Wildland / Urban Interface

Wildland / Urban Interface

Wildland / Urban Interface

Our society has been fortunate to have the capabilities to live further out in to the natural world.  Thanks to technology and improved construction capabilities it is possible to build homes and developments away from the central business districts of many urban areas.  This area is often referred to as the Wildland / Urban Interface (WUI).  Being closer to nature comes with all the benefits and perils mother nature can throw at us.  We can be closer to hiking trails, beautiful vistas and peaceful neighborhoods.  However, this sometimes comes at an unfortunate cost.  As the the WUI pushes our communities further out, there is the constant threat of wildland fires. These wildfires have been particularly cruel in our western states.  

Even though we all see the news stories about communities affected by wildfires it is easy to believe it just won’t happen to me or my family.  How will you be prepared?  What if it comes in the middle of the night?  Do you have a family communication plan?  Supplies?  What if you are not even home?  Is your home ready? Are your important documents protected in a fire safe or fire resistant bag?  Lucky for us there are many great resources out their that give us step by step instructions on how we can best prepare for a wildfire.  California has developed a website that should be your first stop in preparing your family.  Cal Fire.  They have provided a quick 6 minute video that will help you begin.  

 

 

 

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Consumer Fireworks Safety

 

More home fires are started in the U.S. on the 4th of July than any other day of the year.  It’s a good idea to leave it to the professionals.  Many areas of our country are so dry that consumer fireworks will most certainly result in the rapid spread of more disastrous wildfires.  

 Here are just a few 4th of July fireworks safety tips from the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).  Consumer fireworks safety is no laughing matter.

  • Leave fireworks to the professionals. Do not use consumer fireworks.
  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals.
  • After the firework display, children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over, they may still be active.

 

Enjoy and Happy 4th of July!  

Bobbi Flood, CEO and Founder of ZquaredAway

 

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Prescott Fire Resistant Bag

Being Prepared and the Prescott Fire Resistant Bag

 

-Guest Blog by Ellisa Barr-

 

Ellisa Barr

The Author of “Outage”, Ellisa Barr

I never win anything (unless you count a 6-pack of soda 20 years ago), so when I found out I was the winner of a Prescott Fire Resistant Bag, I was beyond surprised and thrilled.  When it got here, I literally opened the package, got out the cover, and stashed our important documents binder inside, along with a flash drive where we keep things like journals, scanned photos, and my book manuscripts.  The peace of mind I’ve gained from protecting these things is priceless.

I believe in being prepared, which was a big reason I wrote a fiction novel about a national disaster.  I wanted to share the story of a girl and a community that weren’t ready, and had to overcome terrible circumstances.  It isn’t difficult to have a week’s worth of drinking water on-hand, or to make a family emergency plan, but the majority of people haven’t done even the minimum.   

 My hope is to encourage people to take small steps to becoming more prepared.  We live in uncertain times, and you don’t have to be a prepper to want be ready for the worst.
 
Prescott Bag

Ellisa Barr stores her new novel and important documents in her Prescott Fire Resistant Bag by ZquaredAway.

 

 

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Survival, Preppers, and Ice Cream

Cody and Us at Grocery Store

Cody Lundin from ‘Dual Survival’ and us at the Grocery Store

What do survival, preppers, and ice cream have in common?

It was one of those rare occasions where I had to drag all three kids to the grocery store.  Ugh.  Even as they get older it never seems to get any easier. Halfway down the bread aisle they all run up to me and scream in unison “Cody’s here!”  

Now, to most folks that wouldn’t mean much of anything.  To us it was like seeing Brad Pitt in L.A.  Cody Lundin is a local celebrity in Prescott, Arizona.  He is (or at least was) one of the stars of the Discovery Channel show called Dual Survival.  This show has been a favorite in our family for a number of years.  It pits two men, both highly skilled, but of opposite survival philosophies, against mother nature.  Their goal is to work together, not only to survive but to get rescued.  The show takes them all over the world and places them in extreme and bizarre conditions in places such as “Hippo Island” in Botswana or on top of a snow packed glacier.

We all get a kick out of how they manage to survive together while only occasionally getting on each other’s nerves. Unlike most reality shows today, where it is acceptable to cut people down to size or talk behind their back, Cody and his partner always seem to work out their differences for a common goal.  

Well, we have seen Cody eat some crazy stuff on the show – bugs, grubs, live scorpions, beaver, and just about anything that grows or moves in the wild.  But I think the wildest thing we have seen is Cody shopping in his itinerant ‘bare feet’ at our local grocery store for ice cream.  

