From the military to the local fire station, First Responders travel in a huge herd to disaster areas without any concern for what they leave behind.
CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) are local and regional trained in everything from small earthquakes to major freeway accidents.
The Red Cross has training and guidance to get you into and out of a disaster.
The reality is most of us barely know how to use a defibrillator that we see everywhere we just know its there. Just like someone is going to come when you call for help.
They will come won't they?
This past summer my friend was camping in Yosemite when the Ferguson Fire broke out he was hiking in the wilderness and woke up to the middle of the night to where smoke had filled his tent. You see the fact he was out of the valley and on a trail he didn't hear the news of the fire. At 2AM he was awake and disorientated. He couldn't figure out north for the life of him and worse the flashlight was just a big reflection it took him about five minutes to realize it was just smoke and his campsite wasn't actually on fire.
But Where Was The Fire ?
The smoke had filled the area and he had to decide stay or go.
Go, but which direction and would he be heading directly into the fire in whatever direction he went.
Mobile devices are great its fabulous that you have the latest and greatest device but not when you can't get a signal. Honestly, sometimes a hand crank radio is your best friend when all your best friend brought is beer for a hiking trip.
The Gift That Made A Difference.
I had not seen Sam* in about four years, but we were acquaintances enough during a White Elephant Exchange I gave hand crank emergency radio (cheap $30) and guess what Sam won it. Now, I readily admit to being "Safety Girl" so this wasn't anything unusual to me per se. Sam kept wondering if it was a toy because it was so much plastic.
Sam started the hand crank radio and the Emergency / locator alarm went off. Same was quickly met up with firefighters to get out of the fire zone and back to safety by that early morning. While his trip was shortened Sam ended up sticking around and volunteering too. He quickly learned how organized everyone was and got more motivated to do more.
Now, not to knock Sam but when you look at him he's as video game geek as you can get. When he and I saw each other again I couldn't help but laugh. His traditionally long hair was gone, his perpetual backpack full of video game supplies missing and I swear he was actually taller because his head was upright. At the prime age of 40 (?) Sam was going to become a CERT Leader and was recruiting people to look into joining the volunteer firefighter brigade. He proceeded to give me a big hug and tell me how a gift made all the difference.
Sam was one of the volunteers to run to North Carolina to help in the flooding recently he told me his trip was amazing as they loaded up on a "huge plane" and when we landed it was frustrating because the rain wouldn't stop but, I could tell from his call he had probably the biggest grin because he had found himself something that made a difference except he wasn't calling me for that.
First Aid Travel involves a lot of moving parts whether for emergency relief or to fight an actual fire you need to be prepared from a small compact weather radio to a first aid kit. Being prepared is the most you can do for yourself and the volunteers that come.
Sam* not his real name
Thanks Unsplash for photos
***Editorial Note: I will address this space at the end of the year **