Personal Emergency Preparedness! Are you Ready?!

There is a jingoistic fervour in the air with exuberance and the thrill akin to hounds baying for blood. It is indeed aptly said in modern times that “War is where young men die on the battlefield and where armchair warriors tweet and post on Facebook”.

However , this is also the time that is apt for taking stock of the situation post 9/11….. the world can never be the same, with the “War on Terror” having virtually made us prisoners in our own society…..

I am certain that some wise folks must be wondering who is winning, and who is being inconvenienced……

Without coming off as a Cassandra fortelling a bleak future, it is certain that the future of the world as we know it today, will be paved with painful episodes where civilized civic society will be torn asunder by seemingly isolated acts of terror , by the Hydra headed monster of disruptive forces. Without ascribing religious hues to these perpetrators of violence , irrespective of their “cause ” or allegiance, the outcome is devastating for the victims of dastardly actions wrought by these misled and misguided unknowns (the reality being that they are well led and well guided, by their benefactors and controllers).

For a detailed overview of the potential spectrum of threats that we and our loved ones, face as a society, please click and skim or read through as per your choice https://www.ready.gov/be-informed

With the easy access to various forms of explosive materials, and the knowhow to concoct Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), terrorists will target gatherings of people as they have been doing in the past, with no intent other than to spread terror. Be Aware at all times of the potential threat to life in crowded spaces, in a vitiated atmosphere. You can click https://www.ready.gov/public-spaces for a detailed outline of actions or you could simply glance through my suggested action list.

Do remember that in times of crises its your training and conditioning that kicks in…… so you need to consciously rehearse and discuss with your family the following….. Repeat and repeat again…. That is the reason why the military everywhere invests so heavily in training …..

What should you and your family members do in case of Mass Attacks in Crowded & Public Spaces ?

While the threat of mass attacks is real, we can all take steps to prepare, protect ourselves, and help others. What are Mass Attacks you may ask?

Bombings in public spaces like the various incidents that happen across the country off and on, 26/11 Bombay style attacks………

Well, how do we Protect ourselves and our families against these incidents?

  • STAY ALERT always be alert to your surroundings and the people around you. Be wary of suspicious movements…. if you train yourself to be aware and alert, you will learn to recognize gut feelings …..  
  • “If you see Something , say Something” 
    Report suspicious behavior, items, or activities to the relevant authorities. DO NOT handle any unknown / unidentified objects!!!
  • Observe what is going on around you and avoid distractions such as texting, listening to headphones or being on your cell phone.
  • SEEK SAFETY – Have an Exit Plan always……
  • Identify exits and areas of protective cover for the places you go such as at work, at school, and community events. When you go into any closed spaces, condition yourself to look for exits and position yourself accordingly. Movie Halls, Auditoriums and any similar places, may have exits. You would be wise to mentally make a note of these, and also check if they are not locked.
  • RUN TO SAFETY  – wise is the man who lives to fight another day…… do remember that  you are more important and precious to your family alive, than dead. A dead Hero is a photo on the wall…… Leave the heroism to those who are trained and equipped for countering terrorists.  
  • If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the building or area, regardless of whether others agree to follow.
  • In case of an explosion, hit the ground….. Remember also that sound travels slower than light….
  • Do not come back to the scene to check…..
  • However, if you are cornered, and see no exit path….. Never Give Up. Attack with whatever you have at your access, and give it your all….. thats all you have . Do what you must, to survive. There is no reasoning with an unreasonable person.
  • SEEK COVER AND HIDE In case of any incident, remove yourself from the site of the incident as fast as you can.
  • Dont stop to take photos , selfies, etc etc…. You can update your FB status from safety….
  • You dont want to figure as collateral damage for the next IED do you?
  • Map out places to seek cover. Place a barrier between yourself and the threat using solid objects, walls, and locked doors as protection.
  • PREPARE NOW   Organize and participate in safety drills in places where people gather like home, school, and work.

Ask yourself this simple question now……. “What if?”……

“What if ‘something’ happens and I’m not with my family?”

“Will I be able to reach them?”

“How will I know they are safe?”

“How can I let them know I’m OK?”

Do you have a Personal Emergency Plan (PEP) ?

So how do you make your family PEP ?

