BACK-TO-BASICS SERIES - OVERVIEW-2: BASIC COMMUNITY PREPAREDNESS ROLES
PURPOSE: Local preparedness is enhanced when the whole community is represented and engaged. This is part of a series of posts examining basic principles of community preparedness. This series is in support of the National Preparedness Goal, and the National Readiness Campaign.
=> During a crisis, it is unrealistic to expect governments (at the local, State, and Federal levels) to do everything, and during the initial phases of an incident it could take longer than expected for help to reach everyone.
=> Effective planning for disasters for everyone in a community must include people of all ages and those with various access and functional needs.
=> The local Government cannot meet the total spectrum of needs without help from all community members, therefore, everyone must do their part.
=> If a disaster strikes, people in local communities have the best chances if, (prior to the event), they educate themselves on what to do and what to expect, create emergency plans, make a kit, practice, communicate with others to broaden their understanding of what they need to protect themselves and loved ones during the most common local threats and hazards.
=> Develop, test, and refine emergency operations plans, (things may change a bit over time).
=> Ensure emergency responders have adequate skills and resources, and provide services to protect and assist their citizens, (they will conduct asset inventory and evaluate capabilities, resources, and the budget during this process).
=> Involve the community in the planning process, (they may ask your opinion).
=> Provide reliable, actionable information (this involves collection of information and maintaining communication and alert systems).
=> Encourage and support education, training, practice, and volunteer programs.
GOVERNMENT EMERGENCY SERVICES PROVIDER ROLES:
=> Emergency Management: Prepares for and coordinates response and recovery during disasters.
=> Law Enforcement: Maintains law and order.
=> Fire and Rescue: Protects life and property.
=> Emergency Medical Services: Provides preventative and emergency medical services.
=> Public Works: Maintains and repairs infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water, sewage, and utilities.
=> Human Services: Provides food, shelter, and counseling following a disaster.
=> The private and public sectors have a responsibility to be as ready as they can and participate in community preparedness as well.
=> The private sector is a key partner in incident management activities at all levels.
=> It is responsible for most of the critical infrastructure (i.e., telephone services, banking) in our Nation and thus may require assistance in the wake of a disaster or emergency.
=> They provide goods and services critical to the response and recovery process, either on a paid basis or through donations.
NON-GOVERNMENT AND VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATION ROLES:
=> Nongovernmental and voluntary organizations are essential partners in responding to incidents as well. Nongovernmental and voluntary organizations assist in providing: Sheltering, emergency food supplies, counseling services, and other vital services to support response and promote the recovery of disaster victims.
=> Specialized services that help individuals with special needs, including those with disabilities.
COMMUNITIES, INDIVIDUALS, AND HOUSEHOLDS ROLES:
=> Individuals and households play an important role in the overall emergency management strategy.
=> They help reduce hazards in and around their homes.
=> Should prepare an emergency supply kit and household emergency plan.
=> Should monitor emergency communications carefully.
=> Help by volunteering with an established organization.
=> Stay up to date by learning about community specific alerts and warnings, evacuation routes, and obtain critical information such as shelter locations.
=> May assist by enrolling in emergency response training courses, train in preparedness, learn first aid, CPR, Search and Rescue and other response skills.
=> Should practice skills and personal plans through periodic drills in multiple settings.
=> Should collaborate, and join a network and be able to help others.
=> Should participate in community feedback opportunities.
=> Should report suspicious activity (If you see something say something).
THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING INVOLVED:
=> Preparedness requires active participation from everyone.
=> Individuals and families may start the process by talking to your friends and family about the hazards in your area and what steps you all need to take to be able to help each other in a crisis – (large or small).
=> Ask about emergency planning at your workplace, your schools, your place of worship, and other social settings.
=> Discover your local government’s official plans and connect with community authorities on emergency management and planning.
=> Consider volunteer opportunities to get your community better prepared for emergencies.
KEY COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ORGANIZATIONS:
This organization is a grassroots movement to strengthen community safety and preparedness through increased engagement of all sectors of the community. Citizen Corps is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but implemented locally. The goal of Citizen Corps is to make communities safer, more prepared, and more resilient when incidents occur. Citizen Corps Councils bring government and community leaders together to ensure emergency plans more effectively reflect the community’s needs. The goals of the Councils are to:
=> Tailor activities to reach all sectors of the community.
=> Identify and build on existing strengths.
=> Increase collaboration between government and community.
=> Expand integration of community resources into plans and protocols.
=> Encourage personal/organizational preparedness through outreach, training, and exercises.
=> Promote volunteer opportunities for ongoing community safety and surge capacity during disasters.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT):
The CERT Program educates people about disaster preparedness for threats and hazards that may affect their area. Their program is probably the most extensive of its kind.
=> The program trains team members in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster medical operations and more.
=> Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.
American Red Cross:
I have spent a number of years with them in different capacities, and on a personal note, I like the fact that they conduct a background check before you can begin volunteering with them.
=> Their Disaster Services program will help you begin volunteering in the field, relief efforts, and in shelters through free (disaster classes, shelter support and client case work education and training).
=> There are also opportunities to earn free certifications.
=> Volunteering with this nonprofit organization is a great way to gain knowledge, experience and trained before the next disaster.
There are many other organizations and faith-based groups in your community that have active disaster programs and need volunteers too. Last but not least, let’s not forget that, if anyone becomes a victim of an incident, these same National groups offer a wide range of services following a given disaster, therefore (in general), it would be good to know more about them. See the referenced website link section below to get started today.
REFERENCED WEBSITE LINKS:
THIS INFORMATION IS MIRRORED AT FEMA NPC HERE:
Citizen Corps: (Multiple fantastic volunteering organizations to choose from)
=> Including CERT: https://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/
American Red Cross: (Local disaster relief, global aid and more)
National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster: (A group, network and major Disaster Hub)
United We Serve: (A group and place to search for volunteer opportunities near you)
Hands On Network: (They offer diverse opportunities in volunteering)
Network For Good: (Their motto is “A platform for Empowering Your Cause”)