Preventing Wildlife Attacks: Let Common Sense Overrule Curiosity

wildlife sq.png

Summer and autumn are gorgeous seasons for outdoor activities. Camping and visiting national parks are some of the most popular. Who doesn’t love spending time in the great outdoors?

While you’re soaking up the sun and enjoying time with the family it’s important to remember that you’re a guest in nature. Be sure to exercise caution and avoid wild animals!


Recent media reports of wildlife attacking humans have many people concerned and reconsidering their time spent outdoors.


Utah wildlife species that have been implicated in attacks on humans, livestock and pets include black bears, mountain lions, moose, elk, mule deer, coyotes, raccoons, turkeys, rattlesnakes and bison. Negative interactions with large ungulates are becoming more common place as humans are increasingly recreating in animal territory, and it’s important to not let human curiosity overrule common sense.


Recent altercations in Yellowstone National Park attest to the value of common sense over curiosity. In June, a bison gored a woman in the Lower Geyser Basin. Before the attack, the woman and other people were within 10 yards of the animal as it crossed a boardwalk. The animal became agitated and charged. Also in June, and in the same area, two women were attacked by a cow elk when they got between the cow and her calf; the cow was defending her calf.


Since 1980, Yellowstone National Park has had over 100 million visitors. During this time, 38 people were injured by grizzly bears in the park. Though this is more than anyone wants, according to the Park for all park visitors combined, the chances of being injured by a grizzly bear are 1 in 2.7 million. For Park visitors who remain in developed areas, roadsides and boardwalks, the risk decreases to 1 in 25.1 million. For those who camp and travel in the backcountry, the risk increases to 1 in 1.4 million for those who stay overnight and 1 in 232,000 for those who travel in the back county.


Although there will always be risks, they can be managed by using common sense and following simple rules.

  1. First and foremost, always remember that Utah is wildlife country. It is home to an abundance of wildlife, which is why so many people are drawn to our state.
  2. Should you encounter wildlife while hiking, biking or camping, remember that distance is your best friend. Most of the attacks reported occur because someone wanted to get that once-in-a-lifetime selfie. Always give the animal a clear path to escape.
  3. If you do encounter wildlife, stay calm and do not run. Pick up children or pets with you. This is the one time that you can be as obnoxious as possible outdoors. Puff up you chest, shout and stomp your feet. Back away slowly. And again remember, do not run!
  4. If a moose, elk or deer knocks you down, curl up in a ball, protect you head and lie still until the animal moves away.
  5. If attacked by a large predator, fight back!
  6. If you encounter a rattlesnake, stop, listen to locate where the rattle is coming from and back away to allow the snake to escape.

Follow these rules for camping:

  1. Keep a clean, odor-free campsite by storing food, drinks and scented items securely in wildlife-proof containers at least 100 yards from your tent. Keep trash away from your campsite, and do not burn it in your fire pit.
  2. Clean your tables, stoves and grills to remove food or odors that could attract wildlife.
  3. Keep your pets leashed in camp and stay with them on the designated trails. Do not let your pet chase or “play” with wildlife, as your pet may be viewed as food.
  4. Always hike, jog and camp with companions.
  5. If you find a wildlife carcass, stay away from it. You could be perceived as messing with a predator’s food, which could cause them to become aggressive.

If you have an encounter with aggressive wildlife, alert the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources office nearest you. For further information on wild animal attacks, visit

This article was contributed by Terry Messmer, Utah State University Extension wildlife specialist.

Eight Reasons to Consider Canning

food canning

Canning your produce can make your harvest go a long way. The practice is economically beneficial and preserves your gardening efforts!


Now that gardens are planted and fruit trees are showing signs of small fruit, many people begin planning how they will preserve the harvest – canning, freezing, drying and even freeze-drying. However, even die-hard food preservers may ask at times if the efforts of growing produce and preserving are really worth it. Here are eight things to consider.

            Emergency preparedness – Preparing for potential job loss, earthquakes or other natural disasters serve as incentives for many to participate in food storage and preservation.

            Economically beneficial – Whether food preservation actually saves money depends on several factors: if you are able to grow your own high-quality produce; if you own the correct equipment in very good to excellent condition; the cost of electricity, natural gas or propane; and the cost of added ingredients and supplies such as sugar, pectin, lids, bottles or freezer bags. A first-time food preserver may find it cost prohibitive to purchase a new pressure canner, dehydrator, or water-bath canner along with all the containers, etc., but those can be purchased over time.

