Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Prudent Prepping: EDC Story

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Now we concentrate  on what to do in, and how to plan for, the long term via Prudent Prepping.

Every Day Carry: 
Why Every Day 
Should Also Mean All Day

This is a story about a Guy who planned things out and did his best to be prepared, but didn't remember that: "Every Day" means "All Day and All Night."

There once was a Guy who had a small group of friends that got together very infrequently due to location, work schedules and family responsibilities. Usually, the group would meet at someone's place, and go out to dinner and a movie. But this night the plan changed to stay in and watch a marathon of really good movies.

Pizzas were delivered (twice!), refreshments made available, and the movies were stacked up and ready to go. Did I mention refreshments? Yeah, everybody was really 'freshed' by the second movie.

Now, This Guy had planned on the evening starting with going out to eat. Since he didn't like the Batman Utility Belt look on his off time, having to wear a Leatherman, a flashlight, a cell phone and a small pouch holding a pen, pencil and spiral notebook while at work, everything but the phone had been put into his salesman bag and was left in his truck, alongside his Get Home Bag. The plan was to spend the night wherever he ended up, so keeping all his stuff in the truck until morning was normal.

When the party wrapped after the fourth movie at 2 AM and the the guy settled in on the couch, things appeared normal -- or as normal as a buzzed and pizza-ed out Guy expected things to be.

When the apartment building's fire alarm went off about 3:30 and the electricity was out too, things went 'non-linear' very quickly. This Guy went to grab his flashlight as his friends came out of the bedroom looking for their flashlights. Theirs had dead batteries and his was three stories down and in Visitor Parking.

This complex had a lot of students, so about twice a year somebody would pull the alarm and freak the residents out. Therefore, not much was thought of this situation until somebody ran down the hall, banging on doors yelling "FIRE!".

When the door was opened, smoke was present and coming from both ends of the hallway, where the stairwells were located. Going back into the apartment and walking out onto the balcony, smoke could be seen coming from a downstairs unit, pretty thick and fast.

Now, the residents of this building liked to prop open the stairwell doors to help cool down the upper floors, which allowed the upper hallway to fill with smoke quickly. Very quickly. In two minutes smoke was so thick the layer was down to three feet off the floor and lowering fast.

This Guy and the other guy banged on doors to make sure everyone was awake and aware of what was happening and got people calmed down and into an apartment on the opposite side of the building from the fire. The smoke was much less there, and the people calmed down a bit. The two guys went out into the hallway to close doors to the units as well as the stairwell doors.

However, the stairwell doors were impossible to get to; smoke kept building up and panic was starting to set in, so the decision was made to go over the balcony and climb down. Directly below were two young women absolutely freaking out and wanting to jump from the second story onto a cement courtyard. One of the guys climbed down and calmed them, and then prepared to help get eight people off the 3rd floor balcony, along with the 12 other people who were trapped on the 2nd floor on the fire side of the building.

By the time the Fire Department arrived, the two guys had all but six people on the ground, and those were the folks who were not up to going over the side of a balcony, stepping down onto someone's shoulders, and then being helped to reach the railing and then on to the floor. Ladders are great.

After everyone was on the ground, the friends started to look for other folks who lived in the complex, especially one of the movie viewers who lived above where the fire started but on the opposite side of the hall. They couldn't find him.

It turns out he banged on doors on the second floor, getting people woken up and out of the building, and then went looking for his friends. Not seeing them, he went BACK into the smoke-filled burning building to the 3rd floor as everyone was climbing down to the second floor balcony and died from smoke inhalation.

It didn't help that he had about twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system and was overweight and out of shape. This Guy having his flashlight wouldn't have saved him, either.

What would have made a difference is This Guy talking to his friends about simple steps for disaster prepping:
  • Have a plan for getting out of your house, apartment or even the room you're in if something goes wrong. 
  • Have a meet-up spot planned for every place you go in case people are separated. 
  • Get and share phone numbers with everyone in your group. Even if cell service is down temporarily, you can check in later. 
  • Carry what you know you need to carry. All the time 
So This Guy is now looking for a man purse/sling bag, sized to a hold B&N Nook or Kindle Fire reader along with his EDC items, and looking professional instead of Tacti-cool. The less MOLLE, the better.

No closing line or funny disclaimer. 
Make a plan and keep yourselves safe.

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