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Monday, January 3, 2011

A Time to Stand and A Time To Evacuate

Secret #5

Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are.
- Bernice Johnson Reagon

When the carbon monoxide detector alarm sounded tonight as we were watching a movie, I was paralyzed by this challenge because I didn't understand what the challenge was.  Confusion, fear of the unknown, fight or flight, what is that sound?  It was a sound that I had never heard, so therefore, I had to locate the source of the bloodcurdling screech.  It doesn't take long.  Then the decision must be made as to what to do.  I do the smart thing, I call my brother, David, so he can be upset too.  He was.  I felt justified in my fear but that still doesn't solve the problem of what to do.  "Check the bird" he says.  "I did" I replied. "Still alive and well, thank goodness, so it can't be that bad, can it?"  I really hate the thought of checking the Wicket (lovebird) to test the air. She has been with us a really long time and I am quite fond of her nasty attitude.

If the house had been on fire, I would have known what to do: run, run fast, run hard, make sure Becky and the animals are running first.  But the alarm was saying "explosive gas".  I turn off our five burner radiant heat stove, turn off the gas valve and open the door and turn on the fan. This is NOT what you are suppose to do!  When the emergency crews arrive, they need to be able to get an accurate reading of whatever is in the home.  Live and learn.  I called my Keefeton Volunteer Fire Department Chief, Speck, and was given instructions as to what to do.  Well, actually, I called his wife Jan, the emergency dispatch number, my brother and Speck.  I wanted everyone in Muskogee County to know I was scared and thanks to my panicky speed dialing, everyone does know. The wonderful thing about living in our area is that everyone takes care of their friends and neighbors. Simple living at it's finest.  I'm almost smart enough to know when to stand and when to evacuate. 

Speck was so calm and collected, clearly this wasn't his first time dealing with a half-crazed terrified woman.  Knowing what to do in an emergency situation is vital for your survival.  If quick action had been required in this situation to save the life of my loved ones, I would have failed miserably.  Just the thought of "What If?" sends a shiver down my spine.  Perhaps, when I calm down a little more, there will be a lesson in all of this that will make me a better person.  Tonight I felt like a helpless little old lady.  I was incompetent to deal with this situation and that is not something that I am all that familiar with and I certainly don't like.  I am woman, I can do anything (well, most stuff), as the song goes. 

Becky has to work tomorrow, so I told her to go to sleep and not worry.  "I got your back" is my goodnight to her and I do.  Tonight and always.  Maybe, that is the lesson.

Note to self:  Buy 9 volt batteries to add to emergency supply box.  If we have a power failure, it is critical that we monitor the quality of air in our home.  Especially during the winter months when there is a limited amount of fresh air in the house.

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