Tuesday, October 16, 2012

COAD Training (con't)

COAD has been an intregal part of educating the public about disaster preparedness but their funding has been severely cut back this year which has the impact of limiting the trainings that they do.  They recently held their annual summit which I was lucky enough to be invited to but unfortunately it will be one of the last sessions they will be able to do so I wanted to share some of the information that I learned at the summit.

My previous post talked about the keynote speaker from Alabama who shared her experiences during a massive tornado outbreak. This post I'll share one of the breakout sessions I went to on creating Community Resiliency. The speaker was Mark Stigler, an instructor for Homeland Security. He is looking to build a certificate program at WCTC (Waukesha Co. Technical College). He defines resiliency as a process of learning and the ability to absorb disasters and bounce back. This is a guy who is wired into the system and should know better than anyone the potentials for disasters and our need to be prepared for them. He embodies the philosophy of having a series of backup plans for just about any contingency. For instance, preparing for the event that the technology for his presentation would not work properly he had two back up systems in place including paper copies of the presentation that we watched on an overhead projector.

Mark talked about using the past as a guide for bringing our communities back together as he believes (as do I) that self sufficiency can only be manifested through collaboration. He referred to examples such as community soup kitchens that sprang up during the Great Depression and the Victory Gardens of WWI and WWII. Since I just found Victory Gardens in Milwaukee I saw that Mark and I had a lot in common.

One big thing that I took away from Mark's presentation was that potential for disaster in our water system that does not have the back up systems in place for different contingency plans. Home owners therefore MUST have contingency plans in place. I will be doing classes for the Milwaukee Rec Dept that will help some homeowners in Milwaukee feel more prepared about having a clean source of water readily available.

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