Archive for the ‘Natural Disaster’ Category

Asteroids And Near Misses

An asteroid the size of a mini-van just missed the earth by some 59,000 kilometres. OK, so how is that news? The reality is it would have broken up on entry but what if it were bigger? Think of all those craters on the moon and how they got there. A really big asteroid would be tracked for some time, allowing the rich and powerful to get to the other side of the earth when it hit, I’m sure of that. After all, civilization must go one and they are the ones with the power and the money. As for the rest of us, we are replaceable. Cynical? Perhaps but the longer I live the more cynical I seem to become. Or is that wisdom?

The reality is that if we are wiped out the earth will continue on. We won’t but the earth will. It has been here billions of revolutions around the sun and will be here for billions more. We’ll be dust but then that is the way it is. There is nothing we can do to stop an asteroid wiping us out if our number is up so don’t worry about this unlikely event. Worry instead about your elderly neighbours. Have you seen them lately or have they died, alone and unremarked in their bed? Worry about your kids or your parents. Family is all. Have you seen each other lately? Hugged? Been there for each other?

When the going gets tough, who can you rely on? It will rarely get tougher than the days between the announcement we are all doomed and the strike of the asteroid, should that ever happen. In those few days or weeks, we will see the best and the worst of our fellow humans. How will you behave?

What Do You Do When They Die?

A recent report from the UK of a man taking his dead mum home on a 50km bus trip has made me think about what to do when someone dies. I have a cousin who is handicapped after suffering viral meningitis as a boy. Until recently he lived with my aunty, now 92 and in a home. He is 64. I can imagine him just wanting to get her home and then asking for help from the neighbours. He would be confused and very defensive… who wouldn’t?

Death has no timetable or appointment schedule. when it comes, it comes. Do you know what to do if a loved one passes away? Who do you call? What do you do first? As a former Military Policeman my first thought is to protect the scene as it may be a crime scene. In the case of an elderly relative passing away peacefully in their sleep this is not an issue but what if you were to come across them lying on the floor in a pool of blood?

First you check for vital signs and give first aid but if they are not responding, consider you may be standing in a crime scene. Forget the CSI TV hype, real forensic scenes of crime investigators don’t carry on like on TV, nor do they have the time to. Try not to spoil the scene or move too many things. Obviously giving first aid will change things but it will be clear to the SOCE officer that you did what you tell them you did, the evidence will support your story.

Once all that is in hand, police and ambulance called and so on, then what? Do you know what to do next? Are you an executor of the estate? Start thinking now about the unthinkable. What if it was a child or spouse of yours? What if it were you, would your loved ones know what to do?

A bookcase that becomes a coffin, I want one!

Wrong Place, Wrong Time Dept.

A snapshot of his daughter and her two friends caught the last image of a man killed just seconds later. He was standing near a blow hole in Hawaii when a large wave knocked him into the hole. He has not been found and is presumed dead. Tragic as this is it shows how people simply don’t think. Do we need a large fence and huge sign to warn us of the dangers of getting close to these natural wonders? Think about it. A blow hole occurs when water is forced up it from the sea. So that usually means the sea is channeled through a small opening to build up force and it would not be smart to get trapped in there, you can’t fight nature. So since he is on the seaward side of the hole, any wave breaking over the rocks behind him would push him into the hole. So why stand there? Why not on the other side where the chance of a freak wave would push you away from the hole?

Most people don’t think this way as they have never been taught to do so. We live in a society that thinks everything is either safe or should be and if it isn’t then we can make a law and fine whoever and it will be ok because now rules and money is involved. Real life is still a one way trip to the grave. It is just a question of how long before you reach it and how what will put you there. We spend so much time learning to drive safely, going to self defence classes and learning to cross the road safely as a kid yet we forget to take time to learn how to assess everyday situations for risk instinctively and maybe not doing the dumb things that do us in. I could teach that course, but who would pay for it?

How Ready Are You?

Few of us living in major cities and large urban centers rarely give any thought at all to how we would cope if a natural disaster were to strike. We figure State Emergency Services will be out there as usual doing the great work they do in all weathers, taking care of the holed roofs and fallen trees and within hours the blackout would be over, power will be restored and all is once again well in suburbia. But what if that doesn’t happen?

What if a storm the likes of which have never been recorded before slams into your suburb and takes off half your roof and does the same to nearly everyone else. The SES simply can’t cope all at once so it might be days before you get a tarp up there unless you and your neighbours do it yourselves. Perhaps the electricity is off for a couple of days and all your frozen food goes off, what will you eat? Small children in the house? How will they cope?

Being ready for what might never occur is a balancing act between being prepared and being paranoid. You need to start thinking about the possibilities versus the probabilities and I have started a new page to look at this facet of personal safety management in more detail. It is where I will include links to sites of interest such as the Ready Store. They sell all sorts of things to help you prepare for emergencies and they have a wealth of information so it is easier and more sensible to link to them than to repeat common sense tips on both sites. Click on the link and take a look, then check back for the new ‘Are You Ready?’ page.

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