Tag Archives: attitude

2016-Time to end!

I have not written anything in several weeks and I truly have missed being able to sit down even a few minutes and put together some of the happenings of our little suburban homestead. But I must say, I cannot wait for 2016 to be over. This has been an atrocious year from small hurdles to jump to major life tragedies.

The first 7 months of the year went by far to quickly with many small events that seem to creep up and throw off anyone’s calendar. Everything that happened which annoyed and commanded time from me through July pale in comparison to the way August of 2016 started out.

August 1st brought a new dawn into how we will live our family life. 10:30 pm; answering the phone to a call that every parent fears, but few have to realize: our 30 year old son had been involved in an accident at home. Doesn’t seem that bad, he was at home, not in a car, not working on the tractor, just home cleaning the bathroom.

One would expect that a fall in the bathroom would produce a head wound, or at worse a concussion. But being home alone during a fall, which caused unconsciousness and a brain hemorrhage proved to be fatal. The Medical personal on the scene could not revive him and he was pronounced dead.

Thirty years old with a wife, and 3 children, the youngest just celebrating her 1st birthday a little more than a month earlier. The trauma and pain to the family has been horrendous.

Getting all the brothers and sisters to town turned out to be an event in itself, but it was really good to see the entire family together, which has not occurred in several years. An event such as this truly changes the dynamic of the family and helps to reset priorities, as we have viewed them in the past.

The rest of August has been spending time with family and helping our daughter-in-law ready the house to be put on the market, which did finally happen today. Making all the small repairs, painting the entire house, cleaning up the lawn and garden beds, took far longer than I had hoped but I do not move as fast as I once did.

I might mention that coming home from the funeral as I pulled up in front of my house the transmission went out of my truck. Not that it even compares, but it just shows how I can’t get a breath between circumstances happening. I did put in the new transmission, but now I have to replace both catalytic converters.

Through it all I have kept peace within myself, knowing that my son was saved and a part of the body of Christ. He will live on through glory and we will re-unite in His Kingdom.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who  have been called according to his purpose.

For myself:

Joshua 1:9 (NIV) Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”               

Matthew 5:4 (NIV) Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Although I find comfort in my Faith and the loving arms of my Savior, I am very ready for this year to be done!

                     

Emergency Readiness in the Neighborhood

Emergency responseThe last few weeks I have been writing about the classes we undertook sponsored by the Maryland Department of Emergency Management(MEMA): Neighbors Helping Neighbors. (Previous posts:Sustainable & Resilient Communities, Disaster Readiness) Our final class was this past week and I am really thrilled that I took the time to be involved.

Since we moved to Maryland (August 2003) most of our natural disasters have only caused service interruptions of a week or less. If you remember the date, Hurricane Isabel hit us 2 weeks after we moved in to our nice little row home just across the street from waterfront. We quickly became educated in the need for preparing for these eventualities. Maybe it is 12 years later but the class was our next step in being ready and further educating us on areas where we may be weak.

The class information was well prepared and very well presented for anyone who is interested in not only being prepared in the event of an emergency or disaster, but those concerned about others within a community.

The overall takeaway from the class was getting oneself ready for eventual disasters or emergencies that may come along. Living on the east coast, our potential for hurricanes and flooding put us in a category of not if but when they will occur.

Although important to have a good mental attitude for any situation,Hurricane-Sandy but having a few supplies carefully crafted and stored is key to being in a position to survive AND to help others that are in need during a crisis.

FEMA & MEMA both recommend 3-7 days of necessary supplies, while our instructors think a 10 day supply is more adequate. I tend to lean in the more category, being somewhere between 10 and 30 days.

The basics of any emergency stock:

  • Water-The suggested amount of water is 1 gal per person per day. With only 3 people in our household now (I sure this number will triple in case of real emergency-kids and their families) That means for a 14 day supply, we would need at minimum 42 gallons of fresh water.  (# people X # days = absolute minimum gallons needed)
  • Food-This is a gray area as to the amount needed, but having a good stock of foods on hand will be important to any survival plan.  Be sure that it is shelf stable, long term storage. Don’t depend on fresh or frozen since during a heavy disaster there will most likely be no way to store these foods.  If storing up canned foods (store bought) be sure to pack a can opener! Enter the homesteader: someone who grows and maintains a constant stream of food through gardening, aquaponics, or small animal husbandry. (rabbits, chickens, etc) Although as a suburban homesteader, we have home canned and dehydrated foods, we also have the ability with our greenhouse and aquaponics to refresh our food supply.
  • Radio & flashlight-Needless to say these need to be battery operated and you will not be able to just plug and play in a grid down emergency. This could be supplemented with the use of portable solar power. Having a rechargeable battery pack through the use of solar panels makes life a little easier in the worst of disasters. I personally like Goal Zero products.
  • Basic first aid-Bandages, compresses, eye wash, topical creams, scissors, tweezers, etc. During a disaster there is always the potential for some minor medical needs. Along with first aid, do you have anyone in your care that takes prescription medications on a regular basis? Having at least an extra month of those meds on hand could make the difference in that person surviving.
  • Extra clothes, blankets, and compact emergency tools-I am talking an emergency supply bag, many may call it a bug-out bag, but no matter what you call it, it is a part of necessary preparedness.

