They won’t soon forget the late April “Good Friday” tornado that carved a 22-mile track of destruction through their city, damaging 200 homes and leaving thousands of people without power.  Although the community wasn’t damaged, residents were assured by the Crescent Condominiums’ disaster preparedness plan.
With more than 60 million Americans living homes governed by community associations, emergency planning has become an essential skill of HOA managers.
Testing your plan.  An untested plan is not a real plan – so go ahead and plan those drills. Communicating about preparedness. Managers must make preparedness top of mind in their communities, through      newsletters and bill inserts.
Helping others.  By definition, a commitment to disaster preparedness is a commitment to helping others – so some communities consider adopting a local school or church or hosting a blood drive.
Red Cross research shows that every $1 invested in preparedness yields $6 in times of disaster. Communicate about preparedness.  Ask yourself, how can I make preparedness top of mind in my community, through newsletters and bill inserts. Help others.  By definition, a commitment to disaster preparedness is a commitment to helping others – so once you go down this path, consider adopting a local school or church, hosting a blood drive. CMCACorner4 HOA Security MishapsBy Association Voice Communities with HOAs like to boast about their security, but too many HOAs make common security mistakes that waste money or are just ineffective.
IntroductionThe intent of Assessing Disaster Preparedness was to have an honest and open dialogue with key stakeholders across different sectors about the level of preparedness in the Bay Area to respond to a major natural hazard such as an earthquake.
For example, BAREPP, (Bay Area Regional Earthquake Preparedness Project) existed in various forms between 1983 and 2002. It is widely understood that the non-profit sector is crucial to the survival and well-being of the vulnerable, underprivileged and underserved communities who would be most affected in the event of a major disaster in the Bay Area. The discussion began with presentations by two non-profit organizations, both providing different perspectives on disaster preparedness.
Ana-Marie Jones, Executive Director of Collaborative Agencies Responding to Disasters (CARD), followed with a plea to revisit current messaging and methods around disaster preparedness. The participants also recognized the vital role of faith communities in preparing for disasters. There was consensus that a comprehensive map of the major non-profit providers in a community and the services offered by each in various geographical areas would be an invaluable resource to the community.
Colin Lacon, President and CEO of Northern California Grantmakers, spoke to the role of philanthropy in preparing for disasters. MessagingCurrent emergency management messaging focuses on the negative, or advocating preparedness, in order to prevent negative results such as the loss of property or life. All agreed that the media is an important constituent in any initiative on preparedness and resiliency.
On the heels of this discussion about measurement, Arrietta Chakos, Assistant City Manager of the City of Berkeley, eloquently pleaded with the group not to mistake measurement for wisdom.
The group recommended that while measurement tools are being developed, there begin to be movement forward toward the prioritization of gaps and execution of solutions. Learn how to prepare for your family and at your workplace, explore many links to resources and see what to do for your pets. Her view was that using fear to urge people to prepare for disasters was a disempowering and ineffective approach. It was agreed that at the current time, no one could speak to the level of resiliency or preparedness in any community in the United States as there are no common tools or metrics. While it was agreed that there is a great deal of activity and thinking around disaster preparedness, different stakeholders often have limited visibility to the activities of others. In addition there were representatives from various city governments and national disaster preparedness organizations and emergency preparedness accreditation organizations (see Participant List). It was comprised of representatives from the government, emergency management practitioners, scientists, and community groups. CARD is built on the concept that preparing for disasters is an essential part of every person's responsibility to themselves, their organizations and their families. Several participants felt that messaging around disaster preparedness could be made more positive by focusing on community resiliency and economic development.
Small community-based organizations cite lack of funds and knowledge as significant impediments.
Unfortunately, such responsive actions do not allow for the optimization of core competences.
Tierney concluded her presentation by providing a framework for measuring disaster preparedness that could be used across sectors and levels of analysis with existing indicators and instruments and included eight dimensions.

He reiterated the critical importance of local preparedness and spoke to the effectiveness of various models of community participation in disaster planning that had emerged in the past and dissolved due to the lack of funding and political will.
