Preparedness and being ready to mobilize assets to address community needs can be a positive, life- and health-affirming conversation for all people -- IF we separate it from the doom and gloom disaster messages. At CARD we have a entire curriculum built around the Prepare to Prosper concept. We believe we can help any agency build their everyday brilliance into their disaster resilience. It's positive messaging and ...more »
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
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 »
There needs to be a nation wide effort to have more participation in the C.E.R.T. program.
Building resiliency should begin with the kids in jr high and high school, getting these kids interested could be helped by creating " CERT Games " where CERT trained school kids compete against other schools in competitions demonstrating preparedness skills. Like the ' JEMS Games ' for EMS, link here: http://www.jems.com/article/training/2012-jems-games-use-simulation-integrate-0 it would give a forum for these kids ...more »
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.
I like the idea of sustainable power sources. Generators are more of a short term solution. A facility could have hundreds of gallons of gas, diesel or propane, but they would run out if the disaster was very long. Adding in solar, wind, water, hydrogen (which is renewable), geothermal and other natural source for power could help. No solution will work in all cases ie EMP or high winds may knock out any of these. My ...more »
Communities can come together and create COADs (Community Organizations Active in Disasters). This is a replicable program that involves no federal support. What it takes is motivation and a little work. Since character limits restrict my ability to give a thorough understanding of my meaning I would direct you to these links for examples of COADs from all over the United States. http://www.continuityinsights.com/articles/2009/06/public-private-partnerships-coads-voads-and-more ...more »
CERT has proven to be an invaluable program throughout many cities, counties, and states following disasters. One of the most difficult tasks for program managers is inventing avenues to keep our volunteers interested in between our disasters. With that in mind, Los Angeles Fire Department CERT utilizes several platforms to disseminate useful information and refresher opportunities to all volunteers interested in spending ...more »
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 »
Ther are some locations where we should not live. Nature is more powerful than we are and it is time to admit it and pull back to safer areas.
A couple of years ago California conducted an earthquake exercise for a 7.9 Richter Scale quake. This level of quake was set because anything greater would be impossible to plan for, think about. With this as a partial stimulus, I developed a catastrophic mass fatality plan precisely for the purpose of responding to "the unthinkable." The plan assumes a massive death rate, infrastructure ground to a halt, no outside resources ...more »
Unfortunately, most people need some form of personal incentive to motivate dedication of their personal time. Communities/States should offer incentives such as Real Estate Property tax (percentage) relief for active participation in CERT/Citizen auxiliary responders. RE property owners are the most stable/constant source for participants in a community. Such incentive could be authenticated/verified through formal ...more »