1. Know your community’s (or organization’s) vulnerabilities. An awareness of critical infrastructure and high risk locations will guide your initial size-up priorities.
2. Have a plan. Every organization needs in-depth emergency plans and continuity plans. But have you distilled those plans down to simple one- or two-page checklists for critical response positions? Do you have job aids prepared to assist employees who are forced to assume unfamiliar roles?
3. Know how the disaster management system works. Too often in disaster responses, critical resource requests are delayed because they were simply misrouted. Understanding the hierarchical system of fulfilling requests under SEMS and NIMS will improve your chances of getting what you need when you need it.
4. Know your counterparts. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to meet neighboring emergency managers. Those existing relationships will improve working together when minutes count.
5. Train and exercise. Commit to training personnel in essential positions and exercise them in those positions. Exercises don’t have to be expensive, complicated affairs; just a few hours here and there in discussion-based exercises will vastly improve your preparedness.
After an emergency is not the time to prepare. CSTI’s Earthquake classes can help you, and those in your organization, learn what to do and how to do it before tragedy strikes. Check out our online course schedule for course information and current earthquake classes.
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