Friday, August 1, 2008

Notes from the Most Recent Preparednss Conference

Now that I've had a bit of time to catch up since the last conference I attended, I figured I should organize my notes and share the things that I learned that can apply to just about any situation. These include:
  • About 85% of the preps you make will apply to any disaster situation. The other 15% will need to be tailored to the specific emergency.

  • When you practice your drills, have each family/team member assume different roles. You shouldn't always be the leader because you never know if you will be around so others need to know how to be the leader as well. I found it funny when about 15 high ranking people were tossed into a hands-on drill situation and all 15 immediately assumed the incident commander role. Of course in their organizations, this is the role they would have, but when put into a different situation, with different people, the ability to quickly organize and fall into the necessary roles is important.

  • There was an emphasis on resiliency being the thing that sets survivors apart. I remember talking to a man quite a while back who survived the tsunami in Indonesia. When I asked him what he did in the days following the tsunami, he said he and his family started cleaning up. He said if he would have waited for the government to help, nothing would have got done. I guess in his, and many other countries, people are much more resilient because they have to be or they wouldn't survive.

  • People often think of a warrior as a fighter and that's all. A warrior actually encompasses a number of traits, only one of which is being able to fight. Warriors are responsible, they see the mission but they see the bigger picture as well, they use common sense, they are disciplined--both physically and mentally, they lead when they need to lead and follow when they need to follow...

  • There are a number of community organizations that civilians can participate in to learn preparedness skills: Search and Rescue, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Blockwatch, etc.
  • Mobile command posts are cool--I was in gadget heaven in a few of the units. Are you ready to go mobile? You may not have millions to spend on such a unit, but do you have plans for things such as incoming and outgoing communications, a way to receive news and information, security for your mobile unit, food and water, et al?
  • If you are in the vicinity of what may be a bomb, turn off all radios, cell phones, walkie talkies, and other radio-type devices.
  • Train with your family to use HAM radios and make these a part of your plan. It's surprising how many organizations have HAM radios for back-up communications yet they either forget to rely on them when necessary or forget to turn them on so that people can call into them. Regular use will make them more likely to be used in an emergency.
  • Experience counts. If you are planning for a hurricane, you want to pick the brain of someone who has survived a big hurricane. All of the preparation in the world will not be able to teach you what been-there-done-that experience will.

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