A factual comparison: Emergency Grab Bags for Schools, official UK Guidance vs EVAQ8 Kits

Update 14Nov2017: to make access even easier, we now have a special category School Safety and Emergency Kits.

We often answer questions about how exactly our School Emergency Kits (S221 and S220) match up with official requirements, especially following our launch of the UK’s first School Resilience Package*. To make it easy, below is a factual comparison.

 

School Emergency Grab Bags / School Emergency Kits: what does the official UK guidance say and how does this compare to EVAQ8 School Emergency Kits?

  • UK Schools are mandated to produce robust Emergency and Business Continuity Plans (SFVS 2015)
  • An integral part of robust plans is to have the right practical resources in place; i.e. NaCTSO “Grab Bags’ should be available in key locations, which contain essential equipment and information.”
  • An easy way to comply is for the school to have the right Emergency Preparedness Kits

Each School, small or large, is advised to stock a School Emergency Grab Bag

To aid clarity, the following image is a comparison drawn across the most recent NaCTSO guidance, a typical School Emergency Management Plan (SEMP) template1 as currently in use and both School Emergency Kits available on this website. We hope you find it useful. Right-click on the image to open a larger version and use CTRL+ on your keyboard to magnify.You can also view it as a more comprehensive PDF version.

There are a few non-mandatory additions given in official guidelines. Please see the full PDF verison for details.

How good is good enough and what is robust? A more critical look.

As you may appreciate, official guidelines cover bare minimum requirements. However, chances are this is not good enough for you.

That is why our Emergency Kits are fully customisable.

Why should you compromise or stick with the bare minimum? Emergency Preparedness is too important a topic to be taken lightly. Get the Emergency Kit that’s exactly right for your school at competitive prices and with minimal lead times. Placing a bespoke order is easy.

Also, you may want to differentiate between mobile School Grab Bags versus ‘Shelter-in-Pace’ / in-situ Emergency Preparedness Resource Kits for lock down situations. Our friendly and knowledgeable team is happy to advice or simply browse the Emergency Kit section so see standard and custom-made kits.

That covers Emergency Kits – what about Emergency Plans?

Well, templates are a start. However, frankly speaking, not a very good one especially when leaving gaps which mean that individuals such as headteachers can be prosecuted. The aim of the Corporate Homicide and Corporate Manslaughter Act was to put an end to organizations being culpable, shifting responsibility to individuals.

Why ready-made templates are not fit for purpose you can read in more depth in the next post  Why template School Emergency Plans do not add up.

The solution: affordable and robust custom made School Resilience Products.**

For background, please see Emergency Preparedness and Resilience for Schools – a new approach. Alternatively, simply use this blog’s categories drop-down menu and look for posts tagged ‘schools’.

Don’t delay! Let us make your plans and sort your kit so that you can be better prepared to the latest recognized standards:

  • Schools Financial Value Standard 2015 (SFVS)
  • NaCTSO National Counter Terrorism Security Office, 2009 “Counter terrorism protective security advice for Higher and Further Education”
  • BS 6500:2014 Organisational Resilience
  • BS 11200:2014 Crisis Management
  • BS ISO 22301:2014 Business Continuity Management
  • BS ISO 31000:2009 Risk Management

Resilient Schools – Resilient Communities: let’s start building today!

EVAQ8.CO.UK/schools

 

** please note, School Resilience Products (bespoke School Emergency Plans) have been discontinued. This section of the blog is of historic interest only. However, school emergency kits remain and are now in their own category School Safety Kits.

 

References:

1 School Emergency Management Plan (SEMP); in use across counties, i.e. Merseyside, Hertfordshire, Nottingham etc. Sample accessed (1/10/15) from

*the ‘School Resilience Package’ comprising kit and bespoke plans launched in 2015 and was discontinued early 2017 due to supplier changes


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UK Community Resilience – a brilliant example of what really works | part 2

About 6 weeks ago I first told you about the successful Community Resilience model NYLRF Community Emergency Plan scheme” in my post UK Community Resilience – a brilliant example of what really works. Then, I gave you some solid scientific background on why this project was destined to score excellent results. Now it’s time for the promised details and updates.

Good news: communities are engaging in a very positive way

Since the scheme’s launch, North Yorkshire Resilience Forum (NYLRF) has seen a marked increase in community motivation, engagement and response.  Thanks to their substantial and sustained awareness raising efforts, more and more communities understand not only the necessity but also  the value of Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

NYLRF’s success is such that they have managed to affect positive change in their local culture:

• communities are now pro-actively contacting NYLRF for information and support

What an amazing U-turn away from seemingly countless evening meetings and long presentations to sceptical audiences by hard-working NYRLF staff! Now they can concentrate their efforts on what they know best: creating and maintaining the many pieces of fine mechanics that make Community Resilience clockwork ticking accurately and with style – just like a Swiss watch, only with people in complex situations and hence much more difficult to achieve than one of my country’s most valuable exports.  

Who is lighting the way for Community Resilience in North Yorkshire?

