Sunday, February 24, 2008

Prep Tip - Terrorism Information - STRATFOR .

You cannot learn about terrorism in any meaningful way by reading many of the failing newspapers in the United States today.
Terrorists continue to persevere in their efforts to destroy the United States - they have plenty of willing participants and it appears plenty of financial assistance. In some instances, reporters themselves have been threatened with violence or killed if they reported the truth.

The folks at STRATFOR.COM are intelligence service experts....they are good at bringing out the fine details surrounding world events and report with dispassionate analysis -unlike the mainstream media. There are daily podcasts, videos and commentaries on matters affecting all of us from around the world.

Get the facts from this source as real time news. You may not like what you hear, but you owe it to yourself to at least find out.

Bookmark this link:

Friday, February 22, 2008

ICE in Florida - Success Update 2-08!

Palm Beach Officials have experienced such success in rolling out their ICE Safety Program that they have exhausted their large supply of ICE Materials......sounds like success to us!Between the South Florida Fair and the local Fire/Rescue and Sheriff Stations, residents cleaned up.
PBSO advises today that additional printings are in progress and that the ICE Program is on a roll. Requests from communities within the county have exceeded expectations and continues unabated. So, if your community or organization is expecting to follow suit...just remember to plan on widespread enthusiasm....more as we get it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Verizon Steps Up to the Plate - ICE Contacts

Some phones have it and some don't....this new LG phone shown here from Verizon demonstrates that someone is listening....somewhere. Verizon supports an In Case of Emergency title under the Contact folder.
Inside that group is room for 3 ICE CONTACTS and a Personal Info Heading.....inside the Info Folder you will find room for 3 NOTES! Now users can program that ICE info from the get go in this section as well as using a back up entry listed in alphabetical order (AA Emergency). This particular phone is not equipped with any SIM Card and relies on phone memory.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Another Phone Update - Apple Touch Screen Devices

In response to some inquiries about Apple products.....ICE4SAFETY stopped in to chat with two wireless consultants - James and Joshua at the AT&T Store in Shoppingtown. We learned about the latest touch screen phones also know as iPhones.

Apple also is the maker of another non-phone PDA-like and Wi-Fi Internet Access device known as the Ipod Touch. The Touch is a pretty slim unit capable of fitting in your shirt pocket. Despite not being a phone, it can store vital emergency contact information as well.

The original IPod is a non-phone/scroll wheel affair that stores music (iTunes) and video.

The IPod Touch and iPhone update their contact lists via a direct "synching" with a computer email program (Mac or PC). Synch is tech speak for "update". You can also update manually at any time too using your finger....the touch screen keyboard being infinitely more friendly than your cell phone.

You can create contact folders on the Touch and I-Phone and associate a picture or icon (ICE) with the contacts. You will need to update or synch the ICE4SAFETY Image into your devices or capture the image from the website (

Latest software updates in January 2008 allow users to create new icons or widgets on your HomeScreen and place any four onto the Docket (see above)at the bottom of the screen. By creating an ICE Widget or Icon and placing it in the "docket" it will be displayed on all of your homescreens (you could create up to 8).

Update that ICE folder with contact information by manually inserting numbers into the list. You can rename each entry to reflect the order or type of contact - ICE1, ICE2, ICE DoctorSmith etc. If you have the earlier software you would need to access the existing "Contact" Icon or Widget on your home screen and enter a contact name using AA Emergency Contacts. The touch screen phones will list the contacts alphabetically by either first or last can select how using the set up menu option (e.g. Mark Smith or Smith, Mark). These entries scroll and can be longer than phone entries as the screens are larger.

New iPhones have 16 Gigabytes of memory - plenty of room for storing a photo of the owner (You) and the ICE icon as well. Remember - Redundancy....don't rely on this device alone.

If you might find yourself trying to use one of these someday - you should take a few moments to see one in action at the Apple link is short and sweet.

Learn to use Apple iPhones Here!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Preparedness - Patient Empowerment

Elizabeth Cohen who has been writing about medical issues for quite some time now has created what amounts to a compendium of articles and vast array of information that people should avail themselves of to better understand the often complex and maybe less than glamorous issue of Patient Empowerment.
This issue is as much about preparedness as all the other topics we have here and on the website - probably more so for many of us with our own or relatives recurring medical issues. Once again - we need to spend time to save time.
Please check out Elizabeth's articles and the links as may be able to get some of the items listed there free, ask at work if you have an HR Department or from your doctor.
Nice Job Elizabeth and CNN!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Post Incident Relief Operations - Southern Comfort

During intermission at the Syracuse Symphony Pops Concert last Saturday we had the opportunity to visit with some dedicated members of the Operation Southern Comfort Hurricane Katrina and Rita Relief Effort group.....New Orleans and the surrounding area is still a disaster and these hard working, dedicated souls have been travelling down there for weeklong stints since 2005 to help reconstruct homes and return the New Orleans area to a sense of normalcy.

Having just had a 68 twister storm only a day ago hitting five states we might tend to forget about this horrendous disaster.....if only for a moment.

Well these folks have figured out that complaining won't get anything acomplished, so they have organized 400 volunteers in the Central New York area to help rebuild.

They are always looking for able bodied adults that can spend time travelling down in groups to work on specific projects... if you have and know how to use power tools and have building skills that is a plus for this group...if you have equipment or supplies to spare.....feel free to donate....these are the folks to contact:

Norm Andrzejewski –

We added a web page to the ICE4SAFETY site to help these folks along until they get their own site. Least we could do seeing all they have done. Click HERE!

Prepardeness Tip - Critical Information Storage

This form is a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet with 7 individual worksheets that allows users the flexibility to record financial, medical, property, contact, important documents, personal and immunization info all in one document that you can customize easily - you can find this on the ICE4SAFETY Website DIY Tools page listed as the Critical Info Form.

The information you store on this form can mean the difference between spending weeks, months or years getting your life back together after a disaster. Proving your valuables existed for insurance purposes is a tedious and frustrating task - without records and photos - even worse.
Recreating licenses and proving who you are or that you possessed certain licenses or documents essential to your financial future is also fraught with problems.....and you will be in line with others no doubt - many others - most without proof of anything.

So spend the time NOW and complete the exercise in getting yourself together. If asituation arises where you must leave wherever you are in a big hurry or say your home burns down....the info stored with you in a USB Drive or CD off-site can help.

You can update at will and save as the date is refreshed whenever you open/save the document. You don't have to pay anyone else to do this - you can now do it yourself (DIY). If you have any difficulty with this tool, just let us know.

We worked it through some examples and each page format was checked so it printed out in standard 8.5 x 11 sheets. You will need access to a digital scanner that can convert your documents to files digitally and you will create a folder to store any inventory pictures you may take. You can hyper-link the property info to the picture for instant viewing if you like.

The format is straightforward so more people can use it easily. If you scan receipts for important items they can go into the folder as well. For a quick evacuation, store this info on a CD or a USB Portable Drive. If you keep it in a Keysure Box that would be helpful knowing no one else accessed your information. Keep it away from the wrong hands. Don't store this info on your computer either.

Take a good look at it on the DIY know you have been saying all along that you have to do this..... (no one wants to) so here's your opportunity. Click HERE to get form!

Prep Tip - Getting It Out in a Hurry!

Here are some smarter options for having a gear bag of essential items ready to go from home or to have with you when at work or away travelling or simply on a Sunday ride out of town.
If you want to travel light there are plenty of options...if you don't want to stand out(gray man concept) you may opt for a business or campus looking briefcase-like daypack or a promotional nylon book bag you might have received at a professional conference. Few will pay attention and you could conceivably bring it to work with you and have it close by. This might be advantageous if you work in a high rise or larger office building and don't want to call attention to yourself.
Common variations of daypacks like North Face, Mountainsmith, EMS or REI make adequate everyday carry packs that can be left in your vehicle or locker. The Maxpedition VersiPacks, Eagle Molle A-3 and CamelBack BFM Gear and Bug Out Gear Packs are rough service quality pieces of work that can take plenty of abuse and you may want to invest in one or two of these as your "Go Bag" of choice if the tornado/hurricane/weather alerts go off. There are some other brands that excel as well...later on those.
You may have seen these ridiculous orange "packs" being sold at large box stores or online survial gear sites and if you buy one of these you will be mighty disappointed or worse. You can do better than that even if you are not well off. A segmented duffle bag may suffice as a car kit bag but as a go bag it really lacks versatility. Stick with something you can cinch tight and carry on your back or drag if need be.
The marketing thought behind those orange pack products has to be that people don't expect to use them so won't invest in anything of quality - but they still want to feel good about having "something". Oddly , as you go from survival site to survival site you see the same orange bags.....yikes. Try walking over a mile with one of those ridiculous things loaded up - they will break first. JUNK.
We'll show you what to put in these kits that can extend your stay without your normal services for more than the 3 days promised by the junk vendors. You can attach additional gear bags using the military MOLLE** attachment system. Camelback comes equipped with water resevoir built in to the pack. Just remember water freezes when you decide on storing your gear outside in winter.
The more time you have assembling you own gear the more apt you are to appreciate what YOU have done and how the gear you have assembled will work when you need it. No pain - no gain really applies. You can find this gear at Brigade, Camping Survival or Nitro-Pak, local EMS/REI or Military base supply store. Links are on the website.
We will also be giving you some practical tips on car kits...somethings to always leave in the car inconspicously and great to have when caught out of town or stuck in a long line during a snowstorm. When you have less than a minute of warning to head for the storm shelter or dorm shower/bathtubs having one of these packed up will make all the difference.
At bedside at night (or day for you night shift folks) having a flashlight, outdoor shoes and clothing set aside that reflects the seasonal temperatures will help if you have to bail out in a fire. A fire extinguisher to give you some precious seconds or fight your way out may be in order and practical (not stylish) to have in your bedroom as well.
We have all heard about getting out of the house in a hurry - ok...then what? Freeze to death in winter hoping we can make it to a neighbor to call the fire department? If you have 6 feet of snow outside and you are only wearing your far do you thing you are going? Do you have your car keys or is the car in the garage that is burning...!
We can recall a fire alarm on an ocean front Cape Cod hotel where we had the pack/clothes/flashlight/jacket ready to go - the elevator caught on fire at 0530 and out we went where we were met by more than one person clothed in only a light gown, shorts or a 30 mph winter winds ....brrr!
Ok, we'll be back with you on this one.
** Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment = MOLLE.

Storms and Being Prepared February 2008

The 68 storms that hit the southern states yesterday are indeed tragic as this picture shows....rescuers attempting to remove debris from College students trapped in their dorm that was torn apart by the tornados.
It looks like many people were caught unaware in the early morning hours as a series of freak winter tornados and high wind and hail storms affected Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Omaha with rains and flood damage in North Dakota.
Flooding is predicted for other areas as well that are already experiencing heavy rains and citizens are being told to expect the call to evacuate.
Some of us fortunate to escape this mayhem hopefully will now take the message to heart about helping themselves and neighbors be ready in the best way they can to survive then be able to recover from this kind of event. We extend our condolences to those who lost friends, neighbors and loved ones.
Loss of life is certainly very difficult for anyone to cope with and we must consider our rescuers as well in this regard. The less people they have to rescue or tend to, the less tragedy they have to deal with and more time they can spend with others more in need than ourselves.
Those of us that can help in some way should do so. No one is immune from these kinds of events it would appear.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Phone Update - Advance Directive Info

The cell phones that are carried by roughly 80% of the population already have the capability to serve as a repository for emergency information and manufacturers continue to increase that capability. You may have to decide if your phone is going to be a toy or a serious tool and then use accordingly.

We are going to provide some updates on using the phone to be a better vehicle for storing and exhibiting emergency notification information.

One key tenant of preparedness is REDUNDANCY.

Address Book Title: To get the contacts to the top of your address book list we have recommended using the "AA EMERGENCY" or "AA ICE CONTACTS" appraoch as it brings the entry to the top of the list so it scrolls across the top.
If you need to differentiate the health care proxy seperately then you can do so by "AA HEALTHPROXY". This feature sorts alphabetically so if you have both SIM Card storage and phone storage it may show up in front of your emergency contact list - or at least one of them. Solve this by adding an additional "A" to the entry for the one you want first up.
If you are using the original ICEMOM, ICE DAD approach, then you can accomplish this update by using ICEHEALTHPROXY (it fits).
Group Category: It fits across the screen in capital letters as well. If you are fortunate enough to have a phone from a carrier that has already recognized the need for emergency contact info as a group category you can add this descriptor to your contacts as well to further improve the redundancy factor.