            Time saving – When considering this factor, it is important to think beyond the actual time to harvest, prepare and preserve the food. The time savings actually comes into play down the line when the convenience of having a bottle of stewed tomatoes or frozen chopped onions and peppers on hand to make spaghetti sauce alleviates a trip to the grocery store or time spent preparing these items fresh.


            Quality control – Time from harvest to jar or freezer is minimized when you can pick peaches in the morning and have them canned that same afternoon. Sometimes several days go by between harvesting/picking in a commercial orchard to the processing plant. Also, when it’s your hands sorting through the produce to make certain everything is cleaned and unwanted pieces are discarded, you are more confident in the overall quality of what you preserve.

            Flavor – In general, it is difficult to find commercially preserved foods without added salt, sugar, spices and in some cases dyes and firming agents or other additives. To a large degree, home preserved foods can be prepared with reduced salt/sugar and added spices in your preferred amounts.

            Health benefits – Those who have food allergies must always be on the watch for commercially prepared foods that have possible contamination from tree nuts, gluten and other potentially harmful allergens. Besides the freshness factor, when food is preserved at home, you are in control and can ensure that foods are properly prepared for your family. Reduced sugar recipes for diabetics and lowered salt content for family members with high blood pressure can also be used.

           Reduced food waste – Home gardeners often produce more food than can be harvested and used fresh. For example, rather than having many stalks of ripened corn go to waste, cobs can be shucked, then cobs or kernels may be blanched and frozen. Remaining stalks can then be donated to a farmer to be used to feed goats or other livestock.

            Emotional satisfaction – The idea of producing high-quality foods for future use – and from scratch – can be very satisfying. The best way to feel totally confident in what is sitting on the shelf or in the freezer is to simply follow the approved guidelines and steps established by science and research; not necessarily from a blog, Pinterest or a Facebook post.

For more information on home food preservation, contact your local USU Extension office or visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation at


This article was written by Kathy Riggs, Utah State University Extension professor, or 435-586-8132

How to Prepare Your Home for Fall

Prepare your homeNow is the time to prepare for those impending cold winter months.

It’s here, you can feel it in the  air—fall, and fall brings the falling temperatures that herald winter.  The fall Equinox is a good time of year to start thinking about preparing your home for winter, because as temperatures begin to change, your home will require maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape through the winter.

As winter approaches with its guarantee of ice, snow, and frigid temperatures, taking action early is all the more helpful for you. You’re better off preventing any potential problems now, because once the chill of winter arrives anything that goes wrong in your home will inevitably be nothing but a headache to fix. Careful planning and preparation will ensure your utilities will run efficiently and your home will be protected during the winter, and in the end will save you time, money, and frustration.

Here is a checklist of considerations:


  • Check all weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors.  Replace or repair as needed.
  • Check for cracks and holes in house siding; fill with caulking as necessary.
  • Remove window air conditioners, or put weather-proof covers on them.
  • Take down screens (if removable type) and clean and store them.
  • Drain and shut off all outside faucets and sprinkler lines.
  • Clean gutters and drain pipes so they won’t be clogged with leaves.  Consider installing leaf guards on the gutters or extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.
  • Check roof for leaks and repair.
  • Check flashing around vents, skylights, and chimneys for leaks.
  • Check chimney for damaged chimney caps and loose or missing mortar.
  • Check chimney flue; clean obstructions and make sure damper closes tightly.
  • Clean siding. Paint or seal if you have wood siding.
  • Inspect wood framing from termites and re-treat as necessary.
  • Trim trees away from the house. Have dead trees and branches removed by professional tree trimmers, or do it yourself.
  • Insulate any water pipes that are exposed to freezing cold.
  • Make sure you are stocked with rock salt, sand, snow shovels and any other items you will need during the winter.
  • Buy firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
  • If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
  • Drain gas from lawnmowers.
  • Apply sealant to decks to help prevent wood damage from extreme freezing/thawing cycles.
  • Service or tune-up snow blowers.
  • Replace worn rakes and snow shovels.
  • Clean, dry and store summer gardening equipment.
  • Winterize your lawn, which includes fertilizing and possibly re-seeding, to keep the grass strong and able to reserve food over the winter.  Check with your local nursery or county USU Extension horticulturist for specific questions about your lawn.
  • Clean and store your outdoor lawn and patio furniture to protect them from winter damage.
  • Drain out your outdoor hoses and sprinklers and bring them inside so they cannot freeze or crack. Also drain the water in birdbaths and cover them.


