Archive for December 2016

HAVE PURPOSE. LIVE LONGER & LIVE BETTER (and Live Safer?). It is well known that a purpose in life is a good thing to have. An abundance of research confirms that individuals who cultivate a meaningful sense of direction for themselves tend to live longer, experience better physical and mental health, and enjoy happier and more satisfying lives. WHAT IS PURPOSE? In a 2009 study, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) defined “purpose” as ‘tendency to derive meaning from life’s experiences and possess a sense of intentionality and goal-directedness that guides behavior’. Surprisingly, the NIH study also found that this definition was generalized across study participants. In other words, findings didn’t vary by age, sex, education or race! PURPOSE AND YOUTH: Based on this particularly favorable array of evidence linking purpose with quality of life, many practitioners and researchers suggest that purpose promotes positive youth development. Yet understanding how youth actually go about finding their purpose, and the consequences of doing so within the unique context of adolescence, remain targets for ongoing research. DAVID’S STORIES of PURPOSE. In this podcast, Dr. Perrodin examines evidence that purpose is an important resource that adolescents can use to successfully navigate challenges and even thrive during this period of the lifespan. He recounts finding purpose in his own life, from when he was a boy working a snow shovel late into the evening with his father clearing out driveways and sidewalks for veterans and widows to fostering community amongst folks attending a free community lunch. Smile as David re-tells an elderly man’s story of how orange juice dissolved metal processing equipment at a factory and pause to contemplate what role a sense of purpose might have in preventing harm to self or harm to others? A RESEARCH AGENDA FOR LINKING PURPOSE AND SAFETY. David describes a recently-concluded research study that found that high school seniors not only struggled to set career and other life goals, but also didn’t know how to set a goal, such as determining rationale, baseline and how to measure the goal. Dr. Perrodin hints for an agenda that places emphasis on teaching children and young adults how to set goals, and in turn, how to find purpose – a factor David feels is strongly linked to school safety (although, with regret, few studies have examined the link between purpose and safety for any population). OTHER FORMATS. You can also view to this podcast on YouTube https://youtu.be/hZKmuXv0Y4U LISTEN LIVE ON RADIO. The 405 Media http://the405media.com/the-safety-doc/ FOLLOW ME. On Twitter @SafetyPhd and subscribe to "The Safety Doc" YouTube channel. DR. PERRODIN'S BLOG. https://crisisprepconsulting.wordpress.com/

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What does it mean to have a sense of agency and why is having a sense of agency essential to one’s personal safety? How is it that people seemingly at the “top of their game” struggle to articulate their identity following shake-ups in the very organizational structures that have empowered them? What does it mean when you no longer introduce yourself as, "Hi, I'm the chief of (very important position) for (very important organization)? Really, it never mattered that much, folks. Really. Did you know that astronaut Buzz Aldrin became a recluse sustained by fast food and alcohol once he became “just” Buzz Aldrin? Buzz’s agency was structure-defined and he struggled greatly to re-establish his agency after NASA. ABOUT THIS HOLIDAY PODCAST. This folksy informal holiday special podcast, filmed in front of a fireplace, includes a Santa-hat donned David “The Safety Doc” Perrodin reflecting upon how his own agency was impacted across the years. Internal agency was cultivated by playing basketball on an ice-slicked driveway in northern Wisconsin, complementing an elderly lady at a restaurant and practicing Zen-like awareness of the environment as well as keen introspection during walks, runs and 75-mile bike treks. Western Civilization fosters external agency. Advertising campaigns attempt to convince us that the most important people in the neighborhood discover a huge red bow upon a luxury car snuggled in their pristine driveway. Retailers aggressively spend to convince you that material possessions measure one’s agency. Perhaps, but externally-fueled agency is a safety vulnerability. David shares his encounters with the rollercoaster of external agency and how he had neglected his health to the point when walking a light incline on campus left him winded. WHAT IS AGENCY? Agency is feeling in control of one’s life - being able to express one’s power. Agency is feeling needed or wanted and such perceived “importance” can create a sense of power and control. Social order is important – and so are structures, be it a corporation or your “like” tally on Facebook. Agency is structure-dependent. Yet, we seek control over the structures that covertly control us. Ultimately, we over-estimate our abilities to captain our environment and, as our bodies fail from obesity, sedentary lifestyles and stress, we quickly become “the person that had it all, and then had a heart attack.” External agency also makes others dependent upon you in order to maintain their own sense of being. Be a fan, not a fanatic. People have actually fallen into a depressive state after their favorite sports team lost a championship game. In this way, we are like flags waiting for a breeze. CONCLUSION. External agency, false agency or lack of agency pose substantial risks to one’s safety prowess as it blunts one’s ability to identify the flux as reality is perceived as being created or manipulated. This holiday season, give the gift of helping others to discover their internal agency. OTHER FORMATS. You can view this podcast on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLqnCWFkbf4&t=34s or on The 405 Media http://the405media.com/the-safety-doc/ FOLLOW ME. On Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to this YouTube channel.

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Search and Rescue dogs (and their handlers) are incredible assets to locating missing individuals. However, a poorly executed search effort is a distinct possibility as the “Professional” rescue teams are compromised by the well-intentioned, but amateur handlers that are, with concerning frequency, self-dispatching to incident venues and interfering with evidence and overall efficiency of time-sensitive operations. I interviewed Jennifer Fritton, Search and Rescue Dog handler, to learn more about the training and protocols for deployment of a search and rescue dog. While one would assume that rescue dogs are deemed such through a standardized training and competency assessment, that’s only a partially accurate statement. Efforts to move toward standardized baseline credentials are underway, but there remains variation between how dogs are trained and how dogs are deemed qualified to participate in various search and rescue scenes. IMMEDIATE ACTIONS TO TAKE IF A CHILD WANDERS AWAY: Jennifer clarified that school staff should mobilize and go to “probable” and “high-risk” areas with their cell phones per the direction of a principal or designee. This can be done prior to the arrival of law enforcement. Although such a step makes sense, it might not be considered by the school administrator who is preparing to interface with policy and emergency responders, sharing a description of the child, perhaps sharing main points from the child’s IEP (for example, is the child non-verbal?), and trying to identify a staging area. These are crucial steps. However, Jennifer noted that awareness of certain rescue profiles have proven effective in searches. For example, she shared that children with autism might gravitate to bodies of water, railroad tracks and tall objects, such as towers. She added that children with autism have been located within large machinery and buildings. On the other hand, a person with dementia tends to be linear and will try to overcome a barrier, such as a fence, rather than navigating around it. Still, someone expressing harm to self is likely to stay within 1000 feet of a known road or trail. The biggest take-aways from my interview with Ms. Fritton where as follows: 1) SAR professionals must work under the direction of law enforcement. Self-dispatch is a problem and must be mitigated as best as possible. 2) Don’t wait for the law enforcement to arrive to dispatch personnel to “high probability” locations. The people you dispatch aren’t technically searchers, but are more likely to serve in the role of interceptors or to simply observe a sign of the missing subject, such as a mitten. 3) Make staff aware of what to anticipate in the event that a SAR occurs at the school premises. Also, educate staff on their roles and also the need to avoid rallying a rescue crowd to help with a by-foot search. If necessary, the police will coordinate such efforts. 4) If you are interested in learning more about being a member of a SAR team, perhaps in the role of a support to the team or as a handler, it is best to inquire with local law enforcement in order to be directed to the “professional” teams that are contacted by police relative to persons or teams that maintain engaging websites and abide by less formal protocols. This interview can be accessed via the following media sites: YouTube: https://youtu.be/pe0-JJmhmCE The 405 Media (9PM Pacific M-R): http://the405media.com/the-safety-doc/ Subscribe to the SoundCloud RSS feed for this podcast: http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:253648050/sounds.rss Follow me (The Safety Doc) on Twitter @SafetyPhD Follow my safety blog: https://crisisprepconsulting.wordpress.com/

