Sampling of Fire Extinguishers:
Short takeaway: Should RantWoman nag a committee in her faith community about looking for more accessible fire extinguishers as things get replaced? Should RantWoman get in the face of staff at her faith community, ask them to listen about fire extinguisher things on RantWoman's mind after the #snapSmem workshop and before one on Faith Community and Vulnerable Populations workshop? Or should RantWoman just sit on the topic and route her comments to program at the UW devoted to encouraging engineers to talk to real people as they design and develop different products?
A few years ago, RantWoman and a flock of other low income people many of whom have different disabilities went to a class on use of fire extinguishers. One of the high points was a fireman who created a controlled flame inside some kind of metal frame and then had people take turns using different fire extinguishers to put the fire out. In other words, basically permission to play around fire and a tool to put it out.
As with many usability tests, though a problem emerged for a quite small n and consistently enough to recognize a general problem. In particular, most fire extinguishers require two hands, a good bit of strength, and quite a bit of manual dexterity. RantWoman thinks a few other people besides people in RantWoman's group at the workshop also had trouble operating their fire extinguishers and RantWoman has no sense whether the "Problem operating fire extinguishers registered with anyone in charge of the workshop. RantWoman's faith community is probably about average in terms of percentage of people with various physical challenges and RantWoman's faith community is most likely just to buy what is available so....
RantWoman should look up the name of the UW program for encouraging engineers to talk to people as they implement their designs. That would certainly be desirable but this is RantWoman cleaning out the mental lint and encouraging her faith community to add learn from the last experience to their resilience strategy.
Okay, the last event was a wind storm that blew down a tree and knocked out power and caused a key staffperson to ask a number of sensible questions, sensible questions to which there are not yet sensible answers. Staffperson wants simple instructions. She apparently does not want either to to go a meeting or to inquire whether other topical staff might be interested. Oh, and she does see a role for communications, just idiosyncratically around RantWoman.
(Here RantWoman means to digress about communications and disaster drills she has done, about political activism fashions in the 1980's and about earthquakes still meaning it's probably a good idea if people learn to get along BEFORE the earthquake, in other words stuff one SOMETIMES looks to one's faith community for help about. RantWoman may also throw in some faith community specific language people sometimes use to talk about experiences but RantWoman is thinking of throwing all this onto her other blog. Stay tuned.)
But back to Staffperson. She somehow also needed RantWoman to fret about something in her own spiritual compost heap. Telling RantWoman this is not particularly in Staffperson's job description, but RantWoman's list of things to be irritated about is already long and staffperson is just going to have to get in line if she needs to hassle RantWoman.
Here we must digress: RantWoman has been around lots of faith communities. RantWoman has never met a single faith community that is not also a tangle of Personalities and Conflicts. RantWoman and her faith Community are, um, straining the bonds of both faith and community right now. So perhaps it is not surprising that communications gods have arms akimbo.
Staffperson also is on an email list to receive notices disaster preparedness events. She signed up. Then she could not go and suggested RantWoman drop everything and fit it into her schedule. RantWoman had already received the announcement and forwarded it to some people connected iwht her faith community who serve actual vulnerable populations. Staffperson's supervisor also had a "Go ask RantWoman thought.
No, no. RantWoman does not have "a servant's heart" or whatever.
No, RantWoman does not want all the community knowledge about this topic bottled up in only one head. In a disaster RantWoman's head is just as likely to be fried and overloaded as ayone else's. No there needs to be knowledge in a whole network. RantWoman wanted OTHER PEOPLE to come along to the workshop.
And somewhere along the line, another neighborhood preparedness whiz from RantWoman's faith community wound up in the conversation. He spoke up in a wordy email all about some of the official disaster preparedness alphabet soup. So now it will be RantWoman and #Preparedness Nerd at the workshop and then a report back....
But What do Strong Towns Members DO?
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