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Old 03-31-2020, 11:01 AM   #1
NXR
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Considerations to help our kids decide when to leave their apartments and come home

We just sent this email to our kids in the DC area for their consideration. They're in apartments in Virginia, live by themselves, and the apartment buildings cut services to just emergency maintenance only a few weeks ago. No routine maintenance, no preventative maintenance and no staff on site which means reduced physical security.

Please try to keep comments mostly on Go/No Go considerations and how to execute them safely. And on whether I've missed anything. Let's not get too far down in the weeds, please.

If you think we're over-reacting please keep it to yourself. They're our kids, not yours, and my wife and I spent decades on a fire department where she and I had to go in and handle tragedies because other people failed to plan or just had bad stuff happen through no fault of their own.


This is not intended to obliquely convince you to leave but rather to assure you’ve planned for that possibility so you can leave safely on very short notice. It also is not intended to induce panic in you, just to get you to consider things and how rapidly conditions may deteriorate.

From our perspective the biggest problem you would have is that fact you’re in apartment buildings where maintenance is minimal, preparation by other residents will vary from fully prepared to no preparation, and rapid virus spread could occur because of the population density.

If you start get the feeling that you should bug-out, then yes, you should. There is safety in numbers so try to travel together. The sooner you decide to leave the safer it will be for you to travel. Desperate people will eventually become your biggest hazard if this condition keeps up. Desperate people usually work in groups so you may be outnumbered.

ALWAYS wear a mask or face covering (possibly including glasses or sunglasses) when venturing into closed areas such as apartment hallways or stairways, stores, etc. If a fire alarm or power failure shuts down the building ventilation system, the hallways and stairways will have very stagnant air.


Factors to consider for deciding to bug-out:
  • Starting to feel ill or develop symptoms. These can develop within a day to where you can no longer drive.

  • Hearing about infections in your apartment buildings.
    o With shared ventilation systems and the air filters only eliminating dust particles the virus spread could occur through the ducts.

  • Having utility problems with your apartment buildings:

    o Trash piling up
     Some areas around here including Cleveland are no longer picking up trash outside of the large bins.
     If it does not fit in the bin it will not be picked up.
     Companies that have closed stores are cancelling their trash pickup services.
    That means less work and less income for the trash companies so they will be cutting back as well.

    o Drains including sewage backing up

    o Water is off or discolored or tastes odd. Water pressure is low.

    o Electricity starts flickering or goes off intermittently
     If the electricity starts having problems then the parking garage door doesn’t go up.
     The parking garage door would have to be left open and that would invite desperate people in.
    If desperate people (or disabled cars) block the garage doors you're not getting out.
     Buzzer locks on doors, if any, would unlock.
     No electricity means spoiled food.
     No electricity means no ventilation.
     No electricity means no lights in the hallways or parking garages. Emergency lighting typically lasts a few minutes to maybe an hour due to lack of maintenance even in good times.
     Fumes will rapidly build up in your underground multi-story parking garage as people leave.
     You could be stuck in your garage for an hour breathing in other people’s exhaust fumes.
     Set your car A/C on Recycle to help reduce the fumes coming into your car.

  • Increased presence of police or military in your neighborhoods. Decreased presence probably has already occurred.

  • Hearing about rioting or looting anywhere near you, especially between you and the interstates.
    o Italy is concerned about looting starting in the southern part.

  • You start seeing an exodus of people from your apartment buildings. For example, you notice the parking garage has fewer and fewer cars even though people are supposed to stay in place.
    o This happened to us at the RV park.
     We were concerned about people coming into the park in groups or gangs and demanding supplies or just destroying things.
    o Less people in the building paradoxically means less people available to help defend the building.


Bug-out preparations:
  • Have critical items needed for a bug-out in a pile or one corner of a room so nothing gets missed. “Critical” means things that could not easily be replaced such as prescription meds. Some items should already be in a bag and ready to grab. You can get your meds out of that bag for now.
    o 72 hours worth of “stuff” is what you should have ready to go.
    o A change of clothes, sanitary items, meds (even those rarely used), credit cards, check books.
    o Pet food and meds, a small bag of kitty litter, the cat's travel carrier and travel litter box. Cat harness and leash.
    o Contact lenses, contact cleaning solutions, spare eyeglasses.
    o Keys to our house.
    o Food bars, etc.
    o Flashlights with spare batteries.
    o Bandanas and masks.

