Yesterday, I stumbled across this post on BreakGlass.net that examines the Importance of Evidence-Based Disaster Plans. It references a recent research paper challenging assumptions made about current disaster planning.
I immediately thought it would be valuable to ask Court Ogilvie from Disaster Services to weigh in on the key parts of the article:
This article points out some flaws in how disaster planners do their thing, but it also seems to imply that planning is something that is done for us—on behalf of the general public by other organizations or by the government. As others have already pointed out, we are all first responders when a disaster strikes. At the Red Cross, we have long emphasized the importance of playing your part. Ahead of time, this points to obvious things like individual preparedness. But there is a big role after the fact, too, and it will vary depending on where you are and what you have on hand.
Some might also say that your role will change based on your level of training, and that’s certainly true. But that can also sound like a built in excuse not to take action. Sure, we should stay away from things like medical procedures that we may not know how to do, but we all need to move towards accepting our role as first responders and recognizing that it takes every single one of us to mount an effective response.
The Red Cross has an important role in disasters that we take very seriously, and you can count on us. But when it comes to assumptions, one of the most important ones is your ability to assume responsibility for yourself.