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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Someone is shooting!"

With events occurring in Ottawa today I thought it was a good idea to pass some of this information on to those of us who are not trained how to react when "SOMEONE IS SHOOTING!"

If you are not directly threatened by the gunman, leave. Just leave the area! Do not try to see what is going on, take pictures or otherwise put yourself or others in harm's way. Leave!! This should be your first reaction if you can. Let someone else have the story to tell about how cool or scary the situation was at the next party. You just take your butt home and be safe!!

Should you not be able to leave and you are in danger from the gunman seek "COVER"! What is cover? Cover is anything which will stop a bullet. What will stop a bullet? Not what you see on TV or in the movies!! Think more along the lines of what would stop a garbage truck from running you over. Better yet, think what you would want between your loved ones and a runaway truck!

Glass, car doors, plants, internal walls, filing cabinets, pressboard desk, computer screens and almost everything you see stop bullets on TV DOES NOT STOP BULLETS in real life. Lightly constructed buildings do not stop bullets. Bullets will go through all of these things.

Cement, bricks, thick steel, boulders, large thick trees and other dense objects stop or deflect bullets. When soldiers build sandbag walls they are at least three sandbags deep, this is about 2 -3 feet wide. Try to find something thick enough to stop a truck.

The more items between you and the gunman the better. If the gunman has to fire through a door, through a filing cabinet and a desk before you can be hit this increases your chances of survival. In this case some "cover" is better than none.

Concealment is your next option. Anything which keeps the gunman from seeing you is concealment. Remember, concealment is not cover!! Just because the gunman can not see you does not mean you can not be shot!! Bullets go through most things people will try to hide behind. Ideally you want to find a position of cover and concealment. Cover comes first!!!

If you barricade yourself somewhere let someone know you are there. Call 911, wave out a window or maybe hang something out the window. Letting the authorities know where you are will help them to help you. Remember if you barricade a door bullets can still come through the door!

Learn first aid. I can not stress this enough! Just because someone is wounded does not automatically mean they are dead. So many wounded people live after receiving basic first aid prior to the EMTs or other first responders arriving.

When you encounter law enforcement DO EXACTLY WHAT THEY SAY! Remember they are scared also and have no idea what is going on. If they think you are a threat they will shoot you. Do not run at them unless they tell you to, raise your hands in the air and follow their commands. Should you been in a room where law enforcement has to make entry. Lay on the floor with your hands on your head. Again, do not present a threat to them! Anyone standing up is considered a threat!

In the chaos of an "active shooter" (what Law Enforcement calls these situations) you have to be responsible for you. You have to do everything you can to protect yourself until Law Enforcement can gain control of the situation. When the SWAT teams arrive they will be hunting. Almost all agencies are incorporating tactics where the patrol officers go on the hunt as soon as they arrive. What are they hunting? The gunman. Do everything you can to not be mistaken for the gunman or to be in the way of the hunters!

I hope none of us are ever in this position but I fear more and more of us will be in the future. Should you be in this situation;

Find a position of both COVER and Concealment!
Learn First Aid.

Do Not be a Threat to Law Enforcement!
Follow directions from Law Enforcement!

For the Sheepdogs out there amongst us. Have your tools with you and remain ever vigilant!!!

As always;

Stay Safe!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

One year old's party and planning

What could a party for a child and planning for emergencies have in common? Both are events which take logistics!!!! Failure to plan for either will cause you mental, physical and emotional pain. A birthday party is a really good example of how to start planning for a bad day.

Location; for both events you have to take the location you are at into account. How many can you invite to the party? Where is everyone going to sit? Do you have to have the party somewhere else due to the number of guest? Is there parking? What time do you start the party? Do you invite people who live some distance from the party? How are your neighbors going to react to the party? Do you invite the neighbors? Is there a store near by incase you have to get last minute items?

Physical layout; is there enough room to comfortably fit all the guest? How many areas of the location are you going to use? Will guest be inside the location and outside? Where will you put the gifts, jackets and food brought by the guest? How many restrooms are available for the guest? Is there somewhere you need to put a gate or lock a door to keep small children safe? Is there space for each group to sit somewhere different? As in children playing in one area, older adults sitting somewhere else or the inevitable splits which seems to occur at gatherings?

Food and drinks; do you have enough food for everyone? Is there extra? Is there enough water, soda or adult beverages for everyone? Do you have food for those guests with special diets or needs? Is Aunt Betty a vegan? Do you have vegan burgers for her and her date? Do you have enough plates and cups for everyone? How about spoons, forks, napkins? Are you serving appetizers? Will you have enough for dessert?

