Chapter 11: Prevent
Prevention is the best way to avoid problems in your community. There are ways to help prevent bad things from happening to you and others.
The first tool I learned is to BE AWARE.
Look for situations that do not seem right to you; individuals who are acting suspicious and events that seem out of the ordinary should be reported.
- People taking flying lessons who do not care about landing a plane could be hijackers in training.
- Excessive purchases of fertilizer by non-farmers could suggest a bomb factory.
- Laboratory supplies requested by individuals without proper credentials may be a sign that a biological factory for terrorist organisms or chemicals may be under construction.
When something is suspicious, avoid it at all costs and ask the authorities to investigate.
- A suspicious package should never be picked up, opened, tasted, or shaken. Do not disturb what could be a bomb.
- Do not confront what may be a deranged individual.
- Always avoid them, and report your suspicions to the authorities.
Wellness is more than just a trendy concept; it is a matter of survival.
- Forty percent of deaths by firefighters at a fire are not caused by burns or smoke inhalation; they are caused by heart attacks on the scene.
- We all need to be as physically fit as possible—and we need to know how to maintain that fitness, so that if an unexpected event occurs, we will be in the best shape possible, and have the best chances to emerge from the situation unharmed.
The more we understand about the form and function of the body, the more likely we are to avoid making poor choices that will compromise our health. To prevent a disastrous outcome when exposed to an emergency, we need to incorporate an aggressive wellness program into people’s lives that informs them, gets them fit, and ultimately, increases their survival. We do not know if we will need to run a great distance, carry an injured person, overcome a bioterrorism-induced infection, or breathe toxic fumes. Wellness, then, requires being fit and smart.
What follows is a list of specific suggestions to help prepare you and your loved ones for the unexpected:
TIP LIST: PREVENT
Awareness and avoidance are the simplest things that facilitate prevention.
Sometimes you can not avoid being in the midst of a dangerous situation.
Plan on how to deal with those situations.
At first glance, these recommendations may seem extremely simplistic, and there is a reason for that—they are! You may already be aware of many of them. However, unless you prepare yourself with a firm plan in mind regarding how you will react before a disaster strikes, you may not be able to act in the way that you hope to when stress levels, adrenaline, and confusion run high. A definite plan, therefore, is key.
Below are some simple, common sense tips to start to get you thinking about how you can best plan to become—and remain—healthy and safe.
- Get smart about your body. Learn everything you can learn about what you need to do to get fit and stay in shape.
- Then do it. Get fit and stay in shape.
- Eliminate inequalities in your community. The greater the sense of kinship that your community has generated in peacetime, the less of a challenge it will face in a difficult situation, when people are hungry or desperate.
- Be aware of health and safety risks that you may face.
- Be aware of escape routes in your place of work, your place of worship, and any building/facility where you regularly spend time. If you are vacationing in a hotel, glance over the fire exit diagram. It only takes a moment, and it is smart and conscientious to do so.
- Be conscious of health hazards—such as chemical leaks or toxic fumes at a work site, and so on—and if they are true risks to your health, avoid them, wherever possible.
- If you sense you are at risk in any situation, remove yourself from the questionable environment at the soonest opportunity, whenever possible.
- If you suspect a person or package is suspicious in some way, leave it/him/her alone. Then leave the area and notify authorities.
- If the air is contaminated (thick, dusty, hard to breathe, or you can smell foul odors):
- Hold your breath and leave the area.
- If the area is too large to leave, limit your time there.
- If you must stay there, obtain and use provided masks from the authorities. If none are available, make the best mask you can, using a wet piece of cloth, pulled tightly over your face.