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  1. spunkygirl1962

    Are You Ready?

    As Hurricane Michael came ashore last fall with 155 mph winds, my mom, dad, daughter and I hunkered down on the family farmhouse in the Florida Panhandle. Like many of our neighbors, we decided to ride out the storm at home, lulled by early forecasts that winds would not pose a grave danger to life and property. But my family (and our pets), were soon in the middle of one of the worst storms to ever hit the Sunshine State. My family has lived in this rural area north of the Gulf coast since 1963. We’d seen many hurricanes come and go over the years, but we were not prepared for what was labeled a “Monster of a Storm”. I learned a big lesson: You can never be too prepared and if you have time, get out of the storm’s path. And never forget: forecasts can change by the hour. I know from experience. We spent 3 terrifying hours on Oct. 10 as catastrophic winds bent over trees and rolled over the top of the family home like a vengeful monster out to destroy everything in its path. I watched my daughter clutch her Rosary Beads in her hands and begin to pray as the wind grabbed a 40-year-old, 50 feet high sycamore tree and drop it like a toothpick. All the surrounding trees that stood more than 40 feet tall snapped like twigs, one after another. My parents’ house is over 45 years old built with bricks and a metal roof. This house has withstood numerous hurricanes with little or no damage. On this particular day as Michael blew through our house/property, the winds started increasing in speed and the house began shaking like someone just picked the house up and shook it. The windows rattled as if they were going to blow out and fly through the house. The rainwater started pouring in through the air-conditioning vents and windows. My mom and I were grabbing any and everything we could to stop the water from flooding the house. While we all had moved to a safer place in the house, we heard a terrifying noise of metal twisting. The noise turned out to be the roof lifting off of the house and being set back down. I have been an emergency room nurse for many years. I have seen and dealt with many things in my career, but that was nothing compared to this hurricane. I have never been so afraid in my life of what this storm could possibly do to my family, my town, and me. Every time we thought the storm was over the wind and rain would start again. My family and I attempted to comfort each other and stay positive. Finally, the storm was over. With tears in my eyes, I turned to my 85-year-old father and said, “I am so sorry. We should have left as you suggested.” We felt lucky that we came through without injury although the family farm was extensively damaged. Hurricane Michael was blamed for many deaths with the toll rising in the Panhandle and more than $5.6 billion in property damage. In short, we thought we were prepared, but we were not. Can you really prepare for a Category 4 hurricane? Listed below are recommendations from the Red Cross and my personal experiences to assist one to prepare for a hurricane or similar disaster. Listen to NOAA weather station/local radio stations, weather band radio Check your disaster supplies Water-one gallon per person (needed a lot more due to use to bathe in and flush toilets, fill the bathtubs for water for the toilets) Non-perishable food Flashlights/extra batteries (a lot of extra batteries) First aid kit Medications 7 day supply at least Multi-purpose tool Personal and sanitation needs (baby wipes) Copies of personal documents (insurance forms especially) Cell phone with chargers (only had one cellular company up and running so may not help except to take pictures) Fans that run on batteries and has USB port Family and emergency contacts Extra cash ( credit/debit card system down due to no power) Blankets Maps Baby and pet supplies Tools for securing home (had to cut our way out of our road) Extra set of car and house keys, clothing, hat and sturdy shoes Rain gear, insect repellant Camera for recording damages (recommend pictures before and after) Lots and lots of batteries (used so many batteries) Generator (wish we would have had one prior) I personally recommend you retrieve these items before the disaster, due to supplies are limited after. Think of the “Black Friday Sale “after Thanksgiving and all the people vying for the same things. Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind Close windows, doors, and Hurricane shudders If you don’t have Hurricane shudders, board up all windows and doors with plywood. (Please remember to take them down after. Stay away from windows and doors during the storm. Find a safe place in the house) Turn refrigerator and freezer down to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible (Ice is a hot commodity after the storm.) Unplug small appliances and turn off propane tanks Fill your car’s gas tanks (My daughter did not want to fill hers with regular gas before the storm, due to that is not what her car usually takes, but that was all that was left to purchase. Gas was almost impossible to find after the storm without driving a long distance.) Evacuation Plan Your communities’ hurricane response plan: Shelters etc. EVACUATE IF ADVISED BY AUTHORITIES (We were not in the evacuation area, but we should have.) Homeowner’s insurance plan (Please review this before a disaster! Many people in my hometown are paying the price for not knowing their policy.) After the Hurricane: Continue listening to the NOAA radio and the local stations (This is all that we had to keep us updated on information to survive the aftermath of in of the worst storms in history. These radios stations were on 24/7 and supplied us with so much information that helped us through the weeks after the hurricane (yes I said weeks!) Stay alert for extended rainfall and flooding If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe. (Curfews are usually in effect too.) Drive only if necessary (Many people were on the roads when need not to be. Very Dangerous!) Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company (Don’t forget cell phones, and the Internet does not work without power. How we forget so easily that we need power to use pretty much everything today! Once again, I recommend listening to the local radio stations even if it’s in your car which is what we had to do.) Stay out of any building that has water in it Inspect your home for damages and take as many pictures as possible for the insurance company. (As soon as possible, call your insurance company. It can take weeks just to get them out to your home.) Use flashlights in the dark. Do not use candles. Avoid using or preparing food with tap water until you’re sure it is not contaminated. Check refrigerator and freezer for spoiled food. Wear protective clothing and be careful when cleaning up debris etc. (sunscreen, protective clothes, and hats) Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control (Many of my friends lost their pets in the storm and/or pets are seen wandering around town lost.) Use the telephone only for emergencies if able. (Fortunately for us, 911 and emergency messages still came through on our phones,) There are so many other things that one can do before, during, and after the storm to prepare and survive. I would recommend doing research on all the above to be prepared for by researching the internet and emergency management agencies’ resources. Hopefully, one will never have to experience a hurricane or any other kind of disaster, but if one does, I sincerely hope that this article will help with the preparation and survival from disasters. Last but not least, a big thank you to all those who worked together following Hurricane Michael to begin to assist with piecing together the life’s of my town and family back together. “ #850STRONG” Hurricane Michael (1)-5 (1).docx
  2. spunkygirl1962

