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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Get'in Home - nothing more important

For almost any situation we might discuss the overriding desire for everyone is to ‘get home’. Does not matter if the situation is a broken down car, earthquake or alien invasion we all just want to get home. Everyone has the place they call “home” be it where you live now or grandma’s house we all have the place we consider home. For most of us this where we put our heads down at night but everyone’s situation is different.

Think of the place you call “Home”, you're going to have to narrow it down a bit by adding in distance. Why? Because if you live in Florida but consider ‘home’ to be a place in Oregon this distance is too much for what we are talking about here. Let’s then figure out how far away you are from home on a regular basis. Most people live within 20 miles of where they work and for the most part we do not travel further than 20 miles from the house on a regular basis. Of course everyone is different and you might not fit into the average. I know I don’t, I’m 60+ miles from home at work five days a week. Let’s use the 20 miles as a base line.

When we do the planning for this we are going to want to do this on the “cheap”; sure the internet is full of list of items you “need” to get home and you can spend hours filling a pack with things you “need”. What do we really need to get home? Remember we are talking about getting home not fighting of the zombie hordes or restarting society from scratch. For almost all of us this means the worst case scenario is something has happened and we got to walk home. Think about this for a moment, you are going to have to put one foot in front of the other till you reach your doorstep.

For most of us this is not going to happen, we can call friends or family to pick us up, take a cab, ride a bus or find some other means of transportation. Yet there is a chance each of us could face this situation, be it from a natural or manmade emergency, so let’s plan for the worst and hope for a easier solution. When was the last time you walked three miles, five miles, ten miles or the twenty miles we are going to use for this? Let’s all be honest with ourselves, you do not have to tell anyone else, we haven’t walked that far in a long time or maybe we have never walked that far!

On average most people walk about 3 miles an hour, if we have to cover 20 miles that’s…… let me find the calculator……. I would take us roughly 6 hours of steady walking to make the 20 miles! Odds are we are not going to able to walk for 6 hours straight. This means we have to plan for the worst case scenario. 20 miles = 2 days of walking. “WHAT? It would not take me that long!”. I can hear you yelling at me already. Remember worst case, anything else is a good day. If we divide the walk up into two days, to allow for obstacles or other delays we only have to walk for roughly three hours both days. This gives us plenty of time to deal with anything coming up, does not really tax us physically and gives our family a longer time frame before they begin to worry. If we tell our loved ones 2 days and we make it home in 1 they have not even started to really worry and we are home already, win – win!!!!

What do we “NEED” to get home with? Remember we are focused on getting ourselves home and nothing else. First thing we need is something to put our items in. Almost all of us have an old backpack, knapsack, bag from a store, gym bag or some other container we can put stuff in. If you ride a bus, train or vanpool to work you can find a container and store these items at work. The idea is to find something you already have and repurpose the item.

Once we have a container then we need to go through the closet and find our old pair of shoes or boots we tossed in the back. Old sneakers with the holes in them or work boots we left in the garage are great for this! What we want is something we can wear which is already ‘broke in’ Those dress shoes or especially high heels you wear everyday are not made for walking this far in!!! If you cannot walk due to poor footwear, you are not going to get home.

Go back to the closet, this time look for the old jacket or hoodie you do not wear anymore. Try to find something which will keep the weather at bay and help keep you warm. If you live in an area where it snows find something appropriate to the climate (I suggest moving hahaha). While you’re in there also find some old pants to roll up and put in the bag. Before you roll the pants up put a tee shirt, underwear and some thick socks on top of the pants and roll them all up together. You now have a change of clothes in case your normal work attire is high heels, knee length skirt and blouse. Remember these clothes need to be loose, comfortable and durable. Now is not the time to be fashionable!

