Posts from — February 2011

Everyday Household Emergencies: Accidental Child Poisoning

While the lion’s share of emphasis in the emergency preparedness community is placed on handling natural, man-made and war/terrorism related disasters, let’s not forget about emergencies we could face any day of the week! The variety of household emergencies is extensive. The dangers are compounded exponentially with children in the home. However, just as with big-picture emergency preparedness, a few resources, prior planning, and good communications go a long way towards overcoming adversity. In this particular blog post we’d like to focus on accidental poisonings, how to prevent them and what to do in the event that a poisoning incident occurs.

Preventing Accidental Poisonings

In 2007 alone there were over forty thousand poisoning deaths in the United States. Of those, almost 75% were unintentional.  This was second only to motor vehicle accidents as the cause of accidental death in 2007. In 2009, over 700,000 people visited emergency rooms with unintentional poisoning.  What constitutes a poison?  Any substance that does our bodies harm fits the bill.  These substances can be ingested, inhaled, injected, or absorbed.  Where are these poisons? Obvious are the common household and workplace chemical substances we use every day. The list of cleaning products alone is extensive and they do their intended job well, but most can be extremely dangerous when ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through our skin. There are some things, however, you might not realize are poisonous in certain situations. Many foods we consume regularly can be harmful or even fatal if prepared incorrectly, eaten in excess, or the wrong varieties chosen. Nutmeg, for instance, in significant quantities can be hallucinogenic and rhubarb leaves contain a poison called oxalate.  Mushrooms are a wonderful addition to many dishes, but there over 75 toxic varieties, 32 of which will kill you quite dead.

Surprisingly, fatalities among adult poisonings far outnumber those in children.  However, the little ones simply don’t know any better and we need to look out for them. Did you know that 1 tablespoon of baking soda can cause seizures in a toddler and two tablespoons can be fatal? Remember that mouthwash by the sink that makes your breath minty fresh? It contains 15-22% alcohol and is usually sweet smelling and tasting. If your 25 lb. child ingests just one ounce, they would be legally drunk. Three to four ounces could cause toxic alcohol poisoning.

Tips in keeping our children safe:

  1. Secure solvents, cleaning fluids and other household and garden chemicals in a locked area.
  2. Throw away all old prescriptions. Between 2004 and 2005, over 70,000 children visited hospital emergency departments because of medication poisoning.
  3. Make sure your medications have child-resistant lids (nothing is 100% childproof – don’t be fooled!)
  4. Ensure that babysitters understand household emergency procedures and have ready access to your emergency communications plan and the number to the National Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.
  5. Emergency Communications Plan (wallet card and wall cards)
    a.      Emergency POC’s
    b.      Family Friends and Neighbors
    c.       Police
    d.      Fire, Rescue and EMS
    e.      Schools
    f.        Workplace
    g.      Poison Control Center (local and national)
  6. Educate yourself on the hidden poison dangers in your home and take precautions! As with every aspect of dealing with emergencies – knowledge and preparation is the ultimate key to successfully saving a life.  Next week we examine accidental adult poisonings in Part II





February 22, 2011   2 Comments

Seriously. Do I Even Care? Wide-spread Apathy Towards Emergency Preparedness

Well of course everyone cares about being prepared for the next time they don’t have food or electricity or drinkable water or access to life-sustaining medications or a working toilet. Right? Who wouldn’t care about that stuff? Not caring about your own emergency preparedness would be the equivalent of your left brachial artery being severed, watching your blood spurt to the ground, thinking, “Gee, I really ought to do something about that,” or even worse – simply denying you even have a problem. “Tis but a scratch – It’s just a flesh wound!” (forgive the Monty Python humor in the following video, but it makes the point!)

Or would it?

It all comes down to the difference between a need and a requirement. Anyone reading these words would agree that humans have a need for water. However, most often water only makes it to the requirement column when you don’t have any. “Yes, I agreed back when that we all have a need for water, but now that I don’t have any, I require it for survival!”

So what shifts a line item from the needs column to the requirements column on our individual list of values? From a reactionary perspective, the catalyst for this critical shift is typically some type of crisis. I know I need light, but now that the electricity is out and I can’t see my hand in front of my face, I require a candle or a flashlight or a chemical light stick or a match or something to help me navigate these creaky, switch-back stairs from the second floor of my house without crashing to the bottom and severing my spinal cord.

The proactive approach requires intellectual thought transforming into action. I recognize I need a flashlight at the top of my staircase. That which we focus upon, gets results. Consequently, I focus on that need until it becomes an action. Lights go out, I simply reach for the flashlight now sitting in its assigned place at the top of the stairs. No cervical spinal damage incurred.

Unfortunately, there sometimes exists a significant barrier between the reactionary approach and taking a proactive stance. Walking through this barrier is akin to slogging through a northern Canadian river of molasses in January. This barrier is called Apathy and it flows ever so slowly and insidiously amongst millions of people around the world when it comes to the subject of emergency preparedness.

Definition of apathy? Webster says it’s “a lack of interest or concern”. So, you have to ask yourself, do I suffer from apathy? Most likely everyone experiences apathy toward some aspect of their existence. I, personally, couldn’t care less if the windows in our living room have purple curtains with pink polka dots or the frilly, green, sheer things which hang there today. (My wife, however, feels quite differently and has no apathy toward the subject whatsoever).

Here’s the real question: “Am I apathetic toward what I consider to be the most important values in my life?” The knee-jerk answer might be, “Absolutely not! If it’s truly that important to me, I’m certainly not apathetic about it!”

Pop Quiz.

I think we can all agree – the physical well-being of ourselves, our families, and even our employees ranks pretty high on the scale of importance. Truly these line items constitute needs. So, what’s the status on your individual, family, or business’s 72-hour emergency supplies? Do you have adequate stores of food, water, medications, sanitation requirements, emergency lighting, and other essentials of life? Are your reserves fully stocked? Refreshed as required? Ready for life’s inevitable contingencies? Do you have enough food at home to last a week? A month? How about 3 months? Enough drinkable water to last the same?

Over the past year we have had insightful conversations with dozens of individuals from all levels of corporate America as well as federal, state, and local governments. We simply cannot count how many times we have heard the same response when asking, “What is the biggest deterrent in getting our people adequately prepared?” The words used to answer the question vary, but they all have exactly the same synonym. Apathy.
In fact, if you couldn’t respond to our pop quiz with emphatic YES answers, then you must be found guilty, my friend. Guilty of having a need, but not a requirement. Guilty of getting stuck crossing the Great River of Apathy. But do not despair! This guilty sentence does not carry irreversible consequences. Not if you act now (at risk of sounding like an infomercial). And act you must. Emergencies are happening all around us every single minute of every single day. Just because your number hasn’t come up… well, you know the rest.

How do you successfully cross the Great River of Apathy to shift your needs into requirements? Keep moving! If you don’t have 3 month’s worth of emergency food, how about simply start with setting aside a single day’s worth? Don’t know what to store? Heck, that’s what we do! Of course we’d love for us to be your resource, but if not – find another option.

We conclude each of our blog posts with the Latin phrase FACTA NON VERBA. It means “Deeds, not words”. It is truly a singular goal of ours as a company to educate people in the dangers of standing still in the Great River of Apathy when it comes to emergency preparedness. The single most important resource in achieving self-reliance is the individual. Let us all work together as individuals to ensure that we are not left standing still in the middle of the river and inevitably drowning in Apathy.


February 14, 2011   4 Comments

Congratulations to our Giveaway Winners!

We are pleased to announce the winners of our ICE PACK store grand opening giveaway! Congratulations to: Dawn from Independence, Missouri; John from Athens, Georgia; Mike from Austin, Texas. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Please stay tuned for more exciting contests, innovative products and in-depth articles from all of us at ICE PACK Emergency Preparedness Systems!

February 11, 2011   No Comments