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Planning and keeping everyone informed is done in the security and comfort of the living room.

Here are a series of articles about the living room.

Group Dynamics

Group Dynamics

By Greg Pettet posted February 02, 2018

Group dynamics is fundamental to your preparedness plans. Groups will vary and can be as small as a single family or a collection of multiple families (or members) who share common interests and goals like a business.

We will only touch briefly on the different skills. This list is not exclusive or all inclusive and is meant to deal with local or regional disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, missing persons/lost hikers, etc. The group dynamics for national and global events that will change the entire world have much broader and diverse needs.

Types of groups:

• Single families- Single families are the most common group. The leadership and roles are basically already in place with parents then older children being the hierarchy. Each person should have a designated role for emergencies; who grabs what emergency supplies needed, who leads the younger children to the safe area, etc. Older children should also know the roles of parents if they are home alone with their younger siblings. We cannot always predict when a disaster will strike. Regardless of any other group you belong to, this is your first stage for disaster preparedness as you may not have time to join with your other group before the disaster occurs.

• Extended families- This group entails grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc who will respond to a disaster to assist other members. They may live close by but in a location unaffected by the disaster at hand and able to offer assistance to those who were personally affected. These are also great locations to store copies of important documents like insurance policies, wills, power of attorneys, etc in a safe or other secure storage source. Leaving a copy of your plan(s) can also be of importance, as they can relay information to search and rescue teams on where you planned to seek shelter and who all is present in the disaster area.

• Neighborhoods and Communities- These are your neighbors and people who live in close proximity like a subdivision. After a disaster, roads may be inaccessible to first responders and these will be the first ones who will be able to offer assistance and aid if properly equipped and trained. Some may have a hierarchy of "leadership" based on other needs and if not, a neighborhood meeting to establish roles and plans would be a worthwhile endeavor.

• Businesses- These also have a hierarchy of authority with managers, foremen, supervisors, etc. Most also have Emergency Action Plans already established and safe areas designated for shelter in place scenarios. If you are a customer, visitor or employee, they should have a plan in place to offer you the best chance of survival.

• Faith Based Groups- Members here share a common bond and oftentimes, a familial bond as well. Places of worship can offer a safe haven after a disaster and membership will offer support to those who were affected directly.

• Like minded Groups- This is a generalized description but for our usage, these are groups who have purposely entered into agreement with one another to assist during a disaster. Most private groups have a particular set of circumstances they prepare for. If you join an already established group, make sure they share the same goals and mind set as you.

Group needs:

• Leadership- Some groups will already have leaders in positions; families have parents, companies have managers, faith based have their elders, ministers, etc. Private groups have an assortment of leaders, some appointed, some elected and some just assuming the role. Each person brings a different set of skills, amount of knowledge and usually a "specialty" from their chosen career field.

o Assign roles to each member of the group. While parents are the primary leaders, older siblings should know what to do in case a parent is injured or not present when the disaster occurs.

o Checklists are useful aids to leaders and also are of great importance when someone not usually in this position must take over.

• Medical- Every group needs people who train to perform life saving medical care. Everyone should learn CPR and basic first aid, but if possible, some members need to train to be EMTs at a minimum.

• Search and Rescue (SAR)- People actually trained to help locate missing persons, whether victims of a disaster and trapped in rubble or a lost child.

• Communications- People who are licensed and capable of operating amateur radios (HAM) can relay information to first responders and other mutual aid groups.

• Security- Disasters are bad but the criminals who take advantage of the situation makes it worse. Looters are always waiting in the wings for a disaster. People who know who should be there and able to provide safety for their fellow members and their property. While security is a needed asset, too many focus on just this piece of the preparedness plan.

We all belong to a group, whether this group is a purpose formed group for preparedness or not. Organizing to meet the needs can seem overwhelming but we are here to help.

Get Trained. Be Ready. Stay Prepared.