Now let’s break out some Ziploc bags, I love these things! In one toss a few dollars and a couple dollars in change. The amount of money to put in the bag? Twenty dollars or so; enough money to buy lunch and most definitely enough to buy a few bottles of water. In another bag toss in a lighter or two. In another put your old driver’s license or another form of picture ID along with a copy of your medical insurance card. If you want throw all of these items into one bag and put these in your get home bag. The reasons for these items? You want to be able to start a fire if you need to, buy things if you cannot use your credit or debit card and be able to check into a hospital if need be. Writing important numbers down on a piece of paper or card and putting this with your ID is also a good idea. Find an old flashlight, put some batteries in a Ziploc and toss those in the bag.

For most of us these items are going to be enough to help get us home and not weight us down as we try to get home. If you live somewhere there are no stores for miles you are going to want to modify what you pack into the bag. For us city and suburban dwellers we are still going to have access to things we need along the way. This means we do not need to carry five gallons of water with us but we do need some change to buy a bottle of water before we set off.

To earn some bonus points and if you got room, toss an MRE or camping meal into the bag. Maybe a poncho, Leatherman tool or a knife and if you really want to like yourself later some paracord. Just remember you are going to carry what you pack so do not go overboard!!!!! Of course we can upgrade our pack later, heck you can go all “lightweight super hiker” if you want when you have the money. For right now we are just trying to put something together which will help us tomorrow.

Please keep in mind what the purpose of this bag is, to get you home! Of course we can add things to the bag. There are tons of things we could add, water filters, fishing gear, compass and all sorts of other items. If you “need” these items to cover the distance you have to travel then do so. We do not want to add anything we do not need and if you pack a lot of stuff you realize you do not need later, dump the stuff or give it to someone else who might need it during a situation. Our goal is to get home and nothing else!

As Always,

Stay Safe!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

Following the events in France I was contemplating how to address the situation. After thinking long about the subject I will stay out of the politics, belief systems involved or any of the other subjects which cause people to pick a side or stop thinking clearly. Those are conversations for a different forum.

In previous postings we have discussed ideas for dealing with ‘Active Shooters’ and hostage situations. For this posting I thought we needed to focus on other ideas or concepts to help us if we find ourselves in these types of situations.

First we must acknowledge there are people who want to do harm and even kill others out there. You must seriously think about this for a moment, even if you become uncomfortable thinking about this. None of us want to acknowledge there are others out there who wish for nothing more than our death. Yes they want you dead! There are people who want you and your family dead! You do not have to agree with or even understand their reason for wanting your children, spouse and you dead, you just have to realize these people are out there.

Acknowledging the idea people want you dead is the first step in not becoming a victim. The next step is to remain aware of the threat. By this I do not mean walk around all day paranoid of every person you met or going into full “Mad Max” mode when you hear a car backfire. The idea here is to do things which will increase your odds of going home to your family and almost nothing is more important than making it home to your family!

If you see something that is just ‘Not Right’, report it!!! No matter what the outcome. Do not let political correctness stop you from reporting something. If you see two guys wearing ski masks, load bearing vests (military vest) and armed, call the authorities!!! Yell, scream, run and tell as many people as you can!!!! Use your cell phone to call the authorities, not to take video!! If you make people aware of the danger odds are more lives will be saved. Give others a chance to react to the situation by making them aware of what is going on.

Awareness is one of the biggest tools we can sharpen to assist us with these situations. We need to tune our awareness to the exits from our office, awareness of what is happening around us and the awareness to take action when something happens. “Awareness to take action?”, YES! You have to be aware of when it is time to run like the four horsemen are chasing you! Inaction will get you killed!!!!

When I say ‘RUN’ I mean ‘FUCKING RUN’ like your life depends on it!!! Because your life does depend on it!! Run as if you are planning to run all the way home. “RUN FORREST RUN!” applies here.

