Involve Youth in Disaster Management

Guest post by Lynette Black

Teen CERT team members review their plan of action during an exercise
Teen CERT team members review their plan of action during an exercise

The 4-H Youth Development program reaches youth through several avenues. Focused areas of disaster management can be included in the education youth are receiving during each experience. Following are some ideas.

Camping Program

The Camping program is a popular way for youth to participate in a 4-H experience. Focus lessons on first-aid, safety, living without electricity, recognizing weather and impending signs of disasters and surviving disasters.

Focus counselor training on the camp’s emergency plans and stress management.

Traditional 4-H Club Program

Club work: focus on project areas (i.e. food and food preservation focus on emergency food supply and water safety, clothing and textiles focus on appropriate emergency clothing, outdoor education focus on camping and survival skills, small animals projects focus on backyard homesteading techniques and animal health care and diseases, livestock focus on animal health care and diseases). For all project areas cover steps to stay safe during a disaster.

County fair: educate on animal disease issues and human disease issues as well as evacuation planning and plan of action in case of disaster.

Afterschool programs: Focus on science (i.e. what causes earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes), geology (volcanoes, landslides), weather (extreme heat, cold, thunderstorms), and staying safe during a disaster.

Babysitting training: Focus on first-aid, family emergency plans and stress management.

There are many ways to incorporate disaster preparedness in 4-H programming. For more information please contact Lynette Black, 4-H Youth Development Faculty, Oregon State University.

Regards, Virginia Morgan, EDEN Chair

Extension: How’s Your Continuity Plan?

The latest winter storm warnings and watches led me to thinking about business continuity. Do our clients/audiences have continuity plans at their places of work and emergency plans for their families? What about us? Do our Extension offices have current emergency operations and continuity plans?

Some EDEN member institutions have implemented continuity plans at both the state and county level. If yours is not one of them, consider this. Ohio Point of Contact Dee Jepsen , Aletha Reshan and Kathy Henwood produced a comprehensive Business Continuity Planning curriculum in 2009. It was “designed to enhance the emergency preparedness needs of Cooperative Extension Services (CES) and their clientele.”  The curriculum, according to the authors, can be utilized as a framework for developing CES continuity plans.

A second valuable resource is the Ready Business course. This course is designed for Extension educators and others to teach small- and medium-sized business owners and managers how to prepare for disasters. At the end of the training, participants walk away knowing their disaster risks and a beginning disaster plan tailored to their situations. Contact Rick Atterberry or Becky Koch if you have questions about the course.

Winter storms can interrupt our work, but we can make sure the return is a smooth one. Up-to-date continuity plans facilitate that return. Does your office have a plan in place? 

Read the IDISASTER 2.0 January 10 blog post, for ideas on incorporating social media into your plan.

Regards, Virginia Morgan, EDEN Chair