Emergency Plan (OS007)

I read somewhere that it’s good to have an emergency plan because if something stressful happens, your mind can go blank and you can struggle to do the sensible thing or even think what to do. I know this to be true because when I accidentally strimmed a slug in the garden depositing slug parts in my eyebrow, I struggled to take effective action. Water didn’t do the trick and I couldn’t find any suitable, non-toxic cleaning products under the sink. I decided on the non chemical solution of shaving off the eyebrow.

The offending device

My predicament, for some reason, caused much amusement with my housemate, Pam who suggested slug repellent from the shed amongst other unhelpful remedies. This caused her to laugh even more hysterically. Anyway, Pam decided it would be better to ink in the missing eyebrow, which seemed a good idea at the time. This could have been an effective solution had it not been for three things:

  • I had not previously assessed Pam’s mark making ability.
  • The writing implement selected by Pam was a Sharpie permanent marker.
  • Pam performed the operation whilst still laughing, so it bore no resemblance to its neighbouring eyebrow but had alarming tangential marks (closely related to peaks of her hysteria).

After hours of scrubbing the pen marks faded being replaced by a very red mark and a week wearing sun glasses (in February). From this date, I figured that prevention is better than cure and wore safety glasses before strimming.

Anyway, back to the task in hand. A neighbouring fire fighter had advised that everyone should have an emergency plan should a fire break out. Convinced by this, I was practically assessing the possibility of exiting from my bedroom window and sliding down the sloping roof. I was already resting on the tiles with my feet in the gutter when Pam showed up and asked me what I was doing.

For some reason, she appeared visibly upset. She said that it brought back her memory of the demise of her uncle Jim, a local builder.

“I thought you said he passed away peacefully in his sleep.” I queried.

“He did but he was fixing a roof at the time.”

I could only apologise. She assumed this was a unilateral plan and asked me briskly where she and Mal appeared in my plans. Suitably reprimanded, I sat at the kitchen table, with Pam, to formulate a plan.

“Forget sliding down the roof. You could remove your other eyebrow on those rough tiles.” she chuckled “or break some bones.”

The rose bush where I would land now looked more malevolent than easthetic and my plan now seemed destined to fail. I shuffled back up the roof like a large slug and pulled myself back through the window.

“The smoke alarms were beeping weeks ago. Did you replace the batteries?” Pam asked

I said nothing but Pam continued:

“Fix it Oliver and how about an escape ladder to use from the landing window. You can’t slide down a roof and jump and neither can I”.

“OK, sounds a good idea and while we are at it:

  • remove the tea towels from near the hob.
  • Throw that dodgy fan heater away.
  • Don’t plug all those gadgets into one socket in your room.
  • Don’t leave your soldering iron plugged in.
  • Stop making chips in a frying pan.
  • Shut all the doors to avoid the fire spreading.
  • Check the source of the fire before you decide to exit out of the window. You may be able to use the stairs.
  • Keep fireworks in a metal box.
  • Fit a fire door to Mal’s room”

I was stunned. This is quite a list and more worryingly, how does she know about my room?

I asked “Have you been planning a while?”

“Well, yes I have a plan. There is plenty of information in the internet. Here are a couple of good links.”

“I think we should invest in a wind up radio, torch, SOS alarm. This one can charge a phone also. Good for hiking as we both go hiking alone. This is a medium price one.”

“I think we should get a first aid kit also. What happens if we twist or break an ankle whilst out. This one has a blanket to keep warm if we cant walk further and a whistle to attract rescuers.”

“So that’s a ‘unilateral Pam Icky plan’?” I questioned, “a bit like my plan you criticised me for?”

The semi good-natured banter continued for a while and eventually, we ordered the gear and came up with a half decent plan for the whole household. I lost the coin toss and was assigned to explain this to Mal my other housemate.

You may have read previously, Mal Evolent is quite a disagreeable person and definitely not a team player. His response to my proposed plan was clouded in abuse giving me the impression that he would be the first one out of his bedroom window and everyone for themselves. End of conversation.

Pam asked me what the next emergency plans to be addressed are. I confirmed that my list was:

  • Meteor strike.
  • Hurricane.
  • Curtain rail falling off.

Pam queried my logic, impolitely. I apologised but said that I would not, at this time, be able to explain the marathon thought process by which I arrived at the list and the interplay between impact and probability when assessing the risk of emergencies and their consequential priority.

Pam rolled her eyes skywards. I must ask her what this means sometime but for the moment, I needed a brew.

I put the kettle on.

… Oliver Sudden

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    • Tell us about your emergency planning process?
    • What have you bought to support your plan?

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Mark Carter
29/07/2022 at 08:04

Hilarious, I’m off to write my emergency plans right now.

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Sorry Doc! (OS006)