Ruining Parties with Safety: Why I annoy my Facebook Friends

You know that weird guy at the party where you’re having a nice banter and people are cracking wise about a topic and the poor weird guy puts in his two cents–maybe with a little chuckle, or maybe with a grim face–and the joke is just over? And there’s an awkward silence until the nice person in the group thinks of something to say. And in the end, the weird guy just stands there as the group breaks up and wanders away gradually. I was totally that weird guy on Facebook the other day.

My friend–who happens to work as an outside contractor for nursing homes and independent living facilities–posted that the power went off in the facility where she was working that day and it made her wonder what she was supposed to do if she had had to evacuate the wheelchair-bound patients on the second floor without an elevator. (Curious? Check out this post for the answer.)

Let me just pause right here and say: I basically wander God’s green earth every single day hoping someone will talk to me about my studies. I never get this kind of opportunity. I mean, let’s face it, I basically wrote this blog so I could talk about my studies without people asking me about them, lol.

So right underneath the comment where someone had suggested parachutes as an evacuation method (My delivery is all wrong, you have to really picture the fat old granny in her pink, frilly nighty floating gently to the earth), I sent three hasty links answering her hypothetical question about how to evacuate immobile people over stairs. Suffice to say, there were no more jokes underneath my comment. (Whatever. I totally would have killed at an undertaker’s party. Heh….killed….)

I guess this is my life now. I face the sticky task of making safety fun. It’s my job to carefully balance humor, to make it palatable, and gravitas, to make it meaningful. I’m that weird guy at a party–too passionate to let an opportunity to do some good go by.

There are worse things to be.

By the way, I found this video while I was doing research for a more serious post which I think is hilarious. Watch it and tell me I’m wrong.


(I mean, come on! He so weirdly calm about evacuating someone and the music is so….elevator-y. Hehehehehe…… If you like this one, then you’ll love the 1950’s Nurse’s Training one. Talk about nerd heaven.)

What are you passionate about? Is it hard to get people to care about it? Let’s chat below!


Evacuating Immobile Patients Down Stairs

Recently one of my friends who works at an independent living facility called my attention to the difficulties of private businesses who don’t necessarily have plans for getting frail or immobile patients down flights of stairs (even just one) without an elevator in an emergency. She was expressing frustration for her position because–as an outside contractor–she doesn’t know very much of the facility’s emergency plan or whether they even have one and doesn’t feel like she can tell her employers to get into shape.

Several good resources for individuals AND businesses

First thing: If you’re in a similar position, it’s always ok to ask questions or bring a safety issue–even a hypothetical one–to the fore. If you care for special populations like children, the elderly, or people with other special needs, then you need to know what to do in an emergency–that’s your job. Don’t be afraid to kick some butts over things like this. Because the last thing you want is Grandma suffocating in a house fire because the facility didn’t have a plan.

Second thing: Nursing homes and other facilities are required by law to have some kind of emergency plan. Generally, the evacuation procedures are more fleshed out the sicker the residents. Hospitals, for instance, train regularly and can invest in cool stair wheelchairs (technically called “evacuation chairs”). However, sometimes residents decompensate as they get older or gain weight. Meaning that just because they can live on their own, doesn’t mean it’s easy for them to get down stairs or to get their oxygen etc downstairs. Or they can simply have a surgery that inhibits their mobility. (Hip surgery anyone?)

So here are some links to get you started:

* If you don’t know the state of your business’s preparedness. Take this 10 min Ready Rating self-assessment from the Red Cross. I watched a few businesses in my city go through the process and it wasn’t that painful and SUPER helpful.

* This guide from hcPro is a quick read and gives easy instructions on when to decide to evacuate, how to evacuate, etc.

* Invest in some equipment. Do some research–there’s all sorts of things that are affordable. You’re not stuck with expensive electric chair lifts. Here’s a whole bunch of videos to pique you’re interest:

And I simply can’t resist this 1950s Nurse’s training video. Please NOTE: most instructors will tell you NOT to do these carry’s because you could hurt yourself. This is true–people are a lot heavier today than they used to be. But, I thought it would be interesting to show you some history of evacuation. (Besides, knowledge is power, eh?)

Did you find anything helpful during your research? Share them with the class below!