The chances that your family will survive a disaster depends as much on your family planning as it does on local governmental agencies like police, fire and rescue. Families should have the tools and plans to support and protect themselves for at least the first three days (72 hours) into a disaster. Research on personal preparedness shows that many people who think they’re prepared are really NOT. In addition, some admit that they do not plan to prepare at all. Our nation’s emergency planners, fire fighters, EMT/Paramedics and law enforcement officers do an unbelievable job of keeping us safe, but they can’t do it alone. The biggest challenge is motivating everyone to participate in disaster preparedness activities. Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is critical to being prepared. It may make the difference between life and death. When we accept the personal responsibility to become prepared, we participate in the safety and security of our neighborhoods and communities. September is National Preparedness Month.
- Get a kit
- Make a Plan
- Be Informed, Get Involved
- Do It NOW.
Billie Nicholson, editor
Additional Articles in September 2014 newsletter include:
Solar Moroccan Style Meatballs from our Solar Chef
from a presentation by Travis Waack
As a part of the Summer of Survival webinar series, Travis Waack shared the following information about leadership and organization during a disaster. These notes were taken during that talk and are supplemented by additional details from an ICS pdf from epa.gov. Editor
Leadership during a catastrophe
Sometimes we have warnings of coming disasters, sometimes we don’t. Whenever they occur, the first noticeable problem is a lack of communication among the citizens of the area affected and among those involved in providing rescue and recovery. In a culture of preparedness, like our readers, we need to recognize the problems and develop ways to control the situation, not just crisis manage, for the benefit of our families and our communities.
Incident Command System
The Incident Command System (ICS) was developed following a series of California wildfires which caused millions in damage and the death of several people. Local, state and federal fire authorities collaborated to form FIRESCOPE (Firefighting Resources of California Organized for Potential Emergencies. This group reviewed the wildfire responses and discovered that poor incident management was to blame, not a lack of resources. Major problems were associated with nonstandard terminology, nonstandard or integrated communication, lack of organizational flexibility, lack of consolidated action plans and lack of designated facilities. ICS was designed to overcome these problems. Following 9/11 this program was nationalized. Today, most major incidents demand so many resources and skills that one local, state, or federal agency couldn’t provide them. The Incident Command System provides a way for many agencies to work together smoothly under one management system.ICS pdf from epa.gov
Leadership by emergency personnel
Any incident that requires action by emergency service personnel to prevent or minimize loss of life or property or locale damage can be managed by an ICS. It can operate regardless of jurisdictional boundaries and can grow or shrink to meet the needs of the incident. It is designed to develop work accountability and safety, improve communications, enforce a systematic planning process, fully integrate people and supplies, enhance communications to everyone involved and define the chain of command.
Leadership Support Groups
The Incident Commander depends on the information from four supporting groups to provide the necessary information to make final decisions. This command model may have two or more individuals serving as the commander who work as a team. A good commander is responsible for making sure all pieces of the structure are working together properly.
- The Operations section does the work; they are the boots on the ground doing the response to whatever the emergency may be.
- The Planning section provides support information. They know what resources are available and collaborate with operations to write incident actions plans – which are objectives for the next day.
- The Logistics section procures materials and supplies; obtains and manages facilities; supports workers with food, lodging and medical care. They provide radio communications and IT support.
- Finance & Administration is in charge of paying for supplies, processing compensation and tracking costs and statistics.
Each role can be adapted to meet the needs of a Prepper network. A deliberate process will be essential if a group is to be led during a catastrophic chaos. Consider this system for your community.
Additional articles in the September 2014 newsletter include:
Solar Moroccan Style Meatballs from our Solar Chef
In 2013, there were seven weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. In May 2013, tornadoes devastated part of central Oklahoma. This outbreak included the deadliest tornado of the year on May 19 in Moore, Oklahoma. In just one month, November 2013, at least 70 tornadoes spanned seven Midwestern states. In addition, these events included a major flood event and a western drought/heat wave. These events resulted in 109 deaths.
Each year, people suffer or are seriously injured by severe weather despite advance warning. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have partnered for the third year to highlight the importance of making severe weather preparedness a nationwide priority.
We all want the peace of mind of knowing that our families, friends, homes and our businesses are safe and protected from threats of any kind. While we can’t control where or when the next disaster will hit, we can take action by preparing ourselves and loved ones for emergencies and learning what actions to take.
Knowing your risk, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you could take to be better prepared to save your life and others.
Know your risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. During active weather, stay alert of the forecast by listening to radio or television, check the weather forecast regularly on weather.gov, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio and listen for Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on your cell phone. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
Take action: Develop an emergency plan based on your local weather hazards and practice how and where to take shelter before a severe weather event. Post your plan in your home where visitors can see it. Learn how to strengthen your home and business against severe weather. Take action and participate in a local event on April 30 through America’s PrepareAthon and ensure you know what to do when severe weather occurs.
Be a Force of Nature: Once you have taken action, tell your family, friends, school staff and co-workers about how they can prepare. Share the resources and alert systems you discovered through your social media network. Studies show that individuals need to receive messages a number of ways before acting – be one of those sources.
Reproduced with Permission
Our nation had a big wake up call on September 11, 2001, when terrorists flew hijacked airplanes into the two largest office buildings in New York City. Another one came in August 2005 in the form of Hurricane Katrina.We learned that we are not as “safe” as we assumed and that government organizations as well as individuals had a big knowledge gap on how to handle disasters. Many organizations were commended for their performance during both of these as well as other subsequent disasters. People found, however, that their survival hinged upon their own abilities and level of preparation. Super heroes were not available to fly in to save the day, at least not for everyone.
National Preparedness month, begun in 2004, is a part of a governmental effort to encourage Americans to prepare to take care of themselves during emergencies in whatever form or place they might occur. September was chosen for Preparedness Month, as a reminder of the September 11th tragedy.
As of 2009, the Citizen Corps National Survey revealed that only 57% of Americans indicated that they had emergency supplies set aside in their home in case of a disaster. Only 44% have a household emergency plan.
FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is responsible for the distribution of emergency preparation information through their website Ready.gov. This year everyone is encouraged to visit the site and download a list of items to add to your emergency kit. There’s even a section on the site for kids: www.ready.gov/kids filled with games and easy to understand facts and tips helping families know that everyone needs to be involved in preparing for a disaster.
Design your family’s emergency plan. If we expect the government to provide everything for everyone, we may be waiting for a long time. You
will be your own fire department, doctor, and security department. Let the unit commander inside you come to life. Your family is worth it.
September 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson