With all that's happened in the world lately, between blizzards, floods, earthquakes, and tsunami's, there should be a renewed focus on emergency preparedness. The East Coast just had an earthquake and Hurricane Irene is heading for the East coast as well.
Most people do not have any emergency supplies or plans ready. Each household, business, and school should have an emergency plan, emergency kits and people trained in emergency preparedness and response.
I started my training in emergency preparedness while on my trail to Eagle Scout. Emergency Preparedness is a required merit badge and the Boy Scouts emphasize emergency preparedness among the scouts. I am also a paramedic, special operations paramedic and FEMA trained in Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Management. Here are some of my favorite resources for learning about Emergency Preparedness.
Ready Classroom is a free resource from Discovery Education that has lesson resources for teaching emergency preparedness for teachers, students and families. It has teacher and administrator tools, lesson plans, family resources, dealing with pets in emergencies, and much more. There are checklists, planning resources, lesson plans, information about different emergencies and disasters, videos, links, and more. It's a great way to teach emergency preparedness.
Ready.gov is the US Government's web site for information and resources on emergency preparedness and response. There are resources for making a plan, an emergency kit, and how to stay informed. Information is included for individuals and businesses.
The Boy Scouts of America, who train all their Scouts and Adults in Emergency Preparedness, has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to provide resources for the public on getting prepared. The site has planning resources, how to make an emergency kit, and other resources.
The American Red Cross website also has information for creating an emergency plan and how to prepare for different emergencies. They also sell emergency kits (they are very good and a decent price). You can always make your own using their lists though. There is a full section on preparing schools and students. The Preparedness Fast Facts page is an excellent, one stop resource.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Emergency Management Insitute
The FEMA EMI offers free, online courses for anyone to take. The courses are well done and there are plenty of downloadable materials to help you. If you pass the test at the end, you even get a certificate.
Here are a list of the courses that I think all educators should take: (I've taken these, and more)
Education Administrators should also be involved in community emergency planning because schools are on the top of the list as emergency shelters and field hospitals and the building administrators know their buildings.
You can even join your local Community Emergency Response Team. These are teams of citizens that are specially trained to help out in major emergencies, sort of like the reserves. Find out more here. Here is a list of CERT's by State: http://www.citizencorps.gov/cc/CertIndex.do?submitByState
Emergency Preparedness is everyone's responsibility. The Japanese know this and that is one reason why the disaster over there is not worse that it is. Share these resources with your students, colleagues, and family.