May. 2nd, 2016 07:42 pm
tegyrius: (gunstuff deepthoughts)
Over the years, regular readers will have figured out that I am licensed for concealed carry (since early 2001). I don't typically discuss the specifics of firearm selection or holster placement or tactics and decision processes in public because of the potential for misuse of that information by other parties. So this isn't going to be about those topics - not quite.

I'm also a firm believer that if you are carrying a tool to make people bleed, you should also carry the tools to stop people from bleeding - and have the skills to use them effectively. In 2011, I took the excellent three-day medical course offered by Kerry at Dark Angel Medical (when it was still Magpul Dynamic Shooter Aid). Subsequently, I spent several years going between imperfect solutions for incorporating a minimal gunshot medical kit into my concealed carry rig and hanging far too much crap off my belt. In the process, I amassed a nice collection of tourniquet carriers that will never see use again.

A little over a year ago, a thread on one of my preferred forums led me to what is, for me, the perfect answer. Tactical Medical Solutions offers an ingenious ankle wrap that holds a tourniquet, a chest seal, and a pack of hemostatic gauze (and, as this video shows, the wrap itself can be used as a pressure bandage). I am not a fan of ankle carry for a firearm but it's turned out to be amazing for ancillary equipment that needs to remain low-profile. I've worn it with everything from jeans to a suit without raising comment.


Oct. 3rd, 2014 06:50 am
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
If you're an American who doesn't travel to western Africa, you're more likely to die of influenza than Ebola...

... so please get an effing flu shot this year.


Mar. 2nd, 2014 07:57 am
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
Lexington and Louisville: Winter storm warning now begins at 9:00 am today. Lexington can see freezing rain as early as 4:00 pm. We're looking at a quarter- to half-inch of ice overnight, with six or more inches of snow coming on top of it before noon tomorrow.

If you don't hear much from me for the next few days, it's probably because I'm either in the EOC or asleep.


Mar. 1st, 2014 06:32 pm
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
Kentucky folks - severe weather inbound. Potential half-inch of ice and 4-6 inches of snow Sunday night. Check your preps tonight and run any essential errands tomorrow before midafternoon.


Jan. 10th, 2014 05:46 pm
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
If you've been following national (or international) news today, you may have noticed that West Virginia has had a significant chemical spill into the Elk River, which feeds the Kanawha River (which, in turn, feeds the Ohio, which feeds the Mississippi...). About 4,000 gallons of a chemical used to wash coal got loose from a storage tank. Because of local topography, most of the communities in that area are along the Elk and Kanawha - and that includes their water treatment plants. Current reports are showing 300,000 people unable to use tap water for anything but firefighting and flushing the toilets. The chemical in question can't easily be filtered, so it looks like those communities are going to have to flush the treatment plants before they can be used again. In the meantime, the WV National Guard is setting up points of distribution (PODs) - and a hell of a lot of truckloads of water are headed into the area.

Authoritative information is available on West Virginia American Water's site. That page contains a link to a FAQ PDF which includes the current list of PODs.

For those of you who know what I do - yeah, my office has been monitoring it. We're not involved in the response because West Virginia appears to have it under control with state-level resources and hasn't needed to invoke EMAC (though the presidential disaster declaration means federal funds can be allocated for the recovery). Good on WV. If this does expand, it'll likely be a public health issue rather than a HAZMAT issue.

As my three regular readers should know, this is a preparedness reminder. How much bottled water do you have on hand? The minimum recommendation is one gallon per person per day for three days - though, honestly, I'd recommend keeping at least a week available. Personal experience at the House of Cats and Dice has shown that grocery store 1-gallon jugs of spring water will survive in the garage until well past the water's "best by" dates, though the 2.5-gallon jugs tend to fracture or leak under their own weight.

Also think about everything else you use water for - particularly if you have special medical needs. Probably wouldn't hurt to have extra picnicware and paper plates available in case you can't wash the dishes. I'm going to research some options on the personal hygiene side, too, as sponge baths may not always be feasible.


Apr. 28th, 2013 12:25 pm
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
I'm waiting for the final reports on a lot of aspects of the Boston bombing, but I have to admit that the one that's of greatest interest will be the examination of the medical response. I am amazed - on further reflection, unfairly amazed - that only three people died. Put it another way: three people died on the street pretty much instantly and every other casualty survived, including about 20 traumatic amputation cases. I suspect this is attributable to three factors: the massive and immediate medical response (both volunteer and professional), first-rate trauma care by the receiving hospitals, and the growing awareness and acceptance of tourniquets as immediate treatment for major injuries to the extremities.


Apr. 15th, 2013 08:49 pm
tegyrius: (paranormal tongue-in-cheek)
Elizabeth Bear has aggregated some useful links for personal welfare checks here. If you're trying to get in touch with someone who may have been in the area, check those first.

I may post some analysis once I have some trustworthy data.


Apr. 13th, 2013 09:01 pm
tegyrius: (Warning Group Intellect)
I'm going to be an ass about a preparedness issue here and I'm not going to hide it behind a cut or a friendwall, because it's something a lot of people need to see.