    Keep Moving!

    Keep Moving! By Michele Bone BSN, MHS, RN Have you ever been at work and said to yourself: "I need to exercise, but have no time or energy to do it?" A majority of nurses work long hours and tiresome shifts. Nurses are too tired or have no time for exercising. I am a post-anesthesia care nurse who works long hours including being on call for patient care. I have a gym membership but do not seem to find the energy or time to go to the gym. The sad thing is that the gym is only 10 minutes away from my hospital and open 24 hours a day. I began talking to fellow nurses to see if they would be interested in an exercise program. A program they could do at work that would not interrupt their nursing duties. There was an overwhelming "yes" to my question. As nurses, we may think the physical activity we get as we make our rounds from patient to patient is enough, but it is not. We need to add specific exercises designed to help keep us fit and decrease stress. I consulted a fellow nurse, who is also a bodybuilder, and personal trainer on what exercises a nurse could do while at work. In addition, I spoke with my fellow nurses to see what kind of exercises they would be interested in doing. Together, we developed a list of exercises to help decrease stress, tone the body, and assist with the cardiovascular system. The following is a list of exercises starting from the top of the body: Neck and shoulder rolls. These can be done standing or sitting. Shadow boxing. One needs to be cautious when doing this. You do not want to accidentally punch someone. Stretch arms in front of the body, grab fingers, and lightly pull down fingers Stand tall and alternate left and right knees, bending knee up to chest Sit in a chair, contract abdominal muscles Straight posture, shoulders back, back straight, chin up, and buttocks slightly tucked in- slowly bend as if you are going to sit in a chair- bend to a comfortable level then stand up-repeat throughout the day Leg curls. Sit in a chair and bend leg up from knee- rotate legs Gluteal squeezes. Throughout the day, squeeze the buttocks and let go. Take the stairs instead of the elevator These exercises should be done with good posture and 8 to 12 times per set. According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, adults need an equivalent mix of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging) and 2 or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activities.1The above activity is a good way to start to reach this goal. Nurses may not have free time or energy to exercise, but hopefully, these exercises will help with relieving stress, toning, and the cardiovascular system until you are able to go to the gym. Few of us can take 20 uninterrupted minutes between patients to devote to these exercises. So try 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there until you reach 20 minutes. Remember, 20 minutes 3 times a week is your starting goal. Even if you don't have that much time, spend the time you do have. This routine is a good start to reaching the goal that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended for improving your health. Remember to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine. The important thing is to keep moving! ABOUT THE AUTHOR I have 26 years of nursing experience specializing in emergency room care and post-anesthesia care. I received my Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Florida State University and my Masters of Science in Health Services with an emphasis on Wellness Promotion from Independence University. The combination of the two degrees in nursing/wellness and my interest in fitness have inspired me to write this article to help other nurses find ways to keep healthy. Reference: 1. How much physical activity do adults need? (n.d.). Retrieved from How much physical activity do adults need? | Physical Activity | CDC