Tag: Arguments

How do you answer when . . .?



Do you have an answer when people ask, “Why are you involved in Emergency Preparedness?”

If you’re like me, you’ve been asked that question many times, in a variety of ways.

Common questions – do they sound familiar?

  • What’s so great about emergency response?
  • How do you even know where to start?
  • What if your family really isn’t interested?

Frequent put-downs – tough to come up with an answer!

And then there are some people who don’t even pose a question, but come up with a comment designed to shut the whole conversation down.

  • I don’t believe in scaring people.
  • Nobody has that kind of money.
  • Nothing bad is going to happen here.

The best answer? Facts!

The trick I’ve found is to have at hand a few facts to counter the emotions in these comments! And since Joe and I are planning to be at a big emergency preparedness community fair this weekend, I decided I needed a few updated facts.

I am sharing them below as the Emergency Preparedness Fact Sheet, with this month’s date. Obviously the fact sheet can get out of date mighty quickly!

I hope you will find these facts useful in casual conversations. You can use them to answer a question like one of those above. You can use them to start a substantive discussion at work or with a group you belong to. (Your neighbors may not agree with everything!) Share them with the press.  Customize, add, subtract.  But use the fact sheet contents when you can, and let us know how it works!

Emergency Preparedness Fact Sheet – October, 2018

Why I stay involved . . .

  • More disasters: Weather-related disasters are increasing, quadrupling since 1970 to almost 400 per year. Hurricane Harvey was called the 3rd 500-year flood in 3 years. Hurricane Michael is strongest to hit Panhandle of Florida in recorded history. https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2017/08/29/weather-related-disasters-are-increasing; https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/8/28/16211392/100-500-year-flood-meaning; https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/10/us/hurricane-michael-wxc/index.html
  • Higher costs: The cost of disasters continues to go up. With three devastating hurricanes, extreme wildfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes and drought, the U.S. tallied a record high bill last year (2017) for weather-related disasters: $306 billion. . CBS News, Jan. 8, 2018
  • Fewer deaths: The number of deaths caused by natural disasters is falling:
    • Cities invest in safety measures, advanced warning systems, better buildings.
    • Response organizations deliver food, water, sanitation, and medicine more quickly.
    • People have access to social media, GPS, television, radio to warn them to get out of the way or get prepared for impending disaster.
  • Delayed response: However, in a widespread emergency, governments and aid organizations cannot always help communities immediately.  A new emphasis has arisen to promote “community resilience.” https://www.fema.gov/community-resilience-indicators
  • Public apathy: Study after study says that Americans recognize the threat of natural disasters, but fewer than half of them have done anything to prepare. Statistics for small business preparedness are similar. https://today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2018/07/17/americans-disaster-preparedness-2018
  • Limited citizen engagement: Since 1993 CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training has educated volunteers in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. Nationwide, in over 2,700 communities, more than 600,000 people have gone through the FEMA program. That’s 600,000 in a population of 325 million = 1 CERT grad for every 500+ neighbors! https://www.ready.gov/community-emergency-response-team
  • Community organizations: Some local governments also create and support neighborhood preparedness groups, often based on CERT and operating under the office or department of Emergency Management. Examples are LA’s Ready Your LA Neighborhood (RYLAN) and Hawaii’s Hazards Awareness and Resilience Program (HHARP).
  • Filling the gap: In most cities, when CERT graduates finish their training, they continue to train with other CERTs but go back into their neighborhoods without tools to help involve their neighbors. Emergency Plan Guide resources are meant to fill that gap:
    1. EmergencyPlanGuide.org regularly publishes articles and reports on various aspects of preparedness. The authors assume subscribers to the regular weekly Advisories have an interest in building more resilient neighborhoods, so most Advisories are designed for group leaders to share in a formal group (church, homeowners’ association, business, school) or informally.
    2. The Neighborhood Disaster Survival Series adds a new tool for building more resilient communities. Each book provides a thorough, step-by-step program, again based on CERT principles, to help community leaders and their neighbors understand vulnerabilities of their particular type of community and work together in a more organized fashion to prepare for and respond to emergencies. The goal of each book is to help a group develop a PLAN for PREPAREDNESS that will have some staying power; the small business book is also designed to keep a business out of legal trouble.

What “facts” or emotions keep YOU involved? Are you able to get other people engaged by describing your own feelings or concerns? What “arguments” have worked best for you in getting others to take action?

Let us know in the comments!

Your Emergency Plan Guide team