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Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Safe Place.

When an event happens odds are you won't know the event was coming or in some cases you might know the event is coming. No matter if the event which affects you is a hurricane or a flat tire we all need to find a "safe" place before during or after the event.


What we do or plan for before an event is going to give us tools and abilities we can use during and after something has happen. For most of us the easiest thing we can do is pay attention to the news. Being stuck in traffic is a great time to catch up on current events and the weather. If you know something bad is coming or might come your way, you can place yourself in a better position to deal with incident. Simply taking a few minutes out of the day to watch or listen to the news is a great habit to get into. Either on the TV or radio, you tune in for the first fifteen minutes at the top of the hour and you have heard or seen all the important information. Awareness is a key trait to develop and once you do develop this trait you might be surprised by how many people are completely unaware of what is happening around them.


After awareness comes acceptance. Somewhere at sometime, somthing is going to happen to you. Yes at some point something will reach out and ruin your day. Accepting this now and realizing something is going to happen will help you not experience denial when the event does occur. To many people become stuck in denial during an emergency they never do anything to help themselves. They never find a safe place to go to and become victims of the event.

For all of us the first safe place we think of is home. A few steps can help to make home a safe place and help us during a bad day. If you own your home make sure you have the proper insurance! For us this means we have to buy earthquake insurance, for you and the area you live in this might mean buying flood insurance. Make sure you have insurance even if you rent. There are insurance policies for renters. Same thing goes for you vehicle, get the highest amount of coverage you can afford. In some cases you can get a deal by combining the two. This planning before the event gives you tools to use after the event, do not short yourself before hand.

Put some supplies away. Couple of cases of water and some candles could be the difference when the time comes. If you have a wood burning fireplace or stove get them cleaned up and put away some wood. You would be surprised how cold your home can be when the power or gas is out. Buy a couple of extra blankets and a board game or two to help stay warm and give you something to do. Having a few packets of hot coco hiding with some marsh mellows is a wonderful surprise to have while sitting around waiting for a storm to blow over. Add a tarp or two, some nails and a hammer to cover up items or cover over a leaking roof.

Figure out where your second safe place would be if you had to leave your house or apartment. How far away is mom's house? How would you get there? How soon would you have to leave? Start to save up a 'rainy day fund' incase you have to leave and find yourself looking for a motel room. Being stuck sleeping in a car is no fun, especially if you have little ones!

If you can find your safe place before something happens. Please, please do not stay somewhere until it is to late! Avoid having to put your survival skills to use if you can. Do not stay if you do not have to! I can not say this any more plainly. Do not be like the people during Katrina who found themselves trying to survive in a flooded city! Especially if you have kids. Leave early and beat the rush!

During an incident find your safe place. Tornado is coming? Find shelter! By being aware of what is going on you should know the storm is coming. By being aware you should know where the nearest shelter. Your car breaks down on the freeway? Find the safe spot. Allowing your car to stop in the middle of the freeway is not a safe spot. The odds of you being hit by others cars is way too high. Being aware while you are driving and your quick acceptance of something bad happening will hopefully allow you to make it to the side of the road. Being out of your car and up the embankment or on the other side of the railing is safer than sitting in your car while you wait for Triple A. If you do not have something like AAA you should. If you do not keep a charger for your phone in the car you should. Add an extra jacket and maybe an umbrella in to the car. These might also help you in your safe place away from the road.

After the immediate danger is over you are going to either like yourself or be really ticked off at yourself..... Why? Because everything you have done before this point or have not done will come back to haunt you. Never bought a pet carrier for your cat? Now your daughter's favorite animal has run off when you stopped for gas or arrived at grandmother's house. Maybe you thought you would save money and not include rental car coverage with your car insurance? Well then you get to pay for the rental car out of your own pocket....... I did this and hated myself for the whole two weeks it took for my truck to get out of the shop.

No matter if the situation is a natural disaster, car accident, power outage or a predator following you down a jogging trail there is always a safe place to go to. We just need to be aware of where 'safe' is, we need to accept there could be a need for the safe place and we need to give ourselves the abilities to use the safe place effectively.

As always,

Stay Safe!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Responsibility

Who is responsible for you? Sounds like a silly question I know. Let's think about your answer....... and ask the question again. Who is responsible for you? Of course you are responsible for you. You are responsible for what you say. You are responsible for what you do. You are responsible for what you do not do. You are responsible for YOU.

Inevitably something will come up in life which disrupts your normal routine. When this event happens who is responsible for how you react to the situation? Hopeful all of us are getting the idea here? You are responsible for you and you are responsible for the tools or abilities you have given yourself before the event comes along which disrupts your normal.


Who is responsible if your check does not come in on time? Who is responsible if the power goes out? Who is responsible if there is a noise in the middle of the night? Yes, you are responsible! You are responsible for what you have done prior to the situation to give yourself the ability to deal with the event. Federal, state, local agencies, neighbors, friends and even family are not responsible for you. In most cases whatever aid they can be to you is after the fact and temporary.

If you have children not only are you responsible for yourself you have also taken on the responsibility for their lives. At least until they hit the ripe age of eighteen. Maybe you have elder parents or other family members you care for? You also have to take responsibility for their lives.


Failing to acknowledge your responsibility is just setting yourself up for failure.

Prior
Planning
Prevents
Poor
Performance

Having a little extra in the bank, a little extra in the cupboard and a little extra in the medicine cabinet could be the difference between you performing brilliantly during a bad day or suffering as you wait for someone else to take care of YOU. What you do or fail to do is your responsibility...............

As always;

Stay Safe.



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;

LEAVE!
Find COVER!
Find CONCEALMENT!
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 piƱata 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

Knowledge

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!!