Have the awareness to not run into a position from which you cannot get out of. There is video tape of people in Paris running to the roofs of the building being attacked. Having been in Paris I understand there was a chance they could have gone across to another building in some places. For most of us the buildings are not this close together. Be aware and do not run yourself into a position with no way out if you do not have to go to that position. Being in a dead end just makes it easier for the bad guys to hunt you down and SLAUGHTER you.

Be aware others are not prepared to respond to bad situations. You might find yourself having to lead people out of the danger area. Be aware they are going to be scared, be aware they are trying to come to grips with what is happening (something you should already have thought of) and you might have to yell, scream, push, shove and even drag others to safety!!!! Worry about hurt feelings later!

During the event or immediately after the event you might have to preform first aid on people. Learn basic first aid. Most injuries are survivable in situations like these. Not all gunshots are fatal and if basic lifesaving actions can be taken quickly people can survive. Direct pressure to a wound can make a difference. Just by placing a cloth over a wound and pressing on it as hard as you can you might make the difference for someone. Learning how to apply tourniquet is a valuable skill which could save a life. Wrapping a belt around a damaged limb and tightening it down can slow the blood flow enough to keep someone alive till help arrives. If you do not know how to perform CPR, learn. This might be the difference between a mother making it home to her children or dying in front of you!!!

Be aware you are on your own till help arrives. You and the people around you will have to deal with the situation until people can arrive to help. Take positive, proactive steps to ensure you can make it home. Waiting for help to arrive or for some authority figure to tell you what to do will simply get you killed. Do not wait for “someone else” to decide your fate; take responsibility for yourself and your own life!!

Most people are not prepared to deal with situations as have happened in Paris. Almost no one is ready to deal with armed men firing at them, the chaos of people being opened up by bullets passing through them or the thoughts of facing their own death at the hands of another human being. Being aware of what could happen and acknowledging what could happen before something happens gives you the ability to make decisions faster which could be the difference between living or dying.

I realize these are thoughts or subject matter most people do not want to discuss or even think about. We have to discuss and think about these things. The predators out there count on people not being prepared mentally to deal with their actions. They count on surprise to work in their advantage. Predators want you to freeze, do nothing and allow them to do what they want before you can react. Awareness goes a long way toward countering this advantage. If they cannot surprise you, you have already upset their plan and making the other person change their plans is always a good strategy.

As Always,

Stay Safe

Food storage – four ways

“An army travels on its stomach.” Is a true concept, no matter if Napoleon was the first to be quoted stating this idea or not. (History buffs will understand this) When we are planning for a bad day one of the first things we have to consider is how to feed ourselves and loves ones. Aside from water and shelter, food is one of your top priorities. No matter the situation, loss of a job, fire, flood, earthquake or alien invasion your stomach is going to be one of the first things you have to address. If you have ever been truly hungry, I do not mean you haven’t eaten in a few hours but you haven’t eaten all day and you are not sure when or from where you next meal is coming you understand the type of hunger I am discussing here.

To address this subject a good suggestion is to have a multi-level approach to food storage; one which does not rely on a single source of food or a small selection of food types. You want to have as much variety as you can; short and long term storage and try to do all of this on the cheap.

The first angle to a well prepared food plan is purchase more of what your family eats every week. By using coupons, buying in bulk and other creative means we try to purchase items our family regularly uses. Warehouse stores are great for this especially for items which do not go bad quickly. An example of this would be pancake mix. You can save money by buying ten pounds of mix at Costco than by buying five pounds at a regular grocery store.

You can also save money by buying none food items at the warehouse store and putting the savings toward buying extra food items. Say buying a giant pack of toilet paper at the warehouse saves you five bucks over what you would spend at a grocery store, take those five bucks and put it toward canned goods or other items your family uses weekly. The idea is to buy items for one more meal, one more day, one more week, etc. etc.

Just keep in mind your available storage space for these items!!!! Most of these items rely on refrigeration and if you buy more than you can store you have wasted money and resources!!!

