Are We Ready, or are wE Just Prepared?

The recent news and social media reactions to the novel corona-virus pandemic among the prepared and unprepared populist reveal our ignorance and lack of commitment in our abilities to protect ourselves against emergencies and disasters, this includes me as well.

I have been very prayerful about posting anything as a result of the recent pandemic crisis only because I want to act responsibly when conveying information that could save or severely impact the lives of many people.

We all must give an account of every word we utter, and I refuse to exploit the fears and hype others every time a crisis event gets our attention.

ITCHY EARS!

First, I am compelled to warn all under the sound of my voice, not to be led by what the Bible refers to as “itching ears”.  All of us are curious to know and understand what’s going in our worlds, this is normal and healthy, but what isn’t healthy, but nonetheless,  all too normal is the tendency to turn away from truthful, accurate or correct information for information that’s more “spicy, or controversial”, opinions and theories that detract from the truth, leading away from what will help and protect us.

Whomever we have chosen to listen to, be prayerful and ask yourself, what is their experience in the areas where they speak with authority? What about their track record or history of being correct? I remember the “Jade Helm”, “Shemita” and the “Deep State”, predictions and conspiracies during the President Obama administration. How much of what was broadcasted and printed during those years was proven to be true?

This reveals another one of our many issues,

“WE HAVE A SHORT MEMORY!”

I have been in ministry of protecting people for over 30 years, both physically and spiritually; as a Police Officer, Campus & Healthcare Security Officer and Supervisor, Executive Protection Agent (Bodyguard), Corporate Security Training Management Professional, Basic & Advanced Life Support Instructor, EMT, Medical First Responder, Defensive Tactics and Terrorism Awareness Instructor, Ordained Minister, and Mental Health Recovery Specialist.

I share this about not to brag or out of being puffed up, I do so because I want you to know my heart, I am not sharing my knowledge and experience to boost likes and views for our social media marketing, I have proven and continue to strive to prove my care and concern for your safety & security.

I would like to share my observations with about the current events, and what we can learn as we move forward in our efforts to guard against all-hazards.

When it comes to protecting ourselves and our communities against hazardous threats, our objective is not just preparedness.

OUR OBJECTIVES ARE PREPAREDNESS, READINESS AND RESPONSE!

Believe me, this is not a play on words, and I am not “splitting hairs”, these are three distinct terms that drive our efforts to guard against or minimize threats from emergencies and hazards. We must learn and master them.

The Emergency Preparedness Cycle

Let’s look at an example of how each term is used and what they look like as it applies to our situation.

Let’s say you want to implement “emergency preparedness” plans for your family. You decide to start with making sure you and/or your family maintains a food supply for at least a month in case an event disable the food supply chain, so the stores can’t be restocked. Long before this becomes a problem, you begin to:

Plan – How much to spend for extra food to store, the type of foods, where to buy it, and how it will be stored safely and securely. Decide where the foods should be stored, how it should be stored, and the process or procedure to make sure the food is rotated out to avoid spoilage, how the food will be distributed and served. Are there any specific dietary needs?

Organize– Designate who is going to monitor the storage and distribution process. Will there be a daily menu? Who creates and coordinates it?

Train – Learning how to best prepare the foods, make sure everyone in my group has some type of knowledge of what food is available and how to prepare it. Make sure everyone knows the types of foods that are available to them. 

Equip – Make sure we have the utensils, tools, and supplies needed to store, prepare and serve, and if needed to dispose of the foods.

Evaluate – This is your periodic dry-runs or drills. Try to create a scenario, as realistic as possible, to duplicate the conditions which you may find yourself having to use the different types of food that you have stored. Did your plan work? Has the food been rotated correctly? Did you have the right utensils, tools, and supplies? Do members of the group need their training updated? Does the type of choice of food need to be changed? Do we need more food or less? Are the storage method and facilities adequate? This is where we see the hidden cracks and weaknesses in our planning.

We then repeat the process, back to planning again, this time we bring any new information we have discovered from our dry-run or drill.

Whatever it is, it’s coming whether we’re ready or not.

Emergency Readiness

Emergency Readiness is our ability to meet and exceed the demands of what it takes to “immediately” help protect our community from the harm of emergencies and disasters with little or no warning, at any time, or any place.

Example: You are at the local mall with your family. You find yourself in the middle of an “Active-Killer” event. You hear gunfire and immediately see that there is a woman calmly and systematically shooting people as she passes them by. You also realize that she is headed directly toward you as she raises her weapon!

