Sunday, February 24, 2013

Find your nearest PEP radio station

Do you know where your nearest PEP radio station is? PEP (Primary Entry Point) radio stations are battle-hardened commercial radio stations, usually in the medium wave (AM) band, that serve as initial entry points for national Emergency Alert System traffic.They must have a backup generator for 30 days on the air, along with various other stringent requirements, so in a widespread disaster situation (commonly known as a "SHTF" situation) they could be vital information sources if local infrastructure is down. PEPs are not well known though - to the extent that there are very few places you can find a list of them (I found one in a forum post). So to make life easier, here is a Google Map I created to show the locations of the current 33 PEP's (you can click on markers to show the frequency and station name). According to FEMA, a slew of new PEP stations are being added, so when I get the data on these I will add them to the map.

View EAS PEP Radio Stations in a larger map

Friday, February 15, 2013

Meteor attacks and resilience

I always find it interesting that we can be quite imaginative in thinking about potential new kinds of ways for disasters to happen, but it's not really until we have a real-life event that it sparks enough impetus in us to actively prepare for it. Then we have a buzz of activity, then interest slowly dies off again. Perhaps as humans we just need something concrete and recent to work off.  Yet, the probability of these unlikely events (terrorist attack, solar flares, infrastructure failures, volcanic eruptions) presumably remains the same independent of our recent experience.

Well, the latest imaginative event to become concrete is, it seems, a meteor attack, after hundreds are reported injured today after a meteor exploded over a Russian city, breaking windows and damaging buildings. We will all of course need now to examine the risks of a meteor hitting our community: what is the probability? potential impact? mitigation steps? Should it be in our hazard analysis? What about other things falling from the sky like comets and satellites?

I think it's quite right we should do this, but perhaps even more important is something many in emergency management are starting to talk about: building resilience. This is something I've talked about before in relation to survivalism and emergency management. It also has a cultural connection: for example, as a native Brit who moved to the U.S., it's apparent that the "Dunkirk spirit" that infuses British culture leads to huge resilience, because people naturally band together and help each other out.

So perhaps a good question in response to this is: "what can I seed in my community that will help make it more resilient, whatever happens?"