Wednesday, April 29, 2009

ICE - Outdated Efforts not "Best Practice"

Efforts like this need to be updated to reflect the current "Best Practices" otherwise the effort gets muddled and responders with enough on their hands are left with conflicting information that might interfere with their effectiveness. We advised them but have little expectation of any success of them getting it changed soon.. So maybe if you live in that state and have some drag with the state agency running this or with Sprint.....see what you can do.

Pandemic Flu Hyperlinks - April 2009

We will update this list as the need arise and useful sites emerge.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Preparedness Assessment - Firearms 1

This topic alone could consume quite some time. Let's condense the basic premise and go from there but not create a novel here. There are volumes of expert opinions out there already.

The reason many people have recently taken an interest in acquiring a firearm is because they have lost faith in the government to protect them. It is that simple.

The news of nuclear/biological/EMP weapons being used, unsecured borders, gang/drug wars, economic pressures, blatantly corrupt public officials, gun confiscation and increase of terrorism around the world has caused people who previously would not have considered firearms to rethink their position - in record numbers.

The implied threat of government firearms confiscation alone has driven certain firearm and ammunition prices up due to supply and demand pressures. The hoardes of people attending gun shows is testament to that. Not everyone at these shows are toothless, uneducated "redneck" militia members as some media and secular interest groups might claim.

Firearms ownership demands responsibility - without it accidents and death occur. Whether you have intentions to use the firearms for sport competition, hunting or personal protection, this is not an area you can approach cavalierly.

Essential Considerations:

If you have never owned, used or trained with a firearm - long gun or handgun, are you prepared to dedicate the time to being a responsible gun owner?

Maintaining a firearm is a full time obligation toward safety - not a one time event.

If your intentions are for self defense and preparedness are you able to allocate money to the purchase of a highly reliable and high quality firearm.

Will you seek out proper training if you have no firearms related skills?

Do you have a permit to legally possess a handgun in your state?

Do you plan/can you allocate money to purchase a safe to secure your firearm(s) from children and/or thieves?

Would you be willing to join the NRA, a local gun club, take private lessons or enter competitive sports to gain needed proficiency in firearms?

Do you have competency in the use of firearms as a result of military service, law enforcement or prior training and aptitude from sporting competition etc.

How often do you/could you maintain your skills?

You need to have a working knowledge of your state "Use of Force" laws if you ever plan on using firearms for the purpose of self defense.

What other options do you and your family have for protection in the event of civil unrest /disaster to protect your family, proterty and possessions from roving bands of criminals and the like?

Does the use of a firearm fit into disaster preparedness plans you have in place.

Are you mentally prepared to use deadly physical force upon another and taking a life in the defense of yourself, family or others if need be. Take considerable time to think about this.

Are you prepared mentally for the consequences of using a fiream in your own self defense?

Might you be abdicating or delegating the responsibility of gun ownership to someone else in your family or neighborhood?

Do the benefits of personal firearms ownership outweigh the risks and costs associated with this decision?

What restrictions does your state have on the exercise of the constitutional right to possess a firearm. How does that affect your decision to possess a firearm for personal protection. Some cities have total bans on firearms of any kind and that needs to be considered.

Once you have considered the answers to these questions and have made a decision...then you have to consider some of the many ways to proceed down that path.

Remember - your safety, the safety of others and being a responsible firearms owner are of the utmost importance.

Later: Preparedness & Firearm Ownership Strategies - there are choices......

Added 3-12-10
Considering concealed carry? You might gain some additional insight into some of the challenges you might face with the many disturbed persons who live amongst us - and would think nothing about killing you for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Prep Tip - House Numbers

Ever had to find a home in hurry to rescue someone in distress? Ever had to do it when you couldn't find the house in the night because of bad weather and because no one in your block has numbers on their homes either? Maybe you delivered pizza and had that problem....

If not, then take our word for it - get some numbers there today.

Have a Lamp Post? Put numbers there too.
Mailbox - Sure!
Reflective numbers/letters - now you are thinking!
Does your responding local law enforcement have an aviation unit?
Do you have a roof?
Get the picture?

Some folks still mistakenly think they are so popular that everyone within a 100 mile radius just has to know who they are and where they live. Wake your neighbors up to the fact it is a good idea for them to do this as well.

If you or your relatives are in poor health or you live in a crime prone neighborhood....or in a rural area - or you are just plain smart, then consider placing you house or condo/apartment number where it can be seen from the street on a rainy/foggy/snowy night.

