Cooperation is essential when disaster strikes a community. Without the ability to work together and effectively communicate, the consequences of catastrophes can be exacerbated. Two communities have recently made efforts to strengthen disaster preparedness through local programs. By cooperating with each other, members will be able to minimize the negative outcomes of potentially destructive crises.
Residents undergo emergency response training
A group of citizens trained to participate in the Community Emergency Response Team in Durham, NC, according to the Herald-Sun. The training program prepared the residents to assess disaster situations prior to the arrival of fully trained emergency personnel, such as EMTs and firefighters.
The group role-played an emergency scenario at the Durham Fire Department Headquarters. The scenario included seeking out and treating fire victims in a training area called the "burn house," as well as putting out a small fire and triaging those role-playing as injured. Other programs like CPR training are also offered by the county.
Participants gain a taste of an emergency scenario during the training, leaving them more mentally prepared in the case of a real disaster. The added preparedness of citizens who undergo the program makes them an "an asset to the community," said the emergency management coordinator of Durham County, David Marsee.
Santa Maria builds community preparedness
Officials in Santa Maria have resolved to reach out to members of the community about disaster preparedness, reported Public CEO. The move to connect with citizens is in response to the awareness that many lack an understanding of what to do in crisis situations.
However, there has been difficulty for the city in reaching many of its Spanish-speaking citizens due to distrust of authorities. To overcome the fear and skepticism of the residents, Santa Maria has worked with the Aware & Prepare Initiative of the Orfalea Foundation to create a grassroots program to connect citizens and first responders in disaster scenarios.
Listos, Santa Maria's disaster outreach program, uses a condensed form of the standard Community Emergency Response Training curriculum, which runs for 4 weeks rather than 8. The program has been effective at reducing the fear that participants have of first responders, according to their own testimony.
A community capable of working together and handling emergency situations can go a long way toward mitigating the devastation of disasters. An emergency communication system such as Omnilert can help to facilitate correspondence between members of the community and licensed emergency responders so that community members can be safer than ever.