Entertainment; is there a good selection of music for everyone coming? Do you have games for the kids? If so do you have everything you need for the games? Really sucks if you have a piñata and nothing to hit it with or no rope to set it up with! Are there things for every age range you expect?

Leaving; do you have enough party bags for the kids? Are there enough containers to send people home with extra food? What time do you say the party is over? Who’s going to help clean up? Does anyone need a ride home?

Planning for a bad day follows the same flow. When is the emergency? Where are you going to go or stay at? How many people will be with you? Anyone else coming? Can everyone fit? Do you have what you need for the time you plan on staying there? What other resources are nearby? What are you going to do while there? When will people be able to leave? Do they have the ability to take things with them if needed when they leave?

You do not have to be a logistics expert for either event. A minimum amount of thorough planning and some good common sense will get you through both situations? Of course friends and family are also needed to help you get past both of these situations also!!! As always;

Stay Safe!

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Great California Shake Out

Yesterday was the Great California Shake Out!!!! Did you participate? Me neither, I heard about it on the radio on the way home. I would bet most of us in California did not participate. While I was driving I got to thinking about something I wrote awhile ago and thought I would share what I wrote here..............

Minimalist list for an earthquake
August 24, 2014 at 6:54pm

Given I woke up today and heard there was an earthquake in Northern California, right where my older children and grand child live, I thought I would share a brief note with everyone about preparing for an earthquake. Nothing fancy or long just some thoughts I hope you never need to use.

Once the shaking stops send a text message to someone outside of the area who can let your loved ones know you are ok. Maybe include your DAD in the list of people you send a text message to! Text messaging and social media might be quicker then using the regular phone during an emergency. The smaller the message you send the better chance it has of making it when all the lines are busy with everyone trying to let people know they are ok or calling for help.

Have stuff on hand prior to an emergency. Don't put yourself in further danger by having to rush to the grocery store, which might not be open, to get things! Especially if you have little ones in the house. Have extra diapers and formula on hand NOW so you do not have to panic when something happens.

Buy a flashlight and some batteries. Place them near your bed. The earthquake today was in the middle of the night, you might wake up suddenly and have no lights.

Have a pair of shoes near your bed and PUT THEM ON even if you sleep in the buff before you run out of your room!!! Otherwise you risk stepping on glass or other broken items and becoming a casualty.

Learn how to turn off the gas and water to your home. This could stop a fire or water damage if pipes are broken. You could also turn of the systems going to your neighbors house before they damage yours.

Buy a case of water.

Buy some extra food, even if it is just can tuna or spam.

Buy a simple first aid kit.

You really do not want to be the person waiting on the government to help you when mother nature comes around to screw up your day.

Someone made a comment on the original post which I think needs to be repeated for those of us who did not see the original post. Glass, debris and other objects have no idea what you are trying to do during an emergency. They simply fall down, break and impede your ability to do things. Taking a moment to put your shoes on, before you run to the kids, might be the difference between being useful or a casualty. Comforting your children will be difficult if you are pulling glass out of a bloody foot.

The suggestions on here might seem simple yet they could be the difference when the ground starts shaking!!! As always;

Stay Safe!!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


There are two things you take with you everywhere, knowledge and tattoos. You can have all the equipment in the world and it will do you no good if something happens when you are not with the stuff. If you try to tattoo everything you need to know on your body you will run out of room or the information you need will be in a location you can not see when you need it. Filling your head with information is in most cases less painful than tattoos and easier to access.

If you do not know who Macgyver is please do not ask. Some of us will feel very old...............

Fundamental concepts and ideas can be the difference should you have an issue. Everyone should know how to change a tire, stop bleeding, dress a wound, pack a backpack, read a compass, purify drinking water etc etc. This knowledge goes everywhere with you. If your car goes off the road being able to stop yourself from bleeding is a good thing or if you end up in a typhoon knowing how to purify water will be invaluable.

A fella I work with was visiting family in the South Pacific. While he was there a typhoon struck the island. The physical damage to the area was bad enough but then he got a bug from drinking contaminated water. Spent several weeks sick and had to be hospitalized. Being curious I asked him how come he did not boil the water he was drinking? His answer...... he did not know how. As we talked he told me how bad the hospital was he had been taken to, it was overwhelmed by patients, unsanitary and just plain scary. Not until he got home did he get the medical care he really needed.

Broaden your knowledge base, learn something new! If you know how to fix a car, learn how to cook a turkey? Try lighting your BBQ without lighter fluid. Grow some tomatoes in your yard. Raise a rabbit. Ask your grandmother to show you how to can food. She doesn't know how? Now you got something you can research and learn with grandma!!! After you two enjoy learning how to can food ask grandma to teach you how to sew! Not only do you make grandma's day you get to broaden your knowledge base!! WIN - WIN!!!!

If you are not learning something you are not living. I read that somewhere and it holds true. On my own I learned how to can food and got to practice treating burns in the process. With the internet there is really no reason you can not learn anything you put your mind to. Even if you only retain a working knowledge of a subject the information is in your head when you need it!!!

Learn to boil water, start a fire, CPR, basic first aid and how to build a simple shelter. Hang out with a Boy Scout and ask questions!! If you have a young man in your life encourage them to become involved in Scouting!! I am always amazed when I realize how much I learned during the few years I was involved.

As always;

Stay Safe!!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Friends and Acquaintances

When discussing planning for emergencies a subject we need to bring into the conversation is family and friends. For most of us family is the reason we are even thinking about planning. Wanting to provide and ensure the safety of your family is a strong motivator and a good place to look for assistance when something happens.

Problem with our increasingly specialised society is most of us do not know everything for every situation we might face. Most of us do not know how to fix a drain, build a rocket and invest our money wisely. Chances are we can expertly do only one thing. Maybe two if we are luckily. If your family tree does not consist of a doctor, lawyer, construction worker, electrician, law enforcement, farmer, all the other trades out there and live in the same house or city you do, you are going to need friends when something happens.

You might just need someone to pick the kids up from school, after family, friends are your 'go to' emergency plan. Should you not have any friends (huh?), are new to an area or are just a typical suburban or urban dweller all of us need to work on making new friends.

The first people we should try to interact with are our neighbors. With them living close odds are we see them as we come and go daily. Take a moment and wave. Heck, maybe even start a conversation with them. Test the waters and get a feel for who lives around you. For most of us it does not take long to figure out if we are going to 'click' with, be polite to or avoid our neighbors. Even just a superficial relationship with your neighbors can pay off later. Maybe you need a neighbor to just keep an eye on your place while you go on vacation or a weekend trip.

Rural folks this concept is easier for. In small towns everyone seems to know everyone else. Being from a small town I have seen this in action and can see the complete lack of this now living in the 'city'. (The following suggestions still apply.)

This might be a bit harder for those of us in 'the big city'. Seems most people in these areas want almost nothing to do with their neighbors. I know our next door neighbor seems to go out of her way to avoid interaction with anyone in the neighborhood. She opens her garage door, pulls out and drives off, does the opposite when she comes home. Across the street we have one house we spend some time talking to when we both happen to be outside. Neighbors on the other side are never home and then there is the other house across the street.

Real nice when we first moved in, offered to help with trimming a tree and our kids would play together. Then the husband lost it one day, took a baseball bat to their mailbox and threatened to kill the fella who was staying with them. They quickly went to the 'be polite' to list. Aside from our immediate neighbors we have some good friends who live within a mile or two of the house we can call if we needed to.

Church, sports teams and clubs are excellent places to grow your pool of people who you know. Spending some time building even shallow relationships with people can pay off when you need the name of a good plumber or you are in need of recommendations for a doctor. These interactions even give you a buffer for weeding out and cataloguing which group you put people in.

Spend some time talking to the cashier at the grocery store or the barista at starbucks. Strike up a conversation which is a little more in depth than what you normally do with folks at establishments you go to often. We have made friends with a waitress at our favorite restaurant. She gives us a discount and goes out of her way for us when we come in. We exchange information on where the bargains can be found and upcoming events in the local area.

Prior to the alien invasion is when you want to make friends and sort out who you can count on. Because if you think you can go it alone during the invasion, or on a daily basis, you are wrong. The relationships you build before something happens are the ones you will need and count on in the future if you have a bad day. Because of this try to have friends and acquaintances from diverse backgrounds and skill sets. this gives you a depth of knowledge to pull from. This could be the difference between a minor issue and a full blown emergency! As always;

Stay safe!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Security fundamentals

We are all responsible for our own security. No matter how quick your local police department is to respond there is still a period of time you have to be responsible for your family and yourself. Might only be a few minutes yet those few minutes can be a life time. Practicing good fundamentals of security can be the difference between having to call the police and how bad the situation gets while you are waiting for them to respond.

Average response time for law enforcement during 2013 was 11 minutes. Of course this varies from location to location. Rural response times are higher than the average. Urban response times vary by the time of day. Now matter where you are the odds of law enforcement being able to respond in under five minutes is slim. These fundamentals could assist you with never having to call law enforcement or buy you the time you need for them to respond.

At home.

Know your neighborhood. If you know who lives near you and what is normal you will be able to notice when someone "questionable" is around. Does your neighbor work nights? Is that who is making the noise you are hearing? Nobody works nights? Then who is out there making noise? Spend some time paying attention to your surroundings. Learn the rhythm of your neighborhood and you will be able to notice when something is 'just not right'. Having a mental baseline of what is 'normal' in your neighborhood is very important to increasing your security!

Lock your doors and windows every time you leave and especially at night. Locking the doors while you are home is also a very good idea. Unlocked doors are an invitation for someone to walk in. A vast majority of robberies are crimes of opportunity. 'Bad guy' checks to see if a door or window is locked, if it is they move on, if it is open they let themselves in. Same goes for your car do not leave it unlocked or with the windows down even in your driveway. This makes it too easy for someone to just grab and go. This alone has to be the easiest thing you can do to increase your personal security.

Outside lighting is a must. Sure, none of us can pay the electric bill to keep flood lights on around our property every night. What we want is the ability to light up the outside if needed. Any entrance to your home needs to have a light you can turn on to see who is at the door. Having friends and family get in the habit of calling before they come over. Motion lights set up to turn on when someone walks close to them is a good idea and keeps you from having to pay for the light being on all night.

Having a small flashlight next to your front door is an excellent idea. You never know when the light outside your front door might burn out. If someone does come to your door in the middle of the night you do not have to open the door!!!! Ask them through the door who they are and what they want. If you do not have a peephole or can't see through your door step over to the nearest window and see who is at the door. If the porch light does not work use the flashlight through the window. Once you breach the locks on the front door you have given up your last line of safety. Even if they say they are injured and need help leave the door locked and tell them you will call an ambulance for them.

Never, NEVER, let someone in to use your phone!!! Almost everyone has a cell phone nowadays and if they do not this might be a good indication they are someone you do not want in your home. If they claim they need to call someone for a ride or to let them know where they are at, ask them the number through the door and call the number for them. You can relay the message for them through the door. Again, if you do not know them DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR FOR ANY REASON!

Never crack the door with only the small chain between you and an unknown person. The small chains people mount to their doors are useless! Any teenager has enough strength to snap the chain right off. Never stand directly behind your door when you answer it. Should someone try to break through your door the door will hit you if they force it inward. While you react to being hit by the door they will have the advantage.

Having a deadbolt lock on your door is a must! Instal one with a long bolt which will be harder for someone to kick in. If you have a window in the door or a window with in arm reach of the door you need to instal a deadbolt which requires a key to unlock on both sides. Never leave the key in the lock or close enough someone can break a window, grab the key and unlock the lock.

Inside of the house have a lock on your bedroom door. Should you find an intruder in your home you can retreat into your bedroom and lock the door. Even a simple lock will buy you some time while you call the police. In your bedroom you should have a phone. Most of us carry a cell phone, if you can, set up the charger for the phone in your bedroom, this way you always have it near you. Having another phone, other than your cell phone, in your bedroom is highly recommended. This way you have a back up when you need it.

Dog lovers have an advantage when it comes to home security. Even those who own those tiny little, yapping ankle biters. Infact this is the one time they might be better than a 'real' sized dog. The little ones bark at everything and bad guys really do not like any attention being drawn to them.

If you are home and something happens which just does not 'feel' right call the police. Every police department has a non-emergency number you can call to report something. Only call 911 if you have an emergency. Never second guess yourself about calling law enforcement. The sooner the 11 minutes start the better.

At night and when you are not home close the curtains. This keeps people from seeing what you have inside and does not allow them to covet what you have. By closing them at night you are not allowing people to look into your house without you being able to see them. The natural glare of the lights inside a room stop you from being able to see anyone even five or six feet away from your window.

Security film can be placed on your windows. The film is really not difficult to install and can not be seen when installed properly. if someone tries to break your window this will keep the glass together longer and buy you time. A thief trying to break into your home might just stop if the glass does not shatter after a hit or two. Garage windows should be a priority to put film on and next would be back doors. Anywhere a bad guy thinks they can break a window and not be seen. This film can be easily bought on amazon and some come in kits with everything you need to install the film.

Being secure in your home should be the first thing you work toward. We all think we are safe in our own home and these 'easy to do items' can ensure you really are. As always;

Stay safe.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Ebola virus

The news today stated a second person has been diagnosed with the Ebola Virus in the United States. Couple friends of mine were talking about this and there is a low murmur of concern. Well a getting louder murmur of concern so I thought I would address the situation. First off I am by no means an expert on the subject!! Please take the time to research the virus on your own and do not just take my word for anything!!!!

The good news, the virus is not a death sentence, people survive the virus. Does this mean we ignore the situation and go back to watching reality TV? HELL NO! This is not like a common cold or just a bad flu. Odds are you will die if you come down with this virus! Period, end of sentence, do not pass 'GO' and collect $200.00, your dead!!! The following information is from the World Health Organization;

Year, Ebola virus fatality %

2012 Democratic Republic of Congo Bundibugyo..51%
2012 Uganda Sudan.............................57%
2012 Uganda Sudan.............................71%
2011 Uganda Sudan............................100%
2008 Democratic Republic of Congo Zaire.......44%
2007 Uganda Bundibugyo........................25%
2007 Democratic Republic of Congo Zaire.......71%
2005 Congo Zaire..............................83%
2004 Sudan Sudan..............................41%
2003 (Nov-Dec) Congo Zaire....................83%
2003 (Jan-Apr) Congo Zaire....................90%
2001-2002 Congo Zaire.........................75%
2001-2002 Gabon Zaire.........................82%
2000 Uganda Sudan.............................53%
1996 South Africa (ex-Gabon) Zaire...........100%
1996 (Jul-Dec) Gabon Zaire....................75%
1996 (Jan-Apr) Gabon Zaire....................68%
1995 Democratic Republic of Congo Zaire.......81%
1994 Cote d'Ivoire Taï Forest..................0% (one person had the virus and survived)
1994 Gabon Zaire..............................60%
1979 Sudan Sudan..............................65%
1977 Democratic Republic of Congo Zaire......100%
1976 Sudan Sudan..............................53%
1976 Democratic Republic of Congo Zaire.......88%

I changed some of the information contained in the chart to make the point this virus is a killer! Ebola has a long history of killing people and there is no vaccine for the virus. Why did I change the information? To unclutter what you were looking at. Notice how the percent of people who were infected and died is not in the 10% or even 20% on average?

Good news? Taking the regular precautions we all take during flu season will go along way to making sure you are not infected!

From the CDC;
"If you travel to or are in an area affected by an Ebola outbreak, make sure to do the following:
•Practice careful hygiene. Avoid contact with blood and body fluids.
•Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
•Avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
•Avoid contact with bats and nonhuman primates or blood, fluids, and raw meat prepared from these animals.
•Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.
•After you return, monitor your health for 21 days and seek medical care immediately if you develop symptoms of Ebola."

Wash your hands, use alcohol based hand sanitizer and get out of the habit of touching your face all the time. If you do get sick do not freak out and think you have the virus. Here is a list of symptoms;

From the CDC;
"Symptoms of Ebola include
•Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
•Severe headache
•Muscle pain
•Abdominal (stomach) pain
•Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days. Recovery from Ebola depends on the patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years."

If someone you know or live with starts showing these symptoms make sure you use gloves to clean up the mess, a mask will help and treat the vomit or diarrhea mess as if it was nuclear waste! Do not do a half ass job of cleaning up! And for god sake TAKE THEM TO THE HOSPITAL!

While I was writing this I took a smoke break (yeah I know I shouldn't smoke) and read information provided on another forum. Let me be absolutely clear on this......................... If you or someone you know is sick to the point they are running a fever of over 100.00, puking and having diarrhea TAKE THEM OR YOURSELF TO THE HOSPITAL!!! Do not sit at home and take some mixture of granola oil and butterfly spit! GO TO THE &^%$#ING HOSPITAL!!!!

These other things can help and for certain ailments they work wonders. If someone is burning up and losing fluid out of both ends they need more medical attention than most people can provide at home. Do not be a dumbass, especially if you are taking care of the very young or the old. Get the help they or you need.

Let's not freak out over this situation. One of the first things you do when an emergency arises is???????? Do not panic, take stock of the situation, figure out how to mitigate the negatives and plan for what you will do next to improve your situation. For most of us this will not be an issue. By taking simple steps we can improve the chances of this not becoming an issue in our lives. If we spread the word on people following proper hygiene practices we can limit the chances of this or other viruses becoming an issue in our lives. Heck, if we all start washing our hands more, cleaning surfaces and using safer hygiene practices now the flu season this year might not be worth talking about!

Not sure if the links I added on here are going to work. If you need further information look up the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control websites. Googling 'Ebola Virus' should also give you a lot of information, just watch where the information is coming from. Just like any other post on here, I encourage everyone to research this or any subject on their own to increase their knowledge.

As always,

Stay Safe