Dialing Display Settings: Do everyone a favor and stay away from the weird low contrast backgrounds when setting up your display - use LARGE FONT and high contrast background to letters so your info can be read in all light conditions. Make sure your kids don't change it to the kaleidoscope color scheme to be cute - this really may not be the appropriate time for "cute".
Greeting Message Settings: This is the one that comes one when you turn the phone on. It can display limited text greetings, but it disappears in a few seconds so, KISS - enter your full name and either "owner of phone" or "emergency info here" to the display in bold font. Unless your phone has more capability then that is all you can get in the text box despite it showing more.....if you find a way let us know.
Picture Storage: Take your own picture and store inthe phone and title it with your name and "phone". For example "JohnSmith Owner.jpg" You can store on the phone memory and the card memory. If your kids have a few hundred pics and video stored may be confusing and too time consuming for someone to sort through all that mess.
Document Storage: You can upload a written document to you phone using a phone card adapter or you can record/upload your own voice or video that will allow medical folks in the ER to have a better understanding about your Health Care Proxy/DNR and medical treatment wishes - you will be treated as these are not - "do not treat" orders. How that will be decided right now will rely heavily on the proper documents being available to those handling your medical care - they do not want to make any mistakes, you can count on that. We don't know the full extent of how this might work just yet - but when we do we''ll post it here and on the website. But don't wait until then to get started.
Phone Security: You can lock up data on your phone using a pin # and prvent access to the contacts and other stored information. That would essentially defeat the purpose of using a cell phone for storage so others may access it. Using an ICE Card to log contact info and providing them with access pin#'s may work but only under ideal situations - but when is an emergency ideal?
ICE4SAFETY will place this info in a revised "How to Program Your Phone" document.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Storm Preparedness Tip - Chainsaws

Winter is here and so are the snow and ice storms that often follow. If you have TREES or live near TREES then you, or at least someone in your neighborhood should have a fully functioning chainsaw and the required safety gear that goes along with it.

We have many years of practical experience with these tools and they have not only proven extremely useful in an emergency like a storm - but can be considered one of the most dangerous in the wrong hands.
Chainsaws will not simply cut your tissue but tear and rip you apart. Having proper safety gear will save your life. If you already have a chainsaw or were contemplating the purchase of one, then think about the following:

  • Will you ever use it for something other than an emergency? If not, then you may consider teaming up with a neighbor that has one and is willing to show you how to use and maintain it. Of course, they may not have any idea about using a chainsaw safely either. In that case it is time to see a dealer that specializes in chainsaws and outdoor equipment and check out the links below for some relevant safety instruction.

  • If you are willing to spend the money then Jonsered, Stihl or Husquevarna are the way to go. The reasons are simple -they are designed and made well and there is a network of dealers where you can get parts and service if you need it - and these saws can cut....especially the Jonsered. Also, the Jonsered has an air filter system that just does not clog no matter what. Stihl has a large selection of chains and the Huskeys can be found at Lowes and Tractor/Farm Supply Stores.

  • Mini Trimming Saws are cheaper and are meant for just that - trimming. Best overall handling is a saw with an 18 inch bar. Even if you are skilled - use the anti-kickback chains on your emergency saw because you may not be the only one using it - you might be injured or sick or out of town and your kid or neighbor somehow ends up with it. So have it outfitted and ready to go with an antikickback chain - usually supplied at time of purchase.

  • Organize Your Tools - there is nothing worse than not having everything needed at your disposal when you need it most - or not being able to find it because they are spread all over your estate. Have either the canvas bag (also great for car kits) or the ammo can (which is waterproof) to maintain you assortment of maintenance gear. You see spare oil mix, touch up sharpening equipment, wedges, gloves, extra safety glasses- for the people helping you out, spark plugs, wrenches specific to your saw, spare chains, a product manual(not pictured) and a supply of chain oil (also not pictured).
  • Label everything you think will help others find the item for you - or if you can't see well up close then do it for that reason.

