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Things I Have Learned From the Mistakes of Others

  Many of the most useful things I have learned in life have been learned at the expense – some fatal – of others.  For thirteen years I worked at a municipal fire department as a firefighter and paramedic in the state of Florida.  The training I received to perform my job pales in comparison to some of the things I learned while on the job.  I would like to share some of these things with our blog readers.

  • 1) Never follow behind any vehicle with items hanging off it no matter how secure the load looks. I have discovered these items tend to look for (and penetrate) windshields when they fall off.
  • 2) When you are driving, never turn your wheels until you are ready to accelerate into the turn. If you are rear ended and your wheels are turned you will go the direction your tires are headed. Often this means into you will be thrown into oncoming traffic.
  • 3) Never ever hang glide or fly an ultra light airplane. While I am quite sure they are fun in the air, some landings can be ruthless.
  • 4) Wear your seatbelt! I can’t think of anything worse than finishing out an accident only to wind up out of the vehicle and lying in the middle of a busy highway.
  • 5) If you like Christmas trees please stick with the fake ones. While a real tree might smell nice, a dry one can become fully engulfed in flames in less than a minute. Spending the holidays homeless is not worth a smell.
  • 6) Never believe if you are careful enough on a motorcycle you are safe. I have seen accidents that absolutely no motorcyclist could have avoided. Do not ever ride motorcycles unless you are ok with losing a limb – or worse – in exchange for the thrill.
  • 7) If you own a pool please make sure it is fenced and has an alarm. http://www.poolguard.com/ These alarms will audibly alert you if anything greater than 15 pounds falls in. A pool alarm costs less than $200 and could have prevented child drowning incidents I have seen where death or brain damage was the final outcome.
  • 8) Make sure you have functioning battery operated fire alarms in you home on all floor levels. Test them at least twice a year. I have seen too many fatalities as a result of this cheap and simple prevention.
  • 9) Have actual home fire drills with your family. If you have kids can they open a window, remove a screen and get out? Is your family aware that in smoky conditions the best visibility will be obtained by crawling on the ground? Set up a meeting place outside the home so you can quickly determine if someone failed to get out.

Each and every point item listed above may seem like common sense to some.  Yet I can say that I have seen those who failed to follow common sense pay for it with their life, and in some cases the lives of others.  Hopefully the information I have outlined will in some small way keep both you and yours safe.