Tag: volcano

Survival Entertainment – for your Vacation!

Log fire from Popular
Popular Mechanics “Swedish fire” built into one log

When you are lucky enough to enjoy a few days of vacation, or if you’re in the mood to CHANGE your mood, consider spending some time with some survival entertainment!

Read for escape and pleasure!

If you are a hard-core reader like I am, you’ll demand a certain level of quality in your survival books.  Or magazines, as the case may be. I found the article from Popular Mechanics, shown above, to be a treat!   (Have you heard of the Swedish fire? You break apart one block of wood, wrap it loosely with wire to keep it all held together and upright, build your fire on top of the center splits so the fire falls down into the cracks. Burns for several hours! Love it!)

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I managed to discover and read something totally different – a survival novel that takes place in a nearly ruined America of the not-so-distant future.

I have reviewed that book — Lighthouse Island — and a half-dozen other outstanding survival books and magazines at our companion website, Emergency Preparedness Books.

If you’re looking for some different survival themes, different levels of intensity and even survival excitement, please head over there and take a look. Several of the books are “How to” on survival; a couple are novels with plenty of accurate survival imagery, and a couple are written for young people – and young at heart like me! I’ll be adding more.

Books chosen for quality survival entertainment
You’ll see some of our Emergency Plan Guide books at the site, too!

Of course, in addition to books there are . . .

Movies for thrills and excitement!

It’s the day after Christmas as I write this Advisory. Yesterday we watched the obligatory re-run of Die Hard. Not a classic wilderness survival movie – but certainly an epic survival story! (Hans Gruber, so very smooth and sinisterly multi-lingual!)

Which brings me to some more of the “Best Survival Movies Ever Made.”  Here’s a short list. Which of these have you seen?  Would you watch them again?

  • Most recent disaster film, which you’ve surely heard of if you haven’t seen it: San Andreas! Sure, it’s not the most scientifically accurate disaster movie. (Savvy preppers here in California find it pretty easy to pick out the faults – a pun!) But what special effects! And Dwayne Johnson!
  • The Martian – science fiction full of well — science mixed with humor!  I read the book a few years ago, and I loved it. (Made me laugh out loud even though the hero was stranded on Mars and had to survive on practically nothing but his brains until he could be rescued! The thinking man’s survival skills on display . . .!) Of course any movie with Matt Damon deserves a Golden Globe nearly sight unseen.
  • Just the next year a traditional survival film actually won an Oscar – in fact, many, many other awards, for that matter. It is The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The scene: western frontier wilderness in the early 1800s. The challenge: winter weather, grizzly bear and other wildlife, plus some treacherous travel companions. Hollywood loved this film, and movie-goers turned it into a blockbuster.

Now, there have been survival movies for years, well before the three described above which you’ve probably at least seen ads for.

How about some survival movie classics?

  • Into the Wild came out in 2007, directed by Sean Penn. It’s an absorbing story of a young man who leaves his comfortable life to test his survival skills in Alaska. I saw this film myself several years ago – every spectacularly beautiful and excruciating minute of it. This is more drama than adventure. And it’s good!
  • Volcano, starring Tommy Lee Jones (another must-see actor) as an emergency manager. It came out in 1997 and is available on Netflix. Set in L.A., this one line describes it all – “Hot on entertainment!”
  • Twister was the second highest grossing film of 1996! It followed storm-chasers across Oklahoma. A Rotten Tomatoes review cites the film’s “visceral thrills” and again, special effects.

Learn some good stuff via documentaries and semi-documentaries.

In no particular order, here are some films that captured the interest of professional members of the Emergency Management group on LinkedIn. I’ll be checking these films off my own holiday viewing list. (One or the other might be appropriate for showing at a neighborhood meeting.)

  • Fire in Paradise, which aired on Frontline, covers the 2018 wildfire that basically destroyed the town of Paradise in California. It’s a 39 minute documentary with interviews of people who went through the ordeal. You’ll learn a lot about evacuations.
  • Dirty War is a docu-drama first broadcast in 2004 by the BBC and made available in the U.S. through HBO. The situation:  A radioactive “dirty” bomb detonates outside a subway station in London. At that time, this was a thriller. Today, it’s become too real.
  • American Blackout is now top of my own list. Produced by National Geographic, the 90-minute docu-drama “reveals in gritty detail the impact of what happens when a cyber-attack on the U.S. takes down the power grid.” The power shut-downs earlier this year gave us a taste . . .

There’s plenty more survival entertainment where these came from!

These movies are available at Amazon and other streaming services. Most are available for purchase at Amazon, too, if that’s how you want to enjoy them. Click away here!

Of course, not all survival fiction may be award-worthy.

But today we’re talking about a vacation change of pace! If necessary, you can always pick out the totally unrealistic moments and describe to your family members what it REALLY would be like. (They may not appreciate the interruption, so maybe save those criticisms until afterwards!?)

At the very least, a book or movie can start a conversation at home to inspire new interest in emergency preparedness and response. Maybe you’ll get ideas for a family adventure tour, or some cool gifts.

Who knows what might happen?! We’re talking survival entertainment here! Hope you enjoy some of these!

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

P.S. Of course you have your own survival entertainment favorites! Let us know what they are!

Insurance for Volcanoes


Lava from volcano“It’s just part of living here,” one of Hawaii’s residents is quoted as saying over the weekend. He wasn’t planning to evacuate from his home, even though fissures were opening in his neighborhood and lava flows from the Kilauea eruption on Friday were approaching. “I’ve been through this a dozen times.”

As of today, though, he may be joining the nearly 2,000 people facing mandatory evacuation, not only because of fire and lava but because of dangerous gases.

If you have friends in Hawaii, or anywhere where volcanoes threaten eruption, you naturally have some important questions about protecting yourself. I had the questions – but wanted good answers. So, I started my research online . . .

l. is there such a thing as volcano insurance?

No. According to a CNN news report, “There’s no such a thing as volcano insurance or lava flow insurance.”

Yes. But the very next news item, coming from The Insurance Information Institute, https://www.iii.org/article/volcanic-eruption-coverage says the following: “Most home, renters and business insurance policies provide coverage for property loss caused by volcanic eruption when it is the result of a volcanic blast, airborne shock waves, ash, dust or lava flow. Fire or explosion resulting from volcanic eruption also is covered.”

Maybe. And a third news feature says, “It’s going to come down to your policy and your underwriter.”

Hm. So, onward . . .

2. So what MIGHT be covered?

State Farm insurance has a 2-page document about eruption coverage that feels authoritative. https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/residence/how-volcano-damage-is-covered-on-your-insurance  The article starts with the exact same quote that we saw above, from the Insurance Information Institute, namely . . .
“Most homeowners policies provide coverage for property loss caused by volcanic eruption when it is the result of a volcanic blast, airborne shock waves, ash, dust, or lava flow. Fire or explosion resulting from volcanic eruption also is covered.”

3. That language sounds encouraging. So what’s the problem?

First, note these two important weasel words that appear in both sources: “Most policies” and “[damage] resulting from.”
When you read “Most ” you must assume that there are some policies that do NOT cover volcanic eruption. And when you see “resulting from” you must ask, “What else could cause this damage?” That’s what brings you to the exclusions.

4. What are the exclusions?

If you’ve been subscribing to Advisories from Emergency Plan Guide for a while, you probably can provide at least some answers to this question.

Here’s more quoting: Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage from earthquake, land tremors, landslide, mudflow, or other earth movement regardless of whether or not the quake is caused by or causes a volcanic eruption.”

The key word here is “earth movement.” THAT seems to fall under coverage provided by earthquake insurance. Here in California it’s a totally separate policy offered by companies through the CEA – California Earthquake Authority: https://www.earthquakeauthority.com/ (There are limits on how much coverage you can purchase for the building and for personal property, and  also on what is actually covered. For example, demolition is typically NOT covered by the policy.)

And I take the sentence quoted in red above to mean further that if earth movement causes a lake to slosh over or a stream to divert onto your property, then the resulting “flood damage” would also not be covered. The typical homeowner’s policy does NOT cover flood damage. For that, you need a separate policy for flood insurance! (More on flood insurance here.)

OK, I now know more about separate earthquake insurance and flood insurance.

5. Can I get a special endorsement to my homeowners’ policy to cover volcanic eruptions?

If you live in a low-risk area, probably yes. But consider this list of states with ACTIVE volcanoes, meaning, you may NOT be in a low risk zone:

Alaska (98 known active volcanoes!)
California (21)
Hawaii (16)
Oregon (42)
Washington (16)

I could find no reliable info about possible costs for volcano endorsements.

6. What about damage to my landscaping, garden sheds, ditches and berms I put up to divert the lava flow, etc?

Not covered. And you won’t be reimbursed for efforts to remove lava or ash from the land afterwards.

7. What about my car?

If you have comprehensive coverage at the time of the eruption, and your car is overtaken by lava or burned up by flying cinders, it’s probably covered. And a vehicle crash that happens during or after a volcanic eruption would likely be covered just like any other crash. If you leave the car behind, and it is damaged over time by falling ash or dust, it probably WON’T be covered.

8. I rent. What about my personal possessions I had to leave behind?

Your landlord has no responsibility for damage to your personal possessions, so take as much as you can with you if you evacuate. If you have renter’s insurance, be sure take photos of your items (before and after if possible) so you can file a claim.

9. What about my lease if I have to leave my apartment or house?

Generally, your landlord must provide a “fit and habitable” place for you to live. If you can’t return to your rental because of damage, your lease will determine if you are eligible for any refund, if you have to pay any back rent, or if and how you can break the lease with no penalty. You should read your contract NOW so you are familiar with its terms. You should take those photos of your possessions now, eruption or no eruption. And if you try to cancel any long-term lease, be sure to get legal advice.

10. What else do I need to know?

Just as with flood and earthquake insurance, you must have the coverage before the disaster hits. In some cases, there’s actually a waiting period before coverage goes into effect.

A personal comment from Virginia – I’ve rented and owned and had both kinds of insuance. I’ve lived in flood country and earthquake country and climbed to the top of a smoking volcano. I even held an insurance license at one time. None of this makes me an expert on this particular subject. What I do know for sure, though, is that insurance policies by their very nature are difficult to understand. This may be a good time to review whatever policies you have so you know just what will be covered in a disaster — and what won’t be covered. Having that knowledge will make you sleep better and you’ll probably be able to negotiate better insurance coverage, too.

The more we know, the better prepared we can be!

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team