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Teaching Kids About Situational Awareness

A person can learn a lot about people and the world outside their home from simply observing their surroundings. Observation can help you in deriving informative conclusions concerning your personal safety as well as occupational hazards. This article will help us understand why everyone should be situationally aware and why education on this should begin early on in a person’s life.



teach kids about situational awareness

What Is Situational Awareness

Situational awareness (SA) is technically defined as “the perception of the elements in the environment within a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning and the projection of their status in the near future.” Simply put, it is knowing what is happening around you. SA can be cultivated by being attentive and using your intuitive skills. You grow to observe what is going on around you, know what is normal, identify a deviation when it occurs, and respond to that deviation accordingly.

SA has been identified as a key process that helps in making successful decisions across a broad spectrum of scenarios involving protection of human life. It has been pivotal in sectors such as aviation, navigation, health care, defense, emergency care and many others. SA training helps prevent judgement errors from taking place thereby improving efficiency while handling high-risk situations.

For instance, historically SA was used by the military to develop tactics for finding location of the enemy, calculate their approach, and plan next steps. In the 1980s, commercial airlines used SA in developing integrated navigation displays that more efficiently showed flight parameters and reduced pilot workload. By understanding the present, SA helped in predicting the future and gave people the power to radically impact the outcome of a situation.

Why Learning About Situational Awareness Is Important

Learning situational awareness helps you both professionally and personally. Business leaders use SA to study past actions and events, analyze what is happening currently, and steer their business towards a more positive future. Armed with SA knowledge, leaders can create effective business strategy that gives clarity to their operational goals. This way, threats are addressed early on and losses minimized in an efficient manner.

Teaching children about SA helps them in comprehending and assessing complications of the world they live in from an early age. It makes them responsible about their own safety as well as that of their family members and friends. It also acquaints them with generic rules of the community.

Situational awareness enables children to be independent and assertive while they become familiar with their environment. It also helps them to be confident when faced with challenging circumstances. Ultimately, SA sharpens a child’s perceptive intelligence thereby assisting them in solving cognitive tasks at school or at home.

How Can You Be More Situationally Aware

Situational awareness is more of a mindset than a skill, and thus can be learnt by anyone. The first step in developing this mindset is to recognize the fact that threats exist everywhere. By refusing to acknowledge the existence of threats, a person’s ability to fight uncomfortable situations diminishes greatly. Overcoming one’s ignorance paves the way for the second step in becoming situationally aware.

You should learn to take accountability for your actions and personal security. Resources are finite, and a substitute for a lack of enough safety personnel in your neighborhood could be you. By using SA, you can help an elderly neighbor to safely cross the road or provide shelter to a homeless animal before a thunderstorm.

You should also learn to use your intuition to prevent accidents from happening. Our subconscious mind often notices alarming signs that the conscious mind does not always recognize. Using your gut while walking down unfamiliar lanes or dark alleys can help you avoid potentially dangerous encounters.

Lastly, be intentional while using SA. Practicing situational awareness requires you to put in effort and pay attention to your surroundings when it is hard not to get distracted. Observe people, places, and activities around you and try to remain focused on your present.

Ways You Can Teach Situational Awareness to Children

Children are believed to be more intuitive and observant than adults. Training them to be perceptive from a young age will help them deal with problems when you are not around. Below is a five-step strategy that you could use to make your child more situationally aware:

1. Recognize the Baseline

Firstly, you need to acquaint your child with a baseline, which are situations, objects, and behaviors that are considered normal. Identifying the normal will help them see when something is not normal.

For instance, take your child to her favorite restaurant. Ask her to name the street where the restaurant is located and what is located opposite to that restaurant. When you are seated at the table, ask her what the difference is between a waiter and a customer. Discuss with her how people should normally behave when they are in a public place such as a restaurant.

Communicating about these things helps to instill in your child what she would consider normal at a restaurant. Make sure you constantly discuss the baseline with her at other environments like a lake, a concert, a park, pharmacy, and so forth. This way you can update her understanding of the baseline and help her identify deviations from the baseline.