  • Check insulation as much as possible; replace or add as necessary.  Gas/electric companies may have an insulation program going—check with them for possible assistance and insulation checks.
  • Have heating system and heat pump serviced; have humidifier checked; change or clean air filter on furnace.
  • Drain hot water heater and remove sediment from bottom of tank; clean burner surfaces; adjust burners.
  • Check all faucets for leaks; replace washer if needed.
  • Check and clean humidifier in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Clean refrigerator coils.
  • Test and check batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Install or replace weather stripping on all doors and windows. Check for cracks around pipes and electrical outlets entering or exiting the walls.
  • Prepare an emergency kit—flashlights, candles, batteries, bottled water, blankets, etc.  This is the time of year for power outages and having things readily available is smart.  This is also flu season, so preparing your home with supplies for treating the flu might be helpful too.
  • Buy a battery backup to protect your computer and sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Replace warm-weather clothing with cold-weather clothing, and warm-weather bedding with cold weather bedding.
  • Place a boot tray by the door for people to place their wet boots and shoes in before they enter the home.

This article was written by Teresa C. Hunsaker, USU Extension, Weber County, Family and Consumer Sciences Education

Preparedness Ideas You Might Have Forgotten



  • How many phone numbers do you have memorized? If your cell phone is down, so is your phone list.
  • How can you help? When you get to an evacuation gathering site, do you have skills to help take care of frightened children? Computer skills to help take down information? Carpentry skills to help rebuild or stabilize homes?
  • How many people do you know by name on your street? Can you recognize their children—more importantly, can their children recognize you?
  • How long can you stay cheerful?

The current buzzword in community help agency circles is resilience. It’s the ability to cope and overcome problems. Resiliency in a community is key in recovering from disasters, or just plain hard times. Community resilience is built on a foundation of people knowing each other. If you don’t know the people who live next door to you, or behind you across the fence, or on the other side of town, you can’t help them and they can’t help you. I’ve heard that when a natural disaster first hits an area, everyone bands together—the first week. By the end of the month, everyone is “all funned out,” as Cuzco says in The Emperor’s New Groove, but the rebuilding has only just begun.

Popular Mechanics has a special edition of “The Ultimate Survival Guide” on newsstands, so you can “adapt like the Special Forces.” Ultimately, survival depends on how a community can work together using the knowledge and experience of everyone in it. That sense of community starts now: know the people around you, know the people on the other side of town, know what you can do to help once you’ve been helped.

It’s not the Apocalypse we have to worry about: it’s each other.

Interested in learning more about preparedness? Come to the Utah Prepare Conference and Expo this Friday and Saturday, September 8 & 9 at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.

This article was written by Cathy Merrill, USU Extension Assistant Professor, Utah County



Ask An Expert // Six Tips for Portable Emergency Food Storage

emergency foodWhat would your family eat in an emergency? Get prepared with these six expert tips on portable emergency food storage.

Weather can regularly create emergency situations such as massive power outages, dangerous road conditions or flooding across the nation. In Utah, we are not without our share of emergency weather-caused situations that can leave people stranded, without heat or lights for several hours or stopped on the freeway due to a car accident.

While these situations can be frustrating at best, some can mean there will be no relief for up to 72 hours. How would you fare if you were home or in your car “stuck” with only what you have on hand to help you survive? Would you have sufficient supplies of food and water and a source of heat/warmth and other emergency items to last for 3 or more days?

If you are new to food storage and/or emergency preparedness, this question may be difficult to answer. However, even for those who think they are prepared, it’s good to review some basics and examine what goes in a 72-hour emergency kit.

Below are six tips for preparing your portable emergency supply, adapted from USU’s online publication, “A Guide to Food Storage for Emergencies.”

1. Foods to include in the 3-day/72-hour kit:

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA 2012), the general guidelines are to stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation along with a manual can opener and eating utensils. Examples include:

  •  Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts, chips or crackers
  • Food for infants
  • Powdered drink mixes to add to water
  • Comfort/stress foods, candy bars, etc.

2. Beverages to include in the 3-day/72-hour kit:

  • Bottled water
  • Soda or juices (Avoid diet sodas if possible since the artificial sweeteners break down and can cause an off flavor in soda stored beyond the expiration date. Regular soda will just taste flat.)
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk (Sold in cartons; does not require refrigeration.)

3. How to store the 3-day/72-hour supply kit:

In case you are home and need to evacuate on short notice, these supplies should be stored in a convenient location close to a front door or garage. Use one or two portable containers. Consider a tote on wheels with a handle, backpacks, etc., that are easy to move. Be sure they will fit in your car and that they can be carried or pulled to a safe location if you need to leave the car.

4. Amount of water to include:

The recommendation is 1 gallon of water per person (adult) per day. However, the requirement for staying hydrated varies according to age, physical condition, activity, diet and climate. Bottled water is the easiest to store; whether it is purchased in individual serving sizes or larger containers such as 3-liter jugs. Again, consider how you will carry this with you.

5.  How to keep food cold or frozen at home:

If you experience a power outage that doesn’t require you to leave your home, make certain perishable foods remain useable for as long as possible. If you have enough warning or have extra space in the freezer, fill empty spaces with bagged blocks of ice or fill clean plastic containers/jugs with water and freeze. Food in the freezer may not stay completely frozen but will stay cold for 1-2 days. Foods in the refrigerator may fare better if they can be transferred into insulated ice chests and covered with cubed ice.

6. How to maintain emergency food storage:

It is not only important to obtain a 72-hour supply of food and water, but also to store it safely and rotate the food to keep it appetizing and safe to eat.

  • Keep the foods in a cool, dry place.
  • Store in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend shelf life.
  • Throw out any canned goods that have become dented, show signs of corrosion or are bulging.
  • Use foods by their expiration/freshness dates and replace as necessary.
  • Rotate water storage annually.
  • Re-evaluate your food and water storage needs annually as families expand or get smaller in numbers.

The initial expense of time and money to establish a 3-day emergency food supply may seem daunting. However, once established, you can reduce the sense of fear, knowing you are prepared and can keep your family nourished during an emergency situation.

This article was written by Kathleen Riggs, Utah State University Extension professor,, 435-586-8132

Water // The First Step for Family Preparedness

Water Preparedness.jpgWant to build up your family’s emergency supplies, but not sure where to start? A great first step is to store water. Find out how to get started here!

The human body is made up of 65 percent water, and it is necessary for our existence. Water helps our blood flow, carries oxygen and nutrients to our cells, flushes waste products from our body and even cushions our tissues and joints. It is also a critical component in food digestion. Water is fundamental for our daily life.

Providing for our water needs in the event of a disaster becomes a top priority, as water may have been interrupted or contaminated. Each person will need at least 1 gallon of water per day. For home storage, you should have at least a 2-week supply of water available for each person for drinking and sanitation. Water should be stored in food-grade containers such as glass jars, metal or plastic containers. Previously used juice and milk containers are not acceptable, as food proteins are difficult to remove, and the grade of plastic might not be adequate.

Treatments may be necessary if water is from a non-sterile source. Suggested methods are:

  •    Heat treatment-boil water 5-10 minutes. Use water bath processing for glass jars. 
  •    Chemical treatment Unscented Chlorine Treatment –8 drops per gallons (less than 1/8 tsp), or 2 drops per quart. Let stand for 30 minutes. For cloudy water, use 24 drops per 2 gallons (4 drops per quart). If still cloudy, repeat, let stand 15 minutes, and dispose if still cloudy. Water should have a slight bleach odor. If not, repeat and wait another 15 minutes. The treated water can then be made palatable by pouring it between clean containers several times. 

    Nearly all available liquid chlorine bleach is now concentrated. Amounts that are required for treatment are less than in previous years. Beware of expiration dates. If the bottle of bleach is older than 4 months, it should not be used as a water purifying agent. Bleach will dissipate after 1 year.

  •      Other forms of treatment are iodine, water purification tablets, distillation and filtration. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has recently approved the use of colloidal silver in low doses for maintaining microbiological quality of stored water.  

