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Thursday, October 01, 2015

Communications (do not need to)

Being able to communicate with others is an ability most of us take for granted. We talk to others every day. Some of us spend too much time using our phones and computers to communicate with others via social media. Some of us are tethered to our phones due to work. Most of us take this ability to reach out and communicate with others for granted. We really do not think about all the things which have to work right to allow us to communicate as easily with each other as we do.

This ability to call someone around the globe is new. Some of us just might be “experienced” enough to remember when communicating with others around the globe or across town was not as simple as now. Not that long ago, people did not walk around with portable phones in their purse or pocket. Everyone did not stare at their phone while walking, driving and when you sat down to eat you might have even spoken to the people around you. What can we remember from the “old days” to help us should something happen to interfere with our ability to instantly communicate with family or friends?

Picture a situation in which your phone and internet does not work. Ok, some of you might have to take a deep breath and calm down after thinking about this. Heck your phone battery could just run out of juice and you are not able to charge your phone!!!! Welcome to the world 20 years or so ago.

A few simple habits can cover this emergency and others:
1) Let people know where you are going
2) Set a time you are going to return
3) Go home

If you’re leaving the house let folks you live with know. In most cases should something come up this lets them know where you should be or at the very least where you might be at. Knowing where you are at can help calm people down during an emergency. Gives people one less thing to worry about. If your loved ones can think “She’s at the mall.” Instead of “I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE SHE IS! OH MY GOD WHERE IS SHE?” their ability to deal with whatever the situation improves.

Having a time for your return works the same way. If you’re supposed to be home at five o’clock and something comes up at three o’clock your loved ones are less likely to get really worried until after five o’clock. This is especially true if you are home at the same time every night. Even if you are just going to the mall let folks know when you plan on being home. Say maybe an hour or two. Something happens they won’t get really worried until after the time frame passes.

Making these two ideas a habit is really easy and can aid your family in mentally dealing with a situation when one arises. Putting off an overwhelming sense of panic for even an hour or two can make the difference in what your loved ones can do during an emergency. If they are not worried about you they can take proactive steps to improve their own situation.

This last one is a simple one and can be the answer to most situations you and your loved ones might face. Go home, something happens, GO HOME! Phone not working, go home. Car breaks down, go home. With the exception of a few emergencies the answer of what to do is GO HOME! If we tell all of our loved ones this is the standard answer to an emergency than no matter what happens we know our family is doing one thing. Everyone is trying to get home!

If we practice these ideas of letting people know where we are going, when we are planning on being back and agree to come home as our initial rally point we can separate ourselves from having to rely on electronic devices to communicate during an emergency. Having these ideas in place also allows us to "communicate" with our loved ones without actually having to.

As Always,

Stay Safe!!!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Building a tiled roof hut

I had to share this! This fella makes very interesting videos. They way he uses the environment around him is amazing!! Of course for some people these things are common knowledge yet for most of us we have no idea how to build anything like this. Make sure and read the description he gives of the video. The build took 108 days!! He also points out all the tools he uses are from previous videos. So please do not think this is something you could do in a weekend!!!!

Enjoy the video!

As Always,

Stay Safe!!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Preparedness Not Paranoid.....

Having a conversation the other day I told a fella

"It's not about being paranoid, it's about squaring things away so you do not have to be!"

Taking time to figure out a few things, pack a few things and think about a few things is about being prepared to handle as many issues which might come up in your life, as you are able to. The first step we should take is to get our finances in order. If you do not owe money then you can save money and saved money can solve most issues which come up. Car breaks down, get it fixed. Need bail money, you got some! The vast majority of issue we are going to face in life are financial related and not zombie related!!!

If you do not know who the photos is of........ For those of us coming from humble beginnings The Jeffersons should be role models! We all should strive to be "Moving On Up!"! Be it financially or otherwise, having your finances in order makes other things easier! Work to get a raise, work to get a better job, pay your bills, save your money and invest what you can! For a lot of us money is the driving force of our issues..... utilizing your financial tools properly takes away your stress and allows you to deal with other situations. Just as picking up a fire extinguisher allows you to not worry about minor house fires and instead focus on other issues.

If you take the time to learn about starting a fire with two pieces of ice but know nothing about the stock market? This is just another tool and you should at least learn the basics. Just as we learn the basics of fishing, first aid and a host of other topics. Never know you start investing early enough in life you could be set by the time comes to kick back on the porch and yell at kids trying to play on your grass. Besides it is always a good idea to step out of your comfort zone and learn something new!!!