2. Be Aware of Biases

When you are in comfortable surroundings, you may often overlook signs that need your attention. An example of this could be when you are arriving at a traffic signal and see the green light turning to yellow. When you reach the intersection and the light has been yellow for a few seconds, you will want to slow down and proceed with caution instead of driving quickly through it. Instead, many people pick up their speed and keep driving with the hope of avoiding being stopped by the red light.

It is important to be mindful of biases like the above since you could get a ticket for violating a traffic stop if you happen to drive through a red light. Teach your child to be watchful and alert whenever he steps outside the house. Show him how to trust his instincts and fight bias when it comes to personal safety.

3. Identify Any Inconsistency

Once you have worked on establishing baselines, your child will be able to identify abnormalities when they happen. These could in the form of an unexpected person or an event or behavior. As an example, give your child walnuts without the shell for five consecutive days. On day 6, give her a walnut with the shell and see what she does with it. You can also do several exercises outdoors where you can teach your child to spot similarities and differences between objects.

When your child does these activities successfully, she will be able to identify larger and more serious abnormalities when they take place. For instance, take your child to a zoo, and ask her to alert you whenever she hears a strange noise or a strong odor. Explain where these noises or smells are coming from. By expanding her knowledge, you are helping your child in safely navigating inconsistencies she does not see each day.

4. Avoid Being An Anomaly

Sometimes you find yourself in situations where you draw attention to yourself and affect the baseline. Teach your child to be aware when she is changing the baseline herself. If she drifts off from you at a clothing store and is wandering around by herself, she could be drawing attention of adults as a potential lost child. If people approach her and ask her about it, she could go back to the baseline by explaining herself.

5. Respond to the Inconsistency

Situational awareness teaches you to respond to a certain scenario and being able to respond in a matured fashion creates an impact on the people around you.  Show your son specific instances of how you would react in unexpected situations. For instance, what would you do if you lost your car keys? Or if you burn your hand while cooking?

Test how your child responds to anomalies by using a variety of exercises. Familiarize her with the neighborhood streets leading up to where she lives. Instead of taking the same route to get her home, take a different road one day and ask her what route will take her home. Try doing similar activities with her regularly so that you can enhance her confidence and problem-solving skill.

Situational Awareness Questions to Ask Your Child

To improve your child’s SA level, here is a game that you can play with her. Ask her questions about objects, people, and places she comes across each day and give her a situational awareness score based on her answers. Below is a list of possible questions you could ask:

Object Questions-

1. What was the name of the park we went to?

2. How many flags were at the entrance?

3. What flavor of ice-cream did we both eat?

4. Why is meat in the frozen aisle while chips are not?

5. What is the color of the shirt we bought for you?

6. What type of car was parked next to us in the parking lot?

People Questions-

1. Who was the cashier at the grocery store?

2. How many customers were there at the diner aside from us?

3. Was the waiter friendly?

4. Who did we see at the movie theatre last night?

5. Who was the scientist you spoke to?

6. What was the tall man carrying in his right hand?

Place Questions-

1. How far is our home from the grocery store?

2. What street is your school located at?

3. Where did we go to holiday last weekend?

4. What is the name of the pharmacy we visit?

5. Is the hospital near our home?

6. Where would you seek shelter if there was a tornado warning?


How to Have Potable Water Anywhere



Water is an essential source of life for everyone, and we cannot live without it, even if we try. Unfortunately, drinking water is pretty scarce nowadays, and finding new ways to produce and source drinking water is posing a challenge. Even while the ocean is said to be the biggest reservoir for water, that water is salted, and we cannot drink it. Freshwater bodies and underground water levels are fast depleting because of our careless use of water. So we need to find new ways to access drinking water anywhere, be it the desert, the ocean, or even a hotel.

In an emergency, apart from food, water is also essential and should be your top priority. Be sure that the water you find is safe to drink, otherwise, you may need to disinfect the water so it is potable. While it is true that the human body cannot survive without water for more than three days, you also do not want to fall ill and contract illnesses from drinking unclean water. Good news for you, there are many water sources that you can find like rivers, lakes, ponds, or small streams while you are backpacking, hiking, or are in an emergency scenario. There are multiple ways to make the water clean enough and safe enough for you to drink. 