Additional emergency sources of water may be:  Potable water from pipes, water heater, ice cube trays and beverages. Do not use water from swimming pools, toilet tanks or waterbeds for drinking. Chemicals have been added to these, making them unsafe.

When potable (drinkable) water is properly disinfected and stored in ideal conditions, it should have an indefinite shelf life.  To maintain the optimum quality, water should be rotated every 6 months.    

Water storage is the first important step to preparedness. It is cost effective and something you can do today. Begin by storing in small containers, then work toward the 50-gallon barrels.  These should not be stored on the dirt or direct concrete, as they will absorb orders. Containers that are filled from the tap (city water) will not need treatments.  

This article was written by Carolyn Washburn, USU Professor

After the Flood // Salvaging Carpets and Clothes

floodingHave you been hit with flooding in your home? Try these eight tips to care for your clothes and carpets after the floodwaters have subsided.

With heavy snowfall and recent warm temperatures, many Utahns have experienced flooding in their homes. Flood or drain backup water may contain sewage and unknown chemicals that can contaminate carpet and present a health hazard. Water from irrigation leakage or sump pump failure may be less risky, but equally damaging. In addition to carpet damage is clothing and fabric damage and the race against mildew. Consider these tips for cleaning up after a flood.

  1.  For carpet, the first step is to immediately get it off the floor to start drying it and to preserve the wood under the carpet. You may also have to remove the foam carpet padding. If possible, take it out to a driveway or patio to dry. If the carpet is too heavy to move, lift it off the floor and prop it up to allow air to circulate around it. If possible, don’t let the carpet completely dry this way if you want to save it, as it will likely be stretched out of shape when it dries. If you are working with contaminated water damage, be sure to wear rubber gloves before handling the carpet.
  2. Next, clean the floor to minimize odor and mildew. Scrub the floors with hot water and detergent, then rinse them with a bleach solution of one-half cup of bleach per gallon of water.
  3. Determine if the carpet can be saved. You may need to consult professional carpet cleaners to decide if it is worth saving. Your decision will depend on the source of the water damage. If it is flood water or a sewer backup, your main concern will be sanitation. If the damage is from rain or culinary water, your main concern is preventing mildew. In this case, most rented carpet cleaners should do an adequate job cleaning it.
  4. Recovering flood-damaged clothing is a time-sensitive battle in preventing mildew. Most of the dirt can be washed out, but mildew can permanently damage clothes quickly. Be sure to wear rubber gloves when handling wet clothing and fabric.
  5.  Since you likely have more clothes than you can clean all at once or want to have dry cleaned, let everything air dry as quickly as possible. Don’t leave clothes in a heap, as this promotes mildew growth. Once dry, shake them out or brush off loose dirt and dried mud. Next separate clothes the way you would for normal washing. Store dry, separated clothes in plastic bags if it is going to take a long period of time to get everything washed.
  6.  Pre-soak clothes in cold water or use the pre-rinse cycle on your washer to remove any additional dirt. Use hot water and detergent to kill germs, and remember to load the washer more loosely than usual since the clothes are extra dirty.
  7. Wool and delicate items may not tolerate hot water. If you don’t want to pay to have them dry cleaned, hand wash them in a basin of warm water using 1-2 tablespoons of heavy duty liquid detergent. Allow to soak for at least 3 minutes and rinse thoroughly.
  8. Most blankets, throw rugs, bedspreads, quilts and down-filled items can receive the same treatment as clothing, just be sure to carefully support them when they are wet to avoid ripping from the weight of the water.

Cleaning water-damaged areas is often difficult and discouraging work. However, with time and patience, most clothing items with light-to-medium water damage can be salvaged. There’s also a good chance that carpet with minimal damage can be saved. For large jobs or major sewer backups, it may be best to contact a disaster cleanup company.

This article was written by Kathleen Riggs, Utah State University Extension professor, family and consumer sciences,, 435-590-7727

How to Winterize Your Car


Winter is on its way. Follow these steps to winterize your vehicle and ensure that you are ready for whatever this winter may bring. 

With winter approaching, thoughts turn to safe driving. Now is a great time to winterize your car and add to your car emergency kit.  You never know when you might be stopped on the freeway or stranded away from home.

