United States Civil Defense Assoc. (USCDA) is committed to providing relevant emergency relief and disaster training for all our members, along with Sheriff personal, cities, counties and industry lay people as well as professionals seeking the latest skills and knowledge to help lead the response. Through these exciting training programs, students gain a strong foundation in 1st responders, relief, disasters, including recovery and consequence and crisis management.
These programs exposes students to advanced operating characteristics, response and recovery functions, and resource management of an integrated emergency management system. USCDA also works closely with industry advisory councils and leaders to ensure that students are exposed to techniques and strategies based on information reported back from actual missions.
In addition, students are taught by practicing and responding to real emergencies.
Community Emergency Response Teams. (CERT)
Attention all USCDA members new and not so new.
All CERT graduates around the country should join your local USCDA chapter. If there is no chapter in your area start one. On this web site click on “About USCDA” and click on “Chapter Structure & Command”. For those of you who are not CERT certifified There are local hands on training in most jurisdictions around the country that offer CERT training during some time of the year. Many through city and county governments. Check with your area and get into the program so you can get started and certified and as a leadership member earn the rank of private in the USCDA.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.
Locate a CERT Program in your community:
Community Emergency Response Teams State Directory of CERT
USCDA training programs.
Local chapters should set up similar below training for their members.
The following training is available through H-Q. Some instructors are available to travel.
- CERTS. Hands on training. (Those USCDA leadership members who complete the hands-on CERT training program, are eligible for the rank of private in the USCDA).
- Wilderness Survival- Instructor SGT. James Rakosky
- Small Arms and Safety Training – Instructor SSGT. Geoff Wiley
- Food and water Storage – Instructor General Michael Webster
- Advanced 1st Aid – Instructor General Michael Webster
- Primitive Fire-Making- Instructor SGT. Bill Walker
- Rope Craft (Knots, mechanical advantage systems, making cordage) – Instructor Col: Ronald Adler
- Outfitting your Mission Ready Gear/Bug Out Bag
- Choosing a Bug Out Route using USCDA county secured safe area chapters as re-supply centers along the way
- Getting Started in Handloading – Instructor Lt. Col Michael Moran M.D.
- Let’s Learn how to Build a self-sufficient farm or garden. Do you want to learn how to create a self-sufficient farm or garden? – Instructor General Michael Webster
- Land Navigation (map, compass, GPS) – Instructor SGT. James Rakosky
- Water Purification methods – Instructor General Michael Webster
- Livestock raising (chickens, goats, cattle Etc. – Instructor General Michael Webster
- Survival gardening – Instructor General Michael Webster
- Useful wild Plants
- Traps and Trapping – Instructor General Michael Webster
- Tracking & hunting small and large game – Instructor General Michael Webster
- Communications. USCDA Nationwide Amateur Radio network, and local CB Signal Core.Communications Commander Lt. Col Michael Moran M.D.
Any member who would like to suggest a training course contact HQ. Any qualified member interested in instructing above training contact HQ. firstname.lastname@example.org
Many items you need can be found at: http://www.thereadystore.com/?aid=4b5e43160feb5
FEMA Independent Study Courses Sanctioned by USCDA
The following FEMA courses are recommended for all new members these FEMA On-Line Course is designed To Help Community Emergency Response Teams Get – And Stay – Trained –At completion all USCDA members get certification and Rank. FEMA IS 100b and IS 700.a are recommended for all new members and mandatory for all A Team members.
FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute offers many online courses for you to learn more about emergency preparedness, mitigation, the emergency management system, and the disaster response process.
All the course materials are available over the internet to all who are interested. Official enrollment in the course, which includes scoring the final exam, receiving a certificate, and maintaining student records is, however, limited to United States (US) residents and to those individuals outside the US with valid US Postal Service deliverable address including APOs and FPOs.
The EMI Independent Study program consists of self-paced courses designed for both the general public and people who have emergency management responsibilities. They are offered free-of-charge to all who qualify for enrollment, and college credit can be obtained through a for-fee service after successful completion of a course.
Each Independent Study Course includes lessons with practice exercises and a final examination. Those who score 75 percent or better are issued a certificate of achievement from EMI. Course completion times vary from two to fourteen hours, depending on the course and the student’s background.
Introduction to Search and Rescue/SARTECH III – Beginning level recommened for all USCDA members & other Emergency Service Workers
Advice for a new USCDA members
By General Michael (mick) Webster
Always follow the USCDA’s “Mission Health and Safety Supervisor” Remember if your not safe you will not be able to help others and may put yourself and other members in danger..
Get as much training as you can. First take a local CERT course. Go on line to our web site www.uscda.us Take what courses that are available and home study on line courses IS 100.b Introduction to Incident Command System (ICS)IS 700.a Introduction to National Incident Management System (NIMS) these are very good to start with. It’s essential that you have some basic principles of first aid and know how to apply them, even under stress. Even knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in a disaster situation. You can treat minor injuries and keep serious casualties stable until further help is available.
Although there are innumerable injuries and ailments that could affect you, as long as you learn the basic principles of first aid, you can apply them to almost any situation. Your USCDA can train you in 1st aid. If there is not a local chapter in your area most cities and counties offer Red Cross 1st aid training.
Let’s say you now have at least CERT training and some 1st aid under your belt. Put all your mission ready gear together and notify HQ to be put on USCDA’s incident mission ready roster.
If you are a member and your already in the medical field and are ready to volunteer your services contact our medical director :
The most common injuries you will encounter as a USCDA member disaster volunteer responding to a disaster are cuts of varying severity, puncture wounds, burns and the broken bone. This means that controlling bleeding, cleaning and disinfecting wounds, and stabilizing limbs are all critical skills to develop. Proper bandaging, once bleeding is under control, is also a good thing to know. The most important part of your first aid kit is between your ears, make sure it is well-stocked.
Other then my training as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) most of what I have learned about practical first aid I have, unfortunately, learned by experience. A lot of the hardcore improvisational first aid I have practiced or witnessed took place after major disasters around the world. Many times miles from any hospitals. Often, you are on your own and someone is hurt, and the first aid kit never seems to have what you need. Fortunately, I have paid attention every time to circumstances have dictated by taking one of our CERT courses at the USCDA, a Red Cross first aid class, or a FEMA home study course which provides a solid foundation for beginners or those with more experience and training. For still others it will be just a refresher course from which to work a disaster from an emergency medical and transportation of the sick and injured point of view.
I have seen and treated a wide variety of burns, gun, knife and saw wounds as a result of disasters. When an injury occurs during a disaster particularly a major disaster normal emergency services are over loaded or non-existent.
Inexperienced res-ponders have to be careful to not make the rescue a more dangerous situation.
Standard first aid practices involve stopping bleeding, cleaning the wound, and protecting it so the injured party can be stabilized and readied for transport to a hospital or other medical care provider via ambulance, boat or helicopter. Cleansing is done with rubbing alcohol or peroxide. Following cleansing, more topical antibiotic is applied. Closure can be accomplished with Steri-Strips, which I much prefer to butterfly bandages. In extreme cases, when medical attention is days away, sutures (actual or improvised with boiled thread or fishing line), or good old super glue have been used with good results.
Anyone practicing first aid must determine the priorities of treatment.
First, check if the casualty is in any danger, or will put you into a dangerous position by helping them. Avoid moving a casualty with unknown injuries, unless there is a greater danger in leaving the casualty where he or she is. If necessary, make the area safe, but put your own safety first. Do not move anyone with a suspected neck or spinal injury, unless difficulties in breathing make this necessary.
1. Check breathing
Check that the airway is open and the casualty is breathing. A person who is unconscious has no control over their muscles, therefore, their tongue is the single most common cause of an airway obstruction. The airway can be cleared by simply using the head-tilt/chin-lift technique, see the figure. This action pulls the tongue away from the air passage in the throat.
Place an unconscious but breathing person in the recovery position:
· Place the casualty on his or her side, with their uppermost leg at a right angle to the body. Once again, do not move anyone with a suspected neck or spinal injury.
· Support the head by the hand of the uppermost arm.
· Tilt the head back to ensure that the airway is clear.
Stop any bleeding. All types of external bleeding, such as open wounds, are treated in the same way:
· Squeeze together the sides of the wound. Apply direct pressure to the wound with your fingers, or preferably a sterile dressing. In an emergency, an article of clean clothing will do.
· Lie the casualty down.
· Lift the wounded part above the level of the heart. This slows the bleeding.
· Bandage the wound firmly but take care not to cut off the circulation to the area. If you suspect that an injury may have caused internal bleeding, the most important thing you can do is to prevent shock from occurring. Urgent medical attention is necessary.
