Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Mr. Featherstone! Contact Me Again!

Popular Mechanics-1966-Both sides of Cordless TV-J Carson May 20th, 2015 Update: Good news! I found Mr. Featherstone! I feel much better!

November 10, 2014 Update: Many people have asked me, “Did Mr. Featherstone contact you again?” Sadly, no he did not.

The reminder still applies: Double and triple check what you put into those little fill-in-the-blank areas on Internet forms. Last week I realized I had written my name as “Tuba Rowe”. It can happen to all of us!

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It is very frustrating to contact someone to ask for helpful material and not hear back about it. It is equally frustrating when the person receiving the request sends the material, but it is returned because of an inadvertent error in the provided email address. And I feel badly to think that a very gracious sounding man named Mr. Featherstone will feel that I’ve ignored him.

I have been trying to locate a person with the last name of Featherstone for the last three hours, to no avail.  He wrote a very nice note and I want to send him the material, doggone it! LinkedIn, White Pages, search engines, Facebook, repeat and repeat again, but still nothing for the area where I am sure he lives. Finally, I decided to use this headline, in the hopes he wonders why I did not respond and decides to write again. Maybe he will see this and know I really did try!

Make sure you double check your email address any time you fill in a form. It is very easy to transpose letters, show a former email provider or make some other error, especially since website forms are often cramped and a bit confusing.  Right now, I am going to try some variations on the email address I have been using, to see if I can figure it out.

You may be wondering what the photo in the article has to do with anything. Mostly I thought it was interesting to see the innovations of 1966. (Although why you would wear a sweater and white pants to watch TV in the sand, I don’t know.) Also, to remind us that technological advances usually are wonderful, but they can also cause a lot of frustration. If you are reading this, Mr. Featherstone, contact me again! Thanks!

July 15th, 2014 Posted by | *Free Church Security Material--In Word Format, Training, Technology, Blogs, A/V etc. | 2 comments

Whole-Church Safety and Security

Whole-Church Means Everything and Everyone, All the Time.

The theme of all my material and seminars on developing church safety and security plans is this: The most effective programs consider all of the People, Places, Property, Programs and Processes of a place of worship. 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. That means that focusing only on main services or special services or the pastor or children or anything or anyone else, will not be as effective as keeping the big picture in mind. Similarly, focusing primarily on how to thwart or respond to crime, violence, active shooters, disruptive situations or assailants, is also not the complete picture of how to prevent harm.

Any realistic plans and programs can help a church be incrementally more safe and secure, of course. However, I worry when I hear someone talking about their church’s safety and security program and the main conversation is about how they have plans to respond to violent assailants or disruptive individuals. There is so much more to protecting a place of worship than that–as important as that is.

Keep the Big Picture in mind: As you develop plans or procedures for your church, synagogue or temple, please consider the very large picture of what you’re dealing with, even in a very small place of worship. There are people of all ages and conditions, activities on many days and nights, electronics, furniture, money, combustible materials, human temptations, off-site functions and a zillion other things that have or create vulnerabilities.

When you consider how to prevent problems, protect against harm, detect concerns and respond to emergencies, please look at the BIG picture. One way to do that is to have teachers, volunteers and others share the things they’ve worried about. Inspect every aspect of the church, on an ongoing basis, not just one time or in the daytime or in the summer or whatever. Talk to other churches about the things that have been problematic, frightening or resulted in harm. Do some research. Talk to your insurance company. Purposely, consciously keep the whole place of worship in mind.

Church Security Material and Seminars: Ask for my material, using the comment section or contact tab. (I don’t publish the comments for this, so no one is identified.) It’s free and every page encourages expanded thinking. Ask about sponsoring a six hour seminar or working with local law enforcement to do it–be a leader in outreach about Big Picture thinking. I don’t huckster my seminars, but they are tremendously well-received, so I like to mention them now and then.

A good way to consider your efforts is this: Which people, places, property, programs or processes matter? Those are the ones to be concerned about in your safety and security activities.