If you are not able to maintain yourself and family, how are you going to be a benefit to those in need in your community?

For more in depth information I invite you to visit one of my favorite websites. A. H. Trimble , instructor, teacher, author in the art of being prepared for any emergency situation.

 

Positive Mental Attitude for Emergency Readiness

Have you been reading our friends’ guest posts about Emergency Readiness?  Now here are some suggestions to developing a Positive Mental Attitude to insure your readiness for any emergency or disaster!

hoose your attitude
Your main concern as someone dealing with an emergency situation is your safety and the safety of your fellow human beings . As you can see; from the previous series of posts, ( Important mental attitude in an emergency ) you are going to experience an assortment of thoughts and emotions. These can work against you or they can work for you if you develop a positive mental attitude that’s ready for emergencies!
Fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, depression , loneliness, boredom, and guilt, are all possible reactions to the many stresses common in a emergency. These reactions, when managed in a healthy way, help to increase the  likelihood of successfully handling an emergency. They can prompt you to pay more attention in training, to fight back when scared, to take actions that ensure sustenance and security, to keep faith with others involved in the situation, and to strive to succeed no matter the odds.
When you cannot control these reactions in a healthy way, they can bring you to a standstill. Instead of rallying your internal resources, you begin to listen to your internal fears and experience  psychological defeat long before you physically succumb. Remember, desire for survival is natural to everyone; being unexpectedly thrust into the life and death struggle of survival is not. Don’t be afraid of your “natural reactions to this unnatural situation.” Prepare yourself to manage these reactions so they serve your interest of staying safe and alive with your honor and dignity intact. This involves preparation to ensure that your reactions in a emergency setting are productive, not destructive.
Emergencies  have produced countless examples of heroism, courage, and self-sacrifice. These are the qualities emergencies  can bring out in you if you have prepared yourself. In the following posts in this series are a few tips to help prepare yourself psychologically for emergencies. Through reading these posts, personal study and attending training you can develop a positive mental attitude that’s ready for emergencies!

Let’s Back Up-Disaster Readiness

I did a post yesterday on Sustainable & Resilient Communities, then thought that I should have started with a post talking about Disaster Readiness  first. The class we are taking, Neighbors Helping Neighbors-Disaster Readiness, sponsored by Baltimore County and Homeland Security, is a step toward preparing one’s family for the eventual emergency situation.  Eventual meaning, not if, but when an emergency occurs. So let’s back up and talk about disasters that can occur.

Most disasters can be broken down into just two categories;Hurricane-Sandy

Natural-Hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, flooding, earthquakes, etc

Manmade-train or plane crashes, hazardous material leaks, vehicle accidents, etc.

Depending on the area of the world certain natural disasters are more prevalent. Here on the east coast of the United States our primary concerns lean toward hurricanes and flooding. These are the two predominant forms of natural disasters for our area. Yes we do get a few tornadoes and we are on a major fault line for earthquakes, but these occur much less often.

The U.S. west coast would be more concerned with earthquakes, while the Midwest would be watching for tornadoes. Excessive heat or cold could be a natural disaster. Lighting strikes in excessive heat make for huge natural disasters on the west coast with the spreading wild fires. Of course some of these could be considered man-made as well if started by a discarded lit cigarette.

mdtrainMan-made disasters can be just as devastating as any natural disaster and can occur anywhere and anytime. Here in Baltimore, just this past year was a major train collision with a dump truck in a heavily populated area. The explosion was phenomenal and could be felt miles away. From my house I could see the flames rising above the horizon.

After the initial impact came the threat of an area evacuation because of the potential for a hazardous material spill from a train car. Fortunately there was no spill and no evacuation had to occur.

But what if an evacuation had to occur and we would have to leave our homes for a few days. Would it not be easier to leave in an emergency IF there was already a plan in place and a bag packed for just such an emergency?

