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Monday, November 30, 2015

Thoughts on Black Friday

“Is Black Friday an emergency?”

“Of course not.”

“Then why are you writing about it?”

Because this yearly event is a “teachable moment” which just seems to pass by each year with everyone chuckling at the event and the behavior of people. If we take our observation of the event a little further, people are giving us a glimpse into the way they will or do react during an emergency. We also get a reminder of why we should plan ahead for incidents and not find ourselves in a situation where we have to interact with people when the “crazy” comes out.

Think about it; think about all the people tussling, arguing and out right fighting for sale items! Most of these items they do not really need. No one is standing in line for two days to buy bread or milk for their family. Nobody is fighting in the store for the last bag of rice or flour. Nothing they are going crazy over is need by them to survive………….. No really you do not need a flat screen TV or the latest pair of shoes to make it through the night!!

If we were to ask some of the people we see doing bizarre things for sale items why they are acting as if they have lost their minds they could come up with a justification for their actions. They could justify slapping another person in front of their children over a handbag. They could justify taking items from a child. They could justify rushing headlong through a doorway, while others are being trampled. Each of these people in the heat of the moment could find reasons they believe are valid for their actions.

Now you take that same person, a nice person, with three kids and a decent job. Who wants her children to have better life than she has had, as all of us do, and ask her this;

“Do you teach your children hitting others is a good thing? Do you teach your children to be selfish? Do you teach your children to show love toward their fellow man? Do you teach your children to use violence to get what they want?” Of course her answers will be “No. No. Yes. OF COURSE I DO NOT TEACH MY CHILDREN TO USE VIOLANCE TO GET THINGS THEY WANT!”

“But ma’am you just did the opposite of everything you said to get the TV in your basket?”


The point is people will justify their actions. If they will justify these types of actions during a freaking sale what will they justify if their world was turned upside down by an emergency? What would that mother do if she was running into a store to buy food for her children who have not eaten in four days? What would she justify to give her children water, food and shelter? Now think of ten parents trying to feed their children? Maybe now think of a hundred people trying to feed their children? Black Friday is a lesson for us into the way the mind works. This yearly ritual allows us to catch a glimpse into the mind of our fellow man in a way which should be a bit frightening to you!

Some of us understand the idea. Some of us have seen the “crazy” come out of our fellow man. This behavior has to be taken into account any time we are planning for an emergency especially if the emergency is of a large nature. Losing a tire on the freeway, power going out for a few hours, odds are the situation will not sink to a level where people start making up reasons for their actions. Hurricane Katrina, L.A. riots, large natural disaster or a manmade disaster are times when people will start finding reasons.

The option to avoid a situation is a great option to have. A natural disaster happens and you are at the store to pick a few things up. People begin pushing, shoving and the situation deteriorates from there. People quickly find reasons to justify their actions. Actions they would not have taken or professed they would never take just a day or two ago. With some planning on your part you can walk away from the scene.

Those other people were at the store because they have nothing to fall back on. Now you are at home with your family, they are dealing with Law Enforcement, tending to their injuries or their family is wondering why they have not come home yet. You had the option to walk away where others did not.

Being able to be self-sufficient for a few days is a goal all of us should have. This is a good goal so we never find ourselves in a position where we must come up with ‘reasons’ to justify our actions. We do not have to steal, beg or use violence to get what we need. We do not need to worry about Law Enforcement showing up at our door after the emergency and we can lay our heads down at night with a clear conscious.

Take a moment and think about what Black Friday shows you about your neighbors. Then take a moment and plan towards giving yourself the option of standing in line or “NEEDING TO STAND IN LINE” to get items for your family during an emergency.

As Always,

Stay Safe!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Financial planning - Cover as much as you can

This post will have different meaning to different people. Depending on what you already have or where you are at in life. Some of us might have a lot of money, some of us might not have any. Most of us are somewhere in between. When we talk about preparedness remember we are not talking about one subject here. We are not focused on the Zombie apocalypse or a meteor slamming into the planet. We are talking about covering your bases and making sure you and yours make it through whatever life throws at you! While we can talk about making fire, sawing through cement with dental floss and ajax, this has little use for most of us! Most of us are going to be faced with the loss of a job, broke down car, sick dog, localized natural disaster or an accident which puts us in a situation we need to make it through.