  1. Finding water 

You have to find water before you start the disinfection process. Depending on where you are and what situation you are in, water can either be found with ease or with much difficulty. As mentioned above, there are freshwater resources like streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes from which you can fill your container or bottle. Rainwater can also be collected in case there are no water sources nearby. Snow can be melted for drinking and made to go through the filtration process. There are many ways to supply yourself with water. You just have to be creative enough to think like a survivalist. 

  1. The boiling method

Boiling water is often considered the best route to safe drinking water. This method kills all kinds of parasites, bacteria, and viruses that are in the water. Boiling water for a minimum of five minutes kills almost every bacteria but aim for boiling it for 10 – 15 minutes to be on the safe side. 

Boiling water can be a simple process if you have all the materials. It can be done over a campfire or on a gas stove in a metal or glass container. If no such container is available, heat small rocks over a fire and then place them in your makeshift container. 

  1. Survival straws

Survival straws have recently come into the market and they are already making waves. They are said to be the smallest, lightest water filtration tool that has been so efficient. These straws can be used as drinking straws and, since they are small and lightweight, are much preferred and recommended by hikers, travelers, and even survivalists who prepare for an emergency or survival scenarios. 

They filter out 99.99% of bacteria and they also have a built-in activated carbon filter element that, while filtering out bacteria and viruses, also removes strange flavors and smells from the water. 

  1. Water filters

Usage of portable water purification devices is another popular method people use to purify the water before drinking, especially if you know beforehand that you will not find a reliable source of drinking water where you are traveling. These water filters are made specifically to treat water while on hikes, expeditions, or in a survival situation. 

Many of these water filters, while handy and portable, do require pumping the water by hand which, in hindsight, can require a lot of exertion and energy loss. But these will give you much cleaner drinking water and hence, are preferred. 

  1. Using iodine

Iodine is used to treat water and is another method by which you can disinfect your water before drinking. To treat the water with iodine, first, purchase a bottle of iodine, and then use exactly eight drops per liter of water and wait half an hour before drinking the clean water. If the water you want to purify is dirtier, you might have to wait a little longer before drinking it, or you can also put more drops of iodine in it to make it safe. 

  1. Using chlorine

Using chlorine is a method to treat water before drinking. This process is much like the process of mixing iodine with water. First, procure unscented chlorine bleach from a store. The chlorine to water ratio should be, for every one liter of water, put two drops of the chlorine bleach. Then shake the bottle and wait for 30 minutes for the chlorine to act and purify it. And then drink it. If the water is cloudier and dirtier than usual, try putting more drops of chlorine in it. 

  1. Tablets

The chlorine and iodine liquid drops that were used in the above methods are also available in tablet form. These water purification tablets have become popular and the go-to for everyone because they are easy to carry, are widely available, and come with simple ready to use instructions. You just have to filter the water through a cloth, drop a tablet in 1- 2 liters of the unclean water, wait for approximately 30 minutes and there you go. Safe and clean drinking water. 

Because water is a necessity for all, we must exercise caution while drinking it and not drink water directly from a natural source because it will surely be contaminated. Hence, this is the reason why water purifiers, tablets, and items such as survival straws exist. They help in the process of decontaminating the water and making it safe for you to drink. 

These items are made for people and you must be aware of them and use them whenever you go out, like on a trek, hiking, or in extreme situations like in an emergency or scenarios where you have to survive in a jungle. 

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How to Grow Your Own Organic Garden Even in Small Spaces



All of us at some time or another have wished to grow fruits and vegetables and eat those fresh homegrown foods as well. But if you live in an area or in a house where there is practically no space for you to have a small garden, don’t be sad. You can still grow an organic garden in your house by being smart and thinking creatively. If you do not have a balcony or are worried the plants won’t get enough space or sunlight to grow, there is no need to worry. Plants adjust according to space, and some plants require little to no sunlight. You just need to do a bit of homework and read this article to find suggestions on how to grow an organic garden in small spaces.

