Emergency Management is the planning and preparation for, response to, mitigation of, and recovery from all hazardous emergencies. Generally, this type of an event is unplanned and, for those of us in Michigan, is usually a severe weather situation. Planned events of a large-scale, such as the funeral and repose of President Gerald R. Ford, hold the potential for disaster.
The various departments of the City of Grand Rapids continue to plan, prepare, train and drill for such emergencies.
Being prepared is not just for emergency responders and city departments. Each person and family needs to plan and prepare as well. Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would you do if basic services – water, gas, electricity or telephones – were cut off? Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away.
There are real benefits to being prepared. Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters. Communities, families, and individuals should know what to do in the event of a fire and where to seek shelter during a tornado. You should be ready to evacuate your home and take refuge in public shelters, know how to care for your basic medical needs, and be ready to be self-sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water, and sanitation.
Working with neighbors can save lives and property. Meet with your neighbors to plan how the neighborhood could work together after a disaster until help arrives. If you are a member of a neighborhood organization, such as a home association or crime watch group, introduce disaster preparedness as a new activity. Know your neighbors' special skills (e.g., medical, technical) and consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs, such as disabled and elderly persons. Make plans for child care in case parents cannot get home.
The need to prepare is real. Every citizen is part of an emergency management system that is about protecting people and property from all types of hazards. Together, we can make a difference.