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Information will always be valuable. In an emergency – be it a camping accident or an earthquake or a terrorist attack – you will need to survive. This means you will need to have a basic knowledge of first aid, survival skills, and what to expect from the government.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have long strived to “Be Prepared.” Part of the Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge is to complete the First Aid Badge. Working on the badges teaches the boys how to react in an emergency, how to plan and how to prevent.
Meet your local emergency management team. Volunteer if you feel compelled. Often the local EMA can provide valuable information – both generic and specific to your municipality. For example, the Manheim Township Fire Rescue Office of Emergency Management offers citizens an “Emergency Preparedness Guide.” The booklet covers information from creating a basic emergency plan and making a disaster supply kit to what to do if specific events such as floods or fires. Since Manheim Township is located within 50 miles of Three Mile Island (TMI and Peach Bottom, a section on nuclear accidents is included.
Information on TMI and Peach Bottom can also be found in the local phone books as well. Evacuation routes are included. Check with your child’s school or day care to see what their policy is in the event of any emergency. The local school district can be another great source of information.
FEMA – the Federal Emergency Management Agency – offers free classes online. For the sake of this article, the reader is assumed to know basic computer and internet skills, such as how to navigate a website. The article also assumes readers are taking the FEMA classes simply for knowledge and not credits.
- Go to http://www.training.fema.gov/IS/.
- Go to the ISP Course List
- Click on a class to read the description. Choosing “IS-7: A Citizen’s Guide to Disaster Assistance” as an example, read the overview. There are no prerequisites for this class, meaning you do not have to have taken another course first. The course length is 10 hours. Obviously since this is an independent study course, the time may vary. The newer you are to this type of information, the more time you should spend on it. The more seasoned you are, then the more this will be like a review for you.
- Download the course materials on the right side of the page. You will need Acrobat Reader to access the documents. There will be a link on the materials page if you do not already have it on your system. It will open as an online PDF.
- Review the materials, taking as much time as you feel you need.
- When you feel you are ready, on the right side of this screen, click “Take Final Exam Online.” You will need to provide your social security number. If you do not wish to do so, you may request an alternative identification number. You are officially enrolled in the class when you submit your exam.
- Once your exam is graded, you will receive an email at the address you provided when you submitted your exam. If you passed the course with a grade of 75% or higher, your certificate of completion will also be included in the email. You should receive the email normally within one business day.
Hit the library or local bookstore. While the Lancaster Barnes & Noble Bookstore did not offer too much, they are helpful in ordering things in if you know the information. The library is a great resource for basics. Many of the books in many libraries tend to be dated material. The Manheim Township Library is located in Overlook Park on Granite Run Road. The Barnes & Noble is located on Fruitville Pike in the Red Rose Commons Center. Search your local libraries and bookstores for resources.
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