So, as you can see, we are sort of big Cody fans. I told the kids we should go say hi. So I wander off down the ice cream aisle and just as I am almost there, I turn back to find…no kids.  They were all apparently too shy to say hi.  Well, not me.  I drag them with me and tell Cody that we love his show and ask for a picture.  I am sure he would have liked nothing more than to be left alone to pick out his favorite ice cream but he really was a good sport.  We were thrilled to meet our local celebrity.    

Thanks Cody,  

Bobbi Flood

 

 

 

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Christmas Tree Fire Safety

Christmas Tree Safety

Our Son Decorating the Christmas Tree

Watch the video below and see how quickly a dry Christmas tree goes up in flames.  Protect your home this year by properly watering your Christmas tree and following more great Christmas tree fire safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). 

 http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/holidays/christmas-tree-fires/christmas-tree-safety-tips

 

 

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Keeping Grandma’s Antique Book Safe

Road Trip

Moving the Family Across the Country.

Antique book
My Grandma’s Favorite Book

 Grandma Catherine was born in 1912. She was the daughter of an Illinois farmer and grew up on the endless plains of the grand prairie state. Not many generations had passed from the time the prairie was an  uninhabitable sea of 8 foot tall grass and prairie wildflowers to the time her father farmed the land.  Somewhere in between, sod busters and John Deer’s steel plow were able to cut through the roots of the prairie to reveal a rich and loamy soil.  So much of the prairie was wet it had to drained with pipes called tiling.  

Catherine grew up in the dark.  Literally.  The rural electrification act was not passed until 1935, bringing electricity and light to an otherwise dark and lonely farmland.  I can only imagine the life she had as a girl. Like something right out of a Willa Cather novel her family endured harsh winters, hot and humid summers filled with drought and dust, and wet and soggy springs.  Their nearest neighbor was likely a half mile away or more.  But in most conditions, the dirt roads were impassable.  Visits to town or the neighbors were not common. 

When I was a child, Grandma Catherine gave me a book of hers.  Bunny Brown and His Sister On An Auto Tour authored under a pen name, Laura Lee Hope in 1917 (Grosset and Dunlap).  Catherine inscribed the inside cover to me saying she was eight when she received this book from her parents as a gift.  It was the only book she ever called her own and treasured it dearly.  

I now treasure this book and protect it as one of my dearest keepsakes.  When I think about Grandma Catherine as a little girl, I can imagine she dreamed of far off places, traveling in an automobile, and perhaps seeing the seaside.  Only the very wealthy had automobiles when she was a child.  Only the wealthy had the luxury of travel.  Keeping Grandma’s antique book safe in my mind will keep her memory alive.  She had hopes and dreams that I can only guess at now.  Ironically, Grandma did end up traveling this beautiful country as her family grew to nine children and her husband took on new jobs in the horticulture industry.  I hope she got to see the things she dreamed of as a girl.  

Roberta ‘Bobbi’ Flood

 

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A White House Halloween

“I’m here to protect the President.”  These are my son’s words as he met President and Mrs. Obama yesterday. The White house staff opened up the South Portico for hundreds of families to go trick or treating at the White House this halloween.  We feel so fortunate as a military family to once again have unique opportunities and experiences all over our great country that now include a White House Halloween.

As our son stood there with his open bag, the President turned to Michelle and said “Oh look, a Secret Service Agent.”  Our three children filed by the President and the First Lady who were all laughs and smiles.  The South Lawn was festive and full of all sorts of entertainers from stilt walkers to a fairy in a bubble.  It was all very magical and I must say, thumbs up to the President and Michelle for what was a long night of at least 4 hours or more of handing out candy and keeping up the good cheer.   It seems fitting in these days of economic recession to take pause and join the country in a light hearted celebration. 

My husband and I were inspired to be walking in a history book.  The grounds of the South Lawn have seen Presidents back to John Adams give speeches, meet dignitaries and take walks while pondering some of the tough decisions a president has to make.  The War of 1812 saw the White House hallowed out after the Red Coats set fire to it on August 24, 1814. The White House is said to be home of many ghosts, among them a British Redcoat soldier who wanders the grounds carrying a torch.  All in all, it seems a fitting place to go trick or treating.     Bobbi Flood

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Halloween Safety Tips from the NFPA

 

halloween whitewater - 1

We loved trick or treating as kids. Back then, there was not a lot of thought that went in to making the evening a safe one.  Here are some great Halloween Safety Tips from the NFPA this year.  