April 6th, 2014 Posted by | *Free Church Security Material--In Word Format, Safety and Security Planning | no comments

Three Steps To Getting a Project Finished–Finally

How to Think and Grow Rich (and also how to get things done).

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970), the author of the most well-known self-help book ever published–Think and Grow Rich–emphasized action rather than only thinking, wishing and dreaming.

“Don’t wait. The time will never
be just right.”

“Patience, Persistence and Perspiration makes an unbeatable
combination for success.”

“Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire
and begin at once, whether you are ready or not,
to put this plan into action.”

That last quote fits several people who have worked with me to produce a Worship Without Worry seminar in their area, in the last few months (and it also can fit you in your work and life):

*Tim Hawkins, U.S. Attorneys Office, Boise, Idaho (He’s the Law Enforcement Coordinator and Intelligence Specialist and a nice man!)
*Tony Snow,  Reserve Deputy with the Etowah County, Alabama Sheriff’s Department (Tony and that Reserve Force are tremendous workers in many ways.)
*Lee Nathans, Security Director of Temple Israel in Columbus, Ohio (Also chair of the Bexley, Ohio Police-Community advisory board.)
*Steve Campbell, pastor of the Garden Church and Better Way Ministries, also in Columbus (He and Wanda are busy every day and night with a challenging urban ministry.)
*Mark Mitchell  of Foothill Family Church near Irvine, California (A business person who gives of himself to his work, family and church, continuously.)
*Jim Caauwe, Crime Prevention Specialist for the Savage, Minnesota, Police Department (This man knows how to make things happen! He had an accomplished law enforcement career and now is involved with a zillion things in the Savage community.)
*Dorothy Strebe, Operations Director for Triumph Lutheran Church, Moorhead, Minnesota (Sheriff Bill Bergquist started the project but relied on Dorothy to arrange it and coordinate it–and she certainly did.)
*Chief of Police David Bentrud, Waite Park, MN, Police Department (We have a seminar set for February 27th, 2014–and he only made the first contact a few weeks ago That is some quick action!)

What they all have in common is that they started, worked hard, took care of details and finished a project successfully. They didn’t just talk about one day hosting a seminar, they went from asking about making it happen to bringing all the elements together–and they took care of details that make a difference.

By comparison, I know people who have been talking for years about wanting to do a lot of things–not just hosting a seminar, but also about finances, fitness, relationships, clearing clutter or dealing with a work problem. They will probably still be talking about all of those things in five years, because they’re waiting for conditions to be right, better weather, someone to help, a new boss, less other things going on, more support, etc., etc.

What Napoleon Hill would say: Think and Grow Rich, provides steps to success, based on visualizing the success you seek and aiming your life toward it. The essence of his advice on how to get what you want:

1.) Clearly picture what you want, in great detail. Make it the vision towards which you aim your energies.

2.) Decide what it will take in time, effort, cost, sacrifice, etc., to get what you want.

3.) Starting working toward your goal and never give up until you get what you want–then keep paying the price to maintain it.

There is more to the book and his concepts, of course–but those really are the main steps. They have helped millions of people find ways to accomplish their goals.  They also point the way to how to get any project started and finished. Yes, the one you’ve been thinking about but haven’t worked on yet. Yes, the one you’ve procrastinated about for weeks, months or years. Yes, even the one you think seems close to impossible.

Napoleon Hill didn’t say this next thought, but he should have: “You’ll never be able to drive anywhere if you wait for all the lights to turn green at once.” None of the people I listed, above, made a list of why they couldn’t get a seminar produced in their communities–they simply said they wanted to produce one and the next thing I knew, it happened.

How you can apply it: Write down something you would like to accomplish or have talked about doing or have on a wish list for yourself. Do something toward that project or goal before you go to bed tonight–preferably something constructive that starts to overcome the inertia that has kept you essentially motionless. Over the next days, weeks and months, whatever time it takes, do something every day to keep going and keep going and keep going, until you can see the successful finished product.

