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Ready or Not #32: Properly Trained

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

Bad things keep happening to good people. West Java, in Indonesia, had an earthquake last week (2009). New York got hit by an early winter last year leaving thousands of people without power, 68 fires raged across the Western United States in July 2009 and, well, just listen to the news it goes on and on.

Let’s go over something you know is important because it just is – HAVE YOU GOT YOUR WATER STORED?!!! This is so very important. Please take the time to get your water stored. Water is life, really. Two gallons of water, per person, per day, for a two week period. By getting your water stored you are helping your family have an easier time if something were to happen.

Have you got a generator? How about an alternative fuel supply? I was involved with the disaster that happened in Provo, Utah, this last summer and what a mess. Provo City did a great job of getting things put back together very quickly, and letting people back in their homes, but there was still food that was lost because the families didn’t have a back-up electrical supply. Some neighbors were able to help others out, but they needed to make sure that they had enough fuel to run the generators. Also, keep in mind that this disaster happened in the summer. Have you thought about what would have happened if it were to happen in the wintertime? Would your pipes have frozen because your furnace couldn’t turn on because there wasn’t any electricity? What a mess that would have been. Have you considered buying a Generac generator that is directly hard wired into your home?

There is something else that I have been thinking about for a while. I loved how there were so many people that volunteered their time and tools to help each other. The one concern that I have is that a lot of the people that were helping were not fully trained in safety procedures.

After the initial disaster, I found out that I was in charge of all of the volunteer efforts for the city and gathering all of the data needed to turn in for insurance purposes. I needed to check out what happened and get a better idea of what types of volunteers I would need and where to send them. Another employee that lived in the affected area that was hit really hard took me on a tour of the area. It was a good thing that he did because we found his neighbor boy, who looked to be about 12 years old, trying to run a chain saw without supervision (except for all of the other little boys that were watching him). The boy had gotten the saw bound up in a tree that looked like it was under a lot of pressure and could have whipped up and done a lot of damage. It could have even snapped and killed him. On top of that, the young man didn’t have safety glasses on, no Kevlar chaps, or even long pants, and he wasn’t wearing gloves. The adults that were around weren’t paying attention to what the young boy was doing because they were so preoccupied with the other things that were going on. Fortunately, the guy I was driving around with got the saw unstuck and outlawed its use to the youngsters and told them to wait to work on the tree until he got off work and could show them how to properly dispose of the tree.

That was just one danger that I saw. I don’t know how many other people that were not properly trained, that just by dumb luck, didn’t get hurt. Then again, I don’t know how many people got hurt and just didn’t report it because they were embarrassed. In a disaster, most people want to help; it is just human nature to want to help others, but please be safe when you do. If you have a chain saw, know how to use it. Buy the safety equipment that should go with it, the goggles, the protective Kevlar chaps, the gloves, and so forth. Make sure that you are trained to use it properly. Know how trees react when they fall, will it bind up and throw the chain saw into your leg or body? Just be aware of all of the safety issues.

If you want your children to help, then make sure that they are fully trained to use whatever it is you want them to use – whether it is a hand tool, a power tool, or a larger piece of equipment. If you have a 4-wheeler, make sure that they get their 4-wheeler safety certificate that the state gives out upon completion of a class. It would be horrible if in the pressures and excitement of a disaster, you or a loved one became part of the disaster – after-the-fact.


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