SELF DEPLOYMENT INTO A DISASTER ZONE.
I have been keeping up with social media and news from inter-agency coordination groups and “self-deployment” is becoming an issue. Everyone who wants to help in some way has a good heart. This is a great thing. There are procedures and protocols though concerning this even in our world in emergency management and all emergency services.
We have to have a certain level of tactical training, the physical ability, and the insurance coverage in case of injury in particular areas as to even be considered for deployment. It is important that you coordinate through your local emergency management office if you feel you want to help in a disaster environment. We will then coordinate with the state office to determine if there are resource requests.
Here are just a “few” things to consider:
1. HAVE YOU BEEN DIRECTLY NOTIFIED FOR DEPLOYMENT AND BY WHICH AGENCY? WHAT IS YOUR EXPERTISE?
2. DO YOU HAVE PROOF OF ANY REQUIRED TRAINING CREDENTIALS OR CERTIFICATION?
3. ARE YOU UP TO DATE ON RECOMMENDED IMMUNIZATIONS?
4. DO YOU HAVE ANY MEDICAL CONDITIONS THAT WOULD PREVENT YOU FROM COMPLETING THE ASSIGNED TASKS WITHIN THE DISASTER ENVIRONMENT?
5. ARE YOU PREPARED FOR AT LEAST 12 HOUR SHIFTS AND ARE YOU WILLING TO DO “ANY TASK” THAT’S REQUESTED OF YOU?
6. HOW WELL DO YOU ADAPT IN THE HEAT? IT WILL BE HORRIBLY HUMID AS COMPARED TO HERE.
7. HAVE YOU CONTACTED THE VOLUNTARY AGENCIES IN YOUR AREA TO VOLUNTEER WITH THEM? THEY HAVE PROCEDURES AND PROTOCOLS TOO. OFTEN, ONLY A LIMITED NUMBER ARE EVEN ELIGIBLE FOR DEPLOYMENT INTO DISASTER ZONES.
8. ARE YOU PREPARED TO SLEEP ON A COT AND/OR POSSIBLY IN AN UNAIRCONDITIONED ENVIRONMENT?
9. HOW LONG ARE YOU WILLING TO GO WITHOUT A SHOWER?
10. ARE YOU INSURED? YOUR HEALTH AND SAFETY WILL BE YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY THEREFORE, INSURANCE IS A MUST.
11. WHY DO YOU WANT TO GO?
A comment: DON’T ALLOW A DESIRE TO HELP PUT YOU IN A POSITION YOU MAY NOT BE MENTALLY OR PHYSICALLY PREPARED TO HANDLE.
FINALLY, I would like to thank Michelann Ooten, Deputy Director of Oklahoma Emergency Management and staff for correcting some wording from my original document.