First and foremost, Make a plan today!! Dont postpone to the last Sunday of the month, or after you finish off that pending assignment or after your child’s birthday. The “bad guys” out there are not waiting for you to make your plan……

Your family may not be together if terror strikes, so it is important to know what could affect you. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Step 1: Put together your PEP (Personal Emergency Plan) by discussing these four questions with your family, and friends, TODAY , to start your emergency plan.

  • Q. 1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  • Q. 2. What is my shelter plan ?
  • Q. 3. What is my evacuation route?
  • Q. 4. What is my family/household communication plan?

Step 2:  Consider specific needs in your household.

As you prepare your Personal Emergency Plan , tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities.

Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in your network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like medical equipment that you or your dependents may need. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.  Keep in mind some these factors when developing your plan:

  • Different ages of members within your household
  • Responsibilities for assisting others
  • Dietary needs
  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
  • Pets
  • Location routines, such as school or work locations and timings.

Step 3: Fill out your Personal Emergency Plan – Soft copy and Hard Copy.

You can see a template online and use as a guide to create your own. https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/133447

Step 4: Practice your plan with your family and friends. Do this at least every six months….

So, ARE YOU READY…….!!?

Nota Bene: Your Personal Emergency Plan has to have a communications component……

During any terrorist related event or even a disaster, you will need to send and receive information from your family.

Communication networks, such as mobile phones and computers, could be unreliable during such events , and electricity supply could be disrupted. Planning in advance will help ensure that all the members of your household—including children —know how to reach each other and where to meet up in an emergency.

Planning starts with three easy steps:

  • Step 1. COLLECT. Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family and other important people in your life, along with emergency services such as medical facilities, doctors, or other service providers. Type or write in indelible ink or in a laminated card format.
  • Store emergency contact personal numbers under the name “In Case of Emergency” or “ICE” for all mobile phones and devices. This will help someone identify your emergency contact if needed. Have at least one out of town contact in your ICE list.
  • Step 2. SHARE. Make sure everyone carries a physical copy on his or her person , in their bag, purse, or wallet. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or key tray.
  • Step 3. PRACTICE. Have regular household meetings to review and practice your plan. Do this at least every six months. Practice texting and calling. Have each family member practice sending a text message or calling your out-of-town contact and sending a group text to your mobile phone group list. Discuss what information you should send by text. You will want to let others know you are safe and where you are. Short messages like “I’m OK. At xyz Location” are good.
  • Talk about who will be the lead person to send out information about the designated meeting place for the household. Practice gathering all household members at your indoor and neighborhood emergency meeting places. Talk about how each person would get to the identified out-of-neighborhood and out-of-town meeting places.
  • Discuss all modes of transportation, such as public transportation, rail, or even by foot , for all family members. Regularly have conversations with household members and friends about the plan, such as whom and how to text or call, and where to go.
  • To show why it’s important to keep phone numbers written down, challenge your household members to recite important phone numbers from memory— now ask them to think about doing this in the event of an emergency.

Re-learning using your phone ! Use SMS for emergency communications .

If you are using a mobile phone, a text message may get through when a phone call will not. This is because a text message requires far less bandwidth than a phone call. Text messages may also save and then send automatically as soon as capacity becomes available.
Make sure all household members and your out-of-town contact know how to text if they have a mobile phone or device, or know alternative ways to communicate if they are unable to text .

For more detailed info please click on https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1440520833367b485ed4517c86bc824061197319f4999/Family_Comm_Plan_508_20150820.pdf

So, ARE YOU READY…….?!!

Published by Delta Zulu Consultancy

I am a Public Health Specialist with a passion for sustainable promotion of human co-existence with the environment! My areas of interest and expertise are Health Risk Communication and Community Engagement, Food Safety, Environmental Medicine and Mass Gathering Medicine. I believe in leveraging the power of technology to capture the imagination of people to inspire them to achieve their health potential, in a sustainable manner. I aspire to empower my partners and motivate stake holders to consistently seek 'work around' solutions, while hoping to achieve an utopian ideal balance.

2 thoughts on “Personal Emergency Preparedness! Are you Ready?!

  1. Such clarity for preparation to stay alert and alive is well appreciated-time to start planning for personal safety first- almost like war times.

    Like

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