Preparedness activities position the community to be able to cope with a pre-determined level of impact from extreme events. A community that is prepared is more resilient to the impacts of extreme events and is in a much better position to be sustainable throughout an event which enhances their ability to respond during the event.
Like mitigation strategies, preparedness must be in place prior to the event occurring, a community that has proactively endorsed a state of preparedness acknowledges that events causing detrimental impacts to the community can happen and that the community accepts that they need to take ownership of the response to counter the impacts.
Emergency preparedness starts with the individual, preparedness needs to occur at 2 distinct levels in the community: i) every individual needs to be prepared and ii) the community needs to be prepared.
The community needs to address 2 levels of preparedness; i) response capability and capacity and ii) Business Continuity.
The community must be in a prepared position to render assistance to its members, this is normally negotiated through a Response Plan, as well , the community must be able to carry on it’s business functions through a disaster in two facets; i) the community’s Mission Critical Activities must be resilient and sustainable through an event and be recoverable post-event and ii) appropriate business continuance and support must be maintained during the event in order to support the response plan effort during the event.
Some common preparedness strategies are: plans, policies, education & training, exercises and public awareness.
Being prepared for an extreme event or disaster is something that every person should embrace. Even though disasters do not happen with any great regularity they are happening much more frequently and with greater severity. Look at the past couple of years with tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, severe winter storms, climate change, terrorism, wars, and the Pandemic Influenza. These events are occurring and can occur in your neighbourhood and the will continue to occur at more alarming rates.
The fact is that preparedness should come easy to us, as we have incorporated preparedness into our routines of daily living. We prepare for presentations at work and school, athletics and sport training, recreational hobbies and our important social lives. What we have generally failed in preparing for is for the event that jeopardizes the previously mentioned important facets of our busy lives and those who are important to us. It is at this intersection that an extreme event can and will turn our world upside down! What better thing to be prepared for!