Thousands of people are affected by known flood risks or sadly have previous experiences of incidents such suffering prolonged power outages or being cut off because of severe weather. Eleven communities are right now successfully completing the NYLRF Community Emergency Plan scheme, thus establishing themselves firmly on the map of Resilient Communities: Resilience Building Communities in North Yorkshire Congratulations to the brilliant trailblazers: Ingleton , Hellifield, Clapham, Swainby, Snape, Kirkby Fleetham, Crayke, Romanby, South Milford and Tadcaster

Almost 22’000 people are already benefiting

… from their active engagement with Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and the good news is that more communities are joining every week. All town/parish councils above mentioned have received their Community Preparedness Kits (or will shortly do so) and will also receive first aid  and defibrillator training for their community if requested.  More information via North Yorkshire Resilience Forum. And there is more! NYLRF are looking at how Community Emergency Preparedness Planning can integrate with and augment existing Yorkshire water distribution plans. For example, one work in progress is investigating the feasibility of using identified initial meeting points and/or rest centre car parks as water drop off points. Also, North Yorkshire County Council Emergency Planning Unit (NYCC EPU) and the Environment Agency’s Rapid response project are working closely together to engage with communities on their register that are at Very High and High risk of flash flooding.

The scheme will be adopted for flood risk across communities

Since it has been shown that the NYLRF Community Emergency Plan scheme increases both personal and community resilience it will be made available in areas where there is little or no warning of flash floods.

Communities will be better prepared and be able to act as competent first responders in many cases. Isn’t this all simply brilliant? I am amazed and thrilled to see this all taking shape.

All these ‘pieces’ are massively important Community Resilience Building Blocks and I hope that North Yorkshire’s positive and empowering local culture change will continue to spread far and wide.

Just how this can achieved in a fairly simple yet extremely effective way I will tell you next time when I talk more about Tadcaster. They are doing something truly inspiring to connect people and bring their Community Resilience firmly into the age of social media and the internet.

Please spread the word about Community Resilience and Emergency Preparedness in your area and if you want more info on custom made kits just check the website or simply get in touch. Our friendly and knowledgeable team is always happy to help.

Let us all be ready for what may well shape up to be a rough Winter.

For now, we still have a few glorious autumn days and so I leave you with this stunning image of Ingleton and wish you a Resilience-building week.       

 

 

Monika

also read Part 1 of this story (or follow the category ‘Yorkshire Model) and see the 2016 community resilience and preparedness flyer).   thank you for sharing and helping raise awareness for Community Resilience and Preparedness!

Emergency Go Bags arrive at NYLRF 28/04/2016

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

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Community Resilience Building Blocks – it all starts with prepared individuals

September is Preparedness Month in the US and this is also gaining traction over here in the UK. This year, some of our Local Resilience Forums have run campaigns locally as well as on social media, for example using hashtag #30Days30WaysUK on twitter, an easy way for you to track and check out some of the goings on. Take away the ‘UK’ and you get the international version.

September also sees the publication of the Annual Disaster Statistical Review (PDF) by CRED, the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters.

This is important because it lets us take stock.

So, what are the latest Disaster statistics?

  • 324 Natural Disasters were registered worldwide last year, 54 in Europe (image opposite is Kefalonia Earthquake)
  • estimated damage overall just under USD 100 billion (ouch!!)
  • 140.8 million people affected (heartbreaking)
  • almost 8000 people lost their lives (tragic, should not be!)

While stark, these 2014 numbers are thankfully lower than in previous years; perhaps a measure that we are getting better not only at Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Recovery but also at Preparedness. However…

How well prepared are we really? What’s the evidence?

It’s 50/50 really, meaning that typically 50% of people report that they are not prepared. One of the few UK studies1 I found showed that 51% of respondents (London) had partially completed their recommended emergency plans and only 48% stocked the recommended emergency supplies.

To me this means there is still a long way to go. We must increase awareness for Emergency Preparedness but we also must walk our talk and get better equipped in a very practical sense with actual tools and practical resources. Behaviour change is challenging. Just how much I’ve started tackling in my previous post “Resilience and Preparedness Roadblocks: what stops us?” Do have a look and become a ‘Drag-on slayer”.

Since we are talking preparedness, other important questions are:

What is the evidence that Household Preparedness actually works?

Does Household Preparedness really contribute to Community Resilience?

You would say yes, wouldn’t you, intuitively?

It kind of simply makes sense that prepared individuals cope better in the event of an Emergency or Disaster and that this also contributes to Community Resilience.

Well, it turns out that science backs this up. UK studies are rare so I opted for the next best thing: A Literature Review on Household Emergency Preparedness2.

Scientific conclusions are clear: Household Emergency Preparedness pays off

Reviewing almost 80 relevant studies, Levac and colleagues have good news, summarizing that:

  •  most injuries, death, damage and loss caused by disasters are preventable
  •  adequate household emergency preparedness could significantly reduce such negative consequences of disasters
  • sufficient household emergency preparedness contributes towards people being able to care for themselves in the immediate aftermath of an event

Most importantly:

“One of the most effective ways to mitigate the effects of a disaster is through proper household emergency preparedness”

… and that entails ….

“Emergency Preparedness involves knowing the risks particular to a community, developing an emergency plan and having an emergency kit in the home containing food, water and medical supplies to shelter-in-place for 72 hours”

Just a few days ago, Rafael Lemaitre (FEMA’s Director of Public affairs) reiterated this with a rather funny contribution on twitter

 

Personally I would upgrade the 72 hours to 5 days. Why? In a major event supply shortages and utility outages may be substantial, especially if you live in or near an area prone to flooding (just remember i.e. Key Moments of the UK Winter Storms) I also would differentiate between an Emergency Go-Bag and a Shelter-in-Place Kit and add that Emergency Plans are only effective if they’re reviewed and practiced regularly. Twice or three times a year is good to keep it all fresh.

So, how about your Winter Preparedness? Whether Britain [is] braced for long, snowy winter and winter storms remains to be seen although records do tend to show that El Niño gives colder European winters. In any case, I’m not taking any chances and advise you to do the same. After all, we’ve just seen that

Preparedness really does reduce the negative impacts of Emergencies and Disasters and helps individuals as well as contributing to Community Resilience.

As they say: It’s a no brainer really 😉

And if you want to read more about one of our most recent active projects at the local community level head over to UK Community Resilience – a brilliant example of what really works. If you want to go back to where Preparedness all starts, have a look at one of the earliest posts Resilience what it is and how it connects to crazy weather.

Have a great weekend and a brilliant last week of 2015 “September is Preparedness Month”.

Monika


thank you for sharing and helping raise awareness for Emergency & Disaster Preparedness.

References/Resources:

  • 1 Page, L., Rubin, J., Amlot, R., Simpson, J., & Wessely, S. (2008).Are Londoners prepared for an emergency? A longitudinal study following the London bombings. Biosecurity & Bioterrorism,6(4), 309–319.
  • 2 Levac, J., Toal-Sullivan, D., O’sullivan, T. (2012) Household Emergency Preparedness: A Literature Review. Community Health, 37:725-733

 

 

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

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Emergency Preparedness and Resilience for Schools – a new approach

source: http://www.lincoln.kyschools.us/userfiles/2/EmergencyExercise_web_H.jpg

Amazing things happen when passionate people share a hugely important common interest such as advancing Community Preparedness and Resilience. You already know about us and what we do and also about me more personally through this blog.

Now I’d like you to meet Ben.  Why? Because he has worked tirelessly with us since earlier this year to realize one of our ambitions, to create

the UK’s first robust, affordable and readily accessible School Resilience Products following recognized ISO and British standards.

It may even be a world first.

But let me start at the beginning with Ben and you will understand why I am so excited about our latest collaboration project.

Ben is soft-spoken with a ready smile, an enthusiastic and thorough person with a sense of humour who always goes the extra mile or ten. I know because here we are today after many months of back and forth tweaking and perfecting to create an entirely new approach: robust School Resilience products beginning with a School Resilience Package and a School Desktop Review Emergency Planning.

Although Ben and I come from hugely different backgrounds we share a certain vision and tenacity as well as an uncompromising insistence on quality and value for money. In his case this capacity is not surprising when I tell you that, having graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2001, Ben spent 10 years as a British Army Officer responsible for response and evacuation of injured personnel overseas. He was also responsible for coordinating the roll-out of a £85 million Medical Information Management Programme to 180 sites worldwide. In addition Ben has considerable expertise in HAZMAT and clocks specialised training in CBRN to the level that he is qualified to advise National and Local Government. Oh, and he is a member of the British Standards Institute, The Chartered Management Institute and The Emergency Planning Society as well as a British Military Martial Arts instructor, teaching Self-Defense and Close Quarter Protection.

Importantly, Ben is also a loving and engaged father and has spent significant time working with schools on a voluntary basis. Thus he is expertly placed to know and understand the particular needs of schools in terms of dealing with major events.

And so here we are today, the various expertise coming together and falling into place. Easy – well, kind of 😉  It is with real pleasure and a deep sense of satisfaction that we introduce today:

  • School Resilience Package: a custom-made Risk Assessment, Crisis Management and Business Continuity Plan in one comprehensive Package to all current BS/ISO standards

Please see the individual product ‘Description’ tabs for detailed info and how to order. These two custom-made consultancy products will perfectly complement our range of ready and custom-made Emergency Kits for Schools.

These days, Schools are being placed ever more actively at the forefront of Community Resilience. Rightly so, I believe for a culture of Preparedness and Resilience needs to be built early on. Schools can play a vital role in this not only in their own Preparedness but in their role as community educators.

EVAQ8’s mission and contribution to this much larger picture is simple: making available reliable, effective and affordable products and services. Please contact us anytime – our friendly and knowledgeable team is happy to be of assistance.

School Emergency Planning | source http://emergency.ucsc.edu/emergency-management/plans/images/plans-banner.jpg?t=0

You may also be interested in: A factual comparison: Emergency Grab Bags for Schools, official UK Guidance vs EVAQ8 Kits and Why template School Emergency Plans do not add up.

Monika

thank you for sharing and helping raise awareness for Community Resilience and Preparedness! For more resources visit our schools preparedness page and also see:

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Rethinking Resilience – Capacities of Relief Staff & Volunteers in Disaster Zones

Something amazing is happening in the NGO (non-government organizations / charities) sector:

A fundamental rethink of deployment strategies is now under way.

This is really exciting news for everyone, not just those of us that are involved in some way small or large with Disaster Risk Reduction, or DRR for short. After all in today’s world, it is all too easy for any of us to experience a role switch from being a giver of aid to that of being a recipient. You may want to check out my earlier post on Altruism and Resilience and why it pays to be kind.

So, what exactly is taking place and where and when did it all start?

Source: USA todayThe devastating Nepal Earthquake seems to have been one of those ‘tipping points’ – although here Malcolm Gladwell’s original concept is blown out of all proportion for there certainly was nothing ‘little’ that made a big difference.

Maybe I should borrow the term mother of all wake-up calls instead as a description of how it all started. In any case, what really matters is that things are changing – and, most importantly –  for the better.

At first, we received isolated enquiries. More came. Then volunteer groups and now NGOs.

They are requesting custom-made Personal Deployment Kits including Emergency Food to support teams throughout their deployment phase.

Source: The TelegraphTypically teams of between one or two dozen specialists are sent to disaster zones for up to 2 – 3 weeks at which point they are rotated back and replaced if needed. Thus far they brought with them their specialist equipment but relied on local supplies for food and shelter. No longer!

