Principles to Consider When Implementing
Stake/Ward Emergency Preparedness Certification Program
“By the inch it’s a cinch; by the yard it’s hard.”
“…if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear…” D&C 38:30
The primary objective of the Emergency Preparedness Certification program is to increase the level of preparedness for families and individuals within a ward/stake.
In addition to this, there are three secondary objectives:
- Overcome the misperception that emergency preparedness is just food storage
- Overcome the inertia or “paralysis by analysis” that stalls many individuals and families from taking actions and getting prepared
- Measurable/Accountable: Have a means for tracking the level of preparedness of each of the members, units, and stake, or even an area.
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL
The great thing about this Stake/Ward Emergency Preparedness Certification program is the ability of the local ward/stake to customize this program to meet the needs of their demographic area. My father, who serves as a bishop in Perth, Australia, has a much more economically diverse ward than where I live. As a results, he’s adjusted the various certification levels in this program to work with his members. As I explained the principles I followed to set this up for our ward, he seemed to do the same, adjusting it to their ward’s needs.
Some principles we used:
- The Level 1 Certification needs to be attainable by just about every member of the ward/stake. It should push some members, but at the end of the day, our goal was that every member could at least achieve this level of certification with a reasonably amount of effort/planning. To determine this, when I proposed the Certification program to our Bishopric and later to our Stake Presidency, we met in counsel, and discussed what we thought were achievable goals for our members, and then set those for Level 1.
- The highest level of certification (in our example, this would be the Level 3 Certification), should get families to a very high level of preparedness. In creating this, we decided that this was NOT something we felt that everyone needed to be able to achieve within a short amount of time. This certification should be the pinnacle of preparedness in your area. Members who attain this certification level should be prepared for just about anything.
- The Level 2, or middle certification is something that bridges the gap between these two levels.
- Ultimately, we hope that everyone will strive to achieve all three levels of certification. It may simply take some members longer than other to do so.
- Each level of certification should help members build their food/water/cash supplies. By the final level of certification, each member should have a full year supply of food, a large water supply, and have adequate cash ON HAND in case of an emergency.
- We also wanted to encourage family participation in this program. In the level 1 certification there are FHE lesson that are to be conducted with all family members present. Part of the purpose of the program is educational by nature. Teaching and training family members on what to do, and how to do it in an emergency. In the higher certification levels, each family has to one or more members that actually get some type of 3rd party certification – CPR, First Aid, Amateur Radio, CERT, etc. We hope that families can rally around these types of activities and make it a fun and rewarding experience.
- This program provides clarity to ward members about the steps they can take as families to become prepared.
- This clarity gave us the ability to set goals for ward members to reach a new level of certification.
- Achievement of each certification provides the Ward and Stake Leadership with measurable levels of preparedness for each family in their area. For example, in our ward, if we know someone’s family is Level 2 certified, we know they’d have 6 months of food storage, a certain amount of cash on hand, at least one person with a certification (First Aid, CPR, Ham Radio, etc), specific insurance standards have been met, documentation on their assets, and much much more…
- Families get PREPARED! 🙂
When a family actually achieves one of these levels of certification, we present them with a certificate. We tried our best to make these certificates look nice – something worthy to be put on a wall and talked about. We hope that it’s something the children in each family can take pride in – knowing that they worked together to achieve something.
SEND YOUR FEEDBACK
If you make use of this program in any way, I’d really appreciate hearing from you any feedback on how it’s working. Make any changes you feel are necessary to get it to work in your area, but if you could let me know what that is, I’d appreciate it. If you pass this along to anyone else, please give them my information and ask them to contact me with their information also. I’m trying to collect and gather as much feedback as possible from other people using this system, or an adaptation of this system, so we can make it better. Right now there are several other wards/stakes that have asked for information on this, and I ask this of everyone.