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Following a harrowing tale of how the Safety Doc and his father narrowly escaped the wrath of security personnel at an oil refinery, Dr. Perrodin elaborates on our innate tendencies to simply overlook proverbial red "safety" flags present in the every-day environment. This week, a Public Service Announcement (PSA) titled "Evan" (searchable on YouTube) was released by the nonprofit "Sandy Hook Promise" created by people in Newtown, Connecticut. The video is remarkably effective at demonstrating how our attention is drawn to the "norm" and how easily we overlook in-plain-sight warning signs. Such warning signs, which might be posts on social media, prevent school attacks when they are identified, reported to adults and then ACTED UPON by adults. It's an entire safety system and a short circuit in any segment disables opportunities to prevent sentinel events and to connect a child, or children, to supports necessary to address harm-to-self or harm-to-others errors in thinking. Unfortunately, my experience with many schools are that few center teaching students, staff and parents the concept of threat assessment. Some schools don't even have a "formal" threat assessment process. Yep, even in 2016! Curiously, the term "leakage detection" rarely appears in Internet searches and some of the most prominent writing on the topic was authored by me! (Per a Google search, my works were the first 4 headings that appeared). Residue exists. “In cases of Erfut, Germany in 2002 and Columbine in 1999, attackers disclosed their plans on the Internet. These prior claims of intent are often lost in general disbelief of the noise of the daily routine. To filter the noise, school officials must learn to differentiate between a mere threat of violence from the ability and commitment to perform it”. Leakage continues to be an important aspect of school safety. Yet, little is done to teach students, staff or parents how to identify leakage - even though such "education" measures would be relatively simple to do. For example, a social media post expressing intent to harm self or others should be recognized as threat and subsequently elicit a reporting response. We can teach students and parents to recognize such threats. Per the “Evan” video, unsettling media posts can be “glossed over” as just “typical rhetoric from THAT kid”. School are structured in a top-down manner that centers school administrators as the leakage gatekeepers. This approach was incomplete in 2006 and remains incomplete in 2016 – leakage is typically first presented to students or staff. Where's the urgency to evolve to a better system? When humans see a problem from far away, such as the pending oil shortage, the problem is likely to be solved – the surprise innovations will drive society. Leakage detection is way to address a slow-moving disaster. SOURCE: Crockett, S., Huang, S. B., Lee, K., & Liebling, D. (2005). Protecting Soft Targets: A Case Study and Evaluation of High School Security. This podcast is also available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/1GPDtgMXmU4 The 405 Media (9PM Pacific M-R): http://the405media.com/the-safety-doc/ Follow me on Twitter @SafetyPhD Follow my blog at https://crisisprepconsulting.wordpress.com/ I will respond to comments made on any platforms.

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Did you know that some professional sports stadiums now equip their safety personnel with mobile devices with a drop down menu that enables them to notify a special group of responders in the event of a drone attack? App-based large venue safety management tools are evolving at incredible rates. This special "behind the scenes" episode of “The Safety Doc” podcast features an interview with Scott Meyers, VP of Sales for ISS24/7, the industry leader setting the standard for venue management software and always improving that standard via the regular input of stakeholders through both analytics and brainstorming focus groups. Levi Stadium, home to the San Francisco 49ers, is one of many professional properties where ISS24/7 helps to reduce risks and maximize guest experience. By digitally documenting and tracking incidents, requests, tasks, work orders, preventative maintenance, inspections, guard tours, and even lost and found items, the ISS 24/7 software elevates every facet of an organization to the highest level of efficiency and performance. Still, Scott shares that major gaps continue to challenge those charged with ensuring safe venues. And while user-friendly icon-based mobile app managed systems have become common at the professional and college levels, there is very little penetration into K-12 settings, even for districts with 70 or more schools! This podcast is also available on Youtube: https://youtu.be/D2YxxgZgrsg 405 Media (9PM Pacific M-R): http://the405media.com/the-safety-doc/ Follow me on Twitter @SafetyPhD Follow my blog at https://crisisprepconsulting.wordpress.com/ Learn about ISS24/7: http://www.iss247.com/

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