The Importance of Emergency and Disaster Training

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Written By Bryan Cunningham

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Being prepared is vital for successfully navigating life’s challenges and opportunities. Those who are prepared have done the necessary planning, studying, and organization to handle situations effectively. On a personal level, being prepared can reduce stress and increase confidence when faced with difficult circumstances. While you cannot plan for everything life will bring, putting in the effort to anticipate situations and build your capabilities makes it easier to handle curveballs and seize chances to excel. Why is this preparation so important in an emergency, and who should take part in this training?

Individual and Family Training

Preparedness training equips people to take care of themselves and assist others during the initial critical minutes and hours of an emergency when rapid thinking and action are most vital. Although we hope for the best, being ready for the worst with emergency preparedness education can help safeguard both lives and property should calamity ever strike. This training might include instructions on how to use MIRA Safety products or what foods are safe to eat in the wild.

School and Business Training

Schools must prepare for any eventuality and train staff and students on what to do in different situations. In addition, clear communication methods must be established to inform parents and guardians. Schools should also have contingency plans for continuity of education. Supplying basic first aid training and stocking trauma kits can empower staff to provide immediate assistance while waiting for first responders. 

Disaster Training

At companies and organizations, emergency action plans should be created for threats like fires, power outages, and hazardous spills. Drills ensure employees understand their emergency roles and responsibilities. Safety equipment and backup systems may need to be tested. Data and operations recovery plans can minimize business disruption. Regular training keeps emergency protocols top of mind, so employees react quickly during real emergencies.

Government Planning and Exercises

On a city, regional, state, and national level, government agencies oversee large-scale planning and exercises for all types of hazards and emergency scenarios. These plans coordinate responses across public services like firefighters and police as well as private sector partners in utilities, transportation, medical services, and communications. Integrating non-profit organizations like the Red Cross into planning is also key.

The types of emergency exercises governments may conduct include tabletop discussions of hypotheticals, communications tests, all the way up to full-scale simulations with volunteers role-playing disaster victims and first responders deploying equipment in fake incident command posts. After each exercise, an extensive debrief and after-action report takes place to identify areas for improvement in future training. The goal is to continually enhance coordination across agencies at all levels of government.

Benefits of Proper Training

Proper emergency and disaster preparedness training provides numerous benefits for individuals, communities, and organizations. Having training and plans in place can help save lives and reduce injuries when emergencies or disasters strike.

For individuals, preparedness training teaches important skills while making them aware of potential risks and hazards and how to appropriately respond to them. This knowledge and skill development creates more resilient individuals who can better care for themselves and help others during crisis events. Preparedness training also reduces panic and confusion about what to do when emergencies occur.

For communities and organizations, comprehensive preparedness plans that are routinely trained and tested lead to more coordinated and effective response efforts. Communities with training programs can credential emergency responders and volunteers to fill critical roles. Organizations can ensure the continuity of business operations. Additionally, training and community awareness campaigns bring people together beforehand so relationships and communication channels are already established if disasters strike. This leads to faster emergency response times and better utilization of available resources.

Necessary Training

A person might train to take on different roles during an emergency. One person might know how to forage for good, while another can provide basic medical care using natural items. However, all people should be trained in the following areas.

Fire Safety Training

Fire safety training helps prevent workplace fires and ensure safe evacuation. Comprehensive programs educate staff on potential hazards, prevention strategies, emergency procedures, and using suppression equipment. The same fire safety principles apply at home to protect our families.

All employees should receive orientation on the locations of pulls, exits, and paths. Regular fire drills then reinforce this knowledge for smooth actual evacuations. Preplanning, training in roles, and debriefs after drills uncover areas for improvement. Employees also undergo prevention-focused classes on alarm systems, flammable storage, smoking policies, and more based on their workspace risks. Mandatory refreshers may be needed at high-hazard sites. Demonstrations and hands-on practice are key for properly using fire extinguishers to suppress small fires. 

