Among the many things we have learned in our region from Hurricane Matthew and the record flooding that followed in 2016 is just how important it is for all of us to be proactively engaged in the development of a culture of preparedness — at home, work, church, school and in the community.
But how will we respond to the inevitable weather alerts, precipitation, tools, and resources that we will have access to this spring, summer and beyond? Will our exposure to these elements simply facilitate anxiety or a trigger event, or will we utilize the synergy of this moment to demonstrate our collective capacity to make a difference?
A Call to Action: Developing a Culture of Preparedness!
The decisions that we make, as well as the decisions we fail to make, are quite literally a matter of life and death. This inescapable fact and the lessons we are learning while currently managing a series of complex obstacles simultaneously should drastically transform the way everyone thinks about public health, disaster preparedness, and long-term disaster recovery collectively. But that’s easier said than done, or is it?
SPARTANBURG COUNTY’S PREPAREATHON! RAISES THE BAR ON COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION
On March 11, 2015, Spartanburg County, SC—the fourth largest county in the State—rolled out a sweeping community-wide outreach effort in collaboration with America’s PrepareAthon!SM to encourage residents, businesses, schools, and employees to simultaneously conduct tornado safety drills.”
The results of this coordinated effort, led by the county’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), speak for themselves. Participants of Spartanburg County’s PrepareAthon! included 50,000 students, staff, and faculty from Spartanburg County K–12 schools, and 40,000 residents and businesses, which also included the 9,000 employees of the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System and 1,000 employees of the Mary Black Hospital System.”This is the greatest effort we have undertaken to promote a community drill,” said Doug Bryson, director of Spartanburg County’s OEM. “We targeted businesses, schools, industry, hospitals, and our residents to increase participation in a preparedness activity on the same day.”
As a result of the community-wide participation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded Spartanburg County’s OEM the fifth annual John D. Soloman Whole Community Preparedness Award.”
Connecting the dots
In other words, our neighbors in Spartanburg, SC successfully demonstrated that their “All Hands on Deck” emergency preparedness strategy – a community engagement model that is similar to the collaborative strategy promoted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that’s focuses on improving health outcomes and health factors – really does work!
Relevant Videos & Links: