Support existing grass-roots preparedness programs like www.do1thing.us
In Lansing, MI, a group of emergency managers created a citizen preparedness program with the intent of encouraging people to move from good intentions to taking actual action. Several studies had shown that most people were aware of the need to prepare, but few people took the first steps. One key reason for this is that the task of becoming prepared for disasters and emergencies can be a large and intimidating. Many people don't know where to begin.
From this realization, this group of emergency managers created the www.do1thing.us program. This program breaks the large and intimidating task of preparedness up into smaller, manageable pieces and presents them as monthly themes. The www.do1thing.us program presents these themes in one-page fact sheets through it's website, calendars, and through partner agencies to the public. Participants "Do 1 Thing" each month to move themselves closer to being prepared. By following the program for a year, a participant will become very well prepared for emergencies and disasters.
This program is managed by a volunteer board of directors that creates and maintains the preparedness information and content, oversees grant funding and marketing efforts. What makes the program successful is that www.do1thing.us encourages partnerships with various governmental agencies, NGOs, volunteer groups, and the private-sector to help distribute the program content and message to the people they serve. In this way, people receive the message from people they know and trust. Additionally, this program is proving to be a cost-effective way for many emergency management agencies to fulfill their citizen preparedness education needs with minimal effort on their part. This program is also very friendly to special needs populations and other previously under-served populations.
This grass-roots campaign has gained some serious momentum of late and is beginning to engage with partners all over the state of MI as well as in many other states throughout the US. Notable partners like the Mayo Clinic, and Long Island University have shown some interest in the program. These new and varied partners should improve the depth of content and the program's reach.
We are certain that the www.do1thing.us program can provide a different approach to preparedness. This grass-roots program as well as many others should be supported to enhance existing preparedness efforts.
Larry St. George, CEM, PEM
Clinton County, MI Office of Emergency Management