When most people think of emergency preparedness, they think about food, water, and shelter. However, being prepared is much more than having enough food and water for a few days and knowing where to take shelter at in your home, school or workplace. Do1Thing teaches families, individuals and businesses how to prepare for emergencies and disaster by doing one thing each month to prepare. Each month has its own topic so that participants only have to focus on one goal at a time in order to build their emergency plan. Each month there are three different tasks to choose from that are easy and low or no cost. Those that participate in the program have the option to download the monthly factsheets with the tasks or receive a monthly reminder to ensure they stay on track. Once the 12 months have been completed, we encourage people to go back and update their plan. For example, if someone has moved, the family meeting location may be different or canned goods may be close to expiration.
For the month of August, the goal is to make your community stronger by getting trained and getting involved. The program encourages people to connect with isolated individuals, promote emergency preparedness and to become a volunteer with local organizations such as the Red Cross and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). With the latest CPR guidelines, getting the necessary experience can be easy when joining these types of programs. For example, the CERT program includes training on medical operations which includes diagnosing and treating airway obstruction. There are also many CERT programs across the country that will cover the cost to become certified in CPR. Participants may also invite emergency responders to meetings and events to promote and speak about preparedness to those in their community. Kids and schools are not excluded from being prepared. Do1Thing also offers a preparedness coloring book for kids in a monthly format that also encourages them to be involved in their communities. The outcome could also be the kids become so interested that their parents then also want to become prepared.
During an emergency or a disaster it is easy to take for granted the resources that will available for use. 9-1-1 and first responders may be inundated with calls and cannot arrive as quickly as they normally would. It is beneficial to first responders when people are trained to know what to do during an emergency. The Do1Thing program encourages communities to be involved just as much an individuals. It is also a good idea to find out if your workplace or faith institution has plans in place in case an emergency. If not, perhaps suggesting staff and congregant members get CPR and other first aid training would be a step towards making local communities ready for emergencies. Having trainings in the work place or other institutions allows emergency preparedness information to reach people who may not otherwise be introduced to learning what to do during an emergency.
Looking at how prepared communities are is not just an indicator of shortcomings but it reveals how much more work needs to be done. The U.S. Census reported in 2015 that less than half of those surveyed had a communication plan, or what to do in case there is no cell phone service, or an emergency meeting location. Just a little over half of that same audience had an emergency water supply and an emergency evacuation kit. Knowing this information gives a foundation to encourage communities to do more to get prepared. For example, when there are community events going on, invite the Red Cross or CERT to come be apart by speaking or hosting a table. The event doesn’t have to be geared towards emergency preparedness but can be about anything that involves building the community. The common stress and anxiety related to being prepared for emergencies can be alleviated by educating people. When people are given the tools and information they need, they feel more confident and empowered. When presented as a small task, one topic a month, and inexpensive, being prepared can be done by everyone. Do1Thing takes a whole community approach in that it has materials translated into seven different languages, low-literacy format, audio, video, large print, and braille. The goal is to create disaster resilient communities. These communities are made up of people who are have an emergency plan for themselves, their families, and their businesses, that are trained on what to do during an emergency. Disaster resilient communities are able to mitigate their hazards and bounce back quick after a disaster. These communities will have the ability to help save lives when disaster strikes.