Tag Archives: Neighborhood Emergency Plan

  • Baby Steps--CERT and Neighborhood Plans

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    Casual Group of People in a Row - Isolated

    Okay, ready to have your mind blown? Today’s post is a baby-steps-within-baby-steps post. Since we've been talking about CERT today, we thought it would be useful to brush up on the basics by revisiting a previous ‘baby steps’ series on the topic of preparedness networks. The articles and resources linked here are a great place to get started as you think about neighborhood networks and emergency plans.

    Step 1: Mix ‘n mingle
    The very first, most basic, and most crucial step to building a useful neighborhood network is to get to know your neighbors. Build trust, look for common interests, let them know you’re willing to help. Ultimately, you’re looking for complementary skills and resources, but none of that matters if you never speak with them.


    Step 2: Get to work
    Once you’ve built a social network, you’ll have likely identified those who would be open to participating in an emergency response network. The next step is to get it all down on paper: names and contact info; skills and equipment; lines of communication. Information overload? Organize it all in this ultra-handy neighborhood emergency plan packet. You can also take advantage of tools like Facebook groups to communicate both before and after a disaster.


    Step 3: Build your team
    With a basic plan in place, you can kick it up a notch and focus on bolstering specific elements of your neighborhood network. The ‘baby steps’ post here links to an article by a former Navy SEAL about elements of survival you may not have considered (fitness, finances, and the psychology of endurance, for example) and the importance of a strong team.

    Your own personal preparedness is vital, but enlisting the help of a supportive group of neighbors can create a pool of physical and emotional resources that might spell the difference between just surviving and thriving.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: CERT, Neighborhood Emergency Plan, baby steps, skills

  • Be CERT-ain you're Prepared with CERT

    CERT stands for “Community Emergency Response Teams.” The program was first developed by the Los Angeles Fire Department in 1985 to train civilians and private or government employees to be able to help in case of earthquakes. It was successful, and in 1993 it was made available nationally. Since then, all states plus Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands have CERT programs. The Emergency Management Institute and the National Fire Academy adopted and expanded the CERT materials so that they now apply to all types of disasters, natural and man-made.

    CERT Volunteers carrying an injured person

    Emergency Essentials wants you to be prepared to help yourself. We also encourage you to get involved in your community and help those around you prepare. (We also sell CERT gear, so once you're CERT-ified you can get everything you need.)


    What is CERT’s present purpose?
    CERT exists to educate people about disaster preparedness with particular attention to hazards that might exist in their area—and to train them in basic response skills, so that they can jump in and help until professional responders can get there. In any disaster, professional responders can be overwhelmed with calls for help, and their efforts are often complicated by blocked roadways, communications breakdowns, and the sheer number of injured people. People will need to help each other, and CERT is designed to prepare them to do just that.


    Who conducts CERT training, and how is it given?
    CERT teams, fire departments, emergency medical technicians, FEMA workers, or anyone who has been “CERTified” can provide the training from approved materials. The training is given in seven 2 ½-hour sessions, once a week, including classroom teaching as well as practical experience and drills. There are classes especially for teens, and online CERT classes as well.


    Who can participate in CERT training?
    Anyone who is interested can sign up to participate. The FAQ on FEMA's CERT page says, "Naturals for the training are neighborhood watch, community organizations, communities of faith, school staff, workplace employees, scouting organization and other groups that come together regularly for a common purpose. CERT skills are useful in disaster and everyday life events."

    Check in your area to see if you think joining a CERT team would be a good fit for you.


    What exactly is included in CERT training?
    Following major disasters, volunteer rescue efforts can help save hundreds of lives. Sadly, it's also true that volunteers without adequate training have lost their own lives in their efforts to save someone else. Such a high price is preventable through training in proper emergency response—and that is one of the factors that CERT training addresses. CERT aims to:

    1. Train people in what to expect after various types of disasters
    2. Teach them their responsibilities in mitigating damage and preparing to help
    3. Train them in lifesaving skills, with emphasis on decision-making, rescuer safety, and on doing the greatest good for the greatest number
    4. Organize teams to be an extension of the corps of first responders, able to give immediate aid without doing harm to themselves or others until the professionals arrive.


