July is Disaster Education and Awareness Month

HITS_emergency-checklist_123rf_100x66This month, High Impact Training Solutions joins with the voices of those from the Red Cross and Ready.gov to promote an awareness of disaster education and preparedness.

 
Preparing for disasters just makes good sense. People spend time preparing for vacations, for holidays, and for tax season. But somehow preparations for disasters are often overlooked or go unfinished.  July is the month to be reminded to see those preparations through. The simple steps of having a plan, a few supplies, and some information can make all the difference in a calamity.

Expect to Manage on Your Own

In disaster situations, emergency responders and communications systems are often overwhelmed. Disaster preparations can make it possible to cope until help arrives – even if that is much longer than would usually be expected for a 9-1-1 response.  And, during an emergency, the intensity of the situation can easily rob a mind of any sketchy memories of a blog post about disaster preparedness. What is needed at that time is the muscle memory of a well-rehearsed plan.

Start Where You Are

HITS_evac-route_123rfBegin by focusing on typical disasters for your geographical area. The Red Cross provides educational resources for dealing with disasters in a myriad of categories:  chemical emergency, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, flu, food safety, heat wave, highway safety, hurricane, landslide, pet safety, poisoning, power outage, terrorism, thunderstorm, tornado, tsunami, volcano, water safety, wildfire, or winter storm.  Start with the ones most likely to be experienced where you live and prepare for those.

Make a plan

Address the timeline:  Know what to do before, during, and after each kind of potential disaster that is common in your area.

Try it out:  There are only two ways to test a plan of this kind: Go through a disaster or practice one.  A simple ‘run through’ can make a world of difference.

Discuss Communications:  Clarify with all involved in the family, school, or work location what to do if a simple phone call is no longer an option (for example, text messaging will often stay available even when land lines and mobile lines are overwhelmed).

Ask questions: Brainstorm and address questions, such as ‘Where will we meet if we have to split up and evacuate?,’  ‘Can we use someone out of state as a point of contact if that becomes necessary?,’  and ‘Who will need medications?’

Get a Kit

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Gather supplies: Add a few items at a time and keep them in a central location with a checklist.

Maintain the kit: Replace perishable items according to recommendations and keep medical records up-to-date and available there.

Be Informed

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Get the alerts: Cell phone providers are moving towards Emergency Alert applications, so that information regarding major disasters can be quickly communicated to customers in affected regions. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier (See Ready.gov/alerts). Other sources include NOAA Weather Radio, news broadcasts, the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV programs, outdoor sirens, and other alerting methods offered by local and state public safety agencies.

Try the Apps: Hundreds of emergency related apps are now in existence for mobile users. The Red Cross offers many apps that will help both in an emergency and prior to one.

Acquire Training: Education in this area is rapidly becoming more available with online courses; our spotlighted course Crisis Management Course course discusses how protection officers can best manage crisis situations. Topics include introduction to crisis management, dynamics of a disaster, bomb incidents, psychological first aid, working with the media, and crime scene management.  Typically a learner will complete this course in 2.5 – 4 hours.

For those in the security and protection officer industries, High Impact Training Solutions offers a full Homeland Security Course with 8 informative modules:

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Posted in Security by sonictemple at July 23rd, 2014.
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