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There is so much material available on this topic that itís nearly impossible to go into great depth for the entries cited here. Itís like a throwback to the 1950s when this country was obsessed with preparing for a nuclear attack. Only the names have changed.
When an emergency visits itself upon your plant, youíre not going to have any time to research the appropriate responses. And youíre not going to be able to count on the government to take care of you. Self-reliance is the idea behind this column. If youíre going to get serious about preparation, you better do it now while thereís still enough power coming out of the wall to operate your computer. When the disaster hits, you might as well think in terms of living in the Stone Age. Thatís why Iím inviting you to join me for another dive into the morass we call the Web in search of practical, zero-cost, noncommercial, registration-free Web resources that can help keep you and yours safe when things get a bit sticky. Remember, we search the Web so you don't have to.
HomelandDefenseRadio.com, Arlington, Va., is a Web site that features both online articles and Web audio reports that relate to homeland security. Topics covered include high-tech hardware, legislation, protecting the physical infrastructure, transportation security and more. The audio format uses a 30-minute cycle similar to that used by commercial all-news radio stations. The material it posts is for those having serious concerns about national security. Just try to sneak your stealthy olí mouse over to this site and see what turns up.
The Intact Shell
Your first line of defense against airborne catastrophe is the building in which youíre sitting. Keeping that shell intact and impervious isolates the interior from the outside nastiness. Our friends in the U.S. Army have a lot of experience defending buildings from biological or chemical attack, and theyíre willing to share what they know with civilians. Enlist your mouse to go to Basic Information On Building Protection by the Technical Assistance Team. This group is part of the Homeland Defense Business Unit, Engineering Directorate, U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The siteís primary focus is on HVAC issues such as internal and external air filtration, pressurization and generally keeping the air fit for human consumption. Itís light on details because such matters are so facility-specific. Nevertheless, the Technical Assistance Team can provide non-military facilities with assessments, certification, testing, design support, failure analysis and operating and maintenance manuals for their building protection systems.
When it comes to identifying the true staff of life, Iíd vote that one could go without bread-induced carbo-loading for a lot longer than without air. If youíre going to breathe, you might as well take in clean air. And our hired hands in Washington are ready, willing and able to help you. This time itís the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that positioned itself to tell you everything you need to know about respirators. The information youíll find includes applicable standards, selection guides and a downloadable pocket guide to hazardous materials.
Help Is On the Way
For the most part, the only bad injuries we see in this country are caused by vehicle accidents and industrial mishaps. When victims need help, it should be available immediately. In many cases, itís not, which is a shame. The general populace simply isnít prepared for every eventuality. We should tip our hats to the nationís First Responders, the only people who provide help in an emergency at a momentís notice. You can get a glimpse of the training these volunteers undergo by reviewing the material in First Responder: National Standard Curriculum, which is found on the site operated by the United States Department of Transportationís National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This 342-page document highlights the skills one needs to provide emergency medical care with a limited amount of equipment. It enables people to recognize the seriousness of the patient's condition or extent of injuries, assess requirements for emergency medical care and administer appropriate care for life-threatening injuries relative to airway, breathing and circulation. Knowledge of this type of first aid should be mandatory for every citizen.
Itís impossible to repair plant machinery if you donít have the right people, parts, tools and supplies at hand simultaneously. Similarly, you canít repair bodies without a supply of appropriate skill and materiel. Although plants may have standard first aid kits, they may not be suitable for the disasters under consideration here.
Wilderness Medical Associates, Bryant Pond, Maine offers online tips for handling medical emergencies in the wild and under extreme conditions. First-Aid Kits includes a recommended list of items for your first aid kit. Our friends at the Mayo Clinic stand ready to help broken bodies, too. If you go to First-Aid Guide, your reward will be a long list of possible emergencies that can arise, each of which is linked to a page of treatments and other actions one should take. The emergencies range from heart attack and spinal injury to something as benign as a black eye. But these are soft-core problems.
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