    What are the seven topics covered in the classes?

    • Disaster Preparedness (localized information) plus CERT concept and organization
    • Disaster Fire Suppression
    • Disaster Medical Operations I—diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock
    • Disaster Medical Operations II—head-to-toe assessment, basic first-aid, sanitary procedures, and establishing a treatment area for the injured.
    • Light Search and Rescue Operations—planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and rescuer safety
    • Disaster Psychology and Team Organization
    • Course Review and Disaster Simulation


    Where can I learn more about CERT programs in my area?
    Go to www.citizencorps.gov/cc/listCouncil. To start a CERT training program in your community, here are the steps:

    1. Identify the program goals that CERT will meet and see what resources are available to conduct the program in your area. (You will need trained responders to teach the course.)
    2. Gain approval from elected and appointed officials to conduct the training.
    3. Identify and recruit potential participants. Contact community groups, hospitals, business and industry workers, local government workers and church groups.
    4. Train a cadre of CERT instructors who are already first responders
    5. Conduct CERT sessions (the 7-week course)
    6. Offer CERT refresher courses, drills, and exercises to keep trained “graduates” on their toes.


    To pique community interest in CERT, you can sponsor events such as picnics, barbecues, community clean-ups, simulated disaster drills, or a disaster education fair. Make the program as desirable and interesting as possible to encourage participation, and advertise widely.

    CERT publishes an online national newsletter with tips and updated information. To search for CERT materials and information, go to www.citizencorps.gov. (Don’t confuse this with www.US-Cert.gov, which stands for United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (formed to improve our country’s cybersecurity!)



    Source: www.citizencorps.gov

    Image source: FEMA News Photo

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: CERT, emergency preparedness, Neighborhood Emergency Plan, Neighbors, skills

  • Hurricane Sandy: Neighbors to the Rescue!

    Large Group of Happy People standing together.

    How well do you know your neighbors?

    A recent poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, residents in New York and New Jersey believed that their neighbors were more helpful in providing assistance and support than the state and national government.

    While sixty-three percent of the 2,025 individuals polled in this survey suggested that they turned to friends, families, or neighbors close to their homes, only seven percent said that they contacted their state government during the storm. Additionally, only nineteen percent of those surveyed sought help from the federal government.

    Commonly, in disaster situations, the perceived notion is that a “fend for yourself” attitude comes out in the community. However, this survey found that seventy-seven percent of people reported that the Hurricane brought out the best among their neighbors.

    Neighbors helped each other by sharing food, water, shelter, generators, or access to power. In neighborhoods hardest hit by the storm, sharing was even more common. Many people stated that they really got to know their neighbors as they bonded to help each other through this crisis.

    The most important point that we can take away from this survey is that according to the Associated Press, “data showed that neighborhoods lacking in social cohesion and trust generally had a more difficult time recovering. People in slowly recovering neighborhoods reported greater levels of hoarding of food and water, looting, stealing, and vandalism, compared with neighborhoods that recovered more quickly.”

    Hurricane Sandy teaches us that now is the time to start getting to know your neighbors. Learn about what resources and skills that you can pool in order to help your community survive in case a disaster hits. To learn how to create a community preparedness plan or join our group program to prepare with your neighbors, check out these resources:





    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Hurricane, Neighborhood Emergency Plan, Emergency plan, group program

  • Baby Steps: Preparedness Teams

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    The last couple of weeks our baby steps have focused on building a preparedness group, network, or team. This week we're continuing on with that same topic, plus some baby steps on other topics that we'll post later today. This article has some great ideas for putting a preparedness group or team together: 

    To begin to look at the team, you have to ask yourself what elements are needed in order to survive (and hopefully thrive) during and after any crisis. Then, it’s a simple matter of finding people who can fulfill the joint objectives of the team. In our lengthy design, we came up with the following elements (we call domains), which are now the core instruction at Ready 5:

    Situation Awareness, Planning, Communications, Mobility, Practical Fitness, Food and Water, Medicine, Shelter, Equipment, Personal Protection, Financial, Preparedness, and Enduring Mindset

    Read the rest of the article "Strength in Numbers: Building a Preparedness Team" here.

