they say that "age has its privileges".
since i just turned 54, there are a large percentage of members here that are young enough to be my child. i'm going to give you similar advice that i give to my 17 year old daughter.
i was an only child, and a long time ago, when i was 16, my parents were both killed by a dui driver. having only one relative, i moved in with my aunt, who at the time was the highest-ranking female police officer in the country. living deep in the city, i met people, saw things, and learned a lot of things that i never could living in the relative safety of the suburbs.
here in chicago, we're really struggling with street crime. over the weekend 17 people were shot in one 24-hour period, with at least 5 folks succumbing to their wounds. then very early this morning, a chicago police officer was shot in the head while investigating a "shots fired" complaint.
that officer left this world earlier this afternoon.
meantime an average of 600 police officers retire every year in chicago...the first class of recruits in 2 years is about to graduate. total in the class? 48 new officers.
alright nurses, here we go...
if you got a new job, good on you! there is a strong likelihood that you'll get assigned to the third shift. here are some ideas that will help minimize your chances of getting "jammed up" in a difficult situation.
- on a sunday morning, well before noon, map out the route you plan to take from home to your place of employment. then get in your car and actually drive the route. as you drive check out your surroundings...because you're taking your drive before noon, most street rats are still sleeping. how does the neighborhood look? run down and dangerous, or just blue collar? if it seems dangerous to you, it most likely is dangerous. finish your drive then go back home and figure out an alternative route.
"but the alternative will take 10 minutes longer."
"too bad...it sucks to be you."
- if there is no alternative route make the best of what you have.
- first, make certain all your doors are locked. if you have power locks, no problem. if you don't...remember you took groceries from the passenger side yesterday? are you sure that door's locked?
- make certain you have your cell phone with you and that the battery is fully charged. as an aside, dialing 911 from a cell phone just connects you with the psap (public safety answering point) of the cell tower you're connecting to. in the chicago suburb where i live, i have the regular non-911 number for police in memory. if a dialed 911 i could wind up talking to a psap nowhere near me. when you get them on the phone, simply say the following:
"i'm calling from a cell phone and i have an emergency."
- when you're driving do not answer an incoming call, and ignore all text messages. in aviation we call this sa, or situational awareness. be aware of everything happening around you at all times, especially after dark.
- if you have a dash-mounted gps, take it down and shut it off. don't attract attention to yourself.
- shut your car radio / ipod off. save your entertainment for later.
- leave all windows closed except the driver's window. leave that window cracked open so you can discern angry voices / conflicts in progress / gunfire.
- if it's hot outside, turn the damned a/c on. it's hard to practice good sa when you're sweating your azz off. don't forget about opening the driver's window enough to hear what's going on outside.
- from this day forward, practice the following. when you come to a stop, look at the car in front of you. if you can see where his rear tires touch the pavement, you're golden. you have enough room to maneuver in case you have to leave the area. if you can't see his rear tires touch the pavement, you're trapped.
- beware of another car bumping you from behind. if that happens, don't panic, just drive away at normal speed, call the police, and tell them your concerns. someone will come right over and make sure you're ok. this is not considered a hit-and-run...you are simply relocating to a safer area to insure your security.
- beware of "unmarked" vehicles flashing their lights at you. police impersonators are rare, but not unheard of. keep driving at normal speed with your flashers on. call the police again, and tell them someone is trying to pull you over. the police will never tell you to stop. they will keep you on the line while they get marked cars to come to you. the police hate police impersonators. don't worry about it, in just a minute or two you'll see plenty of cars that are clearly the real police. if the unmarked that tried to pull you over is really a copper, they'll understand. calmly explain the situation, and the likelihood is very high that you'll be on your way in just a minute or two, at most.
- some people have a hard time with the next statement, but not me. when encountering the police on the street, make certain they're aware you're a nurse headed in to work. remember at the beginning of this post i mentioned the short staffing issues with police. just like nurses, no? the police have marked tendencies of positive interactions with nurses (although there are exceptions). plus the headache of dealing with stressful situations all day long.
there are very few absolutes in life but here are two for you:
never, never, never let anyone other than a uniformed police officer bind / restrict your hands in any fashion. if anyone tries, fight as if your life depends on it.
because it does. how many times have you watched the news / read a paper / saw on the internet...
"...the victim was discovered with their hands bound..."
never, never, never let anyone force you into a car.
getting forced into a vehicle always ends badly.
no time here to be a lady. fight dirty, and i'm not talking about a kick between the legs. go right for the eyes and remember like i've said before...
"if there's going to be blood on the floor, it won't be all mine."
if you decide to carry pepper spray or oc, get to know a copper and ask them to get two small cans for you. the police issue stuff is generally more effective than the drugstore crap. burn one can in your back yard for practice. see how it feels in your hand...how far the spray goes. spray some on a piece of cardboard, let it sit a moment then get your nose real close, with your eyes open. you won't want to try it again, i promise.
i hope i didn't startle you, but after the past weekend, i'm just nervous about what will happen when it's 90 degrees at 10:00 pm.
i'm afraid chicago is going to suck...real hard.
good luck, ladies and gentlemen.
for all you young people, you're "all grown up now."