There is a lot of work involved in that brief overview, I realize that. But, once you start and move forward just a bit, things will happen and it will become easier. Honest!

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970)

 

November 27th, 2013 Posted by | Keeping On!, Life and Work, Safety and Security Planning | 4 comments

Three Ways To Be More Safe In Any Situation

Three Ways to Be More Safe and Secure In Any Situation

Whether you’re concerned about accidents, mishaps, misdeeds, crime, violence or harmful situations of any kind, anywhere, there are three bits of advice that can help you detect potential harm and react to it more effectively:

1.) Live defensively
2.) Observe with purpose.
3.) Treat everything that looks or sounds threatening or harmful, as real.

1. Live defensively. You are able to drive defensively without feeling terrified and without making your passengers feel afraid because of your excessiveness. However, if you stop thinking about dangers and hazards and drive heedlessly, you are more likely to cause accidents or be part of a crash. The same concept can apply to the way you live and the way you encourage your children to live. It’s not about unnecessary fright and dread, it’s about realistic planning, necessary awareness and reasonable precautions.

Make it a personal habit to think: Assessment, Prevention, Detection, Protection, Response.

2. Observe with purpose. Yogi Berra was correct when he said, “You can observe a lot by watching.”  Observation with purpose focuses on who or what is around you, who or what is approaching you, who or what may have an effect on you, and who or what might unexpectedly appear, including hazards of all kinds. Be aware of unsafe conditions, even if you are the only one who seems to be noticing. Don’t assume that someone else would have surely done something by now if there was danger.

When you’re looking at people, do a total look for appearance, unusual movement or unusually standing still, a look at the face to detect attention or emotion and a look at the hands to see contact with clothing, items being held or readiness to use the hands.

3. Treat everything that looks or sounds threatening or harmful as real. If an activity or situation seems to be dangerous or potentially harmful, stop it if you can and ask for an immediate investigation or inspection. Appropriately warn others who may not be aware of the danger. When you sense a harmful situation, trust your instincts and protect yourself and those in your care.

If someone does or says anything that indicates a reasonable potential for harm, assume there will be harm and take appropriate action immediately–usually calling 911 or yelling for help, followed by flight, fight or taking cover, according to the circumstances or threat.

If you were correct, help is on the way no matter what else happens. If you were incorrect, you may stop a repeat of the falsely threatening situation or an actual future incident. At least you will show that you were observing with purpose and ready to take action.

There are many other things that can add to your safety and security and the safety of those for whom you are responsible. These three can provide a good foundation for everything else you do.

February 4th, 2013 Posted by | *Home, Personal and Travel Security, Life and Work, Safety and Security Planning | 11 comments

Shortcuts vs The Longer Route

Sometimes there is a reason the “road less traveled” isn’t used often. Wise travelers have researched it and found it will take you nowhere or it will bypass the very things you need to see or do or it will actually take you twice as long to get to where you need to go–or it can lead to tragedy. Shortcuts and seldom used roads can be interesting but they can have many perils.

*A trainer told me he doesn’t use photos in PowerPoint because the “thumbnail” images he copied from image searches were blurry. I suggested he use one of the free photo sites available and he said he doesn’t have that much time, so he just grabs a thumbnail image. I said, “But, you aren’t using the thumbnails because they’re not clear.” He said, “Yeah, but they’re quick.”

*Recipe sites abound with people who give a recipe one star then list the things they changed about it. One woman on www.cook.com wrote, “This cake stuck so bad it was ruined trying to get it out of the pan! I didn’t have time to do the whole grease and flour thing so I used spray-on oil, but there’s no reason that shouldn’t have worked. Now I’m out a lot of money and time.”

*An acquaintance I knew from long ago told me recently about being fired twice. He said, “You know me, I take the road less traveled and that doesn’t go over well in a lot of these stodgy places.”

*One of the documents on church safety and security that I distribute is about how to conduct a thorough assessment of the status of every aspect of the property, people, places, programs and processes of a place of worship. It involves assessing in each season and at different times of the day and night, in a variety of ways. A security director wrote to me and said, “We used your material and it was a great help. But, we didn’t want to get involved with so much assessing so we just did it on a Saturday and called it good.”

