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A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

A Couple Good Citizen Preparedness Ideas From A Couple Good Citizen Preparedness Idea People

September 6th, 2008 · No Comments

For the last week, I have been one of several Guest Bloggers for the American Red Cross’ “Red Cross Chat” blog. I thought I would bring to your attention two interesting posts from two of the other Guest Bloggers, David Stephenson and Robin Parker, two of the most innovative people I know when it comes to citizen preparedness.

*In his post,  “With Hurricanes Looming, Learn Smart Use Of Your Cell Phone”, David offers some important tips communicating during hurricanes and any emergency:

It’s not well known, but even during Katrina and 9/11 in Manhattan, text messages were often able to get through when conventional, especially broadcast and landline, communications failed.

Why? Because, going over the Internet, they’re packet- and IP-based and are so short that they consume miniscule bandwidth and can route around network disruptions and still arrive at their destination.

As cellphones (and, even more important, camera- and video-phones, because of their visual capabilities!), smartphones, wi-fi laptops become ubiquitous, more and more of us instinctively turn to applications we use every day such as Twitter, Utterz, and Flickr to share information in emergencies, as was the case during the San Diego wildfires last fall, and, this week, with Gustav.”

*In her post, “How To Host A Preparedness Party”, Robin offers a characteristically creative take on what to do during National Preparedness Month to engage the public on emergency preparedness.

You know that it’s National Preparedness Month, right? You’ve been celebrating it non-stop since Monday – gleefully rummaging through your disaster kit for expired items to replace, turning your morning jog into a practice loop of your evacuation route… No? You haven’t?I understand.

Preparing for disaster is like going to the dentist. You know it’s important, but you put it off because it’s just not fun. That’s why I’m determined to make it fun.

In a few weeks I’ll be hosting a “Recipe for Disaster” party at my house.  It will be a sort of preparedness potluck in which all the guests bring disaster kits items instead of dinner dishes. (So, for example, someone might sign up to bring ten flashlights, while another guest might sign up to bring ten big jars of peanut butter…) Each guest brings a bucket to the party, and then we all exchange our items so that everyone has at least a good start to a kit.

But where’s the fun part? Well, I plan to be a bit tongue-in-cheek with the theme. I’ll bake a volcano cake and serve drinks like mudslides and hurricanes. And after everyone has had a couple of deliciously chocolate-y mudslides I’ll probably introduce some slightly ridiculous party games that involve earthquake drills or mapping your home evacuation route… I’m thinking something like Pictionary with your eyes closed, drawing your escape plan and then having your partner see if he/she can recognize it. Or possibly some sort of charades game that actually involves doing Drop, Cover, Hold On. At the very least I can have people take thequiz to test their RQ (”readiness quotient”).

The idea is that this becomes an annual party, and each year it gets more interesting because the party food can be made from everyone’s about-to-expire kit items. (I’m imagining a lot of peanut butter cookies!) So it’s a fun excuse to have a party and a reminder to renew your kit items.So what do you think? Do you want to host a “Recipe for Disaster” party of your own? Do you have any suggestions for my party games?

(P.S. Yes, you can easily leave the alcohol out of the mudslide and hurricane recipes and have just as much delicious fun.)”

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