It’s time to put your preparedness skills to the test. Imagine this: You are fast asleep on a cool autumn night and at 2:30 in the morning the sirens begin to blare. A train has derailed just ½ mile from your house. Several cars carrying anhydrous ammonia have overturned and the breeze is carrying the poisonous fumes into your part of town. What do you do?
That’s the idea behind this month’s goal: put you, your family and your neighborhood’s readiness to the test. This month plan to have a preparedness drill. Your drill can be with just your immediate family, extended family, a larger circle of friends or with your neighbors. The scope is entirely up to you.
Three Types of Drills
There are three types of readiness drills. The first is a Table Top Drill. This is where you work out on paper the impact of a particular disaster and how you, your family and your neighborhood might respond. This is where the conversation begins and you work creatively together to solve the problems that might arise during a disaster. Put your plan in writing and make sure everyone knows what their role is.
The second kind of drill is a Function Drill. This is where you test the individual components of your preparedness plan. You may want to test how well you can communicate with each other, especially if children are at school and parents at work when the emergency strikes. Or you can test how well everyone can get their 72-hour kits and get to a designated meeting place. Maybe you want to work on first aid or assessing neighborhood needs. You will want to run a Function Drill several times to cover all the different elements of your Disaster Plan.
Are You Ready for the Big One?
Once you have the individual elements of your emergency plan worked out, it’s time for the third type of drill: the Full Scale Drill. This is where you try to create the disaster as realistically as possible. You may want to call on neighbors and others to help create, as closely as possible, a full-scale emergency and see how well everyone can work together. This kind of drill will only be helpful after you have drilled for all the individual elements of your emergency plan. Make sure that everyone is familiar with the plan and has rehearsed their roles.
If you do not already have a written Emergency Plan in place for you, your family or your neighborhood, then the Table Top Drill is the place for you to start. I hope you will make this goal a priority this month.
(The train derailment scenario in the first paragraph actually did happen. Read about it here.)