Disaster Preparedness – what Disaster? Why Preparedness?

updated 05/2017

It’s midweek and I am meeting some people.
“…. what do you do?” The question is innocent enough at any social gathering. What happens next however is always quite interesting for me. When I say “I am in Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, we create Preparedness Kits for  individuals, business, organizations and local government” I either get a blank stare and the topic moves swiftly on or it gets engaging:

What do you mean by Preparedness? What Disaster? Where?

Now, that is a very good question. There is a quite a bit of confusion and a considerable gap between theory and practice – that is the difference between disaster theory and actual disaster risk reduction (DRR) and, more recently, preparedness. Thankfully, clarity has improved and the gap is closing for Disaster Preparedness concerns us all – and not just philosophically:

“Live moves very fast. It rushes from Heaven to Hell in a matter of seconds”      —  Paul Coelho

Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5c/The_Ladder_of_Divine_Ascent_Monastery_of_St_Catherine_Sinai_12th_century.jpg

As imagery of that quote I particularly like the 12th century ‘Ladder of Divine Ascent’ at  Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai which, to me, is a good visual analogy of the precariousness of life as we strive for (ultimate) peace and security.

Predicting the future is no easy task, even with today’s amazing tech and science to help us understand and manage the risks associated with globalisation, urbanisation, climate change, population growth, dwindling resources, etc.

New technologies combine with existing ones, changing old and well understood hazards, and creating new ones in the process. People and communities worldwide – including the UK – become more vulnerable as a result of these new hazards in ways that we may not have encountered before – ways even that are hard to imagine.

‘Natural’ disaster data – perhaps not as straightforward as you may think…

source https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/52db6435e4b0826240a963ce/1392762570748-EY23D42EOAT50PZ5UZR3/katrina.png?content-type=image%2Fjpeg So called ‘natural disaster’ data is readily available nowadays but the term is actually a bit of an oxymoron. Natural events trigger a range of ‘disasters’, the resulting damage is largely the result of lack of planning and poor development which ends up putting property and people at risk.

Another issue is that most disaster data, like the following graphs, are biased.  The one by the insurer MunichRe is skewed towards the developed world, as opposed to, for example the EM-DAT based Oxfam report Time’s Bitter Flood which focuses on developing countries. There are other subtleties that may get ‘lost’ in how data is entered into international databases such as the one by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters CRED. Often not being considered (but thankfully that is also changing) are issues of geographical or time scale (no difference between 10 deaths in 1 min or 6 months) or that gross rather than normalized data is emphasized, yet there can be significant differences between total damage and per capita damage. Despite these limitations the various data nevertheless show a clear trend:

A clear trend: Natural Disasters / Catastrophes are increasing

Source: http://makewealthhistory.org/2011/05/30/the-number-of-natural-disasters-is-on-the-rise/ Source: https://makewealthhistory.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/disasters-oxfam.jpgAnd now, another ‘bad’ El Nino seems a certainty:

Impacts from disasters are complex and wide-reaching but more importantly, they affect us all in a myriad of direct and indirect ways even on the ‘other’ side of the world. Disasters do not respect boundaries, whether geographical, social, economic or political5. For a historic insight into disasters located in the UK, Wiki has a couple of interesting lists: List of disasters in Great Britain and Ireland by death toll and List of natural disasters in Great Britain and Ireland .

So, what then is a disaster?

Actually, that’s another excellent question for the term has been used in many different ways1. Operational definitions are important since they trigger political decisions and a flow of resources.

Disasters are more than ‘just’ large emergencies and catastrophes are more than ‘just’ large disasters.

How we talk about and define ‘disaster’ has implications for what kind of research is undertaken and what strategies and resources are used to manage them. Disaster is an intellectually complex and emotionally loaded word that should be used with care. Theory is important as it underpins good practise. For example, in creating hazard maps, different concepts of ‘disaster’ need to be considered not just rapid onset well-defined events like an earthquake or  a volcanic eruption but also  slow onset diffuse events like droughts which only recently are being considered as disaster events1  (also see the current California Mega Drought or Wiki Historic Examples of Drought directly affecting India, Russia, China, USA, Australia and many countries in Africa but having much wider impacts).

‘Dis-aster’ (Latin) literally means ill-favoured star

source: https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5216/5383975707_66c561a1a2_z.jpg

Jupiter, the king of the gods and the god of sky and thunder

That is one way of revealing its origins in a classical and fatalistic worldview that saw calamities as coming from the heavens (or as in my later example above the daemonic nether regions).

Most traditional interpretations tend to revolve around agent descriptions, physical damage, social disruption and negative evaluation while more modern approaches favour social constructionism and the disruptions during and after a natural disaster event2.

A disaster is more than one thing (object, event, feeling) to different people and so while theorists may argue for a single, concise definition there is value in diversity.

What ‘disaster’ means to people is subjective, first and foremost and thus not so easily definable. People across the world interpret disasters differently, depending on their goals, cultural views and values.

Defining ‘disaster’ is complex and challenging

Disaster taxonomies exist similar to the ones used in biology3 and one commonly used typology is based on frequency, duration, area, onset speed, spatial dispersion and time spacing4. Other, rather coarse and overly simplistic categorizations use the labels ‘natural’ versus ‘technological/man-made’ or ‘rapid’ versus ‘slow onset’ as mentioned earlier.

Getting to grips with better taxonomies is important for both research and operations. Emergencies, disasters and catastrophes all show different characteristics both quantitative and qualitative which necessitate different management and planning strategies. Now, all this, while interesting, is also quite ‘academic’.

Preparedness, on the other hand, is intensely practical. Even in research…

Preparedness refers to concrete sets of actions taken as precautionary measures in the face of potential disasters

This includes information and training as well as the physical preparations of adapting infrastructure and readying emergency supplies. In our current climate of dwindling public services and resources, business and individuals increasingly have to take on their own Emergency and Disaster Preparedness responsibilities. Naturally, this varies widely depending on the particular circumstances. However the necessity and utility of a good dose of self-sufficiency is, in my view, self-evident.

Being stronger and better prepared individually not only helps you to survive and bounce back, but automatically makes for stronger and better prepared communities.

 

Preparedness is empowering.