When we think about financial considerations and emergency preparedness we need to stick to "Keep It Simple Stupid". there is no way most of us can go out and buy everything we would need. Instead we need to focus on what we can do with what we got. All of us can improve our situation with whatever resources we have access to. Focus and self discipline are needed here to do this. Instead of buying a new pair of shoes or a third keg of beer put the resources you would use for these things towards your planning. In a simplistic model we need the following things;

Cash - to purchase what we need
Consumables - to keep from having to use the cash
Shelter - to store our cash, consumables and to keep us out of the elements

We need to make sure we have enough of each of these things. What is enough? Depends on where you are in your planning. For most of us having enough cash to pay our bills at the end of the week is all we have. If this is the case we need to work toward saving enough to pay our bills for a week even if the check does not come in as planned for some reason. Ideally we need to cut or spending down and live within our means! There is a strange sense of freedom when you have paid your bills off and owe no one! For this post let's say we save enough to cover our bills for a week.

Once we have money for week and have become used to saving, we can focus some of these resources toward the next item. Having the latest night vision/thermal/x-ray vision scope means nothing if you can not wipe your back side! Take the money you are saving by living within your means and focus this on buying extra amounts of things you use every week. Be it pasta, toothpaste, toilet paper or laundry soap. Focus toward having a weeks worth of these items in the home. Some of these might be simple, buying a large pack of toilet paper takes care of that item for a week... hopefully! Buy what you use and give yourself the cushion of a week's worth. This might get done faster than you think!

When you have a week's worth of items focus the resources toward providing cover or shelter for your family for a week. How much is your rent or mortgage payment for a week? Set aside this amount separate from the money you have set aside under the cash category. (yes the money can be in the same bank account! One earning you interest hopefully!) Once you have weeks worth of rent set aside you also have an emergency shelter fund if your family had to leave! The amount of a hotel room is hopefully less than what you pay for a weeks rent and now you have the money to afford a hotel room if you had to.

Now that weeks have passed with you focusing your resources, not spending needlessly and saving everywhere you can...... go out to eat or watch a movie or something your family enjoys! Do not go all crazy and spend everything you have saved!!! Just make sure you go out and do something to celebrate your accomplishment. You now have enough to help your family for week and odds are they, along with you, had to change spending habits to make this happen.

After the celebration start the process over again. Save cash to now give you two weeks. Buy consumables for two weeks. Save money to pay for shelter for two weeks.

Repeat this process until you have a month's worth of resources. Just think of all the issues you could deal with if you had a month's worth of money, food and rent! Once you have a months worth keep utilizing your resources to better your position. Put money away in a savings account, let it start making money you do not need to work for.

Of course there is more to making your money work for instead of you working just to make money. The subject is to much to cover here on this post. The point here being to utilize your financial resources to better your family's ability to deal with emergencies which will come up in life. Remember the new dress or UFC fight you do not buy gives you resources which you can utilize for other purposes.

As Always,

Stay Safe.

Monday, November 16, 2015


This post will have nothing to do with the politics, religious or anything else which people find divisive. I absolutely hate the need I feel to write another post concerning what to do when someone starts shooting. The idea someone would attack people in this manner sickens me......

We have talked about what to do if someone starts shooting and the first thing we need to cover here is; you are on your own. You are on your own for a minute, two minutes, three minutes or more. You and your loved ones are on your own until help arrives. You can not wait for someone else to take care of you or make the problem go away. Please do not think otherwise! Watching the reports coming out of Paris, I was stunned, what is a better word than stunned? I was heart broken? When reports came out of people texting and calling police begging for help as they were being shot and beheaded one by one.............

Do not be a victim! Do not teach your family to be victims! If you able do something! Run, hide, fight! Do something!! DO NOT GIVE UP! DO SOMETHING!!

Remember when you run to think outside the box. A window is an exit! I heard an interview where people ran upstairs instead of fighting to try and run out of the ground floor exits. They ran up the stairs to the roof. On the roof they were waved over to an apartment and climbed into the attic! A roof is as good an escape route as a sidewalk! Use an axe to cut through a wall, use a sledge hammer to make a hole! Do not blindly run if you do not have to! Put things between you and the gunman. Solid things, walls, cars and distance.

If you hide and you can do it, barricade your area. Block the entry to your hiding place. Pile heavy things in front of the door. Find solid objects to hide behind and build a bunker where you are at. A gunman can simply shot through a wall if they can not get into a room and hit you. Barricade the entry and find or make a way out. Let the authorities know where you are so they can help BUT do not wait and do nothing. Improve your position if you are stuck or hiding is the best option. Build up your barricade, build a bunker and arm yourself. Arm yourself incase everything else fails!