    We'll be back later with more baby steps!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness Team, Preparedness Group, emergency preparedness, Neighborhood Emergency Plan, Neighbors, baby steps

  • Baby Steps: Build a Preparedness Network Part 2

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    When you hear the word “prepper,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Popular media portrays preppers as anti-social, militant hoarders who want nothing to do with the world around them. But we know better, don’t we?

    We know you, like us, are concerned about taking care of your loved ones in every situation. You want the confidence and security of knowing you can do so. There are many families, across the nation, who have established or created networks with other prepared families. It’s not unusual.

    Instead of isolating themselves, most people seek out group interaction during and after an emergency or disaster. Scientists have shown that this is a biological response– humans seek out the advice and company of others. It’s called deliberating.*

    Last Friday we talked about finding other prepared individuals and families that are interested in working together. Our first Baby Step this week is a bit of a repeat, just to make sure you’re moving in the direction of establishing a support network.

    Baby Step 1: Make a list of people who are interested in forming a group and the skills, tools, and resources they have.

    You don’t have to be best buds with the people in your network, but they should be trustworthy. You should know what they can do and let them know what you can do.

    Go to page four of our Neighborhood Emergency Plan packet to see the skills and special equipment most commonly needed. These include medical and mechanical skills, along with special equipment and vehicles.

    Don’t overlook any skill or any individual. For example, does the teenager across the road know CPR from her summer job as a lifeguard? Pay attention to skills that are valued but not considered necessary for survival:

    • A psychologist can do a lot to help those with anxiety, panic, or extreme fear.
    • A good haircut from a barber or hairstylist can lift your mood.
    • A tailor or seamstress can repair damaged materials like tents, tarps, clothing, and maybe even shoes.
    • A ham radio operator, even a hobbyist, can communicate when telephone, internet, and cell phone lines are down.
    • A nutritionist or dietician may be able to suggest alternative sources of nutrients.


    Here are a few more skills you probably haven’t considered:
    • Community organizer
    • Entertainers (like musicians or comedians to boost morale)
    • Chimney cleaners (in case this is your only source of heat)
    • Knife sharpeners
    • Undertaker, mortician, and sanitation workers
    • Runners/hikers/swimmers/cyclists/horseback riders (for transporting information and goods)
    • Engineers and people who are good at rigging stuff
    • Gardeners
    • Self-defense instructors
    • Hunters, fishermen, and foragers
    • Navigators 

    Baby Step 2: When you’ve established your network, join our group purchasing program.

    We offer discounts for group purchases, often as much as 49% off. We also offer free shipping on the entire order regardless of size once the minimum quantity of a group item has been purchased (as long as the order is shipped within the contiguous 48 states). Click here for details.

    Baby Step 3: Develop a neighborhood plan and schedule an emergency drill.

    Download our Neighborhood Emergency Plan to help you organize your group’s efforts. Once your plan is in place, hold an emergency drill to practice the plan. The practice will help you figure out what works (and what doesn’t) so you can adjust your plan accordingly. If you’re planning a drill, let us know. We’d love to hear how the experience goes for your neighborhood, and we’d love to share your pictures and video with our network.

    Here’s another tip: After an emergency strikes, hold a swap meet. The idea here is not necessarily to pool resources. It’s more of a barter-for-what-you-need deal. If, like me, you have 14 cases of tuna and no mayonnaise, this is the venue for you. By exchanging goods and services it’s possible to cover gaps in your emergency and food storage plans. 

    Read more here: Emergency Swap Meet


    *Amanda Ripley in Surviving Disaster, PBS Documentary (link)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Neighborhood Emergency Plan, emergency drill, group purchasing, Preparedness network, baby steps