Preparedness is a diverse, practical toolkit that can make a huge difference. Start with our FREE resources. As an individual begin by making your own Emergency Plan. As a Business, especially if you are an SME, look into Business Preparedness and practical Business Continuity. And if you can’t find the practical resources and kit you want then give us a shout. Our specialty is, after all, custom-made kits and we’re always happy to help.

Until next time – I wish you lots of motivation to tackle your own Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and bring it into your wider communities.

Monika

 Thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness

This page is also being accessed from bit.ly/whyPreparedness

References / Resources

  • 1 Etkin, D. (2015) Disaster Theory – An Interdisciplinary Approach to Concepts and Causes. Butterworth-Heinemann (Elsevier) Oxford, UK
  • 2Quarantelli, E.L (1998) What is a disaster? New Answers to Old Questions, ed. Perry and Quarantelli (USA, Xlibrib Corp) / (2000) Emergencies, Disasters and Catastrophes are different phenomena. University of Delaware DRC Preliminary Paper#304,6) / (2005) A Social Science Research Agenda for the Disasters of the 21st Century in What is a disaster? New Answers to Old Questions, ed. Perry and Quarantelli (USA, Xlibrib Corp)
  • 3 Krebs, G.A. (1989) Description, Taxonomy and Explanation in Diaster Research. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 7, no 3; p277-280
  • 4 Burton et al. (1993) The Environment as Hazard. Guilford Press
  • 5 Hannigan, J (2012) Disasters without borders. Polity Press. Cambridge, UK

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Resilience and the importance of Role Models in providing road maps

My last post briefly looked at how older people – I like the term ‘elders’ rather than the usual descriptor ‘the elderly – are not simply a passive risk group but should be viewed and treated as active agents and potential assets in Emergency Preparedness. I mentioned how their decades-long experiences can contribute to being able to find and build on optimism and today I’d like to expand on this by looking at the importance of role models in resilience. Traditionally, role models tend to be seen as older people one looks up (often relatives) to but of course this is only a limited view. Nowadays it is easier than ever to find positive role models of all ages and backgrounds across a many diverse areas.

Everybody needs resilient, positive role models – not just children

Last January when this blog started, I introduced you to Emmy Werner and Ruth Smith who ran one of the first longitudinal resilience studies (see the Resilience – Nature or Nurture post ). They reported what has been confirmed many times since:

resilient individuals have role models whose beliefs, attitudes and behaviours inspire them

Research in teens repeatedly shows that those with role models have a better attitude towards school, better grades and attendance, greater maturity and better mental health with less depression and anxiety (Southwick et al, 2006) . Surely it’s no stretch to claim the same is true for adults of all ages. From where I stand, I see it as only natural that we can all benefit from encouragement from mentors and role models whose behaviour – words and action – motivate and inspire us to continue to learn, adapt and grow. Where children initially learn right and wrong as a foundations of morality, as teens and adults we continue to hone our skills to control impulses, delay gratification and find as well as create healing for ourselves and others.

Your Role Models – who inspires you and why?

some role modelsHow about you? Where do you draw your role models from?

You’ll laugh when I tell you that, personally, I can think back to a long string of personal heroes beginning with – unsurprisingly for my era – Wonder Woman. Yes – ‘oh dear’ indeed! I am no closer to being like her now than back then nor would I ever want to be – and not simply because of  body image and wardrobe issues.

However, Wonder Woman along with many of my real world heroes (i.e. in no particular order Henry Dunant, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Shunmyo Masuno, May Sarton, Malala Yousafzai) continue to inspire me to connect, never lose interest, courage and the ability to question but also accept.

Role Models do not have to be older, wiser or perfect

Role models do not have to be perfect – actually quite the opposite holds, I believe. Everyone has their own unique strengths and weaknesses which, unlike flawless fiction super heroes, make them authentic and human and therefore much more valuable in that they are real and accessible. Have you heard of the Well Child Awards and the Pride of Britain Awards? Well, you probably have but for me, as a Swiss, this was certainly new. What a brilliant way to honour and highlight how everyday people do astonishing deeds to inspire us all, irrespective of age or background.

How role modelling works – more than just imitation

Imagination and imitation are powerful forms of learning and shape human behaviour. Throughout our lives we learn by imitating the patterns of thought and behaviour of those around us. Often we are completely unaware that we are doing such observational learning. It is not taught. Rather we simply pick it up merely by being exposed to others and the need to belong and fit in.

Matters are more complex, however, for example Bandura’s social learning theory (1977, 1986) holds that modelling involves more than simply mimicry, imitation or observational learning. He suggested that each person is able to integrate thoughts, values, behaviours and emotional reactions that resemble those of a role model but that it could be adapted to fit the particular personality and circumstances of the learner. Suppose, for example, that you know someone who always seems to handle complex and stressful situations with relative ease. You admire this resilient person and wonder how she or he does it. You intentionally begin to observe their behaviour over time and may notice patterns:

  • actively reaching out to others for help, support and assistance
  • adjusting personal pace to build in additional rest and recharge periods
  • upping diet with extra nutrition and taking additional exercise

This observed pattern you can now turn into a rule or model that you can modify for yourself for use during a variety of stressful situations. Doing so and keeping sensitive to what works best for you, you will develop and enhance your own personal resilience.

 What are the most effective ways of learning from Role Models?

Most people benefit from role models without being fully aware of the processes involved. You don’t need to make it into a science yourself but I believe that by taking a more active and conscious role will have benefits in that you learn quicker, can adapt and modify faster to what works best for you.

Like any new skill you start, begin by breaking it into smaller, more manageable chunks until you become better and more fluid at it:

  • observe the role model behaviour in a variety of settings over time
  • practise yourself in between observations for example by first imagining you possess a desired behaviour, attitude and personality style and then by role play (real life enactment is eventually required for successful imitation)
  • get feedback from someone you trust and that has a good eye. Such a person can point out similarities and differences between your behaviour and the behaviour you are attempting to model and may provide suggestion
  • patience! Don’t give up. Changing your behaviour to fall in line with what you consciously desire rather being driven on automatic takes perseverance

That it’s worth the effort is clear for you will gain immensely in realistic self-assurance and suffer considerably less from the inevitable anxieties that life throws us all.

Curiosity is key – acts of observing, listening, questioning, wondering and modelling. When you stay curious with an open mind and heart about your and other people’s worlds and our responses to shared experiences, then we can truly become role models for each another, building understanding and resilience for all of us.

Wishing you resilience building week full of illuminating observations.

Monika


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

 

References/Resources

  • -Southwick, S.M., Morgan, C.A., Vythilingam, M. & Charney, D. S. (2006). Mentors enhance resilience in at-risk children and adolescents. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 26 (4), 577-584.
  • Bandura, A. (1977) Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
  • Bandura, A. (1986) Social foundations of thought and action: a social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall

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Resilience – Preparedness and older People

this blog entry is also accessed via bit.ly/ElderPreparedness | updated 13June2017

Another very busy week again here for us at EVAQ8.co.uk, making sure your orders go out without delay while we’re stocking and organizing the new premises all at the same time. We’re also hiring again and so I’ve read close to one hundred CV’s of young people wanting to come work with us just these last two days. Being confronted with so many youthful stories of diversity and resilience I suddenly remembered my notes on Emergency Preparedness for older adults – the higher end of the age spectrum which so often remains under-represented. Needless to say, this afternoon I took this inner prompt to heart straight away for this is too important a topic to get buried yet again in my never diminishing pile of interesting resilience and emergency preparedness topics.

And so, without futher delay – did you know?

26 million older people are affected by natural disasters every year

Resilience for Life – UNISDR

.. and that’s just counting natural disasters, not conflict or war.

By 2050, the number of people over 60 will triple from 650 million (11% of the world population) to two billion (22%). A global ageing population means more and more will be affected.

Older people are deemed a ‘high-risk’ group in that they may be less agile, less mobile, may suffer cognitive impairments and are more susceptible to heat and cold exposure. However, older people can also be a real asset in a crisis. Most of those that have lived past six or seven decades have experienced more than one type of emergency or disaster. Their stories and insights not only may support those that are frightened and depressed but can also bring real wisdom and hope.

The topic of ageing and resilience is a complex yet one thing is clear:

Emergency Preparedness helps build resilience for older people

  • it brings a sense of self-efficacy, the ability to handle one’s own problems
  • it promotes flexibility and adaptability
  • it provides a focus and sense of purpose through meaningful activities and planning
  • it taps into often existing coping styles and optimism such as the ability to see silver linings and to look positively to the future

These factors, according to researchers, are more important to obtaining happiness in aging than perfect health. Isn’t that simply brilliant?

Of course, there is a lot more… I’ve just added four books to my reading list on ageing and resilience. It will be interesting!

I hope you will enjoy and share our new page on practical Emergency Preparedness for older adults with all the elders in your circle of friends and family. You may also enjoy reading Resilience and the importance of Role Models. I wish you a good week.

Monika

 

EVAQ8 cartoon | see why we use cartoons

 

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Preparedness for Power Cuts, Brownouts and Blackouts

updated 09/10/2017

Power failures are common in the wake of storms (BBC) and disasters, man-made or natural; for example floods (Telegraph) and drought (Brazil dries up and blacks out, 2015, Bloomberg) even UK mini heatwaves (Ashbourne News Telegraph). Also see South Australia’s Blackout explained (09/2016 black start)

Power outages can also occur without warning because of faults or accidents.

You may need to shelter-in-place and wait it out or you may have to evacuate (Feb 2015: Liverpool One John Lewis evacuated after power cut as restaurants unable to serve food, Liverpool Echo)

 

Power cuts are predicted to become more frequent, not only causing damage to the economy ($180 billion in the USA) but also affect transport, security and health (Lincoln University). Concerns and discussions on the UK energy safety gap are ongoing (Guardian).

2003 – a memorable year for spectacular power cuts

Looking back, 2003 was a particularly eventful year. In the US and Canada 55 million people were affected during the Great Northeast Blackout, 14th August 2003:   Fortunately, most power cuts last only minutes, but even such short durations can have a substantial impact on you personally as well as business. The London Blackout (28 August 2003) lasted just 34 minutes (BBC) during which  

        • 400 calls were taken by the London Fire Brigade
        • 100 rescues were made
        • all main rail services stopped in London and the South East
        • 60% of London Underground was affected

 If not stranded in lifts or underground, thousands of Londoners and visitors either took to the rain soaked streets or found shelter in candle lit pubs and restaurants. Outages not only happen in summer. They happen every day (DNO live twitter list) and can affect everyone. Most spectacularly and recently again London:

 

What is a Brownout? What to do during a Brownout

source: http://m.epandl.com/0_0_0_0_295_273_csupload_46955312.jpg?u=3094454775Brownouts, the opposite of a power surge, refer to a drop in voltage that can last for minutes or hours. Brownouts  commonly occur either by accident or intentional, for example, when used for emergency load reduction to avert a full blown a blackout.     Common signs of a brownout are      

                • flickering lights
                • rapid switching on/off of appliances
                • sudden computer and internet failure

 Usually harmless, brownouts nevertheless can damage your equipment so when you notice rapidly flickering lights, act immediately and unplug your computers, routers, TV, devices being charged, all appliances etc. During a Brownout, as soon as you notice fluctuations (i.e. when the lights start flickering badly)  

            • switch off and unplug computers, TVs, printers, routers, mobile phones, tablets or any other devices that are plugged in and/or charging
            • reduce your power consumption: switch off anything you do not need
            • be ready for a blackout in case your supply fails to stabilise source: http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/71610000/jpg/_71610198_71610193.jpg

 

Preparedness for a Power Cut – follow these 10 top tips

Know your supplier and how to contact them. Suppliers often host a live power outage map and provide information and support also on twitter. The new emergency number for power cuts is 105 see guidance from your supplier; i.e. UK Power Networks’ Domestic and Business

          • make a checklist/map of all your electrical items that need turning OFF in case of a power cut
          • if you use crucial medical equipment requiring electricity, put yourself on your suppliers priority register
          • alternative communications: keep a plug-in cord telephone for emergencies that does not need electricity; stock spare batteries and power packs for mobile devices
          • alternative power: ranges from power generators to UPS devices (~ 1 hour), batteries and hand-crank or solar operated devices; more see generators

