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Tuesday, 21 December 2010 19:24

A Mile in My Shoes

Written by  Howard Pierpont, MBCI, CORM, CBM, CBCP, CRP
Every culture and language has a story that includes a bit about walking “a mile in my shoes.” Typically the story encourages insight into another’s behavior and struggle.

We have all heard about disasters and the impact on the local individuals. All disasters are local and the greatest impact is felt locally. Over time the wounds and scars will heal. With some planning and preparation the next time an event happens, the impact will be reduced or at least lessened.

I was reminded the other day about another “walk-a-mile” item we should all be prepared for. As the seasons change, make sure as you travel to have suitable footwear, clothing, and head protection to to literally walk a mile if something should interrupt your travel.

If you are in an area where you are headed into the cold time of the year, make sure you have a jacket or layers of clothing that you can wear. If you are going to be out in the snow, can you protect your feet and hands from getting cold? Don’t forget a good hat to help keep in the escaping heat!

If you are in an area where the seasons are changing to warmer than they have been or headed into spring time, again, prepare to be covered appropriately. Proper footwear, protective clothing and something to keep you in the shade as you move along need to travel with you.

I have been fortunate to travel a number of weeks this year. I have spent time in areas where the snow blasted through on a single day and caused a considerable amount of damage. The next day, most of the snow was gone, but the loss of power and heat continued for weeks.

I have travelled through areas that did not have any rain for a month. Not only was it very dry and fires were abundant, when it did rain, the run off caused landslides and flooding.

Temperatures have been hotter later in the year in many parts of the United States and colder in others. Climate issues seem to happen at all corners of the globe.

Be prepared when you travel. You may start out in a warm conveyance, but rising waters, temperatures or family illness can change things rapidly. What ever the weather, be ready to “walk-a-mile” in your own shoes.

Howard Pierpont is the board chairman of the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency response Association (DERA) www.disasters.org. He is also a training specialist with DHS/FEMA and a co-moderator of the DRJ Forums at www.DRJ.com He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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