...that is all.
I’ve touched on the subject of suicide once before in this blog, and now our government has decided to address the subject with a web page and hotline. Click here for the web page. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
The Department of Health and Human Services entitled this guide, “Getting Through Tough Economic Times.” In a nutshell, the guide offers tips on “how to deal with the effects financial difficulties can have on your physical and mental health.” One of the negative effects of our economic downturn is suicide, and they offer signs to look for when someone becomes suicidal. Those suffering from such things as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or substance abuse are at greater risk.
Let’s face it. Economic pressures can change one’s perspective and strain relationships as well as wallets. Coping can be difficult. The government’s site encourages stress management, staying connected with others, and getting exercise. Don’t be afraid to seek help from medical and mental health professionals. Community organizations are encouraged to provide support for those who need it in these difficult times.
Suicide warning signs include:
* Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
* Looking for ways to kill oneself
* Thinking or fantasizing about suicide
* Acting recklessly
* Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
If someone you know is encountering these problems, the site suggests getting immediate help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Again, the number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Isn’t it interesting that the government has chosen to address the issue of suicide? Are they finally acknowledging how bad things really are? Or is this another step in the direction of becoming an even greater Nanny State? Whatever the reason, they’re offering some common sense advice worth taking.
Just as when Uncle Sam tells us to have 72-hour kits at the ready, or to be prepared in other ways for storms, their advice is worth considering. Often the government can be criticized for dealing in generalities and dishing out common sense anybody supposedly could have figured out on their own, but that doesn’t make Uncle Sam wrong. Yes, they actually get it right sometimes. Tackling the issue of suicide is one of those times.
By Soni Pitts
Report after report comes in about how many people couldn't or didn't escape the wrath of Hurricane Katrina. More reports come in about the disorganized relief effort, the communications problems they're having and the difficulty in getting survivors to safety even when they are reachable by rescue personnel.
Hopefully, few of us will ever be caught in such a widespread and devastating disaster as Hurricane Katrina. But should a natural or man-made disaster threaten your family or force an evacuation, having a fully-stocked and easily-reached emergency "bug-out" bag could help save your life during the first stages, and help make rescue, recovery and a return to normalcy easier and more successful.
A bug-out bag is basically a duffle bag or other easy to carry luggage piece stocked with the following items:
Photocopies of important documents such as birth certificates, drivers' licenses and so on for the entire family. Note: keep the originals in a safe deposit box or other safe place – non-notarized photocopies cannot generally be used for official actions like getting a drivers license, but are more than fine for temporary ID in emergency situations. And don't forget insurance papers and other items you might need to begin rebuilding.
A small sum of cash ($20-50) for immediate emergency use.
A temporary supply of prescription drugs in their originally-labeled containers, regularly rotated for freshness. This is easily done by buying one refill ahead. As you finish your current package or bottle, take the next one out of the bag and replace with a newly purchased refill.
A supply of meal replacement and energy bars. Look for items that are designed more for calorie and nutrient density, such as protein bars and hikers' meal bars, rather than those sold as snack products or candy bar substitutes. You can also include dried foods or hiking meals and other lightweight, easy to prepare and eat items such as nuts, small candies and oatmeal packs.
A water purification kit or hiker's filter system. Bottled water is bulky, heavy and goes stale quickly. Dirty water, while distasteful, can often be easily found, roughly filtered through cloth to remove large particulate matter and then sterilized for safe drinking. In a worst-case scenario, boiling dirty water for 15 minutes will serve until alternatives can be found.
A pre-paid phone card and a list of relatives, friends and emergency numbers. Check for expiration date and rotate out or renew as needed.
A non-battery-dependent, rechargeable flashlight, radio and cell phone charger, if you have a phone (alternatives include solar, squeeze-charge or kinetically charged options). Even when phone service was available, many Katrina survivors could not call out to get help or update relatives because their phones were dead and there was no power. Keep in mind also that even when phone service is spotty, small text messages can sometime get through.
A multi-tool (the kind with blades, pliers, screwdrivers and so on) for taking care of small but sometimes life-or-death repairs and jury-rigs.
A small first aid kit containing at least bandages of various sizes, antiseptic ointment, sunscreen, a bottle of contact lens saline solution (good for cleaning injuries and flushing eyes) and OTC pain relievers.
A safety lighter and a few small candles. Never light these unless you are sure that there is no chance of an explosion from natural gas, propane or other leaking fuels. For safety, use your flashlight for your primary light source. Save the lighter and candles for starting cooking or heating fires.
An indelible, waterproof black permanent marker (buy new and keep in package until needed, to maintain freshness). Useful for many things including leaving notes for rescuers or others on whatever is at hand, marking your gear at a shelter, and writing ID and medical info on the arms of kids, the elderly, the ill or anyone who may become separated or are unable to speak for themselves. (There are also white markers that can be used for darker-skinned individuals, or simply write on a lighter area of their body). Sturdy hospital or nightclub-style ID bracelets are also handy for this purpose. Note: there is always danger in having children's ID plainly visible to strangers. Use your best judgment in each situation to weigh the various benefits and concerns.
Don’t forget the pets! Keep their carriers handy, clean and ready to go. Your kit should have any food, medications, leashes and important papers necessary for them, as well. Not all evacuation shelters will take animals. If you have pets, it is important that you know ahead of time where they can go and how you will take care of them in an emergency.
