Handle a crisis by planning for it

  • Saturday, July 18, 2015 2:55pm
  • Opinion

Be prepared.

The phrase has long been the Boy Scout motto, but more and more, we’re seeing it put into practice on a day to bay basis.

As a case in point, the Clarion recently reported on a pair of training programs aimed at preparing local citizens and organizations to respond to an unexpected turn of events.

The first is a Community Emergency Response Team program. The program, administered by the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management, allows community members to be trained in everything from leadership to medical response so they are prepared for future emergencies or disasters. The current session is under way, wrapping up July 25.

The other program offered recently was the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Run, Hide, Fight workplace violence preparedness program July 9, held at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska.

While the programs address different situations, the philosophy behind them is the same: In a crisis situation, have an established plan of action. That means discussing potential situations and assigning duties or developing protocols before those situations arise, so that if or when they do, people know how to react.

Certainly, the threat of workplace violence and reaction to it deserve serious discussion. We can no longer say “that won’t happen here,” and local organizations should have a plan in place.

But there are plenty of other steps to be taken to ensure organizations can respond to smaller emergencies, too. For example, does everyone in the office know how to use the fire extinguisher?

There are plenty of other programs to help with emergency preparedness. Many peninsula residents have adopted FireWise principles, particularly with the recent increase in wildfire risk. Even something as simple as doing a periodic fire drill with your family can save a life.

The borough Office of Emergency Management website is a good source of information to prepare for emergencies: www.kpb.us/emergency-mgmt.

The potential for disaster is part of life on the Kenai Peninsula. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, wildfires and extreme weather are regular occurrences. Human-caused emergencies are becoming part of the landscape, too. Spend some time planning for those situations now, and when they do happen, you’ll be prepared.

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