Disasters and CERT


  • It is sad to learn about disasters happening in various parts of the world.
  • Several are natural disasters.
  • Some are man-made disasters.
  • Despite advantages in technology, there is no reliable and cost-effective system [yet] to predict and/or prevent disasters.
  • There are general predictions like “the coming of Doom’s Day”.
    Some are serious about “nuclear wars” (and similar scenarios of “Apocalypse”) and spend exorbitant money to order or build underground hideouts in remote places and also extensive “evacuation plans”.
  • There are some predictions based on historical data.
    e.g. “The next big earthquake is due. You should take extra care since you are living on a fault line.”
  • A few could not and would not leave their homes even when the authorities issued “mandatory evacuation”.
    Some evacuated, but they when they returned they found their houses missing or being vandalized.
  • Disaster recovery is not simple.
    The countless lives lost to Cyclone Nargis and its aftermath could have been minimized with proper planning and mobilization of the rescue teams.
  • Kudos to the individuals and organizations that offer “disaster relief funds”.
    But, disaster relief is at the tail end.

Awareness and CERT

Contributed by U Khin Maung Zaw (EC76)

No matter if there is a somewhat connection with the ‘climate change’ concept, the natural disasters, storms/earthquakes/tsunamis are getting as often and more powerful in the past several years. These has caused severe damaged to many lives, killed, injured, livelihood wiped out among others.

In the United States, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which covers these emergencies have discovered that they alone albeit budget crunch could not handle each and every aspect of the damages, They are now encouraging, and working with local authorities, city/county/state on many aspects of the disaster preparedness and recovery process and procedures.

First, there is a FEMA App on all mobile platforms, where one can go through subscribing Alerts, Anticipate/Prepare for any disasters, Disaster Resources et al. In US, various regions have differing disaster, for example Washington State where I live, we have to be prepared for major earthquakes but not for Hurricanes etc. The local authorities have classes, training sessions, drills on where/how/what/who, the usual five ‘W’s on many possible disasters. My city, Kirkland has multiple levels of CERT, Community Emergency Response Team, classes, trainings, intensive training/classes for leadership levels, regular sync ups/meetings etc.

They are also aware that not all local/state/federal could communicate well in the cases of disasters due to proliferation of different communication equipment and trying to alleviate the issue.

One very interesting discovery they learned from the mega-disasters past couple of years is that the previous assumptions that they had for the preparedness were no longer adequate. The old assumption was that you need to have at least three day supply of food/water/first-aid – basic essentials. In the recent mega-disasters, they discovered that there are many instances no rescuers could get to you for more than a week or so, the new thinking/suggestion is that you need to have at least 2 weeks stock of live essentials. food/water/waste management/radios/batteries etc. There is also a movement where rather than you do it for yourself and/or your family, your neighborhood would pool resources in a commonly accessible area, like one’s spare space in a garage, you could store beds/cots/water tanks/medical supplies for multiple family etc. We live in a place where rain is given so tents/ponchos are a must. Dehydrated food, which could last 25+ years or so could be stored there.The city have all these info, with maps, co-ordinate with all authorities in the case a disaster,

I could go on and on as I went through the very basic level of CERT, and I am thinking of week long class/training.

There is a consensus assessment that rescuers could not reached to many victims in major disaster where roads, telecommunication might be devastated. Seattle, Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond and many other cities in and around Puget Sound, Western Washington where life is way overdue for major earthquake.

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