  • Steel toe or safety shoes (kevlar) with kevlar chaps and sleeves would be the ultimate safety gear to have on and you should get it. Most people will wear Carhart Pants or similar work clothing with maybe a pair of knee pads but be aware that a chain will tear through this and do great damage - to you.

  • Gas cans with mix ratio/your name/ICE sticker/full of mixed fuel and a source of additional fuel if you find you are really in a jamb. A good idea - get the combination gas/oil can made by Wedco ($17) or Scepter ($26) and eliminate carrying extra stuff (KISS).

  • Safety Helmet and Glasses - Required! Hearing Protection - Required! ICE Sticker and Card inside Helmet Pouch - Filled Out in Advance - REAL SMART.
  • ALWAYS have a FIRST AID KIT available near your worksite - not a block away in your house or vehicle - that is a very poor idea. Make sure you have a hemostatic clotting agent in your kit (more on those later). Never use a chainsaw when tired or you become tired from sawing - accidents will happen. Safety Rule of thumb - one tank of or quit.

Some tips for the emergency - locate the gear where it can be found and where others know it is located so THEY can find it. Make sure the tools are fueled and oiled

Make sure your name is on your gear because it has a habit of disappearing in the chaos...make your gear noticeable like using a colored strip of tape as shown in the picture. This will help you find the chain guard amongst the brush as well.

If you are visually impaired and need glasses then by all means get a pair of safety glasses with the bifocal readers if that is what you need ($10 f/Elvex). Have an extra set for a helper.

Try not to mix up gear from other tools in your gear box/bag or you run the risk of someone else screwing up your $350 saw. If you are spared, then maybe you will be helping out neighbors so make sure you clearly spell out the safety rules before you start the saw - being helpful should not mean getting hurt!.

Let's recap - get you gear sharpened and ready, have it located where you and others can find it easily, make sure you know how to use it - read the manual take a course at your local cooperative extension, follow the links below, put your name and identifying marks on it, have your first aid kit ready and use your ICE4SAFETY Stickers to identify the gear as emergency equipment.

Some Important Links To Review on Chainsaw Safety Here:

About.Com: Forestry

North Dakota State University

CDC - Safety With Chainsaws

University of Florida IFAS Extension - see PowerPoint and Video (Graphic)

Florida AgSafe

Friday, February 1, 2008

Being Prepared - Advance Directives - Very Important!

One very important and often very sensitive subject is planning what medical treatment you want to receive in the event that an injury or debilitating illness renders you unable to communicate your wishes.

One part of your preparedness plan and practice would be for you to seriously consider learning about and constructing what is referred to in legal terms as an Advance Directive. They come in several forms and address different legal aspects of your medical care and who will be making decisions on your behalf.

You may have heard of a Living Will - Health Care Proxy - Health Care Power of Attorney - Do Not Resuscitate Order. Depending on what state you are in, the meaning of these terms and the legal options available to you may vary.

There are many good reasons to have these Advance Directives completed and available in the event tragedy strikes. No one can predict when we will fall ill or be involved in an accident - no matter how safe WE are there could always be something or someone out there that can change our lives forever.

You will find a number of links below to websites that are sponsored by professional organizations whose members deal specifically with these matters on a daily basis. We ask that you take the time to read the thankfully short but informative references here.

While you can find software that can help you construct the forms, there is plenty of information in the links below. You may also consider contacting your local bar association for the name of an attorney that specializes in this area. Your local hospital is sure to have some forms available either online or at the hospital. The state health department also has pertinent information in many languages as well.

If you can download and save the completed form - all the better because you will be able to print out several copies or include it in your important document files taken with you or provided to others for safekeeping. One link directs you to a service that maintains your living will and sends it to the hospital for you....worth looking in to and they have additional info as well per state.

It is as much about your receiving the kind of treatment you want or is best for you as it is about consideration for those who will be acting for you and their knowing what your wishes truly are.

New York State Health Department - Health Care Proxy in NY

University of Michigan Health System - Advance Directives

Ohio State Bar Bar Association - DNR Info

National Hospice Association

Society of Critical Care Medicine

National Cancer Institute - Advance Directives

Family Doctor.Org - DNR/Advance Directives

US Living Will Registry - Advance Directive Forms