Emergencies may occur when an institution is most vulnerable, and while it goes without saying– they do not discriminate because of the holiday season! The best defense against an event occurring is to make sure that you are prepared. While there are lessons learned along the way, it is the hard work of the community that make a recovery strong and prove that no matter the devastation, working together is the key to bouncing back and making it better than before.
These three stories in the news reflect the hard work to promote safety and collaboration of those hardest hit:
- One school recognizes that ensuring its safety may be intimidating, provides program for students to build culture of trust, “Implementing High School Safety While Staying True to Your Culture”.
- One year later, Sandy Hook “Chooses Love” in recovering from the traumatic event that changed their town. “I want us to be remembered for how we responded,” says resident Tim Stan.
The effects of trauma, if untreated, can last a lifetime. Today, many schools are asking their counselors or nurses to become trained in psychological first aid (PFA) in order to be ready to assist the affected after a traumatic event. Visit the National Child Traumatic Stress Network for more information: http://www.nctsn.org/content/psychological-first-aid-schoolspfa
- When Washington, IL was hit by a tornado last month, a local reverend was prepared. He discusses how their Emergency Operations Plan, created in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, saved lives: http://www.fema.gov/blog/2013-12-17/history-great-teacher
- In nearby Ameren, Illinois reflects on their Emergency Operations Plan during the response to a tornado blowing through their town, “We found some internal communication issues, but for the most part our response followed our plans,” says Craig Gilson, Senior Director of Division Operations
Until a few years ago, very few ever considered the phase of Recovery before an event . Today, there are many mitigation measures that include building partnerships before an event, so that they are activated during the response phase of an incident and start the Recovery process immediately. These include debris removal, gutting services and demolition, bulk trash removal, water treatment and supply management, and partnerships with energy companies across the country that are available to respond in the event of an emergency. The Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) are also activated upon an event, and work closely with the Red Cross to provide support and relief services to areas and persons affected by disaster.