Shock is a condition of general body weakness, and is present in all cases of accidents, to a varying degree. The shocked casualty may feel weak, faint, giddy, anxious or restless. Keep the casualty warm and quiet and give all the reassurance you can.
4. Heat emergencies
Heat illnesses are easily preventable by taking precautions in hot weather.
Children, elderly, and obese people have a higher risk of developing heat illness. People taking certain medications or drinking alcohol also have a higher risk. However, even a top athlete in superb condition can succumb to heat illness if he or she ignores the warning signs.
If the problem isn’t addressed, heat cramps (caused by loss of salt from heavy sweating) can lead to heat exhaustion (caused by dehydration), which can progress to heatstroke. Heatstroke, the most serious of the three, can cause shock, brain damage, organ failure, and even death.
Heat emergencies are caused by prolonged exposure to extreme heat. The following are common causes of heat emergencies:
The early symptoms of heat illness include:
Later symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
The symptoms of heatstroke include:
- Fever (temperature above 104 °F)
- Irrational behavior
- Extreme confusion
- Dry, hot, and red skin
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Rapid, weak pulse
First Aid Treatment
- Have the person lie down in a cool place. Raise the person’s feet about 12 inches.
- Apply cool, wet cloths (or cool water directly) to the person’s skin and fan to lower body temperature. Place cold compresses on the person’s neck, groin, and armpits.
- If alert, give the person beverages to sip (such as Gatorade), or make a salted drink by adding a teaspoon of salt per quart of water. Give a half cup every 15 minutes. Cool water will do if salt beverages are not available.
- For muscle cramps, Apply heat (hair dyer or rub area) give beverages as above and massage affected muscles gently, but firmly, until they relax.
- Do NOT underestimate the seriousness of heat illness, especially if the person is a child, elderly, or injured.
- Do NOT give the person medications that are used to treat fever (such as aspirin or acetaminophen). They will not help, and they may be harmful.
- Do NOT give the person salt tablets.
- Do NOT give the person liquids that contain alcohol or caffeine. They will interfere with the body’s ability to control its internal temperature.
- Do NOT use alcohol rubs on the person’s skin.
- Do NOT give the person anything by mouth (not even salted drinks) if the person is vomiting or unconscious.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in hot weather.
- Rest frequently and seek shade when possible.
- Avoid exercise or strenuous physical activity outside during hot or humid weather.
- Drink plenty of fluids every day. Drink more fluids before, during, and after physical activity.
- Be especially careful to avoid overheating if you are taking drugs that impair heat regulation, or if you are overweight or elderly.
- Be careful of hot cars in the summer. Allow the car to cool off before getting in.
Do you want to be prepared for a trip in cold weather? Learn more about hypothermia and frostbite treatment.
Most of the cuts you’ll encounter are on the head, legs, arms, hands and feet.
TREATING & FIELD MANAGEMENT OF BURN VICTIMS
· Ensure scene safety · Remove the patient from the source of the burn · ABC’s · High flow oxygen · Remove clothing and jewelry from burn sites · Cool with sterile water · Cover with dry sterile dressings or a clean sheet · Prevent hypothermia· Transport A.S.A.P.
· Brush off dry chemical · Flush and irrigate with copious and continuous clean or sterile water. · Transport A.S.A.P.
· Ensure scene safety · Remove the patient from the electrical source · ABC’s· High flow oxygen· Assess and treat for associated injuries · Moist sterile dressing to burn · Transport A.S.A.P. · If no Cardiac Monitor take vital signs regularly Radiation burns
· Summon expert assistance where possible · Safely contain source of radiation if possible · Remove patient’s clothing · Follow decontamination procedure wash and rinse entire body: · Keep patent warm
Ready for transport
Most likely Emergency responders and others exposed to patient will need to decontaminate A.S.A.P.
Dealing with puncture wounds
Embedded objects such as knifes or patient impales are usually what you will be dealing with. It maybe better to let the impaled patient remain undisturbed, where removing the impaled object from the patient could be fatal. Otherwise it is generally best to push a penetrating object through rather than to pull it out. With something like a fishing hook, the procedure has been to push the barb through, and to use bolt cutters to take off either the eye or the tip behind the barb. The hook is then either pushed or pulled through, bringing the cut end of the hook out of the wound last. This leaves a puncture wound. Puncture wounds are difficult to clean and disinfect. A small syringe can be used to force alcohol or peroxide into the wound from both sides, and is therefore a good addition to your kit. I have cleaned puncture wounds from bullets, knifes, nails, rebar, barb wire and many other objects using this method.
