Just An Observation – Tragedies can hit anywhere, anytime

With it being Fire Prevention Week in Alberta, this week’s column shows preparation can help everyone

Horrible incidents of violence and tragic natural disasters over recent weeks have shown just how important it is to be prepared.

Sure, no one can be ready for things such as the Las Vegas shooting or the alleged terrorist action in Edmonton and there is only so much one can do when a tornado or hurricane strikes.

However, that being said, there were a number of individuals — aside from trained first responders — that used their skills and what they have learned to provide assistance to those people who needed help. So in that way, there are actions each person can take in order to be properly equipped for an emergency situation.

So, as it is Fire Prevention Week in Alberta, the timing is perfect to brush up or embark on some training to be ready for an emergency.

The most obvious at the moment would be focusing on fire safety, which would include items such as making certain smoke detectors are operating properly with fresh batteries, have a home escape plan and practising it and making changes in order to avoid potential fire hazards, plus having a fire extinguisher handy, just in case.

Although, a person could also go a step further by taking some fire extinguisher training as well as adding in a first aid course — something that became very useful for people helping the shooting victims and could be used in several other situations a person could find themselves in.

There is a lot of other groundwork a person can do to be ready in case of something going wrong.

From having an emergency contact list — In Case of Emergency (ICE) — on your phone to having someone knowing the itinerary of a trip to securing a plan to get out of a place or facility should the need arise, these are just a few elements that can make a difference and potentially save lives.

That said, protecting oneself and lending a hand in a crisis, can be as simple as staying calm, not panicking, being supportive or even just being there as a comforting hand or shoulder.

Not everyone is going to or is able to perform heroic acts like being a shield from bullets, running up to a burning car and giving someone CPR. It’s just not in some people’s mind that they can do something like that, just like it isn’t in everyone’s blood to be able to serve their community as a firefighter, police officer, medical first responder or search and rescue technician.

Yet, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to help.

Just look at the people who carried victims out of the Vegas concert venue so they could get to the hospital, the many hundreds of rescuers that used their own boats and other resources to help Houston residents after the hurricane, the selfless individuals that went to Pine Lake to help or even the ones that gave their time, money, effort or could donate items for Fort McMurray fire relief.

There are a variety of ways to prepare for an emergency, all it takes is a commitment to do something — no matter how small. In the end, whatever that is will mean something to someone who is in need.

And realistically, isn’t that how society is supposed to be?

But that is…just an observation.

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