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Demystifying Emergency Preparedness

SAN DIEGO, CA - Climate crises has become a reality for the global community and especially for vulnerable populations including American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages.

Socioeconomic factors contribute to the level of disaster preparedness of Native Americans often resulting in some Tribes better prepared than others. In 2016, Native Public Media launched its Emergency Communications Preparedness program for broadcasters serving Indian Country in a national effort to place broadcasters on notice to the critical role they play during natural and man-made disasters and on increasing their level of preparedness.

“Native communities and other underserved populations must take ownership of disaster preparedness as a priority for survival. Government, however well intentioned, cannot solve the problem alone,” states Native Public Media President and CEO. “At the core of preparedness is an attitude that survival is a personal matter that we should all take seriously. For underserved Native communities, basic preparedness is a matter of life or death.”

According to Taylor, NPM published its Emergency Communications Preparedness Curriculum to demystify disaster preparedness and to provide relevant information about how broadcasters can help the communities they serve to gauge risks and options that lead to practical steps to save lives and protect property before disaster strikes.

“In reality, Tribal communities are often on their own to respond to the deep and broad consequences left behind by disasters. We want our Tribal citizens to dispel the notion that emergency preparedness is a government responsibility and instead embrace empowering tools and practices that will help their families and communities not just survive, but thrive following a disaster. Broadcast facilities should be community institutions that serve the greater good,” explains Taylor.

In a pre-conference session at the National Association of Broadcasters in June 2019, Taylor emphasized that underserved populations that are most at risk across Indian Country are individuals and families:

  • Without 911 services

  • With limited or no internet access

  • Without street addresses

  • Without paved roads

  • With limited or no telephone access

  • With limited emergency services

  • With limited first responders

  • Below Poverty

  • With children under 18

  • With elderly over 65

  • With disabled individuals

  • Without Transportation

  • With people living in sub-standard housing or near high-risk hazards

  • With rural and/or remote Communities

“We want every broadcaster, not just tribal broadcasters, to learn how to become a first responder for community resilience by learning basic tools and strategies that will become critically important during a disaster when it matters the most,” concludes Taylor.

Native Public Media provides emergency communications preparedness training as part of its Training and Education Program.

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