Right now, the Mid-Atlantic is staring down Hurricane Florence. The best guess anyone has right now is that this will hit between Florida and New York…but wherever it hits, it will be a very powerful storm. And powerful storms bring damage from floods to downed power lines and collapsed buildings to broken gas pipes. Knowing how to prepare yourself for disaster is the single best thing you can do to prepare.
Modern disaster management moves beyond hiding in the storm cellar until the danger has passed. A huge part is understanding exactly what local authorities will be doing, along with proper preparation on our own part. FEMA offers 185 free online courses, some of them eligible for college credit, on disaster response and management:
FEMA Emergency Management Institute (EMI) Independent Study Course List
With 185 courses, it is obviously overwhelming to know even which to take. So here, take these two. FEMA says they should take about an hour each. I think you can probably do it in less time.
- Introduction to the Incident Command System: This course is for first responders, but really, everyone will benefit from it. It will give you a high-level overview of exactly how the government will be responding, including structure, communications, and management of critical incidents. This is used for, basically, everything first responders do today. Whether it is a multi-state disaster like a hurricane or a small house fire, the ICS is the template for site management.
- Community Preparedness: Implementing Simple Activities for Everyone: This class is an introduction of what you can do for your family, business, or community to prepare for any disaster. It cannot and does not cover everything, but this is the course for everyone.
Going through both these courses will help you survive and recover better from any disaster that might befall you. Hurricane Florence will hit in four days…take an hour between now and then to get ready, wherever you are.