Friday, October 31, 2008

Meals on Wheels Dilemma - An Interim Solution??

Watching the news tonight on WSTM TV Jim Kenyon told us that the Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) has a problem continuing the delivery of meals outside the more populated areas of the county for the Meals on Wheels Program for home bound persons and such who reside in the more remote rural areas of the county in upstate New York adjoining Lake Ontario. Good reporting from Jim as usual.

Factors affecting the situation cited fuel and food costs and the inability of getting the food to persons that live off the beaten path - especially during the heavy lake effect winter storms that frequently whip up on short notice. These storms can bring up to 8 feet of snow in just one day!

So, if you are home bound and your volunteer meals on wheels person cannot make it for a few days....what do you do?

Since we have had some direct experience with this very agency a few years back dealing with the production and safe delivery of these meals, we feel informed enough to at least comment and offer a suggestion.

MRE's....Meals Ready to Eat. Why Not?

If you can't afford to deliver the goods because of fuel costs on a daily basis then deliver them by UPS or on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. Fuel savings are realized. The people you are trying to keep from starving will have nourishing food (it works well for soldiers and campers - we have tested plenty of them - they are good!) and you can do this for the cost of about $5-6 retail which means buying in bulk will cost substantially less.

No prep costs, heating costs or labor costs - auto/liability insurance costs might be cut. Workers Compensation costs will be lower because you reduced the exposures for workers slipping and falling trying to lift the heavy coolers of food and trudging through the snow/ice. Oswego is notorious for snow and ice. Let them continue to deliver food in the more populated areas.

We can appreciate the effort and dedication that goes into this fine work. as our dad did this volunteer work for years.

So, here might be the best part....the MRE's are already in Oswego County. Our good friend and sponsor of the free ICE Stickers and Cards at, Tom Sciacca is located right in Fulton, NY.

Tom can supply the MRE's, the money stays in the county and the people continue to eat and survive. The food lasts for 5-10 years if stored properly and there is a wide range of meals. You can see some of the civilian MRE's at

While some folks may have some dietary restrictions and such....for the most part a majority of the people can use these - it sure beats starving? One suggestion was to offer frozen foods to people but that also presents a storage and energy problem in itself. You have to heat them, use electricity to run the refrigerator and if the power goes out...there goes your food or maybe your ability to heat them. MRE's are self heating.... and they come 12 to a case. You can also purchase the component main MRE meals seperately without all the extras.

There are plenty of MRE's out there. Communities should continue to pull together and seek out realistic, common sense answers and not always look to and wait for government to solve the problems - as you can tell we try to promote independence as much as realistically possible.

The folks at OCO do a great job especially with those ever shrinking budgets.

To put some skin in the game - ICE4SAFETY.COM will donate the first two cases of MRE's if the county steps up to the plate to do this - before winter arrives!

This could also be a solution for other meal providers facing an unexpected crunch in service like this. The cost might be negligible in comparison...

Read the WSTM story or watch the video:

Added 3Nov 08
In recognition of National Family Caregivers Month, agencies and family members may also want to think about this unique option to relieve some of the burden for those providing constant care for relatives who might be able to resort to using these meals if the caregiver is taken ill or unable to travel in a snowstorm - being prepared for these occurrences is a good idea. The variety of meals available is quite surprising and their flavor quality is very good.

Monday, October 27, 2008

National Family Caregivers Month 2008

November marks the beginning of National Family Caregivers Month and a time to thank, support educate and empower family caregivers. WSEN/WFBL Radio in cooperation with a number of community and government organizations here in CNY and throughout the country will be "speaking up" about caregiver services and resources and promoting the good work of others that support family caregivers.

As you may already know, WSEN/WFBL is a yearlong sponsor of ICE for 2008 and has been instrumental in making ICE a household word in their CNY listening area.

Learn more about the activities for this month and the various organizations involved in this effort at the following link...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Prep Tip - Portable Generator Use

The use of generators has skyrocketed in the past 10 years with many new and "affordable types being offered at all the major hardware and superstores. Some are junk not designed to last more than 150 hours although you'd be hard pressed to find that prominently on the label.
While there are a multitude of generators, Onan (Cummins), Honda, Kohler, Baldor and Yamaha offer some superior models. You may also choose to acquire a multi fuel model that runs on LP, Gasoline and Propane. This allows you greater flexibility in an emergency as gasoline may be harder to acquire. Storing of large quantities gasoline in many neighborhoods may be impractical. Diesel is much safer and LP or Natural Gas more prevalent.
Older models (still in production) like this contractor/emergency services gasoline powered unit from Onan, can be easily converted to run on three fuels for about $300.

Regular maintenance items or specific connections that need to be readily identified in an emergency should be labeled conspicuously. Don't worry about your friends or relatives poking fun at you for having OCD because they will be the first to avail themselves of your smart pre-planning.

There is a high probability that you will be working in the dark or inclement weather conditions such as cold, rain, ice or under considerable stress and you do not want to make a mistake that could cause a fire, explosion - or an electrocution.

Some people will always try to find the owners manual when an emergency hits because even if you attach it to the unit, somehow they always end up missing.

Some newer models come with easy to spot labels already so look for them when selecting a unit.

Some helpful tips:

  • Use high visibility labels that are oil/water/UV resistant.

  • Label the oil type, oil filter, amount and viscosity needed for your engine.

  • Identify the replacement plug / air filter type needed and have spares on hand.

  • Store your spare parts in a well labeled ammunition box or container with your generator.

  • Label Positive (+) and Negative (-) posts on any batteries and cables for your genset.

  • Use a metal Sharpie marker to identify the bolt/nut size for any battery lug connections.

  • Strap down or velcro your battery if it does not have a retaining strap to prevent mishap.

  • Put your name on the generator and any accessory cables or outlets that go with it.

  • Make sure your full power home cable connection is clearly marked as such.

  • Engine Model / Generator Model #'s should be included in labeling.

  • Simplified Instructions should be printed up, laminated and attached to the unit.

  • Run your generator regularly - this will increase your familiarity. Do it monthly.
  • If you store gasoline use a fuel stabilizer PRI-G for gasoline and PRI-D for Diesel is recommended and should outperform other brands we have tried.
  • Rotate your stored gasoline into other gasoline powered equipment so you will have fresh stabilized fuel.
  • If your gasoline generator does not have a fuel filter in the fuel line - install one. Keep spares in your parts kit - they are cheap insurance.
  • Always use GFCI protected extension cords when supplying power to any device.
  • Never hook up damaged or undersized extension cords to any generator.

  • Train other family members or friends who will be joining you in an emergency.

Prep Tip - Fueling Vehicles

Many of you may already be carrying a spare fuel can or plastic fuel container just in case you run out of gas.

Many of the fuel containers now available at Lowe's or Home Depot or Tractor Stores will be equipped with new vapor/spill resistant spouts.

They were designed to prevent vapor escaping into the atmosphere from the spilling of gas....for home tractors, lawn mowers and small engine implements. They were NOT designed to refuel automobiles (read the label).

Passenger vehicles since the 1980's will most likely have an anti siphon flap and a nozzle door at the beginning of the fueling hose going to the tank. This will make fueling using one of these "lawn and garden gas cans" quite an exercise in futility. Fuel will spill all over you, the car and the ground. In some states we found the old fashioned plastic containers but they were cheap.

Even if you plan on using a military gas container (Scepter Plastics from Brigade Quartermaster) or a real safety can like that pictured here, you will still need to purchase the $3 funnel. It works and is hands free once inserted. Auto Zone, Pep Boys or similar auto stores will have them.

Prep Tip - Halloween Safety

What better time to encourage your kids to use ICE and to have a programmed cell phone and an ICE Card along on their trick or treat excursions. It is always best to accompany your children but once they reach a certain age they prefer to go it alone with their friends.

Groups like Neighborhood Watch have historically provided some extra level of protection for the kids during Halloween and schools often will provide places for children to check their candy for things that don't belong there.

The safety folks at WorkSafeBC have compiled some essential safety topic videos and information from various sources to make this event a safe one. Use the link to learn more....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

E-911 Center Using ICE

The Onondaga County Department of Emergency Communications 911 Center this week received new ICE Cards, Stickers, Posters and Roll Call Training for their entire staff.

Having had the honor of working closely with these folks for a number of years, there is no doubt that they are a very dedicated, hard working group of professionals who have done an outstanding job serving their CNY Community. It is a pleasure to be able to show a token of our appreciation for all the valuable work they do.

It goes without saying that all Emergency 911 Centers should be aware of ICE and also to share in the benefits by using it themselves! Tell your local Emergency Communications Commissioner about using ICE and have them conduct ICE Roll Call Training for their staff too!

Learn about this CALEA Accredited E-911 Center:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

ICE rolls out "Roll Call Training"

With repeated requests for more information and training tools for public service providers and students ICE4SAFETY saw fit to adapt a roll call training used recently at a city police department located in New York State.

We placed it online for other law enforcement agencies, ems, fire/rescue - 911 centers / TSA units and the like to use and adapt.

For the sake of argument, let's not assume that everyone is as keenly aware of the uses for ICE as the readers of this Blog and visitors to the ICE4SAFETY website might be....

Drop off a copy to your local PD.....

Link to the document on main page.....HERE!

ICE Spreads Worldwide 2008

Website statistics have shown a significant increase in site traffic from over 68 countries worldwide.
With several thousand visits to the site in just a few short weeks, it is apparent that more people are interested in learning about the concept and spreading awareness in their countries.

Thank you .....Germany, Russia, Finland, Brazil, Chile, India, Pakistan, Australia, Italy, Spain, France, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina, China, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Poland, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Sweden, Ireland, Philippines, Israel, Croatia, Vietnam, Greece, Romania, Iran, Venezuela, Columbia, Malta, New Zealand, Serbia, Libya, Thailand, Hong Kong, Ecuador, Kuwait, Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Austria, South Korea, Aruba, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Guam, Hungary, Slovakia, Columbia, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, UK, Slovenia, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Chile, Croatia, Trinidad and Tabago, Dominican Republic, Lithuania, Turkey, USA....and it continues....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

ICE Success - Hearing Loss Association - Florida

Another ICE Success Story and encouragement for other seems the Levi JCC provided some ICE Brochures and Stickers to Oscar Segal, the President of the largest chapter of the HLA in Delray/Boynton Beach Florida.
Oscar in turn created a PowerPoint Presentation for members using the information provided in the brochure at the monthly meeting of the HLAA on 9-19.
Oscar did so well presenting about ICE that he has now been invited to present at several other local organization meetings in his area! Go Oscar!
How perfect a match is this? ICE as a tool for use by those who suffer from hearing loss....add HLAA to the growing list of those recognizing the value of using ICE! You can learn more about this organization at the link below.