Thursday, April 11, 2019

Spring Cleaning II

As mentioned earlier, Spring has sprung. Besides better days and weather, most of us have also rolled our clocks forward in service to a stupid idea from when America was 80% rural (except for those of you who live in states with common sense, who refuse to play The Man's game). But there are a few other seasonal tasks you should get after now besides screwing up your sleep patterns.

When does your CPR card expire? (You have one, right?) If you haven't bothered in awhile, catch up. It's been dumbed down to the stupid simple level, and technology is now there to help you out. Call up the local chapter of the Red Cross or American Heart Association, and get a new card.

FWIW, Red Cross also can roll it into a (very) basic first aid class, in one day.
OTOH, American Heart's card is good for 2 years, vs. only 1 for the ARC. Choose one or the other, but bust a move. And if your employer offers it or pays for it, you'd be a fool not to take the class.

American Red Cross

American Heart Association

Oh, you've already got your CPR and First Aid stuff together?
Think about taking a CERT class. (Another class frequently paid for by employers. Sometimes even on company time!)
Or upgrade basic first aid to EMT, or to Wilderness Medic.
(See if you can guess what first aid after a disaster is like, when everything is impacted/wiped out: like being in the Amazon jungle or the sub-arctic tundra. Learning to improvise is a survival skill. Much more so than learning to dial 9-1-1 is.)

And you probably moved your clocks up. Here in earthquake country, that's also when you should be checking over your emergency/disaster stuff. Add to your stash of supplies, rotate food and water. Pull old batteries and purpose them for everyday use, and put fresh ones in the O Sh*t! Kit. Change the batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. (I do the clocks too. YMMV.)

Go through your car kit (you have one of those in each vehicle too, right?), and swap the cold and wet clothes for hot and wet clothing. Unless you have dehydrated or hardtack lifeboat rations, swap out what's in the car, rotate it into regular eating, and put fresh stuff in the car kit. Water your plants with the water, and put freshly bottled water back.

The medicine in your first aid supplies in the car should be nothing but tablets. No gelcaps. Unless you're very rich, or not too bright. (I don't know you, so I can't say which. If pressed, I'll make a guess.) But adhesives, including medical tape and band-aids, also die in hot-and-cold storage in a vehicle. Make sure yours are okay, and/or replace the ones that have gone bad. This is even more true of barrier gloves. They die in cars. Keep just a couple of pairs in the car, and swap them out several times a year, and whenever you use them. I get mine free where I work, and usually come home with a pair or two in my pockets.
If you don't, buy a box, put 2 pair in car and first aid kits, and change them out every month or two. Then you'll never pull on a pair that disintegrates when you pull them on.

If you have anything else, like tools, spares, or equipment, make sure it's all there and in good working order. Needing an air compressor and finding out it doesn't work in BFE at 3AM is not the way to do things. Ditto for things like spare fuses, spark plugs, tire patches, hose clamps, etc. If you've been meaning to add something that's missing, and needful, do it. Make sure everything is clean, not all rusted out. If it is, clean it up.

Doing things like function checks on generators should be a monthly task, but if you're too smart for that kind of sense, at least do it semi-annually. Like now.

And if you're looking at this on a computer, make an inventory list of what's where: home, car(s), office/shop, etc.
Highlight the items with expiration dates, or that are perishable.
Put one list in the kit inside a sheet protector, or laminate it.
Keep one on the home computer or your phone. Now you have an easy way to make a shopping list for what needs to be replaced or added.

If you do this regularly, on time, 99.9999% of the time, you'll never need it. If you put it off and let it slide, you can count on Murphy making an appearance, and you with a half-assed set of gear to deal with things. Ask me how I know.

If you're really on it, do a drill: See how long it takes to get your crap together, whether to stay, or to go. Find what and who the weak links in your Clever Plan are. Straighten both out, gently, but firmly.

And assume everything you depend on is gone: power, water, internet, POTS, ATMs, the works. Test your plan hard. Otherwise, if you half-ass it, and expect minimal problems, you're planning to fail when it's worse. As Gen. Honoré ("Don't get stuck on stupid!") told the idiots of officialdom in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana after Katrina, "You all didn't really plan for a disaster, you just planned for an inconvenience."
Don't be those guys. Plan for a full-blown sh*tstorm. Fail now while you can fix it, and your life (and your family's) and welfare isn't at stake. Then correct the deficiencies.

