Tag Archives: 30Days30WaysUK

The best 2018 New Year Resolution: update and upgrade your personal preparedness – start with FREE resources

Upgrade_pixabay1672350

Is personal preparedness (home, work, travel) on your New Year’s resolution list? It should be.

Start now, it’s never  too late 🙂

Welcome to 2018 and yet another year of blogs about how to be better prepared and build personal and community preparedness and resilience.

 

 

Looking at the named UK storms 2017/8 and story of the first half of January, we may well need it ….

Last year this blog opened optimistically with Welcome to 2017 – be prepared, not scared highlighting the launch of the citizenAID app and how personal preparedness is being taken much more seriously at all levels. Looking back now, it seems those were good omens. One thing in particular stands out for me:  the 2017 ‘September is Preparedness Month’ campaign was a huge success, a much larger number of organisation and individuals collaborated, reaching audiences right across the United Kingdom (see 30days30waysUK.org.uk and their report ).

September 2017 was special in a another aspect too: that same month, the new UK National Risk Register was released.

 

Even just a cursory glance at the new National Risk Register will quickly reveal that much has changed in the way UK government now communicates about risk, resilience and preparedness. The way I see it, it’s a huge step in the right direction, simplifying and streamlining important messages using language and graphics in really effective ways to alter people’s beliefs about and behaviour towards risks.

Science1 backs this up:

  • poor risk communication can lead to confusion, distrust and potentially fatal outcomes
  • people’s responses to risk are better when risk is communicated visually, across multiple formats…and when communication is personalized
  • people’s perception of risk is shaped by many factors, including the language used to communicate the risk, the type of risk and cultural factors as well as individual attributes such as gender and age

That last aspect, individual attributes, is interesting because research has shown that men have a higher appetite for and tend to underestimate risk as compared to women. However, it’s not that simple and there are mediating factors such as age. To that I would also add ‘previous exposure’ for many who have experienced a major incident, emergency or disaster first hand, tend to re-evaluate their personal preparedness with a much more serious view.  But, sadly, not all and there are Resilience and Preparedness Roadblocks which may affect us all.

With regards to risk perception and appetite, this is an interesting chart borrowed from the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors. When I saw this it made me think that internal audits despite being business oriented are a good ‘bridge’ and methaphor also for personal audits, personal risk understanding and preparedness.

source https://www.iia.org.uk/media/599131/risk-appetite-3.jpg

Source: www.iia.org.uk/media/599131/risk-appetite-3.jpg

So, last month’s December weather with extremes in temperatures, precipitation and winds including two named UK storms to boot is luckily behind us but we’re certainly not out of the woods just yet. In addition, there are always aspects of personal security and safety to consider which are very much part and parcel of personal preparedness.

For more preparedness resources check out our hub, browse the blog navigation as well as the top navigation of the website. And remember to follow us on social media where we share tips, updates and prize lotteries to keep you informed and kitted. More links below.

Wishing you belated a very happy and prepared New Year 2018.

Monika

 

1 2017 “Communicating Risk”, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, POST note 564

 

 

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UK Emergency Preparedness: hygiene and emergency sanitation

So, you have hygiene covered in your emergency grab bag and your shelter-in-place kit.  You know about water purification and can tick all those boxes in your personal emergency preparedness plan. That’s great …. but actually not quite good enough aka not quite right, a familiar ‘Goldilocks’ reference for those that are regular visitors to this blog.

Let’s take a closer look. Hygiene and sanitation during emergencies or disasters have been in the news (again!) lately. Abigail Brown asks the right question:

.. and here is why this is important: flood waters carry and then deposit dangerous bacteria and toxic chemicals

tragically, for some, these problem can seem never ending and, unbelievably, it’s not just a developing world problem

https://twitter.com/ALT_uscis/status/907807813476515842

Contamination raises very serious concerns:

Now you may think these things don’t happen ‘at home’ here in the UK. Cholera (and typhoid, dysentery, diarrhea…illnesses from molds)  is a threat of the past in the UK you may say. In that case I recommend you take a closer look at Cholera and the Thames so brilliantly put together by Westminster Archives with the help of interns and volunteers.  Back when and I quote “Bazalgette’s foresight provided a sewage system that has served London well up to now. Today, however, the system is struggling to cope with the demands of 21st century London.” And that’s in good times, not during an emergency or disaster such as security threats, serious storms and flooding.

