Search This Blog

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Practice Like You Play

My high school basketball coach liked to say “practice like you play,” a pearl of wisdom usually supplemented with yelling and a dozen wind sprints. The adage’s worldliness was, not surprisingly, lost on a 17-year-old kid saddled with a hatchback and sick with Senioritis.

“X” number of years later, the Senioritis has subsided and the notion of “practice like you play” has a professional implication. (Oh, how adult.) Last week our jobs got in the way of work. We had a rather large and involved federally-evaluated exercise to test our (the State’s) ability to respond to and recover from a notional emergency. It was a big to-do, involving three days of simulation and plenary discussion with our local, state, federal, and non-governmental partners.

Exercises are typical around here—by “here” I mean the Arizona Division of Emergency Management. We “play” in a few of varying sizes and scaling complexity every year. And despite the supposing of different scenarios, the end objective is the always the same–improve preparedness so that we can better protect the public safety. It’s a deceptively simple aspiration that requires public participation.

National Preparedness Month is held once a year in September, but getting and staying prepared takes a year-round effort. I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this "call to action," and I rest assured it won’t be the last. We want you to “practice like you [would] play”…to be active participants in your preparedness by planning home evacuation drills, testing smoke detectors, and volunteering in your community.

Here are just a few recommendations to help you and your community get #Prepared365:

• The Southern Arizona and Grand Canyon chapters of the American Red Cross are hosting Save-a-Life Saturday events at various locations across the state on Saturday, March 19. For more information and to RSVP, visit or

• Be a volunteer driver in the Point of Dispensing exercise on Saturday, April 2, at Mesquite High School in Gilbert. You can find more information on the Maricopa County Department of Public Health website,

• Get involved with your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program. You’ll find a listing of and contact information for 23 Arizona chapters at

• Follow the Arizona Emergency Information Network (AzEIN) on Twitter at or “Like” AzEIN on Facebook at Get Emergency Bulletin System (EBS) updates delivered to your phone by texting "Follow @AzEIN_EBS" to 40404.

No comments: