Thursday, December 8, 2011

What's an emergency?

Last night at bedtime boy took off his shoe to show me his toe.  He had gone to the nurses office during school and she looked at it and told him to show me.  He has an abscess that has a little pus in it.  (Doesn't this sound like what I just read on Survivalblog last night?) I asked him how his toe got this little infection.  When did it start? 

Then we talked about going to the nurses office.  Why did you go?  "Because my toe hurt." I told him he is not supposed to get out of class to see the nurse unless it's an emergency.  But "my toe hurt!"  Not an emergency.  If you broke your arm on the playground, if you throw up, if you are running a high fever, if you fell and stubbed your toe...those are emergencies for you to go to see the nurse.  Not for a sore toe.  You know why?  Because it wasn't important enough to tell me, it's not important enough to become an emergency just because it's bugging you in class.  Not an emergency.

So what is an emergency?  I suppose his toe could be considered an emergency if this infection got into his bloodstream or something of that sort.  In our state the term emergency has actually been defined.  Why?  Because our citizens voted in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), with sort of mirrors the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).  If you are doing any kind of project that required permitting where the government (state or local) has any sort of say, then that government office is supposed to consider CEQA.  So does just about everything that any government body does if it can affect view, noise, biological, etc.  Yes, the government has to take all sorts of things into account prior to either going ahead with a project or giving the go ahead for someone elses project.  Except, and there's always an exception, in an emergency.  So, they had to define emergency.  Otherwise everything would be an emergency and nobody would be looking at the environment. 

Now before you start with calling me an environmental wacko or complaining about regulations, I will explain myself a bit.  I do see a need for some environmental regulation.  The problem is while something starts off well, it usually gets so screwed up by people with certain agendas that it ends up not at all doing what it was intended to do.  In my job, during an emergency I tell the people I work with that all environmental regulation (at least state regulation, not federal) gets thrown out the window.  The problem is after the emergency is over.  Then regulation comes back into effect so if you can avoid something during the emergency it's much easier and cheaper to deal with it after.  But my saying when I teach is "nuke it" if you have to, just tell me what you did so I can deal with it, preferably before hits the media.  

OK I'm really off track.  This started with boy's toe.  I still haven't defined emergency.    An emergency is an occurrence, not a condition.  It's that simple.  Let's use a leaking roof as an example of the definition.  If a tree branch breaks and puts a hole in your roof during a rainstorm and rain gets into your house, that is an emergency.  If your roof leaks because it's an old roof in need of repair or replacement and it loses some shingles from the high winds in the rainstorm and rain gets into your house, it may seem like an emergency to you, but not to me.  That is a condition.  You've put off roof repairs.  Too expensive.  Too much time.  You are afraid of heights.  Whatever your excuse.  Your roof is in bad condition.  No wonder it leaks.  See where I'm going with this???

Boy's toe was not an emergency.  It may be something that we have to deal with right away but it's not an emergency.  It's a condition.  He should have mentioned it to me a day or two earlier.  He shouldn't have waited until he was sitting in class bored, which gave him time to concentrate on his toe. 

A lot of problems we have in life are because we don't take care of "conditions", we tend to wait until they become "emergencies."  Keep up on your home repairs, your health, and prepare  by doing things like storing food, self defense items, fuel, water, and learning new skills. 

1 comment:

  1. I love the story about telling the boy the difference between emergency and condition. I deal with this all day at school and we're dealing with it at home with our nephew that has moved in with us.