These are the types of meals you can grab and go. Military meals, hiking meals and any other type of food which is portable and made for what can be considered the medium range of storage time; most of these types of meals can easily be stored for 3 to 5 years without any major concerns. Of course these meals cost a bit of money if you try to buy a large quantity all at once. A workable suggestion is to buy one or two meals at a time.

MREs are somewhere around $70.00 for a case of meals, 12 meals. Individual hiking type meals are around $7 or $8 a piece. If you can pick up one hiking meal a month that is one more meal you have or if you can save up the money and buy one case of MREs you have 12 meals. Doing the math, adding in the number of family members you have, can get scary when you realize the price of what you might have to invest. Remember, one meal at a time!!! Say for January you decide to cover breakfast for just one day. Maybe there are four people in your family, that’s two hiking meals or roughly 20 bucks. This can be all you spend for the month and all of us can come up with $20.00 without breaking the bank!!! Yes you can!!!

These are food items made to be stored for an extended period of time, 20 years or more. These are you’re really bad day food stores! If you have to break into these something bad has happened. At first look these items might seem expensive but you have to remember they are special made to last for the long haul. Some of these items are buy and forget, well all of them are buy and forget hopefully!!! The trick here is to buy as many items as you can which are the same as your family eats every day. Keeping things as close to “normal” as you can really will help with lowering the families stress level during a bad situation.

I personally look to Auguason Farms for items in this category. They have quality items for reasonable prices. The customer service I have had with these folks is OUTSTANDING!


Using the same idea as before, just buy one item a month if this is all you can budget. You will be surprised how quickly your pantry fills up!

This probably is the most fulfilling way to address your food storage needs. It sounds kind of cliché to say but growing your own food has a special feel to it. Learning how to tend to a garden and eating things you grow yourself allows you to learn new skills and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Trust me you will have some disappointments before your get accomplishment!!!!!!

I personally have learned to make jams from our fruit trees and have had to learn about making soil right to grow food. There is way more to growing food then just throwing seeds in the ground and pouring water on them. Plus it gives me and the kids something fun to do. Every kid enjoys an excuse to get dirt and play in the dirt!

Grow whatever you can. Even if you live in an apartment on the fifteenth floor you can still grow things on a balcony or just in the kitchen window! Fresh herbs and spices can be grown in almost any window and fruit trees can be grown in pots!!!

Growing your own food also allows you to learn how to make food from scratch and gives you more of appreciation of exactly what goes into those meals you pick up at the drive thru. You might also find this is when you want to learn about preserving food. Odds are you are going to grow more food then you can use and you will naturally want learn how to preserve the excess for later use. This is when you have a reason to learn about canning and other methods to preserve food.

Remember, nothing ever started without taking the first step. Build your food storage one meal or item at a time. You will be surprised by how quickly you will be able to feed your family for an extra day, two days, a week and then a month. There is a sense of security which comes with being able to feed your family for a month without having to go to a store. Should there be a bad day you and your family can stay safely at home instead of venturing out to find food others desperately need!!

As Always.

Stay Safe!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

$20 - pasta @ Von's

Errands for the day took me past Vons today and I stop in to see what I could pick up for twenty dollars. I rarely shop at Vons and had to spend time looking around to find what I wanted. Which I guess is a good thing, I now know where most of the major items are in the store if I was ever in a hurry and walked in there.

I wanted to focus on pasta type items I could pick up. Since I do not shop there often I had to take extra time to read the price tags and compare different items. Which is something we should always do when shopping, this little trip reminded me of this. In this case I found no name items, which were cheaper, right next to better known brands. Comparing items allows us to buy more for less, in most cases there is absolutely no difference other than the box items come in.

The advantage to buying pasta in the box is you can cook as much as you need right then. With some premade boxes you kind of have to cook everything at one time. Having the box also let's you season the food to your liking. Especially useful when you have a picky eater in the house!!!! In addition to picking up a few boxes of pasta I decided to purchase a few different flavored sauce cans. I could have used the money for more pasta but adding the sauce gave me some easy to make meals. Pasta by itself is really no fun to eat!!