 

What to do during a Power Cut – NEW! CALL 105*

Is it just you? Check your fuse box to see if any have tripped – there could be a problem with your property’s wiring and you may need to call an electrician. If your neighbor is also affected, then call your local distribution company to find out if it’s a network problem. Normally, power cuts are locally or regionally based

          • switch OFF all appliances and equipment that may have been in use before the interrupt
          • leave one light switched on to know when the power is restored
          • secure your property; bells and alarms may not work during the outage (manual warning)

 

What to do when Power is restored

          • check all your equipment and appliances
          • only gradually turn your equipment and appliances back on, keeping an eye on possible fluctuations
          • check and and reset all timer switches; i.e. water heating, gas or oil central heating systems, electric clocks

Additional useful resources to understand what happens, the consequences of power cuts and what you must plan and prepare for and how to prepare for and cope with power outages:

      • list of major power outages wiki
      • electric safety HSE
      • will your landline work during a power cut? Ofcom

 Be prepared, not scared. Have a good week.

Monika | @MonikaAlMufti 

This page is also accessed by bit.ly/powercutUK   thank you for sharing and helping raise awareness for Emergency Preparedness!

 

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…meanwile… February is here and the UK is finally experiencing winter

.. and this blog is (slowly) kicking back into life. My apologies for the long intermission but as I try to walk my talk as much as possible I had to take care of business and my own personal resilience first. Too many things came together over this winter period so this blog sadly had to wait: my degree course was drawing to a close, so long and tough exams had to be sat, we moved house with the family and are now doing so also for the business which needs much larger premises – all running alongside regular operations. Just after New Year I finally got away for a week to recharge my own batteries.

Resilience top-up

If you wonder what a ‘resilience-top-up’ looks like for me, here is my ‘quick-fix’ recipe:

source: https://warrenlawson.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/crocus-snow.jpg

    • one week away alone at a nice but not extravagant place no longer than 5 hours travel away
    • long medidative walks, three to four hours every day no matter what the weather
    • eat good food (lots of seafood in my case)
    • read good books – for a deeper perspective I chose Stephen Bachelor’s Confession of a Buddhist Atheist and as a counterpoint that would make me laugh by comparing experiences I took along Notes from a small Island by Byll Bryson (can highly recommend both)
    • daily steam, sauna (I plug in good music)
    • lots of nettle tea (you may laugh but I swear by it)
    • … and for the rest just quiet and lots of naps and sleep

Boring? I agree, I could not stand it myself for more than 10 days tops but a week is bliss and anything less than 5 days simply does not do the trick. I came back feeling detangled, clear and fresh again, with lots of positive energy to take forward. It is much needed as major changes are afoot for all of us.

2014 has been confirmed by the Met Office as the warmest year on record which undoubtedly will impact this island nation in many ways – and then there is Taleb’s concept of Black Swan events.

Resilience, Emergency- and Disaster Preparedness as well as Business Continuity are no longer simply buzz words or abstract concepts.

They are being embraced in a very practical way by more and more people – one of many reasons why we are moving to larger premises in west London. Everybody at evaQ8 is hugely looking forward to operating out of much bigger and brighter office and warehouse space that enables us to provide even better services and products for preparedness and businesscontinuity. If you follow us on twitter or facebook you’ll be the first to see updates and pictures. For now, please heed the Met Office alerts, stay warm and keep supplied.


Take care and have a safe week. Enjoy the snow and crisp winter air.

 

I’ll be back shortly with more on preparedness and powercuts and how the right kinds of role models are hugely important for resilience, both personal and business.

Monika

 
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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Resilience – Disaster Preparedness and Ebola

What a head-spinning ‘disaster summer’ this has been!

We’ve been incredibly busy here at EVAQ8, putting together disaster preparedness solutions for people, businesses and, most recently, aid organisations. Only now do I find a moment to sit back and reflect on this summer’s long list of disasters and their unprecedented cost to humanity. Continuity Central provides excellent, sobering and thought provoking monthly summaries on the global impact of natural disasters.

July:
Widespread flooding through Europe affected Bulgaria, Romania, the Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland, Slovakia, and Croatia. In Asia, Super Typhoon Rammasun and Typhoon Matmo raged in addition to excessive seasonal rains affecting vast regions.

On the other hand, drought conditions worsened in China and the Washington Carlton Complex Fire became the largest wildfire in state history.

 

August:
Iceland’s Volcano Bardarbunga stirred. Earthquakes struck around the world, for example 6.0 San Francisco, 6.1 Yunnan Province Chine, 5.1 near Quito Ecuador, 6.9 southern Peru, 5.6 in Algeria and 5.4 in South Africa. Severe weather events and floods submerged the Italian village of Refrontolo and inundated Denmark and southwestern Sweden – comparatively ‘mild’ impacts compared to Africa with widespread flooding across the Niger region and heavy losses throughout Asia. And then there was Super Typhoon Halong in Japan, hurricane Iselle making landfall on Hawaii’s Big Island and multiple tornado touchdowns in the US. In contrast, drought hit Sri Lanka and Guatemala impacting agriculture.

September:
Massive flood damage continued through large areas of Asia especially India and Pakistan while remnants of Hurricane Norbert and Tropical Storm Dolly generated flash floods in Arizona, Nevada and California. Hurricane Odile impacted Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, Typhoon Kalmaegi made separate landfalls in the Philippines, China, and Vietnam and Tropical Storm Fung-Wong brought torrential rains to the Philippines, Taiwan, and China. Wildfires burnt across northern California and in Japan, Mount Ontake erupted.

Disasters do not Respect Borders – no one is immune

… and if all these severe weather events and natural disasters were not enough,
there is also Ebola – according to the WHO

“Ebola – the most severe acute health emergency of modern times”

This is not scare mongering. It won’t be long until we have the first Ebola case(s) here in the UK. The warnings are stern and from reliable sources: “Ebola Crisis – disease will be in Britain by Christmas, warns Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt” writes The Telegraph while New Scientist says that Ebola deaths will peak before there is a vaccine, with a possible 1 million cases projected.

Thankfully, the UK is in a much better position to deal with Ebola than most nations.