Kits are now being designed by our team so that DRR workers can be fully self-sufficient and avoid placing strain on the local infrastructure. Naturally, kit contents are different depending on the specific situation and organisation so I’m sorry that I can’t give you any teasers nor can I name the involved NGOs thus far.

However, if you are in any way involved as a volunteer or staff in relief or aid work I would encourage you to talk to your organization and get them better prepared with a better integrated and more robust approach.

Things to consider:

– deploying on commercial airlines? Do standard flight safety rules apply on military transports? Items such as matches or flameless-ration heaters (used in food preparation) are restricted for commercial air travel. More info on types of Emergency Survival Food

– how many meals, how many persons? Freeze dried food are lightest and thus easiest to transport and store. They can be reconstituted by adding hot water; see water purification and food preparation

– how much can be stored in a location, how much needs to be carried as for example in a Go-Bag style backpack? Balancing the right contents yet avoiding excess weight is crucial.

Naturally, there is much more to consider but this is a start. Besides, we are always happy to advise so simply give us a call or send us an email.

Have a great week!

Monika


thank you for sharing and helping raise awareness for Community Resilience and Preparedness!

 

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

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Resilience and Preparedness Roadblocks: what stops us?

updated 14Sep2016

Next month, September is National Preparedness Month (NPM or NatlPrep) in the US with many campaigns to raise public awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Here in the UK, year on year, regular local events (ie the #30days30waysUK2016 September campaign) are also becoming more numerous and around November the EA (and related bodies) raise awareness for National Flood Preparedness. For me this is encouraging to witness for I believe that awareness and engagement for preparedness has still some way to go. More individual and community action is needed to build a robust culture of preparedness and resilience.

What are the stumbling blocks? Why aren’t we all much better prepared?

Despite the best intentions most of us fail to do enough, unless you’ve been personally affected in the past, for example during the recent floods.

Why is that? Where does this apathy and narrow shortsightedness come from?

source: http://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1362238/aerial-flooding-01.jpg

Well, I recently read Robert Clifford’s interesting article in The New Scientist “The road to climate hell” and was struck just how easily his analysis also applies to preparedness.

Richard identified 33 ‘dragons’, a metaphor for obstacles or ‘drag-on’ processes that stop us engaging and taking action. Robert’s approach is such a brilliant way to illustrate complex topics that I hope he won’t mind me borrowing and adapting for preparedness.  

1st Dragon family : limited cognition

    • antiquated brains, old hardware and energy conserving software that  have not changed much in 30’000 years. Rather than engage in effort-full anticipation and planning we tend to operate in the comfortable and easy ‘here now’ mode – and that simply makes us slow to act
    • ignorance is bliss they say but not for long and we all should heed Benjamin Franklin who poignantly stated “by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail” . Not only do we tend ignore the necessity for preparedness, we often simply do not know what to do and how to go about it. To make matters worse, preparedness is not simply one thing but means different things to different people at different times and also depending on context. Just exactly what the right kind of preparedness is only you can determine (i.e. by starting at our preparedness info hub and begin making your Emergency Preparedness Plan)
    • uncertainty is tricky to navigate, especially in today’s world of ambiguous messages and unpredictable events. Confusion or underestimation may lead to inaction.
    • numbness from complexity overload in today’s environments that we can no longer wholly grasp. Action is unlikely if a dangerous phenomenon or scenario is seen as not immediately causing personal difficulties
    • discounting, a well-known bias or tendency to undervalue future and distant risk
    • optimism bias: I’ll be fine. No, it won’t affect me. I will manage…  
    • fatalism: it’s out of my hands. There is nothing I can do …. confirmation bias: people tend to read and watch media that reinforces their beliefs rather than challenges and educates
    • time is money: when viewing their available time in monetary terms, people tend to skip careful preparedness planning and investments in resources/skills as there is no immediate and clear ‘return-on-investment’
    • perceived inability: preparedness may require extra resources including knowledge, skill or abilities not everyone possesses. Unless there is a physical or mental disability however, most people are capable to reach at least a minimum level of preparedness and connect to wider networks of community resilience

In the article, Richard goes on to discuss six more Dragon Families; i.e. ideologies, various belief systems that inhibit behaviour social comparison, three aspects of a deeply ingrained human tendency dis-credence, four ways of how people stop engaging when thinking ill of others limited behaviours, and …   

Dragon family ‘perceived risk’ – particularly relevant to preparedness

Perceptions linked to risks that may become particularly persistent ‘drag-ons of inaction’

    • Functional risk: will it work? For example: “The kit I just bought, can I rely on it?” You can if you bought it from us for our promise is “ If we stock it – You can depend on it in an emergency”. Functional risk at a personal level is trickier. The best answer is continuous training and active exercising of your preparedness plans
    • Physical risk: will I get hurt? Preparedness may involve special skills training so there may be certain risks.
    • Financial risk: rather than asking is it worth getting prepared and equipped ask “can I afford not to?”  
    • Social risk: other people may notice your commitment to preparedness and may tease although this is becoming less common. Nowadays understanding is growing and prepared people are becoming role models for community resilience.
    • Psychological risk: you may be teased or criticised for preparing – that is short term. You will, however, build confidence in your capacities and further your personal resilience – that is long term.
    • Temporal risk: the time you invest in planning and preparing may be seen as ‘failing to produce results’. That of course depends on what ‘results’ means to you but in preparedness this is most certainly never the case. Any and all preparedness efforts are never wasted and hopefully you will never have to test them all to the full.