Lastly, put an ICE ("In Case Of Emergency") number in your phone(s); update as necessary.
Call all those numbers and check them. (Dumbass Baby Brother decided after nothing but robocalls to simply turn off his landline one year. And told no one. Least of all me, merrily listing the disconnected-and-no-longer-his number on about a thousand applications and next-of-kin notification lists. I only found out because someone tried to get in touch with me through him, and then couldn't. Good thing it wasn't the hospital after I was in a car accident. Check your contact numbers for functionality.)
If you have kids or close relatives, make sure they have your current phone numbers, emails, etc.
Update your medical information card behind your driver's license (You have one of those too, right?), including allergies, conditions, and Rx meds, for all members of your tribe. And yes, you should have your spouse's/SO's info, and they should have yours. When you're unconscious and can't answer is no time for family members to be playing "Twenty Questions" with a surgeon in the trauma bay at the ER.

None of this is hard. It's the kind of thing you can do on a Saturday afternoon.
Don't say "Screw it." Do it.
Then you can blissfully forget about it, knowing that you've got your crap together if bad things happen.

Got all this wired down tight, already?
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.


Anonymous said...

God Bless You, Brother!
Great stuff! I can guarandamntee my barrier gloves are toast in my truck at least (lives outside).
Cards? Don't got no steeenkin cards! But damn sure will most skosh. Numbers work, we're all in regular contact.
I have a transition coming up and my time will be more my own; you've given me more to continue lists.
Boat Guy

Anonymous said...

Wilderness first aid class was just 'okay'. The person teaching thought carrying and learning to use a tourniquet was not necessary for the wilderness first aid class. It was nice to see citizens of all different types and ages (young adults to 50s) taking it though.

Here is a free training class to include:

Spent some time in Europe and Canada this winter. Man, so many Americans look like shit. Fat total recalls. What a difference between the places. American arrogance and ignorance is also very distinct.

Rough stats of visuals:

Europe + Canada
Qty of women over ~200 lbs (Europe + Canada) = 0 over 16 days
Qty of women over ~150-200 lbs (Europe + Canada) = 1 over 16 days
Sample size of women = too many to keep count

Qty of men over ~300 lbs (Europe + Canada) = 0 over 16 days
Qty of men over ~250-300 lbs (Europe + Canada) = 1 over 16 days (was a big guy though)
Sample size of men = too many to keep count

USA (over 1st 48 hours back)
Qty of women over ~200 lbs (Europe + Canada) = ~30
Qty of women over ~150-200 lbs (Europe + Canada) = ~70
Sample size of women = too many to keep count

Qty of men over ~300 lbs (Europe + Canada) = ~20
Qty of men over ~250-300 lbs (Europe + Canada) = ~35
Sample size of men = too many to keep count

The USA is incredible.

Anonymous said...

Another question for the USA...

How is that CERT program and EMT classes not part of every public school curriculum?

The USA is incredible.

The Gray Man said...

If we were allowed to cease including black women in the stats, the US would have much better numbers.

The Gray Man said...

What country certifies every high school student as an EMT? Haven’t heard of that.

Anonymous said...

Based on your numbers, I'd wager you haven't visited any of the Native reservations, or rural communities in general, in Alberta and Saskatchewan while you were up here in Canada. Those numbers of yours might be a damn sight different if you had.

- Juliet Lima

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

My good friend and college buddy moved from the marines to our state guard unit. Sandbox had heated up so unit first deployment since WWII was in the cards. Instead of the sandbox it was to New Orleans ended up being one of the XO's for Honoré group. Interesting stories I was told. He ended up in the sandbox later. Got no stories from there but one assumption based on a comment from his sitrep's all I got was that thousand yard stare. I left it at that. Thank you for the education Aesop, hope your aging ache's and soreness have healed up mine seem to accumulate for a period of time and fall off after one has been added.

Crazy Joe said...

2X year (time change) ain't enuff - do quarterly (solstices and equinoxes are good reminders).

Checklists. What's in the vehicle; what you need to bug out; who you need to contact, and for what. Make a checklist, laminate it, review quarterly, info changes. Laminated pocket/wallet-size checklists aren't bad, but you may need a bigger sheet.

If/when SHTF - for all values of SHTF (from zombie apocalypse down to household plumbing problem or sick pet) there's GREAT value in having a WELL LABELED AND EASILY LOCATED household data notebook - who to contact, for what, what procedure to follow, go over it with everyone in the family. Keep info in it updated.