At home, we must similarly prepare by installing smoke detectors, establishing emergency exit routes from each room, and identifying a safe meeting place outdoors. Families should form and routinely practice a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room while crawling low under smoke if necessary. Understanding how to test alarms, properly store chemicals and fuels, and when to safely attempt extinguishing fires versus ensuring complete evacuation are all critical. Fire stations may offer tours or education. As with workplaces, drills create familiarity and preparedness in household members.

Whether at work or home, comprehensive education, frequent drills, and refreshed awareness empower employees and families to prevent fires and respond appropriately in a crisis. A culture of safety requires consciousness and diligent training. Protection from catastrophic loss requires proactive engagement from all.

Active Shooter Training

Having a plan and being prepared can help save lives in an active shooter situation. Families should discuss and establish plans for each place they frequent, including home, work, and school.

At home, make sure all external doors have sturdy locks. Identify safe areas to shelter like master bedrooms with locks, closets, and basements. Have an escape ladder for upper-floor rooms. Establish a family code word to indicate danger, and designate an external meeting spot. Periodically, conduct shelter-in-place and escape drills.

For parents, speak to your children’s schools to understand their active shooter plans and drill procedures. Ensure your children know basic protocols like Run, Hide, Fight. With older kids, discuss situational awareness and how to identify concerning behaviors.

At work, learn about active shooter protocols. Know designated shelter locations, escape routes, and alarm systems. Mentally prepare by visualizing different scenarios. Attend active shooter and emergency preparedness training if available. Suggest drills if your workplace does not conduct them. 

No one expects to encounter an active shooter, but mentally rehearsing provides the tools to react quickly. Approaching preparation collectively gives a consistent message and facilitates effective responses. Although uncomfortable to consider, developing these concerted plans can save lives in tragic situations.

First Aid and CPR Training

CPR and first aid knowledge and skills can save a life. Knowing CPR allows you to help someon if their breathing or heart stops. The ability to quickly start chest compressions and provide rescue breaths buys critical time until professional help arrives. First aid knowledge also enables you to assess the situation, protect yourself, and appropriately care for the injured or ill person. Even basic skills like controlling external bleeding, placing someone in a recovery position if they are unconscious but breathing, and treating shock, burns, or choking can sustain life until emergency services take over.

Both CPR and first aid should be part of compulsory education in schools as they teach you to remain calm and confident when faced with stressful situations. They enhance civic consciousness and prompt people to step in to assist without fear. Widespread basic emergency response education will empower ordinary citizens to act as the first line of defense instead of being mere bystanders. Ultimately, a population trained in first aid and CPR promises more positive outcomes when health emergencies inevitably occur in communities. Whether at home, at work, or in public, we can all potentially save lives just by learning and maintaining simple yet vital skills.

Self-Defense Training

Self-defense training helps you to stay safe when confronted with a threat. It builds the capabilities to ward off or disable an attacker and the mindset to think clearly and make quick decisions when overwhelmed by adrenaline and fear. Those who pride themselves on being peaceful or have never faced violence cannot reliably predict if or when danger may strike in their lives. Assault, robbery, abduction, and other crimes often happen without forewarning. In crises like natural disasters that lead to chaos, rioting, or looting, personal security disappears and self-defense abilities may make the difference.

Every person, regardless of age, gender, size, strength, or previous experience with violence, stands to benefit from self-defense preparations. The most effective approaches teach simple, repeatable techniques that do not require extensive training to execute when needed. Though no training can guarantee safety, equipping citizens with emergency self-defense skills and knowledge can improve outcomes. The potential need is universal, and supporting self-defense readiness aligns with society’s responsibility to protect and empower its citizens.

In this high-risk world, some level of emergency or disaster represents an inevitability each community will face to some degree sooner or later. While unable to prevent these incidents, properly training individuals, families, businesses, schools, and government agencies in disaster preparedness can mitigate negative consequences.

Everyone has a role, from top-level planners analyzing big-picture vulnerabilities to first responders guaranteeing skilled responses and families practicing evacuation routes. We owe it to ourselves and each other to implement emergency readiness training across all of society.

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