The last test I remember taking was in 1976! I was attending SWOSU in Weatherford. The course was Sociology, and the professor's name was David Wright. He was a small man with a very bristly brown beard, and he wore pointy-tipped cowboy boots and plaid, western shirts. I can still see him handing me the test - the final one of the course. There was a bonus question at the end of the test - “Who is Idi Amin?” (Remember, we're talking thirty years ago!) I surprised myself, and the professor, because I was the only one in the class who knew the answer. That day I aced a test, got extra points in the process, and experienced a moment of “hidden knowledge”…defined by me as “things that you know that you didn‘t know you knew until you needed to know them!” (Whew….that was long-winded!)

A couple of weeks ago, I began taking courses in emergency management. Not in a classroom, nor with a cowboy professor, but via computer and an independent study program. I was nervous when it came time to answer the questions on my first test - afraid I hadn't absorbed enough knowledge to answer them correctly. I took a deep breath, took the test, then hit “Send”. And in short order I had a (virtual) certificate with my name on it, affirming the fact I had indeed known the answers. That first certificate has led to others, and I have rediscovered the fact that I still possess “hidden knowledge”.

And guess what? You, too, possess hidden knowledge! And you don't need a certificate to prove your possession, when it comes to two elements of emergency management that you already use in your daily life.

At one time or another, all of us have unknowingly created a “Hazard Analysis”. This assessment is made up of five basic questions: What negative thing might happen? How likely will it be that it does happen? How bad could it be if it did happen? How many people would be affected? How much damage would it cause? Not only does this analysis prove useful in preparing for a natural catastrophe, but it is a valuable tool when we‘re trying to decide our own course of action.

Another concept of the emergency management system is based on the application of three principles. In order, they are objectives, strategies and tactics. Just think how many times you have practiced these principles in your day-to-day life! I had my own “light bulb” moment when I realized I have been applying them in my “Quest For Health”. My objectives are to be healthy and whole. My strategies include exercising, seeking peace, and healthy eating. My tactics include consuming broccoli (and other green things), taking walks; joyfully dancing to some really loud music; and deciding that life is good and each day is a blessing!

So, the next time you are confronted with a problem, or just by life itself, may you not quake. Instead, remember these two (out of hundreds) basic elements of emergency management, apply them to the situation, and then rely on your own, unique hidden knowledge. You may be surprised at just how much you know that you didn't know you knew until you needed to know it!

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I've decided that if the birds can do it, then by golly, so can I! Sing, that is! They don't have heaters, just feathers. They don't have shoes, just feet. They don't have homes, just nests. And they sure don't have refrigerators or cupboards filled with their “daily bread”! And yet, they joyfully raise their voices in hymns of praise and gladness for what they do have - life! Yes, I will join them…and sing my own joyful song of praise and gladness!