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
The likelihood that you and your family will recover from an emergency tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparation done today. While each person’s abilities and needs are unique, every individual can take steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies from fires and floods to potential terrorist attacks. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs, you and your loved ones can be better prepared. For people with special needs disabilities, being prepared is a matter of life or death. If you are on your own, you need to have a plan.
The first step is to consider how an emergency might affect your individual needs.
Think about a given day, what do you do, what do you need and who can help you? Work on a plan to make it on your own for at least three to five days. It is possible in an emergency that you will not have ready access to a medical facility or pharmacy. Basic supplies for survival include food, water and clean air. Consider assembling two kits. One to use at home and one to take with you if you have to leave home.
Recommended basic emergency supplies include:
* Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
* Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener if kit contains canned food and where possible, extra medication.
* Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
* Flashlight and extra batteries for any necessary electronic equipment
* First aid kit; a week’s supply of any prescription medicines; include copies of all prescriptions and dosage instructions; copies of medical insurance, Medicare and Medicaid cards; instruction for operating any equipment or life-saving devices you rely on
* Whistle to signal for help
* Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
* Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
* Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
* Local maps
* Pet food, extra water, collar with ID tag and supplies for your pet or service animal
Make a plan for what you will do in an emergency.
Write it down and keep it with your emergency supply kit. For every aspect of your daily routine, plan an alternative procedure. Create a personal support network. Share your plans with them and make sure that someone in your support network has a key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies. Practice it. Keep a list of network contact information in your wallet. If you need to evacuate, select a shelter that can accommodate your needs.
It’s important to stay informed about what might happen and know what types of emergencies are likely to affect your region. For more information about preparing for emergencies for people with disabilities, click here for a printable document.
Information from Ready.gov
Additional Articles in September 2014 newsletter include:
Solar Moroccan Style Meatballs from our Solar Chef
Youth Need to Know, too.
Have you discussed basic survival techniques with the young people in your home? If they were lost or were involved in an accident, would they know what to do? School is back in session and your children are away from home most of the day, now is the time to review these skills.
As your children grow up, starting at a very young age they learn their name, address and telephone number. They also learn how to dial 9-1-1. Let’s not forget riding a bike and swimming. Do they know how to find their way home in your neighborhood or town? What about basic survival skills? What if your family went on a hike and somehow got separated, or an adult was injured? Would they know what to do? Teens were not born knowing everything, even though there are some who will argue that. Sharing these life lessons may be critical some day.
Teaching Survival Skills Builds Resilience
Before we get into some of the things they should know, let’s discuss how to share this as parents, guardians and mentors. The goal of raising children to become responsible adults involves teaching them more that reading, writing and arithmetic. They need to learn other skills, like critical thinking, leadership and teamwork. Sam Goldstein, a neuropsychologist and co-author of Raising Resilient Children, recommends a fourth “R”, that of resilience. It may be the most valuable skill of all.
We need to be empathetic, communicate with respect, be flexible and give undivided attention. Kids need to be given a chance to solve problems and make decisions on their own and help get projects done. Mistakes need to be used as learning experiences, with strengths recognized, and any corrections or discipline administered with love and kindness. Resilience means bouncing back.
What Survival Skills Should a Teen Know?
- Not Panic – This is one of the most basic of survival skills. In panic-mode we make bad decisions. Frightened youth, with limited life experiences, may do things which could be life threatening.
- Be Aware – Does your child know how to decide if they should run, hide or fight back? Are they aware of where you are going, whether walking or riding on a bike or in an auto? Do they know which places are dangerous to go to and what people and types of behaviors that may put them in a compromising situation? As much as we would like to keep our youth in a protective bubble, they need to learn to recognize that bad things happen, even to good people, and they need to know how to handle them.
- First Aid – Do your children know how to stop bleeding, remove a splinter or treat a burn? Taking a Red Cross CPR/First Aid class or practicing some of the skills in that Boy Scout Book of First Aid you have in your Bug-out-Bag may be a good weekend family project.
- How to Handle a Firearm – Every teen should take a gun safety course. A child who knows how to handle a gun safely is less likely to be involved in a shooting mishap. He/she may need to know how to use a firearm for a number of reasons.
- Feed Himself – This skill can range from opening a can without an electric can opener, using a stove safely, harvesting and preparing garden produce, or hunting, cleaning and preparing game. They should know how to set up and use a Sun Oven®.
- Self Defense – Do your children know how to defend themselves against an attacker; when to run?
- Get Back Home – Another fun weekend project, day or night. Also, make a family fire escape plan.
- Skills – Can your child use simple tools – hammer, drill, paint brush or screwdriver – something other than a game box?
- Stay Warm – Can they build a shelter, start a fire and understand the importance of warmth?
- Getting Help – Do they know who to ask and how to leave clues if they’re lost?
- Pack Their own 72 hr. Emergency Kit – Youth should be responsible for selecting most of the items in their emergency bug-out-bag. This is another good family project that should be updated every six months.
Do you know all these skills? Share them.
Thanks to Mom with a Prep for some of these pointers.
Billie and Robert Nicholson
Other articles in the August 2014 Newsletter include:
Check your calendar and make your reservations to attend one or more of these upcoming emergency preparedness training expos. We will be there with lectures and demonstrations using the Sun Oven®. Plan to take one home along with lots of other preparedness ideas.
Other articles in the August 2014 Newsletter include:
We’re three-fourths of the way through our series on preparing to execute an emergency preparedness drill in your neighborhood. We hope you are taking this information to your neighbors and encouraging them to be prepared, too.
The adjacent article talks about using radios in an emergency, but the best way to know how to use your radios is to do just that – Use it.
My neighborhood conducts a weekly radio check, which lasts only a couple of minutes, but serves as an opportunity for neighbors to practice using their radios, so in a disaster, they don’t have to try and learn.
Every Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on channel 8, subchannel 1, our communication specialists welcomes everyone to the call and invites them to check in by stating their name.
Once everyone has checked in (which is usually 3-7 people), we open it up for conversation about any topic on preparedness.
These scheduled radio checks keep radios charged and used, so in an emergency, my neighborhood understands how to use them, which gives me a lot of peace of mind. Jason M. Carlton
Did you play with walkie-talkies as a child? Did you ever think that one day you would be using them as a means of communicating in a disaster? Well, if phone lines and cell towers are damaged in an emergency, a set of Family Radio Service (FRS) devices can help your neighborhood mobilize and communicate faster than boys on bikes.
In order for this tool to work most effectively, members of your neighborhood would need to have, and know how to use, FRS radios. Here are two things to consider when selecting the one that’s right for you:
1. The longer the range on your radio, the better you will be able to communicate throughout your neighborhood. FRS radios are line-of-sight transmissions. So if you have a lot of houses and trees between you and the person on the other end, communication may be difficult. For example, a radio that boasts 32 miles, may only provide two-miles in a populated neighborhood.
2. Many radios come with non-removable, rechargeable packs. These can wear out over time. The recommendation is to go with a radio that can also have this rechargeable pack replaced with AA batteries, which may help strengthen the signal when needed.
3. FRS radios contain channels, as well as subchannels. Make sure your radio has subchannel capabilities; otherwise you may be able to hear your neighbors, but not have the ability to communicate back to them.
These radios offer multiple channels that can be used in an emergency, so if your neighborhood needs to communicate, you must coordinate a channel on which all communication will take place. For example, your neighborhood can plan to communicate on channel 8, subchannel 1, while the neighborhood adjacent to yours can take channel 9, subchannel 1.
Another best practice is to designate a communications specialist for your neighborhood who can direct all radio traffic. This person will keep things orderly when crisis strikes and help those seeking to identify families’ needs obtain the information vital to responding.
October, 2011 Every Needful Thing Jason M. Carlton
The actual execution of the drill is a powerful way to identify just how ready you and your neighbors are. Taking into account the previous three items discussed in this newsletter (organizing block captains, color codes of emergencies, and radio communication), here are the final elements to carrying out a successful drill.
PICK A DATE & TIME
The drill works best on a Saturday morning, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. Select a Saturday that will work best for your neighbors by taking into account school events, or sports games. Plan for the event four weeks in advance, so you have time to coordinate with block captains and other participants.
