This article describes the author’s impressions of the 21 April 2016 meeting of the Howard County, Maryland Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) Meeting from 0930-1130 A.M. Preppers might consider attending LEPC meetings in their geographical areas.
Before the meeting, attendees mingled and talked with one another. This author met and talked with an Amateur Radio (Ham) operator, two officials from the Howard County Office of Emergency Management, and an official from The Arc.
At the beginning of the meeting, there were briefings from officials representing fire, police, Office of Emergency Management, and health Departments. Of special interest was the health department briefing on the latest news regarding the Zika virus.
The main part of the program consisted of speakers with extensive experience in the preparation for, and recovery from the psychosocial aspects of large-scale emergencies and disasters. It was clear from the presentations that everyone, including the general public, first responders, and political leaders will be greatly stressed by emergencies and disasters.
The presentations included a quote from Rudolph Giuliani, who said, “I believe in creating a culture that values preparedness and in passing that ethic from top down.” The presentations stressed that preparation starts at the individual/family level. My conversation with an Office of Emergency Management official revealed that higher level efforts also are needed to make broad community changes that sometimes require legislation. One example would be the need for a law requiring gas stations to be equipped with generators so as to keep their electrical pumps working during a power blackout.
Speaker Brian W. Flynn also stressed the importance of communication during an emergency or disaster. Communication is important, wrote Flynn, because, “The behavioral choices people make to stay in place, evacuate, seek/not seek medical care, search for loved ones, etc. are very real life and death decisions.” The speakers stressed that the behavior choices that people make could kill more people, and do more socioeconomic damage, than the emergency or disaster itself.
During this LEPC meeting, I learned about the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress website that has available dozens of fact sheets that preppers will find useful. This and the other emergency and disaster related information cited in this article represent only the tip of an iceberg compared to the amount of information that the speakers presented and the audience questions and comments revealed at this LEPC meeting. It would be worth preppers’ time to attend their local LEPC meetings.