Making Progress with Emergency Preparedness
A Frenzy of Recent Activity!
If you track the news like I do, you will have seen, over just the past couple of months, literally hundreds of cities announcing “Emergency Preparedness Training” meetings. Some of these meetings are sponsored by the local fire department. Some are held in conjunction with the local college. Some are aimed at children; a few have senior citizens as their target audience. Occasionally even an elected official takes the time to make an appearance.
All this activity seems to have been accelerated by our experiencing one disaster after another over the past few years. Lately, they seem to be happening even more frequently: storms, hurricanes, flooding, explosions, bombings . . . the list goes on.
Will these meetings make any difference?
From the standpoint of community preparedness, I welcome all this attention.
From the standpoint of being a trained Community Emergency Response Team member, I realize that a bunch of one-time meetings are just a start. Just a start! It takes weeks and months for people to change their level of general awareness. It takes them weeks and months and sometimes years to get around to taking even the most elementary precautions or preparations.
Which brings me to the point of this article . . .
Our ten-year track record!
Here in our local community, our CERT team has been actively building a plan, recruiting, training, assembling supplies, working with the local authorities – for nearly 10 years now.
Last week was no exception to our regular efforts. We held one of our annual training exercises. It involved Block Captains “discovering” emergencies located around the neighborhood, then taking the appropriate action and recording what they did.
Afterwards, we all got together with cookies and discussed what people had done, and what they might have done better.
While the “emergencies” were ones we might reasonably expect – a train wreck on the tracks next to one row of homes, an earthquake, a live shooter event, a wild fire requiring evacuation – the responses were also what one might reasonably expect.
The important thing – no one really had to think about what to do! After years of talking and writing articles and inviting neighbors in for coffee and a slide show…after a hundred meetings with as few as three people to more like 60 people in the group, it’s all paying off.
Now that’s progress!