be prepared


Vanity Post

While my wife and I have eight grandchildren, and we love each and every one, today we are celebrating a cover girl. Our youngest, only one year old, was selected and appears on this cover. We are very proud and I could not help but share the event.

Ella Angel

 

This just in:

War in the Mid-East, Russia and U. S. at odds, China disregarding everyone else, our culture is going to hell, income is down, prices are going up, and young people can’t stop staring at their smart phones.

Some things never seem to change.

While it’s not my nature to be pessimistic, given all of the above same old news, and other recent events including terrorist threats and natural disasters, it’s sometimes difficult to be positive.

It was only last month when our phone rang at 3:30 a.m. and our youngest son was shouting into the phone, “Are you alright?” He and his family had just evacuated their shaking home in the midst of a terrible earthquake. A house nearby had caught fire and a man was yelling “help me” in the dark. Our son still cannot get into the building where his business is located and his young kids are still having nightmares. It was truly a frightening disaster.

So, what should we learn from all this? Well, as one of my favorite authors M. Scott Peck began his classic The Road Less Traveled, “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.”

We cannot predict disasters, we only know they can and will occur. The best we can do is to be as prepared as possible. After doing a review of several emergency preparedness materials and web sites, I decided to share the following information gleaned from a power company. I also looked at a number of government sites designed to give emergency instructions, the ones our tax dollars sponsor, and found most of them very confusing and complicated. That is, except the one that stated “This page not available.” It figures.

I hope this will be informative. Perhaps you can print it out and begin your plan or update an existing plan as needed.

I would add one thing to the items below. My son told me the man whose house caught fire and was yelling for help wanted someone to turn off the gas valve. It was difficult finding the right tool in the dark. I suggest tieing the appropriate wrench to the valve itself making it very easy to find, light or no light.

Emergency Preparedness

Get ready for natural disasters before they happen

  • Prepare an emergency plan and conduct an emergency drill with your family.
  • Prepare an emergency evacuation plan for your home. Each room should have at least 2 ways to escape in case one is blocked. Establish a place where your family can reunite after an emergency.
  • If you live in an apartment, know the locations of emergency exits, fire alarms, and fire extinguishers.
  • Make sure children, house guests and childcare providers know your safety
    By planning and practicing what to do, you can condition yourself and your family to react correctly when an emergency occurs.
  • Establish an alternative way to contact others that may not be home, such as an out-of-the-area telephone contact. During some emergencies such as an earthquake, completing local telephone calls may be difficult, it may be easier to telephone someone out of the area.
  • Prepare and maintain anemergency preparedness kit with enough supplies on hand to be self-sufficient for at least 3 days, and preferably up to one week.
  • Know when and how to turn offelectricity, water and gas at the main switch and valves.
  • Evaluate your homefor safety; including ensuring your home can withstand a serious earthquake or other emergency.
  • Always store flammable material safely away from ignition sources like water heaters, furnaces and stoves.
  • Be sure smoke alarms are installed throughout your home. If the smoke alarm runs on batteries, or has battery back-up power, replace batteries at least once per year. If the low battery warning beeps, replace the battery immediately. All smoke alarms in your house should be tested every month using the alarm test button.
  • Keep fire extinguishers in your home, and know how to use them before they are needed. You should keep a fire extinguisher in high-risk areas such as the kitchen and workshop.

