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02/10/12
Preparing for the Unexpected
Filed under: General, Safety & Security, Contingency Planning & Disaster Recovery
Posted by: Tom @ 6:44 pm

It is impossible to predict when something unforeseen will cause death or serious injury. Often someone’s carelessness is at the very least a contributing factor. The disaster of the Italian liner Costa Concorfdia on January 14, 2012, was the responsibility of one man, the captain. It resulted in a few dozen lives being lost and thousands more, inconvenienced. Pilot error was attributed to the crash of Air France Flight 447 after it stalled at 38,000 feet en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris killing 227 people. Carelessness, impairment, distraction, and falling asleep at the wheel result in many lives lost and crippling injuries on our highways, too. It seems an inequity that those responsible often walk away with little or no injuries while others die or are maimed and live miserable lives.

Countless people also die in fires, especially in cold weather. Carelessness can be a factor, but so can poor maintenance. Smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors reduce the loss of life when they work effectively. However, they need to be installed and maintained properly. Just like many other things, they gradually wear out and need to be replaced. I am ashamed to say that it took five members of a Connecticut family to lose their lives before I replaced old detectors with better ones that check for both smoke and carbon monoxide. I am especially happy to have carbon monoxide detection since CO once made me quite sick. This was even when I had what should have been adequate ventilation. My new ones also use AA batteries which I prefer to 9 volt ones in the old detectors.

Other things can make our lives better and more secure. For example, the rubber hoses that supply water to washing machines are prone to failure at the most inopportune times. Substitute hoses that are reinforced with a stainless steel mesh cover reduces the likelihood of a failure. Turning the water off when the washer is not in use is also a good idea.

A few years ago, I bought a black box that connects to my telephone. If the temperature in my house deviates from a specified range, it calls my cell phone. If I do not answer, the device calls a few other people until someone answers. I never thought that I would need it. However, once when I was away during a very cold winter, my furnace stopped working. When the temperature inside dropped below 55F, I got called. It took a few seconds for me to realize what was calling me. The device prevented a big mess from frozen water pipes in my house. Now with smartphones and the Internet, it is possible to use wireless cameras and a variety of other devices to monitor things around our momes.

They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are many little things that can be done to lessen the impact of what can turn into major calamities. Look around and think of things that can go wrong with you. Create evacuation plans in case of an emergency. You will find that peace of mind is a wonderful thing.

If you like movies and would like to see how freak events affect outcomes, you are encouraged to see Unstoppable. You may think twice before you ride the rails.

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