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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Community Preparedness

"True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.” - Baltasar Gracian
Preparedness works on many levels. There is personal preparedness; family preparedness; workplace preparedness, neighborhood preparedness, and local/state/federal preparedness. This posting will look at neighborhood preparedness.

Do you belong to a neighborhood organization such as a homeowners association or crime watch group? If not can you join one or start one?

Has your organization thought about the way it would respond to a disaster? Has it trained the members and held drills? Here are some topics to consider:
  • Host a preparedness fair
  • Help neighbors to prepare Family Disaster Plans and keep them up to date
  • Encourage or help residents to create Disaster Supplies Kits and keep them up to date
  • Create a plan for working together until help arrives. Consider ways to cooperate with each other during recovery.
  • Invite your local fire department or emergency management office to hold training classes
  • Create a neighborhood map with names and home and cell phone numbers next to each address so neighbors can contact each other in an emergency
  • Find out your neighbors' special skills (for example, medical, technical) and consider how they could help in a disaster situation
  • Identify elderly and disabled people in the neighborhood, single parents with young children, or others who might need extra help
  • Make plans with neighbors for child care in case parents cannot get home in an emergency situation.
There is an old adage: many hands make light work. Consider for example trying to lift fallen debris off a family member - you'll very likely need extra hands. Moving an injured person is something you should NOT do by yourself except under extreme conditions.

Bottom Line

Work with your neighbors but don't become dependent on them like the grasshopper in Aesop's fable - doing nothing to prepare yourself and begging from others when winter arrives. Be a generous ant instead with extra supplies so you can assist your neighbor who is a grasshopper.


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