Japan has a false alarm too

Good Lord, what is going on with the world?

After Hawaii just suffered through a scary false alarm of a ballistic missile attack, now Japan has also had a false alarm, this one sent out by Japanese broadcaster NHK by mistake.

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False alarm in Hawaii

I was just talking about how Hawaii has been more worried about an attack from North Korea, and so it has been testing its civil defense sirens.  Then this past weekend this alert went out in Hawaii early Saturday morning:

hawaii missle alert false alarm

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Sometimes, fear is a good thing

As a part-time first responder who is interested in emergency management, disaster recovery, and safety in general, I read pretty much everything related to those topics that I can get my hands on, including a lot of stuff about how people respond in a crisis.  It’s fascinating stuff, and some really excellent books have been written about it, such as  Amanda Ripley’s The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – And Why

A side effect of this is that I have started paying attention to what I would call “unusual” deaths and accidents.  People keep doing things that I would consider to be pretty damn unsafe, and it costs them.  Recent examples are plenty.  A man leaves the designated paths at Yellowstone, and falls into a spring that is so high-temperature and acidic that there is literally no body to recover.  A young man accidentally shoots himself while taking a selfie with a pistol.  A tourist in Australia goes swimming at 10 at night in an area clearly marked with signs warning about crocodiles and gets killed by a crocodile over 14 feet long.  Or the guy in Georgia back in March who decided that it would be cool to pack an old lawnmower with 3 pounds of Tannerite and then shoot at it from only 40 feet away.  He blew off his own leg, and the whole thing was caught on video.

And I realized that what all of these people had in common was this: a lack of fear.  Specifically, a lack of what I would consider to be the healthy kind of fear.

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Refusing to learn from experience

Sometimes, there is some wisdom in doing something yourself so you can actually understand it.  Regarding the winter weather debacle in Georgia, this is NOT one of those times.   This is not the sort of thing you want to figure out for yourself, any more than you want your architect to forget about silly things like plans so you can just “play it by ear”.  Learn from the wisdom and experience of others.  Hell, learn from your own experience, Atlanta.   It’s been only 3 years since your last winter storm nightmare.  Besides, your traffic is gridlocked in perfect weather on a normal day.  I have been there, I know.  Whenever I was driving to Macon for the weekend, I avoided Atlanta completely.  What made you think having everyone go home at the same time during a snowstorm was a good idea?

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It’s not about strength or bravery

Regular visitors around here may have noticed that it’s been quiet for a while.  Sometimes life gets in the way and we can’t post, I’m sure you all understand.  Sometimes life hands you great material for posting and the first thought one of us has it, “that’ll make such a good post!”  Then we might go days without such inspiration.

Then sometimes life kicks you in the teeth and there just isn’t anything to say.  That’s what’s been happening lately.

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U.S. military trains for zombie fighting

In time for Halloween, the military put on a joint training exercise that features…  a zombie attack.  While I am amused to no end, I do respect the attempts by the government to get people interested in emergency preparedness by using zombies as a training tool.  It’s just like what the CDC did not too long ago.   And as Hurricane Sandy should be making apparent to everyone, some basic emergency preparedness is a good thing.  I may get to spend some more time outside in the rain like I did for last year’s hurricane, trying to make sure people don’t drive into downed power lines.  We’ll see.

-Geoff

This is why I believe in emergency planning

The big news tonight here in Boston is a fire in the Back Bay that led to power going out in huge swaths of Boston.  Apparently the fire started in a utility building containing two large transformers.  In order to fight the fire, it was necessary to cut power to the transformers.  That has now led to a power blackout in Back Bay, Prudential Center, Copley Square, Chinatown, the Theater District, and Kenmore Square.  They are saying now on TV that they are allowing people to return to their homes but they have no idea when power will be restored to this area.

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