With the advent of Harvey here in Houston, David and I thought it would be good if we took Community Emergency Response Training through FEMA. It’s offered free every couple of months. You can see more about what the training is specifically here.
I’ll be honest, I thought it was just some sort of class where you show up, read from a manual, listen to a few speakers and learn a bit more about safety in natural disasters but it is so much more. Each session is 3 hours long and there are 8 sessions.
This was our second session. I’ll admit – I was nervous about it. I knew we would, in theory, be putting out a controlled fire but I have never used an extinguisher before. I knew the theories but had never held one. As a young child, I was terrified of fire consuming our house at night and slept with my door closed specifically because I wanted to be sure I had time to get out in the case of a fire. As an adult, you could say I have my head stuck in the sand or my hands over my ears and my eyes closed shaking my head saying “nope. nope. nope. not going to happen here.” But we all know it’s possible. In truth, I knew enough that I believed that as long as I knew the theories of how to put out a fire, I’d be able to do it if I had to. That is perhaps true. However, in CERT training, they leave nothing to chance. Practice makes perfect and this is a great way to start.
The training is at a local fire station so I get the sense that we get a unique view of firehouse strategies as well as the training provided by FEMA.
We donned our gear – a hard hat, safety goggles, and gloves. We all took a deep breathe and me the Chief out at the pit. Immediately, I’m looking at the fire extinguishers and coming up with hundreds of reasons why I can’t try using that extinguisher.
The gloves are too big…the extinguisher is too heavy….my hearing aids might melt…I don’t need to do this. I’ve seen the videos, aim at the base and sweep. DUH
Looking around, it was clear that very few of us wanted to actually do it but I noticed something as each person mustered up the courage, picked up that extinguisher and attempted to put out that fire. The ones who walked up timid and unsure of themselves just could not manage to put out the fire. Each of them had to muster up their own courage to do MORE than picking up that fire extinguisher and aiming. They had to be determined. The ones who walked up to that fire and said “I’ve got this. You, fire, are going nowhere.” They were the ones who were assertive and successful.
I resolved to take the bull by the horns and tell the fire who was the boss. After all, at this point, I have 4 firefighters and they are in control of the heat. I grabbed that extinguisher, pulled the pin, squeezed once to test and off I went. SWEEP SWEEP SWEEP SWEEP. DONE. That fire went down. I put it out! After that, I felt like I could do anything.
It was really cool to see that once we did it, we each felt an incredible sense of accomplishment and a comradery unlike anything else. Each of us knows now that if we encountered a small fire, we would know what to do and, without a doubt, would know the right process to take to put it out.
The training further teaches that when we are responding to an emergency, we won’t always have the fire department nearby and so we must work as a team (both with fire extinguishers but only one active at a time). They both yell FIRE so others know around them and then one person leads, starting with yelling “Going in!”, the other has their hand on the shoulder and follows, responding in like “Going in!” ensuring that they have heard and are responding. While person 1 is focused on the fire, person 2 is focused on the surroundings (what is the floor like, is there any threat that might hinder person 1, no tripping hazards, etc), as the person 1 sprays the fire with the extinguisher, the 2nd person is still ensuring the surroundings are safe.
One would think that everything stops once the fire is out (after all – that’s the goal). However, the teamwork doesn’t stop there. When exiting, the 2nd person takes the lead, turning around and leads the 1st person (who remains facing the fire in case it re-ignites and they have to return).
“Going out!” person 2 says followed by “going out!” by person 1. Person 2 has their hand on the shoulder leading person 1 who is walking backward, watching the surroundings and ensuring person 1 doesn’t fall.
A quick high-level video can be seen here of what that looks like without the yelling and alerting.
As you can imagine, in an emergency situation, taking appropriate action and working as a team with everyone on the team is incredibly important. It’s not up for debate. It’s not even an option to not put your best foot forward. Lives matter in that instance.
This entire experience impressed upon me the reality that we must find a way to do the same in our day to day jobs.
It’s NOT about making it to the end of your shift or the end of your project. It’s not about just getting through the day. It’s also not about giving your least so you can give your best to your side business or your family or your hobby.
