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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Forth Half - Health/Medical

This is the forth half of the post on healh/medical. You will find links to other bloggers and websites about the subject for this week.


Stealth Survival - Homemade First Aid Kit

Stealth Survival - First Aid Kit for Treatment of Burns

Stealth Survival - Pocket First Aid Kits

Stealth Survival - Home-made First Aid Kits, Additions

Surviving in Argentina - Mosquito Repellent as Part of Your Preps

Surviving in Argentina - Preparing for Flu and Other Diseases

Surviving in Argentina - Swine Flu

Of Two Minds - Overcoming Depression in a Depression

Many More Later.


United States of America - Flu.gov

Pandemic Influenza Preparation and Response: A Citizen’s ...

Third Half - Health/Medical

to the third half of the post about health/medical.

Many week ago, I read a disturbing post by Michael Panzner at Financial Armageddon.

In "More Than Just Numbers" Mr. Panzner provides an article by Nick Turse titled "Meltdown Madness: The Human Cost of the Economic Crisis." Please take time to read the article.

Terrible isn't it. People taking their lives, robbing banks, committing other crimes, or just acting crazy. Yeah, people like you and me.

Some of us, maybe most of us, would dismiss this behavior as no big deal. I think it is a big deal. We are under a lot of stress in these times. People losing their jobs, homes, and financial security.

In the Links: I have provided some links, of course, about mental health. I urge you to seek help if you are having difficulty.

If you can't afford a professional, you need to find an ear to bend. Someone you are comfortable talking to about your feelings. This person could be a friend, priest, or family member.

If someone seeks you out to talk about their problems, take time to listen. You don't need to help, just listen. My wife and I call this "venting."

Since we have been venting (no venting about each other, by the way) for a few years, I have learned to recognize when she does this. I would suggest that you explain to your friend or family member what you want to do. Tell them upfront that you are not seeking help, just someone to listen.

If you are seeking help for a problem, tell your friend upfront, so she/he knows that you are seeking assistants to solve this problem. This is important; you have to let people know that you are seeking help to get help.

Yes, network! People have the answers you are looking for.

Always ask if there are questions you should have asked. As government budgets get smaller, you will need to turn to family, friends, and neighbors for assistance.

Now, some of us are going to try to work this out on our own. For me, I remember the Serenity Prayer. When I am feeling tough, I recite the Commando Prayer.


Financial Armageddon - More Than Just Numbers

The National Institute of Mental Health

click on "Publications (also en Espanol)

next to "Jump To" - Select a Topic -click on the arrowsscroll down to "Depression" or "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" (PTSD)

It will take you to some pages that have .pdf documents about these mental health illnesses

MedlinePlus: Mental Health

Suicide: Top Health Concern of Men

Women's Web - Suicide and Depression

The Serenity Prayer

Andre Zirnheld - The Paratrooper's Prayer/Commando Prayer

Second Half - Health/Medical

This is the second half of the blog post on health/medical. You will find videos/podcasts, instructions, and other information on the subject this week.


How To Wash Your Hands:

Treating Minor Injuries with Basic First Aid: First Aid Kits

Treating Minor Injuries with Basic First Aid: How to Clean a Wound

Treating Minor Injuries with Basic First Aid: Using Adhesive Wound Closures

Treating Minor Injuries with Basic First Aid: Applying a Sling

Treating Minor Injuries with Basic First Aid: Treating Abrasions at the Scene

Treating Minor Injuries with Basic First Aid: How to Treat a Strained Muscle

Treating Minor Injuries with Basic First Aid: How to Treat a Bee Sting

Treating Minor Injuries with Basic First Aid: How to Stop the Bleeding

Treating Minor Injuries with Basic First Aid: How to Treat Blisters

Basic First Aid: Tips for Calling 911

Basic First Aid:Controlling Bleeding

Basic First Aid: How to Create an Anatomical Splint

Basic First Aid: Treating Blistering Burns

Basic First Aid: Treating Chemical Burns and Victims of Electric Shock

Basic First Aid: How to Treat Burns

Basic First Aid: Checking the Pulse, Breathing & Airway

Basic First Aid: Using Rubber Gloves to Treat a Patient

First Aid for Splints & Bleeding Wounds : How to Use a Tourniquet

I am going to stop here. There are many, many more videos on first aid at YouTube. Make sure you practise your new skills.

The Humanure Hacienda - Humanure Compost Bins

Starting a New Humanure Compost Pile

Emptying Humanure Toilet Receptacles

Humanure Compost Bin - Active Side


Washing Your Hands:
Turn on the water. Warm water that is a comfortable temperature for you is the best.

Get the soap on your hands. Don't worry if the soap isn't antibacterial. Any soap works, even the cheap stuff.

Rub your hands together. Lathering up your hand (lots of soap bubbles) for about 30 seconds. Count from 1 to 30, sing Happy Birthday, twice, any way you want but rub your hands together for 30 seconds.

As you wash your hands, wash between your fingers and under your finger nails.

Rinse the soap off.

Dry your hands, and turn the water off with your towel.

The hardest part is to remember to turn the water off with the towel. The reason for turning the water off is because you just turned the water on with your dirty hands.

Obtaining the U.S. Army First Aid Manual
Go To http://www.train.army.mil/

Click On (It is green, top left corner)
Public Access to Reimer Digital Library (RDL)

Click On (Make the Dot Turn Blue)
Official Departmental Publications

Under Type:Click On (Turn it Blue)
Field Manuals

Under School:Click On (Turn it Blue)

Click On

You are looking for FM 4-25.11 First Aid

If you click on the little anchor, all the way to the right of the page, it will take you to the .pdf download page for this manual.
Click On (It is green)

FM 4-25.11 (2,398KB)

The manual should start to download

You might want to download the two other manuals while you are there.

FM 21-10 Field Hygiene and Sanitation
FM 4-25.12 Unit Field Sanitation Team

Other Information:

Obtaining Prescription Medicine:
Prescription medication is controlled for several reasons. One reason, it can be used by druggies to get "high." Another reason for prescription medicine being controlled is because it can do great harm if used improperly. There are other reasons, but I'm not going to discuss them, here.

Now, one way to get prescription medication is to explain to your doctor why you want the extra medication for your current condition. You have a heart condition, and you think it would be a good idea to have a 90 day supply, just in case.

Another way would be for you to discuss with her that you are a survivalist, (Don't use the word survivalist; to many negative connotations. Try preparing for a long-term emergency, instead.) and you would like to have some antibiotics on-hand, just in case. You might even offer to have her store the antibiotics for you in her office.

Another method is to use drugs designed for animals. This way is starting to be/has been closed, so you may need to get a veterinarian to sign a prescription for you.

Another method is to buy them from oversea/out of country pharmacies. Be careful, there have been reports of scams. The buyer gets sent fake, ineffective, or even deadly fake drugs.
One report I saw, talked about a pharmacist receiving antifreeze as cough syrup. Another received a toxic chemical as an anti-malarial drug.

Don't, Do Not, Never take less then the medication that your doctor has prescribed. The antibiotics have been designed to be taken in the amount and the time indicated by your doctor. If you take less or stop before you are suppose to, you can cause the disease you are fighting to get stronger.

This has been happening with tuberculosis (TB) and other diseases.

What to do with your Poop:
During an emergency, you may lose the ability to flush your toilets.

There are several ways to deal with this problem. One way is to have extra water to place in the tank. Filling the tank will allow you to flush the toilet. You can even cause the toilet to flush by adding extra water to the toilet bowl; however, you may not be able to do either, if the sewer lines are broken.

If you are out in the woods, you can use a method used by many military forces. It is called a cathole. A cathole is a 1 foot deep and 1 foot wide hole dug in the ground. You squat over the hole and poop. Once you wipe your butt, the paper goes in the hole, and the hole is covered.

