As the scope of potential disasters seems to expand every year, disaster preparedness and disaster recovery has grown in importance for towns of all sizes.
Many of their plans reveal that effective preparation does not necessarily mean large financial investments. Disaster preparedness plans are often centered on the development of response teams, coordinated exercises, and communication-related infrastructure improvements.
Coordinate an emergency training program in conjunction with your state emergency management agency. The goal of this program is to familiarize your staff with equipment used in a disaster and to understand the roles each responder will play. Go through the steps necessary to set up and activate a mock emergency operations center.
Develop a disaster preparedness training program for the public, focused on the most common scenarios in your region. Free events such as a hurricane awareness program will help citizens learn better strategies for preparing their homes for a storm, keeping track of pets, and helping clean up debris faster when the event has passed.
Cultivate an active roster of emergency responders within your community. Many teams include citizens who already work in emergency services such as police or firefighters, but those members may already be busy with their primary job during an event. Actively recruit members from the local community who can supplement emergency responders, such as Community Emergency Response Teams or CERT.
In addition to coordinated sessions and recruiting, many towns are implementing mass notification systems for first responders and emergency notification systems for citizens. These systems, such as Amerilert, are a new generation of the familiar Emergency Broadcast System designed to reach people through the many different types of modern devices and services used today.
Products such as e2Campus are designed for easy implementation at college campuses and school systems. The e2Campus system can communicate important or urgent information to thousands of people at once. It allows college campuses and school systems to reach administrators, teachers, parents and students with critical safety information via text messages, e-mail, voicemails, PA announcements and more.