Having different types of flavors lead me to buy the different types of pre-made boxes. Even with the Top Ramen I wanted to make sure there different flavors. One package is shrimp and the other is regular flavored.

With any of these items you can add other items from your cupboard to create different or larger meals. Something as simple as adding items from your can goods or staple items can aid in making any of these items a complete and filling meal. Remember when you are shopping for "emergency food" you can find cheap, tasty and healthy meals for your family.

You just need "one more meal"!

When I went to check out the cashier was nice enough to run a generic "club card" through the scanner. My original price was $19.52 and I saved five dollars or so after he ran the card. Being a regular shopper at stores can pay off over the long run. Had I known the discount was coming I could have added more items to the total purchase!!! When I was comparing prices I could see the price for club members and I figured this into how many items I bought. I will take the five dollars and save this for next time I go shopping for stuff.

When we are able, as in this case, we should shop to ensure we have a variety of flavors in our pantry or storage. Eating the same thing every day gets really old, really fast. Anyone who has been money challenged for a while or in the military can attest to this! Once you get tired of eating the same thing you start to eat less. Less you eat the lower your energy level will be and eating less can even affect you immunity. You could find yourself in a deadly downward spiral of eating less, having less energy to do things (like find food) and at some point you will not accomplish any task to better your position. This is something we do not want to happen during any event. Something as simple as having three different types of sauce could make the difference.

Next time you go shopping make sure and compare prices and if you can become a ‘member’ of the store to save additional money. Money you can use in other areas to assist you and your family to be better prepared.

As Always,

Stay Safe

Saturday, January 03, 2015

New Year - new start.

Hope everyone had a good New Year and holiday season. I took some time off and hung out with the family!

Let's all do something positive this year and instead of "promising" ourselves we are going to do something then not doing, let's just do it. Through out the year let's do one thing a month which are going to be helpful for everyday life and during an emergency. Nothing overly complicated and in most cases something we can easily pick up or do. When these ideas come up do not procrastinate JUST DO IT!

Next time you are at the grocery store, yes the very next time you find yourself in a grocery store, market, gas station or liquor store, buy a lighter or a pack of lighters. You will find them in most cases near the register. If they are not right there take a moment and find out where they are. The point is, do not walk out of the place without at least one and hopefully more than one lighter.

Why? Because we need a source of fire, sure we could use a rock and piece of flint…… but why if we have lighters to use. Having the ability to start a fire with a couple of pieces of wood is an OUTSTANDING skill to have and I encourage everyone to learn how it is done. What we need is a quick and simple way to make fire. Especially if we have little ones to care for!!!

Last thing you want to be doing during a situation is trying to light something. "Something" might just be a candle after the power goes out or a fire to warm yourself when your car stalls in the woods. No matter the situation quicker and easier in this situation is the best. Having to use friction in order to make a flame should be the last option in a several option system. If you have family with you during a bad day, you are injured or you simply need the flame ASAP, doing it the “cool” way is not an option.

Now you got a lighter and unless you are a smoker you are not use to carrying one, what do you do with it. Place the lighter in what you carry every day. Purse, briefcase, backpack or even a diaper bag, the idea is to have at least one and hopefully more than one handy when you might need it. Ideally you would just toss one in your pocket but most people are not use to carrying one.

Next place to put one, remember we are shooting for buying a pack of lighters, is in your car. Put it in the glove box or center console. There is room in both of these for at least one and if there is not we need to have different discussion! Then we are going to sneak into our significant others vehicle and do the same. Let them know it is in there after you put it there. odds are they won't bother to move it once the lighter is there and will only think about it again if they need it.

Last place we want to stash one or more is somewhere in the house. Not out in the garage under the box of clothes you will never wear again. Somewhere you can get to them if the power suddenly went out. Desk drawer, junk drawer or anywhere else you could find the lighter in the dark.