DESIGNATE DAMAGED HOUSES & INJURIES
Using the color codes, assign 15-20 yellow and red cards to random houses throughout your designated area. Write something on the card explaining the situation.
If you have difficulties identifying homeowners to participate, ask them if you can simply attach the card to an exterior portion of the house, and the participating block captain can simply read the card, rather than knocking and interrupting the homeowner.
SELECT THE RADIO CHANNEL
If you haven’t already designated a FRS channel for your radio, pick the one you plan to use for the drill, and communicate that to participating block captains.
At the designated start time, announce over the radio that the drill has begun. Block captains will proceed to check their designated homes and report back to the Coordination Center.
The coordinator will keep a list of the damage and injuries reported by the block captains.
If you have CERT teams in your neighborhood, they can discuss how they would address each of the injuries. If some areas are missing block captains, the coordinator will need to direct block captains who have completed their own sweep to survey other blocks, too.
Once everything has been reported, get everyone together and debrief the event. This is where you will learn the most, and can implement any best practices into your next drill.
November, 2011 Every Needful Thing Jason M.Carlton
In my role as an emergency preparedness coordinator for my neighborhood, I have had the opportunity to plan and execute a few neighborhood communication drills. The lead article is the first in a series of articles related to organizing a neighborhood in such a way that a full-scale emergency drill can be executed.
In each of the neighborhood exercises I have been a part of, I have learned something that helps me to refine my own neighborhood’s communication plan.
Here is a list of the articles that you will read in upcoming issues:
1. Organizing blocks & captains
2. Color-codes of emergencies
3. FRS radio protocol
4. Executing the drill
By the end of 2011, we hope to provide you with the information necessary to better organize your neighborhoods so you can test this organization through a communication drill and customize it to better prepare your neighbors and friends for anything that may come your way.
Jason M. Carlton
How often do you see a news story about a disaster that occurred and sent the city into panic and disorganization? Having a practiced and refined emergency preparedness plan in place can help reduce the panic in your own neighborhood.
It would be naive to say that in an actual emergency, your plan will go exactly as planned and practiced – every disaster may warrant different circumstances. But if the residents feel confident that a plan is in place, and has been practiced before, the level of panic will remain much lower.
If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Don’t let this be your neighborhood.
STEP 1: Identify a block captain
Block captains are volunteers assigned to a designated collection of houses and who help gather the information necessary to identify and address the needs of that given neighborhood.
Ideally, the block captain should be able to stand in front of their house and see the houses to which they have been assigned. In the corresponding graphic, a few examples of block organizations have been identified, with the block captain’s home identified in white.
STEP 2: Provide basic training
When asking a neighbor to “volunteer” to be a block captain, it is important to be able to provide them with an understanding of what their role is in an emergency.
Layton City (Utah) prepared a PowerPoint presentation for block captain training and has made it available on their Website. You can access the PDF file with this link:
Organization will be key. It may take some time to organize the block captains, and they may change as time goes by, but this is the first step in preparing your neighborhood for an emergency.
Report from Haiti
Haiti is one of the world’s most deforested countries. In some parts of Haiti, families spend up to half of their household income to buy charcoal. It is not uncommon for women to face the dilemma of choosing between buying enough food to feed their family or the charcoal to cook it. To maximize the charcoal’s value, much of the cooking is done in enclosed kitchens, exposing women and children to the harmful effects of smoke.
Sun Ovens International has been working in Haiti since 1998, and is committed to providing an alternative to cooking with charcoal. Haiti is blessed with an abundance of sunshine; the sun can be harnessed as the fuel source for up to 70% of household cooking.
Help Us Help Haiti
During November and December 2013 donations to the Friends of Haiti Organization (FOHO) SUN OVEN® project will matched dollar for dollar.
The cost of each SUN OVEN® with two pots and WAPIs is $199. Donations of any amount will be greatly appreciated.
Credit card donations can be made through the SUN OVEN® website. Donations will be forwarded to FOHO and FOHO will issue a receipt by mail.
FOHO is a 501C3 nonprofit organization so all donations will be tax deductible. 100% of the donation will go directly to sending SUN OVENS® to Haiti; no administrative expenses will be deducted.