It has been my experience that 800 mg of Ibuprofin is a great addition to your first aid kit; I have found that it is both a pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory. I have seen Ibuprofin used at higher doses be a very effective treatment for breaks, sprains and dislocations.
I just want to say that some of the treatments outlined here are not recommended in any but under extreme circumstances where medical supplies are limited and higher qualified medical help or hospital support is days away. I have related these things only to point out that the ability to improvise and think outside-the-box can be applied to first aid situations, where lives can be saved, particularly when the chips are down in a disaster.
A thoroughly stocked first aid kit and proper training are your best bets, but if you come up short you aren’t automatically out of the game. As a USCDA leader get all the training you can and remember the best training is hands on working with others who have the experience after a disaster. Everyone has to start somewhere. Good luck and make the most of it.
If you want to make a difference and “be the change,” Consider becoming a member of the United States Civil Defense Assoc.
and volunteering for worthwhile disaster relief service. Giving back & helping others is rewarding, fulfilling, satisfying, and fun!
|FIRE EMS TRANING VIDEOS|
|Bleeding Control Mike McEvoy reviews the basics of controlling bleeding in a prehospital environment and talks new technology as well as old techniques that are coming back into favor. Share:|
|Managing an Obstructed Airway Mike McEvoy shares some tips on clearing an obstructed airway in a patient. Share:|
|Active Shooter: The Rapid Treatment Model This training program from the Firefighters Support Foundation focuses on getting aid to the wounded within the golden hour, even while law enforcement is still clearing the structure. Share:|
How do I use a map, compass, and altimeter?
Some instructions never seems to make sense until you actually try to do them. This FAQ is one of those things. Simply reading without trying the exercise may be confusing.
A map, compass, and altimeter can be used for two general uses. One, to find where you are and two, to determine where to go. Take the time to practice before you need to use these skills. Practice often.
To find where you are:
Triangulation Method: First, find two landmarks. It helps if they are close to 90° from each other relative to your position. Next, take a bearing for these landmarks. Add or subtract the magnetic declination. Plot these bearings on your map. The point where the two bearings intersect is your position. The same can be done with several landmarks for more accuracy.
Altimeter Method: This method works best if you are on a trail, ridgeline, or valley that contains a large section that is all uphill or all downhill. It can also be used in conjunction with the triangulation method to determine your position more accurately. First, be sure that you altimeter has been calibrated. Next, find the point on your map where the trail, ridgeline, or valley intersects the contour line that most closely corresponds to your altimeter reading.
To determine where to go:
If you are on a trail but you can not determine if you are going in the right direction, a quick glance at the map and compass should sort things out.
If you are not on a trail, you will need a more precise method of determining the correct direction of travel. First, plot your desired course on your map to determine your true compass heading. Then add or subtract the magnetic declination. Now hold the compass at eye level and take a bearing to determine which object on the horizon you want to head for. Start walking toward that object until you reach it or loose site of it. Repeat the process until you reach your final destination.
Terms and methods:
Taking a bearing:
Plotting a heading on a map:
Calibrating the altimeter:
Online Firefighting Related Courses: Recommended by USCDA
Firefighters Course: Water Training Water Training is a comprehensive course that provides important information and relevant examples for firefighters to develop strategies for using water effectively during firefighting operations in the wildland/urban interface. The course takes approximately four hours to complete.
Homeowner Course: Landscaping The Firewise Landscaping course is designed for people living in wildland areas who make decisions about landscaping their homes. The course considers the issues of appropriate landscape designs, specific planting and pruning alternatives, and appropriate planting materials for interface/intermix fire environments. It has three parts: an Overview, Design/Installation and Maintenance. It also includes a virtual Firewise landscaping model you can use to visualize design alternatives. The course takes approximately three hours to complete.
Homeowners/Civic Leaders/Firefighters Course: Community Assessment Conducting a Community Assessment in the Wildland/Urban Interface: Beginning the Firewise Process is a course for fire and forestry professionals and others who want to help residents of areas at risk from wildfire to make their homes safer. Taking this course provides you with a thorough understanding of how homes ignite during wildfires, how simple actions can greatly reduce home ignitions, and how community behavior change can create Firewise homes and communities. This course is broken into eight lessons; each takes 30 and 45 minutes to complete.