For extra points this month pick up a box or two of matches!!! Strike anywhere matches are better than strike on box matches but for this either will work. Get a box and put it in the kitchen somewhere. If you get two put the second box in the garage.

If you have time or walk past a camping section somewhere look for a magnesium fire starter or something similar. Pick up a couple and then try them at home. Takes some practice before you can get a fire starter. This is why these should be our last choice for emergency situations.

Why do we need fire? With fire all sorts of other things are possible;
Cold, start a fire.
Hungry, cook some food. You can skin a squirrel, great! Without fire it is going to taste kind of gross and might make you sick.
Thirsty, with fire you can boil water to make it drinkable.
Signaling, a fire can do this for you.

Fire is a foundation to so many other skills and abilities. Pick up a pack of lighters, couple boxes of matches and a fire starter tool. Next BBQ practice trying to start a fire with these instead of lighter fluid and a blow torch!!!

As Always,

Stay Safe!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hostage Situation

A situation took place in which people found themselves suddenly being held against their will. From having coffee and enjoying their day they suddenly became hostages. This situation can happen to anyone of us at any time. I will not discuss the politics of this situation neither will I discuss why these situations happen. Let us focus on what you or a loved one can do if caught in one of these situations.

Once you are stuck, the time to run has passed and you realize what is happening, become invisible. Do not obviously look around. Do not do anything to draw attention to you. Submit, submit the way a dog would! Put your head down, tuck your tail and realize YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL ANY LONGER.

The first few minutes of these situations can be very violent. Be prepared to be struck, screamed at, have guns put into your face and probably ordered or thrown to the ground. Raise your hands, if you can cover your head and do what they tell you to. Survive for another moment in time.

After these several moments or minutes of chaos the bad guys will feel they have dominated the room, everyone knows they are in charge and the bad guys believe there is no threat to them. At this point odds are the bad guys will try to organize the scene. This might include separating people in to groups, tying people up and setting the scene until they are comfortable with what is going on. Do what they tell you to do! Become invisible do not stand out in any way!

Do not pose a threat to them, look down, do not make eye contact with them. Physically and mentally make yourself little. Slouch your shoulders, curve your back, and try to appear defeated. Cry if you have to but attempt to gain control of yourself as quickly as you can. Being the only one crying makes you stand out. Be scared, this is a scary moment in your life. Embrace your fear and project it. Let them feel it, smell it and understand you are not a threat.

Now the waiting begins. Plan on being where you are for a very long time. If you think a day is a long time, plan on being there a month. If you think a month is long, plan on being there six months. Mentally prepare for the long haul. If you can, make yourself comfortable without becoming a threat to the bad guys. Should you have anything on you which might offend or threaten the bad guys carefully get rid of it. Maybe you are a postman and you are in uniform. The bad guys are anti-government, guess who represents the government? Ditch any signs of authority, pins, hats, jackets along with anything you do not need which could give them a reason to single you out. Are they making demands or statements about the economically disadvantaged? Is that watch you got for your birthday real expensive? Maybe it would be better inside your pocket right now? Do everything you can to blend in to the wood work!!! Give them nothing to draw attention to you or focus on you in any way.

Know that while you are scared and adjusting to your new situation in life, others are coming to help you. When the authorities arrive they bring along people willing to do whatever it takes to bring you out alive. It takes time for them to figure out what is happening and what resources they need to bring. Plan on the situation changing as negotiations are established between the bad guys and the people trying to help you. As the minutes tick by remember people are working to help you. You probably will not see them because if you see them the bad guys can see them but know they are out there!!

Should you be able to escape or are freed for some reason come out of the area with your hands up, listen to the authorities and do what they tell you! Remember they are scared also! Make sure you follow their commands, even if they restrain you, search you and man handle you. Stay calm they will figure it out. As soon as they can they will put you in touch with your family. Almost every group will bring people whose only job is to make sure you speak to your family ASAP once out of the danger.