Your job that you are doing today has importance and you must do it with the same gusto as you would if lives were depending on it. Ironically, lives ARE depending on it. That co-worker who has an ill family member really needs their job. That sales associate who is dealing with the customers – she has huge medical bills. That customer you are serving – they need you to give it their all so they leave the interaction with you knowing they made the right decision.
As you can imagine, if lives are depending on your work then your department…no…your whole company must work as a team. Teamwork with the same goals (put out x fire) and coming out on the other side in one piece while saving lives in the process. There’s no better feeling.
Treat this week as though putting out this fire with your team will saves lives….after all, it may just be yours that is saved.
Before I begin…I do know this post is not the normal post for me on this site but, today, I am making an exception. I hope you will pardon the change for today….
It was supposed to be a normal Sunday.
A day where I would go to church and then come home and update the blog, develop my webinar content and write some more of my 3rd book. I had big plans of sitting at my computer most of the day getting caught up. After all, the laundry was done, the groceries had been purchased and all the errands were complete.
All of that changed when my husband opened the back door to go to his truck.
I was still getting ready for church. I hadn’t fully decided on my outfit-though I was dressed-hadn’t done my makeup and hadn’t even brushed my hair when I heard him say, “Oh, Melisssaaaaaa.” The tone of voice was one I had heard before. It meant no good. I came down and he opened the back door to display a passel of stray puppies clearly hungry.
“I found them eating out of our garbage.” He says. “I have to get to church. Maybe get them some water?”
So, I hiked up my skirt and ran back inside to find whatever I could to fill with water while he took off.
They drank like they had never drunk before. I went back in 3 times for more water.
Their tails were wagging and they were full of kisses.
And then, all of a sudden, I froze. A big ferocious looking dog comes bounding around the corner with determination. I wasn’t sure if I or the puppies were dead meat but I was pretty sure this was the end. She did NOT look friendly.
My mind scattered hundreds of ways. My eyes darted looking for ideas of where I could scurry. I cried out in my heart wishing David had not left but so glad the kids and our dog were safe inside.
That lasted for less than 30 seconds..
That big dog quickly wagged her tail, kissing the pups and drinking the water with them. Momma bear was so thirsty and so glad to find her pups that I became an instant friend.
I breathed a sigh of relief. “Whew. Well hello momma.” I said as I petted her back and accepted her kisses.
“Now what?” I thought. “THREE puppies AND their momma?!?! I clearly can’t keep them. My landlord will have a fit…they will destroy the house for sure. I know. I’ll call the constable…”
I quickly placed the call for the Constable as all the puppies began to find some semblance of peace. They were all cuddled up against our garage door resting. Momma took a bit longer to calm down but was resting by the time the Constable showed.
He asked if I knew who they belonged to or had ever seen them around. He then asked if I was going to care for them until a shelter could be found. I informed him our dog wasn’t going to have any other dogs in her yard and we could not keep them. He said we would be lucky if anyone could come out on a Sunday but be would make some calls.
A few minutes later he informed me they would be here by noon to pick them up and to feed them so they stayes out until animal control could pick them up.
So I did.
6 bowls later, they were full and happy.
I figured we could make it to noon.
I posted lost animal notices on all the social media sites in case their owner was missing them. I scoured the posts of lost pets to see if anyone was missing a family of pups. No luck.
Noon came and went but no animal control came by. I called the dispatch for the constable but they laughed and said no one would pick them up on Sunday. I called the Houston SPCA and they informed me they don’t pick up pit bulls.
At this point, I’ve now been warned by many that pits don’t stand a chance in Houston. I’d also been covered in so many kisses and loves from these guys that I knew they needed a home. The momma even tried to climb in my daughter’s lap. (Note that these are actually NOT pits – but Mastiffs)
The day got hotter and the pups became lethargic. I began to worry they were overheated. At one point, while i was on faceboom live showing the puppies, I realized one had climbed under a car and was not moving. His labored breathing concerned me. Another was weak and tired and not moving too great either so I opened my laundry room door in hopes to give them some cool air to refresh. I lost my laundry room at that point but within 30 minutes of dragging the weakesr one in there, they began to look like they were coming alive again. Even momma seemed like she was feeling better.
