Emergency Preparedness: It is Personal

Emergency Preparedness: It is Personal

Now that college, universities, and schools are back in session and (for many of us) we are heading towards winter weather, it is time to think about safety and preparedness.

Many of our institutions, hopefully, have emergency management and campus safety plans. However, if yours does not, please start working on one. There are some great resources where you can get some guidance:

Of course, organizational plans are important; However, a critical component of institutional preparedness is personal preparedness. If you, your family, and your team are not ready for the personal impact of a disaster, what good are you to your community and the students? In fact, if you are not personally prepared, you will be a drain on the management of the emergency.

Much like institutional work, personal preparedness can seem overwhelming. Luckily, there are some simple steps that people can take now to improve their preparedness levels:

  1. Think about likely emergencies in your area, both at work and at home.
  2. Make a plan for what you will do when you have to respond to work. Include your partner, kids, and pets. What will they do during a crisis, specifically when you are/have to be at work.
  3. Build a kit for your home, your car, and your office.
  4. Have an out of state contact who you will report your status to. Choose someone who is able to connect with your family, employer, etc.
  5. Ensure adequate insurance.
  6. Backup and secure key documents.
  7. Review and practice your plan.

Do not worry too much about having specific plans for every scenario. While that can be helpful, it is much more important to have a basic plan that you can follow and adapt in real life scenarios.

For more information on personal preparedness, I recommend the following resources:

Please reach out to me if you have any questions.

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Originally published at blog.involvio.com on October 26, 2016.


About mcolpitts

Dr. Matthew W. Colpitts has served at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School as the Director of Residence Life since August 2017 leading the educational, operational, and student support aspects of the boarding program. Matt has been an educator, administrator, and leader in higher education and K12 independent schools for over 10 years serving in the areas of residence life, university housing, student conduct, campus safety and security, emergency management, enrollment management, and student affairs. Matt has also served in educator-leader roles at diverse educational institutions including Clark University, Landmark College, Southern Oregon University, Utah State University, and Interlochen Center of the Arts. Most recently, he was the Dean of Students for the Academy at Interlochen Center for the Arts. He also does independent risk and safety management consulting. A first-generation college student from rural Maine, Matt is a proud graduate of Clark University in Worcester, MA with a B.A. in English and Philosophy. He holds an Ed.D. from Fielding Graduate University where he researched emergency management in educational institutions. Outside of school, Matt enjoys reading, traveling, and learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
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1 Response to Emergency Preparedness: It is Personal

  1. Tiffany Lee says:

    I hadn’t considered the level of my personal preparedness having an impact on the general operation of disaster management, but you’re absolutely correct. If I adequately prepare for myself and my children for a likely or unlikely emergency situation, that’s one less family the effort must support. Conversely, if I’m ill-prepared, I’m posing a burden to the system as a whole.

    Thank you for offering this jarring yet valuable perspective. It may be just what I needed to get that disaster kit assembled.

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