Maybe this poster got your attention.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Preparedness Assessment - Water 1

You Can't Survive Without It. It is everywhere, yet during an emergency it may not be as easy to obtain or potable like what we have become accustomed to in our normal daily lives. Some questions may not make sense to persons in some parts of the country or world but other may. The intent is to get you to think about and act in order to have adequate water in an emergency.

Do you have an emergency supply of water on hand in storage for yourself and family.

Is your emergency water supply treated and stored in containers suitable for vehicle transport if needed.

Have you calculated how much water you would require per person/duration if sheltering in place? (Stand rule of thumb - 1 gallon per day, per person)

Do you have a household water purification system available to treat/purify water for storage or use in an emergency?

Does your system require electrical power or battery power?

Do you have adequate power supplies to work them if needed?

If you have a system do you have replacement parts or additional filters/chemicals on hand for long term- large quantity use?

Do you have chemical water treatment supplies on hand and instructions/containers prepared and ready to use?

Do you understand how your water purification device(s) work and have you practiced using them?

Do you have portable water purification devices from reputable manufacturers that are portable and can provide hundreds of gallons of water before needing replacement?

Are instructions for your water treatment supplies readily available with your devices for transport if needed?

If your primary water supply is a well or cistern, do you have backup pumps or manual pumps to ensure your supply of water is uninterrupted?

Is your well or pond supply protected against vandalism or theft by others?

Have you identified alternative sources of water in your neighborhood or local area besides public supplies or well sources?

Do you have the physical ability to acquire, store and transport water to your residence in an emergency if the need arises?

Does your auto preparedness kit contain 1-3 days treated water or the means to acquire/store/treat immediately if an emergency arises?

Does your home water heating source consist of a gas/electric fired water tank?

If so, has your water tank been properly and regularly maintained to become a source of stored water in the event of an emergency?

Have you installed a brass boiler valve on your water tank to allow you to remove water more reliably?

Do you flush your water tank regularly and total flush every 6-12 months to remove damaging sediment?

Have you replaced your water tank anode to preserve the integrity of your water tank?

Do you have plumbing supply part/tool kit on hand to make repairs to your water supply system in the event of a breakdown unassisted? (copper pipe, plastic)

If on public water system, do you have you water supply shutoff valve identified and is it properly working/serviced periodically to prevent potential home flooding during natural disasters.

Do you have a water valve shutoff tool to accomplish shutting off your own public water supply if needed?

Do you have the means to acquire water from frozen water sources.

Preparedness Assessment Tools Series

Every day we look at the news and sense that the many natural disasters and terrorist threats or incidents (oh, sorry we are not supposed to call them that anymore) are becoming all too real and that our government may not be capable of responding to help us in any meaningful way in the future.

In some cases there may be limited response to some incidents that do occur because of the response protocols put in place after the loss of so many responders during 9/11. Community responses to disasters can be significantly improved if the numbers of persons requiring assistance is reduced through preparedness efforts. Wouldn't that make sense?

Since ICE promotes personal responsibility for doing it yourself we decided to break down the task of assessing your preparedness/readiness by topic. As safety professionals we are acutely aware of the effort required to maintain focus and attention on serious safety matters for more than 15 minutes. We have tried to plow through the multi page "lists" that everyone seems to have and that you find on survival sites and such but they seem to primarily consider your "bugging out" to some remote wilderness retreat everyone supposedly has which makes them somewhat out of touch.

In some instances you will indeed have to move quickly and without much consideration for worldly possessions just in time to save your own behind and that of your family. Some people will not even bother to do this hoping the need will never occur or because the effort seems so herculean in nature. We hear you. We are always attempting to "upgrade" our awareness and response capabilities ourselves and balance having a normal, healthy everyday life.

Being paranoid or a survival "nut" can consume a whole lot of free time and effort....and your sanity.

We will break it down and assemble the topics in a "toolbox" or you can copy/paste yourself as you see fit. From time to time we will need to adjust the info on the blog so we will try and make those easily apparent for when you revisit. Our plan is to just make you think and assess and to allow you time to take some needed action. We have no problem taking a different approach when it is needed - especially if it works for you.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Language Barriers & Safety

These are tragic times folks and getting worse as economic and terrorist activity increases across the globe and in our home town. The title does remind us that preparedness is always important.....can't say how they might have prevented this determined individual from committing these terrible acts, but the confusion attempting to find translators highlights an important use for ICE by employers and community leader with immigrant populations.