  • Fuel in your cars and travel planning
    o Put gloves on before leaving the car to add gas and take the gloves off before getting in the car. Yes, both hands.
     Remove gloves safely. Gloves get turned inside out and one inside the other without touching your skin. If you do not know how to do this, we can show you.

    o Plan multiple routes to the interstates, especially how to get out of your apartment garages and immediate neighborhood.
     If you feel unsafe, ignore the traffic lights and stop signs. Just proceed as soon as its reasonably safe.

    o While enroute to your destination, fuel up sooner rather than later so you have enough fuel to get to your destination without another stop.
    Pay extra on the turnpike to avoid leaving the interstate and going into areas where local conditions may be worse.

    o Have cash with you, at least enough for fuel.
     If electronic payment systems go down then only cash will be accepted.

    o Drive only during daylight if possible so you can maintain a good awareness of hazards, cars blocking your path, etc.
     If you see a broken-down car with people around it, speed past it or stop, turn around and go another way.

  • Work computers, phones, watches, chargers, contact lists, etc.
    o Decide how and when to notify your managers that you need to leave the state temporarily. Since you’re already working remote this should not be a problem with your jobs.

  • Some items should already be in your cars such as bottles of water, a few days of meds, a few days of food for pets, a few plastic bags without any holes (for waste…) etc.
    o The purpose is to only need to lock your apartment and make one trip down to your car to leave if you absolutely have to.
    o Especially when you’re ten stories up.

    • Decide among you three what you need to have in your apartments and what to take if you leave.
    o “Need to have” versus “Nice to have”.
    o For example, ____’s car?


If you suddenly cannot leave because of chaos in the streets or rapidly worsening conditions such as roving gangs seen out your windows or through the peep hole in your apartment door:
  • Let family know what is happening. Others can call law enforcement on your behalf if needed but you're probably on your own for hours.

  • Know how you will barricade your apartment door so no one can force it open.
    o Furniture against the door that pushes on a wall or other furniture is best.
     Locks will not help if desperate people just start trying to force every door open.
     Keeping the door from opening at all, if possible, is best so they think the locks are holding. If they see furniture through a partially forced-open door they know someone vulnerable is inside.

  • Keep phones, computers, tablets, spare batteries charged, 50% at worst.

  • Fill up pitchers, Tupperware, glasses, buckets etc. with clean water. More water available is always better.
     Only flush toilets when absolutely necessary to keep noise down, especially if you have to pour a bucket of water bailed out of the bath tub to flush it because the water is off.
     Water needs pumped up hill to your apartments. Remember the big power outage in 2003 where water could not be pumped and the water tower emptied in a day?

  • Close all window blinds and keep them closed.

  • Keep quiet! Phones on vibrate only.


FWIW,

Ray
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Old 03-31-2020, 12:28 PM   #2
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Okay, your kids in Virginia are home. I know that's hard to hear, but clearly, they are grown up and have moved out of your home and created their own homes. You're not talking about 12 year old kids. You're talking about adults, even though they still feel like children to you. You raised them well didn't you? Trust in that. They'll be fine.

You're talking about some serious Walking Dead scenarios here. Sudden chaos in the streets and roving gangs? You need old Rick Grimes for that. Increased presence of police or military is bad? So if the cops are patrolling and preventing the sudden chaos and roving gangs, that's bad too? Honestly, your post reads as "If anything changes during this time of massive changes, you need to bug out." But there's nowhere to bug out to. If the virus is so terrible that it's causing sudden chaos in the streets and roving gangs, there isn't anywhere to go to get away from that.

Oh, wait, I figured it out. You're worried and just want your adult children to move back in and refill the empty nest. You want to be the parent again and keep them safe and secure. That's sweet. It really is, but they do need to learn to be out on their own and take care of themselves even in less than ideal conditions. Some day, hopefully a very long time from now, you'll die and they will be "on their own in the big bad world". Let them figure out how to live their lives so they aren't trying to figure it out in their 50's (or however old they will be at that time). I know it's hard, but it's the best way. Teach them to fish, and they'll be fine even in troubled times.

Take a deep breath. Listen to some good music, and rest assured that the zombies aren't going to be breaking down any doors.
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Old 03-31-2020, 02:32 PM   #3
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Very good write up for someone living in an apartment but not to practical for someone living in a RV. I am a full time solo RVer so my kids have no home to come home to. Besides they have have kids of their own and they and the grand kids can’t fit in my RV all together. If anything I would bug out to one of their homes. You advise to stay in a group. I believe that being alone or a small group is better. Less food and supplies needed, less noise created. I also think it is better to stay put and hunker down as long as you can. Only bug out if there are no other options, just don’t wait too long and not be able to get out. Thanks for giving us something good to think about. We should all be making preparations and hope we don’t need them.
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Old 03-31-2020, 02:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Itchytoe View Post
Okay, your kids in Virginia are home. I know that's hard to hear, but clearly, they are grown up and have moved out of your home and created their own homes. You're not talking about 12 year old kids. You're talking about adults, even though they still feel like children to you. You raised them well didn't you? Trust in that. They'll be fine.

You're talking about some serious Walking Dead scenarios here. Sudden chaos in the streets and roving gangs? You need old Rick Grimes for that. Increased presence of police or military is bad? So if the cops are patrolling and preventing the sudden chaos and roving gangs, that's bad too? Honestly, your post reads as "If anything changes during this time of massive changes, you need to bug out." But there's nowhere to bug out to. If the virus is so terrible that it's causing sudden chaos in the streets and roving gangs, there isn't anywhere to go to get away from that.

Oh, wait, I figured it out. You're worried and just want your adult children to move back in and refill the empty nest. You want to be the parent again and keep them safe and secure. That's sweet. It really is, but they do need to learn to be out on their own and take care of themselves even in less than ideal conditions. Some day, hopefully a very long time from now, you'll die and they will be "on their own in the big bad world". Let them figure out how to live their lives so they aren't trying to figure it out in their 50's (or however old they will be at that time). I know it's hard, but it's the best way. Teach them to fish, and they'll be fine even in troubled times.

Take a deep breath. Listen to some good music, and rest assured that the zombies aren't going to be breaking down any doors.

Whew!
Saved me a lot of typing


Well stated response!
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Old 03-31-2020, 02:53 PM   #5
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I think if I sent something like that to either of my kids they'd notify the local sheriff for a welfare check on their paranoid and apparently highly intoxicated old man. But that might be just their peculiar sense of humor.

But in all seriousness that seems just a little (way?) over the top given the current circumstances, why do you feel the need to freak your kids out?
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Old 03-31-2020, 03:03 PM   #6
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There's an assumption that wherever you are is better than wherever they are - is that necessarily true?
If you're wanting them to really, really start worrying, lose sleep at night walking from window to window, panic at every sound, this is a good start.
I disagree with the statement that if they start to feel sick then they should travel, that's how it spreads to others.
Those things aside, did you cover everything - everything and then some.
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Old 03-31-2020, 03:47 PM   #7
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Every family is different. We got this text from my 16 year old granddaughter the other night:

“Nana and Pop-Pop, please don’t go out traveling in the motorhome all over the place and catch this coronavirus thing. I can’t stand the thought of you getting sick or being taken from us. I want you guys, yes even you Pop-Pop 😊, to be around for me. I want you here for my college and wedding and great grandkids. Please just stay home and don’t catch this thing. Stay away from other people… " You gotta love youth.

After we got this, we called and talked to my daughter, son in law and granddaughter. We all offered our support to each other if the worst was to happen. Yes we are worried for them. My daughter is a managing pharmacist and she and her team are dealing with close to 800 of the public up close and personal every single day. She is one of the health professionals helping to keep the public healthy. That said, we told our daughter and son in law if they feel it is necessary our granddaughter can come here to our house for the duration of this event.

That decision is completely up to them. We only offer advice if they ask.
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Old 03-31-2020, 03:59 PM   #8
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You need to reduce your new media intake...... They'll be fine.
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Old 03-31-2020, 04:12 PM   #9
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Thank you for a very detailed list of things to plan for.
We were going to put the Moho in storage and go lockdown with mother and boytoy (86) for a few months to help out. We have been isolated for three weeks in the San Francisco Bay Area ourselves and found out yesterday they are still running around town.
We will wait until they are isolated for at least two weeks and can commit for a month lockdown if we bring necessary food.
Maybe your kids aren’t don’t feel they need to isolate and don’t want to subject you to the virus if they get it.
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Old 03-31-2020, 04:18 PM   #10
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Old 03-31-2020, 04:30 PM   #11
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Thanks for the comments, folks.

