FEMA Can't Do it All
Preparing for a Disaster
Preparing for Disasters
During and after a major disaster FEMA and local government emergency management resources are often overwhelmed. 911 centers cannot answer calls fast enough, information breakdowns occur and first responders are working on sketchy information. People around the world, especially American’s, have to learn that FEMA and planned disaster responses can only go so far. Money is not unlimited and it takes time to move resources.
The Aftermath mobile app platform provides a tool any citizen, military reservist, politician, EOC manager or relief organization can access for near near real-time data. There has never been a way to communicate detailed information, as quickly across the planet as can be done with the Aftermath mobile app. What we saw during various recent hurricanes and wildfires was a tremendous desire to help. The disaster brought out the best in the people and is evident across the world time and again.
FEMA’s role after a disaster is to assist local authorities in their response. The local EOC requests assistance from FEMA and then directs when and how support is distributed. FEMA is often in the headlines as being the “bad guy” but they are a large scale supporting element. In the case of Puerto Rico, the local FEMA agency called Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency, PREMA for short, failed to be ready and respond effectively in the short or long-term. The frustration of the people turned to FEMA in an effort to bypass the response of PREMA.
Be Self Sufficient
The best thing to do is to plan to be self sufficient for several weeks. Historically, people have been advised to plan for 3-5 days but in the event of a major event like a hurricane, 1-2 weeks or more, may be required. The more planning and preparation you do, the more comfortable you will be. You will also be more effective at being able to help others. With the aid of the Aftermath Data mobile app you can communicate directly with other people and push information up to emergency managers. It is true that cell service is required to use a mobile app so you need to be thinking about what to do in your immediate area post disaster. Once cellular communication comes back online you can expand and share more information.
What Does Being Ready Entail
What does being ready mean in a disaster situation? Think about the basics of water, shelter, medicine and food for you can your pets. You can go only a few days without water. Exposure to extreme heat or cold can kill you quickly but it is often easier to get warm or a roof over your head than finding drinkable water. Food is a luxury for up to several weeks. Canned food lasts years and can be eaten cold. If you think about what it takes to go camping for 1-2 weeks for your entire family, you realize the quantity of supplies needed just to sustain your family. Add to this the need for first aid, equipment and fuel to help others and you have a pretty large stockpile of supplies. If you wait until a disaster to learn to use the skills needed to survive you will find it even more challenging to just get by. Going camping with your family is a great way to start to learn these skills and come together as a family team.
There are lots of resources online that will aid in your preparation based on the type of disaster likely in your area. Below are a few resources for quick reference.
- SERT Training – be part of the solution
- Hurricane Preparedness
- Earthquake Preparedness
- Flood Preparedness
- Wildfire Preparedness
- Tsunami Preparedness
- Supplies Kit
Download the Aftermath Data mobile app
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Understanding basic disaster communication can relieve some of the stress and frustration. It also eliminates a false sense of hope so survivors can work with realistic tools available. Being prepared has a huge impact on life after a natural disaster is long gone.