Inventory Worksheet for a Resilient Community

Resilient community after a hurricane
How well will your community fare in a disaster???

The emphasis from FEMA these days seems to be on building “resilient communities.” 

This includes improving cooperation among the various community agencies and organizations like cities, counties, fire departments, hospitals, the Red Cross, CERT programs, etc.

It also means a new focus on individual citizen and neighborhood preparedness. Here’s a new resilient community element that has been added to the CERT program in our city.

As CERT grads, we are being asked to serve as ambassadors to reach out more deeply into our community.

At Emergency Plan Guide we’re of course delighted with this development! We’ve been doing this grass roots work for years, and we welcome new resources!

Today, I’d like to share an inventory worksheet that our CERT team received after the orientation to the new outreach program.

An inventory worksheet can add important knowledge for a more resilient community.

Have you received or used a similar worksheet? Perhaps you’ve found out some of what we have . . .

  • In our experience, people are hesitant to share information about personal skills and/or equipment until they have developed a certain level of trust with their neighbors. I think you’ll get better response by planning the inventory exercise only after your group has been established for a while and people know each other.
  • As always, we think you’ll improve participation in the list exercise by introducing it with stories that apply to your neighborhood or property. When people see a photo or take a walk out to the back gate that’s always chained shut, then they will be more comfortable sharing that they own bolt cutters!
  • Having a prepared list is great to start the discussion about a resilient community, but we have found that other important items emerge only after discussion. So now we use a “short list” as a starter and let the group brainstorm and build its own list on a white board or easel.  Then we share our “custom list” with all current members of the group.

No matter how you build it or introduce it, though, getting a list of skills and equipment is important. And you’ll want to update it regularly because people come and go and they tend to buy and get rid of stuff. In any case, and to continue the discussion,

Here’s the inventory worksheet we were given by our CERT program.

Inventory worksheet
Click here for a full sized, easier to read image!

Leverage your inventory worksheet for even more benefits to your community.

Here are more discoveries we’ve made using the inventory exercise. Perhaps they will emerge in your group, too.

  • When you know what equipment is located in the neighborhood you’ll have a head start on preparedness and won’t have to plan to buy more, often expensive, items.
  • Knowing where people with special skills or equipment are located means your neighborhood can have quick access to these assets, maybe saving lives that otherwise would be lost. (Make a map, and have a discussion about confidentiality.)
  • People who own equipment usually know how to use it. They may be pleased to lead a training session on that equipment for the benefit of the whole group. (We’ve had trainings on gas sniffers, fire extinguishers, and furniture bracing, for example.)
  • A discussion of equipment and skills may reveal gaps in your group’s preparedness “coverage.”  Can you create a sub-committee to seek out a donation, find special training, or establish a new partnership from within the community?
  • Neighbors may be inspired to sign up for more training – like the full CERT training or to become a HAM radio operator — thereby adding significantly to the strength of the team. What would YOU like to learn more about?

This worksheet was the first training piece that our CERT outreach group received, and we haven’t finished with it yet. But I wanted to get it out to you right away in case you find a way to use it with your group.

And if you do, can you please write back and let us know how it is working! We all look forward to hearing from you.

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

P.S. This list isn’t exhaustive. A few items that aren’t here but that might find their way onto a customized inventory could be boats, golf carts, and pop-up tents! What items does your group come up with? 

P.P.S. If you are just starting a CERT outreach program in your community, you might want a copy of the “Start-Up Suggestions” we provided for our own Southern California program leader. I’d be happy to send you a copy. Just drop me a line.

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