If you have a folding shovel, you can rest your butt on the blade of the partially folded shovel.

Another way is to buy a port-a-potty. These come in a variety of styles. One style is a seat with a plastic bag. Another style is a 5-gallon bucket with a snap-on toilet seat. Another style is the portable toilet.

The portable toilet is good for a few days maybe even a few weeks. You will need to store water (non-potable is ok), the fluid that the toilet uses, and toilet paper.

Don't forget water to wash your hands! You will need soap and water. The hand sanitizers are not as effective as soap and water.

If you don't have a lot of money, you can poop in a plastic shopping bag and pee in a large mouth bottle. The poop is covered with sawdust, shredded paper, or other absorbent material. The bag is loosely tied shut and placed in your outside trash can. The trash can lid is placed tightly on the can. The pee is poured on your garden.

If the emergency continues for a long time, you may need to build an outhouse. Basically, you build a small building over a deep hole.

If you don't like that idea, try this one.

There is a group of people that advocate using human poop as fertilizer. There is even a book written about it called The Humanure Handbook. It can be downloaded for free.

This idea could be adopted for use in a long-term emergency.

There are more methods, but I am stopping here. If you would like more ideas, do an internet search about poop!


Sanitation and Hygiene During an Emergency

Portable Camp Toilet:

Honey Bucket Style:

VISA 268 Portable Toilet:

Want a Great Garden? Pee On It!

Think Green-Urine for Fertilizer


Outhouse-Frequently Asked Questions

The Humanure Handbook

Week Eight - Health/Medical


Buy a first aid kit. If you already have some first aid supplies, put them together, inventory, and/or organize your first aid supplies in a centralized location.

I am not a doctor. Nor, do I play a doctor on tv. As with all of my blog posts, links, videos, instructions, and other information provided by me, you are responsible for any death, injury, harm, or saved lives that the use of this information provides.
Use at your own risk.

Blog Post:

In all the wars, humans have had, infection, disease, and accidents are the number one killers. So the best way to prevent a medical problem/emergency is through prevention.

Let us look at an extreme example.

If you hangout with drug using/dealing felons, you are more likely to be shot. If you live in a neighborhood with rival gangs that deal drugs, you are more likely to be shot.

So to prevent being shoot, hangout with law abiding citizens in a decent neighborhood.

OK, let's come back to reality, for most of us.

To prevent being sick from the cold; wash you hands. Avoid people who are sick, and the surfaces they have touched. Keep your fingers out of your nose, eyes and mouth.

To prevent catching the flu, wash your hands. Avoid people who are sick. Keep your fingers out of your mouth, nose, and eyes. Get a flu shot.

The washing of your hands is a common factor in preventing most diseases. Use the bathroom; wash your hands. Shake hands; wash your hands.

Another common factor is keeping your fingers out of your nose, mouth, and eyes. If you shake hands, and can't wash your hands, keep your fingers away from your face.

The last common factor, I will mention, is to avoid sick people and their things.

There is another way, of preventing diseases, it is to get vaccinations.

The US military has a long list of standard immunizations that all soldiers receive. If a group of soldiers are deploying overseas, they may receive other specific immunizations for the overseas area.

Another method of preventing diseases, is to control disease by controlling vectors. Vectors are the animals and insects that carry a disease.

One example, that most people have heard about, is the bubonic plague that wiped out 1/3 of Europe's population from about 1350 to 1400 A.D.

To recap the bubonic plague, fleas living on rats carried bubonic plague. The fleas bit the rats; the rats died of plague. The fleas, looking for a new host, jump on humans and bite the person. The person, most likely, dies of plague.

A more recent example is malaria. A mosquito carrying malaria bites a person; the person comes down with malaria. The person may or may not die. Either way, life will suck for anyone catching malaria.

Now, there are various ways of controlling vectors. One method is to prevent the vector from living.

You can do this by interrupting the vector's life cycle. For mosquito's, you make sure every container holding more than a teaspoon of water is empty of water. This works because the mosquito larva can only survive in water.

Another way to interrupt a vector's life cycle is to kill it. You set a trap. The trap kills the rat; keeping the rat population under control. This reduces the number of fleas.

You have to be careful using traps. The bigger traps can break your fingers, if they are caught in the trap. Traps with dead animals in them also expose you to the diseases carried by the dead animal, so you have to have a safe way of disposing of the dead animal.

You can do this a number of ways. One method is to design the trap, so the trap is disposable. The inexpensive mouse traps you see in the home/farm stores, usually 2 for $1 are designed to be thrown away when they kill a mouse.

To dispose of this trap, put on a pair of medical gloves, pick up the trap, place it in a piece of newspaper and dispose of it in your outside trash can.

Another method is to design the trap to dispose of the critter for you. One trap is the bucket trap. Basically, you take a 5-gallon bucket, fill it with water, get a board to act as a ramp to the top of the bucket, and bait the trap with peanut butter.

To empty, all you have to do is take the bucket and throw the water and dead critters out by your property line.

Another method, of protecting yourself from vectors, is to prevent vectors from biting you.

You can do this in a variety of ways.

One example is using a sleeping net. The net protects you from mosquitoes as you sleep. If global warming is actually happening, the changing climate may increase tropical diseases in the southern maybe even the whole United States. Some of these diseases are carried by night-time mosquitoes.

Another method of protecting yourself, from biting insects, is to wear DEET. DEET is the active ingredient in bug spray.

Preventing medical emergencies is not limited to preventing diseases. It also includes preventing accidents, and there are many ways to prevent accidents.

Don't store medicines next to candy, and don't tell your kids that medicine is candy. Because when they want "candy," they may eat all of your medicine as candy. Just like you said.

Don't store fuel, gasoline, diesel, and/or propane, in your home.

Don't smoke in bed. Heck, just quit smoking.

Don't put power cord under rugs.

The don'ts could and do continue forever. There are many of them. You will need to use common sense and do research on your specific situation.

Just like the "Don'ts," the "Dos" are endless.

Do wear the proper safety equipment when using any equipment. Goggles and safety glasses are needed to protect your eyes. Ear plugs or ear muffs protect your hearing, Gloves protect your hands, and a hard hat protects your head. Climbing harnesses protect you, if you fall from your roof. But all of this equipment will only protect you, if you are wearing and using the equipment properly.

Sleep is also important. Get enough sleep, so you are rested before doing something potentially dangerous.

OK, you have taken steps to prevent accidents. What happens if there is an accident. What do you do?

Call 911. Cool

What happens if emergency services are too far away?

You could provide "First Aid." Don't know first aid!

That's OK. The Red Cross will teach you first aid for a small fee.
Don't have any money. You can download the U.S. Army's first aid manual, and you and some friends can practise on each other. If you don't know how to get the U.S. Army first aid manual, read the "Second Half-Health/Medical" for instructions.

If you are going to provide first aid, you are going to need a quality first aid kit. Now, don't go to the store and expect to buy a quality first aid kit for $19.95.

The inexpensive kits are ok, if you are expecting to only treat minor cuts and scraps. If you expecting to treat broken bones, severe bleeding, gunshot wounds, and other severe injuries you are going to need a better kit.

There are several different ways of getting a better first aid kit.
One way is to buy it. When buying a prepared kit, you are paying someone to assemble the contents of the kit. This cuts into the amount of supplies you have. Plus, you don't know the quality of each individual item in a prepared kit.

Another way is to prepare the kit yourself. Do some research and buy the equipment and supplies, you think you need.
Another way is to make or improvise the items you need. Some things, you will have to buy. Some things you can make, such as backboards from plywood and bandages from bed sheets; additionally, you can improvise wound compresses from maxi- pads.

So you have a first aid kit, but you feel the need for something more. You can obtain further medical training.