*Last week I was in Salida, Colorado teaching a class for Sheriff Pete Palmer‘s deputies and some officers from the Salida Police Department. As usual I stayed in a motel on Highway 50 and I thought I was seeing most of Salida, a nice little town. It turns out, that is a bypass around the real Salida–which is much lovelier than I realized.

The bottom line: Of course there are useful shortcuts for some things and taking an isolated road can be interesting. However, when you’re learning a new skill, new habit, new process, new recipe or new anything else, do it the complete way, the way you were told, the way it’s described, the tested way. When you’re an expert you can develop shortcuts. Another bit of advice: If you are bound and determined to do your own thing, your own way, in life, work or relationships, don’t complain when the cake sticks to the pan.

This is Highway 50 that skirts the main portion of Salida

Downtown Salida on E Street, South of US 291 and North of US 50. Nice little shops!

February 19th, 2012 Posted by | *Free Church Security Material--In Word Format, Life and Work | 4 comments

Church Safety and Security–Eight Free Documents You Can Share

Update: June 25th, 2015: Since the recent tragedy at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June —the racially motivated massacre of 9 people at a Wednesday night church service–I’ve received over two hundred requests for the free material I distribute. Since 2007 I have distributed over 25,000 copies of that material and have added other items to go with it. I use the material as a foundation for the six hour safety and security seminars I present. These seminars are well-balanced, illustrated by case histories, and very practical and realistic for any church.

I continue to emphasize whole-church safety and security for a wide range of things that can cause harm to a place of worship and the people in it: Fires, vehicle accidents, playground injuries, thefts, burglary, vandalism, threats, sexual improprieties and criminal sexual activity, embezzlement, misuse of church resources and property, AND violent acts of any kind, with or without a weapon. When a church keeps a safety and security focus in every activity, there is increased alertness all the time and perhaps an increased ability to take quick protective actions (although there are some situations where the events unfold too quickly for that, and I believe that was the case at Emmanuel AME).  All-the-time safety and security efforts can also prevent or reduce other life-threatening situations.

Let me know you want the material and I’ll send it to you by email, in Word documents from which you can copy and paste if you wish.

The 156 page bundle contains: 

1. How To Conduct a Thorough Safety and Security Assessment
2. The Role of Greeters and Ushers in Church Safety and Security
3. The Role of the Platform Team in an Emergency
4. How to Develop an Emergency Medical Response Team (Even Without Medical Staff)
5. Brief Thoughts on Developing a Security Team
6. How to Plan for a Special Event
7. How to Develop a Security Plan
8. A sample security team document–This isn’t a plan for a security team or a template, it’s a  helpful few pages from a document sent to me by a security team.

Background about Church Safety and Security Material

At the end of 2007, after the tragic events in Arvada, Colorado and at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, my intent I wrote a 23 page document on the role of greeters and ushers in church security, to assist a few pastor friends who had asked me for suggestions. Then, I wrote a lengthier document on how to assess the safety and security of a place of worship, based on my experiences assessing courthouses, government buildings and facilities–including a nuclear site–as well as churches and church schools. Later I added three more short documents, one which is really just an edited response to someone who asked me about how to develop a church security team. That one is not all-inclusive by any means, but apparently has assisted many churches in their efforts.

Close to 8,000   16,000 25,000, so far! Who was to know that word-of-mouth advertising, viral marketing and a great price (they’re free!) would accomplish so much? Probably the fact that they were free added a great deal to the popularity of the material! However, I know that hundreds of churches are using the material. I have spoken at many conferences and meetings in which attendees have commented on how helpful all of documents have been.  Several other websites also distribute it and it is given out regularly by police departments and sheriffs offices, denominational groups and at various conferences. As a result, the material has been distributed in North America, Great Britain, Europe, China, Japan, several countries in Africa and in Mexico and Central and South America. I’ve enjoyed the whole experience tremendously!