There is no reason for panic – but there is
every reason to be aware and informed – every reason to be prepared and equipped

 

What does it mean to be prepared for Ebola?

be informed – stay up-to-date – and remain critical of your information sources

UNICEF on the importance of being equipped

UNICEF on the importance of being equipped

There is a lot of information out there, too much almost and it’s difficult to make sense of it all. Official channels such as the WHO, UK Gov, the NHS and the CDC are a good place to start and come back to as they are updated on a regular basis. To lift your perspective also read up on stories of Ebola survivors, for example British Red Cross Blog What is it like to survive Ebola? While a very serious threat, Ebola does not kill everybody that is infected, especially if caught and treated early.

Emergency and Disaster Planning for Ebola is similar to planning for pandemics. Guidance is readily available and can be adapted to your particular situation. For example see the UK Gov guidance on pandemic flu or US sources (flu.gov) such as information for Employees and Employers with regards to Pandemic Emergency Planning in the Workplace or in a more wider sense Pandemic Preparedness for Communities, Schools, Transportation and Health Professionals.

Reliable Diagnosis of Ebola

It takes upwards of three weeks for infected patients to begin showing signs of Ebola. Just because someone has a fever and is feeling ill does not mean they are infected with Ebola. There are a lot of misconceptions out there so be aware and help break the cycle of panic. Reliable diagnosis is by blood test. Researchers are working furiously to perfect rapid diagnostic tests for Ebola which may become more widely available. The NHS 111 helpline number now screens for Ebola (Guardian) but there may be problems with accuracy as pointed out by the GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul (GP online). New methods are being trialled everyday, for example today the Guardian reports that Skype is being used to consult with patients in Manchester.

Hygiene and Infection Control – limit the spread of Ebola

UN: Hygiene as a vital Ebola Response Tool

Hand and surface disinfection is crucial.

There are a number of reliable products available to everybody, for example Clinell (also see their Ebola statement).

In addition, there are practical solutions for Infection Control.

Finally, keep your Emergency Go Bag and 72-hour Emergency Kit stocked and up-to-date. For more information on that aspect please visit our Disaster Preparedness Information portal Emergency Plan.

If you also need to consider Business solutions, visit our page for Business Continuity.

Ebola and natural disasters affect us all, indirectly at the very least.

Don’t lose time, be informed and get equipped today. Talk to your friends, collegues and neighbours and help raise awareness for disaster preparedness. Help dispel myths and get the right information and attitude across no matter how young or old you are. Social support is absolutely crucial in Disaster Preparedness and Resilience – something I will address again in my next post.

Have a good week. Stay safe. Be prepared.

Monika

thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Emergency & Disaster 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!

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Business Resilience – Business Continuity – What does it mean?

Resilient Business, Business Continuity, Risk Management – all are big buzzwords reverberating around cyberspace with renewed vigour these last weeks. Interestingly, the more I read the more I realize just how fragmented the discussions are and how these terms seem to mean very different things to different people. No wonder it is all quite confusing.

Risk Management versus Business Continuity Management, what’s the difference?

Source: http://www.esri.com/news/arcuser/0405/graphics/comstat_1a_lg.gifBusiness Continuity Management or BCM is often treated as a subset of risk management. Up to a point this holds, for in Risk Management (ISO 31000) risk identification is the first key step in risk assessment that leads to the selection of appropriate risk treatments based on the best available information. Problems arise here, however, when ‘best available information’ is not good enough or absent. This is often the case in today’s world of complex and often hidden or fast developing threats both man-made and natural disasters.

Being able to select risk treatments for unpredictable incidents and disasters is the great strength of Business Continuity Management.

Simply identifying risks and producing a plan – Risk Management – is not enough – not for Resilient Business

The original definition of Business Continuity Management recognizes that BCM is more than just writing a Business Continuity Plan:

A ‘holistic’ management process that identifies potential threats to an organization and the impacts to business operations that those threats, if realized, might cause and which provides a framework for building organization resilience with the capability for an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value-creating activities.’

I concur with Andrew Hiles (The definitive Handbook of Business Continuity, 2010) in that this 53 word definition, while appearing comprehensive is rather long and difficult to understand, lacking clarity in what exactly is meant by ‘holistic’ and ‘organization resilience’.

However, Hiles’ own attempt at a more user-friendly reductionist definition of BCM as ‘Preparing an organization to deal with incidents that might otherwise prevent it from achieving its operational objectives’ has in my view been stripped entirely of meaning which is perhaps why he finds it necessary to add two explanatory notes neither of which seems to add more practical insight. He qualifies first, that it is a management process that identifies the potential impacts of disruptions and provides the means for coping with their consequences and second, that preparing includes taking measures to reduce the likelihood and impact of incidents.

Business Continuity Definitions, while important, are limiting by their very nature

Rather than getting embroiled in minutiae or distracted by exactly where Business Continuity Management belongs – some recent authors seem to think BCM only encompasses aspects of IT issues such as cyber threats, I take the practical connectionist stance that Business and therefore Business Continuity cannot be seen in isolation. This brings my viewpoint back to interpreting the ‘holistic’ and ‘resilience’ aspect of the original definition. However, rather than going off on some metaphysical discourse as you might expect at this point let me emphatically state that in its essence ‘holistic’ ought to be intensely simple and practical. In Business, as elsewhere, ‘resilience’ is not a lofty metaphysical concept but is firmly grounded in daily life, in the skills, resources and connections of people. Resilient people bounce forward.

source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ec/18/04/ec18046b2128f40323387efc8a99c080.jpg

Today I came across an article on ‘Employer’s Focus on employees’ mental wellbeing‘.

Jennifer Paterson mentions diverse organizations such as Anglian Water, law firm Browne Jacobson , Microsoft and Marks and Spencer implementing staff well-being initiatives which made me smile and think ‘this is a huge step in the right direction’.

People are physical, mental and emotional beings, all aspects that holistically integrate into making personal resilience.

Resilient People = Resilient Business.

They are inseparable.

Perhaps there is hope that

  • A holistic management process that identifies potential threats to an organization’ will gradually come to mean ‘a mindful management that recognizes and furthers the individual resources of its people’

After all

  • ‘Effective responses that safeguard the interests of key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value-creating activities’ can only be delivered by (obviously well spoken – tongue in cheek) people that are resilient which is a complex mix of many factors as I have explored (and will continue to explore) in this blog.

