As the lead for ‘warning & informing’ I spend a lot of my time trying to think up new ways to engage with people and promote personal resilience far and wide, this blog being one such example. Warning and informing is basically a fancy way of saying talking to people about risks and being prepared.
The biggest challenge I face is trying to change people’s mind-set when it comes to emergencies and actually making people aware that there are teams out there that spend their days (and usually nights and weekends) planning for and responding to emergencies.
The trouble is, people don’t tend to think that they’ll be caught up in a major incident or even a minor one for that matter and that’s not something one emergency planner can easily change.
My dream would be to one day make sure everyone in my patch was as resilient as they possibly could be and fully understood the impacts that an incident could have on their lives and that there was a Resilience Team on hand to help them out, it’s a dream I’ll chase but I must admit that I’m slowly starting to come to the realisation that actually it’s ok if people don’t know who we are or what we do – when they need to know, they’ll know.
Some could say that we’re a bit like an iceberg (no story involving an iceberg ever ended badly right? #I’llNeverLetYouGoJack). Ultimately, the sharp end of our resilience iceberg is the bit that people see, for example a rest centre – They’ve been turfed out of their house at stupid o’clock in the morning by a burley fire fighter and they’ve ended up in one for our rest centres. Do they want to be there? Would you? Probably not, but are they glad they’ve not stood in the rain in their PJs?
So back to the Jack and the Iceberg – the PJ gang will see the rest centre and the friendly staff offering blankets and cups of tea but they won’t see the recruitment campaign for staff to support our rest centres, the rolling training programme, the annual exercises we run or the hours spent on writing rest centre plans – and actually they don’t need to, when they need support, we’re there.
It would however be quite nice if those people that had been turfed out of their homes had picked up their emergency grab bags on the way out (shameless plug – why not have an emergency grab bag? Visit our website for more info: cswprepared.org.uk/grab-bag). A man can dream.
By Tom Knibbs, Senior CSW Resilience Officer