The very first thing I did after finishing “Rossen to the Rescue” was to check exactly where the fire extinguisher was in my kitchen. I am proud to say I knew where it was, right behind the cabinet door where the pots and pans are stored.
I can also proudly say I know where the defibrillator is at my place of work. It is right next to the elevator on the second floor where I exit the building every day.
Jeff Rossen, who heads an NBC News investigative team that produces reports for “Today,” “Dateline” and other shows, has written a book that not only is protecting consumers from rip-offs and scams, but also is keeping us safe and sound. Better yet, he is looking to keep us alive by providing useful advice for catastrophic situations, such as a tornado, a train crash, a home invasion or even a stranding in the ocean.
Granted, I probably will not encounter every scenario Rossen covers, especially how to walk through fire — that is not on my bucket list.
I thought I knew much of what he writes about. After all, a lot is common sense, or at least we think it is. It never hurts to reiterate some of this common sense, then introduce tips and tricks.
I found several of the topics discussed in the book enlightening and will put them into practice in my life.
Like Jeff, I tend to be on the frugal side, carefully watching the money I spend. My wife, like Jeff’s wife, is the spender in the family, and I can relate to the part of the book where he comes home to new Amazon boxes every day. Thankfully, my wife is a great negotiator and always finds values — at least, that is what she tells me.
His exposé on the SPF in sunscreen is interesting. Human nature tells us that the higher the number of the SPF, the better protection it will offer by the pool or on the beach. Wrong: People are wasting precious dollars on SPFs higher than 50, which cost more but yield little gain in protection.
I will put that advice back into my wallet.
As an investigative journalist, Rossen can provide empirical evidence for all the consumer advice and survival tips he writes about, many of which he has experienced, such as surviving an earthquake. He and his staff put themselves in harm’s way to prove many of his points, from confronting scam artists and dishonest employees trying to rip us off to having themselves buried alive, experiencing a raging flood or parasailing with less-than-safe equipment.
You may find some of the topics downright frightening, such as dealing with bed bugs and wondering whether the hotel maids are actually changing the sheets you sleep on and the towels you dry yourself with. What if the underwear you buy has been used or the doctor you see is drunk?
You get the point.
I have only scratched the surface of the examples provided by Rossen. Much of the book is written with a great sense of humor, making it a joy to read.
We are never too old to learn new ways to deal with life situations, especially when they could save you money or even save your life.