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A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

‘Are You Ready’ Series Helps Recruit A New CERT Team Member

April 28th, 2008 · 2 Comments

I don’t know how interesting and helpful my ‘Are You Ready’ series was for most of Brian Lehrer’s listeners on WNYC. However, I was thrilled to hear that it may have at least had a small, albeit important, constructive impact on New York City’s emergency efforts.

Roger, a listener from Brooklyn, New York, emailed me through this site after the second episode to ask for information about joining the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). I referred him to the City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM). He contacted OEM and his local community board to get the information, and he told me will be beginning his CERT training this week.

One of the major objectives of my work in this area, including this blog, is to highlight opportunities for citizens to get more involved in their community’s emergency preparedness and response efforts — and then help facilitate that involvement.

The fact that I may have been a catalyst in encouraging Roger to volunteer for CERT is great to hear.

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Tags: CERT · Media

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Roger // Apr 30, 2008 at 10:56 am

    I’m Roger from Brooklyn, and I wanted to thank John for the effort of helping me navigate the OEM system in order to register for the CERT training. Thanks again John!

    The other point I wanted to address is the issue of “I may not even be near my go-bag when something happens.” This is a very real and possible situation, but I also see a clear opportunities for the value in a go-bag even if you’re not home:

    1) If something happens and you arrive home to the authorities saying “Go and get what you need, you have two minutes.” You don’t need to waste time running around like a lunatic trying to gather everything together. If anything, a go-bag gives you more time to take personal items with emotional ties, because the essentials are already prepared.

    2) When the threat level in New York was elevated for a time a few years ago due to “intelligence chatter,” I took a scaled down go-bag to work with me every day until things seemed to pass. Trusting this type of information is another issue altogether, but use whatever information you have and act appropriately.

    Yes, you may not have your bag with you at the very moment something happens, but if you listen and respond accordingly, you’ll be more prepared than others.

  • 2 admin // Apr 30, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks, Roger.

    Your point is well taken. As you know, a lot of people use the “what happens if I’m not at home” excuse to avoid beginning the preparedness process. It’s a fair question, but as you point out, half a loaf is better than nothing. And the fact that you cannot be 100% prepared with a go-bag should not stop you from becoming more prepared. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and don’t let the best be the enemy of the better.

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