Friday, September 26, 2014

Breaking down obstacles to preparedness and becoming strong in the face of disasters

Today’s guest blog is by Weston Lee, a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Youth Preparedness Council, who works to educate youth in his community. A student at Weber High School in Pleasant View, Utah, Lee’s training includes CPR, first aid and student response. While getting students involved in emergency preparedness can be difficult, Weston says that working with “someone who is engaged, excited and, most of all, actually interested in what they do” can make a difference with youth.

What do cows produce during an earthquake? A milkshake! On a more serious note, what does being prepared produce during an emergency? President Barack Obama said that when our nation faces crisis, we will respond determined and resilient as a result of our preparedness.

The main idea for emergency preparedness is to get a kit, make a plan, be informed and get involved. Make sure you are ready in your family, business or work, school and community. Work with your community and learn about possible hazards or disasters that can happen in your area. Social media is a great way to keep up to date with news and information.

One of the things I like to address when teaching emergency preparedness are the barriers related to becoming prepared. Some obstacles are:
  • Lack of concern. Not believing that an event will happen here. Or that they will not worry about it unless it actually occurs.
  • Lack of thought on the subject.
  • Lack of knowledge or information, such as people saying, “I don’t know how to do this.”
  • Lack of resources, whether it is time or money related.
  • Avoidance. Avoiding the situation of preparedness for various reasons.
  • Or a feeling of fatalism, saying that whatever you do will not matter.
As you venture into becoming more emergency prepared, take time to set aside any barriers or obstacles you may have. In order for us to be determined and strong in the face of the disaster, we can become better prepared by making a kit, making a plan and being informed.

Be disaster aware and take action to prepare by taking part in America’s PrepareAthon during National Preparedness Month this September. Get your family and community involved by following weekly themes and using the preparedness resources.

There are resources available that teach about different hazards and disasters, and provide recommendations and resources on how to become more prepared before, during and after an emergency.

For a smooth start on becoming emergency prepared, visit the American Red Cross,, Get Ready and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.

Sept. 30 is National PrepareAthon Day. Plan a preparedness activity and register your family, school or organization as a participant.

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