YPSILANTI, Mich. – According to disaster preparedness expert Charlie Newsome, president of a Michigan security company, First Response Solutions Inc., nine out of 10 people have no emergency contingency plan.
Eastern Michigan University officials, aware of this gap in forethought, devised a course for certified emergency planning.
EMU course planners said that in desperate times, it is essential that families are prepared to aid their own in the case that municipal services like police and fire cannot fulfill their duties.
The university's training course provides training for individual, business and first-responder preparations that people might overlook during times of calm.
Many people believe that first responders will rescue them following catastrophe, said Ann Coss, CEO of Personal Recovery Concepts, but they too have families to attend to and may not immediately assist others.
Simple precautions like assembling an emergency kit, Coss said, will families families during crises.
Experts suggest that kits include hand-crank radios, working flashlights, blankets and a three day supply of food and water.
Emergency responders like police, fire fighters and EMS require similar planning, too, said Skip Lawver, Director of Academic Excellence and Information Assurance.
This is evidencenced by the slow, disastrous response that followed Hurricane Katrina, he said.
"They had officers who again left and walked off the call of duty to evacuate and check on their family and then they had officers who stayed and then committed suicide because their family perished," said Lawver, "And they could not reconcile that."
Laver, too, suggested families have an emergency plan in the instance communication systems break down.
"Talk to your family about where you're going to meet," said Lawver. He also recommended families have an out-of-town contact.
Newsome, of First Response Solutions Inc., advised businesses have similar plans.
"Four out of 10 (businesses) are not prepared," he said, adding that those companies often fail following disasters.
EMU officials said their course will cover all of these concerns and allow people to resume their lives more quickly than they would had they not taken precautions.