  1. Container gardens
Pot Garden

Your first choice is container gardens if you have a small space and if your space is outdoors, be it a balcony or a yard. Container gardens are good for fruits and vegetables, and they have the ability to grow any type of plant of many varieties. This garden can provide you with a healthy crop only if you have the right size container and can find adequate space. Container gardens are preferred by many because they are really efficient, consume less space, and will grow fruits and vegetables to their best ability. If the garden has good sun exposure and a water system, you can even grow small fruit trees or bushes and grow more variety of plants. 

  1. Vertical gardening

Vertical gardens are another good option since most plants tend to grow upwards or are creeper plants. You can take advantage of this by growing these types of plants in your vertical garden. Making space out of nothing is the key to productivity in an organic garden and only requires some creativity.  

How do you make a vertical garden? Cut strips of old stockings and tie your plants to them to give them an upwards structure and give them much-needed support. Plants, fruits, and vegetables such as tomatoes, peas, and beans will grow easily enough if the right support and nutrients are provided to them. 

  1. Community gardens
Alice Street Community Gardens: a nice little co-op garden

Don’t worry if you do not have a window, a balcony, or a yard or no space at all to grow an organic garden. Try to find a space in your community, gather all your neighbors together, and plant a community garden!

There might be a vacant garden that you can use for your project where you can start planting all the fruits and vegetables that your heart desires. Getting involved in community gardening can also help with learning and sharing tips, tricks, and resources while increasing your social skills as you talk and get to know other people as well. 

  1. Strategic choice of plants

Growing plants in your home and taking care of them is a monumental decision in itself. But an even bigger decision awaits: choosing the right kind of plants that will grow best in the right environment. Many plants require intensive care and water, sunlight for more than six hours, and shade too. Basically, they will cry for attention 24/7. And the space they require when they grow is also important to keep in mind. So you should think carefully and make educated decisions by researching and reading up on plants and gardening.

  1. Windowsill gardening

Windowsill gardening is another great way to manage a small garden in an even lesser space. It is an easy option to go for. Growing plants and edibles on a windowsill are cute and are great at saving space at all. Herbs and lettuce are good options for planting in a windowsill garden. Potted plants are good for indoor gardening and do not need as much sunlight or water to be sustained. If there is enough sun you could even try to be ambitious and try growing fruits as well. 

  1. Plant a variety of only what you need 

Now that you have decided what you want to plant, it is now time to determine how much you want to plant. Group the plants by their water and food needs and plant them together to maximize the yield and production of your plants. Doing this will give you much variety of plants as well as extra space. Also, if you plan it, you can harvest different plants in different seasons and hence, get a variety that way. This will also reduce and ensure that no plant or your energy, time, and effort get wasted. 

If there are excess fruits and vegetables, you can always store them by using the preservation techniques of freezing, drying, canning, or pickling. You can then eat out-of-season fruits and vegetables when you crave them.

  1. Watering and feeding to ensure plant health in a small garden

Whenever planting the plants, be ready to devote an unreasonable amount of time and attention to them because they certainly need it and, even more so if it is a small space. Grouping them according to their feeding and watering needs, as mentioned above, should reduce the chance of over or under watering the plants. For example, certain plants, like tomatoes, do not need the same amount of water as lettuce does. Excess water can cause your tomatoes not to grow at all while lettuce needs more water and more feeding. So the requirements of the two will clash and one plant will go bad. To prevent that from happening, use the method discussed. 

So, whoever thought that growing an organic garden is pretty much impossible in small spaces thought wrong. This article tells you in detail about the various methods and ways you can start a garden in your home space. There are many other ways as well, but these are the easiest and the simplest and don’t require much work or preparation. 

Enjoy your fresh homegrown produce and save some for next year!

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What You Need to Know About Acid Burns



Acid burns, also known as caustic burns, happen when the skin comes in contact with an acid, base or solvent. The chemicals can affect anywhere on the body and cause irreversible damage in many cases. 