If you are talking about preparedness and blithely tell someone, "if everything goes to hell, I'll just come to your house," here's what you're really saying:

"I'm too lazy and apathetic to spend any time or effort or money on preparations myself, but when everything goes to hell, I'll come to your house without anything useful to contribute. And I'll expect you to make room for me in your lifeboat and split your limited resources among more people than you'd planned and budgeted to support."

If you're planning on showing up unannounced on someone else's doorstep, show up with skills, supplies, gear that will make you a welcome (or at least tolerable) unplanned addition to the team. Otherwise, you are a net liability for everyone's survival.

(Obviously, this applies far more in situations that are true survival crises than in weather-related inconveniences.)


Apr. 4th, 2013 06:47 pm
tegyrius: (catfood)
What will you eat when the power goes out?


Apr. 3rd, 2013 05:42 pm
tegyrius: (Warning Lack of Internet Connectivity)
Today's offering is a pretty darn cool program from the Portland, Oregon Bureau of Emergency Management: BEECN, or the Basic Earthquake Emergency Communication Node. They're preplanned sites where citizens can go after a quake or other major disaster to report damage and injuries and request assistance when normal communications are offline. The FAQ doesn't specify, but I suspect the comms are provided, at least in part, by the ARES/MARS amateur radio volunteers.

This looks like a win-win-win to me. It makes effective use of volunteer manpower (assuming I'm right about the MARS/ARES assets, but those are the logical people to staff such sites), it gives citizens a communication channel to civil authorities, and it helps the city establish and maintain situational awareness so it can prioritize and allocate resources.


Feb. 28th, 2013 08:31 pm
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
Parents, take note: emergency bear. It's a stuffed bear containing emergency supplies. Start your little survivor young!

(Too bad it's sold only in Japan so far. I have hopes.)


Feb. 21st, 2013 08:58 pm
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
This seems to be Resilience Week here in my lane of the information access road. Poking at Oregon's recent report on the Cascadia Subduction Zone (discussed previously) put me on to the Resilient City initiative from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR). SPUR appears to do some broader work in disaster planning policy advocacy, but I'm particularly impressed by what I've read so far in their Resilient City documentation. I don't know if any such initiative is translatable into action - I remain unapologetically cynical where human behavior under stress is concerned - but it's one of the better visions I've seen for citizen-level preparedness.

I also like the "disaster hub" concept, which establishes pre-hardened public buildings (libraries in the current draft) as neighborhood assembly points, coordination centers, and relief supply distribution points. I'll need to think some more before I decide if it's really workable because it presupposes (1) hardening sufficient to withstand whatever quake or other disaster occurs, (2) cross-trained library staff who are capable of shifting to crisis operations, (3) community access to the facility, and (4) adequate security for personnel and supplies. I don't think all of those factors are as guaranteed as the concept's authors seem to assume, but I'm willing to extend them the benefit of the doubt for now.

Also, is a well-done preparedness outreach site with basic information for the citizen who doesn't spend all day thinking about this stuff. See my previous post for thoughts on the whole 72 hour rule, but... you gotta start somewhere.


Feb. 17th, 2013 10:03 am
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
Although the San Andreas Fault and the New Madrid Seismic Zone get most of the megaquake disaster headlines in the United States, they aren't the only threats. Some of my three loyal readers may also be aware of the Cascadia subduction zone, a portion of the Ring of Fire off the coast from Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and northern California. The geologic record indicates it's produced some rather significant quakes, most recently an estimated magnitude 9.0 on January 26, 1700. Because it's an offshore fault line, it also spawns tsunamis.

Last week, the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (that's a mouthful) released the draft version of their report on the Cascadia hazard and their recommended measures for state disaster resilience. I'm reading through the whole report because it's relevant to both my studies and my interests, but it is a monster - 319 pages. However, if you have an interest in these things, and particularly if you live in the threatened area, I strongly recommend you download the file and read the executive summary. The article that originally tipped me off to the report is here.

One item that struck me as particularly significant was the acknowledgement of individual household preparedness. For a while now, I've seen various emergency management blogs saying that FEMA's 72-hour recommendation - that you should stock supplies sufficient to get through three days before outside help arrives - is insufficient. The prepper/survivalist community has been saying that for even longer. Response efforts in major disasters over the past decade do seem to support those assertions. This report is one of the first official documents I've seen that openly acknowledges the inadequacy of a mere three days of supplies:

The old guideline of having a 72-hour emergency survival kit falls far short of the anticipated needs given the extensive impacts of a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake. Even if basic supplies could be readily and broadly dispersed, it would likely take more than three days to achieve that dispersal, and emergency supplies would still fall short of what many people need to avoid deteriorating health (for example, medications, medical equipment, and ongoing healthcare support). There is clear value in members of the public having robust emergency supplies. In many areas, subsistence levels of food and water may be available within a week, but the public should be advised that response will take much more than 72 hours, and recovery times will likely be measured in months. This is especially important in coastal communities where response times could be measured in weeks, and recovery times could be measured in years.

