Making Emergency Preparedness Fun

July 11th, 2017 by CHHS RAs

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By CHHS Extern Kyle Cleavenger

Hurricane season is here for the East Coast, and now is time for everyone to think about proper preparedness in the event a storm makes landfall. Proper preparation for emergencies can see like a daunting task. It is also difficult to engage the local population in activities that might highlight the preparations stage of emergency management. This is why highlighting some of the more innovative and creative preparation activities around the country may give some insight into how preparation can be fun and engaging.

With the peak of hurricane season around the corner, the New York City Emergency Management Office has found a way to incorporate the rise of comic book movies into how they help the community prepare. NYC’s Emergency Management Office has joined together with Marvel Comics (creators of Iron Man, Captain America, etc.) to find a way to engage children in the preparation process of emergency management. The new comic book features the character “Ready Girl” as she works with the Avengers to combat potential severe weather that approaches New York. The comic is aimed at engaging children in the proper preparatory steps that the New York community should be engaging in during the upcoming hurricane season. This is a great example of how emergency management agencies can engage children in fun activities to better prepare the community for severe weather emergencies. The NYC Emergency Management Office article about the comic book can be found here.

In the Center’s home location of Baltimore, there is a significant college student population from the many universities that call the city their home. Attempting to engage the student population in emergency preparation can present a challenge. However, some agencies are thinking outside the box in order to engage these students in fun activities that highlight emergency preparation. In California, the California State University Northridge (CSUN) held a Zombie Preparedness Scavenger Hunt for students last year that was very successful. The idea is that a community prepared for the “zombie apocalypse” is well prepared for any other potential disasters as well. The event received high participation and support from the student population. The majority of the student participants had not engaged in any type of emergency preparation prior to the event. Approximately 70% of the participating students said they now intend to maintain some type of disaster preparedness kit. 80% of the students said they had visited a new location on the campus, and these same students now know the emergency plans of evacuation for each building on campus Also, almost all of the participants said they would recommend this type of event to their peers. Finding ways to engage college students in preparation practices is certainly not easy, but CSUN found a fun and creative way to reach out to many students who had never thought of emergency preparation previously. Details about the CSUN event can be found here.

Emergency management can be a difficult task. It is also a struggle to engage the community in practices that will benefit the goal of emergency management through preparation. However, through fun activities and practices, communities are able to properly be reached by individuals and organizations. “Ready Girl” and the Zombie event at CSUN serve as excellent examples of how we can all make emergency management fun for the communities we serve and ourselves.

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