Know what to do after an emergency

  • Ensure that everyone is safe.
  • Inspect your building for damage. Do not use electrical switches, appliances or telephones if you suspect a gas leak since sparks may ignite gas.
  • If you smell gas, hear gas escaping, see a broken gas line, or if you suspect a gas leak, evacuate the building. Find a phone away from the building and call PG&E or 9-1-1 immediately. If it is safe to do so,turn off the gas service shutoff valve normally located near the gas meter. Do not shut off the gas service shutoff valve unless you find the presence of any one of these conditions because there may be a considerable delay before PG&E can turn your service back on.
  • If leaking gas starts to burn, do not try to put the flame out. Call 9-1-1 and PG&E immediately. If it is safe to do so,turn off the gas service shutoff valve normally located near the gas meter.
  • Once the gas is shut off at the meter, do not try to turn it back on yourself. Only PG&E or another qualified professional should turn the gas back on.
  • Check for downed or damaged electric utility lines. Never touch wires lying on the ground, wires hanging on poles, or objects that may be touching them. Downed wires may still be carrying current and could shock, injure or even kill if touched.
  • Check for damaged household electrical wiring andturn off the power at the main electric switch if you suspect any damage. If the power goes out, turn off all electric appliances, and unplug major electric appliances to prevent possible damage when the power is turned back on.

Emergency Preparedness Kit

Prepare and maintain an emergency kit with enough supplies to be self-sufficient for at least three days and preferably up to one week.

The kit should include:

  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • One-week supply of water
  • One-week supply of non-perishable food and a manual can opener
  • Alternative cooking source
  • A first aid kit and handbook
  • A-B-C multipurpose fire extinguisher
  • Extra medication for those who need prescription drugs
  • Adjustable pipe or crescent wrench to turn off the gas and water supply
  • Chlorine bleach and instructions for purifying water
  • Blankets, warm clothes, sturdy shoes and heavy gloves
  • Candles and matches. If you must use candles, use extreme caution due to the risk of fire. Keep candles away from small children and do not leave candles unattended.

 

Trisha Update

Once again, I want to thank those of you who have been supportive of my wife Trisha since her surgery. Let me just say she is doing great and already planning our next travel adventure. I’m very proud of her and she has managed her rehab as she managed her business tasks in the past. Thanks again.

Trisha and John Parker

Trisha and John Parker

 

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 www.TheBestofOurLives.com

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“He’s Got A Gun!”

Given the numerous recent shootings in the news, probably each one of us have questioned what we would do if someone yelled, “He’s got a gun?”

Unfortunately, I’ve had that experience. Several years ago while teaching at a California State University, I was having coffee with two of my students after an early morning class in the outdoor patio of the student union. We were seated at a table next to a cafeteria parking lot separated by a three-foot wall. All of a sudden we heard an explosion in the direction of the parking lot. My first thought was something in the kitchen area must have blown up. We all stood in curiosity just as there was another explosion. This time I could see the flash point and source of the explosion. It was a young man with a rifle and he had just fired another shot point-blank at a person lying in the shrubbery. The gunman then turned and began to walk directly toward us.

I don’t recall many specifics of the next few seconds. I do remember a sense of disbelief followed by a surge of white-hot terror. The next day, both my male and female students would tell me I grabbed each of them by the head and pushed them to the ground. I don’t remember doing that but I’m sure some paternal instincts were involved. They also said they could see my head moving back and forth and my eyes darting all around. When they described my behavior I did recall desperately looking for something to throw at the gunman. After all, I’m an old baseball player and I’m sure I thought I might be able to knock the rifle out of his hands. Very stupid. It never worked in the movies, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have worked then. 

As the gunman approached, he stopped and began to do something with the rifle. At that point, a campus security officer ran into the lot behind the gunman. He had heard the explosion, but had no idea it was a shooting. I yelled, “He has a gun,” and the officer dropped to one knee and pulled his pistol. State University security are always armed. The gunman turned and began to run toward the underground entrance of another parking lot. The officer gave out an alert on his radio and followed after him. For some reason I followed along at a distance.

As the gunman ran down the parking lot ramp out of sight, I could hear an officer already in that lot yell, “Drop the rifle.” Then five pistol shots rang out followed by one rifle shot. The gunman was down and dying. He did not survive.

It turned out to be a love triangle and the young man had decided to kill his ex-girlfriend. He waited in the lot where she parked her car and confronted her. The first shot literally blew her into the shrubs, and as he hovered over her for the second point-blank shot, she was able to pull a large economics text to her chest. The bullet rang through the book but this act saved her life. People from the cafeteria put her on a food cart and raced her to campus clinic where doctors were able to save her.

I was interviewed by several reporters who had arrived on scene and then taken, along with the two security officers, to a police station for our statements. Mine differed from theirs in that I distinctly recalled five pistol shots followed by a rifle shot (I believe when the gunman fell to the ground). They said the rifle shot came first. No matter. In all honesty, if I’d had a gun when he approached me, I would have shot him myself.

The only mystery left was when the police asked me what the gunman was doing with the rifle when he had approached me. I could not remember. Moments of terror really confuse your senses. I tried and tried but could not come up with an answer. Six months later, in the middle of the night while sleeping, it came to me. I sat up in bed and yelled, “He was trying to kill himself.” Of course, I scared my wife half to death, but I now saw it very clearly in slow motion. He was trying to put the rifle barrel under his chin just as the first officer entered the parking lot and I yelled “He’s got a gun.”

We hear experts on television giving lots of advice and maybe that’s a good thing. If I’d been more prepared, perhaps I would have simply run. I don’t know and I hope you never have to find out for yourself.

Be safe.

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

 

Senior-Care 2011

MetLife Mature Market Institute recently released the results of their annual survey. It reports the cost of senior care has once again gone up in 2011. Surprised? Of course not. The way this economy has been mishandled by virtually every player is quite obvious.  

As seniors, we appear to be on a collision course with such high costs for care, it puts into jeopardy our future financial security as well as that of our loved ones. For example, the average private nursing home room currently costs $229 a day. That totals $87,235 a year, up 4.4 per cent. The average assisted living cost is $3,477 a month. That totals $41,724 a year, up 5.6 per cent. Even adult day-care currently costs an average of $79 a day, up 4.5 per cent.

If you are looking for a bargain in senior-care, you might consider rural Louisiana. The cost of  living in a nursing home there is a mere $141 per day. If you have money to burn on your senior-care, head to Alaska. The cost of living in a nursing home there is currently $655 per day. I’m sure that includes all the salmon you can eat.

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

 

 www.TheBestofOurLives.com

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

 

Even before I retired, I began to watch and listen to less news. One of my strict “retired-life rules” is absolutely no news before bedtime. In this era of instant information, we are bombarded with daily stories and images of human tragedy. It often appears the entire world has gone completely mad. While I resist the temptation to panic, as responsible people we should ask ourselves the question, “What would you do in an emergency?”   

First of all, let me suggest a “go bag.” In our book, Trisha and I wrote about the usefulness of having a small travel bag already packed with versatile clothing such as nylon pants and jacket, sweat shirt or sweater, an extra pair of shoes, etc. In addition, it should have toiletries and a two-week supply of medications. This type of bag would be very useful in case of fire, flood, or other emergency in which you would need to evacuate. Having lived in the hillsides of southern California for much of my life, when those fires begin, you don’t have much time to get out.

Of course, if you really want to do it right, a flashlight, first-aid kit, emergency blanket, a multi-purpose tool, and a portable crank-style radio would be advisable. Additionally, include copies of your contact information, maps, and extra cash. A flash drive with all your personal information would be invaluable if a disaster forced you from your home for a long period of time.

If something terrible happened that would keep you in your home for an extended period, make sure you have plenty of water and extra food. This would not be a problem for us. Our neighbors have all decided they will gather at our home if an emergency takes place. The way Trisha has our pantry stocked, it resembles a small convenience store.

Of course, it’s natural to have the attitude “that will never happen to me.” Unfortunately, bad things can and do happen. The wise person is prepared. 

Bucket List

I’m glad so many of you liked my blog concerning “bucket lists.”  One of the people I heard from was Annette Renee White who has a bucket list website you might enjoy visiting. Give it a look.

Bucket List Journey » ABOUT