Listen to Mary Dhonau, she has been there, she knows:

Now, while the best sanitation system does not exist (do explore that link!) it does not mean that household preparedness is powerless. On the contrary. It is crucial that households are better prepared precisely so that there is less of an overall impact when an emergency or disaster occurs.

Household preparedness for emergency sanitation is easy

US Homeland Security News has some of the best advice online while the CDC compares immediate term sanitation solutions. In summary:

  • water flush toilets cannot be used when water service is interrupted
  • do not flush toilets or dig holes; untreated raw sewage is a serious health hazard
  • store a large supply of different size heavy-duty plastic bags (min 1 bag per person per day), disinfectant, toilet paper
  • consider portable camp toilets, small trashcans or sturdy buckets with tight fitting lids lined with heavy duty plastic bags are an alternative
  • safe disposal; wait for collections and/or instructions of the authorities

All the above applies during emergencies and disasters but also in their aftermath. Recovery can take (a lot of!) time depending on the severity. Cleaning up safely is hugely important and will be covered in another blog. For now I wanted to share this tweet from the NYtimes which has a useful summary so check out their article and further resources links:

Why am I writing about all this? Well, because from where I stand I see UK households woefully unprepared and that’s why the topic ‘hygiene’ in this year’s 30days30waysUK campaign #prep2017day20 has been expanded to include emergency sanitation for household preparedness.

September is Preparedness Month is now in full swing. 30days30waysUK is a brilliant FREE campaign on twitter and facebook you can join anytime. Check it out!

Be #prepared – not scared:  #WinterReady

Have a great week!

Be prepared, not scared.

Monika
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Emergency Preparedness and Food Safety in the UK

The last thing you need after an emergency such as severe weather and flooding which has knocked out your power supply is food poisoning.  Knowing what to do before, during and after a powercut, brownout or blackout is important to avoid potentially serious health problems.

Food Safety in an Emergency: it’s all about time and temperature control

Know your numbers for safe food:

  • +5C fridge setting or less to keep food cool (40F)
  • -18C freezer setting or less to keep food frozen (0F)
  • 2 days  = max time food stays frozen in a well-stocked , unopened freezer
  • 4 hours = max time food stays cold in a well-stocked, unopened fridge

Importantly, not all spoiled food will look or smell bad. So, after 4 hours of power outage, transfer foods that spoil faster into a cooler with ice and keep under 5C: meat, dairy, cheese.

source USDA | https://i.pinimg.com/736x/7f/9a/40/7f9a404591149d829b7e282b65690b14--power-outage-food-safety.jpg

Food Safety in an Emergency: what to keep and what to throw out

Thankfully, power cuts are usually quickly resolved but when they’re not, your fridge is your week point. Remember to transfer your fridge food after 4 hours of power outage to an ice cooler and keep it under 5C . Your food safety rule of thumb: when in doubt, throw it out.  Food poisoning, while usually not life threatening, is nevertheless seriously unpleasant.

You can keep frozen food that are still icy and uncooked fruit and vegetable. After more than 2 hours at room temperature throw out: meat, soft cheese, opened sauces, leftovers, sliced fruit and vegetables, cooked fruit and vegetables. Remember, not all spoiled food looks or smells bad. When in doubt – throw it out!