… but back to Business Continuity Management…

Of course there needs to be management, Business Continuity is too vital an element of resilience at all levels (local to international) to simply be left to chance. While BS ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management System certainly is a valuable framework, it is also perhaps overly complex and bogged down with jargon thus putting it out of reach for many otherwise astute Businesses. On the other side of the spectrum is the well-meaning but rather unfortunately titled book by the Cabinet Office ‘Business Continuity for Dummies’ (2012) with its overly ‘soft’ approach. There’s also a short video:

However, Business people by their very nature are anything but dummies. Is there nothing else, no nuanced approach?

Active Programmes are better than Passive Guidelines

Rather than more books and guidelines, perhaps a more practical approach can be taken in line with another recent innovation that made me smile today (Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service): the Prince’s Trust ‘Get Started Programme’ aimed at helping young people experience and practice Emergency Preparedness.

Now just imagine that but as an active BCM training programme for small and medium size Business that includes simplified and flexible planning and – of course – Business Continuity Kits. Apologies for the shameless plug but there is real and practical resilience in what we do so do have a look around while you’re here. You will find a large range of real value-for-money ready-made Emergency, Disaster and Business Continuity Kits or – if you’re a fan of the Goldilocks Principle ‘just right’ like us – see our Custom-Made section for tailor made practical Business Continuity Solutions.

Wishing you a resilience-building week and thank you for stopping by and don’t miss our resources on Business Preparedness.

Monika


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

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Resilience – drawing on Faith for Strength

June marks the beginning of increased emergency preparedness in many parts of the world. Here in the UK and Europe we move to level 1 summer preparedness for heat waves while in the US the Atlantic Hurricane season starts. In addition this year there seems to be a very high chance of another El Nino which will have wide-reaching effects across the globe. See today’s article in The Guardian: How El Nino will change the weather in 2014. It is no wonder then that the web is full of campaigns that aim to raise public awareness for Disaster Preparedness and Resilience. What struck me particularly, however, is a report by Dana Bartholomew from the Los Angeles Daily News.

Faith-based Community Organization to host Disaster Preparedness Events

Source https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/Religion_in_SF.pngThis week, she reports that the LA County Office of Emergency Management launches a campaign asking faith-based community organizations to host disaster-preparedness events. US Churches, synagogues and mosques may soon help residents to prepare for what they call ‘the big one’ – an earthquake, tsunami or other major incidents.

I was impressed for it seems that now things are developing in new and promising ways. The relationship between religious or spiritual faith and resilience is supported by scientific research as well as by countless personal stories of amazing perseverance that attest how such practises can provide strength. Now, before I go any further let me state that I’m not religious. Rather, my point of view is humanistic and as such this new and much more open, preventative approach to community resilience by faith based organizations is a brilliant step in the right direction. Rather than being confined to provide support in the aftermath of a disaster there now is the possibility of a real shift in…

  • moving from Faith and Recovery to Faith and Preparedness

This constitutes a tangible power shift that can benefit millions. It has the potential to open the disaster preparedness conversation to a much wider audience, broadening and bridging social understandings. Done sensitively it can inform, support and enable individuals to acquire the understandings, tools and skills necessary to be better prepared for disasters at all levels: as individuals, as families, in their neighbourhoods and wider communities.

Generosity; source https://www.pastormike.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/generosity.jpg

The word ‘religion’ comes from Latin ‘religare’ meaning to bind. One aspect of the relationship between resilience and religion lies in exactly that quality – the particular strength-giving cohesion of a special social group with a particular outlook. The nature and quality of that outlook, however, is crucial. Religious coping is not automatically associated with well-being or resilience and researchers distinguish between positive and negative patterns1. People who see God as punitive and judgemental may feel they ‘deserve’ their troubles, that their fate is controlled by an unsympathetic all-powerful being. This can leave some people with a limited sense of control – a form of learnt helplessness that is difficult to overcome. On the other hand, the associations of faith with positive physical and mental health as well as resilience are well documented 2, particularly in patients suffering from medical conditions. Yet, interestingly, the reasons why this should be so are much less clear. There are a number of factors to consider:

  • regular attendance may foster resilience factors, i.e. optimism, altruism and a search for meaning and purpose
  • interaction with positive and resilient role models that encourage adopting meaningful social roles
  • experience of generosity and tolerance which may trigger reciprocity
  • protection against destructive habits

But of course it’s much more complex than that. The support that practitioners receive may come from their beliefs as well as from their fellow human companions. Most formal religions focus on the practitioner’s personal relationship with a supreme being who, on the positive side, provides guidance, strength and protection. For some people, this relationship boosts their own feelings of inner strength and self-efficacy and helps them to realize what Dante Allighieri described as “Be bold and the mighty shall protect you”– believing that God is at your side may give you the confidence to tackle challenges that otherwise may seem too daunting.

What if you are not religious?

Non-believers like me can and should reclaim the most useful bits of religion that, according to Alain de Botton, have been annexed by the godly. I really recommend his book ‘Religion for Atheists’ (not that I would categorize myself as one) that takes as a starting point the assumption that God is a human creation. See Philosophy now for a book review. The 26th March 2014 issue of New Scientist also has a number of very interesting articles on the topic. On the more practical side, any kind of regular practice that is positively empowering is beneficial. Examples include yoga, t’ai chi ch’uan, qigong, aikido, tantric rituals, sufi mysticism, sadhana, native healing traditions etc. Research testing the effectiveness of these approaches for trauma and survivors is expanding rapidly.

Albert Bandura (Professor Emeritus of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University): “In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life”

source: http://offgrid-festival.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/P1150573.jpg

 

Wishing you a great week.

Monika

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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References:

  • 1Pargament et al, 1998; Patterns of positive and negative religious coping with major life stressors. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 37 (4), 710-724
  • 2McCullough et al, 2000; Religious involvement and mortality: A meta-analytic review. Health Psychlogy; 19 (3), 211-222
  • 3Streeter et al, 2010; Effects of Yoga versus Walking on mood anxiety and brain GABA levels: a randomized controlled MRS study; Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16 (11), 1145-1152
  • De Botton, Alain, 2012, Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion, Pantheon Books
  • Lawton, Graham, 2014, Religion without God – and other related articles in New Scientist Magazine issue 9900
  • Cheema, A.R., Scheyvens, R., Glavovic, B., Imran, M. (2014) Unnoticed but important: revealing the hidden contribution of community-based religious institutions of the mosque in disasters. Natural Hazards, 71(3), 2207-229

 

Mosquitoes – Harmless Nuisance or Threat in the UK?

The UK has just experienced one of its wettest and mildest winter on record. An abundance of fresh water and above average temperatures means an ideal environment for mosquitoes. But it’s not just the rural areas that suffer. Mosquitoes are encroaching ever closer and make their home in sub-urban and urban spaces.

Following a number of glorious summer days interest in mosquitoes is once again peaking if some recent articles (Express; BBC, The Guardian) are anything to go by. While I certainly believe that some apprehensions are justified I also believe that scaremongering does not help. Let me share with you what I’ve recently talked about at one of our in-house awareness-raising sessions.

Know your Mosquitoes – why?

Because mosquitoes are insect vectors responsible for the transmission of parasitic and viral infections, some of them potentially serious. There are 33 species of mosquitoes in the United Kingdom. Most of them are rather small and – so far – qualify as a mild to moderate nuisance. But things are changing.

source: http://sweasel.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/undergroundmosquito.jpgThe common house mosquito Culex pipiens (small, beige/brown 3-7 mm body length) is a biter and well-established. The aptly named subspecies Culex pipiens molestus has adapted to life in the underground – the London Underground and other underground railways. It is known as a vector for meningitis and urticaria and has recently been identified as a potential vector of West Nile Virus (WNV).

Anopheles plumbeus (small, slate grey body, potential WNM and malaria vector) is a tree-hole mosquito but is changing its habitats to now also breed in man-made water containers. It is a persistent biter with peak activity at dusk, entering houses with a preference for mammals including humans but will also bite birds.

One notable exception to the native small mosquitoes is the comparatively large ‘Banded’ Mosquito Culiseta annulata that has a nasty bite but is otherwise considered harmless so far. Problem is, it can easily be confused with the more worrisome Asian Tiger Mosquito Aedes albopictus so here is a quick comparison:

Man versus Mosquito – War?

Some see the brewing crisis as a war between mosquito carrying diseases and man, a war that supposedly can be won by ever more powerful poisons or clever biological engineering. I’m thinking: “would be nice if it were that ‘simple quick’ fixes can be found but people’s behaviour also are inextricably enmeshed in this. Mosquitoes and people, we all share this planet and go about living and surviving. It’s actually more complicated.” I think my views tie in with those of Bill Gates whose work with malaria prevention I admire. He recently tweeted:

Do read his inspiring blog ‘gatesnotes’ but here is a quick summary of why human behaviour matters:

  • mosquitoes transmit disease only for a few days before they die – infected people carry disease (often undiagnosed) much longer, often for many years
  • mosquitoes travel only short distances – people, human activity spans the globe

Mosquitoes and human behaviour are tightly linked

Earlier I mentioned the Asian Tiger Mosquito and here is why I think there is reason to worry (but not panic!): in the mid 1980s, the Asian Tiger spread from Asia via the tyre trade to the US and within 20 years is now firmly entrenched across many states. All efforts at control have failed.

West Nile Virus in the United States 2002

Source: http://www.earthtimes.org/newsimage/climate-change-asian-tiger-mosquito-invasive_1_25412.jpg

 

 

It was introduced and took hold in Italy and Southern France, spread into parts of Switzerland and found it’s northernmost habitat in the greenhouses of Holland (red areas on the map above). Seen in this light you will agree that the Asian Tiger is rightly listed as one of the 100 top invasive species and has to be taken seriously. It was responsible for

  • Chikungunya Fever epidemic, French Island La Reunion in 2005/6, with an estimated 266,000 people infected and 248 fatalities
  • the first and only outbreak of Chikungunya fever on the European continent, 2007 in Ravenna, Italy, over 200 people infected

No reason for Panic – but a real need for Vigilance!

People live longer and travel – much more so than mosquitoes. So, if you’ve just come back from an amazing holiday and don’t feel so well get it checked out quickly and thoroughly. Transmission of disease all starts somewhere and you don’t really want to become known as patient 0.

  • Mosquitoes need warmth and moisture – don’t give it to them!

Avoid having open sources of stagnant water anywhere around your house, terrace, patio or garden. Inspect often. While the Asian Tiger has not yet been officially reported in the UK, it is perhaps just a matter of time especially with our ever warmer and wetter climate.

  • Keep an eye out. Know your mosquitoes.

Catch them and report them to Mosquito Watch by the UK’s Health Protection Agency and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

What else can you do? Stay covered, especially around dusk. Use insect repellents. Sleep under a mosquito net – still one of the best and simplest options. For ideas, check out our popular Travel Supplies Section.

  • Don’t be scared – understand and be better prepared!

Have a great week ~ Monika


thank you for sharing and helping raise awareness.

 

Resources / References:

  • HPA Mosquitoes Species Profiles;
  • PLOS Online Abstract: British Container Breeding Mosquitoes by Susannah Townroe and Amanda Callaghan, 2014
  • 2010, Sarah E. Randolph and David J. Rogers; “The arrival, establishment and spread of exotic diseases: patterns and predictions
  • 2013, Jolyon M. Medlock et al., “Review of the Invasive Mosquitoes in Europe: Ecology, Public Health Risks, and Control Options”

update:

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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Altruism and Resilience – a crucial yet complex link and why it pays to be kind

updated 10/06/2017

This week saw yet another round of London tube strikes resulting in transport misery for thousands. More are planned next week and to boot there are Firefighter strikes this weekend.

As I set out mostly on foot these last couple of days I noticed both the short-tempered rudeness and hostility of some but even more so the many acts of random kindness of complete strangers that conveyed a deep sense of unselfish solidarity: we’re all in this together – we might just as well make it more tolerable for one another.
Broken chainIt all got me thinking about the crucial and complex link of altruism and resilience and how this connects up to disaster preparedness – say, when – perhaps because of a major incident – we all may have to grapple with the consequences of transport and supply disruptions on a very different scale for real.