Why is the material so helpful? I think there are three reasons the material is helpful–and isn’t because of my expertise (although you can believe that too, if you want!).

1. The focus is on both safety and security.

2. It is adaptable to any place of worship in any setting.

I have tried–I hope not to excess–to keep a wide variety of situations in mind. Storefront prayer rooms and cathedrals have similar yet very different problems.  An urban church and a one room church in a remote rural location have similar and also different worries. A mega-church with programs going almost continuously has potential problems that a corner church in a small town does not–and the reverse is also true. However they both can be harmed in similar ways.

Whatever material you read, consider the principles and concepts and work around the fact that the church being described is different than yours.

3. Anyone who takes it a step at a time can apply the concepts and suggestions. Conducting a security assessment of  a place of worship doesn’t require an expert. In fact, a moderately trained church member or team can probably do a better job than a stranger in most cases. For one thing, the church member can be present at various times to assess a wide-variety of programs and processes. This aspect of assessing is at the heart of my material. To be thorough you must assess in various situations throughout the year. That can’t be done by the local police or a hired consultant.

One of the biggest misconceptions about security is that law enforcement personnel know more about it than a lay person might. In truth, most law enforcement officers, even community resource officers, have never received specific training in how to conduct a  thorough assessment of any facility or to make recommendations about it.  They are often not accustomed to the limitations, requirements and restraints involved in making a church safe and secure, compared to a bank, a courthouse or a home. They are willing to do it and will certainly apply their knowledge, skills and intuitive thinking–which can be considerable. But, they are usually only available on a limited and one-time basis and their abilities will vary, as with any task.

You may find that the help of the police or sheriffs office is just what you need. But keep in mind that you or anyone else who takes his or her time to do it right, following the guidelines in reasonable material, mine included, can do a very acceptable job.

HOW TO GET THE FREE DOCUMENTS ON CHURCH SAFETY AND SECURITY

You can use the comments section on this or other posts and ask for the material that way. Or, you can go to the Contact Me tab at the top of the site and use the space provided. Or, you can write to me at tina (at) tinalewisrowe (dot) com. That’s the way I’m told to write my email address to avoid spam, but you’d use the regular format instead of the words.  If you use the contact or comments sections, I won’t publish your request, I’ll just respond.

Make sure your email address is correct! One out of fifty or so emails come back to me because the listed email is incorrect.

I appreciate attribution if large portions or my material are used or if you do training based on it. But, as I often point out….I probably won’t know the difference! Also, be sure to share the documents with others in your denomination or community. It’s a great outreach to other churches, to show caring and concern.

There is no Eleventh Commandment About Church Safety and Security

Your place of worship is unique in its setting and vulnerabilities, and so are the members and their concerns. You and others can develop a program that grows over time and is adjusted as needed just for your church. There are no rules about it. Starting and doing something reasonable is better than waiting until someone knows how to develop something perfect. Take a leadership role in the safety and security of your church. Volunteer to help. Be a reasonable resource (not a naggy pain in the neck!). The important thing is to get started and keep going.  Keep the faith!

January 10th, 2010 Posted by | *Free Church Security Material--In Word Format, Law Enforcement Related, Safety and Security Planning | 3 comments

Prickly People and the Problems They Perpetuate

Some questions about prickly people at work: Do you supervise someone you tip-toe around to avoid setting them off in some way?

Do you sometimes feel that you and the rest of your workplace are held hostage by one person who is incredibly difficult for others to work with?

Does it sometimes unnerve you? Aren’t you tired of it?

The employee who must be treated like a time bomb: I’ve written before about discourtesy in the workplace. In fact, that is a recurring theme of mine, since I hear so many complaints about it. However, this article is focused on the person who is challenging because he or she is hyper-sensitive to critique or suggestion–let alone criticism. Perhaps the employee cries or sulks or becomes angry and withdrawn.

