Tag: courses

Staying Active Despite COVID-19

“Where is everybody?”

With COVID-19, we are stuck at home. We can’t hold our monthly neighborhood group meetings . . . so how to keep our group together? Here’s some of what we’re doing to stay active . . .

Local Activities Keep Us Busy

  • Regular email messages about pertinent topics. Last week, for example, we sent out information about “Managing Extreme Heat.” (I turned that into an Advisory, as you may have noticed.) By the way, that warning was extended to a second week. We had to send a couple of follow up messages explaining how the state grid operator manages “rotating outages” (1 or 2 hrs only) and how they differ from individual utility-managed Public Safety Power Shut-offs, which could last for days. Outages are rare – this is the first time we’ve had any in 19 years. We haven’t experienced any PSPSs so far this year, but they will be coming!
  • Remote training via webinar. Last month was the first time I’ve been the featured speaker for a newly-forming group in the Bay Area of California. That wide-spread group is actively recruiting even during the pandemic! Topic for the training: “Building a Neighborhood Group.” I stressed knowing the audience/target rather than following a strict top-down procedure.
  • Conference calls with neighbors. I’ve mentioned our volunteer team members who are sewing colorful, multi-layered masks. They’ve distributed 842 as of last week! (Some masks go to neighbors while others have been distributed to various non-profit groups that serve our community.) The reason we use a conference call instead of webinar is that this is our Low Vision Support Group! No need for a digital screen if you can’t see it!  (Obviously, not all members sew. But all get involved in other aspects of the project.)

So these are the very local neighborhood happenings – and there will be more info to come because we have a couple more projects in the works.

Publishing Activities Spread Valuable Info

More exciting, perhaps, is the fact that Joe and I added a 12th book to our Emergency Preparedness Q&A Mini-Series just yesterday! The title: Crisis First Aid.

This is a topic that generates a lot of emotion! Every time we bring it up at local meetings we get questions like these:

  • Oh, dear! How would I know what to do?
  • Who should I try to help first?
  • What if I try to help someone who is injured and I screw up?

Of course, Joe and I are not medical experts. And this 60-page booklet doesn’t make us one or make you one, either. But as we researched the writing we realized that we all have important experience to share in an emergency . . . not the least of which is a determination to approach the emergency with a plan, a collection of good medical supplies, and a basic understanding of what common sense actions we can take.

If these are questions that you have heard, or have asked yourself, consider getting this booklet. Give it a read. You may be surprised at how well positioned you already are to be of real help in a disaster. (Plus, there are other resources mentioned that you can follow up with.)

Almost Ready — Training for Other Community Groups

I know many of you share a desire to get more people involved in being more prepared. And of course, like us, you find it a challenge to make that happen!

I write weekly Advisories as one way to spread what I hope is good information. Joe and I reach out to our neighbors and plan regular meetings and training as a second level of sharing. Our books reach an even wider audience – but we still know that . . .

People don’t want to just READ about something, they want to EXPERIENCE A CHANGE!

While the Mini-Books were written to help people make that change one step at a time, the books also lend themselves to group training session.

Coming Soon — Preparedness as a Group Course

So our next goal is to turn the Mini-Series into an actual course that could become an activity for any kind of group: a neighborhood group, a youth group, a church group. The leader of the course will be one of the group members.

We’ll be calling on our years of formal educational training (I still have my Lifetime High School Teaching Certificate!) plus the many, many meetings and programs we’ve led for business clients and colleagues. We are developing simple tools to help course participants realize:

  • WHY getting more prepared makes sense
  • HOW to get past procrastination (with the help of your friends!)
  • WHAT a change the course will make in your daily life – including new trust and confidence.

We have just a couple more booklets to write to finish the collection, and then we’ll be pulling together the course. Maybe you’ll even want to be a course leader???

We’ll be letting you know as the program develops. If you have suggestions for groups, ideas you would have liked to have experienced in your own training, tips for engaging adults – don’t hesitate to drop us a note. If you’re reading this, you’re out there doing much of what we are doing, I am sure!

Prices On Books Going Up

As I may have mentioned some weeks ago, we set the introductory price low to encourage people to get started sooner. Since then Amazon has repeatedly urged us to raise the price and we’ve agreed to do so on the 1st of September.

So while the mini-series booklets are still very inexpensive – only $2.99 for an ebook and $4.99 for the paperback version – if you have thought about getting any of our books you can save some money if you do it now.

Crisis First Aid is the latest in the Mini-Series

As I said, the latest mini-series topic is “Crisis First Aid.” Click here to see the whole collection. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re proud of these books and think they fit a real niche by being so affordable and easy to get through.

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

Muscle Memory and Emergency Preparedness Training

raining and muscle memory

By now we’ve all heard the concept of “muscle memory.” That is, if you practice something enough, when called upon your body will remember what to do even if your brain is sidetracked.

Professionals train constantly. They develop all kinds of muscle memory, and every day we hear stories how that training has paid off.

Volunteers, on the other hand, are a different story. When it comes to preparedness training for volunteers within the neighborhood, we have a challenge.

Here is the training challenge as I see it.

  • Even in a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training session with the guidance of professional instructors we can TALK about what to do in an emergency medical situation. We can SHOW people how clear airways, check for breathing, and test circulation. We can PRACTICE once or twice with professional supervision.

    Then we go home! And we are lucky to get a refresher course on those particular procedures within the next month or even 6 months!
  • In our local neighborhood group meetings we don’t have professionally-trained leaders. We depend on our own volunteer members to come up with good ways to prepare and to respond. When we’re lucky, we attract a guest speaker with special credentials.

    Then we go home! And we may never hear from that speaker again!

A current LinkedIn discussion group sees the challenge, too.

I participate in a LinkedIn group for emergency managers. There’s a discussion taking place right now about providing enough on-going training for people at different levels of expertise.

In particular, the discussion is focusing on the very audience I mentioned above – the concerned and committed volunteer who may be part of a local community but not part of a formal program.

How can we give these people the chance to develop that all-important “muscle memory?”

Here’s some of what I’ve learned about meeting the training challenge.

Online resources. There are a number of online resources, courses and online videos. We have used many of them in our group. The challenge is having to first find and then sort through them all, site by site and video by video, to find one that fits your group’s level of interest, its budget and is of a quality you’re comfortable with. As we know, there is no easy way to “rate” the quality of ANYTHING online!

Local resources. In our community we occasionally have the opportunity to attend a face-to-face course offered by the Red Cross or a health care organization. Some of these are free; most charge a fee. Some communities are more fortunate in that they have regular such programs offered through a university. (Here are two examples, the first at Columbia and the second at the University of Kansas.  https://ncdp.columbia.edu/practice/training-education/online-face-to-face-training/ and http://rtcil.org/emergencypreparedness/onlinetrainings)

Books. By now, you realize I’ve tried to capture some training ideas in the books I’ve written.  The advantage of books is that they are inexpensive, available everywhere, and eminently portable. The disadvantage – reading about an idea in a book doesn’t train muscle memory! Some dedicated member of the group has to turn the idea into an actual training exercise. (That’s what I try to assist with in Emergency Preparedness Meeting Ideas.)

Training that can actually involve muscle memory is by far the most desirable. For volunteers, it’s still very tough to come by.

But when it comes to emergency preparedness, ANY training is better than none!

You can get started now with some of the resources mentioned above. One thing for sure: There will be no time for training once the disaster hits!

Day 24 of Summer Vacation: A time for some shorter and lighter Advisories as a welcome change-of-pace!