Preparedness Corner
November 2001
By Paul Vircsik

Hi Neighbors,

Just a few quick items this month since most of our minds are on either Thanksgiving or NYC. And let’s face it the World Series or football is better than reading this stuff though not as helpful.

Say you are alone in your home and you fall ill. You can’t get yourself to the docs but you can call 911. When help arrives, your mental or physical condition now prevents you from talking to the responders. How will they know your history, name, medications, allergies to meds, etc? Simple, they go to your refrigerator, look on the front or side and there is your medical box. You know the little white plastic 3x5x˝” high container with the magnet on the back. The one you can get at the pharmacy or senior center. It has a preprinted form with room for extra information. How do I know? As a Captain, if we have a patient that can not for any reason converse with us, it is the first thing I look for before rummaging through the rest of the house for info, and that takes valuable time. My medic cannot treat for what he does not know about. There is a big difference between heart, overdose or head injury. Besides, how far is your closest neighbor and would they know the information anyway.

Now you are upstairs and a fire starts down stairs blocking your exit down and out. Another simple scenario. Open the closet; take out the roll up ladder you purchased at Wally World and out the window you go. If no ladder, get the fire extinguisher that is on the second floor and fight your way down the stairs with it and put the fire out.

However, before you do that, think about this. At a recent Chief’s drill, a prop had been made to prove a point about investigation. The prop was an 8’ x 8’ x 8’ high room, two-by-four construction with drywall but one wall removed so we could watch. Just a couch and a chair, carpet on the floor and a small waste can. One piece of newspaper in the can and when lit the fire spread quickly to the couch and even with one wall gone, the whole room was fully involved with flame in just 5 minutes. Maybe an extra smoke detector and the ladder is a better idea than fighting the fire.

So, a little information box, an extra fire extinguisher on every level, an escape drill for the entire house and a roll up ladder. Good start for an early Christmas present for you and the loved ones.

Have a safe season and see you all soon,


Meet the author: Read about Paul Vircsik's background