I contacted every shelter I was told about, scoured the web for rescues. But it was a Sunday…worse…the Sunday before 4th of July.
I posted and shared videos, I called more shelters.
Houston has hundreds of shelters and rescues. One, in particular has 800 animals. Another shared they are 3x over their limit. Most of the shelters here euthanize animals that may be hard to adopt (like pits) in order to make room for others coming in. Most strays get 3 days at the most before they are euthanized. Many rescues told me they were in dire need of foster families. My heart broke over and over to hear these stories. It became painfully clear they weren’t going anywhere for the night.
We rigged some guinea pig fencing across the driveway because I was concerned they might run if there were fireworks. I was also concerned because momma was protective of her pups and our neighbors had reported other strays in the neighborhood.
I sat outside with them in the heat, speaking softly and ensuring momma kept calm and they did not run out of food or water. I also didn’t want them to tear up anything but the puppies were too weak to care.
When our dog (Mandy) would come out to go potty, they would watch her with sad eyes as if to say “We want to be on the other side of that fence too….” Only Momma wouldn’t let Mandy anywhere near the pups.
I went to bed after spending almost the entire day with those dogs unsure they would stay the night. I knew the makeshift fence I had wouldn’t hold them if they chose to go. I also knew by this point that their chances were limited.
I woke up this morning sunburnt and mosquito-bitten but knowing they would need sustenance and not wanting them to tear anything up as they became more awake, I ran downstairs.
I took more pictures and posted more posts, sent more emails and went back to my desk to work.
By 9 am, they were rambunctious and getting antsy. They needed more than I could give them. I called Animal Control to come pick them up in hopes they will find a home but I am so sad that I cannot more easily find their owners or a shelter.
They all need flea baths and the pups look like they have worms … momma didn’t have a chip so no idea if her owners will find her but Animal Control was 100% positive that they were dumped.
Each of them are so precious that my heart breaks that they may not ever find a family to love them and take them in. My heart especially broke for momma who loves her pups and keeps them safe. They’ve had a tough time of it and I wish that wasn’t so.
So, this morning I’m praying for a miracle. That someone will see these adorable dogs and adopt them or foster them..that they will get the help they need…that they will find true love in the form of a family. Will you join me?
Update: The shelter says they are Mastiffs. Momma is less than 3 years old and the pups are rated as 13 weeks old. The owners may have been found. I look forward to hearing they are reunited and seeing each of them again in their home.
Here are the links to their adoption pages at the shelter:
Brown boy pup: http://petharbor.com/pet.asp?uaid=HRRS.A487580
Brown girl pup: http://petharbor.com/pet.asp?uaid=HRRS.A487579
Runt girl pup: http://petharbor.com/pet.asp?uaid=HRRS.A487581
7/5/2017 update: shelter informed me that the owner called to claim them all. They expect him to be in today. Impound fees are $40/pet and $10/day/pet with a requirement to get them all rabies shots and licensed within a certain period of time. If he picks them up today, that will be $280 at minimum. I feel for him. Had I had any inkling that these were his dogs and how to get ahold of him, I would have kept them at the house a little longer.
P.s. They told me he claimed they are boxer mixes which I can kinda see when looking at pictures. I’m not a dog expert by any means so I really don’t know.
Special guest Chrissy Bernal, author, creative Communications & Marketing, Homeschool Mom of unique twins, Special Needs Parent, Marine mom, Speaker, Empowerment Enthusiast Consultant Recorded live on Saturday June 10
It’s about transitioning your thinking It’s about finding what makes you unique and using that as a platform. Learn to see where God is shaping your journey organically. What happens when you pay attention to your experiences?
About Chrissy Chrissy is an Author, Writer, former Homeschool Mom of unique twins, Special Needs Parent, Marine mom, Speaker, Empowerment Enthusiast, and Creative Communications & Marketing Consultant. Her children’s book “Sienna’s Locket” is available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. She appeared on shows such as 20/20, Inside Edition, and Anderson Cooper and graduated with a BA in Mass Communications/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Chrissy believes that each of us has something unique and we should focus positively on that. Chrissy’s vision is too inspire and educate people to see their uniqueness, with this do great things and see their greatness as well as use their challenges to inspire change For more on Chrissy www.chrissybernal.com
I recently had the honor of interviewing a woman I’ve been itching to talk to for quite a while.
While both interviews were of the same great author and speaker, each took a different turn. Both shared valuable information about how to rise above unwanted change and devastation that seemed to come over and over.
Debby is a woman on a mission. In her book, “The Woman Behind the Smile” she shares her personal experience with a love that turned into betrayal and financial disaster and she removes the mask of shame and shows others how to do the same.
These are shows you really want to listen to – whether you are single or married, male or female, there’s something for everyone in these shows!
You can listen to the Vikings of Faith show here:
You can listen to the Change Hackers show here:
Learn more about Debby and get her book here:
Thank you Debby for two amazing interviews!
Today I embraced a new title and experience – that of Radio Host.
Both were online. Both were dependent on technology working as we needed it to. As expected, we had some technical difficulties but we made it thru! It was a GREAT experience as my first radio show..
At one point, during the first show, Change Hackers, I began to wonder how we recover from the experience. My internet had lost the connection and then my phone connection was just not great. I seriously considered postponing the show but I knew two things:
1. There would be new problems next time.
2. The message I was there to share needed to be told. There were people out there who needed to hear it.
And so…we continued on. My guest, Jeff Wolfe, was a FANTASTIC guest, rolling with the challenges as they came and smiling the whole way through. If he was frustrated, he didn’t say a thing and he continued. Jeff took time out of his day at his company picnic to spend time sharing with us all about Project Uncharted – how it came to be, what it was and what it would become.
The second show, Vikings of Faith had different technical issues but we muddled our way through. Each show has a unique aspect to it. While Change Hackers focused on how we deal with change, Vikings of Faith focused on how we enable the warrior within us.
I said in both of my shows that I would update my website with how to contact Jeff.
You can contact him either at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org by phone at 770-378-1510.
His website are: www.ProjectUncharted.com and www.flexmktg.com
Follow project uncharted on Instagram, twitter and facebook as well to get updates as they become available.
Jeff and I spoke during the second show about ways to pray for Jeff and Project Uncharted. You can see them below:
Pray for the Logistics
Stories to be selected
Stories to be told as God wants them to be shared
Stories will need video production in addition to other parts of the package
The right sponsors to sponsor the story development
Pray for Jeff
That he will respond correctly to God’s desire in the sharing of these stories
That he will always remember that the stories are not about him but about those sharing their stories and how God worked in their lives
Listen to Coach on Fire’s Change Hackers- Mastering Change in all areas of life! – Premier at http://tobtr.com/s/10019265. #BlogTalkRadio #ChangeHacker #CoachOnFire
Listen to 108 Praise Radio Vikings of Faith – Tapping into the Warrior in you – Premier at http://www.facebook.com/108praiseradio/videos/1638317399530867/ (show starts 15 minutes in) #VikingsOfFaith #108PraiseRadio
While these weren’t the best shows ever due to technical issues, it is my hope that you will enjoy the content that Jeff shared. There will be two new shows coming in 2 weeks (guest still to be determined).
Join the following groups to stay up to date on the shows:
In the end, I suppose the best way to summarize this day is:
Please be patient with me. God is not done with me yet. 🙂
If you are within driving distance of Houston, I would love it if you would consider joining us at this FREE conference at Spring Baptist Church – Klein campus. in Spring, TX.
This conference is for the single adult – no matter the age and the married couple – new or experienced.
The conference is a compilation of some of the best talks I’ve ever heard.
1. Have you ever wondered why some marriages make it and others don’t?
2. Have you ever wondered just what IS the definition of love?
3. Have you ever wondered why you struggle showing love to others like you want to?
4. Or perhaps you just want to know the key to how to pray for your marriage.
There are so many other topics we will discuss at the conference so I hope you will join us there!
Check out the video below for more information: https://youtu.be/Mq8UogsOD4o
p.s. We are hoping to share this seminar at other churches in the area. IF you are in the area and would like to arrange to have this conference at your church, contact us via email at email@example.com