Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What matters the most in an emergency.

Reporting from San Diego.

I'm in waiting mode. I'd like to think I'm out of the fire danger area being at the north eastern corner of Mira Mesa, however I can't ignore the fact that areas directly north and east of me have been evacuated. Everyone in San Diego is effected in some way by these fires because they are widespread around the county. Schools are closed, the freeways are practically deserted, and most residents who haven't had to evacuate are staying inside due to smoky air.

I've packed my car and I am ready to evacuate if need be. However, I've come to the realization the last thing on my mind right now is my nonprofit and what would happen if the fire reached my nonprofit's office. Thankful my office isn't located near any of the fires, however this natural disaster has been any eye opening experience for me.

I've come to realize that I need to actually practice what I preach and do the actual disaster preparedness steps at my nonprofit . So if both my nonprofit and my family are both effected by this disaster, I won't have to worry or even think about my nonprofit's important files or insurance policy information, and I can focus on what matters the most to me--my family.


Terrie Modesto, PhD said...

Congrats on three achievements!

Yes 3 achievements! Two include emergency preparedness.

The first achievement is that you are packed up and ready to go in a moment’s notice should the wildfires turn in your direction. I pray that hey stay far away! Many want to keep their head in the sand and say “it can’t happen to me”. WOW are they wrong! It can happen to any of us.

It’s not easy to determine what to take and what you must leave behind. Considering that is often stressful and frustrating to put it mildly. By being packed up and ready you have followed much of the disaster preparedness information advice that everyone should know about and follow.

Hopefully you have an emergency preparedness checklist for yourself and each member of your household including your pets. In a disaster situation the emotions run very high and time runs out fast. By having an emergency preparedness checklist already thought out and established, the disaster preparedness process will go much faster and smoother for everyone involved. The chances increase significantly of successful and productive survival with each item you can place on your checklist as well as each item you can check-off that list as completed in a disaster preparedness - response situation.

The second achievement is that you are now highly aware of the need for emergency preparedness plans for your non-profit organization. EVERY organization, business and home should have detailed disaster plans.

In the daily activities of work, there is so much that calls for attention that it is tempting to want to postpone disaster preparedness activities such as developing comprehensive emergency preparedness plans for your organization and for every staff member of the organization including contractual employees on and off site

Each staff and contractual member should have their own work-site emergency preparedness kit that is tailored to meet the staff person’s own particular needs as well as that of the company or organization. This should be listed in the job responsibilities of each staff position and included in the evaluation process.

These low cost emergency survival kits don’t have to be fancy and expensive. These disaster kits need to be functional and handy. The best investment in your organization now and in the future is to be emergency prepared.

The third congrats is on your journey through your doctoral studies. Education of all kind, especially on a doctoral level can be an exciting journey, filed with wonderful learning opportunities as well as sleepless nights and untold number of drafts of a dissertation! All the effort that goes into a doctoral degree is well worth it in the end.

Just remember there is light at the end of the tunnel of education! What you are learning will be so helpful not only to the organizations you serve but to those your non-profit will assist today and the decades ahead.

I look forward to reading of your journey.

Best Regards;
Dr. Terrie Modesto

Dr. Terrie Modesto, PhD, author of Train For A Hurricane is an international expert in dying, death, loss and critical incident individual and community disaster preparation and response with 20+ year’s experience. She has over 60 courses, books and training manuals to her credit and is available for consulting, lectures and interviews. Website: www.trainforahurricane.com Blog: http://hurricane-prepared-ness.blogspot.com/

Maya Norton said...

Dear Heather,

I am not sure I've commented before, but I read your blog regularly. We bloggers all think of each other as friends, anyway.

I was just coming to leave you a comment to make sure you were safe and check on your status. Thankfully, there was this post to respond to.

I just wrote an entry on the fires where one of the main things I did is look at photographs from readers of the LA Times. It was shocking. I haven't seen photos of fire like that outside of a volcanic eruption. I am sure you are all too familiar with those images now, but here is the entry: "Jewish Groups Help in California Wildfire Recovery Efforts: You Can Too.

From an Israeli perspective, it is hard to imagine what this kind of natural disaster is like (ours are mostly manmade...) Seeing these photographs and reading people's personal accounts really touched me.

If you feel up to it when everything settles down, I would be happy to post your reactions or a guest entry to encourage more people to donate to relief efforts.

Stay safe and be well. I will be thinking of you.


Maya Norton

The New Jew: Blogging Jewish Philanthropy