If you are not equipped with anything to use to defend yourself when the incident begins, find something you can defend yourself with! Find something you can hit the attacker with. Find something you can throw, like hot oil if you are in a kitchen. Find something to cut or stab the attacker with. Find anything you can use to help you survive!! It is about surviving!

I know some of us do not want to think about violence or the use of violence even to defend themselves. This understandable, learn first aid! Learn advanced first aid. Everyone needs to learn how to keep someone alive until help arrives! Running, hiding or fighting is great but once you are out of danger not having the skills to save or help someone means you get to watch another person or persons die while you stand there helpless!!! Maybe you do not want to learn to use a gun or a knife or your hands to defend yourself. Maybe you do know how to do these things. In either case you become useless to those around you and yourself if you do not know the basics of how to save a life.

When you find yourself in a bad situation you must understand help is hopefully coming BUT until they arrive you are on your own! Does not matter if it is a tornado or an incident like this in Paris, you are on your own for a period of time. You must take action to improve the situation for your loved ones, you and those around you. You must learn skills which could help you, your loved ones and those around you. You must take responsibility.................

As Always,

Stay Safe!!!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

What if you knew? California earthquake

If you knew something was coming which would disrupt your life, put your family in danger and you knew it was coming what would you do? Recently the news had a story of NASA predicting an 5.0 earthquake would strike the Southern California area in the next three years with a 99.9% chance of being correct. Of course other people are coming out saying they can not make this prediction but what if they are right? What if you knew with a 99.9% chance something was coming?

For this post let's say the NASA folks are right. Let's say there will be an earthquake of 5.0 or higher in the next three years. What would that mean to those of us in Southern California? "We have earthquakes all the time and nothing really happens? They keep saying the big one is coming and nothing ever happens, why is this different and why should we care?" Odds are a 5.0 would not do much other than give you something to talk about at dinner. Here is a chart of what can be expected for different earthquakes

Earthquake Magnitude Scale

Magnitude Earthquake Effects Estimated Number
Each Year
2.5 or less Usually not felt, but can be recorded by seismograph. 900,000
2.5 to 5.4 Often felt, but only causes minor damage. 30,000
5.5 to 6.0 Slight damage to buildings and other structures. 500

6.1 to 6.9 May cause a lot of damage in very populated areas. 100
7.0 to 7.9 Major earthquake. Serious damage. 20
8.0 or greater Great earthquake. Can totally destroy communities near the epicenter. One every 5 to 10 years

Earthquake Magnitude Classes

Earthquakes are also classified in categories ranging from minor to great, depending on their magnitude.

Class Magnitude
Great 8 or more
Major 7 - 7.9
Strong 6 - 6.9
Moderate 5 - 5.9
Light 4 - 4.9
Minor 3 -3.9

Does not sound like much to worry about, 5.0 won't be the end of the world for L.A. or Southern California! Odds are it won't be but the question to start this post was what would you do if you knew it was coming? Would you take an hour of your day to make sure you have a spare pair of shoes in the car? Would you make sure you have some extra cash on you in case the stores can't use cards? Would you make sure your loved ones knew where you are and when to expect you home? Would you take an hour out of your day to make sure a minor quake is just a minor issue to you?

Even a minor quake can have a large effect on people. Sure it might not affect you but what if the aftermath does? What if the power is off at your house, even just for a day or two? What if your car is struck by failing objects, do you have insurance? What if the route you go home everyday on is blocked?

What if your house is the one on the block which is deemed uninhabitable? What if, what if, what if? Even a minor quake can have larger affects on your life than might have happened before or than what is predicted. What if you knew something could happen? Would you take a few minutes or even an hour to prepare?

News story like this one should serve as reminders. Little knocks upside the head to remind us to take a moment and do what we can to prepare ourselves for what will come. Sooner or later we are all touched by an emergency, be it a flat on the side of the road or some major natural disaster. We all need to take a moment or two to plan and utilize a few resources now to help ourselves and loved ones when something does happen. You in the future will thank the past you when the time comes.

As Always,

Stay Safe!

Mud Slide, While your driving!

Mother nature does not care what man thinks something should be. You can be driving home from Grandma's house and what you thought was a road.... Mother Nature decided was a streambed and you are now surrounded by water, mud and debris!!

