God? With a real time net worth of around $4.3 billion, the business tycoon is really taking Moscow by storm. Now, we can say that God is one of us.

Ingvar Kamprad

There is nothing wrong with frugality, and that is definitely one lesson we can lean from Ingvar Kamprad—one of the richest men in the world. He may be the founder of IKEA and he may be earning more than what he can spend, but this man really knows how to value every cent. In fact, he uses public transportation, recycles teabags and takes home pepper and salt from restaurant chains. To top it off, his very modest home is paired with his 20-year-old Volvo. Beat that!

Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart

Love is the most splendid thing on earth—and yes, it sometimes comes with a cost. This is particularly true in the case of Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, who chose to give up her wealth by giving her 6 children their early inheritance. This is to prove that her wedding with 61-year-old Alfonso Diaz Carrabantes has nothing to do with any of her money. Crazy it may seem, but this 81-year-old duchess is a living testament of the power of love.


Robert Klark Graham

Ending our list is the revolutionary Rober Klark Graham. The late optometrist is known for creating shatter-proof glasses. But even though this is already a great contribution to the world, he didn’t stop there. In fact, he created his own sperm bank which gave life to about 217 children. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to receive all the recognition he truly deserved because he died in the most unusual way. He accidentally slipped into his bathtub, got unconscious and drowned himself to death. But even so, his legendary work outlives this tragic incident.

This list may be a mix of the good and the bad and the naughty and the nice, but it is absolutely proof that billionaire or not, we all possess our own eccentricity.

However, most of the world will still be left with trying to figure out how to plan for long term care insurance as most folks are not rich.