Put a "utility map" in a prominent place - where are water/gas/electric shutoffs at your place, what are the emergency numbers for local utilities, do you need a tool to shut flows off?

Spare keys - do you have spare keys in a secure but accessible location? If your house catches fire, suffers earthquake damage, etc. do family members/neighbors/responders have a way to get your cars out of the garage?

RE: 1st aid, etc. Don't forget AED cert. Anyone local to you offering deals on AEDs? Check around, and if you already have one, the batts are certed for only 4 years.

RE: ICE on phones. Excellent idea, but needs paper backup. Use postcard stock (60 lb paper), print both sides in 8-9 pt Arial Narrow and laminate it. Same for meds, contacts, etc. As Aesop said, keep contact info current, people move, get new phones, etc.

Had any medical procedures lately? If you've received a cornary stent in the past 15 months you're on Plavix, Warfarin, et al and need to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace (also worthwhile for those taking daily aspirin) or maybe you have other med condition. Pro Tip: Find one of those places that can make custom dog tags; 1st responders look for bracelets and neck chains, dog tags WITH med alert bracelets/necklaces can provide critical extra info and save seconds.

S**t happens. Plan for it. Then rehearse what to do - fire drills, utility shutoff, etc. Knowing how to deal with stuff reduces/eliminates panic.

Reltney McFee said...

Coincidentally, I'm in the middle of my own biennial Medic Bag Repack Frenzy. Several co-workers at my clinic saw, and admired, my bag not so long ago, (it's sometimes surprising/disappointing what some folks consider "urgent care" fodder!) and wanted a tutorial thereon. I'm planning same, presently.

More trained folks, moah bettah!

Anonymous said...

my advice and recommendation as an EMTB on a VFD. 1. exam gloves, purchase nitrile gloves with heavy mils thickness and extended cuffs. many come 50 to a box, I found find some with heavy mil thickness at 100 per box. I will get the product code next time at the fire hall. 2. as for medical gear set up on budget, I found nothing better than this kit from Dixiemed. sure you can build your own from the ground up. This kit it is a great foundation. things I added, glucose monitor kit, CAT TQ's, a few extra airways supplies, few shears, temple thermo, few extra gloves, spo2 monitor, few extra sam-splints, coban/ace band, tape rolls, adjustable hard collar, if any of you have deal links to AED's let me know i'm in the market for one. just remember, research your state good Samaritan law. if you do happen to assist in medical emergency post event stop and record/write down every thing that happened. people will be people.

A.B. Prosper said...

Anon at 7:41

American public schools did have first aid courses in the past. I had my Red Cross certification back in high school decades ago . CPR was considered optional and it wasn't as well developed a technique as now.

However they been in rapid decline for at least 50 years do to the political climate and because intact, nuclear or extended families with an interest in educating the youngsters which are required are in short supply. Two working parents hasn't helped either

That said most people don't have the brain power or interest in schooling past age sixteen or so.

Problem is our economies don't produce many jobs where a high school diploma can pay enough for average Joe to start a family and in many areas highly trained people can't afford one.

Its self correcting. A long period of low fertility will fix the problem and while the bankers and the State will try mass immigration and treating people as debt serfs to extract the most from them, it will either go hot and end the problem or will just end over a very long time frame none of us will likely see,

2219 isn't going to IN SPACE!!!! but more probably more like Amish Paradise

Anonymous said...

I don't think I'm even as good as you are Aesop let alone better; but I'm pretty sure I am more paranoid and more multiple-times-bitten, seriously-repeatedly-shy :-)

Old NFO said...

Sigh, working through the car stuff now. Need to update some expired things.

Reltney McFee said...

Thank you for the nudge. Today I inspected and refilled (for outdates) the 3 "Oh Shit!" bags, three ( of the six) IFAK/blow out kits, and the car "boo-boo" kits. Next weekend, I'll finish the IFAKs, shop for restock of "trouble reserves", replace a ped NVM mask that failed inspection, and replace two failed mouth-to-mask kits.

THEN it's time for guns 'n ammo inventory. And resolve to BMAT!! (Buy more ammo today)

Anonymous said...

real good gloves as mentioned above in my last post: Nitri-Derm 182 series. long cuff, heavy mils, and come 100qty to a box. hope this helps.

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