No matter what your daily drive is like you should keep in the back of your mind that road you are on is temporary. Nothing we humans have made is permanent and in some cases we forget Mother Nature has the final say on what is going on. This is especially important for those of us living in the city. We tend to forget there are more powerful forces out there than what we can build. We also forget our buildings and changes in the environment might make things worst when Mother Nature shows up in force.

All it takes is one drain to be clogged. One inch of rain coming down faster than the drain system can handle. For those of us in California the drought, along with fires we have had the last few years is only going to make the coming El Nino worst. Hill sides will come down from the rain, drains will be clogged and areas will be flooded. Not to mention, people in California can not drive with rain. Imagine days of rain and flooded roads!!!! Ok everyone in places with seasons go ahead and laugh!!!

The idea here is to remind people to plan ahead, let people know where you are going, how you are getting there and when you should arrive. Have some basic items with you to help if something happens. Do not plan on the authorities being there immediately to help you, you are responsible for you!

As Always,

Stay Safe

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Great California Shake Out 2015

It's that time again!!! This year I remembered it was today! For those of us in California did you participate?

Of course this is not just an issue for those of us in California. All across the globe folks have to deal with earthquakes. Here's a link to the program in New Zealand.


Today let's take a moment and do something proactive. We all got a old pair of shoes somewhere around the house. Find the old pair of shoes and put them under your bed. Why? Because the day of the earthquake will not be during the day. The earthquake will catch you in the middle of the night and next thing you know your walking barefooted through glass and debris. Which will just make you a casualty instead of being able to help.

Even if you do not have an old pair of shoes get in the habit of leaving your shoes near your bed. That way in the middle of the night you can find them. Might not be a earthquake could just be any of a thousand other reasons you get up and for almost any emergency you do not want to be caught barefooted. Also find a flashlight, any flashlight, make sure the flashlight works and put it near your bed. The light can be in the nightstand, dresser or even in the old shoes under the bed. Just put it somewhere you can find easily. Now if something comes up you have some shoes on to protect your feet and a flashlight to see in the dark.

If you live anywhere on the above photo you should get up right now and go put a flashlight and shoes somewhere near the bed! Go do it we will wait.................................... Good now you have done something proactive and can pat yourself on the back.

Remember it is the little things in life which make the biggest difference. Stay calm realize you are along for the ride if the ground starts moving! Protect yourself the best you can during the event. Be ready to deal with the situation afterward.

As Always,

Stay Safe!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

South Carolina - Thousand year storm

Thousand year storm, how do you prepare for a thousand year storm? You don't! None of us were around a thousand years ago to have a clue what one of these storms looks like. What we can do is take a bit of time and cover what we can before the storm comes and try to be ready for the aftermath.

Seeing people 'stranded' in there homes should be a reminder of why we put some prior planning into our lives. People found themselves without electricity, running water, access to stores and living on what was now an island. Could you and your family cope with your home suddenly becoming an island? Hopefully you can at the very least for a day or two????

If you plan on just leaving if the flood waters rise what do you do if the water rises before you can go? Remember Nature was not at the kitchen table with you when you made the plan and Nature does not care what you planned on doing. Roads, bridges and other infrastructure you might not think about on a daily basis are no match for Nature. Storm drains clog up, roads get washed away and your Prius is worthless. Your Prius is worthless everyday and should not be allowed on the freeway any day but when the water rises your Prius and most cars are not made to drive through the water.

Think about all the ditches you drive over. The bridges both large and small you drive over. What is under all the roadways you take for granted? how many of these need to be washed out for you to be stuck at home? Sure you could have a small boat you can use or you can walk through the water to get out.

If you decide to just walk through the water to get to where you want to be please think of a few things before you do. One water moving quickly is much more powerful than you might think. The water will quickly knock you down and now you have become a victim of the storm. The second thing, what is in the water you want to walk through? Sure there could be wild life in the water. What is not really ever discussed is the germs floating around in the flood water. Remember the smallest scrap or cut can let germs into your system which could make you sick or worst. Just think about your cities water treatment facility. Is it flooded and where did all the waste go? Yep, good chance all that human waste is floating around in the water you want to walk through in your shorts....... Besides where are you going to go? The store, what if the store is not there any more? Remember things are not normal after something like this and assuming you can just wade through the water to the grocery store might not be something you can or should do.

All of us should plan not only to leave if need be but also to stay if we need to. This means being able to sustain yourself for a day or two at home without any help from the rest of the world. We need to have options and we need to plan ahead to give us the ability to utilize these options.

As Always,

Stay Safe.