Of course, it's easier to recommend than to implement. Many households don't have the financial resources or storage space to set back 72 hours of essential supplies, let alone two weeks or more (this report's new recommended minimum). Of those that do, fewer will actually have the awareness and motivation to make not only the initial investment, but the more critical ongoing commitment to rotation and maintenance. It doesn't have to be done all at once, though. Incremental preps, a general awareness of the issues, and a strong mutual support network of trusted and like-minded individuals can all help offset individual disadvantages.

The biggest thing I'm taking away from this report, though, is that it's not all doomie-doom. Whether on a household, local, state, or regional level, there are a lot of measures that can be taken to mitigate any given disaster's effects and ensure individual and community resilience. That resilience is really the report's main thrust, which aligns with the "culture of resilience" model that the federal government has been trying (and, in my opinion, failing) to promote for the last couple of years. I don't think the resilience culture is implementable on a national plane. Cultural change like that has to come from lower levels, where the recommendations are more specific and relevant to the people whose mindsets need to change and where the local first responder community that will deal with the disaster is the source of the recommendations and actions. Something like this is a good first step and I'm interested - and tentatively hopeful - about Oregon's ability and willingness to work toward the goals outlined in the report.


Jan. 30th, 2013 08:04 pm
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
You may have run across a meme which advises you to put "in case of emergency" - ICE - information in your phone's contact list. The idea is that when first responders recover your unconscious body, they can check your phone and immediately know who to call.

Great idea, but it tends to be foiled by the same technology that facilitates it. Most of us these days carry locked smartphones. Obviously, if you're incapacitated, you won't be unlocking that phone to show the nice officer your ICE contact.

The solution, then, is to embed that information in the wallpaper image of your phone's unlock screen. Scrawl it on a piece of paper and take a photo of it, or use image editing software to create a JPG... or, if you're running iOS, install Acadian Ambulance's I.C.E. App (free). It has some other features which are of marginal usefulness in a locked phone, but it does a nice job of pasting your selected contact's info onto an image already in your photo album and saving the modified image to your camera roll. Then you can select the new image for your lock screen, as shown in the first screenshot on the iTunes page in the link.

This concludes today's PSA.


Jan. 21st, 2013 08:47 am
tegyrius: (gunstuff Will)
After my last post, one commenter expressed the opinion that no one should have a "military-grade assault rifle" and went on to opine that anyone who believes otherwise is insane.

Okay. I'll lay out my insanity.

Trimmed for those who don't care. )


Oct. 25th, 2012 02:04 pm
tegyrius: (Default)
Learned this week in ICS-300:

Yes, the National Guard will be happy to send a Blackhawk to help you out with whatever aerial operations you want during a disaster. They will, however, bill your county. Current operating costs run to $5,300 per hour of flight time.


Mar. 14th, 2012 09:43 pm
tegyrius: (Warning Lack of Internet Connectivity)
LED light bulbs with onboard emergency power.

I'd love to see a decent T&E, but the raw concept is awesome.


Mar. 3rd, 2012 07:47 am
tegyrius: (Default)
For those among my three loyal readers who are out of state, Kentucky hosted a major storm system yesterday. The House of Cats and Dice was under two tornado warnings but we didn't see anything more than some high winds and brief torrential downpours. I'll get out and do a damage check once I'm wearing pants but I believe everything is okay here.

Despite the lack of major impacts in Fayette County, this one was serious - as is to be expected when a storm system gets a classification that NWS issues about ten times a year. News reports this morning have 12 confirmed deaths statewide (update: 18 as of 11:30), a couple of county hospitals dealing with mass casualty incidents, and some SAR activations to extricate entrapped victims. The biggest hit reported so far was in West Liberty, which is about 50 miles east of us. By preliminary reports, the center of town is pretty much gone.

The good news is that a lot of systems appear to have performed as they should have. Warnings went out well in advance of actual weather. When it became evident that the storm system would be hitting slightly before or during rush hour, most of the school systems in the region dismissed students early so the buses wouldn't be on the roads. Likewise, our mayor advised local businesses to shut down early to get commuters off the road before things got ugly. My employer, which hasn't closed for the last few ice storms, told all personnel to be off-site by 3:00. These precautions turned out not to be needed here - this time - but I think they were the right calls. This could have been much, much worse.


Feb. 3rd, 2012 06:19 pm
tegyrius: (Default)
Huh. It's a network-ready gun safe. USB, Ethernet, and power passthroughs.

This says "semi-secure location for backup network storage device" to me.


Dec. 11th, 2011 07:52 am
tegyrius: (Default)
"If you live in an area that is subject to natural disasters such as earthquakes, make sure your home bar has one or two bottles of booze that come in plastic bottles. That way, even if all the other bottles fall off the shelf and break, you will still have something with which to drown your sorrows and get you through the cleanup."
- Zen Tiki Lounge via NLOGM


tegyrius: (Default)

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