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Emergency Preparedness & Response: Prepare Hearts and Minds First

Posted by admin on Mar 26, 2011

trilliumredpainting-a2dBy Deborah Bier, PhD, Publisher and Co-Editor of this Publication

I want to give a very brief introduction of myself wearing a hat most of you aren’t aware that I have in my closet.  From 1998 to 2009, I worked with my community of Concord, Massachusetts doing emergency planning preparation and education for citizens. Our focus for the first few years was to organize neighborhoods for social cohesiveness and emergency preparedness/response within a grassroots organization.

And then the next few years training citizens for the same, but as a volunteer for my local fire department, which also was in charge of emergency management. In the process, we created some enormously inventive methods and organizations, resurrected neglected community resources, and also had a lot of fun.

Here’s one of the things that I’ve worked to make most central to my being, and how I look at emergency preparedness and response. It’s how I reply those who criticize me for working in this area because I am somehow going to create emergencies through such activities.  There are different reasons for doing emergency preparedness for ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, and beyond. I think we can boil them down to two useful ways of looking at these reasons: we can prepare out of fear, or we can prepare out of love.

We can prepare out of fear, because we’re terrified of “the next bad thing that’s going to happen.”  Or we can prepare out of love and a desire to help make a strong recovery possible for ourselves and the community.

We can prepare because we’re terrified of death and loss, or we can prepare because we love and value life — our own, our family’s, neighbor’s, and life as expressed in all forms.

We can prepare because being frightened and talking about bad things that might happen is in some way exciting, or because we are excited to plan ways to enhance resilience and to watch its powers unfold during recovery.

trilliumwhitepainting-wikiAnd lastly, we can prepare out of fear, hiding supplies because we each have to assure we’re going to have what we need… because others will want our stuff, and we’d better be ready to defend ourselves, even with weapons. Or we can prepare out of love, knowing that the bonds we make in the process will develop trust, teamwork, and a shared sense of purpose and commitment.

Converting thinking into love-based concern and action is for me a vital part of the emergency preparedness process, because preparing minds and hearts is the most basic foundation of readiness, response and recovery. Love is also the lens from which I want to be responding to emergencies; preparation from that standpoint is a form of practice to keep love, service, and caring at the center.

Will this mental shift help create a move love-centered reality? It will for me.  And since ourselves is where we can best affect change, that’s the most important place  to start. Here are some essences to help support each of us in such a mind-, heart- and world-changing transition.

Immediately following the disaster, and possibly throughout its course:

During the course of an ongoing disaster:

During the recovery phase of a disaster:

Note: On March 20th, I led a session about emergency preparedness  in which the readers of Skywriter blog were able to  ask questions about the process of preparing for an emergency in their local communities. Some of your own questions and concerns may have been answered in that session. Download the transcript and information about other resources here:  DBier-Emergency Preparedness Session Transcript.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deborah Bier, PhD, is a healer, educator and writer (http://www.greaterwellbeing.com/) living in Concord, Massachusetts (http://www.ConcordMA.com/blog). She is the director of the metrowest Boston office of Caring Companion Connections (http://www.caringcompanion.net/), an innovative home care agency for elders and the disabled.  She’s the publisher and co-editor of Vibration Magazine.

Art credits: Paintings of trillium by Mary Vaux Walcott (1860-1940) are in the public domain at WikiMedia Commons.


Good article Deborah, thanks so much.

Now how to get this out to the dear people who don’t already live this reality? Letting go of the FEAR is a major step!
Blessings, Patricia

March 31st, 2011 | 6:43 am

Patricia, so nice to “see” you! Crises like this make the fearful only more frightened. Perhaps so frightened they’d be willing to try something like… oh, maybe flower essences to help them manage all that fear. And that says “opportunity” to me! — Deborah

March 31st, 2011 | 6:51 am
Pat Davis:

Hi Deborah,

Great to see this topic brought up. I’ve been having “fun” preparing for “happy days” for over a year now. It’s been a project I’ve really enjoyed working on. Always with thoughts of plenty to share and barter.

The new FES Flourish Formula “Fear-Less” is truly one of the most amazing – and timely – remdies for fear I’ve ever found. Might be good to have a bottle on hand along with that bag of rice!

Pat Davis

March 31st, 2011 | 8:19 pm

A friend and I were talking about this subject the other day. I agree that the mindset and intention you go forward with is everthing.

March 31st, 2011 | 9:06 pm