My Blog List

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Range Safety

Any time you handle a firearm, there is the risk of injury.  That's a simple, undeniable fact.

Most things in life have some level of danger.  Driving your car.  Jogging in the park.  Opening your door when the bell rings.

We all do various safety checks depending upon our activities.  We drive the speed limit and wear our seat belts.  We carry pepper spray when jogging.  We look through the peephole before opening the door.

There are "rules" when handling a firearm as well.  The NRA has 3 Fundamental Safety Rules for safe gun handling -
  • Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot.
  • Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
These are great rules, and are very effective when a gun owner has had proper training with his or her firearms.

But what happens when the rules are broken?  There is a saying I follow quite closely:  "Expect the best, prepare for the worst".

I can't tell you how many times I have seen people break these rules - primarily the last two.  People will be at the range in a shooting lane chatting with someone else, while their finger sits idly on the trigger.  Or they'll set down a loaded gun on the shooting bench.

I used to just keep an eye out to ensure the muzzle never left the shooting point.  It made for a very unenjoyable time at the range.

Nowadays, I'll go over, introduce myself and speak with the person.  Most times when I'm at the range, I'll be wearing my NRA Instructor gear.  I'll speak with them and offer them some suggestions.  So far, the suggestions have been appreciated and taken to heart.

But things can still go wrong.  Last week in one Northern California town, a man went into a range, rented a gun, and took his own life.  Thankfully, he waited until the range was empty before he shot himself in the head, so no one else was injured.

While this is an extremely rare incident, I still plan for something like this happening - an accidental shooting or even an intentional one.  Attached to my range bag is a first aid kit for gunshot trauma.  The intent is to help stabilize the individual until medics can arrive.  It contains large gauze bandages, tape, gloves, etc.

It also has eye rinse, cleansing wipes and regular Band-aids for more common injuries like fingers or skin getting caught in the slide.  Before every class or individual training session, I let my students know about the kit - I could be the one accidentally injured!

The kit is like a life insurance policy.  Things can happen that you don't expect.  I've never needed to use it, and probably never will.  But it's there, just in case.

Accept The Challenge

If you're going to handle a firearm, get proper training.  Learn how to safely operate and store it BEFORE you use it.  When you own a firearm, you are responsible - like it or not.  Most firearms "accidents" are preventable.  Excuses won't go very far if there is an injury due to your lack of safety knowledge.
Copyright 2009 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Passing The Buck

Here's what we know:
  • A radio station held a contest to see who could drink the most water without going to the bathroom.  The winner would win a new Wii video console ("Hold Your Wee for a Wii").
  • All contestants had to sign a release stating that if anything went wrong - including death - the radio station would be held harmless.  Twenty adults signed the release and participated in the contest.
  • During the radio program, a person who identified herself as a nurse, called into the station and said the drinking of excess amounts of water could lead to death.
  • A 28-year old woman who was in the contest died from, "Water Intoxication".
  • Her family sued the radio station and was awarded $16.5 million.
It is very easy to feel bad for the family of the dead woman.  She had a couple of kids and a husband, and they will no longer have her in their lives.  I can't even imagine their pain.

How does that justify a radio station paying for her horrible lapse in judgment?  Of her own free will, SHE decided to enter the contest.  SHE signed a release acknowledging the risks.  SHE decided to not go to the bathroom.  SHE decided to place her life at risk for a toy worth a couple of hundred dollars.  The radio station never held her down and poured water down her throat.  She brought this on herself.

This blog, and our business are ALL about personal responsibility.  While our focus is on personal safety training and emergency preparedness, our underlying philosophy is that you are in charge of your own life.

Lawsuits such as this reinforce the perception that people are too stupid to think and act for themselves.  Only some bureaucrat in the government is smart enough to know what is best for us.

We end up with laws that tell us what kinds of fats we can eat, what kinds of loans we can take, and what types of contests we can enter.  Play grounds can't have monkey bars and swing sets because the insurance that is required to defend against lawsuits is cost-prohibitive.  These lawsuits and regulations perpetuate the belief among the citizenry that the government will, "come to the rescue" whenever something in our lives goes awry.

Sadly, that belief is shown to be true time and time again.  We're all paying for this - both in cash and personal liberty.

Accept The Challenge

Live your life by example.  If you screw up, accept the consequences, and learn from it.  Support causes that promote personal responsibility.  Teach your kids about the consequences of their actions.  Live like a free American.

Copyright 2009 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pandemics and the Internet

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report on the impact a pandemic might have on Internet access.
Concerns exist that a more severe pandemic outbreak than 2009's could cause large numbers of people staying home to increase their Internet use and overwhelm Internet providers' network capacities.
The report was written specifically to look into the effects that limited or non-existent Internet access would have on the securities industry.  Still, the scenarios painted by the GAO are ones that can affect anyone that has a need for Internet access.

A few years back, I participated in a pandemic exercise that included 3,000 financial industry companies.  Our purpose was to judge the impact of large numbers of employees not being able to come to work, and what that impact would mean to the delivery of financial services nationwide.

It was very eye-opening.

Over the three weeks of the test, we were instructed to periodically "remove" employees from our employment rolls and assess the impact.  For instance, for the first week, we had to remove all employees whose last name started with a G, L, S or V.  We would then put our Business Continuity Plan (BCP) into play if any department was suddenly under-staffed.

The following week, more last-name letters were added to our list, and more employees were "removed".  The moderators of the exercise also added some other twists.  For instance, they instructed us to assume that all elementary schools, high schools and colleges had been temporarily shut-down in an attempt to slow down the spread of the pandemic.

Consider the impact of that decision:  You now have kids with no place to go during the day.  If they are to stay home, many parents would now need to stay home with them, further reducing the number of employees available for work.

Part of our BCP was to identify employees that had jobs which allowed them to telecommute - work from home via the Internet.  It soon became abundantly clear that every other bank, insurance company and securities dealer had the same idea.  Colleges and high schools began offering their courses online or via email, and the Internet soon became overburdened.  Hackers soon recognized how easily they could "hide" because of all of the Internet traffic, and they ran wild.

Accept The Challenge

Does your personal or business emergency plan take major Internet disruptions into account?  How would your daily life change if you couldn't access your online bank account for transfers or bill payment for weeks or months on end?  Email?  VOIP phone system?  Security systems?  Online store fronts?

Copyright 2009 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved.  You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.