Medical personal will check you and then a very important part comes. The tactical element will want to talk to you. They need to talk to you; you know things they need to know! Do not get upset if they are gruff or scary looking. These are the good guys! Take a moment, take a deep breath and remember how scared you were when you were in the danger area. Now think of those people still in danger. Something you know might help bring them to safety. Tell the tactical guys everything you remember. Ever thing your senses told you while you were in the danger area. Every sight, smell, touch and feeling you had. Let them know everything, everything is important to them. Do not think you should only tell them what you think they want to know. Tell them everything! Did one of the bad guys smell like cigarettes? Did one of them sound like they had a cold? Everything matters and you could save a life with your information.

If you are in the danger area when the tactical team makes entry there are two ways they can do it. The team can sneak in or come in dynamically. A dynamic entry is noisy, violent and downright scary. The entry is supposed to be. Distraction devices will rock your body to the core and will shock you if you have never been around them. Drop to the ground or if on the ground curl up into a ball and wait. DO NOT STAND UP; DO NOT RUN AT THE PEOPLE COMING IN!! STAY DOWN AND DO NOT BE A THREAT. In order to take control of the area back from the bad guys the people coming to help you need to be as violent as or more violent than the bad guys.

Wait until directed to move. They need to positively identify who the bad guys and good guys are. Do what you’re directed to do. You might not be able to hear anything but ringing, there might be smoke or flashes robbed you of your vision for a moment. Tell the team, point to your ear if they are yelling at you and say “I cannot hear you”. They will understand. You will be lead out of the area and go through the same process as if you had been released earlier. Go with the flow; let them know if you are injured. Plan on giving a statement before you can go home. Why? Because they want to make sure they got every bad guy and helped everyone in the danger area. Maybe you are the only one who seen a person who locks themselves in somewhere?

To fight or not to fight? I intentionally have not addressed this. Some people will tell you to fight the bad guys if you get a chance, some will say to never fight. Each situation is different and no suggestion on when or how will be given here. Why? Because we should never judge the actions of someone else caught in this type of situation. Making a judgment is too easy from the couch!!!!!! Should you decide to fight or are forced to…………. Do not go into to the fight half way. Go into action firmly planning to kill the bad guy!!! Only going into the fight with this mind set will you be able deal with the situation. Should you not need to kill the bad guy you can dial down the force. You will not have time to dial up the level of your force if in the middle of the fight you realize you have not brought enough in the first seconds!!!!

I hope none of us every have to deal with a situation like this in our lives! If you do remember people are coming to help and never lose faith! They are working to get you out!!

As always,

Stay Safe!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holiday Travel

With this being the time of year some of us will be traveling to spend time with family and friends it is a good time to practice some of our planning skills and hopefully make the trip the best we can. Where do we start with the planning? If your trip is just across town or several hours away a simple concept will go a long way in making sure the trip comes off without a hitch.

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

The holidays can be stressful enough already and travelling to celebrate with your loved ones is a big part of the stress. Of course spending time with relatives can be the biggest part of the stress; let’s deal with the part we can do something about.

Make a list, make a schedule and make plans to be flexible to changing situations. The sooner you start with the Prior Planning the easier the actual “doing” is going to be. A good suggestion is to start planning a week before you plan on leaving. Sit down with a piece of paper and write down what it is you are trying to do. At the top of the piece of paper write a cool or funny name for the plan.

“Operation Grandma’s House” or “Invasion of the In-Law’s House”

Starting with a fun name kind of sets the tone for the trip! Then go to the bottom of the page and write what time you want to arrive. Leave plenty of room between the top and the bottom; this is the area we will fill in with details. Now you have a “MISSION” and a deadline!!!