Usually, people check out the local community college. These community colleges offer classes on becoming an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Paramedic, Nurse, and beginning courses for people later transferring to medical school to become Physician Assistants (PA) or Medical Doctors (MD).
Avoid "Doctor Assistants" schools. They usually teach people to be paper pushers for doctors.

So get your first-aid kit together, learn some first-aid skills, and ...

I'll see you next week!


Common Cold

American Lung Association: The Common Cold

Kid's Health: Infections-Common Cold

Hands On Health-South Carolina-How can you prevent influenza?

Mouse Bucket Trap


Women: Stay Healthy at Any Age

Men: Stay Healthy at Any Age

Preventive Care Timeline

Hooah For Health-Deployment Immunization:

Deployment Medical Information Sheets:

Public Health Pest Control Manual

U.S. Navy - Shipboard Pest Control manual

Armed Forces Pest Management Board Technical Guide #36


DEET - Frequently Asked Questions

Accident Prevention

Accident Prevention

First Aid Kit


Wilderness Medical Systems

Survival Unlimited-Expedition First Aid Kit

Doctors for Disaster Preparedness: A Basic Medical Kit for a 10-20 person Shelter

Surviving Bad Neighbors

We all know what I’m talking about – the nosy neighbor who feels compelled to report every single thing she (it’s usually a woman) finds offensive to the condo association, the home owner’s association, the code enforcement officers, or even the police. She is constantly knocking on your door to tell you it’s time to mow your lawn or that she doesn’t think the purple pansies you planted fit the “scheme of the neighborhood” or that you have a box on your doorstep. She peers in your windows to see if she can complain about something inside your home, and if you have visitors, she’s watching them and you.
But she’s not the only bad neighbor. What about the neighbor whose fence is falling down and won’t repair it? Or the family that thinks playing their music at 11 or louder all hours of the day and night is their God-given right? Or the garage band that doesn’t use mufflers on their instruments and can’t carry a beat if someone put a handle on it for them? Or the neighbors who stand in the middle of the street blocking traffic and won’t move because “they aren’t going anything illegal” and it’s their “right to stand in the street if they want to”? How about the neighbor who lets their rambunctious dog roam the neighborhood and poop where it would – preventing you from letting your children play in your own yard? Or the neighbor whose cat digs up your garden and poops in your child’s sandbox?
These are just a few of the bad neighbors we encounter. Living in a condo, apartment, tenement, or a large subdivided house is worse than living in a single family home simply because your neighbors are that much closer to you.
What do you do when your neighbor dumps their trash in your yard, peers in your windows, plays their music too loud, vandalizes your car or house with shoe polish or eggs? What do you do when it’s the president of the HOA or condo association who’s harassing you and making threats or spreading lies about you?
How do you survive a bad neighbor?
There are steps you can take that don’t involve violence or vandalism.
First, you have to realize that bad neighbors fall into a few categories and how you handle them depends upon the category they are in.
First, you have the oblivious neighbor who genuinely doesn’t realize what they are doing is a nuisance and an annoyance.
Next, you have the neighbor who doesn’t realize their children are being nuisances. Point here: never, ever talk to the children who are being a nuisance other than to locate their parents. Address your concerns to the parents, not the children. Talking to or yelling at children can get you in trouble, even if the children are the ones causing the problems. Always, always, always, address any problems you have with ill-behaved, nuisance children with their parents/guardians.
Third, you have the busybody who thinks they are “helping” you. They may be drama queens (of any gender), and may be self appointed “police” of the neighborhood.
Fourth, you have the rude, brutish, just plain don’t care neighbors.
And lastly, you have the neighbors who are doing something illegal.
Each category requires a different approach.
Let’s start with general tips first, then move on to dealing with each category.
1. Know your neighbors. Don’t wait for a neighborhood welcome wagon to visit you. Lots of neighborhoods don’t have welcome wagons. Do it yourself. Go door to door and introduce yourself. Leave a nice card if no one’s home. Host an Open House or a Barbecue or a Block Party. This helps establish a congenial rapport so if a problem does arise, you’ll be better able to resolve it peacefully.
2. Bring problems up as soon as they happen (new puppy that barks all day or all night, a neighbor who keeps parking in your space, new drums for a neighbor’s kid…). Offer to help with things that are problems – pruning a tree whose limbs may threaten your property, halves in repairing or replacing a fence. And if a neighbor plans an add-on that will block part of your property or limit your access or invade your privacy, bring it up before the add-on is built.
3. Ask around to see if other neighbors are bothered. If it’s just you, maybe you’re too sensitive. If several of you are bothered, approaching the neighbor as a group may be more effective – and safer.
4. Be proactive. If you are having a party, let your neighbors know that parking may be tight and the noise level may rise but you’ll do your best to keep it down. Invite them if there’s room for it. Nothing defuses anger at a loud party better than being invited to attend said party! Deal with conflict on your own first before taking it to the next level. Unless you are truly afraid for your life, calling the police is a last resort in a neighbor conflict. If you are part of a HOA or condo association, ask if you can have community building speakers come in and talk about being good neighbors. Even if you’re not, maybe inviting such a speaker to a block party might be a good idea, or inviting the police to come and talk about neighborhood safety.
5. Be nice. If you do something that might annoy or offend a neighbor, apologize before they complain. Or if they complain before you get a chance to apologize, be quick to offer that apology. Bring your neighbor cookies or a bottle of wine or nice card if you have a conflict – after it’s resolved, usually but maybe even during it if it’s a long drawn out process.
6. If necessary, write a polite, detailed letter spelling out what you think the problem is and what you feel would be a fair solution. Do not get personal or threatening. Keep the tone dull and humorless because humor can be misinterpreted and used against you.
These tips will work excellently well with the oblivious neighbor and often with the neighbor who has rampaging children, and may help control the “helpful” neighbor. The best way to have good neighbors is to be a good neighbor. If you know your neighbors, you might learn that the sidewalk that didn’t get shoveled after a storm belongs to an elderly person with a broken leg or the overgrown lawn belongs to a single person who’s been very ill, or the family with the barking dog are as exasperated as you are only they don’t know what to do. A little niceness resolves these issues beautifully.
Neighbors who “police” your neighborhood, who threaten you with “turning you in” for violating rules that exist only in their heads, who harass you to force you to please them, who pounce on everything they think might possibly be an infraction require a sterner approach. These people are usually prevalent in HOAs, condo associations, high rise apartments, and possibly in apartment complexes. Most often, they are female, but not always.
A. Learn the HOA/condo rules and keep a copy handy so if this person tries to tell you that you are violating some code or other, you’ll know if you really are. Whether you rent or are buying, this is vital for your own peace of mind.
B. If you are renting, let your landlord know as soon as you identify this person so as to forestall any trouble with your landlord.
C. If you are an owner, attend the HOA/condo meetings so you can know about rule changes immediately and can be prepared if this person launches a new attack.
D. Document the actions and write a formal letter to her. Be explicit and detailed, factual, and cite codes or regulations. Do not threaten or talk about lawsuits or police involvement. Be polite. Spell out what you think would be a fair solution.
E. If that fails, file a formal complaint with the HOA or condo association.
F. If the busy body neighbor spreads rumors or lies about you, don’t shrug it off, let her know you will not hesitate to sue her for defamation of character. If she persists, follow through.
G. If this person peers in your windows, alert the police as this is a criminal offense. Don’t have her arrested the first time, but do let her know you’ve spoken to the police about your legal rights and you will call them next time she oversteps her boundaries.
This is usually enough to keep her off your back, but she will mutter and complain about it to anyone who listens. You just have to have a tough skin and ignore all that muttering. Only act when she is violating your privacy, spreading lies about you, or otherwise behaving in an actionable way. She has the right to mutter and complain as long as she isn’t causing you harm. If you ignore her whining and complaining with good humor, she may eventually leave you alone, especially if she finds a new target. Share these tips with that new target; you’ll make a friend.
Neighbors who are rude, threatening, or just plain don’t care require a different approach.
I. First of all, if you feel threatened (usually if you are elderly or female), don’t ever confront these people alone. Bring another neighbor or friends with you. This is when Step Three above is useful.
II. If there’s a HOA or condo association, speak to the board members about how to resolve this problem. They may suggest mediation – take it.
III. If it’s an older neighborhood and/or there’s no HOA or condo association, if you’re renting, speak to your landlord. Your landlord may already know about the problem and know ways to handle it. If you’re an owner, talk to neighbors. They may have dealt with this person before and can offer suggestions.
IV. Suggest mediation. Most cities have a mediation center and all states have at least one. Sometimes, they can suggest things before it reaches mediation, and if that doesn’t work, mediation may help. This is particularly useful if the neighbor is rude or just doesn’t care.
V. If the neighbor is threatening, don’t hesitate to ask for police advice or back up.
VI. If the issue is verbal harassment and verbal rudeness, take the kindness approach: visit them with cookies and speak to them calmly. “I noticed you seemed unhappy last time we met so I thought I’d come over and see what I could do. Is something wrong?” Be calm, concerned, and curious. Each time they verbally abuse or harass you, visit them and inquire about what’s wrong calmly, curiously, and with genuine concern in your voice and attitude. Never retaliate or argue with them. Pursue the issue in great and excruciating and polite detail. One of 2 things will happen: they will eventually reveal why they are being abusive so you can work it out or they’ll avoid you in order to avoid another calm, concerned, and curious visit.
In all cases, if the nicer, personal requests to resolve the problem don’t bring results, document the issue and take it to the next step. The next step is usually the local Code Enforcement officer or the city police.
If the person is conducting illegal activities in your neighborhood, contact the police immediately.
I realize that in some of the not-so-nice neighborhoods, police presence and responses are less than optimal. Document the illegal activity. It is possible to file a nuisance suit with the city or county for something that is substantial, continuous, and violates a law. Visit sites like http://nolo.com or http://www.videojug.com/tag/neighbor-law for tips and suggestions on documenting nuisances and how and when to involve the police and authorities.
For people who let their dogs roam and poop on your lawn, or who walk their dog and don’t scoop, animal control is the next step up if speaking to your neighbor doesn’t work. They are also the place to go for barking dogs.
For lawns that are badly overgrown and the resident just doesn’t respond, the local Code Enforcement officer or city hall is the place to start. The same holds true for junk cars, trash piled up, and other eyesores.
Remember, litigation is a last step. It’s lengthy, expensive (a minimum of $10,000 in court costs and fees unless you go to small claims court, and even there, it can be $3,000 or more), and will usually destroy any chance of being good neighbors afterwards. Unless the damages exceed $50,000 (and some tree damage can do this), it’s usually not worth suing over.

