The current worldwide pandemic is a central focus of many of our lives. Recently, I had occasion to consider the response to the pandemic in South Korea and to think about civil defense preparedness in the 1960s. I frankly am guilty, as are many other Americans, of not really being well informed, although I am more qualified than most. I figured the current quarantine would offer a good opportunity to amend that.
First, after 25 years in intelligence collection and targeting, I felt I had a pretty keen understanding of what constitutes a disaster. After another 25 years in disaster recovery and business continuity, I reasoned I could piece together some usable and easy-to-understand recommendations for preparation and various levels to bring us all to the level of effectiveness we saw in the South Korean response.
I went out to the fema.gov website to see what they had on the subject and found a wealth of information I think should become mandatory reading for all citizens. I personally believe this should be a mandated curriculum requirement for homeschooling parents. This document is located at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/7877. The information is assembled as a series of documents titled “Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness.”
The assembled 204-page document series tend to try very hard to cover everything and thus make it tough to wade through. It does contain gems that are the basis for all response. First and foremost is the Family Communications Plan included as Appendix C. This is a simple two-page document with several extremely pertinent and useful templates every responsible citizen should study and complete. Appendix B has a Disaster Supplies Checklist we could have all followed and probably avoided the current hoarding atrocities. Appendix A has tips on water conservation that merit consideration. While the current pandemic did not involve destruction of services and facilities, failure to conserve led to many more forays than were advisable for many Americans.
Taking the time to review this document, self-audit your ability to comply and correct any shortfalls is a basic civic duty we all share and is the place we should start improving our preparedness. Communicating it to your family and following up on it is a matter of leadership and commitment.