Community emergency hubs are safe places for a neighborhood or community during emergency situations, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding, and wildfires. Waiting for help from external sources may not be enough for the members of the community to get by. That is why we should involve the whole community in emergency and disaster plans beforehand. Official emergency services might have their hands full during these times. Therefore, it is essential to have a backup plan that can help your entire community.
The importance of community emergency hubs
Launching a community emergency hub from your home may seem impossible. However, reaching out to your neighbors and encouraging everyone to work together during times of crisis may be easier than you think. With the help of more people, you can achieve a sense of community, and you can provide more people with the support that they will need in times of emergency. Providing a safe space is one thing, but convincing people to work together can have a more significant impact on the community. You can get assistance from authorities and immediately have access to loans from your mortgage company in case your house needs repairs or you need a new one due to a calamity. Still, it is crucial to stock up on supplies and emergency kits to help people hold on until help from the authorities arrives. More people can overcome a struggle at the end of the day once they become united and resilient.
The necessary steps to take
Participate in emergency planning
Organize a disaster response within your community. Hold earthquake drills to orient and practice how a large group of people can effectively respond to a real-time earthquake scenario in an organized manner. Get together with the residents in your area and point out possible resources in your area that you can use during a real disaster. First, it is essential to identify the people or areas that have been affected. Next, it is crucial to figure out how to secure medical assistance, shelter, water, and food while waiting for further help.
Assign community emergency hub roles
Different roles are needed to coordinate a more organized and effective emergency response. There are eight possible roles in a community emergency hub. The first role is called the hub supervisor. What he/she does is supervise every single activity in the hub to ensure that its goals are being accomplished smoothly, safely, and efficiently. Moreover, roles, such as information coordination and public information, work together to coordinate and inform community members of the happenings. Other functions include reception, needs and offers, community space, communications, and facility maintenance.
Set up and prepare for a hub
Set up a floor plan for your community emergency hub and allocate the different roles in the designated rooms. This lets you streamline the process of responding to an emergency in an orderly and systematic manner. Through this, courses of action can be done more efficiently. You won’t have to physically get in the way of an officer helping to manage the hub. Put up a public information board somewhere accessible, preferably near the front of your home, so that more people will be able to see important information and announcements easily.
Furthermore, assign a room where you can clearly hear radio communications. A separate community space can also be helpful, so that community members can gather and wait for assistance. Since many different people will be staying together, make sure that an area for hygiene and toilet facilities is accessible.
Community emergency hubs will only cover temporary short-term issues that will arise during a disaster. You can solve these problems by sharing resources and connections that are pre-existing in the community. However, long-term issues will still need to be addressed. The task here now is to figure out how your community can work together to achieve long-term recovery. After an emergency, a community should support one another and rebuild a better and stronger community. One way to accomplish this is to maintain relationships and stay connected. Establish social media groups or regular meetings so that everyone can stay updated and informed about the community’s current state.
Most communities would only rely on the responsiveness of emergency medical teams, firefighters, or police officers to help victims during times of disaster or emergency. However, the members of the community, as well as bystanders, are the ones that can conveniently provide immediate help and assistance in these situations. Thus, it is crucial to educate and inform the community beforehand on what should be done when the time comes. The community members can help themselves, provide solutions for short-term problems, and reduce casualties by assisting one another to evacuate to a safer place with access to immediate help and resources.