Include Disaster Education in Your 2012 Plan of Work

Illustration of planning sessionAs the year comes to a close, many of us begin to think about our plans for the upcoming year. In my home state, Extension educators and specialists are working on their plans of work for 2012, deciding what they’ll be offering to clients; when and where they will provide face-to-face and virtual workshops; and how they will engage in social media and incorporate related and cross-programmatic education into their curricula.

We know that disasters affect people in rural and urban areas. Disasters have impact on families, individuals, businesses and governments. Disaster education should be addressed in all Extension program areas. What types of Extension work can be considered disaster education? Here are a few ideas.

If you work with small businesses, you may help them develop a continuity of operations or an emergency operations plan or you may help them develop employee training that includes an evacuation plan [planning and preparedness].  EDEN’s ReadyBusiness is designed for you to teach small businesses how to prepare for disaster.

If you work with families on financial planning, you probably already talk to them about insurance, savings, and other strategies that are helpful in disaster recovery. The Family Financial Disaster Toolkit is an excellent resource to use in those conversations. (Look for the  non-state specific version if you’re not in MN or ND.)

If you work with producers, you may help them develop a succession plan. Much of what goes into succession planning is also part of a continuity of operations plan. Or perhaps you consult with producers about premise security or biosecurity. These can be part of a mitigation or preparedness plan. See EDEN’s Animal Agrosecurity and Emergency Management and Plant Biosecurity Management courses.

Are you recruiting local feed and seed operations to the Animal Health Network? This can be considered planning, preparedness, response (if the network is activated), or mitigation (strengthening communications network).

Are you helping communities reestablish their landscapes following tornadoes, hurricanes, straight-line winds, or wildfires? Are you teaching individuals about right trees/right locations? That’s recovery and/or mitigation.

Do you coordinate or facilitate 4-H or youth clubs? They may be interested in weather or mapping projects. Depending on the direction such projects take, you might incorporate education about what to do in case of a ______ [preparedness] or how to map local evacuation routes [planning], which could then be distributed to targeted audiences/neighborhoods [preparedness]. Youth can also be involved in community projects that help disaster victims recover or community mitigation projects such as establishing green spaces.

How are you planning to incorporate disaster education in your 2012 work?