The Whole Community: Planning for the Unthinkable

What is Whole Community?

In our nation’s effort to increase preparedness for every conceivable hazard, our biggest strength starts with you: Every individual and every organization has an important role in making our communities –and the nation as a whole –more resilient. In policy terms, we are taking a “Whole Community” approach to national preparedness. What that means in plain language is that we are actively working together with individuals, businesses, community- and faith-based organizations, schools, tribes and all levels of government to improve preparedness. In fact, the President signed Presidential Policy Directive 8/PPD-8: National Preparedness in March 2011, asking all of us to work together on this issue.

Help us Plan for the Unthinkable

Response
Response is focused on ensuring that the nation is able to respond effectively to any threat or hazard, including disasters that have ripple effects into other areas. We place an emphasis on saving and sustaining lives and stabilizing the incident, as well as meeting basic human needs as quickly as possible, restoring basic services and community functions, establishing a safe and secure environment, and supporting the transition to recovery.

The MetaScenario
Although we plan for all types of emergencies year around, we are taking this up a notch to challenge not just FEMA and its government partners – but the nation as a whole. The challenge is to find ever more innovative ways to fulfill critical needs when all of the usual and expected methods are unavailable. To do this, we are using what we call a “MetaScenario.” A MetaScenario is an event or combination of events so large that it seems almost inconceivable. In terms of numbers, this would be a disaster that affects millions of people, with hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries across a range of multiple states.

Sample MetaScenario
A Category 5 hurricane on the scale of Hurricane Andrew is fast approaching southern Florida, forcing mass evacuations in preparation for landfall. Even as the state takes its normal actions, hospitals across Florida and surrounding states are reporting unusually high numbers of patients exhibiting symptoms of a fatal and fast-spreading illness of unknown origin. Compounding both of these issues is a large population of non-English speaking residents and large elderly and disabled community. Clearly, both the pending hurricane and the rapidly spreading illness are critical priorities. All hospitals are full or in the hurricane path. Forty percent or more of the first responders are, or soon will, exhibit signs of illness, further weakening the resources typically used to help and further taxing the system. As the hurricane makes landfall, 7 million people across Florida are in an evacuation zone. Over 190,000 people are dead from the mystery illness, which is now believed to be food-born and not contagious, but still the source is unknown. Another 265,000 are requiring immediate medical attention. Furthermore, transportation workers, utility workers, and other key response workers are among those impacted by the illness, and are unable to keep up with power outages and other infrastructure failures.

Campaigns

The campaigns below are designed to stimulate creative, out-of-the box thinking. After reading the sample MetaScenario above, tell us how you think the private sector could help fulfill urgent needs listed below. We welcome your thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on any or all of the following topics:

Campaign: The Whole Community: Planning for the Unthinkable

The Problem / Fix ?

I feel we have the all the data we need, but getting the data and distributing it to everyone from city, county, state, national and worldwide agencies is the problem. Many agencies use different hardware and software which are not compatible with each agency. They do not talk well with each other on any level. We can’t have everyone’s software and hardware the same. This is due to budget restraints and workability. It’s ...more »

Submitted by (@sam.hocutt)

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Campaign: The Whole Community: Planning for the Unthinkable

All Files and Photos in Your Pocket

In an emergency, you may not have time to grab your files and photographs so I uploaded important documents to my free google.docs account so that I can access them anywhere anytime. You can set your account to private so that you are the only one who can access them. I also scan and archive my photos online and everything to flash drive in case the Internet become unaccessible. It's much easier to grab a flash drive ...more »

Submitted by

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Campaign: The Whole Community: Planning for the Unthinkable

Things to get people thinking...

While the Metascenario is good, it might spur more discussion and ideas if a smaller scenario were to be posted for people to discuss a solution to.

 

Maybe dig through some AAR's and focus on a specific aspect of an event, and let the readers propose a solution to the situatiion

Submitted by (@creativeogre)

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Campaign: The Whole Community: Planning for the Unthinkable

Creating Prepared Churches

When talking about engaging the whole community in disaster preparedness and response you have to include the faith-based community. When the disaster hits many faith-based communities react and will help wherever they can. There are National VOAD organizations that will come and help, but many of these organizations are large and only activate in large to catastrophic disasters. However reality is that in a disaster ...more »

Submitted by

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Campaign: The Whole Community: Planning for the Unthinkable

Cyber Pearl Harbor???

Some recent intelligence reporting indicates that a few cyber-terrorists have created what is known as the "Stuxnet virus" ... a computer virus that may have the potential to cause a cyber Pearl Harbor.

 

Even if the said reports are not real, it is time to put more focus on defending against cyber-terrorists ... while also developing more effective options if all our computers are down for several days, or longer.

Submitted by (@davidnuttle)

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Campaign: The Whole Community: Planning for the Unthinkable

Dealing w/ Insurrection During Major Disasters

During my years of disaster recovery work, overseas, I have witnessed insurrection (revolt against civil authority) when things go from bad to worse. The usual solution is to declare martial law and deploy troops ... and that often results in criminals and some innocent people being shot. If the U.S. were to experience a significant bioterrorist attack, or the terrorist explosion of a "dirty bomb," panic will occur ... ...more »

Submitted by (@davidnuttle)

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Campaign: The Whole Community: Planning for the Unthinkable

So Much for teaching preparedness in NYC Schools...

So the Board of Education in the City of NY has just decided that there are 50 words no longer allowed on tests because these words and topics can make students feel unpleasant,... http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/03/26/war-on-words-nyc-dept-of-education-wants-50-forbidden-words-removed-from-standardized-tests/ Among the words banned are : Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes) Death and disease Nuclear weapons ...more »

Submitted by (@creativeogre)

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Campaign: The Whole Community: Planning for the Unthinkable

A RESOURCE NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN

In a time when financial issues are a big concern, it is important to use as many available resources as possible. A forgotten resource for first responders is the tow company. In local communities, the tow company has a wealth of knowledge and experience in their communities. They have or know how to find any kind of equipment needed in any disaster. They know every route to be taken in a disaster whether it be hurricane ...more »

Submitted by (@jeanetterash)

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Campaign: The Whole Community: Planning for the Unthinkable

Defending Against Political Failures

FEMA, and all of us, have a responsibility to work as needed to help protect the public safety from "stupid" political failures. Too many of our Congressmen/ women are handicapped by the following issues: 1) Election focus; 2) Special interest influences to include "political payola;" 3) Lack of critical experience; 4) Complexity of issues w/ voting prior to careful study; 5) Compromise & collective decisions that ...more »

Submitted by (@davidnuttle)

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Campaign: The Whole Community: Planning for the Unthinkable

Future Water Shortages as Related to Disasters

About 70 percent of the earth is water, but 97.5 percent of that is salt water. A reported 70 percent of fresh water is frozen in icecaps or otherwise unavailable, leaving .007 percent (less than 01 percent) for 7 billion humans, livestock, wildlife, pets, and irrigation of lawns, gardens, & crops. Nearly 1 billion people have no safe (potable) water, and 2.6 billion people seldom have sanitation systems ... so these ...more »

Submitted by (@davidnuttle)

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Campaign: The Whole Community: Planning for the Unthinkable

Counter-Desertification As Part of Preparedness

About 1/3rd of all land, worldwide, is desert. Natural climatic changes and human-caused desertification (abuse of our planet) is causing desert areas to rapidly expand. Considerable conflict occurs and continues in desert areas where populations are generally nutrient deficient, and live under harsh conditions; e.g. Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, and so on. Populations in urban areas, such as northern China, are experiencing ...more »

Submitted by (@davidnuttle)

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Campaign: The Whole Community: Planning for the Unthinkable

S.T.O.R.M. (Sharing Together Our Resources & Means, Inc.

STORM is a partnership of community, interfaith, business, and goverment organizations dedicated to building and managing resources in order to address the long erm needs associated with disaster

Submitted by (@patty.lascuola)

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