You possess a concealed carry permit, have been to the gun range several times, but have had no combat handgun training and have never even been in a fistfight in your life! You are carrying a Glock 27 subcompact handgun though, it is charged with a full magazine, but you do not carry a round loaded in the chamber. You usually don’t carry it holstered; you prefer to carry it in the inside breast pocket of your winter coat.

You had CPR and First Aid training many, many years ago, so you know enough to have the first aid kit. The kit you bought from Walgreen’s a couple of years ago, is kept in your car, which is parked in the mall parking lot.

Given the circumstances I have laid out, most of you would consider yourself prepared to address this scenario and many people would likely agree with you, but I need for you to see that just being  prepared may not be enough to save you or the lives of those around you.

We must maintain a disciple of readiness as well if we want to live and save lives!

1.      If you carry a weapon, any weapon, train how to use it in a reality-based combative setting. Be Ready!

2.      Handguns are designed to be carried with a loaded or charged magazine, and a round chambered in the breach in order to make the weapon ready for immediate use; select the target, orient the weapon, and squeeze the trigger. This can be done relatively quickly and with one hand. Carrying an unchambered weapon, on the other hand, requires that it be chambered first, which means it takes a separate action grab the slide with the hand opposite the one that is hold the weapon, pulling the slide back firmly, and releasing it so the spring throws the slide back forward, load the chamber with a round/cartridge from the magazine, then you’re able to squeeze the trigger if you want it to go bang. This maneuver requires precious seconds the killer may not allow you to have. Chambering a round requires the use of both hands, which you may not have because you may be holding a child or physically guiding family members to safety, or you may be injured, leaving you with only one. This may be prepared, but certainly in no way ready to deal decisively with a killer.

My prayer is that you would have a chance to even get your weapon in the fight before you and your family are shot and killed. Hoping to engage an armed assailant who has you targeted – by drawing your weapon from your inside coat pocket is “all kinds of crazy!”. If you can only wrap your head around the bad things that can happen by attempting to draw a weapon from any pocket, under intense stress while being mindful of getting your family out of harm’s way! If you carry a weapon, ALWAYS wear it in a holster, buy training with how to draw your weapon from a good defensive holster while wearing clothing over it, you will be able to get it in the fight quickly and smoothly. Be Ready!

3.      You have a first aid kit, Bravo! Do you know what is in it? Do you know how to use everything inside of it? If you had the opportunity to use it, how accessible would it be you in the parking lot of the mall? What about a trauma kit in addition to a first aid kit? Gunshot wounds usually require more than a band-aid and some burn ointment? Remember:

“With Little to No Warning, Any Time, Any Place”

Be Ready!

Emergency Response

Emergency Response is the actions we take “during or after” an emergency or natural disaster to help protect ourselves and others from emergencies and disasters.

Your prepared, and you’re ready, now execute the plan! This is bringing your training and experience to bear on the situation to deal with it decisively, and correctly. We can’t just react or develop any kind of response either, no matter how many hours and expense go into a well-developed plan, if poorly executed, it could end up being worthless and many people can get hurt, or worse.

Emergency Preparedness & Response: My Scope of Practice

Hey, my name is Thurston and I wanted to take this opportunity to share a little bit of what I do here at World Wide Academy Training Services, and what’s in my head and my heart (my heart is pretty safe, my head, on the other hand, is kinda scary).  

I have been intrigued by the preparedness ethos since my pre-teens. I had a brief stint in the Boy Scouts of American, where my scout troop did an excellent job of planting the seed of “Be Prepared” in my psyche.

My Understanding of How This Works

It wasn’t until my career in security that the concepts of “Emergency Preparedness” became life for me as an adult.

I used to do some executive protection work for several years. It was during this time I noticed that most of my peers in close protection were more interested in doing security advance planning or surveillance detection. I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, but I gravitated more toward contingency planning. I was the “hemorrhoid” who always asked, “what if…..”  

I was the guy thinking about what do we do if the vehicle we’re driving our principal around in breaks down? Do our team and the principal have a ” Personal Emergency Relocation Kit (PERK) ” (Bug-Out Bag) that travels with us and an alternate one staged at a backup location? Where is our severe weather gear? I understood that we cannot possibly plan for the possibility of everything, but you have got to plan for the “important” things that may even be outside the realm of probabilities!  

“Emergency Preparedness and Response” began to emerge as a specialization of mine without me even realizing it.  

Phulasso, “To Guard”

My calling began to become clearer when I was led to arranging what I envisioned into a systemic program called “Phulasso”, Greek for, “to guard”.    

I wanted to develop a “third-party” protection system that will train practitioners to provide safety & security for their families and their communities against a broad spectrum of natural and man-made threats in the most effective way, with minimal resources.

