Sunday, February 12, 2017

Keep an eye out for the unexpected

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 11, 2017)

Life comes at you unexpectedly.

Risks are always near-- from aggressive people, the weather, or simply from Murphy's Law. No matter where you are or what you are doing, expect the unexpected, but don't let it consume your life.

You could worry yourself to death over dangers, or you can let awareness and preparedness become a game. Yes, it can be fun. Plus, it will make your life richer because you'll notice more.

Pay attention to your surroundings. Notice people acting strangely or things out of place. Listen to your gut.

I'm sure those in the Fort Lauderdale airport expected nothing out of the ordinary to happen. I would bet not a single person there was expecting any type of attack. After all, there were "no guns" signs posted.

The reality is those signs have never prevented a murderous attack. Not even one.

The honest translation of "no guns" is "We don't care if you die". No matter where the signs are posted, or whatever justifications are used, it is what they mean. Avoid those who place so little value on your life that they forbid you the proper self defense tools.

It doesn't end there. Bad people, and those who empower them, aren't the only thing which can ruin your day.

Exciting weather and car trouble are a bad combination. Keep some high-energy, non-perishable food-- peanut butter, for example-- in your car, along with a blanket. Keep water handy year-round, in case of emergency. Pay attention to the weather and expect the unexpected.

At home, store water and extra food, in case of trouble. If there's a medication you need regularly, get some extra into your rotation. Imagine different events, and plan ways you and your family would cope. Include your kids and see what ideas they come up with. Plan escape routes in case of fire, and where to meet to make sure everyone got out safely. Remind your children that windows aren't sacred, and should be smashed if it's the best way out. Don't forget to tell them to lay a blanket over the sill to protect them from broken glass as they escape.

Ultimately your safety is always your responsibility. It can't be anyone else's.

Even if you never experience a crisis, being prepared can prevent inconveniences and smooth over all sorts of bumps in the road. And it might just keep you breathing one more day. I hope you never need any of your emergency preparations, but if you do, you'll be glad you were ready.


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