Saturday, November 17, 2018

10 Things You Need This Week

Not trying to sound like a Buzzfeed article but...

  1. A face mask if you are in many places in California this week.
  2. A walk outside today (it's National Take a Hike Day today).
  3. A walk outside next Friday (it's #OptOutside day in lieu of Black Friday).
  4. Fortitude, I suppose, if you plan to shop Black Friday.
  5. Fast mousing skills for scooping up Cyber Monday deals.
  6. Cold weather gear if you happen to be going to New England for the holiday.
  7. Fortitude (and patience) if you will be traveling over the holiday.
  8. A healthy disregard for official narratives (especially in cases where "multiple blunt force injuries" equal suicide).
  9. Cool Tools (actually this is an interesting site to peruse just for the heck of it, also when looking for interesting and unusual holiday gifts).
  10. A crash course in archiving your important documents and photos (a good thing to do when you have extra free time around the holidays).

Friday, November 16, 2018

Two Disasters, Two Learning Opportunities

Two disasters in the last week offer several learning opportunities:

  • Yesterday's snow storm on the east coast found many people unprepared.  Here are several links about what happened and how people responded (here, here, here, and here).
  • Last week's wildfires in California were a horrific event for many.  Currently more than 60 people have been officially counted as killed in the fires and several hundred still remain missing/unaccounted for (info here, here, here, and here).
Use the information about these disasters to help with your own planning efforts for future disaster events.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Your Car Accident Preparedness Kit

Be sure to have these items in your vehicle--in case you are in/roll up on--a car accident:

  • Mylar emergency blankets
  • Emergency flares
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Window breaker/seatbelt cutter tool
  • Flashlight/spare batteries
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid kit
  • Breaker bar
  • Clean rags
  • Bottled water
  • Pen and paper
And remember to document document document--in writing and with photos/video on your cell phone--everything (photos and videos of the wreck, photo of the person who hit you, photo of other person's drivers license and insurance, photo of of the scene from various positions, etc).

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

How to Find Someone After a Disaster

As the California wildfires continue to rage, one of the difficult tasks responders have now is finding people who haven't been heard from since before the fires started.  If there is a wide-spread disaster that takes down all communications and scatters people far and wide, how do you go about finding a missing friend or loved one?  Consider these options...

  • Have an emergency communications plan in place BEFORE a disaster happens.  Make sure all family members--and friends too if they are part of your planning efforts-- know the plan so everyone will know who to contact (a central person to call that can let everyone else know you are OK) in the event of a disaster.
  • Make liberal use of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, reddit, etc) to either let everyone know you are OK or search for a missing person.  Note that when using social media to search for a missing person it is a standard that you have already filed a police report and include the police contact info and case number in addition to a picture and other identifying information about the missing person; this ensures that the search is on the up and up and a stalker, for example, isn't looking for their victim.
  • If you are in a disaster area or looking for someone in a disaster area, be sure to check in on Safe and Well and mark yourself as safe on Facebook.
  • File a missing person report at the police department in the local jurisdiction where the person was last known to be.  Note you may need to do this at another agency (a neighboring town, a nearby city) if the town itself has been wiped off the map.
  • Determine if the local disaster response agency has set up a missing person assistance center and contact them directly (examples here and here).
  • Find ways to get as wide-spread publicity about your missing person as possible (example here).
  • Put together as much information as you can on your missing person before you go to the police or social media (list of info here).
  • Make a missing person flyer that includes a couple of photos as well as identifying information and contact information.
  • Make a missing person kit which includes photos and a description of each family member, fingerprints, source for dental records, and DNA samples.
  • Google for a list of local emergency shelters where people in the disaster area have been sent to and either visit or call each one looking for your missing loved one.
  • You can also contact the hospitals/coroner's office near the disaster area (note that this may or may not be useful as hospitals usually can't give out personal information and all of these places may be overwhelmed if there is a disaster with lots of victims).
  • If you are looking for an American citizen in a foreign country after a disaster, call the Department of State.
  • Send text messages to the missing person/to your emergency contact in addition to trying to call, usually texts will go through when calls don't.
  • Contact the local Search and Rescue agency.  These are usually volunteer groups that help after a disaster and can provide more information on how to go about your search or tell you how to enlist their help.

Monday, November 12, 2018

10 Winter Reminders

A few quick reminders for this winter...

  1. When you and your kids/infants get into the car, take off your puffy jackets before belting yourself in.  The danger is that these jackets don't allow you to be snugly seatbelted and in a wreck this could be dangerous.
  2. When it gets to that time of year when you are getting freeze warnings, wrap your water pipes/spigots to avoid burst pipes.
  3. Winter is the most common time for people to die from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Learn how to prevent this.
  4. Be very careful driving in winter weather (it's easy enough to be a complacent driver until you hit the first patch of black ice of the season!).
  5. Dump out your BOB (bug out bag) and modify its contents for the winter season.
  6. Exercise daily starting now.  Not only is it good for your general health but it can prevent winter-related injuries and deaths (like people who keel over dead when they go out to shovel snow after months of inactivity).
  7. If you are in a car accident or your car breaks down, get WAY AWAY from the side of the road or stay in your vehicle; other out-of-control vehicles behind you may not be able to stop (scary video example here).
  8. Prepare your home for winter (better to fix things now rather than deal with problems in the dead of winter).
  9. Winter sports can be a lot of fun but they can also be deadly.  Make sure you, your gear, and your environment are safe and secure at all times.
  10. Be aware of downed power lines (this often happens during wind, ice, and snow storms and these lines can be deadly if you step on/near them).

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Thanks to Our Vets

Today is Veterans Day so just a quick note to say thank you to those who have served our country.  Whether you are just getting your toes wet in boot camp or have been retired for decades, your service to our country is valuable, necessary, and much appreciated by all!