Maybe your group might sponsor the use of ICE Contact Cards......and help language challenged get important medical info documents completed to carry with them......list your translator like we do on the ICE Cards....we sure would like to use another way of reminding people the importance of being prepared...

John O'Brien is a good more.....

Thursday, April 2, 2009

ICE Postcard - Notify Local Authorities - Simple

KISS in is a postcard telling your local EMS-FIRE-POLICE-HOSPITALS et al that you, your family, work crew, business are using ICE in the community they serve.

Never assume that everyone knows about ICE.
Not everyone does....but it is fun being there when they first learn about ICE....the light bulb comes on.....funny how that happens!

You send the postcard ....we've been contacting the local folks ourselves as you make requests for the free cards......

Copy the picture here or use the postcard template we set up and will place on line for you. You could also just forward the information we send you too ...waste not. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Project Lifesaver - How Far Would You Go?

A story about a high tech way to help people deal with a very difficult disorder and some real special folks who care enough to do something!

How far will you go to protect a loved one?
Story by: Miranda L. Pennock 03/17/09 CNYLink

Onondaga County Undersheriff Warren Darby understands what it’s like to see a parent suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

He also knows the trials and tribulations of being a caretaker for another person with a dementia-related illness.
But it took the will of one woman, Ruth Boshart, to get the county on track, and now Sheriff Kevin Walsh, a Skaneateles native, is welcoming and giving his support to Project Lifesaver International.

“It is a program that has been around 10 years next month,” Darby said to a small group that joined him and Boshart for a presentation on March 10 at the Skaneateles Community Center.

The program works with a transmitter, which is about the size of a watch, that is worn around the wrist of a wanderer — frequently those with dementia, autism and special needs. The transmitter gives off a signal and if the wearer should wander away from family, they can call 911 and police will come with special equipment to search. Average rescue time is about 30 minutes, Darby said.

Along with ground patrols, the sheriff’s department has Air-1 pilots trained for search and rescue using the equipment.Boshart’s husband, Ron, suffers from Lewy Body Dementia, a progressive brain disease that is the second leading cause of degenerative dementia in the elderly, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association Web site,

Her husband had no fear and would leave the house or walk away in public without saying a word. Boshart had reached the point of exasperation, she said. “He could disappear in a heartbeat,” she said. “You have no idea the fear and the anxiety that goes through a caregiver.”

Boshart tried talking to doctors, discussed GPS units, cell phones and even contacted Welch Allyn in Skaneateles Falls about existing products they had that might be of some help. “My husband does not have Alzheimer’s disease,” Boshart said.

When it comes to Lewy Body, no medications slow down the progression of the disease, and in some cases cause the patient to act out in anger toward their loved ones, as Boshart found with her husband. No matter the case, it’s tiring for caregivers to keep a constant eye out to make sure the person in their care is not wandering or getting into harm’s way.“You literally run on exhaustion,” Boshart said. “You learn to live this way.”

Then she found out about Project Lifesaver and that Oneida County had the program and said she called them and asked what she had to do to get a unit. She would beg, borrow or steal one of the bracelets to keep her husband safe.Darby came into her life and together they began working on bringing the program home.

Now Ron lives at Van Duyn, he is wheelchair bound and can barely speak, but he has his eyes. Every day Boshart goes to have lunch with him.“This program brings you a peace of mind. My husband still wears his bracelet with pride,” Boshart said.

Currently there are 43 people in Onondaga County registered with the program, 17 of whom are children with autism and down syndrome. The program was started with the help of Sen. John DeFrancisco, who secured a $25,000 member item for Project Lifesaver. The funding allowed the sheriff’s department to purchase 30 transmitters.

Ron Boshart received the first transmitter. Darby, whose mother and father both died from Alzheimer’s, said trained officers visit families who have transmitters once a month to change the batteries in the units. The transmitters are waterproof so people wearing them can shower and swim with them on.Transmitters cost $300 each, and there is a $10 battery fee every month.

Darby said there is a project account set up to help those who cannot afford the unit, and they will pay for the transmitter. The account is also set up in order to receive donations from the community.“We look at this as just another layer of protection for your loved one,” Boshart said.

For more information on Project Lifesaver International, contact the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department at 315.435.3044, or log onto, or

View: Project Lifesaver presentation

If you’re in the area, interested people may also stop at Sheriff’s Department headquarters at 407 S. State St., Syracuse, New York USA