The result is that coworkers and supervisors avoid the slightest hint of suggestion that something that person did or said should be done differently next time or could be improved. The difficult person becomes the only one who never hears a complaint or suggestion. No wonder he thinks he’s perfect! No wonder she is shocked at the slightest criticism! And, what often happens is that when a supervisor finally decides to say something he unloads on the employee in a way that makes things worse.

The difference between sensitive and punitive. I chose the photo for this article for a reason: The prickly tree does not need to be treated gently because it is delicate. It must be treated gently because it will punish you otherwise! That is also why we need to have heightened awareness of employees who seem to be over-the-top about their emotions, irritations and reactions. 

You are not psychologist or psychiatrist, so you do not know whether the behavior is much more severe than it seems–not that psychologists or psychiatrists always know either! However, you are responsible for the safety and security of others, including the employee who seems to have trouble handling any critique. You are also responsible for enforcing rules and policies, and there are nearly always rules and policies about courtesy, respect and appropriate behavior.

There are reasons to be concerned. Last week in Kentucky, an employee who had been chided about his repeated cell phone use and for repeatedly not wearing safety goggles, returned to the workplace and shot and killed five people, including the supervisor, before committing suicide. Many similar events have occurred in businesses, industry and government offices around the country. Supervisors and managers are justified in being concerned about prickly people!

You probably will not have such a dire situation with your challenging employee, but I doubt that supervisor thought so either.  You may think you know your challenging employee very well–you may even be friends. But, emotions and mental upset can result in actions you never expected. You certainly might have to deal with a lot of anger and bitterness.

Do your job and handle the situation. Do not let yourself get into the habit of allowing poor work or ineffective behavior because you want to avoid the upset that will result if you say something. Do not require other employees to tolerate bad behavior from a coworker because you do not want to deal with it.

Talk to HR, your psychological resources if available, and your managers, to let them know what you have planned. Follow organizational guidelines.  For example, you may not be able to tell an employee it is his last warning if there was no first warning. You also need to find out what you can do if the employee reacts in a way that is a rules violation or becomes out of control. Can you place a formal disciplinary action about it? Can you require him to go to psychologist? Can you call security? Can you make him go home? Can you keep him out if he tries to return? Know in advance, even if you do not expect any strong reaction.

When you talk to the employee, do your best to make it a comfortable conversation. That might sound impossible, but make the effort. Do not put desk space between you. Sit at a table or in a conversational arrangement.

*Start by saying what you have observed, why it is a problem and what the employee must do differently in the future. Stick to observable behaviors, not what you think the employee thinks or feels.

*Remind the employee of rules or policies and say they will be enforced in the future.

*Keep it brief and do not preach or do excessive counseling, simply state the behavior that must stop.

*Consider following that with the approach of reinforcing what you want to see stay the same, then getting the employee to say back what he or she will do differently in the future about a sample situation.  

*If you have organizational resources to recommend, provide those in a supportive way. Just do not let his problems become yours to solve.

There are many resources that can provide more lengthy information about handling difficult corrective interviews than I have space for in this article. However, you will do just fine if you stick with that formula of stating the behavior that is a problem, giving an example, and getting feedback about how it will be handled differently in the future. I’m not saying the employee will like it or thank you. But, at least you can get through it.

Get back to work. After the interview, quickly, quickly, quickly reestablish normal conversations and relationships. Assign work, thank him for a good job, be low-key but appropriate. Give him a chance to save face and move forward.

I have experienced several supervisory situations in my career where I halfway expected a very angry outburst or a sulky temper tantrum. I was correct in three cases. VERY correct in one case! In another case, the employee looked at me for a moment and said, “OK.” He never acted the same tyrannical, angry way again! If I had known it was going to be that easy, I would have talked to him much sooner!

Your situation will be unique and you must decide how it should be handled. However, do not feel foolish for thinking you have reasons to be concerned about someones hyper-reactions to criticism. There is ample evidence than such reactions can lead to more serious problems if they are allowed to continue.

