Guest entry printed here with permission of the author:
Dear Steve & Yelm Community Blog,
Am delighted to see you addressed Emergency Preparedness in your recent newsletter [Kleiner’s Korner of January 22, 2007]. Since finding Ramtha in 1983, I have been learning about preparedness in one form or another. Actually, I was dealing with emergency plans since 1978 when I first began working as a Massachusetts State Licensing Coordinator, surveying residential and vocational programs for compliance with applicable regulations and standards. In that capacity, I trained Social Service Agencies to prepare provisions for their clients for one week. Recently, Providence St. Peter Hospital created a new position entitled Emergency Preparedness Trainer especially for me! I am thrilled to be training over 2300 employees to be prepared for anything!
My experience from RSE School helped me appeal to Administration about the need for preparedness and the fact that training will take time. I remember the learning curve and my own resistance to creating a complete change in consciousness regarding storing food, water and provisions for long periods of time. There has to be a paradigm change and the concept of “hording” has to be evolved to one of “storing is a wise and prudent thing to do” which eventually will become the norm.
I did some research into trends of thinking and how concepts are created and “institutionalized” in cultural thinking. What I found was a historical perspective that I briefly share as a story in my training. During the Industrial Revolution when workers were encouraged to move from farms into the cities to work in factories, there was a shift from self sufficiency to dependency on mercantile establishments. Workers did not have access to their gardens, home canning and food storage and had to go to local general stores or their rooming houses for provisions and meals. General stores evolved to specialty stores for food and other goods, which evolved to a downtown model of localized stores, which evolved to larger department stores, which evolved to shopping centers, which evolved to covered malls, which has developed now to large one stop shopping discount stores. Each evolution encountered resistance as now seen locally with he Wal-Mart issue. Along with the change in vendor structure the concept of self sufficiency and storing declined and the Spin Doctors and Marketers of their time put a negative spin on storing food and therefore “hording” and “stockpiling” became a negative action. Even the Adventist Church teaches “In the end days those that horde will have all taken away”. Religion even plays a part in the formation of cultural conscience! The 72 Hour campaign was been very effective in getting folks primed to prepare for a short period of time or prepare an evacuation kit BUT recent events have demonstrated 72 hours worth of provisions will not be enough. The huge myth that the Calvary will come in a disaster needs to be debunked. We are now encouraging people to move towards one month’s worth of supplies and that is a huge leap for most people! I laugh when I think, “if only they could hear store two years worth of supplies”!
So, emergency preparedness really affects us all. We all need to help those around us to change their way of thinking. I advocate having neighborhood meetings to discuss emergency preparedness because when disaster strikes it will take entire communities to band together to support one another. The local Fire Departments and Thurston County Emergency Management provide classes for communities. I am also working with The Survival Center in providing classes and Expo’s showcasing emergency supplies. In addition to my extensive duties and responsibilities at PSPH I am consulting with State Agencies and business on emergency preparedness. With all my years of focus on preparedness I still add to my provisions weekly and find new gadgets and items that will be useful.
Abigail M. Haddock
Emergency Preparedness Trainer
Providence St. Peter Hospital
Thanks to Abigail for sharing her experiences.
Now, two former Presidents are actively encouraging Americans to get prepared as Bill Clinton & George Herbert Walker Bush (Bush 41) appear in joint public-service commercials touting the new government website: Ready.gov.
The Ready.gov Kit to which the Presidents refer is a must for every home AND every vehicle.
Here is the information on the Presidents’ public service ad.