We can encourage our employers to take steps toward preparing emergency essentials the same way we do with our community. Many people work on emergency preparedness in their own homes—having freeze-dried food, water storage, and emergency supplies. Practice the plan– Have mock disaster drills to ensure that each community member knows where to go, who to look for, and what to do when a natural disaster strikes. This entry was posted in Community Preparedness of Ways to Organize, Emergency Resource Guide, Preparedness Basics. The word needs to be spread that a storm is coming, streets need to be sandbagged, a fire needs to be put out, or debris needs to be cleaned up – this is when we need each other as a neighborhood, especially when communication is down. Community organizations, like Citizen Corps Councils, are available nationwide and help develop community emergency plans that include outreach, education, and emergency training. Like many other community groups, Citizen Corps Councils encourages volunteerism and offers aid during an actual disaster.
Their impact on communities varies, depending on their size and location, the age of the housing stock and a community’s degree of preparedness. George Sullivan, an expert in disaster preparedness for the American Red Cross says, “A lot of people write an emergency response plan based on something happened to someone else.” If you don’t know what hazards you face, call the American Red Cross which can help you assess risk. One weakness with the government is the lack of information within and outside about level of preparedness and enhancements to preparedness due to lack of standardized metrics and measures.
Estimates suggest that over 80% of the productive resources required for disaster response and recovery are controlled by the private sector. Throughout the conference and in the afternoon discussion around preparing for disasters five core themes emerged, around which the group coalesced and formed consensus. Measurement and MetricsThe lack of available and accurate data contributes to inefficient and unsuccessful planning. Call for ActionJim Aldrich of the San Francisco Office of Emergency Services summarized the call to action as follows, "There is a sense of urgency in the Bay Area emergency management community. The conference participants represented the Office of Emergency Services (OES) at the state, regional and local levels, heads of non-profit organizations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army and United Way, the corporate sector, academia, and philanthropy. Research around the social response of citizens during times of emergency shows that even those who are not members of a faith community reach out to local churches, synagogues and mosques for assistance. The group would like to begin development of a strategy for deciding which issues to tackle first and how and who should lead these efforts. Both the Red Cross and FEMA recommend that you try to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours (3 days) following a disaster.
The conference was sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation and PG&E as an initial component of a project that seeks to provide an objective, third-party view of the landscape of disaster preparedness. While many organizations in this sector have begun to create business continuity and disaster preparedness plans, many others have not. It is clear that there needs to be a realistic and achievable strategy for incorporating faith communities in any local disaster preparedness initiative. There was wide recognition of the need for the creation of a coordinating organization to aggregate efforts, establish metrics and standards, facilitate cooperation and partnerships and advocate for disaster management policy change. The group discussed the fact that the philanthropic community needed to be an important part of a local initiative as its funds could address important issues that the government has been unable or unwilling to do. Focusing on preparedness for one hazard in lieu of another creates missed opportunities for leveraging investment and optimizing community resiliency.
Our communities should be able to survive for three days on their own and have the necessary evacuation and shelter plans to do so. When that disaster does strike, whether it’s a tornado, flood, earthquake, or fire, this is the time to come together as a community.
Some people put together entire disaster preparedness kits and plans, which is all fine and well.
HOA managers must understand what types of disasters are likely to occur in their community, develop emergency response protocols, practice them and then communicate them. Peter Ohtaki, Director of Business Executives for National Security (BENS), spoke to their model of partnerships between the private sector and the government around issues of disaster preparedness and national security. LeadershipCurrently there is no constituency for emergency management, which was referred to by a participant as a 'policy without a public.' While most people in the Bay Area agree that disaster preparedness is important, it is not an issue that is at the top of the lists of politicians. It was agreed that any initiative should include a component that objectively assesses and baselines current levels of preparedness and is able to chart progress from it.

We resolve to make the Bay Area the most resilient community in the world; a resiliency that we can prove.
Kathleen Tierney, Director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado, formally opened the conference by reviewing the results of the previous day's discussions among the most prominent academics on disaster preparedness and management . Further, many participants felt that having a common framework and definition of disaster preparedness, and a common metric to assess preparedness and delineate gaps could stimulate funding and collaboration.
Professional emergency workers are rapidly overwhelmed in mass emergencies so trained, organized, responsible volunteers are extremely valuable. Among the activities were two reviews of the preparedness metrics literature conducted by Jeannette Sutton and Dr. He suggested that the key to creating enduring and sustainable community resiliency was in sharing resources and knowledge and forging trust among the various actors charged with serving the community. Further, recent research has suggested that only 33% of Bay Area businesses have a business continuity plan, fewer have plans to assess and ensure employee well-being, and almost none have concrete plans or partnerships to participate in community recovery. Organizations like Community Emergency Response Teams and the Red Cross are ready sources of trained volunteers. A call for a neutral party to step forward into this role was logged several times during these conversations.
The group's consensus was for Fritz Institute to serve as the organization providing leadership in this umbrella role. Spread the word– Organize your own home for a disaster, have a family emergency plan, and then spread the word to neighbors, friends, and family. The approach shall include significant outreach components in the form of marketing and media to create a 'public' and gain support from politicians.The approach shall include research to develop metrics to baseline and demonstrate progress. Many in the room felt that emergency management and disaster preparedness were a 'policy without a public', and as a consequence did not get the prominence or importance that they deserved from city or state officials. Yet, there are almost no linkages between the private sector and the government emergency services departments or the non-profit community-based organizations. Nonetheless, the group agreed that it was unreasonable to expect the government to be the sole provider of disaster response and recovery services and had mixed views on the level of preparedness and effectiveness of the office of emergency services at the city, region, state and national levels. He cited this conference and other initiatives under the aegis of Northern California Grantmakers, The San Francisco Foundation and the United Way, which are all directed at gaining knowledge about gaps in disaster preparedness so that philanthropy can focus on addressing these gaps before a disaster, and also understand how to best use resources immediately after a disaster. Conference participants were selected through discussions with their peers who identified them as leaders and experts in the disaster management community. These reviews summarized existing measures of preparedness at the household level, organization level and community level using both primary and secondary data.
Alabama residents can receive free weather alerting information by SMS, email, or telephone calls for locations within the State of Alabama through SAF-T-Net. Harold Brooks, CEO of the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter spoke to his organization's interest in leveraging partnerships with the local non-profit community as well as the private sector to improve their capacity to deliver services. Further, at the national level, government spending weighs heavily in the direction of homeland security, rather than emergency management.
As a consequence, there is a lack of transparency around the allocation of resources, previously directed toward preparing for natural disasters.The experts agree that there needs to be an emphasis on advocacy around this subject and a strategy to elevate the subject on the agendas of local and national governments.
It is hoped that this exercise would lead to proposed ways to assess preparedness, so that gaps, if any, can be funded by the philanthropic community prior to the onset of a large-scale disaster. However, it was also clear that many felt that the Bay Area was more prepared than other regions in the country due to frequent natural disaster exposure and experience in responding to those incidents.Richard Eisner, Regional Administrator, Southern Region Branch of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, reflected on his career and experience in hazards management.
There are many daily conveniences that we all take for granted; running water, electricity, gas, telephones, getting cash from an ATM machine, or even running to the grocery store to pick up milk and bread. EMAP starts with a self-assessment online which is followed by an on-site visit from five assessors who conduct a week-long review and audit of disaster preparedness plans and then make recommendations. Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluation and improvement activities to ensure effective coordination and the enhancement of capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters. As a result, this lack of coordination and collaboration with front-line players such as the government and community-based organizations results in many valuable resources remaining unaccessed, or unused. In the preparedness phase, emergency managers develop plans of action to manage and counter their risks and take action to build the necessary capabilities needed to implement such plans. Proper maintenance and training of emergency services, including mass human resources such as Community Emergency Response Teams.

Fema ready kit
Map of usa with capitals and rivers
Emergency management communications officer


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