Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Situational Awareness --- theres an app for that

I have talked about planning, connecting with family and friends and one of the things I haven’t talked about at length is situational awareness.  As our friends at Wikipedia define it “Situation awareness involves being aware of what is happening in the vicinity to understand how information, events, and one's own actions will impact goals and objectives, both immediately and in the near future.”  So it’s being aware.  How?
 It IS more than the 5 o’clock news; below I am going to list some websites and apps that you can use to become more “aware”.  Most are websites and apps (I am addicted to my I pad for awareness, and most of these apps are free) but you can just use the supplied web link to save in a folder in your favorites on your computer, you could name it…Situational awareness!

Weather Underground- one of the first web based weather sites. Lots of good info here
PDC World Disaster Alerts – List and shows physical disasters worldwide (one of my favorites)
Wind Alert – important if you are someplace cold, or forest fires, or wind surfing
Shelter View – Red Cross open shelter list. In case you need one, or a loved one calls from out of town, you can direct them in a disaster
FEMA – disasters & maps- where are declared areas, links to hurricane maps, flooding, etc
Tsunami Evac –shows inundation areas- certainly for per-planning before that beach vacation
Apple Store
The weather Channel – need I say more
BBC (British Broadcasting Company) its often good for an outside view of our news reporting
Twitter- it’s not for teens anymore- Most local Emergency Managers are on twitter for emergency information at the very least. You can learn a lot by searching and picking and listening

So there you have it, a beginners list for building situational awareness. Often times things that affect us begin far away, so it’s best to pay attention beyond the five o’clock news show. And remember by time it makes the 5 o’clock news its already old news.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Text First

The link below is evidence that the text is king (or queen)! After a disaster do not tie the phone lines up, but use short texts to your family members to ask "R U OKAY?", "Meet @ Jason's".
By learning to text and making sure everyone knows how, you will decrease everyone's stress point in the aftermath of a disaster by being able to communicate quickly and efficiently.

Last point for those of us over 50, honestly if you have never text-ed on your phone ask your kid; allow them to become involved in the family preparedness and be the teacher for once.  In this instance they probably are smarter than you.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Be Ready for any disaster

 So it is that time again, time to talk to you about your disaster kit.  Why? Because its hurricane season, its tornado season and its always earthquake season where I live.  We just finished a two day exercise called Evergreen Earthquake 2012.  Lots of death, injuries and some very surprised people in the Emergency Operation Centers.  Why?  Because they realized that they couldn't get the assets to open a shelter in 1,2,3 days.  That is normal for a major event.  So imagine your house, condo apartment fell down during a Hurricane, Tornado or Earthquake.  Now what?
 I do not want to tell you what you already know, make a plan, figure out what you need and start slowly to put it together.  A nice list in the below article.

Thanks for preparing, so we in Emergency management don't have to worry about you for a few days in an event.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

"So how do I learn all this stuff?"

I was recently asked the question above; well there are a few ways you can help educate yourself and your family.

The first is to attend a training session put on by either your local emergency manager or the Red Cross.  Both do their part to get the word out and assist the public in preparing for disasters in your area.

Another is go to the big guy and take some online FEMA courses. These are free and online; they can be taken at your pace, on your schedule.

The last place I wanted to point out are a couple of companies that have taken the step of simplifying and reducing in size what you need to know for a price.

  • The first is the Quick series which has a rather large library of booklets to cover many things, but of course this blog is focusing on Emergency/Disaster Preparedness.
  • The second is the Informed Guides like the one above their guides are both pocket sized and available for download to your smart phone. I personally like this book better, but its about what appeals to you.
So there you have it, some sources for you to take advantage of to help prepare your family/home/your life for emergencies or disasters.

Don't wait prepare today