18 November 2012


      By now, we've decided that we are going to learn some stuff. We've also decided that we're going to need the right resources. Well, I've got to tell you that unless we apply these two things, we're toast. It's not that difficult in theory, but to keep a situation from escalating into an emergency you need to STAY CALM!!(Whoa, writing that in all caps made me panic a little). It's true, the bridge between what you can or should do and actually doing it is easily collapsed by panic.
     Let me tell you a Boy Scout story. When I was a bit younger, I went with my Scout troop on a whitewater rafting/kayaking trip. Before they even let us in the water with the kayaks, though, they had us sit in them and practice the skills we would need when we tipped over. They briefly went over proper rowing techniques and boring stuff like that, but they very carefully went over the steps of how to get out of the kayak when it was upside down. I'm sure I thought I wouldn't flip, so what did I care. I listened, though, just in case, and to my good fortune.
     We took the kayaks out and the first little bit of rough water we hit, down I went. I'm underwater, upside down, holding my breath, with my eyes closed. Holy smokes, what was I going to do. I started to worry, then I thought to myself, "Hmm, I know exactly what to do. We went over this a million times." So, I felt for the rip cord of the skirt(the thing that keeps water from splashing into your kayak), pulled it, pushed myself out of the kayak, turned right side up, and emerged from the water next to my kayak. Only a few seconds had passed, but I remember thinking through all of that very clearly. It was a revelation to me. I realized that I had received the necessary training, and that I made the decision to stay calm and do what I needed to. I didn't need to panic. It was really liberating.
      I'll contrast this story with an experience I had a bit later in life. I was nearing the end of Basic Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. We had long since had our awful experience with the gas chamber, which I hated. We looked pretty much like this when we came out:

             ...except all the snot from my nose was hanging down like snot sausages. Disgusting, I know.
     We had practiced using our gas masks a hundred times. We knew the exact steps of what to do. The training reminded me very much of what I had learned while kayaking. We knew how much we hated the gas.
             There was one point during a field training exercise that a drill sergeant decided to mess with us by throwing a gas grenade. I closed my eyes, held my breath, grabbed my gas mask from its case on my leg, and put it on, just like I had done so many times in practice. This only took a couple seconds. I looked around and saw that very few of us had done what we were trained to do. Most of the platoon had scattered and were running around in a way that I can only describe as an anthill after it has been blown up by a firecracker. Panic. Most of the scattered troops were running downwind along with the cloud of tear gas.
Why does it matter?
     Why shouldn't we freak out a little bit? Today's reason is because you can't function the way you need to if you panic. Everything you've learned and everything you can do suddenly becomes everything you've forgotten and everything you don't even think about doing. The second reason, which we'll talk about in a later post, is because others depend on you. Because you know what you know, you have a responsibility to others to be a source of stability. We'll cover that in another post sometime.
     I've illustrated a little bit of the first reason, and showed how the connection is important. In both examples I had the knowledge and training necessary. The second example was different because it required a resource, or tool. Even though we all had the proper knowledge and resources, for several, the connection wasn't made because they panicked.

     It's better to take a few seconds to calm down and figure things out than to act rashly and make mistakes. A super helpful acronym I've heard and used is:


It really works. You just take a second and try to put things in perspective. Don't be afraid of asking for help or finding out what other people think about what's going on and what you should do. In a disaster, we're all in it together, and that's why there's no "I" in "emergency." or something to that effect. Teamwork, YEAH!!

Alright, now we've got to start in on the nitty-gritty. We've got to start acting, so we're going to be doing some practical steps. Next time, we'll start developing our resources with the first part of our 72-Hour Kit: Water.


  1. The people around us can be one of our greatest assets. The stereotypical man won't pull over to ask for directions because he is too proud etc. However, you can often save yourself a lot of time and money if you do. I like wildlife watching in Yellowstone so i'll compare it to that. You can typically tell when something exciting is afoot by the number of people pulled off of the roadway. I can pull over too and hopefully see a herd of bears taking down a buffalo. Sometimes that isn't quite so obvious though and it could take me 10 minutes to find out what the fuss is all about. Sometimes there are a bunch of people just because the night before something exciting happened and they are hoping for a repeat. If I stop and ask someone they are typically more than willing to say "oh about a half mile up the ridge by the 3rd tree next to the rock there is a sleeping bear" Something that I most likely wouldn't have found. Often times they are kind enough to let you use their thousand dollar pair of binoculars to catch a better glimpse too.

    1. Absolutely true, especially the part about the herd of bears. Those people could totally be snobs and ignore you or blow you off, but they don't. It's interesting when a common interest or something is involved how people do come together like that. We'll see what we can come up with for that post. I think those people are able to follow their moral compass and be nice rather than the social norm of being not talking to strangers(especially strangers who could steal their thousand dollar binoculars).

    2. ... Oh, p.s. Congrats on being the first(and only) follower. I'm honored.

  2. Is it bad that I got to the end and was still thinking of those snot sausages? Yuck!