That is the goal of emergency readiness! We never know when one of these disasters may occur, but taking steps ahead of time to prepare for the potentiality of a disaster that is predominant to the area just makes sense.

No I am not a “doomsdayer” or “prepper” per se, but being prepared for common to our area emergencies just shows that I care enough about my family, friends, and neighbors to be a help and not a hindrance during troubling times.

I would advocate for every family to take some time to educate themselves about disaster readiness. Take stock of the area in which you live. Do a risk assessment of potential disasters and prepare for eventuality, not just for yourself, but your family, and your community.

Be sure to read Sustainable & Resilient Communities on this blog to see how to prepare a community for disaster readiness. I will be following up with other posts as we progress through the class.

 

Mental Attitude for Emergency Readiness-Part 7

Humans are social. This means, as human beings, we enjoy the company of others. Very few people want to be alone all the time.lonliness With this in mind, there is a distinct chance of isolation in an emergency setting. This is not necessarily  always bad. Loneliness and boredom can bring to the surface qualities you thought only others had. The extent of your imagination and creativity may surprise you. When required to do so, you may discover some hidden talents and abilities. Most of all, you may tap into a reservoir of inner strength and fortitude you never knew you had. Conversely, loneliness and boredom can be another source of depression. As someone dealing with an emergency alone, or with others, you must find ways to keep your mind productively occupied. Additionally, you must develop a degree of self-sufficiency. You must have confidence  in your capability to “go it alone.”
This brings us to the possible feeling of Guilt.
The circumstances leading to your being in an emergency situation are sometimes dramatic and tragic. It may be the result of an accident, a poor choice, unwise decision, or even a natural or manmade disaster where there was a loss of life. Perhaps you were the only one, or one of a few, to survive. While naturally relieved to be alive, you simultaneously may be mourning the deaths of others who were less fortunate. It is not uncommon for survivors to feel guilt about being spared from death while others were not. This feeling, when used in a positive way, has encouraged people to try harder to survive with the belief they were allowed to live for some greater purpose in life. Sometimes, survivors tried to stay alive so that they could carry on the work of those who didn’t  make it. Whatever reason you give yourself, do not let guilt feelings prevent you from living. The living who abandon their chance to survive accomplish nothing. Such an act would be a great tragedy and does not honor those who have passed away!

Did you miss any of the series? Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5part 6

Sustainable & Resilient Communities

I have attended a class the last two weeks on Emergency Readiness Emergency responsefor disaster. This is a free five week course put on by the Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security. I hope to write a little each week about each class and my take-aways, in the hopes that others will see the importance of being prepared for short term emergencies. This weeks lecture focused on sustainable and resilient communities.

What is meant by sustainable and resilient communities? Here are the definitions as given for this lecture:

Sustainable: People and property kept out of way of disasters.  Building properties that are not in direct line of a potential disaster, or building property with potential for natural disaster to strike. Take for example a waterfront home.  In our area the potential for hurricane damage or flooding is high. So build the home with the necessary precautions to sustain the conditions that may prevail. Of course, nothing can withstand a major hurricane, but upgrading the building and properly aligning the footprint may prevent as much  damage from a lower class hurricane.

Resilient: The ability to react and recover quickly from a disaster. This ties in a little with  sustainable, as if the proper is built to withstand, it will sustain less damage allowing a quick recovery. But resilient goes a step further in that the individuals are prepared to handle these disasters. Knowledge, training, and immediate access to necessary supplies are key as to how an individual will react and recover.

The theory of developing sustainable & resilient communities is:

  •  overall costs will be cut in recovery
  • recovery time will decrease
  • amount of damage to a community will be far less
  • loss of life will decrease
  • Improve strength of communities

To me it just makes sense, that neighborhoods become the first step to strengthening our resolve to quickly and efficiently recover from a disaster-depending less on the ability of a government to step in and do it all.

Making communities sustainable and resilient depends on the commitment of the members of that community. Members must be willing to be involved, share, and help both themselves and others in the community. Commitment and involvement from more members will aid in a quicker recovery to the norm after a disaster.

A small group of individuals in a community can get the ball rolling by:

  • Doing a risk evaluation or identifying potential risks in the community
  • Setting a plan for the community that is both pro-active and reactive
  • Empowering members in the community to be involved
  • Making sure that those active members are organized, informed and trained if necessary
  • Having effective and responsible leadership who inspires members
  • Helping maintain responsible and healthy community institutions, businesses, and services

This, of course, is not an all inclusive list, but it is a starting point for any community to take large steps forward in growing a sustainable and resilient community.  The benefits of community members being involved and working together will significantly increase the chances of that community recovering quickly, with less damage and loss of life.

Read more:

Let’s Back Up-Disaster Readiness

Also a series of articles from a good friend on Mental Attitude for Emergency Readiness

Mental Attitude for Emergency Readiness-Part 6

Frustration arises when a person is continually thwarted in their  attempts to reach a goal. The goal in an emergency is to staydepression safe and alive until you can reach help or until help can reach you. To achieve this goal, the you may have to complete some tasks with minimal resources. It is inevitable, in trying to do these tasks, that something will go wrong that is beyond the your control; and with one’s life at stake, every mistake is magnified in terms of its importance. Thus, sooner or later, we will have to cope with frustration when a few of our plans run into added difficulty.
One outgrowth of this frustration is anger. There are many events in a emergency situation that can frustrate or anger a person. Getting lost, damaged or forgotten equipment, the weather, inhospitable terrain, hostile people, and physical limitations are just a few sources of frustration and anger. Frustration and anger encourage impulsive reactions, irrational behavior, poorly thought out decisions, and, in some instances, an “I quit” attitude (people sometimes avoid doing something they can’t master). If the person can harness and properly channel the emotional intensity associated with anger and frustration, they can productively act as they answer the challenges of the situation. If the person does not properly focus their angry feelings, they can waste much needed energy in activities that do little to further either their chances of success  or the chances of those around them.
Depression; it would be a rare person indeed who would not get sad, at least momentarily , when faced with the deprivations of a life or death situation. As this sadness deepens we label the feeling “depression.” Depression is closely linked with frustration and anger. The frustrated person becomes more and more angry as they fail to reach their goals. If the anger does not help the person to succeed, then the frustration level goes even higher. A destructive cycle between anger and frustration continues until the person becomes worn down physically, emotionally, and mentally. When a person reaches this point, they start to give up, and their focus shifts from “What can I do” to “There is nothing I can do.” Depression is an expression of this hopeless, helpless feeling. There is nothing wrong with being sad as you temporarily think about your loved ones and remember what life was like back in “normal times” . Such thoughts, in fact, can give you the desire to try harder and live. On the other hand, if you allow yourself to sink into a depressed state, then it can sap all your energy and, more important, your will to live. It is imperative that each person resist succumbing to depression.
Did you miss the first parts of the series? Catch up now.

Read the final installment of the series: part 7

Mental Attitude for Emergency Readiness-Part 5

People have been able to survive many shifts in the environment throughout the centuries. Their ability to adapt physically andLincoln Quote mentally to a changing world have kept them alive while other species gradually died off. The same mechanisms that kept our forefathers alive can help keep us alive as well! However, these same mechanisms that can help us can also work against us if we don’t understand and anticipate their presence.

It is not surprising that the average person will have some psychological reactions in an emergency situation. We will now examine some of the major internal reactions we might experience with the stressors addressed in the earlier posts. Let’s begin by examining fear and anxiety. Fear is our emotional response to dangerous circumstances that we believe have the potential to cause harm such as illness, injury, or death. This harm is not just limited to physical damage; the threat to one’s emotional and mental well-being can generate fear as well. For the person trying to deal with an emergency situation , fear can have a positive function if it encourages them to be cautious in situations where recklessness could result in injury.

Unfortunately, fear can also immobilize a person. It can cause them to become so frightened that they fail to perform activities essential for survival. Most people will have some degree of fear when placed in unfamiliar surroundings under adverse conditions. There is no shame in this! Each person must train themselves  not to be overcome by fear. Ideally, through realistic training, we can acquire the knowledge and skills needed to increase our confidence and thereby manage our fears. Associated with fear is anxiety. Because it is natural for us to be afraid, it is also natural for us to experience anxiety. Anxiety can be an uneasy, apprehensive feeling we get when faced with dangerous situations (physical, mental, and emotional). When used in a healthy way, anxiety urges us to act to end, or at least manage, the dangers that threaten our existence. If we were never anxious, there would be little motivation to make changes in our lives. The person in an emergency setting reduces their  anxiety by performing those tasks that will ensure coming through the ordeal alive. As they reduce anxiety, they  also bring under control the source of that anxiety–their fears. In this form, anxiety is good; however, anxiety can also have a devastating impact. Anxiety can overwhelm a person to the point where they become easily confused and have difficulty thinking. Once this happens, it becomes more and more difficult for them to make good judgments and sound decisions. To effectively deal with an emergency, we must learn techniques to calm our anxieties and keep them in the range where they help, not hurt us.
In our next post we will get right to the point and look at frustration, anger, and depression.

