The Importance of Forming a Catastrophe Network
Forming your own Catastrophe Network is just as important as stockpiling food, water, medical supplies, and essential survival tools. Significant strength is found in numbers for three important reasons. First, participating in a network will allow you to barter and share resources within a closed group of people that you trust. Second, participating in a network will allow you to share skills and knowledge. Finally, participating in a network will give you more manpower for essential and labor intensive tasks, such as survival gardening and security. Accomplishing these three tasks with just yourself or your immediate family would be difficult unless you are an extremely skilled and large group. In these cases, your family may be your network. However, in most cases will need to reach out to a few close friends or extended family in order to form a complete network.
Catastrophe Network Types
Type 1 Networks: The first type of network is that which actually plans to live together and consolidate resources post-catastrophe. This type of network provides the most benefits as long as you and your network have a location that is sufficient to accommodate all of the members without overcrowding.
Type 2 Networks: The second type of network is that which will not live together post-catastrophe, but has established the means and protocols for communicating with each to facilitate resource and skill sharing post-catastrophe. This type of network does not provide as many benefits as a Type 1 Network, but will still be extremely advantageous, particularly if the members are within a few miles of one another.
Hybrid Networks: The third type of network is one that incorporate elements of both Type 1 and Type 2 Networks. In a Hybrid Network, some members of the network may choose to consolidate resources and live together while other members may live separate, but remain connected via close communication protocols.
Catastrophe Network Membership
When forming a Catastrophe Network, it will likely become necessary to set a minimum standard for preparedness per person in the network. The point of the network is to build strength in numbers, but if those numbers do not contribute their fair share, they will become a burden rather than an asset. What standards your network sets is up to you, but standards should be set.
A second aspect to membership should also be the collection of basic information for each member. Essential information may include contact information, special skills, basic medical information, etc. Remember, information is power following a disaster. However, the amount of information collected should reflect the comfort level of the group or the individual member.
Catastrophe Network Leadership
Every organization needs leadership, no matter what model it follows. How your Catastrophe Network is organized is up to you and your network. Leadership models may include a single leader, leadership by committee, leadership by vote of all members, etc. No matter what your structure looks like, you must put it in writing and ensure that it will work for your networks specific type
Catastrophe Network Planning
Your Catastrophe Network is basically a personal disaster response organization for the benefit of its members and every disaster response organization has at least a basic Disaster Plan. The Catastrophe Network Disaster Plan (CNDP) for your network should be written and distributed to all members. A basic CNDP should include:
- Purpose Statement
- Membership Requirements
- Organization Structure
- Leadership Structure
- Activation Plans
- Communications Plans
- Concept of Operations
- Community or Group Attachments
(Community or Group Attachments may include Maps, Checklists, Reference Materials, etc.)
National Catastrophe Network Standards
The opportunity exists for collaboration and information sharing between individual Catastrophe Networks wherever they may be located. This collaboration and information sharing will be made possible through a number of National Catastrophe Network Concepts of Operation (NCN ConOps).
Questions or Ideas?
If you have questions or ideas about Networks, National ConOps, or would like to get involved, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org