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December 12, 2015

Being Ready…

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 8:41 am

ReadyWithin the past 30 days both our region and the nation have experienced events that should cause each of us to ask “Am I ready?”

On November 17, 2015, our region was hammered by a windstorm that did millions of dollars in damages and left well over 100,000 people without power, some for over a week.  It was a natural disaster and a civil emergency.

Then on December 2, 2015, a training session and luncheon of county employees in San Bernardino, California, was attacked by two active shooters who were at least influenced if not controlled by ISIS.  When the shooting at San Bernardino’s Inland Regional Center finally stopped, there were 14 attendees dead and 22 wounded.   About four hours later, the two shooters were killed after firing shots and throwing pipe bombs from their vehicle at pursuing law enforcement officers.  That, too, was a civil emergency.

In both instances, some people were ready, some were not.

Readiness is first a personal state of mind, mental and emotional readiness, which leads to a personal preparation of a personal course of action.

“Situational awareness” is another way of saying “Readiness is first a personal state of mind.”  That concept and the need for each of us to develop it was shown very effectively in the training video entitled “Surviving an Active Shooter“.  It was produced and released in February 2015 by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  The exceedingly graphic scenes very accurately depict active shooter behaviors, but we suggest viewers pay particularly close attention to the behaviors of the intended and incidental victims.  We are convinced that the purpose of the video was not only to show how quickly an active shooter incident begins and ends; it was also to demonstrate how situational awareness and emotional control enhance the chances of survival.

A person, a family, a workforce that is emotionally prepared for unusual emergency occurrences such as weather emergencies or intentional violence is also more likely to be operationally prepared.

There is an array of publications that tell us what we need to be prepared for any emergency that may befall us.  Those publications usually take the form of checklists. Two worthwhile disaster preparedness checklists are the Los Angeles County Emergency Survival Guide and the LDS Preparedness Manual.   Both cover very well the various things we individuals should at least consider (and then adopt or reject in whole or in part) when we prepare ourselves.

This is the key point about any checklist:    The one that is right for you, the only one,  is the one that you make up yourself for the circumstances you believe you will face.   The ones you get from this organization or that one can help you organize your thoughts and put your list together, but ultimately you need to compose your own.

Some people become obsessed with checklists as if the checklist itself is the end-all and be-all.   The people often point out that pilots use checklists.  Our response is always the same:  Yes, but the pilot already knows how to fly the plane.  The checklist is a reminder, not a how-to.

We’re the pilots.  If we’re already emotionally prepared to confront life’s emergencies, we are already on our way to being operationally ready.

4 Comments

  1. During a disaster preparedness class that was open to the public a “fake” shooter jump in and opened fire, what we saw was most of the pubic froze in place until after the incident was over. Training your mind once to be ready will not get the job done. Thankfully most of the preparedness people should be ready for is not sudden and you have time to get your mind in the right place if you can get past the it won’t happen here or won’t happen to me syndrome that prevails over most of the country.
    Think ice storm or wind storm, how do you keep your family warm for a week without killing them with carbon monoxide ( a little warning here, no matter what it burns if it has a flame it produces CO and will kill you). Where do you get the water to re-hydrate dehydrated foods for that matter if your domestic water pumps are off line where is the water to flush a toilet, what happens if you run out of insulin or asthma medicine for your kids, just some things to think about. For reasons I don’t understand considering the number of LDS in the area a lot of people don’t like them but get over it and see what the have. The LDS have been preaching and practicing preparedness and self-sufficiency for over a hunded years what they have could save your and your families life. My point in all this is you just can’t think about it once and be ready. Please remember if you can’t get out rescue most likely can’t get in.

    Comment by Mike Teague — December 12, 2015 @ 11:53 am

  2. Mike,

    Good comment! I suspect you saw what I saw and what LASD probably wanted people to see, especially in the warehouse scene when the shooter has shot the woman inside her office. The workers outside saw that and instead of fleeing, they froze instead of reacting quickly. Instead of flight, they chose to try and make conscious sense of what they had seen. They simply didn’t want to believe what they had seen even though the opening dialogue between the two warehouse workers made it clear that the shooter had been a problem for the supervisor before.

    Very few emergency preparedness guides talk about the mental and emotional preparation and just how important it is to survivability. Most people who have been through training for high-risk jobs were put in stressful training situations. You know as well as anyone about the smoke house training firefighters are put through wearing only partially filled air tanks so they don’t panic when the low-air bell goes off in zero visibility conditions. Keeping your head keeps you alive and functioning. Military survival school training focuses as much about mental conditioning for survival as about eating bugs and snakes and roots. Panic won’t kill people, but it will speed up the process of dying unnecessarily.

    Comment by Bill — December 12, 2015 @ 12:04 pm

  3. Regarding storm preparation: Amelie’s is affected with Addison’s and requires daily medication. I always keep a month’s supply on hand – just in case. I also keep 25 pounds of dog food and gallons of water just in case.

    Comment by Susie Snedaker — December 14, 2015 @ 7:45 am

  4. Susie,

    That’s a good example to show why everyone needs to put some thought and planning into their own readiness. The time to ask “What if …” isn’t when the first warnings have been issued.

    Comment by Bill — December 14, 2015 @ 9:29 am

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