It’s a Plane! It’s a Train! It’s a – Survivor!

Let’s face it: we live in an extremely safe society. Too safe. We aren’t regularly exposed to danger, and we do our best to reduce such exposure for our children. The thinking appears to go “If I remove this dangerous object, and this one, and this one, and demand that manufacturers make this product safe and that one, and add child-proofing to everything, then everyone will be safe.” And that’s a false sense of safety that can get us killed that much faster. Worse, we ignore drills and practices as false alarms, or assume we have more time than we really do. Our society is so safe that we are our biggest threat.
There are a number of things we can do to increase our chances of survival – and ignoring alarms is nowhere on that list. It takes 90 seconds for smoke from a fire to fill a house or a huge office complex – 90 seconds! And yet, the average response time to a fire alarm is 8 minutes. The whole place could be enflamed by then and guess what? You’re dead or dying.
We’ve lost our respect for fire because we don’t live with it everyday as we did back when fireplaces were our primary sources of heat and cooking. Now, we get fire in the special outdoor barbecues or maybe, once in a while, out camping. There are people who go months or even years without ever seeing an open flame. We’ve forgotten just how devastating fire is. Even when fires are all over the news, like the California wildfires or apartments fires or house fires, it doesn’t really impact us – we didn’t experience the fire first hand, weren’t damaged by it, and so it doesn’t affect us beyond sending some token aid or sympathy to those who were impacted by the fires. The reason people die in fires like the one in that Rhode Island club is because they don’t respect the fire; ignoring the alarms and reacting slowly when it finally dawns on them they really are in danger. By then, they’ve gone beyond danger and are dead.
The point of drills is to teach us to respond immediately, without having to process each step of the way and think about what we need to do next. Drills take us through the steps until we can do them without wasting time figuring out what we have to do. Respond to drills as if they were the real thing. Even if you know for a fact that the drill is just that, move as if it were real. If you’re drilling your children, reward the first one to respond, and make the response times shorter and shorter until they all move the moment the alarm sounds. Teach them that it’s much better to look foolish and live than to be fashionably late and hurt or dead because of it.
As the “drill sergeant”, you must respond even quicker to the drill because you have to make sure everyone under your care got out safely. If the emergency is real, you don’t want to have to risk your life going back in to get someone who was goofing off instead of responding to the drill.
Respect fire. It kills quickly. It can kill before flames are visible. When it doesn’t kill, burns are among the most painful and disfiguring injuries. Smoke inhalation injuries can cause permanent breathing problems. Of all the things we need to survive, air is the most important one – and smoke and fire can reduce our ability to get air, and thus our chances of survival.
Always have a plan. Always check the places you go for escape routes – and walk those routes. Count how many doors or seats are between you and nearest emergency exit, and know what the second and third exits are in case the first one is blocked. Consider these your personal mini-drills. If you’ve practiced the escape route and safety drill even once before, if an emergency happens, you’ll be prepared. You won’t dither about wondering what you are supposed to do, or going through drawers looking for the building’s escape plans, or trying to read the exit map on the hotel door in the smoke. Those maps are always posted up high and not sensibly near the ground as they should be. You don’t want to find out there’s a problem with your escape route when you’re in a desperate need to use it. Also, in a hotel, try to get a room below the 6th floor because few fire ladders go above the 6th floor.
You may think surviving a plane crash is not possible, but so far, 95% of the people involved in plane crashes in the US survive. So you have a 95% chance of surviving. One important tip is to not inflate your life vest until you are actually outside the plane. Inflating it before you escape may trap you inside, which means you will probably drown. There is no magic sweet spot for survival in a plane, although, like a hotel, the closer you are to an exit, the better. Aisle seats are good because you don’t have to struggle over unresponsive passengers.
In trains – above or below ground – avoid the first and last cars. When a train crashes, it most likely involves these cars. Sit with your back facing the direction of travel because when the train or bus stops quickly, you’ll be held in your seat, not thrown out of it. Make sure overhead luggage is either not present or is well secured so it doesn’t fall on you if the train stops quickly.
Boats and ships have so many ways to go down that your best bet is to know where the life vests and flotation devices are. You are marginally safer in a cabin or below decks during a storm because at least you won’t be swept overboard by the weather. If you must be on deck, make sure you are secured to a lifeline. Stay calm, storms pass and most ships weather them quite well. If your ship does sink, grab a life vest or a flotation device or a get in a life-boat. If nothing else, grab onto floating debris. Most countries track ships and when one goes down, rescue crews are generally on their way quickly. If you’re in a pleasure yacht or small craft, make sure you radio in your position regularly so if you get into trouble, help will soon be on its way. If you establish a routine and tell the dispatcher when you will be checking in again, if you don’t call at the appointed time, they’ll come looking for you.
Like I said – we live in a very safe society. Rescue crews are there, but you’ve got to do your part until they arrive. Only you can save yourself at least long enough for rescue crews to get to you. Whether you’re in a car, a hotel, a train, plane, or bus, you are the first responder. Drill yourself on your own rescue in as many situations as you will be in so you’ll still be alive when rescuers do arrive.