Doing a bit of background reading what struck me immediately is the large amount of evidence that supports my humanistically inclined belief of “help others so that they in turn may help you for you cannot possibly do it all on your own”. To many this may sound rather counter intuitive. After all, simply picture a few survivors stranded on an island with limited resources – the toughest and fittest one survives, right? Well perhaps not but we may soon get some real insight and I for one can hardly wait to see Bear Gryll’s new series “The Island” that starts this Monday, 5th May on Channel 4 at 9pm.

In the meantime, however, let us be a little bit less dramatic and consider that survival is both short – and long-term and take a look at how…

Altruism moderates Life Stresses and predicts your Health Status

Altruism, also called social interest, is associated with better life adjustment, better marital adjustment and satisfaction, less hopelessness and depression overall. Being interested in and committed to wide social networks helps you to moderate stress to such an extent that it becomes a good predictor of your physical health status.

MIT researchers Schwartz and colleagues who made these findings also think that the links between social interest, better mental resilience and reduced stress are in turn related to augmented self-confidence, an increased ability to be able to reframe one’s own experience and perceive greater meaning in life. Yet more evidence comes from the influential Hawaiian longitudinal study I mentioned in my earlier Nature-Nurture post which found that children who helped others in a meaningful way (i.e. assisting a family member, neighbour or some other community member) were the most likely to lead successful lives as adults. In short…

Altruism is intrinsic, reciprocal, fosters Resilience – AND IT PAYS !

A large amount of scientific evidence from infant research, experimental psychology and ethology (study of animal behaviour) suggests that altruism has had an important influence on behaviour throughout history and has real survival value. Altruism represents an interesting and complex interaction of environmental and genetic influences – nature as well as nurture, a healthy dose of both. For example, research amongst some South American native tribes revealed that those individuals who produce and share more food than average are rewarded during times of hardship. This discovery led the well-known psychiatrist Yakov Shapiro to propose that this reciprocal altruism has many benefits and rewards:

  • enhanced reputation and power – leading to
  • greater status, esteem and influence within the community – resulting in
  • privileged access to resources when the community faces catastrophic stress

Another author, Michael Shermer, further supports these evolutionary origins of our moral sense commenting that as a species of social primates we have evolved a deep sense of right and wrong. We reward reciprocity and cooperation and find ways to ‘punish’ selfishness and free riding. This emotional ‘barometer’ may be crucial and a hallmark of how resilient people wrestle with moral dilemmas. Importantly, resilient people are perhaps better able to make difficult moral decisions based on a more balanced approach of both reason and emotion.

Resilient people make more Balanced Decisions ~ What would YOU do?
The classic “runaway trolley” dilemma – Come and Have a Go !

If you can’t see the embedded video – here is the link to YouTube

First Scenario:

cognitivephilosophy.net

Imagine yourself watching a runaway trolley roll down a track towards five strangers who would be killed if the trolley struck them. You have the ability to flip a switch and divert the trolley to another track where just one stranger is standing. If you flip the switch, one person will be killed instead of five. What would you do?

In Joshua Greene’s famous fMRI study most participants said that it was morally right to flip the switch.

 

Second scenario:

cognitivephilosophy.net

Now imagine standing on a footbridge next to a stranger and that five people are trapped below in the path of the same oncoming runaway trolley. Pushing the stranger onto the track is the only way to save the other five people. What would you do? The end result of the two options are identical (one person dies and five survive) yet most of Greene’s participants said they would refuse to push the stranger. In terms of cognitive psychology, the second scenario involves far more emotional processing than the first which is shown in the fMRI scan by greater activation of the limbic brain regions – the same areas that activate during fear, another rather important aspect when considering resilience as discussed in my previous post “Understanding Fear”.

So, what has Moral Reasoning to do with Resilience? Choices are complex !

Choices in a real Emergency or Disaster situation more often than not involve dilemmas much tougher than the above trolley example. Sometimes there simply are no “right” or “better” choices; sometimes there are no good choices at all. Understandably, many a survivor is later haunted by memories and questions of “what else could I have done?” It is important to acknowledge that in some situations there may be no optimal moral choice and that resilience is simply retaining one’s sanity after the extreme hardship has passed. And that requires moral courage.

The Good News: you can learn Moral Reasoning and Moral Courage !

Gus Lee a former corporate whistle-blower and later US Senate ethics investigator writes in his book on Leadership: “…courage is not something with which we are born… courage is a learned quality, an acquirable set of skills, a practiced competence. It is like boxing except it is easier, smells better and causes fewer nosebleeds.”

Where do you begin learning Moral Courage? As easy as 1 – 2 – 3 and right at your doorstep

The Guardian

First, following Rushworth Kidder’s three steps process, you must make an honest self-assessment. We all have core values and beliefs. What are they? Which are the most important? Are you living by these principles and values? Are you falling short and where? Are you motivated to change and can you do so?

Second, take all these points and discuss them with a highly principled person you admire. Such discussions can help you to recognize and analyse situations where your actions have moral implications. It also allows you to honestly and openly explore and evaluate the risks and dangers involved in defending your core values.

Third, practise your moral values and try to uphold them in challenging situations. Stay vigilant because it’s easy to relax your values, make compromises and take short cuts. By doing again and again what you know to be right and evaluating that against the reactions of the people that matter to you in your communities you will build a strong moral compass and moral courage.

This is nothing new really for Aristotle already wrote in his Nicomachean Ethics:

“We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts”

Practise makes Perfect – Simple! And where and when do we do all this? Where better than right at our doorstep in everyday life through many acts of random kindness aka altruism; hopefully reciprocal but one cannot always be greedy – besides, altruism and reciprocity work much better on a ‘grand’ scale when freed from simplistic one to one constraints. It all goes towards making our shared realities on planet earth just this much more tolerable no matter what modern life – and the forces of nature – throw at us.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato

Wishing you a happy Bank Holiday weekend full of Moral Courage and plenty of Altruism to continue building your ever increasing Resilience !

Monika

You might also be interested in the TED talk on altruism by Matthieu Ricard


Thank you for sharing.

 

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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References: