Community leaders are tasked with providing peace of mind and reassurances of stability to the citizens of their town or city during times of unexpected disaster. In order to have a response that takes care of the different areas of threat and the needs of the resident, a community emergency preparedness plan should be in place. Here are several planning tips to craft an effective and efficient community response.
Create Partnerships With Local Resources
Start your plan by identifying the different organizations and leaders throughout the community that may have an impact during a disaster. This includes medical facilities, first responder agencies, community centers, volunteer organizations, and faith-based services. In your planning, don’t forget to reach out to local media and radio personalities. You will need several options for communicating with citizens and leadership during an emergency, so connecting with these agencies can put you on alert for the different supplies that will need to be in stock during an incident. Your community agencies may need to invest in two-way radios, while HAM radio operators may need to keep an extra rf directional coupler in their stash.
Conduct Regular Group Meetings
Don’t wait until there is an emergency to try and get your response team organized. Schedule quarterly meetings and have scenario training drills. You should also expand your meetings to include all community citizens, whether it be by using social networking to share the meeting in a live feed or having them available on a website or YouTube Channel. The more your community is informed, the better prepared you will be.
Focus on Special Needs
When you are planning the response, identify different members in the community that may have special needs. These populations often include children, senior citizens, and those with mental or physical disabilities. Speak with the leadership at any of the community organizations or businesses serving these populations about evaluation procedures or the need for urgent care in the event of an emergency.
Educate Your Community
In addition to letting citizens hear your planning and response strategies, educate the community through educational materials and resources. You will want your citizens to have their own emergency response strategy in place for their homes, which include knowing how to turn off home utilities, evacuation routes, and the location of shelters in their area.
A successful community disaster or emergency response is one where each community member is fully informed and fully prepared. As a community leader, you can help devise a safe and effective strategy that meets the needs of your population.