If you consider the national emergency management as a pyramid, you the CITIZEN are the base of this pyramid. You are responsible for yourself and your family by knowing what to do before, during, and after a disruptive event. For example:
• Know the risks and danger signs, purchase insurance including flood insurance, which is separate from your home owner’s policy
• Develop plans for what to do, assemble a disaster supplies kit
• Volunteer to help others
• Put your plan into action
• Help others
• Follow advice and guidance from officials in charge
• Document property damage
• Repair damaged property
Sometimes you may need to turn to others within your local community for help. The LOCAL level is the second tier of the pyramid. This level consists of paid employees and public and private sector volunteers. These people are involved in preventing emergencies and in being prepared to respond if necessary. Most emergencies are handled at this level, putting lots of responsibility on a community for taking care of its citizens. Their responsibilities include identifying hazards, assessing risks, developing and coordinating community emergency plans to ensure a quick and effective response, establishing warning systems, stocking emergency supplies and equipment, and afterwards assessing the damage and identifying needs.
Should support and resource requirements exceed the local community’s ability to provide, the community can request assistance from the STATE. The state may be able to provide additional resources and coordinate the plans of various communities. Above this is the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT level, which can provide further resources, but the whole system begins with you. Are You Ready?
Billie Nicholson, editor