The bag should be checked and the edibles or expirables rotated at least every 6 months or as needed (schedule a regular check during daylight savings changeovers, when you also check your smoke alarm batteries and do other seasonal activities). Although this will cover most survival situations, you should customize it to fit your needs (toiletries, special gear, food additives, small paperback books, etc). Just keep in mind the weight and size of the final kit and that in an emergency situation you may have to carry it for a long time over rough terrain while tired, hungry or even injured.
Your bug-out kit should be placed near the main entrance and exit, or in an easy-to-reach central location. Every member of the family should know where it is and to make sure it is part of any emergency evacuation. (It is important to stress, however, that no one ever go after any item, even the emergency bag, in the case of a house fire. In that case, focus only on getting out as soon as you can.) Smaller versions of this bag can also be kept in offices and vehicles.
Although having a bug-out kit cannot guarantee your safety, it goes a long way toward ensuring that you and your family have the best chance possible of making it through any unforeseen emergency as healthy and safe as possible.
By Ivan A Cuxeva
Living in extremely cold places poses a serious risk to those living in areas where temperatures can drop dramatically. Northern US states, Canada, northern European countries, Asia as well as countries in South America meet the meteorological conditions which trigger winter storms. Drastic temperature drops represent a serious hazard to anyone living in these areas who is not prepared to handle such conditions and things just get worse when snow starts to fall.
People living in populated cities have much of the resources needed to survive such weather, but campers, people who practice winter sports and many others are in serious risks of getting caught in one of these storms, in fact these are the people we often hear about on the news who get disoriented and lost because of winter storms.
The first step is to always be prepared for the unexpected winter storm, whether you are just heading out to camp or to ski on nearby slopes, caution is the first step to survival. There are two common ways people get caught on a winter storm, the first is when people's vehicles fail on them or they are outside and get lost due to the weather conditions, many think that surviving a storm inside a car is easy compared to being outside without any type of shelter but this thought can be quite deceiving.
People who get caught in a winter storm while on their vehicles face the risks of hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning. It is recommended to run the motor every hour in order to keep some heat in the vehicle which will keep you warm, you should never keep yourself completely locked inside with the windows rolled up for an extended period of time, open them periodically in order to avoid intoxication by dangerous gases. Since you might be in a confined space try to move your arms legs and fingers vigorously in order to keep the blood flowing and your core temperature stable, once the storm has passed make yourself visible to rescuers by raising the hood of your car or hanging clothes with eye catching colors outside the car.
If you are caught without any type of shelter the first thing is to look for a cave or make yourself an improvise Igloo using tree branches and solid ice to ride the storm, it is also recommended to build a fire and place stones around it in order to reflect the heat. If you start to sweat, remove part of the clothes for a brief instant until you are dry and them put them back on, this helps you avoid subsequent chills, moreover, never eat snow without first melting it because it can lower your core temperature. Once the storm has passed make sure you are on an area where helicopters and rescuers can easily spot you.
YES - WVSanta is back with the third installment to his "Emergency Communications" series here on the CPN! This series has received much feedback in the form of comments and there has been much discussion among the members of the Canadian and American Preppers Networks about HAM radio and other types of Emergency Communications because of the stir that this series has caused! We encourage any new readers to read the series in it its order...Emergency Communications - Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 here.
We at the CPN would like to thank WVSanta from the West Virginia Preppers Network for sharing his extensive knowledge about Emergency Communications with us - and we would also like to say - THAT is one Kick-*ss mobile comms station you got disguised as a truck, Santa!
And without any further ado...here is the much-anticipated Emergency Communications - Part 3:
MY MOBILE SETUP
This is the setup in my service truck that I work out of everyday. I hope that this will let people see some of what can be done with Ham and CB radio equipment. Now I know my truck is a mess but many times I spend 10 hrs or more per day in it and I did not take the time to spit polish it for the pictures.
FIRST MY ANTENNAS
On the roof in the middle is my CB antenna. Yes I do use a CB as I am in my own excavating business and need to be able to talk to my other trucks and the scale houses at the gravel quarry. Not everyone has a Ham license so the CB is still a big part of my communications setup.
Next on the drivers side on the tool bed is a 10 meter only Ham antenna.
On the rear corner in the back is what they call a screwdriver antenna; this one in its current configuration covers 12 meter thru 80 meter Ham bands and is tuned by a switch in the cab that raises or lowers the upper mast depending on what band you tune to.( see 3rd picture)
Last is my 2 meter ham antenna on the tool box on the passenger side.
NOW ON TO THE RADIOS
From left to right on the dash CB radio.
Next the small face plate is my Icom 706 MK II G ham rig and the main radio is pictured on the seat (second and third picture below) for this but is normally mounted under the seat.
The next item is the light controller for the bar beacon on the roof which is also a PA and electric air horn. The truck was originally owned by a fire department.
Last on the right is a linear amplifier (by law for ham use only but also will work with the CB just keep that between us).
I hope this helps some people see what these radios look like if you have never seen them before. The pack of cigarettes is there for size reference. Again please excuse the mess in my truck it is a work truck and does see some very long days.
I will be doing more on the ham radio as I get my base station antennas back up in the air and will try to get pictures of that process also for everyone to see. As always if you have any questions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to help you. Sorry it took so long to get this done for you.
God Bless from the Wild and Wonderful West Virginia
Thank you Santa - thank you a hundred times over for being willing to share your knowledge and experience! And remember - you are always welcome to guest-post at the CPN! Thank you!