It's National Preparedness Month, and start of the Hurricaine Season. With all of the crazy weather we have seen, it's good to be prepared.
It is important to consider three scenarios when planning for an emergency: 1) an escape route and meeting point if everyone is in the house; 2) what to do during a school day; and 3) how to handle an emergency during the weekend, when family members might be scattered.
Although many people are familiar with the concept of developing a family plan for emergencies, most fail to take the time to sit down and actually come up with one. One great resource is the FEMA-sponsored website: http://www.ready.gov/. Check out their kids section too: http://www.ready.gov/kids
Schools need to be prepared themselves, as well as teach their staff and students how to be prepared.
Each household, business, and school should have an emergency plan, emergency kits and people trained in emergency preparedness and response.
I started my training in emergency preparedness while on my trail to Eagle Scout. Emergency Preparedness is a required merit badge and the Boy Scouts emphasize emergency preparedness among the scouts. I am also a paramedic, special operations paramedic and FEMA trained in Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Management. Here are some of my favorite resources for learning about Emergency Preparedness.
Ready.gov is the US Government's web site for information and resources on emergency preparedness and response. There are resources for making a plan, an emergency kit, and how to stay informed. Information is included for individuals and businesses.
The Boy Scouts of America, who train all their Scouts and Adults in Emergency Preparedness, has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to provide resources for the public on getting prepared. The site has planning resources, how to make an emergency kit, and other resources.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Emergency Management Insitute
The FEMA EMI offers free, online courses for anyone to take. The courses are well done and there are plenty of downloadable materials to help you. If you pass the test at the end, you even get a certificate.
Here are a list of the courses that I think all educators should take: (I've taken these, and more)
IS-7 A Citizen's Guide to Disaster Assistance
IS-22 Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness
IS-55 Household Hazardous Materials - A Guide for Citizens
IS-100.Sca Introduction to the Incident Command System for Schools
IS-362 Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools
Education Administrators should also be involved in community emergency planning because schools are on the top of the list as emergency shelters and field hospitals and the building administrators know their buildings.
Emergency Preparedness is everyone's responsibility. The Japanese know this and that is one reason why the disaster over there is not worse that it is. Share these resources with your students, colleagues, and family.