Firefighters Course: Safety Firefighter Safety in the Wildland/Urban Interface addresses problems faced by structural and wildland firefighters when fighting fires, especially those threatening structures in the wildland/urban interface. An important goal is to expand your knowledge of firefighter safety and survival issues. The course has three parts: Understanding Fire Behavior in the WUI, Structure Protection Strategies in the WUI and Firefighter Safety in the WUI. The entire course takes approximately four hours to complete.
Bottom of Form
Top of Form
Workshops and Training: Recommended by USCDA
Home Ignition Zone (HIZ) Workshop
While wildfires are a problem in virtually every part of the US, research has lead to a greater understanding of how wildland fires ignite homes. There are many steps that can be taken to reduce losses; this two-day workshop will help you to identify the hazards and reduce risks in the home ignition zone (HIZ) before a wildfire starts. By applying this knowledge of how wildland-urban interface (WUI) fires occur and by using new approaches, future WUI fire disasters can be significantly reduced.
As part of the curriculum, the HIZ workshop incorporates NFPA 1141, Standard for Fire Protection Infrastructure for Land Development in Suburban and Rural Areas, and NFPA 1144, Standard for Reducing Structure Ignition Hazards from Wildland Fire, as the basis for assessing hazards and recommending appropriate mitigation measures to reduce wildfire risks to homes, developments, communities, and subdivisions and to increase awareness among residents and communities.
For additional information and to register, download our latest brochure. (PDF, 3 MB)
Bottom of Form
National US&R Response System Canine Search Teams (handler and canine) play a critical role during structural collapse incidents. The canines locate survivors, using their incredible sense of smell to detect live human scent, even from a survivor buried deep in rubble.
Canine and Handler Certification – Learn about the rigorous certification process each Canine Search Team must pass in the National US&R Response System.
Canine Search Specialist Certification Process – This document describes the National US&R Response System process that can also be used by Federal, state, and local organizations to determine Canine Search Team readiness levels.
Urban Search & Rescue Canine Photos – View photos of National US&R Response System Canine Search Teams responding to disasters.
All USCDA chapters and those interested in starting a chapter USCDA reccomends the following FEMA Course:
Training with Utility Companies. As you already know USCDA responds when invited to life threading emergencies and we provide disaster relief. We also like to practice prevention where possible. USCDA likes to analyze disastrous situations and a good place to start is with your local utility companies before a natural or man made disaster. Contacting your local utility, let the utility know that the USCDA would be available to them in times of these emergencies. Working with the public utility companies that deals with terrorist attacks and responds to other emergencies, such as downed power lines, natural gas line ruptures, and water main breaks are among some of the concerns the utility companies and first responders have. Learn how they plan to deal with emergencies and how best the USCDA can help during, before and after these emergencies.
USCDA should offer when possible to train the utility company’s key employees on CERTS in the beginning and later offer more training. USCDA local members should take any training programs the utilities may offer in emergency management. If your local USCDA chapter does not have a CERT instructor USCDA – HQ can help provide one for just travel and lodging for our USCDA certified CERTS instructor.
Maj: James Fine
USCDA – HQ
Water is a fundamental part of our lives. It is easy to forget how completely we depend on it. Human survival is dependent on water — water has been ranked by experts as second only to oxygen as essential for life. The average adult body is 55 to 75% water. 2/3 of your body weight is water (40 to 50 quarts). A human embryo is more than 80% water. A newborn baby is 74% water. Everyday your body must replace 2 1/2 quarts of water.The Water you drink literally becomes you! Since such a large percentage of our bodies is water, water must obviously figure heavily in how our bodies function. We need lots of fresh water to stay healthy. Aside from aiding in digestion and absorption of food, water regulates body temperature and blood circulation, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, and removes toxins and other wastes. This “body water” also cushions joints and protects tissues and organs, including the spinal cord, from shock and damage. Conversely, lack of water (dehydration) can be the cause of many ailments. In his book, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj noted that chronic dehydration may cause certain problems for the body, including hypertension, asthma, allergies, and migraine headaches.
Every process in our body occurs in a water medium. We can exist without food for 2 months or more, but we can only survive for a few days without water.
Most people don’t drink enough water. The body responds to this water deficiency in a variety of ways, which we frequently see as illnesses. When, many symptoms decrease. Ongoing dehydration may cause actual disease as the body struggles to maintain itself with insufficient water.
Concern About the Nation’s Drinking Water
- Although water covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, only 1% of the Earth’s water is available as a source of drinking water. Unfortunately, Americans are finding that our limited supplies are often polluted with contaminants such as Asbestos, Cysts (like Cryptosporidium and Giardia), Lead, Mercury, Trihalomethanes, Turbidity, Endocrine Disrupters and Volatile Organic Chemicals When ever possible always test your water source.To expand your capability or survive longer than a couple of days you will need a water purification system. This can be as simple as boiling water and iodine tablets, or a serious water filter.See or click on: Mission Ready Gear this web site.
Wildlife Tracking Walk – Free
Where: Mission Trails Regional Park, Visitor Center (map)Description: Join an experienced San Diego Tracking Team member for a FREE easy wildlife tracking walk. Look for tracks, scat, and further evidence on the trail that coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, deer, and other seldom-seen wildlife have been in the area! No reservation is necessary. Just show up. Information at www.mtrp.org. Rain cancels.
THESE MEETUPS ARE POSTED AS AN FYI. THE DATES AND TIMES MAY NOT FOLLOW THE EXACT SCHEDULE. PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK AT THE BOTTOM TO FIND THE EXACT DATES AND TIMES OF FUTURE COURSES.
The following classes, presented by the Los Peñasquitos Tracking Team, are scheduled throughout the year and are open to all (high-school and older, please). Classes involve one weekday evening and one Saturday. Our goal is to provide you with information and tools that will be helpful in wildlife track and sign identification and the appreciation of our rapidly disappearing native habitat, as well as in improving your powers of observation and awareness
Intermediate Tracker/Naturalist Program This phase of instruction will broaden your experience giving you a chance to develop personal strategies for confident recognition and interpretation of tracks and sign on a variety of surfaces. We will help you get beyond the track identification phase and into the interpretation phase; with exercises in speculative tracking, aging, soil dynamics, debris interaction, trailing, mammal skull and dental identification, and tracking on various substrates. Gait interpretation learned in the beginning class will be expanded upon.
Advanced Tracker/Naturalist Program The culmination of the three part series, this class concentrates on fine detail and further development of your proficiency as a tracker. Trailing animals through various difficult surfaces will allow opportunities for us to share strategies and exercises that will enable you to stay on the right track. We provide drills and exercises that will help you expand your knowledge base, point out areas you need to work on and give you a taste for what it would be like to go through a tracker evaluation.
Those who have completed the Tracker/Naturalist series, or equivalent, are eligible to join the SDTT’s apprentice program.
Dates and Times: Please check the calendar for upcoming class dates and times. Classes are usually offered as a combination of 7:00 to 9:00 pm weekday AND 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Saturday.
http://www.sdtt.org/Education/Track_train.aspxLearning from Hurricane Sandy Champions of Change
How much of an impact can a small group of volunteers make after a disaster?
Last Wednesday, I had the honor of addressing the Hurricane Sandy Champions of Change – a group of “ordinary” people who did (and are still doing) extraordinary things to help those who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Many of them suffered damage to their homes and businesses as a result of the storm, but continued to fulfill the needs they saw in their communities.
CAPTION: Washington, D.C., April 24, 2013 – The White House Champions of Change event which honored people and organizations directly involved in response and recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy. These hidden heroes implemented innovative, collaborative solutions to meet the unique needs of communities and neighborhoods as they worked to rebuild after the devastating effects of this disaster.
The exceptional work of these Champions of Change reminds us that every disaster, big and small, brings out champions in our communities. It’s our job as government leaders to recognize this and support their success. This impressive group showed us what it takes to be a champion:
- Champions aren’t afraid to act – When people hear the term “first responder”, they often think of fire engines and search and rescue teams. And that’s right. But many times, the “first responders” after a disaster are neighbors and those within the community. They’re the ones immediately knocking on doors, checking on friends and loved ones, and seeing if people’s basic needs are being met. And neighbors are the ones who know the community best. What makes the Champions of Change a special group was that they were able to identify the unique needs of their own communities and respond to them. As the Champions shared their individual stories, a few of them said “Do what you’re good at.” That’s a great perspective, and that’s exactly what they did –they took it upon themselves to help their neighbors— applying their skill set to solving real problems. If they knew how to cook, they prepared meals. If they could gut and pump homes, they got to work. If they could set up wireless networks for internet access, they made it happen. Having an impact during and after emergencies can be as simple as focusing on what you’re good at and taking action.
