Many aspects of emergency preparedness are universal, but our views on this subject are also heavily affected by our surroundings. If you've spent most of your life living in the American southwest, you'll tend to prepare for disasters differently than someone who lives in the cold mountains of Canada. City-dwellers will approach prepping differently than those from rural areas. Cultural differences can even affect your perspective, depending on the country or region you reside in. Learning about some of these different perspectives can help us broaden our viewpoints and improve our own preparedness.
If you've been following our publications for a while, you've probably seen some of the public service announcements and preparedness guides created by United States government organizations such as FEMA or the Department of Homeland Security. But have you ever considered how other countries' governments promote preparedness for their citizens?
We recently came across an English-language PDF published by the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB) and the Municipality of Oslo (Norway's capital). This 12-page guide explains the importance of personal emergency preparedness, outlines the basic gear suggested by the Norwegian government, and shares some other tips about preparing for a disaster. You're probably already aware of a lot of this info, but there are also some elements that may surprise you.
The first thing that struck us about this guide is its strong focus on the community element of survival. The introduction makes this clear: “If a larger part of the population is able to take care of themselves and those around during an emergency, immediate help is more likely to reach those who need it most first. In this way, you make a part of Norway’s emergency preparedness.” This is also mentioned as a form of cold-weather preparedness, encouraging Norwegians to establish an “agreement with neighbours, family or friends to give you shelter.” There are many other references to actively looking for ways to contribute to anyone who needs help during an emergency.
The section titled “Are You Prepared?” provides some quotes from ordinary Norwegians on the subject of prepping. Some sound substantially more prepared than others — 71-year-old Eva lives alone and boldly says she is “not worried about terror or disasters.”
A few other items we noticed:
Click here to download the PDF, and consider how its suggestions compare and contrast with your existing emergency plans.