Point of this post....... do not spend all day worrying about what might happen! Cover what issues you can. Be realistic in what you plan and spend! If you have to chose between paying the bills and buying a solar generator, pay your bills! Throw some extra clothes in a bag, this covers all sorts of situations. Figure out what thing you can do next to cover as many issues as you can..... buy some water at the dollar store. If you find yourself in a position where your bills are paid, you have money set aside, you have money invested for old age and you have covered the basics of preparedness.................

Then you can think about other things!!!! Remember live life!!!

As Always,

Stay Safe!!!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Syrian Refugees

Without getting into the politics of the situation, could you become a refugee? Yes every one of us could find ourselves in a situation where we are faced with having to leave our home, maybe our city, state and country we call home. The ‘why’ of having to leave is too broad of a question and would take pages to even start to address. Natural or man made situations could force all of us to think about or have to become refugees.

Where would you go? If you left your house right now where would you go; your sister’s house or the home of another family member? How far away do they live? Is their home under the same conditions which forced you to leave your home? How would you get there? What would you bring? How would you transport your family and your stuff?

What if the state you live in is involved with the issue? Can you still go to the first home you thought of? Where would you go if you could not go there? What if the country you live in is involved? Where would you go? Some of these people leaving Syria have moved across SEVEN different countries! Where would you be if you had to move seven different countries?

For those of us in the U.S. moving seven countries by a land route……… Let's find a map. Would put us in Columbia? What do most of us in the U.S. know about Columbia, let alone the other countries we would have to pass through? Heck most of us do not speak enough Spanish to communicate with folks along the way!!

What would you do when you got there? Do you have a skillset which allows you to find work? Would you have to live in a refugee camp? If you made it to another country would you be forced to live on the charity of others? Would the new country you're in be charitable?

A big part of planning for emergencies is mental. Taking a situation you are not involved with and working through the “what would I do in this situation?” is part of preparing mentally. Take a moment and think about the situation. What would make you leave? What could happen which makes you leave, tomorrow you have to grab what you can and start out to a country seven countries away!

Who do you bring?
What do you pack?
How do you pack?
What skills do you have?

Using these moments to think about situations, when you are not under real pressure, helps to get over the mental block of “OH S&^%$”. Mental rehearsals are something used by all kinds of people, doctors, trial lawyers, astronauts, law enforcement, carpenters, ok just about everyone you can think of mentally rehearses a task before they do it. Emergency preparedness is no different, in fact the whole idea of preparedness is thinking through situations before you find yourself in the middle of them!!!

Following your mental exercise try and do just one or two things which could be used for any situation you might face. By a map of your area. What route would you use if your phone could not give you directions and your usual route is clogged with other people fleeing? Do you have gas in the car to make the trip to the first place you thought of? How often do you let the gas level drop below what you would need to get there? Do you have a passport to cross into another country with? If the bank was closed do you have cash to pay any "fees" at the border? Do you have a decent pair of shoes?

You can go as far with thinking about this situation as you want. The idea is to have an idea, the start of a plan. Having a destination gives you a goal, having skills and tools allows you to reach the goal.

As Always,

Stay Safe!!!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Train attack and 'ON AIR' murder - two different outcomes.

Two incidents occurred recently which got me to thinking about how much situational awareness really matters. For those of us who might not know about these incidents, one was a man on a train who was shooting people and the second was a man who shot three people while on live TV. Instead of getting tied up in the mired of items we could discuss revolving around these two incidents I want to focus on one item which seems to make a difference in these two incidents. Awareness of what is happening around you! Having awareness is very important in situations like these and in these two cases might of been the difference between living and dying.

Too many people spend the day with a very narrow focus on what is happening around them. Do not think so? OK, here is your homework for the day. Put your phone down and look around. While you look around count the people who are staring at their phone and not looking up. How many of these people could you walk up to and smack upside the head before they would even know you were there???? ONLY TRY THIS ON PEOPLE YOU KNOW!!! Or don't, might make the day more exciting to just smack random people!!!! (thats a joke!) The point is people do not simply look around or pay attention to their surroundings during their day. How can you see danger if you are staring at your phone?

I am going to try and discuss both of these situations without giving anything to the people who committed the acts. Personally I feel it is wrong to even say the names of people who do these things because I feel the motivation for some of these incidents is the notoriety the people get after the event. The first incident occurred on a train in France...........

