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A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

Two Good Examples Of Govt. Surveying Public Capabilities/Preparedness Before Disaster Strikes

September 17th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Thanks to the Twitter feed of CraigAtFEMA (a.k.a. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate) who just posted an Emergency Management article, “Iowa County Surveys Citizens to Determine Emergency Volunteer Capabilities.” The piece explains:

To garner a better understanding of what its residents could contribute to disaster response and recovery, Adair County, Iowa, is surveying its citizens to determine their availability for volunteering and how they’d be interested in contributing.

Robert Kempf, emergency management coordinator of Adair County, said in the past the county has relied heavily on service clubs if it needed volunteer support. “With the more advanced planning that we try to do now, we’ve decided we should try to solicit more people instead of depending on the groups,” he said. “In the rural areas, the same groups get called on again and again to help.”

The emergency volunteer survey asks residents when they would be available and what type of help they’re interested in doing – food services, baby-sitting, clerical work, answering phones, etc. It also finds out of residents would be willing to donate the use of their chainsaws, tractors or other machinery that could be used to aid emergency response.

This type of disaster volunteer ‘census’ is a terrific idea not only because it adds to the assets a community has to respond to an emergency, but also reaching out to everyone underscores the point — often made by Fugate — that every citizen is part of the local disaster preparedness and response “team”.

The Emergency Management website has another post on a similar theme from Eric Holdeman which notes how the Regional Public Information Network (RPIN) in the Seattle area is using the web tool SurveyMonkey to assess business and community flooding preparedness.

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Tags: Preparedness Ideas · Volunteering

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 William R. Cumming // Sep 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    The oldest, in the past best run, NGO that relied on Volunteers known as the ARC [American Red Cross] is now breaking down under the stresses of having to rely on a post-disaster contribution system. So any volunteers that need preparedness training and not just notification and call-up well again raise the same issues identified as causing the organizational collapse of the ARC. Money, money, money. It costs money to be prepared and volunteers are great but the real evidence is that there are limits to effectiveness of volunteers. Yet the more volunteers hoping there will be fewer victims as per dialectic of Craig Fugate, FEMA Adminstrator. Not everything worthwhile in life is FREE!

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