WATCH  FDA’s video Food Safety during Power Outages

 

Another good video is from Canada, with Chef Geremy Capone from  ELLICSR Kitchen

 

Preparedness, including food safety, are big topics in the US as these two tweets leading up to and during Hurricane Irma show

 

In the UK, food safety information is somewhat more thin on the ground especially with regards to preparedness. However, the good news is that Food Safety guidance aimed at catering business is easily adaptable to household preparedness. For example, check out the Food Standard Agencys’ page How chilled is your food, safer food better business and their food alerts.

In the US, there is a dedicated number to call in emergencies.

As far as I’m aware, that kind of service is not yet available in the UK. Like with so much about preparedness, there is much that yet needs to be done all around. And this leads me to ask: do you know about #30days30waysUK? It’s a month long campaign each September to boost personal preparedness and resilience. Day 19 (#prep2017day19) is about food safety. Follow @30days30waysUK and take part. And finally, check out the info pages here  on UK Food Security and Emergency and Survival Food.

Be prepared, not scared.

Monika
If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. 

 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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Safe Evacuation – what exactly does safe self evacuation look like?

Part 1 – Self-Evacuation (home)

What exactly is a ‘safe evacuation’? That depends of course on circumstances but the short answer is:

know your safe evacuation route, grab your Emergency Kit, get out – stay out – call for help

The long answer is a bit more complicated but actually quite interesting. So, let’s start at the very beginning with

What is an emergency evacuation and when does it happen?

An emergency evacuation is the immediate and urgent movement of people out of harm’s way to a safe location, away from threats or hazards (more see hazards and risks – what’s the difference).

Examples of emergency evacuations range from a small scale building evacuation to the large scale evacuation of an entire town or district. Reasons for an emergency evacuation include small and large incidents that may trigger fire or a spill, attacks or other security violation such as bomb threats. In addition there are disasters such as severe weather, storms, flooding, earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruptions, wildfires and also health related incidents such as an epidemic or pandemic.

Fire Drills and small scale Emergency Evacuation

First, a bit of comedy with Fa-fa-fa-fire! – Fawlty Towers

With the above in mind, Alex Gleeman has an excellent article titled Five ways to avoid the Fawlty Towers fire drill debacle in Health and Safety News which I encourage you to read but in this blog I want to focus on the ‘safe evacuation’ bit – or rather, complete lack thereof.

In the clip, Basil apologetically orders his returning guests to assemble in the lobby because “..something I ought to mention” which after escalating confusion eventually turns into raising the alarm ‘fa-fa-fa-FIRE!” causing the two elderly ladies to almost jump out of their skins, Polly subsequently ushering everyone out. Everyone? Going where exactly and for how long? What happens next to the evacuees? Thankfully it’s a pleasant day judging by the sunshine visible beyond the entrance and everyone’s fair weather attire. Perhaps they all simply wander down to the local pub and fortify themselves while all this blows over and they can return to their rooms at Fawlty Towers.

If you are a guest staying at a hotel, do you check and memorise your safe evacuation procedure? How about at your place of work or at home? Would you know how to safely get out by two different routes, your primary and secondary escape paths? Day 5 of this year’s September is Preparedness Month 2016 campaign #30days30waysUK was on #PlanYourEscape.

Day14 #30days30waysUK discussed that emergencies not only happen during the day. You may need to evacuate in the middle of the night. There may be hazards such as smoke, broken glass, debris or rubble you may only dimly be aware of. There may be a power cut.

 

It makes sense to be better prepared for ‘self-evacuation’

  • make your home ‘safe evacuation plan’ with primary and secondary escape routes from every room and share it with everyone in your household
  • under your bed, put a pair of sturdy shoes and a torch
  • have an emergency kit (i.e. GoBag) for safe evacuation that you can grab at a moment’s notice
  • practise your plan

And before I leave you, here is an excellent video from Canada that demonstrates the importance of a fire escape plan.

Self-evacuation is not just important at home but also at your place of work or study; more about that next time.

Have a great week. Be prepared, not scared.

Monika

The ‘evacuation’ series continues with posts on mass evacuation and a special look at tall buildings evacuation. Follow blog category ‘Safe Evacuation’ on the right hand navigation.