A person was observed walking into the restroom with his baggage, one of the passengers thought this was odd and observed the man step out of the restroom with a rifle. The passenger attempted to disarm the gunman in an attempt to protect his wife who was also a passenger on the train. The passenger lost the scuffle when the gunman shot him in the neck and he fell to the floor of the train. Other passengers took over the fight and they were able to subdue the gunman. One of these passengers was wounded when the gunman pulled out a second weapon and cut him with it. The gunman was "hog tied" and held by the passengers until law enforcement could take over.

With the gunman and weapons secured the people on the train tended to the wounded aboard the train.

The second incident was during a 'ON AIR' live report from a TV reporter. There is video the killer put up on the internet. I'm not going to add a link. If you must see the video just look it up on your own............. The most striking thing to me in the video is watching the gunman walk up to the victims, point a firearm at them, step back from the victims and point the weapon back at them before opening fire on the victims.

How could this have happened? How can a person walk up to three people, point a gun at them from close range not once but twice and none of them react?!?!?!?!?!?! I wonder what the outcome would have been had any of the three not had tunnel vision at that moment. What is tunnel vision? This is when your perception has narrowed to a point you might as well be looking through a tube at the world around you.

When I watched the video of this murder I was screaming at the images because these people should have clearly seen the danger!! On more than one place in the video the victims eyes, ears or gut should have told them something was wrong!!! Having someone walk up to you when you are off to the side of a setting as they were should at the very least get a curious glance just to see who is approaching!!!! Yet this gunman walked up to them, pointed a gun, obviously did not like the view his camera was recording, changed his position and opened fire when he was satisfied with the view his camera would record..................................

Now before anyone gets all fired up, no I am not saying being shoot was the victim's fault!!! What we are attempting to discuss is the need for awareness in our everyday life!!!! You want to change this conversation that is your business! Moving on..........

When we are out and about during the day we need to remember to take a moment and see what is around us. If you are focused on something right in front of you, your area of awareness becomes very small. This can also be brought out into a bigger idea. If your input of information comes from only a few sources your knowledge or world view is very limited. The same way lifting your head out of a book while sitting at the park allows you to see the folks playing soccer, reading a different newspaper or watching a different news channel broadens your view of the world and allows you to see more. If you can see danger coming you can avoid it, always option one, or deal with it. If you can not see the danger coming you are simply a victim waiting to be victimized..............

We all need to work on our awareness and should start today! Try to put your phone down and look around. This is called "panning and scanning". Look around your area and see what is going on. (side note: you might be surprised who you see also panning and scanning) This is not being paranoid, just look around and see what you see. Who's in the area around you? What are the people around you doing? Why are they doing it? Just take moment and people watch. Doing this more often is a benefit and increases your awareness. Heck make a game out it with your kids! Ask them to remember the color clothes people wore or other such items. Give them the gift of awareness!!!

As always,

Stay Safe!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Fire - make it safe

Fire, one of the greatest inventions or utilization of natural resources ever!!! With it we can heat ourselves, cook food, keep the dark at bay and gives us an excuse to sit around with friends and loved ones!!! Fire is something most of us take for granted on a daily basis. We turn on the stove or put food in the oven and eat when the food is ready. Heck some of us might just use a microwave or drive through a restaurant to get our cooked food. Most of us really do not know how to make a fire, feed a fire or cook over a fire. We kind of take for granted the clicking noise the stove makes and the flame which pops up.

The internet is filled with videos of how to build a fire from scratch, utilizing the most primitive methods possible. Something you rarely see is how long it really took to learn how to make the fire, how many times the person failed before they mastered the method. Learning these skills is important and something we should all try to learn. They also seem to never show the fire builder clearing an area or prepping an area to safely build the fire.

Now learning to properly build, light and feed a fire is a very important skill to have and every one of us should take the time to learn how to do it. What we are going to discuss for a moment is safety when you are making and using open flames! If we are faced with an emergency or just building a fire to enjoy with our friends and families we need to be safe while we are doing this.

Not taking a moment to properly clear an area, contain the fire and having the ability to quickly put out the fire can take a bad situation and make the situation much worse. Imagine your family huddled in an abandoned building. Your children are cold and you struggle to make a fire to warm them. In your haste you pile rubbish in the corner and light it. Of course now you feel better as you run around to add fuel to the flames, knowing at the very least your children will not be cold in a few minutes. The situation might suck but at least you will be warm. Yes we all can see where this is going! The curtains by the window catch fire or the wall behind your fire catches fire or the fire gets so large the ceiling catches fire and in the end you and your family are back outside in the elements. Of course you will have a fire for while….. At least until the building burns down.

Fires get out of control all the time. Someone leaves a candle unattended, a spark jumps from a fire place or the cook lets the grease catch fire in the kitchen. Any time we are dealing with flames we need to make sure the area around the flame is clear of anything which could catch fire. We need to have a way to put the fire out quickly if the flames start to become uncontrollable. We need to keep in mind the fire has a mind of its own. Ask a fireman, flames are creatures in their own right and have a mind of their own.

Build a fire on the ground, as in dirt not the covered floor of a house. Build a fire on concrete or cement, not on tiles. Build a fire in a container, a metal bin or surrounded by rocks. Maybe you can find cement blocks to surround the fire with? Place a bucket of sand or dirt near the fire. A fire extinguisher is a better idea.

On the weekend or during an emergency safely managing a fire is something we all need to take into account. The simple mistake of not doing this could compound a bad situation or simply ruin a family gathering. Take the time when using flames to look at what you are doing with safety in mind. The house you save could be your own!!!

As Always,

Stay Safe!!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

First Aid ABC's

One of the most important skills we can learn is simple first aid. Having the ability to deal with medical issues even at a very basic level can determine if someone lives or dies when there is a emergency. The knowledge you gain by attending even one class is something you can use and more than likely something you will use on a regular basis.

First aid is a subject you really need to sit in a classroom setting to learn. There is no way this post could cover every situation or impart the knowledge you would need to cover every situation you could encounter. What we will do here is cover a few concepts which can assist everyone when faced with a medical emergency. First and foremost, if you have medical emergency and have the ability call for help!! The sooner you call the sooner they will arrive! Weather someone has stopped breathing, bleeding badly or is unconscious minutes count toward what the outcome is going to be and you need to get help coming your way as soon as possible.

The next vital thing, as the person giving aid to someone you MUST remain calm! Yes you might be looking at a bloody mess but you cannot let the injured person know how bad the injury is!!!! By keeping cool during the situation you allow the injured person to remain calm or at the very least you do not add to their panic. When the injured person becomes upset their blood pressure rises, they are less corporative toward being helped and they can easy slip into shock. Even over a simple injury victims can go into shock if they “think” the injury is worse than it is. Even an untrained person can take action to help an injured person and one tool we can use is the ‘ABC’s’ of first aid.
If you come across an injured person follow these steps;

A – AIRWAY, are they breathing? If someone is not breathing all bets are off. It only takes a few minutes to die without air and permanent damage can be done to a person even if they recover from the lack of oxygen.

B – BLEEDING, after ensuring the person is breathing or at least the airway is open to allow breathing in the case of an unconscious victim you next want to deal with bleeding. In a lot of cases this is what you will be immediately dealing with. People cut themselves all the time while cooking or working around the house and you will quickly see they are breathing due to the screaming or cussing coming from them.

Bleeding looks bad and can cause people to freak out. In most cases applying direct pressure and elevating the wound will stop the bleeding. You would be surprised to see how much blood a person can lose before the loss has a really devastating effect on them. Direct pressure is the first step you want to take to stop the bleeding even if the pressure you are applying is just with your hand. The sooner pressure is applied the quickly the wound will stop bleeding. Now does this work for every wound you can come across? No, yet this will work for the vast majority of wounds you are likely to come across.

This is also the step where you would start CPR. If the person is unconscious, unresponsive and you cannot find a pulse this step becomes starting the flow of blood. Knowing how to do CPR properly is a very important skill and one each of us needs to take the time to learn.

C – CIRCULATION, this is the last of these very basic steps we are going to look at. Is the person in a position which stops the flow of air and blood in their body? In the case of CPR is it working? Is the air making it’s way into the lungs or gut? Are you doing the compressions properly? This also covers checking for shock. In most cases everyone will go into some form of shock over being injured but we want them to suffer from the lowest level of shock possible. Hopeful the level we can keep them at is “Man this hurts”. This might mean we have the person sit down, lay down and/or we elevate their legs to help the blood stay in their core areas. This is when you being calm has the greatest effect.

The ABC’s are just the starting point. This can be expanded on way more than what we can fit into this posting. Even if you are not trained but you can remember to keep your head about you and remember ‘ABC’ you will be of greater help to someone who is having a medical emergency than those people who have no training and panic when they see the injured person. The need for all of us to receive medical training by qualified instructors can be emphasized enough here!!!

Here is a link to the American Red Cross. I strongly recommend everyone take the time to find training in their own area!

As Always,

Stay Safe!!!