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Knowing the limits of formal resources is good info to have, so here’s a list of questions to help you figure this out: If there’s significant flooding in an area, they may be prohibited from rendering aid if the conditions are too dangerous or their equipment is not adequate.

On the other hand, they may also decline non-threatening requests, like wellness checks or cats in trees Once you’ve gathered this information, you will have a much better idea of what resources are needed, and at what point local responders could get overwhelmed.

We’re not saying panic — just be prepared for the worst case scenario.

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For the same reasons we recommend not offering assistance during the storm, instead focusing your efforts on gathering as much information as possible from reliable sources about the progress of the storm in order to anticipate where assistance is going to be needed most when it passes.

If a community response network establishes their call center(s) out of harm’s way, they should be in a good position to be able to monitor and track the storm’s progress and anticipate where needs will be greatest once the worst of it has passed.

All are useful, and the worse the damage, the greater the needs will be, but each has a role to fill and no one should try to be someone they’re not. Or are they offering skills and experience, like medical care, search and rescue, computer programming, mapping or logistics?

All of these roles are important in a hurricane response. In this day and age, a laptop with a good internet connection can take you very far in setting up an effective call center.

Here are a couple ideas we saw put to use during the 2017 hurricane season: Once you have an established way for victims/survivors to reach out to you, share your contact info on as many different forums, broadcast and social media channels as possible.

For more ideas, check out this Wall Street Journal article, It’s often taken for granted, but the fact of the matter is that during the hurricane there’s not a lot going on from a response perspective — at least there shouldn’t be a lot going on.

Nonetheless, some checks are in order and shouldn’t be overlooked: Personal references, professional licenses, and basic online searches will go a long ways in determining a relative level of trustworthiness.

The main point is to avoid people who are looking to take advantage of the confusion, as well as people who say they can do more than they can.

Included here is the standard dispatch sequence used in most emergency response efforts: Someone needing assistance contacts the call center; the Dispatcher obtains pertinent information regarding location, nature of complaint, and severity of the situation (i.e., life-threatening vs.

non-life-threatening) The Dispatcher broadcasts the information taken from the caller to available Responders in the area informing them, at a minimum, of the location and nature of the incident; only the nearest and most appropriate Responders and Resources should be assigned, making sure that redundancy is avoided (i.e,.

avoid having too many cooks in the kitchen) The Responder(s) indicate that they have arrived on-scene and located the patient; upon arrival Responders should also be informed of additional Responders that will be supporting them, when possible The Responder(s) assess the scene to identify any risks to their safety or that of others, and then determine if additional resources are needed based on ability to manage the incident, severity of the beneficiary’s condition, and any obstacles to extrication and/or evacuation If necessary, and where possible, Responders provide or arrange for transport to an appropriate destination – e.g., a hospital, evacuation shelter, friends/family residence, dry ground etc.

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