Monthly Archives: June 2012

Space Cowboys

Recently I attended the Space Weather Enterprise Forum (SWEF) in Washington DC. This year the conference, organized by the National Space Weather Program (NSWP) Council,  was entitled “Solar Maximum 2013 – How Space Weather Will Affect You!” So what I’m thinking is that I’m not crazy and even that the larger Space Weather scientific community believes this will affect you!

So I spent the day with representatives from various stakeholders including providers, users, and researchers from government, academia, and the private sector. This year’s focus was on  two aspects of our Nation’s critical infrastructure:  electrical power distribution networks and precision navigation and timing provided by Global Navigation Satellite Systems. Please check out the detailed information at the below link:

http://www.nswp.gov/swef/swef_program.html

So as I sat there amongst all of those scientific types, I have to say, I kept thinking I’m just a continuity planner. How can I possibly keep up with their knowledge base and learn all there is to absorb? These are the real Space Cowboys! (Oh, I can hear Steve Miller Band right now…wish I was clever enough to make it play during this post 🙂 ).  And they are, but they all share one trait. They are more than willing to share their knowledge. As a matter of fact, they are dying to communicate with us “regulars” about what all we need to know. So how best can I plug you directly into their knowledge base?

One of our freebies at the conference was an issue of Space Weather Quarterly: The International Journal of Research and Applications. This is a free publication, and I’ve got to say, it is outstanding. The articles are at a level where even us regular folks can understand the information. If you are at all interested in my previous posts regarding space weather, I really recommend you consider visiting the below site and registering for a subscription.

http://www.agu.org/journals/spaceweather/   (Look for the Space Weather Quarterly link on the left-hand side of the page, last link under the box labeled “Journal Details”).

Not only is the current edition exceptional, but you can also access back issues via the website as well. I haven’t gotten the opportunity to review as many of the back articles as I would like, but they are on my list of to do’s. Get yourself a subscription, I’m going to want to talk soon about some of these articles in particular.

This solar weather topic is not going away because the risk is not going away. As many meetings as I’m attending professionally on this topic, the one thing that keeps popping up is PREPAREDNESS, not just for our government, but for FAMILIES. Take advantage of this resource. You’ll be glad you did.


Fire Tortilla

Irony. Ain’t she grand? I’ve been trying to get this post done for a week and on the night I resolve to actually get it done…I burn myself. The irony comes in when you find out the topic of the post. Fire protection. HA! Guess I should have thought about that when I reached into the oven to retrieve my sweet and sour chicken using only my kid’s decorative pot holder for safety. (Which by the way cost me an arm and a leg but as you just heard is only marginally useful. Thank God I find it impressively beautiful!) Don’t worry, my finger will survive to type another post, just in case you were worried. I am however, a big baby about pain. I swore after childbirth, I’d never stand by idle and tolerate such ridiculousness…hence the cold beverage aiding with my healing.

Back to fire! If you have ever heard me give my preparedness presentation, you’ve sat victim to my joke about keeping my in-laws in the basement when they stay over. I always hint that I do this because there is no egress from my basement as it has no exit door or sizable windows to speak of. (If you truly know me by the way, you know that I’m actually only kidding. One, they don’t sleep here, they live ten miles away. Two, I love them with all my heart.) The point is that my basement has no viable exit and from time to time my most precious babies actually get permission to play video games in the basement. I’ve been driving myself crazy to come up with a way to mitigate the issue. If there is a fire and my little men are in the basement, how are they going to get out without running through fire?

Found it! Now this is not a cure-all for sure. Certainly the viability of this mitigation strategy is dependent upon the extent of the fire. However, I’m going to purchase a fire blanket. Now these are traditionally used to smother fires, and in particular are recommended for use to protect from/fight kitchen fires. However, an alternative use for fire blankets is to wrap oneself or one’s loved ones in the blanket to essentially run through the fire and escape. Picture yourself or your little ones wrapped up like a little protective fire tortilla!

 

Traditionally, these blankets have been made of wool and you can certainly still get wool versions. At this point though, you can also purchase fiberglass versions. Some are even treated with chemicals to increase their ability to retard flames. They vary in range from $45.00 (this would be a smaller size, only appropriate for a small child.) to as much as $200.00. I think this could possibly be one of your more expensive purchases; however, if this is to be used as I would be using mine, then I deem it a worthy price. If you Google fire blanket, you will find many to choose from.

If you have babies or small children that you might have to carry out through a fire, because of a similar basement situation or because you can’t navigate an escape ladder (see previous post) while carrying the infant/child, a fire blanket may not only be the difference between life and death but also between severe burns and minor injuries for the little one. This could also so help if you have any elder care responsibilities and they also cannot navigate an escape ladder.

I’ve moved this to the top of our purchasing priority list for emergency preparedness supplies. I hope that you will consider the role a fire blanket might play in your preparedness as well. Be sure to purchase one that is the appropriate size for it’s intended user. (Too small and it won’t be as sufficient as it ought to be. Too large and a small child could trip over it and prolong their exposure to the flames.) Also, these ARE NOT intended to be used to run into a fire to rescue folks. Leave that to the professionals. And most importantly, no matter what, keep it in a place that it is easily accessible. No matter which version you buy, if you or your loved ones can’t get to it quickly, it’s saved no one.