When the acid comes in contact with the skin, it causes “coagulation necrosis, “ meaning cell death leads to the end of tissues. It is this which has the damaging effects often seen in acid burn survivors. Acid burns are capable of causing deformities of the skin for life. There are also psychological effects that a person goes through like, stress disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Acid burns are caused by materials that are readily available in many places, and hence it is vital to know all you can about acid burns, the symptoms and how you can treat them. 

  1. People at greater risk

Some people are at a higher risk than others of coming in contact with chemical materials, acidic ones. These people are infants, older people and people with disabilities. You might also be at an increased risk of burns if you work somewhere you are handling acids without proper guidance or equipment. Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, there’s no category for people who are genuinely at a greater risk of acid burns as it has become a popular crime to use acid as a terror weapon.

  1. Symptoms

The symptoms might change from person to person, but their basis remains the same, so it is relatively straightforward to identify a chemical burn.

The symptoms include pain, redness, burning where the acid reaches contact with the skin and irritation. You may experience vision loss or blurry vision if the acid comes in touch with your eyes and breathing difficulties if you inhale the acidic fumes. 

  1. Chemical burns categorization

There are three categorizations in chemical burns; first degree, second-degree and lastly, third-degree burns. The least harmful is a first-degree burn, and the most damaging, as you can then figure, is a third-degree burn which can cause extreme damage to the body and skin. 

  1. Know your acids and bases

Acids usually have a pH level of less than 7, which is water, and they get dangerous as they move closer to pH level 1. Whereas bases have a pH level of more than 7, they get dangerous as they get closer to the level of 14. Acid attacks have become quite common, and the type of acids used in these attacks are hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid, and these are synonymous with physical damage. 

Products that have acidic properties in them include toilet cleaners, battery acid, bleach and other chemicals. Solid and liquid forms of acid can also cause harm depending on the strength of the acid and the amount of time it has been in contact with the skin. 

  1. Acid burns that can be rinsed with water and how to go about it

You can significantly reduce the impact acid has on your body by running the burned area under a lot of water. Running the affected area under water within 1 minute of the burn can significantly reduce the risk of greater damage and scarring. Ask someone to aid you, to put on gloves and wipe the affected area. Also, take off any jewellery or accessories that you might be wearing as they could have trapped acid in or around them.

  1. Acid burns that should not be rinsed with water. 

Carbolic acid and hydrofluoric acid are some of the acids that do not mix with water. Use alcohol to get the acid off the skin and then rinse it with water. Sulfuric acid burns can be flushed/rinsed with a soapy solution if the burns are not severe. Hydrofluoric acid needs to be mixed with a calcium solution. Acids burn that have gotten in the eye should be immediately flushed out with copious amounts of water.

Remember to go to your primary healthcare doctor and get a professional inspection of the burns if they continue to irritate you and still burn. Based on the severity, the doctor will prescribe antibiotic creams such as anti-itch medications, skin grafting (if the burn is severe), and in some cases, IV fluids as well. 

  1. Emergency help

While consulting your primary healthcare doctor is always a good idea, you may not reach there in time, or the doctor may not be available. There are a lot of what-ifs and uncertainty around the situation. In times like these, do not hesitate to contact and call emergency services. 

It is their job to work under tight schedules and help you under any circumstance – I guess that’s why we called them ‘emergency’ services. When you call emergency services, give them the following information so that they are entirely aware of your problem before they get to you. This will save them time from working out how to help you when they get to you.

If you happen to know the name of the chemical you have been attacked with, give it to them immediately. This will help emergency services identify the dangers you’re in, and the process of removing the chemical will be more comfortable. 

Chemical and acid burns can be excruciating when experienced, but they can be treated with basic first aid and follow-up care with your doctor on the brighter side. Even that can be reduced if you act promptly when you come in contact with any acid or dangerous chemical product. 

Be careful when handling any type of chemical product and do not inhale it or touch your face before washing your hands properly. Wear protective gear while handling any kind of chemical.

Often, reading the warning label and being advised and made aware of the harmful effects and given proper instructions before using can prevent serious medical emergencies to a great extent.

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