A 9/11 story about Delta Flight 15 and Gander Newfoundland

September 9, 2021

Here is an amazing story from a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15, written following the 9-11-2001 attack on America:

“On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic. All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that “All Business” look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta’s main office in Atlanta and simply read, “All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination.

No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, Newfoundland. He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately–no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request.

While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.

We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander, Newfoundland to have it checked out.

We promised to give more information after landing in Gander. There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that’s nothing new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM … that’s 11:00 AM EST.

There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the U.S.  After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason.” Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the U.S. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay put.

The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane. In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with dozens of airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were U.S. commercial jets.

Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC. People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada. Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed.

Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm. We had only to look out the window at the other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.

We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning. Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.

Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory servicing. And they were true to their word. Fortunately we had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.

About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.

After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken in vans to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander! We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the U.S. airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a while.

We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.

Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the “plane people.” We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time.

Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days. What we found out was incredible.

Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers. Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up.

ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the “guests.” Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.

Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility. There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.

Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered “Excursion” trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests. Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft. In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.

Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully. It was absolutely incredible.

When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling. Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.

And then a very unusual thing happened. One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that. But this time was different. I said “of course” and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers. He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.

He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte. He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!

The gentleman, a MD from Virginia, promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.  As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.

I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a far away place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them. It reminds me how much good there is in the world.”

In spite of all the negative things we see going on in today’s world this story confirms that there are still a lot of good people on this planet and when things get bad, they will come forward … and sometimes even Pay It Forward.

#NeverForget ~ j & B

p.s. There is a Broadway musical show and a movie about this story called Come From Away … learn more at comefromaway.com


September 2021 National Preparedness Month theme and resources

August 18, 2021

National Preparedness Month encourages and promotes family and community disaster planning throughout the month of September, and provides many tools to help Americans continue preparedness habits year round.

The 2021 NPM theme is: “Prepare To Protect” since preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.

Use the following weekly topics suggested by FEMA’s Ready campaign to help your family, friends, co-workers and fans get more prepared for emergencies and disasters:

Week 1: Sept 1-4  — Make A Plan (Discuss how you would communicate with family and friends before, during and after disasters or emergencies, designate meetup places in case you are separated, review insurance papers, etc.)

Week 2: Sept 5-11 — Build A Kit (make various kits for family members for your home, office or school locker, and vehicles, plus a grab & go kit (B.O.B.) in case you have to evacuate quickly to a safer location. Do this with all family members – from kids to seniors and pets)

Week 3: Sept 12-18 — Prepare for Disasters (Find out the best way to limit the impacts an emergency or disaster may have like having the right insurance coverage, and take some steps to strengthen or improve home, garage and landscape to mitigate or lessen damage from floods, high winds, earthquakes, wildfires and more)

Week 4: Sept 19-25 — Teach Youth About Preparedness (Talk to kids about the types of disasters that happen where you live and travel. Teach them lessons on preparedness so they can be prepared, not scared by practicing fire, earthquake and tornado drills often and making kits together then updating kits twice a year on daylight savings weekend. Find kid-friendly educational resources and activities here and here, and make family preparedness fun, positive and encouraging throughout the year.)

With knowledge comes power so, if more people would learn what to do before, during and after certain types of scenarios, it could alleviate a lot of problems, anxiety, fear and loss, as well as lessen the burden on local emergency services during and after emergencies and disasters.

Learn more about NPM at Ready.gov and download our free 67-page ebook to help your loved ones and communities do the above steps and get more prepared and resilient.

Also consider getting some customizable 266-page “IT’S A DISASTER!” preparedness and first aid books (or PDF ebooks) for your staff, volunteers, students, customers or communities … or, if you have a large reach, request a custom ebook for your volunteers, members and fans and help a charity of your choosing!

Learn more and download a free portion of our preparedness and first aid book in PDF at fedhealth.net . Stay safe ~ j & B


New “Destructive” Severe Thunderstorm Warning category to trigger Wireless Emergency Alerts on mobile phones

August 2, 2021

Severe thunderstorms can be life-threatening, but not all severe storms are the same. Hazardous conditions range from tornadoes, large hail storms, and widespread straight-line winds called derechoes, to cloud-to-ground lightning and flash flooding. 

Starting 2-Aug-2021, the National Weather Service will better convey the severity and potential impacts from thunderstorm winds and hail by adding a “damage threat” tag to Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, similar to their Tornado and Flash Flood Warnings.