The National Fire Protection Association is an international non -profit organization that is a leading advocate for fire prevention and public safety.   They provide codes and standards for the fire fighting industry as well as research, training and education. 

Whenever possible, ZquaredAway strives to adhere to standards set out by the NFPA.  We aim for the same level of protection for your keepsakes, documents, and memories that a fire fighter has when walking in to a burning building. 

Trick or Treat Safely,

Roberta Flood, CEO and Founder of ZquaredAway

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Baptism Gown to Preserve for Another Generation

Third Generation Baptism Gown

Third Generation Baptism Gown

 by Patrice Schmitt, Guest Blogger and Dear Friend 

 I’ve been thinking about your amazing product, and wanting to make the most of the fire resistant covers I have in my home. Though they fit nicely on my photo albums, I have to admit that my current favorite use is to protect some of the heirloom clothing my grandmother made for our family many years ago. 

 I’m the youngest of four children whose births spanned 11 1/2 years. Each of us wore the same gown at our Baptism as babies. Then my sister’s four daughters wore it. Then my two girls wore it. We’re keeping it safe for the next round should they be interested in continuing the tradition. 

What has made it so special, is that this beautiful gown was hand-made with so many dainty details, by my mother’s mother, my grandmother, Agnes Konkal. She made it for my mom to share with her family over 50 years ago, yet it was worn as recently as 10 years ago on my own daughter. It’s not just a dress, but a beautifully detailed gown with hand-sewn pleats, gathers, a separate satiny slip and two options for bonnets. It’s so delicate, and yet continues to make it through our growing family. 

 I’ve stored it away wrapped in archival tissue paper to keep it from discoloring, and boxed it neatly up in a closet. However, now I’ve ditched the box, and have it inside my ZquaredAway bag, knowing I’m doing my best to preserve this piece of our family history. 

 My oldest niece is getting married this coming year, and I know she dreams about having children, so maybe it will find new-life as a baptism gown with yet another generation of our family. 

 

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A Rightful Place in the Cirlce by Frank Flood

frank in gulf

My Husband, Frank, in the First Gulf War

Here is a special guest blog. My husband, Frank, talks about the time he met a few of my uncles on my grandmother’s front porch. 

A soft summer’s night on a tree lined street in Terre Haute, Indiana. From inside the house came the muffled noises of the Sunday dinner table being cleared. Outside on the porch gathered four brothers; Bob, Ted, Phil, and Chuck. Each man’s life’s journey had taken them from their rural Indiana roots to different parts of the country, but now, cold beers in hand, they were sharing a rare moment when they were able to gather together at their mother’s home.

I was privileged to know these men by rite of marriage to Bob’s daughter and I enjoyed listening in as they reminisced about their younger days. The stories varied from schoolboy hijinks to glory day stories of Big Ten football games to the joys and tribulations of the children they had raised. All the while I listened and smiled and enjoyed a beer of my own. I was a member of the family, Bob had made that perfectly clear many years before, but this conversation held no place for me other than one of observer.

Suddenly and unexpectedly, that changed and in that moment and the moments to follow an enduring memory was created. Their collective stroll down memory lane had taken a detour to a portion of their past not often discussed. Specifically, they began to recall their service during the Viet Nam war. I am not sure what served as the segue to this subject, but it gained momentum with Bob’s recalling a story when he was able to leave his Army posting to pay a visit to an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea aboard which his brother Chuck was assigned as a helicopter pilot. Building on this story each brother contributed anecdotes, both funny and sobering, of their own.

Still on the fray, I continued to listen both fascinated by their humbleness and impressed at how this one family had given so much for our country. Suddenly, and very  much to my surprise, Bob turned to me and asked what it was like for me during my war. With this question the circle parted just enough for me to rise from my seat on the porch’s rail and join their circle. My war had been Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm during which I flew a helicopter in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. I was proud of my service during that time and counted it as one of the most shaping experiences of my life. Still, since it had differed in so many ways from their war, I had not felt it appropriate to interject my experiences into their conversation.

It wasn’t until I had received Bob’s invitation by way of his question that I felt that I merited a spot in that circle. I can not recall what stories I shared that night, the specifics of the memory are overshadowed by the pride I felt at having been deemed worthy by the men who had gone before me. The memory of that night comes back to me when I find myself flipping through the album that contains the letters I wrote and the snap shots I took while overseas. It is a memory that makes me smile and one that I cherish as I recall the time I was welcomed into an elite circle of men.

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