Where To Start

A good foundation for creating an emergency plan can be found at www.ready.gov, the new initiative launched by the Department of Homeland Security. FEMA also has a self-training course available at www.training.fema.gov .

Related Article: Just In Case

The Web site highlights the various processes, such as setting up a contact outside the area -- like a relative or friend -- as a backup, having a three day supply of food and water, prescriptions, a radio and batteries to stay informed and listening to local officials.

"If you look back on 9-11, and it was something like an earthquake instead, we would have responded the exact same way," says one FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) official.

Here are the basic steps highlighted by Greg Champlin of New Hampshire emergency management…

• Form an emergency planning team made up of representatives for a medical team, camper care (for those campers not injured), a camper release team (which deals with safeguarding vital camper information), a counselor group, local fire, police, emergency management and emergency medical representatives (these local representatives are an extremely important component of this team or committee) and others identified by the camp.

• Assess the hazards and risks, going from big to small -- regional, state, local and all the way down to your camp grounds.

• Start your plan development based on the Incident Command System (ICS), which lays out of your chain of command.

• Set up the various teams based on the categories identified by the emergency planning team (such as a medical team, camper care, etc.)

• An ongoing relationship with local authorities to maintain an active line of communication.

• Have each team create a separate and simple procedure that will go to the planning team for a final plan.

• Drill, drill, drill.

Bryan BuchkoComment