For our team’s challenge, we were to figure out an emergency response plan when we encounter a natural disaster.
Our first approach was to build a disaster rescue kit, however after talk with instructors we found out that this might not be the best choice as it relies more on preparation before hand rather than real-time response. Thus, we plan out basic steps for our emergency response which includes
1. Identify Safe Areas:
- Where is the gathering point?
- Where can supplies be stored?
2. Designate Team Roles
- Who will search
- Who will manage supplies
- Who will be on the medical team
- Who is the lead person
- Person responsible for contacting emergency persons
- Identifies and Reports Damaged Areas
Debris/Downed Power Lines /Flood Waters/Spills
- Looks for supplies
- Looks for survivors (Initial Rescue & Medical Team)
- Manage Supplies
- Prepares Food, Medical Equipment
- Identifies what is needed
- Separate Hazardous and Non-Hazardous materials
- Establish and Maintain Stations
- Medical Station
- Washing Station
- Eating Station
- Recreational Station
- Sleeping Station
- Work on establishing contact with Rescue Team
- Human Assessment
- Check (Mental & Physical) Health of People
- Attend to needs at base
To see if our plan was practical, we took walk around our school block(area within two-three blocks), tried to identify safe areas and acted as a search team.
Apart from school buildings, we found that subway stations might be a good option for temporary shelter as they could prevent cold weather and disasters like tornados(not appropriate for disasters like floods though)
We have plenty access to food & water (grocery stores, vending machines in school block, restaurants and cafes)
Fortunately enough, NYU student health center lies right opposite our school block, which could provide us with medical supplies and even doctors as medical team members. There are also two pharmacy stores and one nutritional supplement store nearby.
Clothing stores provide us with supplies to survive extreme cold weather.
With relatively abundant resources, how to gather and deliver supplies with high efficiency might be an issue. So apart from basic resources, we also looked for tools for storage and delivery – Card boxes for storage, bicycles could help with delivery, and trolleys at CVS or salons could be used for delivery also.
We also visited NYU > Center for Catastrophe Preparedness & Response seeking for help, but surprisingly, we didn’t found anyone in their office.
Learnings from the walk:
- The walk took us around 20 minutes, as we assume internet could not work we had no specific plan for our route. As all resources are at different locations, it might be helpful if there’s someone in search team could memorise/record the locations of resources for further visits.
- For resource like medical supplies, we need relatively professional knowledge, which means training before hand/preparation really matters. Even if we got that resource, we don’t know what is the the priority for us to gather and deliver.
- Instead of looking for basic supplies, have storage and deliver tools prepare should be first step