 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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SIP: SHELTER-IN-PLACE | September is Preparedness Month

September is Preparedness MonthDay 7: SHELTER-IN-PLACE  or SIP for short, which we hope you do; a lovely cup of (ice) tea or coffee, perhaps something stronger, while you get comfortably stuck in what comes next. Enjoy!

It is a blessing that perceptions and attitudes are changing. Change is good and very necessary as I’ve touched upon in “who moved my cheese? Resilience in a fast changing world”. I’m honoured that EVAQ8 is included in this year’s #30days30ways UK campaign raising awareness for emergency preparedness nationwide and further afield.

Today we are talking about

SHELTER-IN-PLACE: what is it and why do we need to think about it?

Well, let me take you back in time a couple of years while you are SIPping comfortably. You may remember seeing this:

Headline words such as ‘apocalypse’ and ‘prepper’ immediately peak interest, triggering (very mild) anxiety and ridicule, usually in that order and in quick succession; so fast actually that you won’t necessarily even be aware of it. This is what the media does, churn out a quick headline grabbing story, poke fun and onto the next news cycle.  A google news search on the topic will quickly reveal that this treatment is pretty ‘standard’. Humour is a coping mechanism (as the ‘psychology minded’ of you out there will know) and an excellent motivator which, in my opinion, should be harnessed positively rather than used to judge people and the choices they make (or are forced to take).

‘Prepper’ is a stereotype. We must look deeper.

There is no fixed definition of what exactly a ‘prepper’ is or does. Rather, ‘prepping’ or simply ‘being prepared’ ranges from wilderness survivalists to keeping several days emergency supplies at home such as long shelf-life food, water purification, first aid etc.

Reality is, most of us live in an urban environment far away from any real wilderness.

If you already have extra food supplies you can cook and eat without access to utilities such as power or water, own a good first aid kit, a radio and a decent torch (preferably wind-up)  then you qualify and can call yourself a prepper, if you like. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. How people label themselves are complex and interesting matters. Because of media and film hype the term tends to set off the imagination in perhaps more extreme, fantasy directions. I prefer to keep it real, simple and every day.

 

Being prepared is simply part of who you are.

A prepper is not a ‘crazy’ person but actually someone that makes highly rational choices based on an appraisal of their situation with  knowledge of the past and a look to the future. And what exactly does that look like, the future I mean? Well, things have certainly changed since 2014 and we now must Prepare for a world that’s more than 2° C warmer.

Some big and hard questions are being asked in the wake of flooding and storms which now bear names (MetOffice storm centre). This particular strategy, like most things in life, is both good and bad. While we now can make ‘personal associations’, remember and hopefully learn – meaning: heed warnings, be better prepared – there is also the risk of triggering anxiety and even PTSD. ‘Understanding fear’ is crucial, as I wrote earlier and managing fear is a real challenge. Many turn away (self-preservation, ‘hide’) rather than face (acknowledge) and prepare for what may be coming in a balanced, rational way. Yet strong emotions, even fear can be an ally. Preparedness is the ultimate confidence builder.

  Now I still haven’t talked about what SIP actually is…you still are, SIPping that is? 😉 

Shelter-in-Place is the opposite of running away

…or evacuate using the proper term. Shelter-in-place happens when you cannot or should not run away, then you shelter-in-place. It’s controlled. It’s planned. Unlike ‘hide’.

Shelter-in-Place: climate change, accidents, security

Not necessarily in that order but that’s what it’s all about. An extreme example I’ve already shown you above, in the first guardian tweet. That was about Sam Notaro who saw himself forced to build his own flood defences to protect his family and property, a four-bedroom home in Moorland, Somerset. Other examples include the emergency services asking you to close your windows and await the all clear. It happens all the time, for example, recently….

They don’t call it SIP aka ‘shelter-in-place’ simply because it’s usually not serious enough and does not last long enough which means you don’t have to seal your windows and air ducts and ‘hide/hold out’ for many hours or days.

Shelter-in-Place can also be a consequence of a security lock-down.

Just what exactly a so called “invacuation” is I talk about in what are invacuation, lock-down and shelter-in-place and how do they link to emergency preparedness? This also highlights that, fundamentally, preparedness is for also for business, not just for individuals and that it must cover both evacuation and shelter-in-place. Actually preparedness must include everyone, the old, the very young, the vulnerable and even your pets! Yes, we also have a special page for preparedness with pets and we are involved in community resilience projects which you can read about more here if you’re interested. But let’s talk practical.

What exactly does SHELTER-IN-PLACE preparedness actually look like?

It’s simple. You can count it out on both your hands. It’s all about the 5 preparedness principles and 5 core areas, the gist of which is:  you need to cover

      • 1 food & food preparation (meals-ready-to-eat, water purification)
      • 2 tools & personal protection (multi-tools, gaffa tape, ffp masks…)
      • 3 shelter & warmth (emergency blankets, sleeping bags…)
      • 4 light & communication (torches, flashing lights, radio, comms…)
      • 5 first aid & hygiene

                            so that you can do.. (and at the end will get

      • 1 Prioritise
      • 2 Plan
      • Prepare
      • 4 Practise
      • 5 Peace of mind

 

Shelter-in-place: GET A KIT. MAKE A PLAN. BE PREPARED.

Look around our website; right side navigation for more blog, top navigation for kit. We source the best products on the market and test them so that you can rely on them in a real emergency. If you don’t find exactly what you want, our speciality is bespoke kits, examples of which you can find here.

So that’s about it.  Have you finished SIPping? What? No easy tick list to print out and start with I hear you ask? Well, yes and no, because I’m a little ambivalent about easy short cuts that give a false sense of security and all for motivating and empowering people. You see, only you really know what you need to be better prepared. You are the only one who best knows your situation and circumstances and what you are comfortable with. No simplistic tick list can really get there properly. Only you can, with a little extremely worthwhile effort. But we help. Actually there is a lot of help out there and a good place to start is to first check the website of your local resilience forum which you can also find referenced in our (evolving) directory Ready for Emergencies

In addition we offer a comprehensive free Emergency Plan download and lots of other useful resources which you can access right from our preparedness hub page. This includes our newest awareness raising video, put together for us by the dedicated Warwickshire/ Worcestershire man, Ian MacDonald Walker (@sonetimage6 ). 

Now it’s your turn: #SHELTERINPLACE challenge

For today, day 7 of the #30days30waysUK campaign, we simply would like you to do one thing so that YOU are better prepared and which also HELPS US ALL to raise awareness for emergency preparedness:

Start making your own 72+ hour SHELTER IN PLACE kit, take a picture + share

        • Go through your stores at home and start making your 72+ hour shelter-in-place kit for all the members in your household, covering the 5 core areas
        • All chosen items must be in good working order and have a shelf life of minimum one year, preferably longer
        • Add special items for children and elders, include your pet(s)
        •  Take a picture and share it with the hashtags  #30days30waysUK  #ShelterInPlace  before securely boxing or bagging your kit

 Remember to mark the earliest expiry date in your calendar to check and replace items. Keep your kit updated.

CONGRATULATIONS you are now better prepared! 🙂

If you work for or own a small business, start a contingency kit and business continuity plan for business preparedness and share as above. Now before I go. Thank you! Thank you LRF Emergency Planners for including us and thank YOU for reading and listening. We all face an unknown future and must be willing to be brave, face what is coming and work together. No one is ever alone in a real emergency and disaster. Capacities and capabilities build resilience, and we must keep it positive and empowering with a sense of humour. Which, finally, brings me to Harry Barker (@go_artmonkey) in Manchester. Thank you for the brilliant cartoon finale.

Don’t be scared – BE PREPARED! Monika –

I look forward to seeing you around at #30days30waysUKPreparedness is for everyoneFor more on practical Emergency and Disaster Preparedness head over to our FREE resources at the Preparedness Hub. Why we use cartoons. 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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Preparedness: 5 Principles now join with 5 Practical Core Areas: the ‘new’ 5Ps + 5Cs for a resilient tomorrow

dehydratedWaterNo, I’m not going to sell you anything like this latest product ‘dehydrated water’ so that your tomorrow may be worry free. Sorry.

And you’re not the only one with raised eyebrows at this point but do join those of the ‘old school’ even if they declare my maths is off: they are thinking of the 7 P’s concept from the military which stands for “Prior, Proper, Planning, Prevents, Piss, Poor, Performance”.

My maths is not off I assure you. Tongue firmly in cheek I squarely blame it on the austerity cuts 😉 for there is now a modern, leaner and perhaps more elegant version that can be counted down on just one hand.

The ‘new’ 5P’s: prioritize, plan, prepare, practice, peace of mind

Prioritize: what types of disasters are you planning for? Differentiate risks and hazards and make a scenario list

Plan: do/need what, where, when and how? Make your emergency & disaster preparedness plan, don’t let it accumulate dust. Review and update it regularly.

Prepare: the right tools in the right place for the right people – if you add ‘at the right time’ then I’d counter ‘well before the right time’ – bounce ahead to make bouncing back a breeze (What disaster – Why Preparedness? and Prepare for a world that’s more than 2° C warmer)

Practice: head stuff is great but legwork is even better 🙂

Peace of mind: do the above and WYDIWYG – what you do is what you get, my version of WYSIWYG or what you see is what you get 😉

Now, principles are  good, tremendously useful actually but still not quite good enough – another so called  ‘Goldilocks’ case where what we really want needs to be ‘just right’. So, let’s expand it just a little more. After all…

… it’s all about Emergency Preparedness Capabilities and Capacities

… and that means being able to perform and achieve (read survive and prevail in an emergency or disaster) and having the right tools in place to do so.

So, enter the 5C’s to complement the 5P’s. Initially conceptualised to run on facebook as part of our 2015 “September is Preparedness Month” 30 days 30 ways UK campaign contribution we have honed in on the five preparedness core areas to complement the 5P’s you’re now already familiar with. They are:

5Ps5Cs_expanded

Food & Food Preparation: MRE (meal’s ready to eat, military style – they know what they’re doing!) yummie quality calories mean fuel so that body and mind can continue to function, water purification provides safe water to drink and prepare food.

Tools & Personal Protection: depends on skill set (or lack thereof), nature and level of threat and location; see Survival Tools; PPE – especially respiratory masks.

Shelter & Warmth: a core temperature drop of just 1C can mean hypothermia. Eating and moving provide warmth but rest is inevitable; insulation via Emergency Blankets, Sleeping Bags, Tents and Beds.

Light & Communication: human vision (optical) is seriously compromised in low light conditions. Torches, hands-free head-torches, battery free wind-up torches, rechargeable lights... you get the idea. Flashing lights and lightsticks attract and can signal for help. They also serve as warning to indicate danger or the opposite, indicate safe routes or mark resources.

First Aid & Hygiene: vastly depends on skill; the former that is, not the latter. No use having a suture kit if you only know cross stitch but you it’s difficult to overdo the soap. You can also never have enough clean bandages as a field medic friend reliably tells me so here at least you can and should go all out; First Aid; Hygiene and also useful are Travel Accessories i.e. camp shower and folding toilet.

Ok, so now you’ve got your 5P’s and 5C’s – or at least our informed version of it. But how does this compare? Well, I wish I knew who was behind this guest post titled The Six P’s and the Three S’s of Prepping for this person, clearly coming from a solid old school prepper background, has an excellent and modern insight – although I may take issue with his or her maths and approach to personal security 😉

I hope I made you smile – and think, #bePREPARED

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.  Thanks for visiting! 

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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

 

 

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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!

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook  follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter  join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+  discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest  explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube