Friday, February 06, 2015

Surviving an Active Shooter

I'm writing today from my dining room table, overlooking the winter wonderland that is my yard. Wonderland because I'm wondering how long this crap will last. We've been accosted by Mother Nature to the tune of two feet of snow in the past week, temperatures that make my mother-in-law seem toasty and even Margie, winter loving freak that she is, has the "days 'til spring" clicker set to seconds.

Counter screenshot via:

All of this pleasantness got me to thinking about cabin fever and that led inevitably to the violence that so often grows out of long stretches of nothingness that winter brings.

How many times have you heard a co-worker say, "I'd like to..." when describing a co-worker? Many times we share the thought or think, "that's just Joe blowin' off steam." But then the daily news features the worker at XYZ company that went on a rampage and really did what he said he'd like to do. When does "like to..." become "going to..." or  "just...?" And what can you do if you're there when the straw breaks the camel's back?

I just saw a video from the Los Angeles Sheriff's office that offers some excellent advice if you're there when an active shooter incident begins. The video is graphic but a realistic presentation of several active shooter scenarios and provides a thought-provoking view into these incidents.

Of course, f you find yourself in an active shooter situation, legally possessing a firearm and knowing how to use it is your best defense. If you're like me, your weapon is never out of reach, except...

It's the "except" that makes this video worthwhile for everyone.

Surviving an Active Shooter: What would you do?

This is an excellent reminder of how to survive an active shooter in the workplace, schools, malls- in short, anywhere that might be a target of a spree killer.

The video explains that "making a plan in advance can make all the difference."  By pointing out "the harder you are to see and to hit," the video highlights cover and concealment as the first goal, followed by escaping the danger zone.

The video also covers finding a safe area that can be secured if you can't get to an exit and reminds viewers to help the injured if you can safely do so. A point made in the video is that an emergency bag, including a first aid kit, including gloves and casualty cards should be easily accessible in areas used as secure locations.

Law enforcement's first responsibility is searching for the actor and they likely will not render aid but the EMS personnel will be in after the area is secure. Rendering first aid will likely mean the difference between life and death for some victims while awaiting EMS.

If the shooter is coming for you, the video explains the last resort for the unarmed in an active shooter incident is defense. The video suggests any item that can "disrupt the shooter's ability to see, breathe or control their weapon" be used as a defensive weapon.

Finally, the video reminds the viewer that when you've escaped or stopped the shooter, you should approach law enforcement with your hands visible and don't try to engage law enforcement- even a move to thank or shake the hands of the officers is not a good idea. The responding personnel do not yet know if you are the good guy or the bad guy and it may take a few minutes to sort that out.

I highly recommend this video and suggest you watch it with your friends. If you find yourself in an active shooter incident, this video could save your life.

For more information, check out:

Saturday, January 31, 2015

In for an inch, in for a foot....

Last week, I stared intently at my laptop, iPad and phone, intent on discerning the latest data on the storm of the century. I read the posts, followed the models and maps- I even stocked up on ice melt. The snow began and I drove around in my four wheel drive patrol vehicle with a huge smile.

The snow was here!

And then I checked the latest forcast. The snow was, well, evaporating into a wedge of dry air.

Twelve inches became two fluffy inches of coulda-been. I called in the public works trucks- they were on hold until they could drop their plows and with so much snow expected, the plan was to bring them in at three inches, since they'd be on the road for the duration of the storm. With a storm expected to last twenty hours, these guys needed their rest- or so we thought.

So much for the best-laid plans of officers and public works crews.

A couple of hours later, the plows were locked in the "up" position, the spreader units had distributed the mixture of salt and anti-skid that would keep traffic moving and the pristine, white snow was turning a chocolate-brown as the traffic mixed the slurry that slowly burned the snow away.

Dejected, I cleaned off my truck and headed home. Another snow bust. Back at the house, I watched the video from Boston and the New England area. Margie related her friend Natasha's observations of feet of snow from her deck in Connecticut. Natasha was always a tease.

I swear I'll never believe a forecast again. I'm done with the hype. Never again will I bellow, "Margie, grab bread and milk! I'll get the beer and chips!" while fighting the babushka-wearing old ladies at Wegman's on the day before a storm. I will be ready but I'm not gonna do it. I won't be....

Crap! EPAWA just released the first call for the Super Bowl Sunday storm! Gotta get my iPad and compare the NAM with the European 12Z... It's gonna be a long night.....

Saturday, April 05, 2014

"Let's dock here" or "Margie, your mother's shoes were stolen again!"

It's show time! Miranda and Sunshine are both in the same play!

Miranda's playing her sax in the pit while Sunshine is up on stage playing a "Munchkin." Sunshine and her fellow munchkins were chosen from a group of elementary school kids who answered the high school's casting call. Margie's been run ragged (with a little help from Grandma), getting kids (including both kids' friends) to and from practice.

And tonight, I actually get a night off so I can see both girls shine!

When I got comfortable in my writing chair, I didn't intend to mention the girls. Eh, it happens. I'm a Dad. It's my job. 

What I intended to expound on was a funny incident I had recently.  Seems the lake in my jurisdiction was lowered for the winter. Since it's no longer winter (ignore the huge snow piles), the lake was allowed to rise to its normal level and in the process, a small dock section broke loose.

So I found myself wondering what kind of newfangled craft was sailing the partially ice-laden lake so early in the season as I drove by on my way to work. A couple of calls and of course, a couple of reports later, I found myself staring at the escaped dock sitting about twenty feet offshore.

Now, those of you who know me also know my closest interaction with horses or rodeos or lassos involves loading my pickup (I searched for the perfect truck for a year, boring everyone with my rant, "I just want a truck to get horse manure for my garden") with hay-infused fertilizer from the local horse barn.

Consequently, standing facing my opponent with a lasso fashioned from a length of extension cord (hey, it was that or unravel the hat Margie knitted- the extension cord wouldn't get me um, emasculated...) I knew anyone with a camera would soon have a winning video for one of those annoying "America's funniest" shows.

True to form, thirty-some tries later, I managed to lasso a corner post of the escapee. Proud of my accomplishments, I grinned and yanked on the cord and dispatch called my number, sending me on a medical call.

Thirty minutes later, my patient safely packaged on the bus and headed to the local hospital, I returned, with a reinforcement. My partner, who wishes to remain anonymous (smart man) and I yanked and tugged, beaching the dock about four feet from shore. No longer would the wicked dock threaten other docks and cause a hazard to navigation.

Good once again prevailed over evil.

I asked my partner to tie the line to a post (Somewhere in my office is a proclamation demanding that I never try to tie a knot  while on a sailboat under threat of plank-walking -It's another long story....). He politely declined, stating he was limited to tying shoes and "one on" and apparently his doctor nixed the "tying one on" after his last physical.

I grabbed the line and made a knot Captain Ahab would have been proud of, grabbed my partner's camera, deleted a few frames over his comments about "destroying evidence" and cleared the call.

So now I'm off to see the Wizard, wonderful girls of mine and all. I'll be trolling You-tube for videos of the dock rescues from my phone the whole time, I'm sure. The next time I tell someone I'm interviewing, "this ain't my first rodeo," I will actually mean it. Go figure.

Which leads me to the one unanswered question, "Is anyone out there missing a dock?"

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