Academic Engagement

IS PREPAREDNESS IGNORANCE BLISS OR BLUNDER

Under this Academic Engagement campaign subsection, I would like to propose the idea of creating preparedness learning modules for high school and college education, so that they may embrace preparedness as early as feasible. Consider the following example (teacher’s version) I previously prepared for one of my friends who is currently teaching.

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********************* TEACH YOUTH PREPAREDNESS THROUGH EXAMINING HISTORIC DISASTERS **************************

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BACK-TO-BASICS SERIES - OVERVIEW-3: EXAMINING THE WISDOM OF BEING PREPARED BEFORE AN INCIDENT OCCURS

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INTERACTIVE ASSIGNMENT - NOW YOU CAN SEE A DISASTER THAT HAPPENED IN EVERY STATE HERE: http://www.ready.gov/today

(There is a map on this webpage, and when you click the state it will show a date and description of a major disaster that happened within that state)

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BACKGROUND:

“Is Preparedness Ignorance Bliss or Blunder?” This is obviously a relative question and I would argue that relative to disaster, individuals who do not consume, plan, practice, and utilize “National Preparedness” information are making a big mistake (if not being naive and/or maladaptive). From a position of hindsight we can all learn by examining disasters, and then attempt to uncover mistakes, followed by an attempt to address ways and means to be better prepared in future incidences (COURSE CORRECT).

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LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

CASE BASED LEARNING (CBL), CONSEQUENCES OF NOT BEING PREPARED, AS WELL AS LEARNING THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING, PREPARATION, WARNING SIGNS, AND COMPLYING WITH EVACUATION PROTOCOL.

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METHODOLOGY:

Much like the approach of recent commercials devised for the anti-tobacco campaign (which pointed to the harsh realities and consequence of cancer), this topic will point to a past disaster and the consequences of not being prepared and/or complying with authorities.

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WARNING:

This topic will discuss some harsh realities, but is not graphic, and will not exploit or expose anyone or group.

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PURPOSE:

Rather than leave the past behind (as a wasted opportunity to learn from our mistakes), this topic leverages unfortunate past incidences as teaching points such that the reader will be confronted by the seriousness of being prepared, understand the consequences of not being prepared, gain insight into the importance of learning and adopting basic methods and tactics that will enhance their outcome in future incidences. The seriousness of our approach to this topic is conceived under the assumption that individuals reading this CAN AND WILL make a difference when disaster strikes if adequately prepared and make the right choices.

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TOPIC QUESTION:

Once the example case has been articulated, I would like to invite the reader to share their own story of how “lack of preparedness” can lead to a worse outcome than being prepared will, and briefly discuss how they would prepare next time.

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SCOPE:

A select (simplified) case study is exemplified in limited detail whereby a disaster occurred that might have been handled better by the local community and/or damages and human losses limited if the victims were properly versed in basic topics of Preparedness and/or complied with local authorities. This topic references some basic ways preparedness could have saved lives and/or property.

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CASE STUDY: THE CITY OF POMPEII (ANCIENT ROME 79AD)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pompeii

THE EXAMPLE INCIDENT: The city-village of Pompeii (Population 20,000) was buried in 13-20 feet of ash over a 3 month period due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. In ancient times, Pompeii was located 5 miles from the active volcano.

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HARBINGERS AND WARNING SIGNS:

Recent Local Core Samples suggest that there were previous earthquakes and volcanic events observed by Pompeii residents (over a period of 800 years) prior to the main volcanic event (including a magnitude 6 earthquake in 62 AD). Scientists estimate that citizens not only observed landslides and other seismic related events but (preserved Roman records) suggest that they received warnings by authorities that the volcano was becoming more active and orders to evacuate the city, (yet the criticizes of Pompeii did not move to a safer area).

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MISTAKES:

MISTAKE#1: Residence failure to move farther from Mount Vesuvius when warned.

MISTAKE#2: Residence failure to evacuate when warned of impending disaster in 79AD.

MISTAKE#3: In prior earthquakes, citizens failed to secure their lanterns, and during the earthquake of AD62 this lead to large fires and devastation.

MISTAKE#4: Failure to adequately plan and prepare for a well-known local (endemic geographic) disaster.

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CONSEQUENCES FOR NOT BEING PREPARED:

1. The estimated death toll was (HALF OF THE POPULATION).

2. Other records suggest that there were 11th-hour rescue attempts via ships, however, THE ROMAN RESCUE PERSONNEL WERE OVERWHELMED, and could not save everyone.

3. Large fires occurred as well due to “not securing fires” during prior related volcanic events.

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COURSE CORRECTIONS:

Although 300 individuals in the most adjacent village to the volcano (Herculaneum) died in the first 6 hours of eruption and probably couldn’t have done much other than move when warned, WHAT COULD THE OTHER 19,700 POMPEII RESIDENCE HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY IF THEY COULD GO BACK IN TIME?

1. PREPARE THE COMMUNITY AND HOMES TO BE RESILIENT: i.e. be at a safe distance from the volcano, and homes could be more fire & earthquake resistant.

2. Have a disaster PLAN with a pre-defined meeting point identified by family members.

3. Have a disaster KIT.

4. REACT SAFELY: i.e. comply with warnings and relocate when authorities issue orders.

5. SECURE HOME CONTENTS: i.e. exercise fire safety during earthquakes.

6. KEEP RESERVE SUPPLIES: i.e. bag, clothing, food, water.

7. EVACUATION PLAN: i.e. know how to evacuate effectively.

8. CARE FOR OTHERS: i.e. help anyone you safely can.

9. OPTIMIZE, ADAPT, AND EVOLVE PLANS BASED ON OUTCOMES OF PRIOR DISASTERS & LESSONS LEARNED.

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FINAL CONCLUSIONS:

If the ancient people of Pompeii had access to our modern preparedness knowledge, and utilized it together with the 9 “course corrections” mentioned above, I believe they could have preserved more life and property during and after the volcanic eruption.

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IN MODERN TIMES THE READER CAN DO THE FOLLOWING:

(MODERN PLANS AND EVACUATION EXAMPLES)

MODERN ANALOGY-1 (WATER): i.e. Emergency services warns that hurricane surge water will cause dangerous conditions in a given area of e.g. Florida and residence must evacuate, here is a plan… REF: http://www.fema.gov/region-iii-mitigation-division/national-hurricane-program

MODERN ANALOGY-2 (FIRE): i.e. Emergency services states that a local Fire is moving towards your area and you must evacuate see…

REF: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/pdf/efop/efo34686.pdf

REF: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/pdf/efop/efo37428.pdf

Or, i.e. Your home is surrounded by fire see USAF Plan…

REF: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/escape/

Or, Securing fires in the home and business environment see OSHA fire safety references

REF: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/firesafety/index.html

MODERN ANALOGY-3 (EARTHQUAKE): Earthquake preparedness information (BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER) see…

REF: http://www.fema.gov/earthquake/earthquake-safety-home

MODERN ANALOGY-4 (VOLCANO ERUPTION): Volcano preparedness information see…

REF: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/pdf/efop/efo38355.pdf

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*********************************************************THE END*********************************************************

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Idea No. 469