September is National Preparedness Month. Over the next 30 days, we are encouraged to think about how to prepare for emergencies. While these may be situations that we cannot control, we can certainly prepare for them.
Most of us don’t think about emergency preparedness regularly. Most days we follow a regular routine. But emergency preparedness helps us most on the bad days that we can’t predict: the day when a natural disaster hits harder than expected, or when a candle falls over and starts a house fire, or when a winter storm knocks out power for a few days.
Potentially the most fear-invoking situation we can prepare for is an active shooter incident. Recently, we have seen many active shooter situations in major cities across the world: in the workplace, in malls, at schools, in our neighborhoods, at airports, and the list goes on. Often, we don’t see the point in preparing for something which we can’t predict at all. A meteorologist can forecast a hurricane or winter storm a few days in advance, but how do we prepare for an active shooter situation?
The good news is that there are things we can do. We can be proactive and learn what to do if faced with an active shooter situation, how to recognize potential violence indicators, and develop prevention strategies, and think through how to manage the aftermath of the incident.
In our ongoing efforts to support staff preparedness, DBHIDS is hosting a workplace safety training on September 27th on how to prepare for and respond to active shooter incidents. If you are a DBHIDS employee and are interested in attending, please register! This interactive training session will include discussions about discuss safety in and around the workplace, considerations when faced with the unexpected, as well as resources to continue learning about preparedness.
The last day of the month, September 30th, is National PrepareAthon Day. What will you do to prepare? You can make a family emergency communication plan. You can practice evacuating your building at work. You can learn about which hazards are most likely to impact your community. There are many options!
The Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit of DBHIDS is also working on various other preparedness activities, including:
- updating and posting emergency procedures at all DBHIDS buildings
- scheduling drills to practice evacuation plans
- providing live Psychological First Aid trainings
- setting up a department-wide emergency alert system
- managing disaster behavioral health volunteers
Email our Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.