Disasters can happen at any time. Whether it is an earthquake, hurricane, or flooding, these events can occur randomly and arrive unexpectedly.
These natural disasters are both painful and difficult to deal with. They also impact thousands of lives, leaving chaos in their wake. Even what may seem like a minor emergency, like a fire, can quickly become a national health and safety hazard in no time.
For instance, the Australian bushfires of 2019 destroyed more than 24 million hectares of land, impacted more than 3 billion animals, destroyed over 2,000 houses, and killed several people. Likewise, the US is no stranger to these natural disasters; the country has witnessed its fair share of tragedies and has spent billions of dollars rebuilding.
So what can a community do to ensure they can mitigate the losses they experience when disaster strikes? As a disaster management expert, you can help the population prepare for what’s to come. Here’s how:
1. Get The Right Educational Qualifications
Your education plays an essential role in shaping you for the work you will have to handle. Disaster management is multilayered and varied. Unless you know all the factors that go into disaster management, you may struggle to carry out your responsibilities.
You need to figure out what potential threats the community faces and the available resources that can be used alleviate the problem.
Therefore, right after your bachelor’s, you should attain a master’s degree in disaster management.
Fortunately, technology has made it easier to do so, and you can acquire a disaster management master’s degree online with minimal hassle and get the skills you need. This will make you an asset to the community and enable you to help them deal with incidents similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ebola outbreak, or hurricane Ian.
2. Find Out What Local Agencies Are Involved In Emergency Preparedness
To prepare a comprehensive disaster management plan, you need to know what local agencies can assist with your case. Preparing for emergencies is an expensive process.
You must establish safe houses, sanction resources, create manuals to train workers, and draft an inventory of all the necessary tools.
If you live in the US, you can lean on the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a government organization that aims to help civilians during emergencies, boost the nation’s capability of preventing future disasters, and respond to significant hazards immediately.
If you collaborate with FEMA, you can apply for disaster assistance and tap into their resources to get the needed help. Likewise, figure out what charity organizations are also a part of emergency preparedness and what tools they have in store that can support your cause.
For instance, you can use local organizations to expand your outreach to rural communities and work on educating them.
3. Learn How To Connect With The Community
You must prepare the community for emergencies by effectively communicating and connecting with them. To educate the local population, you need to speak to them in a way they’ll understand.
This includes creating websites that provide information and details on different disasters and the best preventive measures. You should keep workshops to teach first aid and how to tackle house fires. On a larger scale, you can use social media to get your message across.
Furthermore, you can also encourage schools to play animations and videos that can educate minors and students on how to prepare themselves to deal with any disaster.
Once you establish a solid reputation in the community, make sure you set up a committee. Schedule group meetings with them and outline the disaster management plans you have so far to deal with any potential incident.
This will help you ensure that you have a team in place to support the local population, and they’re all updated with their responsibilities allowing them to sling into action when needed. Setting up a local committee is also a great way to continue spreading awareness and keep the population in the loop of what is happening.
4. Educate The Community On Staying Safe At Home
Staying indoors is the best way to stay protected in most disasters. For instance, if you’re facing a tornado, the safest place to be is the basement.
However, preparing a house takes time. You must identify areas needing renovation or specific features, such as an automatic fire detector installed. You also need to ensure that every home is safe and easy for the disabled community to use and doesn’t make it hard for them to escape in an emergency.
Teach the community to turn off gas, electricity, and water when a disaster strikes, encourage them to install a carbon monoxide detector, and show them in an emergency which parts of the house to avoid.
You should also map out all close, safe homes and a list of facilities residents can access if they need help immediately in a disaster. Conducting drills and mock simulations can also guide the residents better on what they need to do.
5. Have An Emergency Alert System
During a National crisis, you need a system that can push mass notifications if there is a potential hazard. This system must override alarm clocks and blare for at least twenty minutes, even if the phone is silent. Think of these as amber alerts, as these notifications need to be broadcasted simultaneously.
If you have a solid budget, consider a system that also turns on TVs and blares the message across the big screen. The notification methods you use should align with FEMA and the Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS) so it reaches the entire community, even those who don’t have electronic devices.
Natural events and disasters are inevitable. While you cannot avoid them or prevent them from occurring, you can look into protecting yourself from getting harmed by them.
This involves a series of planning that allows you to comprehensively understand the magnitude of natural hazards and figure out ways to protect the community from getting impacted by them.
This includes ensuring you have the relevant degrees that make you an expert on emergency preparedness and learning wants institutes that can help you better spearhead your case.
Furthermore, you also need to exert yourself in connecting with the community and actively educating them. This extends to helping them prepare their houses to stand tall in the eye of the storm. Lastly, pick a robust notification system that can immediately alert and inform the community about a looming threat and save thousands of lives before calamity strikes.