 The good part in all this? All these inner/perceptual dragons of inaction can be slain. You’ve already started by simply reading and thinking about them. And so I leave you with an image of the quintessential Dragon Slayer St. George who is the patron saint not only of England but also of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany and Greece; and of Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice (second to SaintMark) and who has in recent years been adopted as patron saint of Scouts. source: https://web.archive.org/web/20160701211712/https://jbailey2013.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/wikimedia-st-_george_and_the_dragon.jpg Have a great week and good start to September – make it a Preparedness month for yourself, your loved ones and your wider communities. And if you want to delve a little deeper, watch this brilliant VIDEO by The Royal Society, an animation and briefing on unconscious bias adapted by Professor Uta Frith

Monika   thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Emergency Preparedness!

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

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UK Community Resilience – a brilliant example of what really works

source: http://www.toimg.net/managed/images/10188817/w660/h370/image.jpg

A couple of posts ago when talking about heatwaves I casually mentioned some exciting developments in how EVAQ8 is getting involved in Community Resilience in England’s largest county. If you thought Yorkshire you were right. Actually, I was referring to North Yorkshire, with 3212 square miles of glorious landscape and many diverse communities one of the most fascinating places in the UK – or so I think, impatient to explore and take my camera up north at the next opportunity.

But let me start at the beginning and introduce you to the simply brilliant North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum or NYLRF team. They are doing something new and amazing:  they’ve come up with a robust plan to engage their local people pro-actively with Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

The best bit is: their strategy is really working and I am thrilled and honored to share these developments with you as we go along. For this is where all this gets really exiting: it is an active work in progress right now which means we are at the very forefront of some pretty ground-breaking stuff:

the NYLRF Community Emergency Plan Scheme

Preparedness & Planning – first some background: why, who, where and what

The ‘why’ is easy: it’s the law. Since 2004 under the Civil Contingency’s Act, Category 1 responders have a duty to prepare and plan for emergencies. There are 38 Local Resilience Forums in England and 5 in Wales which are at the core of the national network that also includes ReadyScotland and Northern Ireland Civil Contingencies Branch.

Not only must the LRFs warn and inform the public, they also must promote preparedness and resilience to businesses (Business Continuity) and to the public in general. Naturally it’s a bit more complex than that but for my purposes here that about covers the who, where and what. However, I’ve not touched on the concept of Community Resilience everyone is talking about these days just yet. So….

What is ‘Community Resilience’ and how does it tie in with Preparedness and Planning?

Definitions are important as they help make a concept practical which in turn triggers policy changes and the flow of resources (see earlier post What Disaster, Why Preparedness).  So let’s start with ‘Community’: that is simply a group of people either living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common1. The theory2 goes (and it’s quite intuitive really) that well prepared – meaning informed and equipped – individuals, families, neighborhoods, workplaces, faith organisations etc. that closely interact are better capable of mobilizing resources for response and recovery. Or in other words:

Resilience is based on a culture of preparedness                                             (Ready Scotland, 2013)

So far it is quite straight forward but now it gets trickier because ‘Community Resilience’ as a concept means many things to many people and there is a considerable ongoing debate. Rather than bore you to tears let me simply state that I found the CARRI Report definition (2013, p10) one of the most useful:

Community resilience is the capability to anticipate risk, limit impact and bounce back rapidly through survival, adaptability, evolution and growth in the face of turbulent change.

source: http://www.laresilience.org/images/community-resilience-ovals.pngWhat I particularly like is the focus on capability. It implies inherent and latent capacities. It also ties neatly to preparedness which is not just about needs and liabilities but also about assets. In my view this creates an empowering shift and starting point to mobilize engagement which, given the right momentum, may overcome even learnt helplessness and apathy. Thus

Community Resilience is

  • an inherent and dynamic community property
  • a community adaptation to adversity that leads to positive outcomes with respect to community functionality
  • a way to compare communities in terms of their ability to adapt

(Pfefferbaum et al, 2015)

Community Resilience: right input – right output/engagement

Community Resilience efforts are time and relationship intensive (Houston, 2015). However, it does not need to be complicated. Committed leadership is crucial and with this we are back to our story and the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum Team.  So, what happened?

Earlier this year NYLRF put an upgraded strategy in place.

The right ingredients for Community Resilience – a Success Story and Model approach

Having identified parishes as one of their key target communities, NYLRF adapted their existing scheme with an ambitious set of incentives which made the following assets available to their parishes:

  • free practical resources: Emergency Kit (comprehensive resources including winter preparedness that were specifically designed by NYLRF and EVAQ8) and a reduced cost defibrillator (Yorkshire Ambulance)
  • free information: comprehensive resources and templates to aid in preparing plans as well as warning and informing the local community
  • free training: British Red Cross first aid training and Yorkshire Ambulance Service defibrillator training for the community

This NYLRF Community Emergency Plan scheme not only provides the perfect mix of practical support (information, practical templates and kit, valuable training), it also ticks all the right boxes from the point of view of the latest research and good practice; it represents

  • focus on community engagement
  • bio-ethical principles, ie. autonomy, beneficence
  • emphasizing assets and needs in a multi-hazard approach relevant to the local context
  • encouraging skills and development

(Pfefferbaum et al, 2015)

So, it’s no surprise that  NYLRF is highly successful in promoting and building community resilience!

Just how successful I will share with you next time when I write more about their current impact, what other types communities may also benefit and about other strategies such as NYLRF’s pro-active participation in key promotional events .

In the meantime, please feel free to check out the North Yorkshire website,  (twitter @NYorksPrepared ), the additional resources/references listed below and resources through our info gateway Emergency Plan.

How resilient is your community?

Have a great week.

Monika

[edited to add: part 2 of the story has now been published; or simply look under the category ‘Yorkshire Model’].