Did you miss Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4?

Read the rest of the series: part 6, part 7

Mental Attitude for Emergency Readiness-Part 4

attitude3

Injury, illness, and death are real possibilities in an emergency situation one may have to face. Perhaps nothing is more stressful than being alone in an unfamiliar environment where you could die from hostile activity, an accident, or from eating something deadly. Illness and injury can also add to stress by limiting your ability to move, get drink or food, find shelter, or defend yourself. Even if illness and injury don’t lead to death, they add to stress through the pain and discomfort they generate. It is only by controlling the stress associated with the vulnerability to injury, illness, and death that a person  can have the courage to take the risks associated with tasks needed in an emergency situation .

Some people have trouble operating in settings where everything is not clear cut. The only guarantee in a emergency situation is that nothing is guaranteed. It can be extremely stressful operating on limited information in a setting where you have limited control of your surroundings. This uncertainty and lack of control also add to the stress of being ill, or injured.

Even under the most ideal circumstances, nature is quite formidable. In an emergency , a person will have to contend with the stressors of weather, terrain, and the variety of creatures inhabiting an area. Heat, cold, rain, winds, mountains, swamps, deserts, insects, dangerous reptiles, and other animals are just a few of the challenges awaiting the person striving to survive the emergency situation. Depending on how a person handles the stress of their environment, their surroundings can be either a source of important resources such as  food and protection or can be a cause of extreme discomfort leading to injury, illness, or death.

Without water and food, a person will weaken and eventually die. Thus, getting and preserving water and food takes on increasing importance as the length of time in a emergency situation  increases. For a person used to having their groceries available at a store, foraging can be a big source of stress. Forcing yourself to continue living  is not as easy as you grow more tired. It is possible to become so fatigued that the act of just staying awake is stressful in itself.

There are some advantages to facing adversity with others. As Individuals we learn different  skills, but as part of a society we actually learn (sometimes unknowingly) to function as part of a team. Although we, as individuals sometimes may complain about authority and government, we become used to the information and guidance it provides, especially during times of confusion. Being in contact with others also provides a greater sense of security and a feeling that someone is available to help if problems occur. A significant stressor in emergency situations  is that often a person or family  has to rely solely on its own resources.

The stressors mentioned in this post are by no means the only ones you may face. Remember, what is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another. Your experiences, training, personal outlook on life, physical and mental conditioning, and level of self-confidence contribute to what you will find stressful in a emergency environment. The object is not to avoid stress, but rather to manage the stressors you face and make them work for you.

We now have a general knowledge of stress and the stressors common to emergencies ; the next step is to examine our reactions to the stressors we may face.

Did you miss earlier posts?

Mental Attitude for Emergency Readiness Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Read the rest of the series: part 5, part 6, part 7

Mental Attitude for Emergency Readiness-Part 3

attitude2Any event can lead to stress, as everyone has experienced, events don’t always come one at a time. Often multiple stressful events occur simultaneously. These events are not stress, but they produce it and are called stressors. Stressors are the obvious cause while stress is the response. Once the body recognizes the presence of a stressor, it then begins to act to protect itself.

In response to a stressor, the body prepares either a   “fight or flight.” response. This preparation involves an internal SOS sent throughout the body. As the body responds to this SOS, several actions take place. The body releases stored fuels (sugar and fats) to provide quick energy; breathing rate increases to supply more oxygen to the blood; muscle tension increases to prepare for action; blood clotting mechanisms are activated to reduce bleeding from cuts; senses become more acute (hearing becomes more sensitive, eyes become big, smell becomes sharper) so that you are more aware of your surrounding and heart rate and blood pressure rise to provide more blood to the muscles. This protective posture lets a person cope with potential dangers; however, a person cannot maintain such a level of alertness indefinitely.

Stressors are not courteous; one stressor does not leave because another one arrives. Stressors add up. The cumulative effect of minor stressors can be a major distress if they all happen too close together. As the body’s resistance to stress wears down and the sources of stress continue (or increase), eventually a state of exhaustion arrives. At this point, the ability to resist stress or use it in a positive way gives out and signs of distress appear. Anticipating stressors and developing strategies to cope with them are two ingredients in the effective management of stress. It is therefore essential that the person in an emergency setting be aware of the types of stressors they will encounter. Let’s take a look at a few of these in part 4.

Did you miss Part 1 or part 2?

Read the rest of the series: part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7