Saturday, October 29, 2011

Other risks

Sometimes I forget how small the world is.  My friend and colleague Cathy Allen was at the Scottsdale conference I attended a week ago.  When she heard about the next book I am working on, she introduced me by email to an executive named Marilyn Mason (  Marilyn and I had a chance to speak earlier this week, and I learned a lot.  Our discussion included two other risks  which perhaps I can cover in my next book, a risk primer for executives.

The first is the risk around dying and death, what is usually the absence of a plan or statement of intentions because the deceased just never got around to it.  There are so many issues here, including powers of attorney and designation of another to make medical decisions if necessary.  Advice From A Risk Detective does not cover this risk, though it does discuss the importance of storing such documents in several places.

The second risk not discussed in the first book may come up in this next book focused on executives
it's the risk of wealth, whether sudden, inherited, or earned.  Each of those situations creates a need for planning, usually with a financial planner.

I intend to continue the conversation with Marilyn on a regular basis, and have no doubt that we'll cover even more ground next time around.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Your digital identity

Some of us get so caught up in presenting ourselves on Facebook or Twitter or Google+ that we re-invent our real lives to look good.   Young users don't think so much about looking more interesting or better than they might appear in real lives.  They are busy posting details and photos that are often inappropriate and cause for alarm.

College admissions personnel, job recruiters and the FBI all spend some amount of time qualifying candidates for a variety of reasons.  If you want to get into a good college, don't post photos of yourself drunk or drinking, or in compromising photos.  If you want to get a good job, follow the advice for college admissions, and also refrain from expressing political or religious views when you post.  If you get arrested, be aware that local and federal law enforcement officials are double checking your profile to see whether you exhibit characteristics that would be of interest to the court.

You get the picture.  And soon you'll be able to get the whole book.  This advice is covered in several places in the my new book, but most particularly in Chapter III.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Escape routes

When I checked in, I did what us risk types usually do and checked out the location of the stairs to and from the main floor and exits from the building.  Though most hotels provide a map with exits marked out on the back of the hotel door, I like to perform this operation in hotels and with other locations where I am unfamiliar with the layout of exits and stairwells.  In emergency management lingo, we call this "situational awareness."

I've been doing this for so long that it seems routine, and does not take long.  You could pick up this habit for yourself starting any time you're in a large building with more than one floor.

In case you cannot walk down and out of a building because of smoke and heat from a fire, the back of your door should tell you to shelter in place, putting wet towels at the bottom of the door and staying low in the room until the firefighters arrive.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Travel light

Hitting the Road, 2009
The fourth chapter of my new book is all about traveling light, and with an open mind.  I used the photo above to illustrate what I consider to be the appropriate amount of travel gear, which I carry on to the train or airplane.

I've since found a lightweight Coach briefcase to replace the larger and heavier one shown on the photo.  And I've just packed everything for the next five days in the grey bag.  The briefcase holds a netbook computer, my wallet and a cosmetics bag, a book, work papers and the cables I need to do business virtually.

That's it.  I even figured out a costume for the second night party at the conference -- I'm going as an author, wearing my "Read Local" tee shirt from Seattle 7 Writers; and I'll be handing out bookmarks to market my book at the same time.  I had thought about going as a risk detective, but that would require the magnifying glass, the trench coat and the fedora.  A little too much for Phoenix, I think.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Emergency Car Kit

Though the first priority is still to build an emergency kit for your family that will sustain you through 3-5 days without power or refrigeration, another smaller kit should go in the trunk of your car.  As we move through fall into winter, it doesn't hurt to double check to ensure that you have what you might need in case of a situation where you could be trapped in your car for an extended period of time.  In addition to an extra set of warm clothing and a small first aid kit, my red carrier contains a pair of boots, a can of wipes, a zippered tool kit, and a large water bottle that also contains a flashlight and emergency flare.  The "EvacPack," which can also be used at work, contains even more emergency supplies, including a poncho and more emergency flares. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Smoke detectors

How long has it been since you changed the 9 volt batteries in your smoke detectors?   Those batteries operate as backup when the detectors are hardwired into your electrical system -- so that if the power is off, your smoke alarms will still alert you when necessary.

Same deal with your flashlights.  It's fall, time to also check your flashlights to see if you need to replace the batteries, or stock up on some extras for your emergency kit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fire Extinguishers

Our neighborhood disaster preparedness coordinators, responsible for 312 homes, met last night to calibrate our progress. One of the things we talked about were fire extinguishers.  If you own a business, someone comes around once a year to check each of the extinguishers for pressure and refill them if necessary.   If you've got fire extinguishers in your home, chances are they have never been checked unless you've had a fire.  

One of the coordinators had a great idea, transferable to any neighborhood: find a service provider and schedule so that all neighbors can bring their fire extinguishers to a central location to have them tested and refilled if necessary.

This tip falls into the "small but possibly life-saving" category.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Where did "risk detective" come from?

 Here's the first term I used the moniker to describe my work.  I've always been grateful to Carolyn Douglas and KING 5 News for such a great profile of my business in its infancy.
KING TV News profile