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References / Resources

  • 1 Oxford Dictionary | might seem trivial but it is important. There are many different kinds of communities with specific and unique preparedness requirements;  something I will explore later
  • 2 Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological theory of development and resilience (Boon et al, 2012 in Prior and Hagmann, 2014;)
  • – Houston, Brian (2015) Bouncing Forward: Assessing Advances in Community Resilience Assessment, Intervention and Theory to Guide Future Work; American Behavioral Scientist, 2015, Vol.59(2), pp.175-180
  • – Pfefferbaum, Betty; Pfefferbaum, Rose and Van Horn, Richard (2015) Community Resilience Interventions: Participatory, Assessment-Based, Action-Oriented Processes.  American Behavioral Scientist February 2015 59: 238253, first published online on September 22, 2014 doi:10.1177/0002764214550298
  • – Prior, Timothy and Hagmann, Jonas (2014)  Measuring resilience: methodological and political challenges of a trend security concept, Journal of Risk Research, 2014, Vol.17(3), p.281-298

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Hazards and Risks – what’s the difference and why does it matter?

Last week I had an interesting and engaging conversation with a group of young people that were just starting to make their own Emergency Preparedness plans both for their families and their fledgling businesses when the topic of hazards and risks resulted in:

“… but risk is the same as hazard? How are they different?”

Indeed, it’s a common enough confusion, mostly because risk is often defined in terms of hazards so fuzzyness creeps in. Also, a number of different definitions and understandings exist, all depending on who you ask and what their frame of reference is. That does not help practical people that want clear guidance fast.

Luckily, I recently attended a brilliant conference on Risk and Disaster Reduction in London, the UCL IRDR 5th Annual Conference where Sir Mark Walport in his keynote speech on communicating risk and hazards gave an excellent example which I hope he won’t mind me passing on to you. The imagery he used was this:

source: https://www.kidssoup.com/sites/default/files/media/ploverbird-crocodile.jpg

What do you see? A massive hazard. But how about risk? What exactly do you know about the CONTEXT in the above?

How about now?

source http://www.newsiosity.com/sites/default/files/styles/flexslider_image/public/CrocTeeth.jpg?itok=LGwOT9ea

Well, better him than me I’d say for I’m not that brave but you certainly begin to see where this is going:

Talking about hazards is necessary but not sufficient

(as scientists love to point out) and that’s precisely why it matters to draw the distinction.

In order to build better preparedness and resilience, we need to continuously assess and monitor risk, meaning the probability or likelihood of (often complex) scenarios as well as the severity of impact over time. As per Sir Mark’s slide, this concerns

1506UCL-Walport

Professor Sir Mark Walport; Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of Government Science and Engineering Profession at UCL IRDR 2015

hazard: a source of harm or damage

threat: an intent or determination to inflict harm or damage

exposure: the condition of being exposed to harm or damage

vulnerability: the susceptibility to being harmed or damaged

uncertainty: current degree of knowledge as unknown or doubtful

 

To get a better idea what risk assessments and a risk matrix can look like

have a look at the National Risk Register 2015, page 11. Naturally, these high priority risks as currently identified by the UK government change and shuffle in line with the changing situation in the UK and around the world. Keep an eye on regularly published updates and consider the risks particular to your own environment and situation, also in line with any information your local resilience forum can provide. You may also find our extensive preparedness resources useful.

That’s exactly where I left the group of young entrepreneurs and family men and women. However, as with them I also want to stress here:

making a plan is necessary but not sufficient

for – and yes, you’ve heard it all beforeEmergency & Disaster Preparedness: Get a Kit - Make a Plan - Be InformedAnd finally, are you still curious about  The Crocodile and the Plover Bird? It’s a good story.

Have a great week!

Monika


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Heatwave – how to stay cool

Wow. It’s 7.45 am and the thermometer in my office is already at 28°C/83°F.
No doubt we will get to live the predicted #HeatWave in a big way today.

Listening to BBC radio two over breakfast earlier made me chuckle at some of the suggestions on how to stay cool. Putting your shoes in the freezer may not be the best way to go about it.

But what do you do, especially if you’re either running around in a scorching city as I’ll have to later or stuck in a hot office as I am now? And no, no air conditioning here in case you’re wondering. Not because our building is old. Rather it’s part of a new and ‘green’ development designed with good insulation and air flow, the balance of which today will not meet my personal sense of comfortable environment.

Well to begin with, ’running’ around is certainly out. So, dropping the usually fast city pace will be the first thing to remember and do …. starting with typing slower ;-) – keeps my sanity and that of others.

Then there are the usual heatwave preparedness tips like

  • stay in the shade
  • drink plenty of water
  • wear light and loose fitting clothes, a sun hat and apply sun protection
  • move to the coolest room and open windows only when the outside temperature is cooler than inside

However, there is one additional tip I’d like to share with you, pinched a couple of years ago from some savvy New Yorkers during one of their severe heatwaves.

Get a watertight ziploc bag and partially fill it with crushed ice

source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/4a/97/f3/4a97f3d13ce8031523189dcd0742db4e.jpgEasily fits in your handbag or satchel and can be emptied/refilled as needed without much hassle. For instant cool, put it on your neck or chest, even under your feet and the crooks of your elbows.

Back when in New York that worked pretty well as lots of Deli’s have crushed ice machines. I guess I will find out just how well that method works today in London. I might pack a small rolling pin just case ;-)

Oh, and if you’re at home, frozen peas work great too and you can refreeze them. Just don’t eat them!!

And finally, what am I doing at 07.45h at the office? Lots of very exciting things are in development here for Emergency Preparedness as we have just started a collaboration with the largest county in the United Kingdom.