Winterize Your Car:

  • To be prepared for inclement weather, keep your car filled with gas. Never let your tank get below half full.
  • Keep your car serviced. Check the oil, brake fluid, antifreeze and windshield washer fluid reservoirs to make sure they are full, and keep them at correct levels.
  • Put your snow tires on, check tire pressure and tread depth on all tires including your spare tire. Make sure all tire changing equipment works on the tires on the vehicle. Carry a full-size spare tire if you can.  Also carry canned air and tire sealant to repair a tire.
  • Test your heater to make sure it works. Inspect your battery and make sure it is charged and the terminals are clean. Inspect your windshield wipers and replace if worn.
  • Check the condition of your jumper cables. A heavy duty set of jumper cables is recommended.

Winterize Your Car Emergency Kit:

If you already have water, food, a first aid kit, a fire starter kit, a flashlight, blankets and toilet paper in your basic car emergency kit, add some additional items:

  1. Cell phone charger – A phone can save your life in inclement weather, but batteries don’t hold a charge as long in cold weather. Consider carrying an external portable charger with you.
  2. The Winter Survival Kit app – This tool will help you find your current location, call 911, notify your friends and family and calculate how long you can run your engine to keep warm and stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s available free for both Android and iOS systems from the North Dakota State University Extension Service. Go to: Winter Survival Kit at
  3. Windshield scraper and small broom – Having tools to keep heavy snow off windshields, the roof of your vehicle and away from exhaust pipes is important in snowy/icy weather.
  4. Water – To keep water from freezing or getting too hot and leaking in your vehicle, wrap with a space blanket (or other blankets) or store in an insulated cooler bag.
  5. Survival medications – Carry an emergency supply of necessary medications in case you are stranded away from home for more than one day.
  6. Extra jackets, gloves, hats and boots – Make sure everyone has enough clothing if you had to walk outside for at least an hour in cold weather. Add hand warmers and include heavy gloves.
  7. Hand sanitizer/wet wipes/extra diapers/sanitary supplies/plastic bags – Carry a large empty can with a plastic cover, tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes. These items can be important if you are traveling with small children or if you have other personal sanitary needs to address during an emergency.
  8. Tool kit- Make sure to carry basic tools that can be used on your vehicle, including a multi tool with knife and duct tape.
  9. Safety Tools: Tow Straps – These straps should be used with caution to avoid harming the frame of your vehicle but can be very helpful in pulling the vehicle out if you are stuck. Shovel – A compact shovel with a telescoping handle is a must in snowy weather. Make sure it is sturdy enough to handle hard-packed snow. Sand/cat litter – Carry this to help give you traction if you get stuck.  Emergency flares and distress flags, warning triangles/whistle – These can alert others to your situation and also allow emergency personnel to find you.
  10. Tire Chains –If you don’t have a 4-wheel drive vehicle and are traveling in mountainous areas, they may be required.
  11. Fire extinguisher – Make sure the extinguisher is designated for use with a vehicle, and understand how to use it.
  12. Compass and map of the area- This is the old-fashioned form of GPS and can be helpful when cell service is not available. In stormy weather, the compass is a must because you can easily lose your bearings and be confused about directions.
  13. Collapsible fuel container for gas – This is a great item to have if you run out of gas and have to carry it to your vehicle. Gas stations may not have extra fuel containers.
  14. Entertainment – Pack a deck of cards, a paperback book, dice, paper, markers, pencils, coloring books and other games to keep everyone entertained.
  15. Cash – Keep enough cash in small bills (ones, fives, tens and change) to fill your car with gas or possibly cover a night’s stay in a motel or cover minor repairs. Store in a secure place in the vehicle.
  16. Emergency information – Keep an envelope in your glove compartment with family contact information, towing service, AAA Road Assistance, police or emergency services and your insurance company. Always let someone know where you are going if you travel.

Good luck in getting your vehicle ready for the season ahead!


This article was written by Marilyn Albertson, Utah State University Extension Associate Professor, Salt Lake County


ASK A SPECIALIST: DO YOU HAVE TIPS FOR PREPARING AN EMERGENCY CAR KIT? Answer by: Carolyn Washburn, Utah State University Extension family consumer science agent, Washington County., Posted by Dennis Hinkamp on Nov 12, 2012

Winter Storm Survival Kit for Cars,

Winter Survival Kit, North Dakota State University Extension at

Ask an Expert // 7 Things to Keep in Your Car

Car Preparedness.jpg

Don’t get caught unprepared on the road. Stock your car with these seven things to ready yourself for any emergency.