If we are driving we know how long the trip should take on a normal day. Block out those hours right above the time of arrival. We know holiday travel takes longer than travel on an average day, add an extra two hours. This is your estimated time of arrival and the extra time gives us time to deal with any issues which might come up. We need to plan in this extra time all along the planning of this trip, why? Because someone is lurking in the shadows waiting for you to give him an opening………. This evil doer is known as Mr. Murphy, of Murphy’s Law fame.

Do not think for one moment he will not show up at the worst moment and remind you of your failure to properly prepare. He gets paid to do this and Mister Murphy is really good at his job!!! We must be better than him or at least make Mr. Murphy earn his pay by not giving him anything easy to work with!!

If you are travel more than two hours or with small children plan on taking a break from driving. Two hours or less is a good point to plan on taking breaks, maybe an hour and half works for you better but try not to go too far over two hours of driving time without a break. This allows you stretch your legs, get some blood flowing and helps you stay alert while driving. With planned breaks you also have minor goals to reach which you can judge your progress with.

From the block of time designated for driving block out a section of time for getting gas, last restroom attempt and buying snacks for the drive. This will be the last stop before you hit the road, add ten minutes to how ever long you think this will take and make sure you run down your list while filling up the gas tank to make sure you have everything. Now would be the time to realize you have forgot something, you are still close enough to the house to go back and get whatever you forgot.

Above the getting gas section, block out a section for loading the car. This can take a while and is a crucial section of our planning. You really only get one good shot at this so give yourself extra time to get it right the first time. Add an extra half hour to whatever time you first wrote down, even after reading this and figuring the extra half hour in. Because you thought about it and in your mind you thought “I got this in one hour!” as you wrote the time down. That thinking is exactly what Mr. Murphy is waiting for!!!

Getting toward the top of the page the next section, block out time for organizing stuff, double checking everything, eating and getting dressed. Take the stuff you are loading into the car, set it out and package it for loading into the vehicle. Organize everything for loading based on what you will need first. These items go in last, back load the vehicle. This enables you to get to items you will need without having to dig through other stuff. Do not pack the kids snacks in the back of the van, under the suitcases and then be an hour into the trip and need them!!!! Making sure you have everything on the list is just one step, you have to intelligently load the vehicle or Mr. Murphy shows up and has a good laugh!!!

Above this block put a block for packing. This is different from when you are organizing everything to put in the vehicle. This is when you lay out the bags and load them. You should have a list before you do this (we’ll get to this block) and follow this list. If you add something not on the list write the item on this list. This way you now have a list of everything you have. Put everything inside of something to carry or move it. You do not want to just pile stuff into the back of the car!!! This just adds stress later when you are trying to find something. Having stuff in containers also helps with loading everything into the vehicle.

Almost at the top we need a block for car maintenance. If our primary mode of travel is going to be by car we need to make sure the car is going to run. Get the oil changed, pay the extra to have them check everything else and if you have a relationship with the mechanic let them know you are going on a trip. See if they recommend anything else you might need done before you go. Even if you do all the work on your own vehicles it is a good suggestion to have someone else give the vehicle a once over. Can’t hurt and really helps with keeping Mr. Murphy at bay!! The timing of this block should be several days away from the day you plan to leave. This gives you time to deal with any issue which might come up and will hopefully keep you from having to cancel the trip at the last moment!

The block at the top of the list needs to be you’re planning block and also needs to be as far away from the date you are leaving as you can put it. This is when you are going to sit down and come up with the entire list for the trip. Write the schedule out and write lists for each member of the family. Then write list for all the family items you need. Map out your trip and plan on places to stop. Make arraignments for someone to watch your apartment, stop the mail and cover all of the unique situations you have.

You should do all of your planning when you are not under any stress to get anything done. This allows you to make decisions without any stress or pressure. Once you add in either you are prone to making mistakes. Mistakes let Mr. Murphy come along for the ride!

Enjoy the holidays and as always;

Stay Safe!!!