The System

Phulasso encompasses the following disciplines:

  • Emergency Preparedness & Response Planning
  • Physical Security
  • Self Management Skills
  • Personal Protection
  • Anti-Terrorism
  • Fire Safety
  • Emergency Medical – Austere/Wilderness Medicine for Pets & People

Stay in My Lane!

While working here at “Worldwide Academy Training Services”, my training background and experience have come together to enable me to provide basic and advanced instruction in the above mentioned disciplines.

Because the topic of emergency preparedness & response encompasses more than a few disciplines, it was important for me to have a clear definition of my “scope of practice”. I am no homesteader nor bushcraft survival expert; not a tier-one operator (military Special Operations veteran), nor a veteran military medic. In other words, I have enough sense to know that I must, “stay in my lane”. The areas where I have limited or no knowledge, I eagerly leave for those experts that do.

I am a committed teacher and counselor, and life-long learner, encouraging you to share your knowledge and to learn with me.

Educate…Train…Release

Winter Weather Preparedness for Cats & Dogs (With a special feral cat reminder)

Many of us take for granted that our pets don’t require any special attention during the winter months, but that is far from the truth, especially if your pet happens to be a breed that is not particularly adept to cold temperatures, is in fair to poor health, very young or very old, or just has a reputation for having “high-risk behaviors”.  

The purpose of this article is to serve as an awareness tool that I hope will jump-start your “preparedness mind” to take steps to prevent and respond to the related health risks for this time of year.

Winter-Related Conditions

There are certain cold-related conditions that can lead to potential health risks or even death for our pets, and the pets in our community. Conditions like:   

  • Power Outages
  • Winter-Related Medical Injuries
  • Heater/Furnace Accidents

Power-Outages

If you have to take your outside, be mindful of downed power lines, especially at night where dangerous electrical hazards may be more difficult to see. If there is a risk of exposed power lines outside, it’s a good idea not to let pets outdoors unsupervised at all.  

Winter-Related Medical Injuries

Let’s divide Winter-Related Medical Injuries into two categories: Seasonal Injuries and Cold-Related Injuries.

Seasonal Injuries

Anti-freeze. Often found in standing water on driveways & streets. The sweet and tasty toxin that can lead to a quick and agonizing death. Initial symptoms: drunken walk, drooling, vomiting, seizing, and excessive thirst and urination. The result is severe kidney failure.   

Salt/Ice Melt. Toxic material that pets end up licking off their paws. It can cause vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Some of these products can also cause chemical burns on the animals paw pads.

Ice/Drowning. Falling through ice can lead to drowning. Pets should be discouraged from walking on ice altogether. They are not capable of determining whether ice can bear their weight or not.

Winter Holiday Plants

  • Poinsettias, have toxic sap that can cause irritation to mouth and stomach as well as vomiting.
  • Mistletoe. Extremely toxic. Symptoms include drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain. If ingested in large amounts, walking drunk, collapse, seizures and death. Warrants an immediate emergency veterinarian visit.
  • Holly Berries. Toxic berries & leaves. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and depression.
  • Pine Tree Needles. Mouth irritation.
  • Lily. Extremely deadly to cats. Any pet that has ingested any part of this plant should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.  

Cold-Related Injuries

Hypothermia. Being exposed to cold temperatures that reduce core body temperature at 99°F (35°C) and below. Symptoms are pale gums, strong shivering, listlessness or lethargy.

Arthritic Pain. Animals with arthritis often experience more discomfort due to cold temperatures, decreased physical activity and changes in barometric pressure.

Heater/Furnace Accidents

Burns. When pets jump, dive, slide or bump into or near open flames (fireplaces/stoves) or exposed heating elements (heaters), they can get burned, or start house fires. Carbon monoxide poisoning is also a threat.

I want to encourage you a responsible pet owner to be as proactive as humanly possible to prevent or be prepared to manage the threats that your pets may experience at this time of year.

Get basic life support and awareness training for your cats and dogs so that you will know what to do in case of emergencies. If you already have the training, its a good time to review what you have learned and “drill your skills”.

Feral Cats

For those angels of mercy who care for our feral cat communities, don’t forget their special needs during the winter months.

Shelter

You must make certain that whatever shelter they use, is “insulated” to weather the extreme cold of the region. Non-moisture absorbent material like straw works very well. When the temperature drops, cats will go wherever they can get warmth, even if the area is unsafe. We have to continue to monitor their sheltering location to make sure that it remains safe, dry and warm.   

Food & Water

During cold temperatures, the nutritional needs of cats increase. Therefore, their demand for more food and water must be addressed, particularly to avoid dehydration. Providing wet food in insulated containers can help with hydration by making the food easier to digest.