- Seeing the public as a resource, not a liability – Within government, there’s often been a tendency to rely on government alone to respond to emergencies. This top-down approach, assumed people needed to be taken care of and have their needs met for them. What the Champions of Change demonstrate is that this way of thinking is shortsighted – individuals and communities often rise up and solve problems on their own. We have to look to all of us to solve problems and bring our best. The best approach by government is to work with the public as a valuable partner— a resource that helps after a disaster, not a liability that needs to be taken care of. Those impacted by disasters aren’t “victims”, they are “survivors”. Those of us in government should be continually looking for ways to work alongside impacted individuals and communities so we can bring every possible resource to bear in helping their neighborhoods recover.
- Solutions built around government are too small – Another reality that the Champions of Change brings to light is how big disasters can be. If we only build solutions or systems that work within the capabilities of government, communities will suffer. What happens to that system when the disaster is bigger than the government’s scale? What happens to those impacted by the disaster when that system doesn’t do what it’s supposed to? Government by itself does not have all the answers – the team responding to disasters must be much bigger than that. We can’t fall into the trap of government having the answers because disasters hit communities and families. That’s why we need to build our response and recovery systems around the public first. Members of the community need to be at the planning table alongside government, businesses, and non-profit organizations because they’re the ones that best know the needs of the community and they’re the ones who are often the first responders. That’s what the Champions of Change did – they identified people’s needs in the community and scaled their solutions to meet those needs.
During the event, the Champions were also asked to give their advice to others on how to prepare for emergencies, and our FEMAlive Twitter account captured what a few of them shared:
— FEMA Live (@FEMAlive) April 24, 2013
#whchamps one: “Ensure you have a way to communicate with the outside world. Charge your phone & have a solar powered cell phone battery.”
— FEMA Live (@FEMAlive) April 24, 2013
#whchamps two: “Take storm warnings seriously; even if it’s a temporary inconvenience for you to evacuate.”
— FEMA Live (@FEMAlive) April 24, 2013
#whchamps three: “Prepare – have more batteries than you need, have more water than you think you need.”
— FEMA Live (@FEMAlive) April 24, 2013
#whcamps four: “Heed mandatory evacuations. Staying home puts first responders’ lives at risk if they need to rescue you after a storm.”
— FEMA Live (@FEMAlive) April 24, 2013
#whchamps five: “If you’re in a flood-prone area, plan to get your car to higher ground & have a place to go that’s on higher ground.”
— FEMA Live (@FEMAlive) April 24, 2013
Without the tireless efforts and countless hours of volunteers, we would not be as far along as we are after Hurricane Sandy. There is still a lot of work to be done for every community to fully recover. The purpose of Wednesday’s event at the White House wasn’t just to recognize the impact of the 17 Champions of Change – it was also to inspire others to act. I hope you will follow the lead of what these Champions of Change are doing in their communities and take action to make your family, street, town, neighborhood, or city more resilient.
For more on the White House Champions of Change, visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions.
* USCDA Basic Membership is free.(there is an $25 annual membership fee for a “Leadership Membership”)
5.11 Tactical, Pants, Shirts, Boots and gear Free shipping on orders of $49 or more at WorkingPerson.com!
The Ready Store – Always Here – Always Ready
The WORLD’S LEADING EXPERT in emergency preparedness providing high-quality food storage, MREs, and emergency gear and supplies for more than a decade. Guaranteed lowest price & FREE shipping on orders over $100.
MyTopo Map Pass
Unlimited map browsing, printing, and downloading. Topo maps, aerial photos, hybrids, and map tools!
USCDA does accept public, private and corporate donations. As a non-governmental “volunteer” organization. But not as a government controlled non-private status, nor are we seeking such a tax exampt ruling. Your donation may not be tax deductible. USCDA avoids any funding from the government. USCDA remains a non-government entity. We feel we are therefor better able to serve in times of emergencies and act independent to the government and can provide better and faster services with out all the governmental red tape. In other words we get things done. We are always in need of funds to help assist us in our efforts to help our communities during natural or man made disasters. We understand and realize that the economy is unstable for the average American and we therefor only seek donations from those who can spare it without causing any hardship on themselves or families. Checks and money orders can be made out to: USCDA, 301 Forest Ave, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.