“preparedness,” japan’s lesson

Salmon Days

Image by Jeff Youngstrom via Flickr

People in our community volunteer. This is tremendously apparent during the annual Salmon Days Celebration which happens the first weekend in October. And with the increase in floods in recent years, neighbors have been helping neighbors stave off damage, or dig out from under. So it was no surprise when the town established a program where hundreds of citizens were trained to assist “nine firefighters and a handful of police officers and some public works people,” according to the local newspaper.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) i...

Image via Wikipedia

Our town is very forward-looking, especially in terms of preparing for natural disasters. Besides CERT, Community Emergency Response Team, where members “give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, help suppress small fires and perform light search and rescue,” our city “has spearheaded lessons in Map Your Neighborhood–a program to coordinate disaster recovery on a block-by-block basis and identify special skills, such as medical training, among residents–for dozens of neighborhoods…” With assistance from CERT and Map Your Neighborhood, catastrophic recovery is enhanced. Japan is considered “the most-prepared country with the most-prepared citizenry, and despite that fact, the government can’t reach everyone…”

JogjaEarthquake27Mei2006-4

Image via Wikipedia

Mental preparedness is as crucial as being physically ready, according to the experts.

Stockpiling supplies is crucial, planners said, but residents should also create a plan to reach family members and know the steps to follow if a disaster strikes.

“You can have all of the supplies that you want, but you do need to be mentally prepared for the unexpected…You can get paralyzed if you don’t know what to do at first…So, if you have that plan in place that says,…the first thing I’m going to do is…then you do that…”

 Information regarding a complete emergency kit checklist is available at www.3days3ways.org. General consensus among experts is that the best thing to do to “reduce injury and death during earthquakes” is to “drop, cover and hold.” They find  alternate methods of “standing in a doorway, running outside, and searching for a potential ‘triangle of life‘–as dangerous and not to be recommended.”

Preparing is as easy as 1-2-3 

1. Make a plan – establish an out-of-state contact for all family members to call. Texting can help. Establish meeting place if home is unsafe.

2. Build a kit – 3 day supply of: ready-to-eat food, water (a gallon per person per day), medications and personal hygiene, radio (battery or hand-crank), extra batteries, sturdy shoes and warm clothing, blankets, flashlight, whistle, dust mask

3. Get involved – get to know neighbors. Give key to trusted, nearby friend to watch your property, care for children and/or pets in your absence.

4. Learn CPR.

5. Volunteer in community efforts.

Mt. St. Helen's Eruption 2005

wishing safety in emergencies…hugmamma.

“hallelujah!,” for not “going white”

Am here to spread the word about a newfound “partner in crime,” Zoriana, my new hair stylist. Where has she been all my life? Obviously not where I was. But circumstances beyond my control finally caused me to seek her out. And I’m very happy I did!

Baby-boomers like me, and those slightly older, and perhaps some who were still toddling around when I was in high school, know that a woman’s “crowning glory” is literally on top of her head, her hair, her hair, her hair! So when our “crowns” start to tarnish, some of us “hit the bottle,” literally. The bottle of henna rinse, that is, or whatever they’re calling it these days. I’ve been guilty of “hitting the bottle” for quite a few years. How old was I when I started? Who knows. And at 61, who cares?

I think I began by doing the job myself, maybe in my 40’s. I couldn’t tell you exactly when. As with age, graying hair snuck up on me. Like all things novel, dyeing my own hair back to its original color, or almost, was okay, no big deal. In my 50’s, it was getting irksome, especially when I’d spatter color on the floor tile, the bathroom wall, my clothes. Then the task became a bigger project, cleaning up after myself. Of course, trying to find the right hair color product was a job in itself, trying to imagine me in the picture on the front of the box. It required a lot of imagination since the models are Caucasians, and African-Americans, never Asian.

When I moved with my daughter so she could train for a professional dance career, dyeing my hair in the bathroom of our rented apartment, convinced me I should have it done professionally. The space was small, and I feared permanent stains might jeopardize the return of our security deposit, when we moved out. At least that’s what I told myself. But I’ve never looked back on what’s become a habit. I consider it part of my housekeeping salary, and I’m sure my husband likes that I don’t look like his grandma, although she was a very lovely woman.

My friend Katy “kicked the habit” a number of years ago. She now has a gorgeous head of hair in shades of “salt and pepper” gray. Unfortunately my head would look like white cabbage. It’s not a bad look, if the body matched. My vision of that person is like Ellen de Generes, cute and perky. A month-and-a-half ago, I thought I had no choice but to “go white.”

The hairdresser I was seeing for several years developed an allergy toward dark hair color. To contend with the problem she washed my hair before applying the color, where previously she use to do the reverse. Perhaps that caused my scalp to react badly the last time I saw her. As she began applying the color, a burning sensation developed in one spot. I think she quickly smoothed on a lotion to counteract the burning. But for the remainder of the appointment, the stylist proceeded very gingerly. When my hair was done, we weren’t sure how we’d proceed in the future.

The burning sensation abated, but that area of my scalp was red and itched. The next day my scalp scabbed, and over the next few days returned to normal, except for some residual itching. But I was left in a quandary as how best to resolve the issue of going “au naturale,” or finding someone with whom I could discuss my dilemma. Having clipped an article about Zorianna from the local newspaper, I gave her a call. Best decision I’ve made in a while.

To our great relief, I experienced none of the scalp burning as in my last appointment. Hallelujah! I’m young again! At least my hair is. I know I’m delaying the inevitable. I definitely plan to “kick the habit,” sometime. But in this case it’ll be later, rather than sooner. We’ve all got our weaknesses. While I’m fine with the rest of me, I’m vain about my “crowning glory.” I know I’m not the only one.

for seniors trying to hang in against all odds, and Zoriana, huge hugs…hugmamma. (www.zorianasbeautique.com)