I can’t wait to tell you more about their pilot project. I hugely look forward to showing you the amazing work they are doing for community resilience which may serve as an excellent model for all of us. But more later, I’ve got to run  – or rather NOT!

Wishing you a COOL day!

Keep an eye on your thermometer and weather app. Enjoy your ice teas and ice creams!

Monika

Also of interest: Heatwave – beyond Heat Health Watch to Personal Preparedness


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Fitness & Resilience – just how physically fit are you and why does it matter?

source: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Handlers/ArticleImageHandler.ashx?id=6534&index=0&w=605&h=434What a glorious weekend after the violent thunderstorms on Friday. I wish I could be out there with friends and family rock climbing near Portland. Instead, in support of our daughter sitting A-level exams next week, I am home bound, exercising …. well, this is precisely where I want to begin today’s resilience blog post.
Exerting my imagination, dissolving this grey-white WordPress screen into majestic sea cliffs, my fingers racking up miles typing at speed while trying to come up with a way to bridge the massive gap in my initial post on what is resilience – none of this, of course, counts as fitness. And that is, obviously, not only essential for health but also a core capacity in resilience, one glaringly omitted in my earlier post. Psychology focussed approaches to resilience by their very nature tend to ‘get stuck’ in aspects of mental fitness/health and thus only perpetuate the already pervasive mind-body dualisms. Resilience on the other hand addresses and integrates much wider and diverse topics and, naturally, must include physical fitness. But why exactly and what is the evidence?

Mastering Physical Challenges builds Strength and Resilience

Physical training – exercise –  is good for your health. Yes, that’s nothing new and you’ve heard it all before but there is a crucial qualifier: if done right – but that’s not all. source: http://examinedexistence.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/good-vs-bad-stress.jpgIt’s rather tricky actually and quite a bit of a paradox for you have to challenge and tax yourself yet not overly so, remaining sensitive to personal limits. It’s no easy task to continually hit your personal Goldilocks’ sweet spot of ‘just right’ especailly as it changes over time and with context.

The evidence in favor of exercise is of course pretty strong:  numerous studies have repeatedly shown that physical fitness enhances general health, may prevent or reduce the debilitating effects of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and a plethora of other chronic disorders. In addition, mastering physical challenges can improve mood, cognition and emotional resilience.

To illustrate, let’s go a bit extreme and take a closer look at Philpott’s (2002) study of the Vietnam War veteran Jim Thompson, America’s longest-held prisoner of war.

Resilience + Physical Fitness Case Study: Extreme Survival in Captivity with the ‘Daily Dozen’

The story starts with Lew Meyer, a civilian firefighter working for the military in South Vietnam. He was captured in 1968 along with twelve others and, after a five month long arduous march, imprisoned in solitary confinement in a dark 8-by-4 foot cell. Meyer exercised whenever possible even when feeling tired or weak, jogging in tiny circles around his cell or doing isometric exercises (see Often Forgotten Isometric Excerices). He continued his routines even when shackled in leg locks, substituting sit-ups for squat jumps and jumping jacks. When he was transferred to a larger cell with roommates, Meyer increased his routines and included his cellmates. At the height of his training Meyer could do 64 one-arm push-ups! One year into captivity they received another cellmate: Jim Thompson, a Green Beret, starved and tortured for five years, weighed less than 100 pounds.

“This guy is dead, I thought… I didn’t know how he stood up, how he breathed, how he did anything…. It took him half an hour to stand… talk about a gutsy guy” (Meyer in Philpott, 2002).

On their first morning together, Thompson tried to join Meyer but was too weak. He could not do a single push-up. Meyer adapted his routine and gradually coached Thompson back to health. Initially, Thompson could only tolerate deep breathing exercises. Then some bending and stretching. Within six month, Thompson completed the daily dozen and that was just the beginning. In time, the two men devised an escape plan. They planned and trained for over a year, making their exercise routine more and more challenging. Stacking their beds on top of each another, they ran laps around their tiny cell. As a group, they held ‘Iron Man’ type contests, one cellmate winning with a count of 501 push-ups, another with 1615 sit-ups. Strenuous exercise was not just a hobby or a way to pass time for these POW’s. It was a necessity. They felt better and slept better; it provided structure and purpose to their days which enhanced confidence. It saved their lives. Meyer describes how other prisoners who did not make any physical effort “all ended up dying within a few years after release.”
This story is undoubtedly extraordinary and quite outside normal life.  However….

Physical Exercise builds Resilience in Civilians too

You do not need to be faced with severely stressful circumstances to benefit from exercise. The Mayo Clinic lists 7 benefits of regular physical excercicse  which shows that exercising be fun but it boosts your energy, improves mood, helps manage weight, combats chronic disease, promotes better sleep and it even may improve your sex life.
As if that was not incentive enough, there is even more to consider about…

Exercise, Resilience and Neurogenesis in the Brain

Aerobic exercises can have stress-protective, anti-depressive and anxiety-reducing effects in two ways through neurobiological and hormonal pathways. First, exercise increasource: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/files/2013/05/BrainFitnessLifecycle_CP.jpgses the concentrations of neurotransmitters in the brain such as endorphins that improve mood and serotonin and dopamine that lessen depression. It can also enhance neurogenesis, the making of new brain cells by turning on relevant genes. Second, regular exercise can protect against hormonal effects of chronic stress by dampening the HPA axis and lowering cortisol production which means that the brain is less exposed to this this neuron damaging stress hormone. However, not all studies agree and some have reported negative effects which may point towards the complexities of individual differences, flagging up my earlier point about the importance of tailored ‘sensible’ exercise, finding what is ‘just right’ for you and staying sensitive to that this may change over time. So you will be asking at this stage…

How can I use Exercise to increase my Resilience?

I have some tough but also plenty of encouraging news and, importantly, plenty of practical resources for you as is the norm of this blog. Building resilience typically means that you have to go beyond simply ‘routine maintenance’ exercises to fully tap the ‘good stressor’ effect of physical exercise. You have to challenge yourself – but sensibly so. First, I suggest you check out MindTools Stress Management including the Holmes & Rahe Stress Scale as tools to gain a better insight into good/bad and hidden stress you may never have even thought about. Next, have a look at the NHS’s How Fit Are You self-test or another good resource is the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Fitness Calculator.  Of course these are no substitutes for getting professional advice from health care and fitness professionals, but it’s a start. One strategy to tap your optimal physical stress level is known simply as “stress inoculation” – first studied by Lyons&Parker (2007). It involves continually pushing the healthy limits of physical strength and endurance. Don’t confuse this with Stress Innoculation Training (SIT) which is a highly successful psychological method of cognitive restructuring (a form of CBT) to deal with mental stress which I will address in a later post. For the moment I want to stay at the physical level and one way of measuring fitness/stress is via your heart rate.

Your heart rate as indicator and how to calculate ceiling and floor for effective exercise

One commonly used way is to first calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. According to the Center for Disease Control, at 50-70% of your maximum heart rate (MHR) lies what is called the moderate intensity heart zone so you calculate

MHR x 0.50  and MHR x 0.70 = floor/ceiling  moderate intensity heart zone

The resulting number represents your optimal heart rate range for moderate intensity exercise such as a brisk walk, water aerobics, doubles tennis, dancing or gardening.
To reach the vigorous intensity heart zone you will have to exercise at 70-85% MHR; so take

MHR x 0.70  and MHR x 0.85 = floor/ceiling vigorous intensity heart zone

Exceeding 85% MHR will not provide any additional benefits and may place an unhealthy amount of strain on your body.

Also, please note that these calculations are only estimates and may vary considerably from person to person also with ethnicity and especially if you are on certain medication or suffer from heart related conditions. Always seek medical advice before embarking on a rigorous physical training programme.
In addition, keep in mind that the above is rather simplistic. Other methods (i.e. see TopEndSports) not only consider your MHR or HRmax, but also monitor your resting heart rate HRrest which gets lower as a result of your heart becoming a more efficient pump through regular exercise. Also, sport organizations such as British Cycling have more sophisticated measures that do not simply start from a ‘generic’ maximum heart rate calculation but more accurately use an individual’s performance as a baseline to calculate several distinct training zones. Do some research and talk to sports professionals that can advise and find out what makes sense for you.

Pysical Exercise and Resilience – other considerations and useful tips

Naturally, this topic is a losource: http://www.inspirewomensfitness.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/fitness-quote-inspiration.jpgt more complex than can be crammed into a single blog post. You must consider other important questions related to physical fitness such as:  is it best for you to exercise alone or with others (or a bit of both), should you hire a trainer so that you can learn proper exercise technique and what about cross-training, combining exercises of multiple disciplines?

There are many excellent books on these topics and information is also available online from reputable sources. However, don’t get stuck and buried in literature. Much more important is to go and just do –  explore fitness actively. Although building physical fitness and personal resilience takes planning, consistency, perseverance and the willingness to live with discomfort it also based on simple drive and desire.
And so, before I go for a long and brisk walk myself now, enjoying familiar views of Fulham and Putney along the Thames rather than the more spectacular cliffs of Portland which will have to wait for another time, I leave you with some final tips on how to start your new exercise regimen, on how to build and expand your personal resilience:

  • learn as much about your body and physical fitness as you can to improve your understanding and find new ways of well being
  • check and discuss with your health professional before starting an exercise program
  • try as many different exercises as you can and consider the benefits of cross-training
  • set realistic goals and stick to them flexibly. Log your workouts to track your progress and celebrate success
  • if a 150 minute/week workout is too challenging, start small and break it down; i.e. British Heart Foundation “Time to get moving” or see videos like Dr Dave’s Daily Dozen Exercises Isometric Arms you can do while sitting at your desk
  • consider working with an experienced trainer as you build and expand your fitness
  • gradually increase the intensity of your cardiovascular and strength training but sensibly so
  • allow for proper recovery between sessions
  • practise healthy eating and sleeping habits
  • find friends and family to support and join
  • notice and focus on the positive feelings and greater sense of capacity and self-esteem you are building through exercise and try to reach a point where physical fitness simply becomes part of who you are

Have a great weekend.
Monika

 


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Cited resources and additional references:

  • British Army Fitness App / MOD: Get fit for the army (PDF)
  • British Heart Foundation: How your heart works
  • Lyons, D.M. & Parker, K.J. (2007) Stress inoculation-induced indications of resilience in monkeys. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 20, 423-433
  • Philpott, T. (2002) Glory denied: The saga of Vietnman veteran Jim Thompson, America’s longest held prisoner of war. New York, NY: Plume Books
  • Stress Management Toolkit for Employers PDF (+ more from HSE Gov UK)
  • The official British Army fitness programme (Guardian article and links)
    US Army Physical Fitness Manual FM21-20; PDF accessed 5/6/15
  • Whitfield, B.e. (2013) A Historical Review and Analysis of Army Physical Readiness Training and Assessment. Combat Studies Institute Press, US Army Combined Arms Center Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (PDF accessed 5/6/15)

 

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

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