We spend a lot of time in our vehicles, whether we’re driving to work, the grocery store, soccer practice or a family vacation.  Its been estimated that the average American spends 101 minutes per day driving. (Harvard Health Watch 2016)   With that much time in the car, it makes sense that we may have unanticipated issues, including mechanical trouble, a flat tire, weather problems, a car accident, or being first on the scene of any type of accident. Here are seven items to always keep in your car in case of an emergency.

  1. Water- Make sure you have sufficient water for 24 hours for all occupants of the vehicle. A good rule of thumb is 2 liters of water per person.  Water filtration devices are also useful and great for emergency kits.
  2. High Calorie Snacks- While-high calorie snacks are not usually what is recommended in case of extreme weather (heat or cold), they are best suited for emergencies like being stranded or needing to walk to get help. There are many high-calorie snack options, including S.O.S. 3600 calorie bars.
  3. Basic First Aid Kit- There are many inexpensive first aid kits readily available. However, often these kits don’t include some extremely important items.  In addition to the standard Neosporin and Band-Aids, be sure that your first aid kit includes: Neoprene/nitrile gloves, ibuprofen, sufficient ace bandages to wrap a limb, and at least one Mylar survival blanket.
  4. Fire-starter Kit- This can be as simple as a few lighters and some paper, or as elaborate as you would like. A small candle in a can is helpful during the winter and can be used as a source of light.  Just be sure to always have supplies for at least two methods of starting a fire.
  5. Flashlight- Keep a good flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries in your car. Be sure to check the batteries regularly.
  6. Blankets- This is in addition to the Mylar blankets included in your first aid kit. Mylar blankets are an excellent source for shelter or to retain body heat in an emergency.  However, the comfort of a real blanket can be particularly soothing to children during an emergency or for the victims of an automobile accident.
  7. Toilet Paper – It never fails that someone will need to use the rest room as soon as the facilities are unavailable. Toilet paper will add some comfort to an otherwise uncomfortable situation.

Now (as with all preparation) please take into account your typical number of passengers. If you have six children you will obviously need to prepare differently than for a single individual.

Elizabeth Davis is the Utah State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Assistant Professor for Kane County. Questions or comments may be sent to 

Ask an Expert: 5 Tips for Failproof Home Preserving

Canning Tips Graphic

How can you be sure the food you have preserved at home and placed on food storage shelves is safe for your family to eat? USU Extension Professor Kathleen Riggs shares five tips to keep in mind when preserving food.

1- Proper temperature

  • Boiling water method – kills most molds and air-borne bacteria in high acid foods (E.g., fruits, fruit juices and pickles). Steam canners may be used in place of a boiling water bath under specified conditions.*
  • Steam under pressure method – kills anaerobic organisms like those that cause botulism in low acid foods (E.g., vegetables and meats).
  • Note that tomatoes may be processed in a water-bath canner with the addition of an acid such as vinegar or lemon/lime juice.


2- Correct amount of processing time

This is scientifically determined, and as altitude increases:

  • Boiling water – time must be increased.
  • Steam under pressure – pressure must be increased.


3- New jar lids with screw bands that seal properly

  • New two-piece metal lids with sealing compound are recommended.
  • Screw bands may be reused multiple times if free of corrosion and dents.
  • A good seal means lids have indented and cannot be removed easily.


4- Up-to-date, approved recipes

“Approved” doesn’t mean it is endorsed by a favorite friend or relative! Canning is a science; not an art. Therefore, only use recipes from the following sources:

  • USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning
  • National Center for Home Food Preservation ( )
  • So Easy to Preserve (Published by University of Georgia Extension)
  • Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving


5- Current, approved food preservation methods

  • For canning, only two methods are approved:
    • Boiling water bath
    • Steam pressure canning
    • Steam canner- For high acid foods only and for 45 minutes or less processing time.*
  • Other approved methods of food preservation include dehydration, freezing and smoking/curing.


*For guidelines on using steam canners, contact your local USU Extension office or review the following article endorsed by USDA and the National Center for Home Food Preservation:

This article was written by Kathleen Riggs, USU Extension Professor,