Participate InYour Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness Groups Because Together:
- We Are Stronger and More Resiliant
- and More Likely To Survive Than If We Act Only As Individuals
The likelihood of survival and best outcomes after emergencies is much higher in like-minded, cohesive groups, which is why the Orem Hillcrest Area Emergency Response Plan was created — to help individuals and families living in the Orem-Hillcrest Area to organize themselves in such a way as to maximize the number of Orem residents who can survive a short-term or long-term Emergency. The three reasons (which boil down to the first reason) for organizing and preparing to respond to emergencies as groups include:
- People are more likely to survive in like-minded groups (survival of the sociable/cooperative):
Help from outside a distressed locality doesn’t come quickly. Locals are always first on the scene:
- Groups that share and work together to save each other in emergencies, are much more likely to survive while loners are more likely to die. Also, the more that groups have in common, the better they do in emergencies. - (See Harvard University Study On Who Survives and Who Doesn't Following Disasters).
- Survival is the second law of life. The first is that we are all one. (Joseph Campbell)
- Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. (Helen Keller)
Planning is the key to everything. (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
- “For the most effective disaster response, members of the community should be used as first responders. After all, they are always first on the scene.” (Mileti, Little Hoover Commission Study, 2006)
- If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. (Benjamin Franklin)
The LDS Church and the City of Orem Teamed Up for Meaningful Emergency Preparedness
Orem City first tried to create a group, emergency response organizing strategy using school boundaries and PTAs. This effort, however, never got any traction, due to lack of volunteer support. That’s when Orem City decided to ask faith based groups to give it a try as far as organizing and carrying out emergency preparedness.
Using Faith Based Groups for Emergency Response Is A Match Made in Heaven
The LDS Church, for nearly a hundred years, has given a very strong emphasis to emergency preparedness. As the LDS church considered this option of joining with local governments to carry out emergency response, they realized that more lives would be saved by getting fully behind City efforts than by proceeding unilaterally.
When the LDS Church agreed to become the organizing backbone for the Orem City Emergency Preparedness plan, positive involvement of Orem citizens happening almost immediately. At this point, we can say that the idea to work together was a brilliant one.
The result of this cooperation is that Orem City has agreed to do the following things before and during emergencies:
- Provide frequent CERT Training opportunities for Orem residents. This training teaches Orem residents how to not become victims and how to join together to save the maximum number of lives when helping their neighbors in an emergency situation. The more Orem residents that are trained the better for everyone in Orem.
- Conduct a yearly Orem City Drill to help prepare Orem residents and Orem City Emergency Managers.
- Set up and operate a Professional City Emergency Operations Center, with which to back up citizen disaster response efforts, and provide the following services (if able) during a disaster/emergency:
- Provide police response to crime.
- Provide major fire suppression.
- Provide major Search and Rescue operations — utilizing professionals that are better trained and have specialized equipment giving them capabilities beyond what CERT members have.
- Communicate with Orem citizens through its Orem Emergency Alert system
- Communicate with Orem citizens through its Amateur Radio Communications Center.
- Coordinate with other government organizations - Orem City is the gate keeper for accessing City, County, State and Federal Resources
Orem Citizens Are Responsible to Carry Out First Response (Triage, Rescue and Initial Medical Help For Victims
The reality of widespread emergencies or disasters is that ordinary people will always be the first on the scene... professionals will arrive up to days, weeks or months later. Essentially, a disaster in Orem is the citizens’ disaster, and it will be up to citizens to deal with it and not count on “rescuers”. In fact, planning to rely on rescuers is the worst possible attitude and brings the worst possible results.
- Historical data from other emergencies shows that during a significant emergency, government and other “public” emergency responders will be totally overwhelmed.
- The time needed for Orem City, Utah State and FEMA assistance to reach individual homes in Orem is likely to be measured in weeks and months following a major disaster.
- Likewise, non-governmental, medical professionals and facilities will be overwhelmed. For instance, not only will there be insufficient doctors and nurses to attend to the injured, but, there will be no room in hospitals to house the large numbers of injured or even to store dead bodies. (Utah Valley Regional Hospital, for instance, can store only 5 dead bodies.)
The LDS Church (Its Members, Buildings and Communication Systems) Will Form A Backbone for Organizing Orem Citizens In Responding Quickly As Groups to a Widespread Emergency
The reasons that this is a great direction to go include:
- 50% of Orem’s population are active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days (LDS or Mormon Church)
- There are 40+ LDS Church meetinghouses throughout Orem City
- LDS Church local unit leaders have the ability to “call” people (request members to serve) to do the job of leading emergency preparedness activities in their local units. This is the key reason why it is possible for the LDS Church to ”activate” manpower (volunteers) to make this emergency response project happen.
Important Note: Although, the LDS Church's existing organization forms a major backbone for this organizing effort, it it still a citizen effort that is not concerned with religious affiliation, but rather with preparing to save lives in the event of a widespread emergency.
In this plan, the LDS Church is responsible for the following organization roles:
- To organize and train LDS members, and all community volunteers who will band together in this effort, to function within emergency preparedness groups called Area, Neighborhoods and Blocks. The Area and Neighborhood boundaries corresponding to geographical boundaries of LDS Stakes and Wards. (See more about these organizational units in the right-hand column.)
- To encourage as many persons as possible to receive CERT and Red Cross training as provided by the City and Red Cross organizations
- To encourage as many persons as possible to become amateur radio operators and to organize amateur radio operators within the above response units for the purpose of maintaining communications from and to City and Church leaders during emergencies.
In the event of a major emergency, all persons who have been organized into these response groups will go into action to assess needs and give emergency care to their neighbors by:
- Quickly going home to home within Blocks to discover and report to Neighborhood, Area and City leaders the extent of need of Orem residents and property damage following a disaster.
- Providing rescue and care efforts to injured and displaced (which is why everyone is urged to become CERT trained).
- Continuously communicating via runners and amateur radio the status and needs of Orem Hillcrest residents to Orem City and to LDS Church leaders.
- With relief and rescue operations being coordinated from LDS Chuch Buildings (Command Centers) which become triage and medical treatment centers, emergency operation coordination centers, temporary morgues, and other potential uses in cooperation with Orem City.