Tag: agendas

How to Inspire Readiness

Do your neighborhood group meetings feel like this???

If you are what we could call a “solo preparedness devotee” (or perhaps “voice in the wilderness?”) you know it’s hard to stay inspired and to maintain any momentum in learning new stuff, keeping your supplies up to date, etc.

And if you are involved with a group of neighbors or even trained citizens, you experience the same problem — only worse!

How to keep people interested and inspire readiness?

A close call works.

For example, a 4.5 earthquake works well here in California. News of disasters in other parts of the country or even the world also catches people’s notice and can inspire readiness. Even an announcement about a change in course of FEMA can be useful.

But close calls usually indicate that someone is suffering, so we certainly don’t like waiting for them or depending on them . . .

For a group, we look to regular meetings for inspiration and engagement.

So then the question: What should be on our meeting agenda this month?

I’ve been organizing or helping organize our neighborhood emergency response group meetings for about 16 years now. Even if we figure only 4 meetings a year during that time, that adds up to A WHOLE LOT OF MEETING AGENDAS! Every meeting is an effort — and a challenge! – to inspire readiness through training, door-prizes, entertainment, examples, stories . . . whatever works.

Fortunately, other groups share their meeting agendas with me.

If you’ve been sticking around here at Emergency Plan Guide for a few years, you’ve read about a number of meetings – and not just ours, but also meetings I’ve heard about from other CERT or neighborhood groups. For example, just this week I got these three reports that have already helped suggest meeting topics here in my neighborhood:

  • A friend in a Northern California coastal town reported that she is putting on an earthquake tabletop exercise for a neighboring town. Both those towns are in the way of tsunamis if/when there’s a big Pacific Rim earthquake. Here in Southern California a tsunami is less likely, but an earthquake?  You bet.
  • Another leader in a different Northern California city wrote to tell me that her neighborhood group had planned and executed a Fire Prevention Clean-up Day – removing Juniper trees (very flammable), trash, leaves, fallen branches, etc. from around the homes in their mobile home park. Hearing about this group’s enthusiasm was certainly inspiring to me! We’re working on a similar project right now! (Watch for more.)
  • Still another formal CERT group got this media mention yesterday: Lafayette, CA: The Lamorinda Residents Guide to Wildfire Preparedness & Evacuation. a joint effort that included the Lamorinda Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT) was mailed to more than 62,000 residents in critical wildland fire hazard areas of the East Bay (CA).

Emergency Plan Guide tries to share as many good ideas as possible!

In the past I have put out many individual Advisories about successful meetings we’ve held. And I’ve also published two downloadable books with meeting planning ideas, with about 75 plans for easily-repeatable neighborhood meetings.

Note – these aren’t official CERT trainings. Rather, they are ideas stressing readiness that can be used with “ordinary” groups of neighbors, some of whom have had CERT training but most of whom have not.

I am in the midst of updating them with more meeting agendas and will soon be republishing them in a new format.

And this brings me to a request.

What can YOU add to our list of meeting resources that will help other neighborhood groups inspire readiness within their own ranks?

Have you held meetings that have been particularly interesting, fun or productive? And that lend themselves to being copied? If so, could you please send a description so I can include it in the next version of the book?

I’m thinking that together, we can produce something like “Chicken Soup for Great Emergency Preparedness Teams!”

Here are some simple questions that might work for telling your Great Meeting story:

  1. What was the title/theme of the meeting and what was your objective?
  2. How did the meeting unfold? Any surprises? Any laughs? Any hiccups? What was particularly inspiring or engaging?
  3. Did you need props, handouts, show-n-tell items, other materials?

Please send a story! If you want to remain anonymous, or your group wants to remain anonymous, just say so/ But let us know what sort of neighborhood you’re in, to help readers adapt your great meeting to their neighborhood.

Sharing strengthens volunteer groups and thus whole neighborhoods!

As you know, FEMA’s most recent push has been for Community Resilience – as opposed, I guess, to national response capability. I’ve been working at the community level for years, and I think most of you have been, too. Sharing ideas to help organize communities and inspire readiness among their residents is what we’re about.

I welcome your ideas for great meetings to share!  Please send them to Virginia@EmergencyPlanGuide.org.

Your Emergency Plan Guide team

In case you’ve missed them, here are a couple of Advisories from the past about meetings that worked to inspire readiness. At least, I have received repeated assurances that they made a difference!