Yes - it has been a while since my last blog entry.

When I look back on the events of the last four weeks, I am amazed by the twists and turns our lives can make in a relatively short span of time.

A little over three weeks ago, I was in a local hospital undergoing treatment for an infection on my leg that turned bad. I won't go into the boring details, but I will advise you to listen to someone when they say "That looks infected - you should go to the doctor."

The next evening (April 17) I was minding my own business and enjoying the sound of the IV pump that was shoving eleventy-billion units of antibiotics into my arm when I heard a commotion in the hallway of the hospital wing I was resting in. I caught a nurse's attention and asked her what was going on, and she told me of an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West - a few miles up the road from Waco on IH 35.

A few minutes later, my son called me to tell me of the explosion that happened at the fertilizer plant in West - the same plant that was only a few yards away from the home of his good friend Brandon's parents.

As it turns out, Brandon and his mother were at the house that evening, and after someone told them the fertilizer plant was on fire, Brandon grabbed a video camera and walked outside to video the fire. A few minutes later - Boom.

The blast blew Brandon across the street and gave him some survivable injuries, and I am very pleased to say he is doing well. His mother was thrown into the flower bed of the residence and hit by debris. She has undergone several surgeries and our hopes and prayers are with her.

Their house was destroyed.

A week or so after my hospital stay, I was strong and well enough to take a much-anticipated motorcycle ride with some family members to Southwest Texas to ride the Ranch Roads that are known (in the motorcycling world) as The Three Twisted Sisters. These roads travel more than a hundred miles through some of the most beautiful countryside in the Great State of Texas.

The roads are very challenging and not for the novice or faint of heart. There are more than a few white crosses along the hills, curves and canyons reminding bikers and others that these roads are mighty unforgiving. Each of the roads (Texas Ranch Roads 335, 336, and 337) have a sign at one on of each stating how many bikers have died in the previous years.

What does all this have to do with Survival you (and my boss) may ask?

Simple – the infection in my leg and the accompanying complications that could have resulted in the loss of my leg or worse, the explosion at West, and our visit to a beautiful yet unforgiving part of my home state are excellent examples of where some preparations were in store, or in the case of West, how preparations would have benefited the survivors if help was further away than it was.

I’ve stated before that I carry a Survival kit and extra water in our motorcycle’s Saddle Bags. If we had become separated and lost on the remote roads where we were riding, and we ran out of gas (although I did have an extra gallon of gas in a Reda-brand Gas Can stored in my saddle bag ...don’t worry – it is leak and vapor proof) and we were stranded – we had signaling and fire starting supplies, water, a compass, and other equipment that would have been vital if we were stranded for a night or two before help arrived.

One point I have been meaning to make in these blogs is that you should NEVER rely on your mobile phone as your primary Survival tool. You may find yourself in the mountains and canyons such as we were riding through and discover you do not have a signal. There are many places in the USA where there is no signal due to the terrain and lack of cell towers. Mobile phones are nice to have with you, but they should never take the place of a well-stocked Survival kit and extra water. And, have you checked into a solar charger for your phone in case you are stranded and there is a possibility of at least a weak signal?

As far as the West explosion and how preparedness would have helped the survivors – instead of being located on the busiest highway in Texas, what if the same thing had happened to a small town that was several hours away from the closest towns that could send aid? Would Survival, water and first aid supplies come in handy?

Finally, what could I have done differently that could have enabled me to avoid a hospital stay and a brush with Cellulites and the next step in the infection process, flesh eating bacteria?

Simple – better wound care. When I burned my leg (2nd degree) on the super-hot exhaust of our motorcycle, I should have sought medical attention at the start. Even though I preach preparedness and common sense thinking in Survival situations, I let my leg get infected to the point that I ended up in the Emergency Room and almost ended up in a bad way. What I thought was adequate wound care was not. It looks like it’s back to the Survival Medicine books for me.

Whether we are at home, work, play, or travelling we must take better care of ourselves. We all have an obligation to our families, neighbors, and others to take good care of ourselves so that we can help and care for the others in our lives that depend on us for so many things.

Prepare for the worst case scenarios. Do not live in a state of fear, but one of quiet yet determined readiness. Know what the dangers are in your neighborhood and your immediate geographic area. Don’t live your life in fear, but be determined to outlast the disaster that may be coming to your town by way of weather, earthquake, man-made or freak occurrence.

Next time – we are going to switch gears and talk about some gear that you need, equipment you can buy from us or someone else, or modify for yourself from items you already have.

"Fortuna favet præparaverat  -  Fortune Favors the Prepared!"