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"What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge; and not knowledge in the pursuit of the child."
– George Bernard Shaw  
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 8 August 2018  

None Black Forest News   None Book Review   None Business Briefs   None Community Calendar  
None Did You Know?   None FFPD Column   None FFPD News   None From the Publisher  
None Health and Wellness   None Marks Meanderings   None Monkey Business   None News From D 49  
None People on the Plains   None Pet Care   None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life  
None Rumors  
Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In
  Emergency preparedness mindset and actions
  By Robin Widmar

   When people think about preparing for disasters and emergencies, items on their “to do” lists tend to be tangible: Create a “go kit” for each family member. Develop an emergency communications plan. Have at least two ways to evacuate from the neighborhood.
   All of those are important tasks. However, the mental aspect of emergencies is often overlooked. In times of crisis, the human brain behaves differently than it does during less stressful times. This can lead to muddled thinking, poor decision-making or even a complete mental “shutdown.”
   Fortunately, there are ways to improve mental readiness for emergencies and disasters. Firefighters accomplish this through regular training on a variety of scenarios. Figuring out how to resolve even the most unlikely of situations strengthens problem-solving abilities, which in turn helps them perform better during incidents.
   People who aren’t emergency responders can improve their mental preparedness for unexpected events using similar techniques. One way is to think of possible scenarios – from the seemingly mundane to life-threatening events requiring immediate action – and then decide how to respond. For example:
  • How do I get home if my usual route is blocked for a water main break?
  • Where will my family go if we can’t get home at all?
  • What do I do if a violent person comes into my workplace?
  • What will I need to take if we have to evacuate our home because of a wildfire?

   Another way to ease the stress of an emergency or disaster is to simply make preparations for unexpected events. It seems contradictory to prepare for things that cannot be predicted, but the mere act of having a plan and an emergency kit provides a sense of control in the face of the uncontrollable, and reduces decisions that must be made at a stressful moment’s notice. Practicing those plans etches them into memory while highlighting where improvements can be made.
   National Disaster Preparedness Month 2017
   “Many of the worst disasters in history started out quite modestly.” -- Amanda Ripley, author of “The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why”
   No one starts their day by thinking they might have to activate their family emergency plan sometime in the hours ahead. But maybe everyone should. The people who survive and recover best from disasters of all kinds are those who plan for them in advance and cultivate a mindset of preparedness and resilience.
   September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, and this year’s theme is “Disasters don’t plan ahead. You can.” Emergencies don’t happen on a schedule; but, with a little time and effort, people can prepare for the unexpected.
   Here are 10 ways to improve emergency preparedness.
  • Make/update an emergency plan, and don’t forget to include pets. Easy-to-use templates for plans, wallet information cards, emergency financial plans and more can be found at
  • Create/update a family emergency communication plan that includes an out-of-town contact to coordinate communications with family members. (See website above for a guide.)
  • Sign up for (or update) emergency notifications from the El Paso-Teller County E911 Authority Emergency Notification System:
  • Keep an emergency kit at home, at work and in the car. Check out for items to include.
  • Have an evacuation plan that includes at least two ways out of the neighborhood and workplace.
  • Create or update a home inventory. Worksheets, apps and tools are available online from insurance companies and other organizations.
  • Learn skills such as CPR, First Aid, using a fire extinguisher and how to shut off utilities.
  • Take “Until Help Arrives” training online at
  • Practice emergency plans, evacuation plans and family communication plans on a regular basis; and update them as needed.
  • Work with neighbors to develop and coordinate emergency plans. Include neighbors who are elderly and those with special needs, and make sure someone checks on them.

   For more preparedness tips and information, visit the following websites:
  • – FEMA’s emergency preparedness web site
  • – The official State of Colorado’s preparedness website
  • – National Red Cross website
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  Safety Tip
  Scald prevention
  By Robin Widmar

   Scald injuries can happen at any age, but children, older adults and people with disabilities are especially vulnerable. Hot bath water, steaming hot coffee or even microwaved soups can cause serious and disfiguring injuries. According to the National Fire Protection Association, scald burns are the second leading cause of burn injuries.
   Here are some tips from the NFPA to prevent scald injuries:
  • Teach children that hot things can burn.
  • Install anti-scald devices on tub faucets and shower heads.
  • Before getting into a bath or placing a child in a bath, test the water by moving your hand, wrist and forearm through the water. It should feel warm, not hot.
  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared.
  • Open microwaved food slowly, away from the face.
  • Never hold a child while cooking, drinking a hot liquid or carrying hot foods or liquids.

   Should a burn occur, immediately treat it by running cool water over the burn for three to five minutes. Cover the injury with a clean, dry cloth. Seek medical attention for serious burns.
   Stay connected with the FFPD
   Facebook: Falcon Fire Department
   Twitter: @FalconFireDept
Robin Widmar took this photo of the eclipse from her deck in Black Forest on Aug. 21.
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