“Destructive” and “Considerable” Damage Threat Categories

NWS developed 3 categories of damage threat for Severe Thunderstorm Warnings. The categories, in order of highest to lowest damage threat, are destructive, considerable, and base. These tags and additional messaging are designed to promote immediate action, based on the threats.

  • The criteria for a destructive damage threat is at least 2.75 inch diameter (baseball-sized) hail and/or 80 mph thunderstorm winds. Warnings with this tag will automatically activate a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on smartphones within the warned area.
     
  • The criteria for a considerable damage threat is at least 1.75 inch diameter (golf ball-sized) hail and/or 70 mph thunderstorm winds. This will not activate a WEA.
     
  • The criteria for a baseline or “base” severe thunderstorm warning remains unchanged, 1.00 inch (quarter-sized) hail and/or 58 mph thunderstorm winds. This will not activate a WEA. When no damage threat tag is present, damage is expected to be at the base level.

On average, only 10% of all severe thunderstorms reach the destructive category each year, nationwide. Most of these storms are damaging wind events such as derechoes and some of the larger, more intense thunderstorms, called “Supercell” storms that can typically produce very large hail in their path.

The new destructive thunderstorm category conveys to the public urgent action is needed, a life-threatening event is occurring and may cause substantial damage to property. Storms categorized as destructive will trigger a WEA to your cell phone.

Find some severe weather safety tips on weather.gov and download our free 60-page preparedness ebook plus some other safety tips at fedhealth.net

Source: Weather.gov


Join our ebook Affiliate Program and earn $$$ while helping people get prepared for emergencies and disasters

May 23, 2021

For over 20 years Fedhealth has been helping families and communities learn what to do before, during and after most types of emergencies and disasters including flooding, hurricanes, wildfires, infectious diseases, active shooter scenarios, civil unrest and more with our customizable preparedness and first aid book and ebook.

We have some funding ideas for volunteers, nonprofits, youth groups, businesses, bloggers and others including our easy Affiliate Program associated with our 282-page It’s A Disaster! PDF ebook. (We can also do this with a custom ebook for you – see below!)

You can earn 40% or $2 on each $5 U.S. digital ebook sold online! (We increased it from 30% to 40% in 2022.)

There is no charge to join and SendOwl will assign a unique link for our It’s A Disaster! PDF ebook that you can use on a text phrase or banner on your site, blog, social media and/or enews.

Join Fedhealth’s ebook Affiliate Program on SendOwl or learn more at fedhealth.net.

Want a custom ebook for your fans and others?

If you have a large fan, member or customer base and would like to offer a custom ebook with your own custom cover + e-pages in front to promote your products, services, videos and links plus earn $$$ for yourself or charity, visit fedhealth.net or call 520.907.2153 to discuss this further.

We also pay $$$ on referred bulk ebook and bulk paperback orders too!


New minimum quantity when ordering It’s A Disaster! books

May 18, 2021

Due to rising costs, unfortunately we have to increase our minimum order from 10 copies to 30 copies (1 case) of our 266-page disaster preparedness and first aid manual at the $5 U.S. per book price.

Those needing smaller quantities (less than 30 copies) can still contact Fedhealth to place orders, but we’ll need to pass through actual freight costs or can direct you to one of our resellers.

The paperback can still be customized for FREE with peel & stick labels on our standard red books (30 or more copies) … or … the book title, covers and first 12+ pages can be personalized in full color in the print process in large volume to convey special messages to staff, volunteers, customers and local communities.

Our 284-page interactive PDF ebook is also $5 U.S. (~ 70% off list) … and we customize the ebook in bulk with pricing as low as $2 each.

Plus the sole source product qualifies as community education if using grant funds for purchases.

Also check out our funding ideas (including easy Referral and Affiliate programs) where volunteers, businesses, bloggers and others can earn 15% and 30% on book and ebook orders.

Download a free 60-page portion of It’s A Disaster! and learn more at fedhealth.net or call 520.907.2153 to discuss your needs.

Stay safe ~ B & j


Repurposing things for container gardens

May 16, 2021

One thing 2020 hopefully taught a lot of people is having extra food and supplies on hand can really help families during an emergency or disaster.

Also growing your own food can help supplement dietary needs, plus gardening will get you outdoors so you can soak up some vitamin D.

We are fortunate enough to live on some acreage so we have several in-ground gardens, but we also made a few raised / container gardens this year repurposing some things around the property.

Temperatures have been nice and cool this spring so the lettuce we planted in an old truck box is doing great. The box used to hold several kinds of flowers but, after the February snowpocalypse with subzero temps hit Texas, we lost those plants (and many others) and decided to use the truck box as a container garden for vegetables.

The raised garden required more work to build using some leftover metal roofing sheets and steel poles (and lots of free mulch from our local preserve), but the finished product makes it so much easier to work and harvest without having to bend over.

raised garden

The 14’ x 4’ container garden also can be tightened with turnbuckles on top in case the mulch and soil starts to settle and tries to push out the sides. And we can use poles and wire to throw some shade cloth over the sides and/or top during hot summer months, or to help insulate winter crops when temperatures drop, if needed. The goal is to can, freeze and dehydrate foods from the raised and in-ground gardens to complement our stored preps.

Even if you don’t have a yard, you can still grow vegetables and herbs in small tubs or pots on your patio or indoors by a sunny window.

And if space is limited, consider vertical gardening … or learn how to grow microgreens or sprouts.

And if you like flowers, look into edible flowers and realize some varieties also have edible shoots, leaves, and tubers.

But back to repurposing things – check out some cool repurposed garden container ideas here and here, and share pics of your gardens and/or container suggestions in the comments.

Happy gardening ~ j & B


Free preparedness ebook and other Hurricane Preparedness Week resources

May 13, 2021

Every year the NWS’ Hurricane Preparedness Week helps families get prepared and be ready for hurricane season.

The Pacific hurricane season starts May 15, and the Atlantic season (for now) starts June 1 although they are considering moving it up to mid-May as well someday.

During HPW we encourage you, your loved ones and communities in both Atlantic and Pacific hurricane-prone areas (and areas hundreds of miles inland that also get storms and flooding) learn how to…

  • determine your personal hurricane risk;
  • find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone;
  • review/update insurance policies;
  • make a list of items to replenish hurricane emergency supplies;
  • and start thinking about how you will prepare your home for the coming hurricane season.

Download and share a free 60-page PDF portion of our It’s A Disaster! book with tips on how to make a family plan and various kits, prepare for and respond to hurricanes, floods, evacuations and more at fedhealth.net.

And find and share some Hurricane Preparedness Week tips and resources on USFRA.org


Lightning Safety Myths and Facts

March 6, 2021

Check out some lightning Myths versus Facts from the National Weather Service

Myth: If you’re caught outside during a thunderstorm, you should crouch down to reduce your risk of being struck.
Fact: Crouching doesn’t make you any safer outdoors. Run to a substantial building or hard topped vehicle. If you are too far to run to one of these options, you have no good alternative. You are NOT safe anywhere outdoors.

Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit an average of 23 times a year

Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning.
Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm.

Myth: Rubber tires on a car protect you from lightning by insulating you from the ground.
Fact: Most cars are safe from lightning, but it is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, NOT the rubber tires. Remember, convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open-shelled outdoor recreational vehicles and cars with fiberglass shells offer no protection from lightning. When lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Don’t lean on doors during a thunderstorm.

Myth: A lightning victim is electrified. If you touch them, you’ll be electrocuted.
Fact: The human body does not store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid. This is the most chilling of lightning Myths. Imagine if someone died because people were afraid to give CPR!

Myth: If outside in a thunderstorm, you should seek shelter under a tree to stay dry.
Fact: Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties. Better to get wet than fried!

Myth: If you are in a house, you are 100% safe from lightning.
Fact: A house is a safe place to be during a thunderstorm as long as you avoid anything that conducts electricity. This means staying off corded phones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, computers, plumbing, metal doors and windows. Windows are hazardous for two reasons: wind generated during a thunderstorm can blow objects into the window, breaking it and causing glass to shatter and second, in older homes, in rare instances, lightning can come in cracks in the sides of windows.

Myth: If thunderstorms threaten while you are outside playing a game, it is okay to finish it before seeking shelter.
Fact: Many lightning casualties occur because people do not seek shelter soon enough. No game is worth death or life-long injuries. Seek proper shelter immediately if you hear thunder. Adults are responsible for the safety of children.

Myth: Structures with metal, or metal on the body (jewelry, cell phones, Mp3 players, watches, etc), attract lightning.
Fact: Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt will strike. The presence of metal makes absolutely no difference on where lightning strikes. Mountains are made of stone but get struck by lightning many times a year. When lightning threatens, take proper protective action immediately by seeking a safe shelter – don’t waste time removing metal. While metal does not attract lightning, it does conduct it so stay away from metal fences, railing, bleachers, etc.

