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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Exits and safety tips




Do you check out the exits when you enter a room? Are the fire exits blocked? Is there a back way out? Would throwing a heavy chair through a window make a handy exit? Call it a hold over from my firefighter days. I can’t walk into a room without imagining it on fire. At least twice in my life it has come in handy. Being first to leave a burning room is a good thing.

When you are seated at a restaurant, do you prefer to have your back to a wall? My wife used to think I was nuts. Then there was the one time it saved me from getting hit from behind. I was able to keep a table between me and someone who wished me serious bodily harm. It only has to work once to look like a darn good idea.

How about cities? They give me the willies. It takes hours for a small percentage of people to leave them in normal times. What would happen in a disaster? What if everyone had to leave all at once? Think back to New Orleans during Katrina, or Manhattan during 911. The ways out were soon closed. If you didn’t get out early, you didn’t get out at all.

Then there’s Global Industrial Civilization. Where are the exits? What can a person do when the whole thing catches fire?

Keep your back to the wall and have an exit strategy.

-Sixbears

21 comments:

  1. Sixbears,

    It's not just a Fireman thing, it's former cops and military. I always do a quick survey of a room before I get seated. You just never know when it could mean life or death. Not just in regards to a fire, a shooting, a crazy person.....what ever. I'm always alert and proactive no matter where I go. People may think this is strange but it's a way of life in our household.

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  2. I do the same thing. I much prefer to be seated with my back to the wall and an exit directly to my left (or right) for a quick escape. Like yoe, I do not like cities. The good thing about cities is that if there were none all the people would be out here in the country. . .

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  3. Cities are safer than the country. Accidents are fender benders, whereas accidents on twisty lightly traveled roads kill people. Big city Firefighters have actually fought some fires. People die because the Volley squad takes a long time to get there, and they are inexperienced when they do get there. Big city EMS guys have seen some blood before. There's a good hospital five minutes away from you if you live in a city. People die on the forty five minute trip from the sticks, or in the underequipped rural ER.

    Don't throw away everyday safety for an advantage in the once a century threat.

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    Replies
    1. That once in a century threat just might be upon us now.

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    2. Yeah, it could.

      But the other stuff could be every day. And it is.

      I've had cars totalled by trees falling and by moose. Never by an Storrow Drive fender bender. I've waited an eternity for the Mooseknuckle Notch Volunteer Squad to show up, and then they had to stop and read the directions on the cervical collar package.

      If you prepare for one bad thing and not another you are betting. It's just that I think you should be ready for when the dice come up 7 before you prepare for the dice to come up 12.

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  4. I mean, if you like trees and scenery and privacy, sure, live in the country.

    But don't delude yourself that it's safer.

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    Replies
    1. It's safer for me. I'd go nuts in the city.

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    2. It's a different lifestyle. And you should pick the lifestyle you like, not one you don't.

      But heart attacks and motor vehicle accidents kill a lot more people in any given year in the US than tsunamis.

      If you like to bike to work, good for you, but don't try to say it's because flying is too dangerous. Living out "safe" on the frontier is the same thing. The cold hard facts simply don't bear out that it's safer.

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    3. Until it isn't. Statistics don't deal well with black swan events. But yeah, if you like cities, more power to you.

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    4. Preparing for the million to one event while ignoring the thousand to one event just seems to me like spending your life jacket money on shark repellent.

      Yes, if you are eating fish and chips on Rowe's Wharf in downtown Boston at 5 PM on a Friday before a holiday weekend, and an LNG tanker explodes in the harbor, you probably ain't getting out of town. But your chances aren't any worse than the guy who has the widow maker heart attack in his canoe on lake Umbagog getting to a cardiac cath lab in time.

      Now, I've canoed and I've eaten fish right off the docks, and both have made my life richer and I've never worried about the million to one shot.

      But a lot of survivalist advice reminds me of the EMTs who want to wear kevlar while working in the city, but don't want to wear a reflective yellow vest while doing a car accident on the highway. We don't get shot. We get hit by cars.

      I like to be protected from the stuff that is likely to get me.

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  5. I've never been a firefighter, cop or in the military but I always scan parking lots, stores, auditoriums, etc. before entering. Think it comes from being caught between gunfire in a parking lot. Could see from exiting the highway that two men were arguing near the mall entrance but IGNORED it & found a parking spot while TAKING MY EYES OFF THE MEN who were still several hundred yards away. In those days I parked on the outer fringe for a long walk to the mall for exercise.

    A third of the way toward the mall I heard the shots & a car window shattered near me.

    These experiences change a person.

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    Replies
    1. Indeed they do! Situational awareness isn't something to ever forget.

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  6. Ever since I was a child, a LLLOOONNNGGG time ago, I have always taken the seat with my back towards the wall. Absolutly HATE the city, but I don't fear it, just don't like going there. My dad says "city" like a four letter word, and, that says it all.

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  7. I perfer the country to the concrete jungle.I read a qoute of a general once that went be polite curtiuss and a gentelman but have a plan to excape and kill any one in the room if needed.Ibelieve he was speaking on how it was to attend partys and balls in washingtonDC.It has a lot of merit in everyday life.Have you noticed a lot of hostesses get offened when you ask for a differant table.I know they have to spread customers to differant servers but i want to sit with a wall to my back to.

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    Replies
    1. My regular place know where to sit me and probably don't even think about it anymore.

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  8. It's funny you should mention this. I always take a table with my back to a wall. I Also always have a clear line of sight to the front door. In addition I scout the exits and the wait staff. My wife called me paranoid. I won't say how I acquired those skils.

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