Tag Archives: volunteer

UK Community Resilience: Flood Action Groups and Volunteer Major Incident Response Teams lead the way

An update on the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum NYLRF Community Resilience and Emergency Plan scheme

Back in October 2015 I first introduced you to UK Community Resilience – a brilliant example of what really works and a follow up of the project. Several seasons of storms and flooding later as well as post 2016 National Flood Resilience Review, it’s high time I update you on progress, for much has indeed happened at North Yorkshire Resilience Forum (NYLRF) to raise community resilience and get people better prepared.

The pilot project originally started with 11 trail blazing communities two years ago reaching around 22’000 people. Now take a look at how this project has grown to include all these communities:

North Yorkshire Communi Resilience map

Green means Community Emergency Plans completed and orange means Community Emergency Plans are under way. This is amazing progress! 🙂 The map is updated regularly and you can see it for yourself by visiting the NYLRF Community Emergency Plans page (click the black and white map there to get to the live one).

One of the communities that has been on board since the word ‘go’ is Tadcaster Flood Action Group. They have a brilliant website and are also on twitter @TadFloodGroup and  facebook so check them out.

Tadcaster Flood Action Group

Their team of dedicated volunteers simply do amazing work and have vast experience since their town was divided by the famous bridge collapse thanks to the terrible 2015 winter storms namely Storm Eva and Storm Frank.

This year, to raise awareness even further, Tadcaster Flood Action Group is planning a bi-monthly newsletter distributed via the website, email and leaflet drop at properties at risk in Tadcaster and I for one cannot wait to see their first edition. Networking and organising local evens are, naturally, also on the agenda and they work with communities such as Ulleskelf Flood Action Group, Newton Kyme and Kirby Wharfe, sharing knowledge and experience to keep communities safe from flooding and build community resilience.

Community Preparedness Kits form one important aspect of the NYLRF Emergency Plan Scheme (together with plans and training), providing tools and resources to those on the front line.

Nicola Eades from Tadcaster Flood Action Group says:

“The community resilience kit which we received has been absolutely fabulous and is a kit that we have in our central base. It simply gives the group peace of mind and a preparation tool having it to hand.”

 

Robin Derry, senior Emergency Planner at North Yorkshire and creator of the NYLRF community resilience scheme already looks ahead, saying:

“The success shown by communities such as Tadcaster is helping to promote this scheme to other communities across the county resulting in a rapid upturn in community preparedness. The added incentive of a free emergency kit is definitely a bonus.

We have a number of events planned across the coming months to promote the scheme further and long list of communities wanting to get up and running with a plan.”

 

In addition, another recent successful example, Ingleton, has been reported in the press:

Ingleton Community Emergency Preparedness Plan

 

But it does not end here. In addition to Flood Action, I want to also tell you about another NYLRF collaboration to tackle community resilience from yet another vital angle: mental health. Meet Alex Sutcliffe and her Major Incident Response Team (MIRT) who will offer support in the aftermath of a traumatic incident such as major flooding to help those who may have been affected:


Find out more about what they do on the Post Incident Support page on the NYRLF website and keep your eyes on this blog which will soon post more about  @alexsutcliffe24 work who explains:

“The MIRT team are a very special team of volunteers who are always ready and willing to be called out to support communities or individuals through a traumatic experience.  We do this by offering emotional and practical support, whenever and wherever it is needed.  The MIRT bags from EVAQ8 have been invaluable as an additional resource to allow the volunteers to be prepared and raring to go with ‘life essentials’ and short notice.
When communities or individuals need the assistance of one or more of the MIRT volunteers, it is at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.  Being evacuated from your home at short notice can leave you feeling very vulnerable and ‘out of control’.  The skills of the MIRT team, ensure that anyone in our care is well looked after and kept safe until such a time that they are able to return to their own homes.”

 

The creation of this special team is a UK first and so all must be hugely congratulated for getting this off the ground.

 

Building community resilience in the UK remains a top priority and the NYLRF model approach is a brilliant example that works.

Hazards and risks are many, not just flooding as we are preparing for a world that’s a least 2°C warmer.

Clearly, Resilience and Preparedness roadblocks  have not damped the spirits of the many dedicated emergency planners and volunteers that make it happen in Yorkshire. It is my sincere hope that their example will go on to inspire many. Why not consider starting a Flood Action or Community Preparedness Group in your area? Get in touch with your Local Resilience Forum and find out what opportunities there are.

Be prepared – not scared!

Monika

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added on 25Sep2017 as part of 30days30waysUK #prep2017day25 #preparedCommunity

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

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

A fundamental rethink of deployment strategies is now under way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things to consider:

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

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

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

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

Have a great week!

Monika


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

 

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

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UK Flooding – Community Resilience is the only answer

Community efforts in clearing floods in Cornwall - source BBC

Community efforts in clearing floods in Cornwall – source BBC

Is this crazy weather ever going to stop?
This question must have been asked millions of times this last week. I’ve read it in the newspapers and magazines, heard it on radio, on the streets, in buses and the tube, on TV. The UK’s resilience, our resilience to cope, adapt, prevail and move on is being sorely tested.

Looking back at the heart-breaking images from the Somerset Levels, the South West and East and noting this weekend’s new severe flood warnings for substantial parts of the Thames Valley it is hard to keep optimistic. It is hard not to descend into depression, to keep up mental agility, thinking flexibly and accurately, neither over- nor underestimating the severity of the impact to our lives and that of loved ones. It is hard to find the energy and willingness to go on and change, willing to find new strategies and simply to continue.

Where is the strength going to come from? How can it be tapped? In ‘resilience speak’ this concerns two key ‘ingredients’ that make up resilience:

character strength – identifying the top strengths in oneself and others, relying on one’s strengths to overcome challenges and meet goals, cultivating a strength approach throughout, including these key virtues (positive psychology)

Source: https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/character-strengths-and-virtues-classification.jpg

connections – building strong relationships through positive and effective communication, empathy, a willingness to ask for and to offer help

Source http://www.oneworldbirth.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Lets-work-together.jpg

Both these key ‘ingredients’ to resilience go hand in hand, neither can really be separated out.

Character strength is never built in isolation. How strong we can be crucially depends on our early and continued social connections throughout life. In turn the strength of our social groups, small and large, are nourished and propelled by inspired individuals that choose to be extraordinary. These extraordinary times have produced extraordinary communities in all flood affected parts of the United Kingdom.

As a somewhat removed Swiss observer yet from ‘within so to speak as someone who lives here I am continually amazed at the British: the speed and boundless generosity with which communities have come together, pooling resources and sheer man (and woman and child!) power to help each another as well as to offer help across wider areas. In fact, generosity is and was so overwhelming that this morning the local newspaper Cheddarvalley Gazette reports that the Westfield Church flood rest centre in Bridgwater had to close their intake of food donations. However, many flood relief funds are active or are just being formed:

Somerset: Somerset Emergency Relief Fund; Farming Communities need help with animal feed (Farmers Weekly); donate via Just Giving (donations should be marked “For Somerset Farmers”); Rotary UK flood appeal for Somerset
Southwest: Devon Flood Fund; Tauheedul Relief Trust;
West and North:
RSPB appeal to help repair extensive damage at Snettisham, Havergate, Dingle and other nature reserves; EDP Norfolk Flood Appeal is ongoing

Also see Storify for more ways to help, courtesy of @wildwalkerwoman via @ThirlwallAssoc Thanks!

Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, was reported in The Telegraph on Sunday suggesting to “spend aid abroad to stop flooding in the UK”. Calls to divert foreign aid are not new, i.e. BBC last September on austerity. While showing flexible thinking and a willingness to try new approaches, simply diverting foreign aid is unfortunately not entirely straight forward. How much is the UK spending? According to the Guardian last year, the UK’s official development assistance (ODA) is expected to rise to GBP11.3bn when it hits the 0.7% target. With a population of about 63 million, the figure works out at roughly GBP137 per Brit. This is part of a long-term resilience strategy as David Cameron argued and in everyone’s interests to build a more prosperous world, otherwise the problems of conflict, mass migration and uncontrollable climate change “will come and visit us at home”. Well, it seems the latter certainly has.

While the politicians wrangle, let us remember that the Disasters Emergency Commitee DEC has raised over GBP90 million for the Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines all mostly from private donations which works out to an average of just GBP1.43 donated per person living in the UK. Despite recent hardships, anyone here luckily can afford to give GBP1.50 or 2.- to help a neighbour in need.

Monika


Thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Community Resilience and 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!

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