I have had the opportunity to spend over 20 years playing or coaching sports from T-ball to college. My focus was always football but I had the opportunity to play baseball, basketball, and track in high school. I spent a short time in college playing football as well. As a player I was able to be surrounded by a great support system which provided the framework to be successful. In the end I had to do the work and I was the one who controlled my level of success.
You are probably wondering what this has to do with preparedness and response. The question for you is, are you waiting or preparing? One day in high school I went to the weight room and was not putting forth much effort. I don’t remember the reason why, but what my coach said to me that day has stuck with me ever since. He told me I didn’t have to be there and to stop wasting everyone’s time. The next part is what I remember the most. He said “Every day you have a choice. You can choose to get better or get worse.” He went on to say “No one ever stays the same. If you stay the same and your opponent gets better, you just got worse.”
Taking these words to the realm of CERT, preparedness, and response I was thinking. Are we waiting for something to happen or are we preparing? Let me illustrate using a small scale example. It is winter and a person buys a set of chains for their vehicle. They carry them into the mountains but don’t take the time to practice putting them on. I see this as someone who is waiting for something to happen. They had the tools but didn’t take the time to get better. The other individual buys the chains, opens them and practices putting them on. They are put back in the package and they go on the same trip.
Both indviduals stop at a chain area and begin to put the chains on. It is cold. The person who prepared is able to get them on with cold fingers and bulky clothing. They knew what to do and practiced it. The other individual is in the cold reading the directions trying to make them fit but they don’t know if they are doing it right. Their stress level increases, frustration sets in, and they have to take a break to regroup. This person got worse.
We can make this fit any situation in our personal or professional settings. Every day we are faced with opportunities to get better or get worse. In the CERT setting ask yourself if your first aid certification is current? Are you able to communicate without your cell phone? Are your supplies current? What skills do you feel you need to refresh?
I encourage you to find opportunities to expand your knowledge base or increase your level of training. You are welcome to sit in on CERT sessions as a way to refresh skills. Take classes from other sources like the Red Cross. Teach someone else a new skill.
The reality is everyone’s situation is different. Everyones’ time and resources are different. What I want you to ask yourself is, when you are in a situation where your skills, training, abilities, and knowledge are needed would you rather have gotten better or worse?