As we've always taught our kids, any advice you receive is just a data point. It is up to you to decide if it is valid for you and what weight, if any, it plays in the decision you will ultimately make.

We've had these discussions since this event started to develop so it's nothing new for them. A few weeks ago they all said (without us bringing it up) that when the time was right they would head back to Ohio.

They also grew up in a home where both firefighter/paramedic parents shared the stories of bad things happening to good people and how they could have been avoided. Heck, the one kid found an out-of-the-way staircase near their apartment that they've never seen anyone else in or even near. That is the one she is now using while other people still crowd into the elevators.

All of the kids are very successful professionally and personally. They make more money in their 20's than I made in my 50's. We do know they are "home". We also know they have never had first-hand personal experience to fall back on in a situation like this. When the Ebola event was happening first responders were privy to non-public data and protective measures and training; this is a similar event but now it's in this country.

Yes, the assumption is that being in a large house with its own utilities on its own property is far safer from a virus exposure aspect than a shared tenancy ever is. Particularly a shared tenancy where basic maintenance and thus basic hygiene is being ignored and the management has quietly abandoned you. And there is no other word than "abandoned".

The thing I know they understand is that no one will look out for their welfare like they and their family will. I'm sure we all remember how the management of the NYC twin towers told people to shelter in place after the first plane struck instead of immediately evacuating. That bad advice cost thousands of lives. It was good advice for a normal business emergency but not for an abnormal emergency.

The CFO of the company I worked for at the time was in the second tower when the first one got hit. Even though the company he was visiting told him to stay because the meeting was important, Mike immediately went to the subway station in the basement and took the first train all the way to the end of the line. No one at our company knew where he was or whether he survived the second airplane strike for hours until he finally was able to call his family. His immediate evaluation that the situation was abnormal saved his life. If he had listened to the people around him and followed their instructions he would have died along with them (none of the people he met with survived).

Complacency kills. It's always easier to do nothing and watch, and sometimes that is the correct course of action. If there is one thing to take away from all of the press conferences and daily briefings it's that everyone is winging it in some regard. The key to self-survival is decisive personal action at the appropriate time. 1 + 1 + 1 can = 6

I am very impressed with how Ohio has been, though. At the governor's daily briefing today the Ohio Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton, was asked about whether people should wear masks because the CDC and the WHO say "No, give them to healthcare workers." She said she was glad the question came up and said the masks could help keep you from contaminating others. She asked that people keep a few masks for their personal use and donate the rest to health care workers. She is the first person I've heard who "gets it". She also stressed about doing one large shopping trip when needed rather than a bunch of smaller ones on different days. The governor thanked companies that have special hours for older and at-risk people but asked them to evaluate whether the hours were appropriate or long enough so the stores were not crowded.

What we've asked our kids to do is think about things that individually would mean nothing but collectively could mean something bigger. It's nothing more or less than a table-top exercise except this one is happening in slow motion now.

Ray
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Old 04-01-2020, 11:35 AM   #12
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You need to reduce your new media intake...... They'll be fine.
I think OP watched Contagion one too many times.
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Old 04-01-2020, 09:57 PM   #13
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After reading that I'm not missing my parents that much anymore!
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Old 04-02-2020, 10:04 AM   #14
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The OP's post was informative and a little over the top. However, it emphasizes the need to have a plan in place. It reminds me of a concealed carry class I took many, many years ago. The one thing I took away from it was that the most important thing to remember is to be aware of your surroundings and as they change always have a plan to avoid a deadly confrontation. How many of us had a plan in place to deal with our current pandemic?? Certainly the government has ignored it for several administrations and the panic buying of toilet paper demonstrates just how unprepared many were. It also showed how selfish and inconsiderate of others some are. My 31 year old grandson and fiance chose to leave their Chicago apartment to go back to their parents homes in central WI to get to a safer environment. They can both work from home or wherever they might be. They made a plan and left. They say that 100,000 to over 200,000 people will not survive this devastating pandemic. It's possible that our economy will not survive as well. I wonder how many of us have a plan now to deal with a worst case scenario or will we ignore this too??
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