CB2: Here I am, rock you like a hurricane.

Hey GovLoopers! I’m happy to announce that I’ll be contributing Chris Bennett’s Crisis Blog (or CB2, not to be confused with Chris Rock’s “rockumentary” CB4) each Wednesday, highlighting cool and important things going on in emergency technology. Please share the comment love to kick this off!
Let’s start things here: it’s June, and you know what that means? Hurricane season! While no one should be excited, here are 3 things that everyone should do this week to be better prepared for any disaster (no matter where you live):

  1. Discuss with your family where you’ll meet locally and out-of-town if you get separated and can’t communicate with each other (“…the hell out of here” is not an acceptable answer).
  2. Set aside a small closet or garage space for emergency supplies, then imagine you’re on house arrest with no plumbing or electricity. Gather the food, water and supplies would you need to “survive” for three days and don’t pick at them this summer! Make sure the kids know what’s there too.
  3. Visit your city/county/state emergency preparedness site. Learn things like your evacuation zone, flood zone, 311 or helpline numbers, what plans your town has in place, etc. Sites like ReallyReady.org (scientist’s response to Ready.gov) and OneStorm.org (disclosure: mine!) are great for general planning, but we can’t offer the more meaty local planning nuggets that your emergency managers can.
Website of the Week: 72hours.org
Surprise, San Francisco has another great example of great government technology, and it’s called 72hours.org. It’s a quick multi-lingual overview of each planning area to consider (food, pets, earthquakes, etc.) with links to the city’s SMS notification system and other important resources. Simple, effective and cool.
Preparedness Tip of the Week
If a traffic light is out, it’s now magically a stop sign! Traffic accidents are among the highest causes of death in disasters associated with power outages. Take a minute to teach your kids this lesson today, and ask your passengers next time you come to a broken light.
Question of the Week
Now that you’ve all rushed to visit your government’s preparedness site, what is it, did you find it helpful, or what did you learn?
Factoid about Me
I don’t care about hurricane predictions at all. 20 Cat5s that never come near land is defined as an “active” or “bad” hurricane season, whereas an “inactive” season could produce just one tropical depression that floods an entire town and ruins lives. It only takes One Storm…. get it?

About Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett is a self-proclaimed emergency management innovator who is trying to make government better by improving citizen preparedness and crisis communications. He’s a graduate of Wharton with a master’s from Harvard with in “Technology, Innovation, Education.” His portfolio of companies and former projects include OneStorm Hurricane Preparedness, ReadyTown, GovLive, TexasPrepares and America’s Emergency Network. Chris was the recipient of FL Governor Crist’s 2008 Public Information Award. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL, loves to fish, and has been spotted sharing a pint with GovLoop Founder Steve Ressler in Tampa.

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Stephen Peteritas

Yeah I like the quick bullet point style you’ve got going in the middle, looks clean and lets me skim rather easily and quickly!

Grace Ramirez

I like the format of your blog, short and sweet, and to the point. Not too much detail, but enough. I will tune in on Wednesdays.

Chris Bennett

Thanks everyone for the positive comments! Kerry: My secret is to go to images.google.com and type, for example, “hurricane comic” or “hurricane funny” and you usually come up with something good.

Sabrena Marshall

Thanks for the link to 72hours.org. I am always looking for ways to communicate more effectivly with the public. I think we all have similar information on our emergency websites, but the simplicity of the main page makes it a lot more user friendly. I have forwarded the link to a few people as an example of excellence.

Kitty Wooley

Chris, this is excellent advice, especially #1, which had never occurred to me until the day my teenagers and I were stranded on different sides of San Francisco Bay following the Loma Prieta earthquake. That was pretty hairy and it’s good to have a plan, and redundant means of communication too, if possible. Sometime, go check out Elena Rapisardi on GovLoop – she has been developing video and social media solutions for Italian government emergency managers (they call it civil protection) and forest fire fighters for a while now. I look forward to reading your page.