Myth: If trapped outside and lightning is about to strike, I should lie flat on the ground.
Fact: Lying flat increases your chance of being affected by potentially deadly ground current. If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, you keep moving toward a safe shelter.

Myth: lightning flashes are 3-4 km apart
Fact: Old data said successive flashes were on the order of 3-4 km apart. New data shows half the flashes are about 9 km apart. The National Severe Storms Laboratory report concludes: “It appears the safety rules need to be modified to increase the distance from a previous flash which can be considered to be relatively safe, to at least 10 to 13 km (6 to 8 miles). In the past, 3 to 5 km (2-3 miles) was as used in lightning safety education.” Source: Separation Between Successive Lightning Flashes in Different Storms Systems: 1998, Lopez & Holle, from Proceedings 1998 Intl Lightning Detection Conference, Tucson AZ, November 1998.

Myth: A High Percentage of Lightning Flashes Are Forked.
Fact: Many cloud-to-ground lightning flashes have forked or multiple attachment points to earth. Tests carried out in the US and Japan verify this finding in at least half of negative flashes and more than 70% of positive flashes. Many lightning detectors cannot acquire accurate information about these multiple ground lightning attachments. Source: Termination of Multiple Stroke Flashes Observed by Electro- Magnetic Field: 1998, Ishii, et al. Proceedings 1998 Int’l Lightning Protection Conference, Birmingham UK, Sept. 1998.

Myth: Lightning Can Spread out Some 60 Feet After Striking Earth.
Fact: Radial horizontal arcing has been measured at least 20 m. from the point where lightning hits ground. Depending on soils characteristics, safe conditions for people and equipment near lightning termination points (ground rods) may need to be re-evaluated. Source: 1993 Triggered Lightning Test Program: Environments Within 20 meters of the Lightning Channel and Small Are Temporary Protection Concepts: 1993, SAND94-0311, Sandia Natl Lab, Albuquerque NM.

Find some Lightning Safety tips here and download a free 60-page PDF portion of our preparedness and first aid ebook.

Resources:

• National Weather Service Lightning Safety

• NWS Toolkit for Counties and Communities, Stadiums, Parks and Large Venues, and Golf Courses

• NWS Tools for Teachers  


Be prepared to test for #COVID19 anytime and have a plan to keep employees and customers safe

February 1, 2021

Note: This post contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you.

Being prepared and having a plan to keep staff and customers safe during this health emergency is vital to any company’s (and community’s) long-term success.

A recent survey shows an overwhelming 82% of employees and 77% of customers would feel more comfortable if they knew employees were being tested for the COVID virus.

Now businesses, schools, churches, agencies, groups and families can get an affordable FDA Authorized test to help determine whether someone has been exposed to the virus within the past 4 to 24 days.

This rapid test reliably identifies IgG and IgM antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2 in a blood sample drawn with a finger prick in 11 to 15 minutes with an online clinician.

ACT’s rapid test kits are currently 70% off so is less than $15 each (sold in groups of 3 kits for $44.55) … plus each kit includes a free month of Telemedicine services from Health Alliance Network.

And COVID COVERED Window Stickers are now included with every box of 25 Kits order so employees and customers feel reassured about safely returning to your business with added oversight of testing by HAN’s clinical assistants.

ACT also has an Affiliate Program so groups, volunteers and individuals can earn over 13% of kit orders (and get commissions on 4 levels) and it’s FREE to join!

Proceeds benefit the U.S. First Responders Association


USFRA Family Preparedness and First Aid $5 ebook helps you prepare for emergencies and disasters + supports America’s first responders

January 13, 2021

No matter where you live there is a chance some type of disaster or emergency can (or at some time will) occur.

Whether it’s a flood, fire, hurricane, a chemical spill forcing an evacuation, active shooter scenario, civil unrest or your child getting a bloody nose … stuff happens.

The question is … what are YOU gonna do about it?

U.S. First Responders Association’s custom 284-page PDF version of our IT’S A DISASTER! preparedness and first aid manual provides families with instructional tips in 2-color format about what to think about and do before, during and after many types of emergencies and disasters, as well as how to administer basic first aid.

If more people would learn how to prepare themselves and their loved ones, it could alleviate some problems, fear and stress in the U.S. and Canada, plus lessen the burden on first responders.

Download a free 65-page portion of USFRA’s Family Preparedness guide and order the full interactive 284-page PDF for only $5 U.S. (~70% off) at USFRA.org and support our nation’s first responders, K9s and veterans.


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