June 30th, 2008 Posted by | Safety and Security Planning, Supervision and Management | 7 comments

A Quick Getaway Kit

Up, up and away!I recently read a supposed true anecdote about a woman who told her daughter she escaped a fire in her apartment and was able to save her new swimming suit. The daughter questioned her about why, with all the valuables in her home, she chose to save a swimming suit. The woman said, “Now that I’ve finally find a one-piece suit that doesn’t make me look fat I sure don’t want to lose it!”

Good question: What would you consider your must-save possessions?

If you and I are fortunate we will never have an emergency that requires us to evacuate our homes hurriedly–perhaps in the middle of the night with no lights to assist us as we leave. However, it does happen to some people and could happen to us for any of dozens of reasons. When it does, we want to be able to make a quick getaway and be prepared for “what do we do next?”

Two categories of items for an emergency:
1. Emergency Supplies (Food, water, personal care items, health needs,etc.)
2. A Quick Getaway Kit (Identification and financial items needed to travel, relocate or conduct personal business in an emergency.)

One way to consider what emergency supplies you would need and what you would want to have in your Quick Getaway Kit is to think about the varied situations that might require them:

  • Fires, floods and natural disasters that might damage or destroy anything left behind.
  • Power, water supply and public safety emergencies.
  • An event that makes your home uninhabitable.
  • An event that prevents you from leaving your home to purchase needed items.
  • Any emergency requiring you to leave immediately and for an extended time–perhaps far away from your residence, city or even your state.
  • Any situation where needed services (banks, stores and offices) are unable to be open for business.
  • An emergency–natural, accidental or medical–requiring immediate access to key information.

Emergency supplies: Many government websites have lists of proposed emergency supplies. The lists may look voluminous but you probably have many of the items already and will not have a difficult time maintaining them in a ready condition. These can literally be life-savers if you must evacuate your home or if you are trapped or stranded. They certainly can make life more comfortable and tolerable in those situations.

A Quick Getaway Kit: Consider using see-through storage bags, sturdy over-sized envelopes, or metal fire-resistant boxes for each person in your family. Keep the items in a secured and concealed location, but where you can quickly grab them and leave your house in an emergency. Among the things you would want to have available:

1. Identification and records that are sufficient for immediate needs: Passport, birth certificate or other identification.

2. Health and home insurance and other registration cards that might be useful.

2. A few checks.

3. Enough cash to be able to stay at a motel, get gasoline or buy food, and enough change for vending machines. You do not need an exceptionally large amount, perhaps a hundred dollars in ten dollar bills, and five dollars in change. Even if you have credit cards you may find you need cash–especially in an emergency. Some emergency planners suggest keeping one credit card solely for serious emergency situations.

4. A checklist with locations of other items to be taken if time and circumstances allow–or to allow others to be able to find them at a later time if you cannot assist.

5. Useful keys.

6. An emergency contact list with the phone number of your insurance agent, family members, coworkers and others.

7. Any other documents or items you want to be able to easily locate and take with you in an emergency.

Some emergency preparedness sites suggest keeping a duffel bag with essential items of clothing and toiletries in the same general location as your Quick Getaway Kit, in case you do not have time to get to other emergency supplies. As with all plans, your personal situation is the key to deciding what you will need.

Secure your Quick Getaway Kit. This kit will have essential personal and financial information, so keep it in a concealed, secure location. A good general rule is to keep your kit as high up as practical on the ground level of the house, in a container or location that does not signal, “Important papers kept here.” For example, consider the top shelf of a pantry or cupboard. If you want to keep the items in your file drawers, keep them in a folder or envelope marked in an unexciting way. (When I had an open office and knew that files of other supervisors had been rifled, I kept private documents in a folder marked, “Odometer Records”.)

Perhaps the biggest benefit to planning what you would need in your Quick Getaway Kit is that it makes you pause to evaluate the status of your emergency planning. It also will ensure that you have vital documents, items and information in a secured location instead of in drawers and files all over the house. This weekend, set aside time to plan and prepare for an emergency. A Quick Getaway Kit is a good way to start.

May 7th, 2008 Posted by | Life and Work, Safety and Security Planning | 6 comments