To make a donation on line visit: https://www.sunoven.com/products-page/donation/help-us-help-haiti-donation
To learn more about our work in Haiti visit: https://www.sunoven.com/haiti
November 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson, editor
Watch the news. Pick up a newspaper. Surf the Internet. It always seems like there is one disaster or another impacting some other region of the world. But the question many of us ask is, “When and what will hit my region of the world?”
As an emergency preparedness specialist, there are many challenges you face. But the biggest challenge is motivating your family, friends or neighbors to take action to be ready for the unexpected. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide you with the resources you need as a specialist to address these challenges, and provide helpful information to those you care about.
In this, the first issue of Every Needful Thing, our front page will focus on information specific to emergency preparedness specialists, while the inside pages will provide information applicable to all.
I encourage you apply this information to your role in emergency preparedness, and to provide it to your family, friends and neighbors as a resources for their use in preparing for any type of “emergency.” Jason M. Carlton
Prepare your Community
The more prepared a community is, the better the outcome of a disaster. Organizing an emergency preparedness open house is a great way to bring your neighborhoods together to share information, resources and discussion. Here are four tips to help you organize and execute a successfull open house.
TIP 1: Pick the best date & time
Saturday’s are busy days – soccer games, errands, vacations, etc. But an open house can last for 4 hours, allowing the greatest number of people possible. Think about what works best for your neighborhood, but the recommended time is 8 am to noon.
TIP 2: Bring in experts
As a specialist, you know a lot of things, but that doesn’t make you an expert on everything. Workshops are your opportunity to recruit experts to come present a 30-minute class, sharing their best practices and experiences. Workshop topics can include:
• First aid kits
• Water purification & storage
• Solar cooking
• Food storage
TIP 3: Informational booths
Schedules may not allow people to attend the classes, but they still want information about emergency preparedness. Booths can provide people with those resources from organizations such as:
• Local Red Cross chapter
• City Emergency Preparedness
• State Emergency Preparedness
• Others with info to share
Depending on your organization, for-profit companies may need to be avoided, but that is a case-by-case basis.
TIP 4: Get others involved
You don’t have to plan an open house alone. Find other specialists in your area who will recruit and lead a committee for one aspect of the event. Committees can include: Venue Logistics, Event Promotion, Workshop Organizer, and Booth Organizer. The more people involved in planning, the easier your job will be.
Start planning your event about two or three months in advance, divide up responsibilities, and do the best you can. While it may be stressful, it will be worth it.
Our homes protect us from inclement weather and from the intrusion of other people. We live and store our personal property there. It is the center of our daily activities, and contains a place to prepare food and sanitary facilities. It is our home and we have the right to defend it. It is our obligation to maintain our shelter by paying attention to the need for repairs, whether we do the work or have someone else do it, repairs mean safe shelters. Security also involves habits like locking the door behind you, having screens on windows, and placing dowels in sliding doors.
Add a steel plate over the frame of doors to reinforce the deadbolt area. This will reinforce the door locks. Remove existing door trim, screw in steel strip. Make sure your screws don’t interfere with the bolt positions. Replace the door trim. The door will not give way easily.
During disasters, our first instinct is to shelter in place at home.
If our home is damaged, we may have to leave it and find protection from the elements elsewhere. Depending on the situation, we may be able to find a public shelter in a school or other facility manned by a humanitarian organization. If the disaster is widespread, you may need to make do with items you have in your emergency supplies or apply some wilderness survival techniques to make one. If you find yourself in this situation, preparing a shelter will be a first priority. You will want to get it finished before nightfall.
This will be the time that you are happy to have an emergency kit. Items included in your kit like a flashlight, rain poncho, hand warmers, extra clothing and waterproof matches will be welcome. You may not have an air mattress, but that thermal space blanket and plastic tarp will help avoid hypothermia.
Thanks to Joe Marshall for use of this table from his book, “The-Preppers-Playbook”. Joe is an average guy with a passion for sharing everything he learns. He is managing editor for www.SurvivalLife.com. Joe is graciously making this book available to Every Needful Thing readers at a special price. Click on The-Preppers-Playbook link.
Remember the 4th Survival commandment: “Adapt to the surroundings, wherever they may be.” Gaye Levy
September 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson