Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Florida DMV - Complements ICE Preparedness

Florida is ahead of many states in Emergency Preparedness for good reason - they cope with repeated emergencies on a yearly basis. You will find local government websites dedicating considerable space to getting citizens prepared for - in their case - the inevitable storm.....

Florida DMV has a program that allows Florida Drivers License Holders to access their license database online to add/update emergency contact information. In an emergency, police access the DMV Database and retrieve contact info you provided in advance and attempt notifications.

When it comes to being prepared, redundancy is an important word. Would you rely on this totally - no way....there are limitations to everything....but this is an excellent way to take advantage of systems installed and maintained with your tax dollars that can actually work for you.

Are you in Florida? Have a Florida Drivers License? Then Click Here!

Palm Beach Florida Kicks Off ICE 1-29-08 !!!

Some still shots of the televised news featuring the Palm Beach County Florida Public Safety Officials announcing their new ICE Public Safety Initiative 1-29-08.

Watch the entire news video using the following link to the Sun-Sentinel.

These folks make a lot of sense and are bringing ICE to the public. Outstanding!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Uploading Your Cell Phone with ICE Image

Want to make sure you have the ICE Image on your phone? It's easy actually if you have a phone that can upload files...most every new phone that has a camera also has a Micro-SD card that you can download the web sized ICE4SAFETY Image to. You can get the web sized image file at on the ICE Tools page.

Most every phone store will have a Micro SD card and adapter kit so you can use your computer to manipulate the files. If you have a full sized SD or other card it is even easier as yo won't need an adapter for your computer...

If you don't have a Micro-SD card , you can download the image to your phone memory using a Micro USB cable.....if you are a techno savvy teen or young adult..... take a moment and lend a hand to some of the many technologically challenged adults out there so can also make this change on their phone.

You can make this image show up by changing your DISPLAY SETTINGS - both your FRONT DISPLAY (smaller) as well as the MAIN DISPLAY (larger) of your phone can show the ICE4SAFETY Image so there will be little doubt that you have ICE'd your phone.

Of course make sure you input your contact numbers....and for good measure you can drop in a current picture of yourself titled with your John Smith Phone Owner.jpg This might be a good idea for a public service event at fire/ems/police booths or even schools....use your imagination folks....

South Florida Fair & ICE Jan 18 to Feb 3

Since the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office is starting off their ICE Program at the South Florida Fair from January 18 to February 3rd, it is only fair (pun intended) that we let people know about it here on the ICE4SAFETY blog!

Make your way down to the fair if you are in the West Palm Beach area and pick up your free ICE Cards and Stickers! So far we hear it is going great as ICE has really taken off in South Florida! Last year ICE was featured in 9 county and state fairs in the US that we know's #1 for 2008!

Learn more about this year's fair at this link.....

Friday, January 25, 2008

ICE Promo - US Postage Stamps

If your organization or company is sponsoring an ICE related event and distributing information or conducting any mailings...or simply supporting the can get your official USPS stamps from several online vendors.

This one comes from and took about 10 minutes to do.

Feel free to utilize the image for this purpose - Hint: June is Safety Month and September is Preparedness Month...but you don't have to wait until then.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

MySpace and ICE4SAFETY

Some of the Myspace EMS/FIRE/POLICE folks will be visiting the blog and website and lending some critical analysis on what works and what doesn't. We might even get a few to spend a few moments away from their often colorful and insightful Myspace pages to share some of their considerable experience and knowledge in a forum that can reach out to the "average Joe".

It would be a nice addition to the effort......and a welcome one.

Anyways more functionality on board the website today... including language translation...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Preparedness Tip - First Aid Kits 1

This topic can get lengthy so we will attempt to start with the overall mental picture first and drill down to where you can decide how much effort you want to put into making sure you have the proper tools for the most likely events or as best you can for those worst case scenarios.

You will need some form of first aid/surgical/trauma type kit in your on/off road vehicle, home, camp, watercraft, hiking/camping pack, plane, workplace (many workplaces are required by law to have an "approved" first aid kit) and as a permanent component of your "bug out" gear bag.

Determining what type of kit and how it is contained are important depending on contents, size, location and environment. This kit may be used by trained people to help YOU so consider that when designing your kit.

Having a well supplied home kit that is portable when you are forced to leave can be a life saver....having to access it for a band aid can be a have a few around handy with some triple antibiotic ointment and wound cleaning pads. Most of your basic supplies can be found in a good drug store but you will need to get more advanced items online or in surgical supply/specialty stores if you have any near you.
Items like hemostatic agents, splints, saline, field surgical kits etc., can be found at Emergency Medical Products ( / Masune First Aid ( / Nitro-Pak or Brigade Quartermaster to name a few.

Most backpacking stores will carry Wilderness First Aid Kits which can be a good start ($30) and expeditious. Remember you have to carry it with you and do have a 3 day spare supply of prescription meds on hikes and camping excursions if you can't live without them!

Economizing by having only one kit for home and on the go is a poor idea as you may fail to have it where you need it - unless you do not leave home/drive/go outdoors etc. Settle on a bag/box that works for your needs and determine how many you can afford....nice thing is that you can start with one and expand from there.

If you participate in sporting events and your club has the typical undernourished "liability correct" first aid kit bolted or taped to a wall - you can and should have your own on hand nearby.

There have been some significant advances in emergency medical equipment and over-the- counter remedies as well. Many doctors are now more apt to prescribe an extra regimen of your regular medicines to have on hand for your emergency bug out kit as well. Have a list and ask now, because getting to the drug store that just blew away in the twister is not the best plan.

Some quick tips....
  • the person using the kit may not be you - you may be the injured person
  • you need to know and be familiar with the contents of any kit and how/when to use them
  • first aid/CPR-AED/advanced training is highly recommended
  • have more than one kit - minimum one for home and one for on/off road vehicle.
  • contents checklists are useful to avoid being stuck without critical components
  • use or paint kits in orange or bright blue and mark them with Star of Life symbols and marked clearly as "First Aid Kit"
  • some military ammo cans or plastic sporting boxes (orange) are great but may be hard to open one handed if injured or you lack the strength
  • bags specifically designed as first aid kit bags are available but suitable other soft containers can be acquired for less cost from marine and sports stores

To be continued...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

In Case of Emergency - Lessons from Others - Helping Your Neighbors

Okay, time for a real life story....and a lesson in not being prepared.

If you have elderly or infirm neighbors or your relatives who are out of town rely on their neighbors for some day to day assistance with living...this may be for you.

Many of our older folks living alone in their homes on sometimes meager resources and barely managing - usually will have medical issues. When those issues become critical and require emergency medical intervention, there may be little warning or time to do much except call for help (911) and await the ambulance or fire department rescue. That is best case and what we have come to expect nowadays.

If you are not a relative or the executor of the estate, but one needs to be located - what better way than to have both a COMPLETED ICE Card and Emergency Info Form on hand ready to go. If you don't, and you are relying on that undated scrap of paper stuck on a cork board or basket with some barely legible names and numbers on it - you are in for an unpleasant experience indeed.

If you are not a particularly patient or resourceful type or have limitations of your own, there may be some choice words expressed during this urgent time. You will be upset about why there was so little preparation - or - that the information you did have was not VERIFIED or updated. Why? Because then YOU will have to go searching for people you may have no clue about. There is nothing as disconcerting as contacting a disconnected number or transposed phone number. More below...

So, here's the drill ... your elderly neighbor(s) may have some pride left and be highly resistant to your seemingly intrusive efforts to help them be prepared AHEAD OF TIME with having the proper medical/contact info on hand and making sure the contact numbers are indeed correct.

Your first approach will be to advise your neighbor/friend that if they want YOU to be of any use during an emergency, then they have to help YOU (or a stranger) have this info readily available and up to date.

If the soft touch doesn't work, then you may have to take a more aggressive approach to getting things done and insist on having these preparations in place. Time to set the pride aside for a moment and engage some tough love.

If you are going to be the one called upon to help, then take the 10-15 minutes NOW to get everything in order so you don't spend hours later attempting to locate relatives and important/vital info. These things always seem to happen when you least expect or desire them to happen - thus the term emergency. Maybe you are a kind gentle soul that can drop everything and come running.....and for this we applaud you...but many people today are so self-absorbed (aka selfish) and just plain unavailable...that you have to get this process done.

Worst case, if you need to contact the operator for phone assistance - you may be disappointed because without certain info your search will be unproductive - phone listings are updated daily and there is no way to access archival records. You can access land line phone number listings via your cell phone but it is the same service.

You CANNOT locate a person's cell phone number or have an operator from a wireless service contact a subscriber in an emergency.

Now can you see the VALUE in getting this contact preparation done beforehand? Because when you really need to get info, you will most likely have problems.....

Just got off the phone with AT&T and dropped a dime about them providing such an emergency service for non-police/ems/fire but don't hold your hand on your behind waiting for it. 911 and police have access - you don't - and for very good reason. You will have to let the police do this - and of course in a disaster situation do you really think this will be the first priority? No.

Here is another kicker...the people I have contacted at the various wireless phone services - never heard of ICE. Comforting isn't it?
Maybe the person I spoke with today in Tennessee will read this and pass it along to some functionary at the company who can actually make something happen. Verizon and Vodaphone already have.....get on the stick AT&T and you other providers.......

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Keysure System and ICE Kits

The KEYSURE System - This unique and useful device has been around for over 15 years in use by people who want a cost effective, easy to use and verifiable system of protecting access devices or important information.

These plastic boxes that now come in 4 colors - Blue/Yellow/Red/Clear can be used to protect keys, money, access/credit cards, USB Drives, Emergency Medical Information, ICE4SAFETY Cards, computer passwords or emergency instructions...the list of uses is left up to you.

The device works like this - you sign your name inside the box in the white area place whatever you want inside the device, then squeeze it shut. The only way to get the contents out is to stomp on the box - breaking it open. This is depicted on the box. You can purchase a system that protects a quantity of these in a lock box for access control in apartments/hospitals/nursing homes/factories/prisons and such.

As a preparedness tool, you might locate your vital information here in a USB Drive or other smart card technology device when you are on the move and can't take your file cabinet or computer with make them even easier to locate for bugging out purposes you can cut up an ICE4SAFETY VersaCard for the ICE Image and affix to the front or back white areas.

If you have a relative that is elderly or disabled and has multiple care providers visiting - you might consider using these - screw it into the wall and place emergency money or info inside. Next time you visit you can be assured no one was pilfering property or the patient wasn't making false accusations - it works both ways. Simple.

Got guns? Got a gun safe? Got kids? Lock the trigger housing and place the key into the KEYSURE Box if you are away. When you come back and notice it broken open...well, you have problems. But you will at least know and can take some action.

Leaving keys with the neighbors...make them feel better knowing they can also tell if someone "borrowed" your key while you were away.

Check out the website for KEYSURE and watch the video at

Preparedness Tip - Fire Kit Components

You will need water/shelter/food and a fire in many longer term situations - the reasons for a fire are protection/warmth/psychological/food preparation. If you are not that adept at scratching flint stone to ignite navel lint or rubbing sticks together to create that big bonfire then you will be served well by building in some redundancy to your fire starting kit.
Contents shown here are contained in a military surplus decon kit box (plastic) which can be worn on a belt and serve other uses like scooper/cup/bowl/tinder container to name a few. This kit is useful even for urban dwellers as well as those lost in the woods or relocating.
Kit includes:
Container - Windproof Butane Lighter (EMS-Gander Mtn) -Survival Weatherproof Boat Matches - Spark-Lite One Handed Fire Starter Kit -Vaseline Soaked Cotton Balls - Small One Foot Square Heavy Tin Foil - Magnesium Fire Starter with Striker - Solid Fuel Bar - Spare Tinder for Spark Lite Kit - Knife or Metal Striker Bar.
(Not Shown) - One Inch Wide Strips from a Rubber Bicycle Inner Tube - Wrap a few of these around the case or store them inside your kit...still burns even after getting wet!
You should be able to manipulate all of these tools with one hand to start a survival fire.
You may also include these contents in the Water Bottle Kit discussed in the blog from 1-1-08.
Practicing in different types of weather and locations trying to start a fire with some of these components may prove quite an arduous task for many. Better to know how ahead of time.
You can obtain these items online at Brigade/Nitro-Pak or or from a good army surplus store.

Preparedness Tip - Marking Your Equipment

Next time you stop at your local hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot - pick up a couple of Sharpie 39100 Metallic Silver Markers.

Your kit may include one black and one silver metallic version so you have greater flexibility to write on everything.

Many of the items you may be marking up to save time when you may need it most are dark or black in color - you can't use black permanent markers for this task.

This marker will show up and mark up everything that is black. Black Sharpies can be used with ICE4SAFETY VersaCard Stickers

Logic: Your emergency equipment may need to be located or fixed in a hurry and finding parts or reading a manual in a storm, fire or a flood isn't practical. You may also be reliant on someone else to help you and they cannot be brought up to speed - or you may be without your glasses and can't read small print found on most everything nowadays.

Some Items to consider marking up in advance:
Bolt/nut sizes on critical equipment
Spark plug sizes on generators/engines
Contents of Rubbermaid type boxes/kit contents
Spare part numbers /hose/clamp/pipe/belt sizes/bolt-nut-shear pin sizes
Circuit breaker numbers/home circuit connection box ID/water-gas line shutoffs
Fuel cans/water treatment dates/water or effluent flow direction/fitting sizes
Food expiration dates/food mixing ratios
You should get the picture by now.....

If your printing is poor - think about using a label maker! But this method is expedient and it works!

DIY Preparedness - Water Bottle Kits

Outdoor Recreation stores have had the Nalgene Water Bottle Kits on sale for about $20 on average. This is a good idea and inexpensive. Changes we would make is for you to buy the bottle and assemble the kit yourself and to include the purchase of a stainless steel cup (GSI makes one)that fits snugly on the bottom which can be used in a variety of ways and is inexpensive. You want to have as much versatility in the tools you buy - especially if you are concerned about the costs...we hope to help you accomplish that here by doing the experimenting for you.
One of the best reasons for DIY is that you will ultimately select better quality components to include in your kit and the process of assembling it will help you better understand how you might better utilize the kit when needed.
The concept is similar to conducting a brainstorming type training session - you may never encounter the scenario you trained for, but the experience and knowledge gained will prove invaluable in the event of an emergency.
You can carry this in your vehicle for times when you want to take a quick hike somewhere, as a component part of a larger kit or system or as the balancing 2nd "bottle" in your daypack. Have a few plastic Ziploc type bags inside to transfer the contents to when you fill the bottle with water. These won't stand out too much - even in the urban environment as Nalgene bottles are fairly commonplace. You may want to defer on using the sticker if you prefer the "gray man" concept - you can even get these with decorative exterior covers to mask the contents....just remember that most items included will rattle - not splash, so wrap or bag as appropriate.
Future articles will include a practical content lists for this type of kit.