Know your Neighbors before Disaster Strikes

The holidays are upon us and most of us are thinking about what gifts we are going to give our family…our coworkers…or our neighbors. How about giving a gift that has lasting repercussions and neighborhood strengthening qualities? How about giving a gift that helps your recipient become prepared?

The Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Alaska Citizen Corps have created a neighborhood program that delineates the steps that each neighborhood can take to help themselves in the event of a disaster. The program is entitled “Building and Strengthening Disaster Readiness Among Neighbors.”…and it does just that.

In an emergency…who is going to be the most immediate source of help? It won’t be the Cordova Volunteer Fire Department. It won’t be Public Works. And it won’t be the State of Alaska. It will be your neighbor. And wouldn’t you prefer that your neighbor understand some of the fundamentals of emergency preparedness?

This program will guide you and your neighbor, as you coordinate, to create a plan. It is difficult to think clearly following a disaster and the steps identified in this program will help you to quickly and safely do the things that really help. This program also helps you, as a neighborhood, to identify who has which skills and equipment that you may need in the aftermath of a catastrophic event…making sure everyone has a meaningful role. This program helps your neighborhood to create a map that shows the locations of natural gas and propane, as well as any neighbors that may need special help or children who may be home alone at certain times of the day. And lastly, this program teaches you to clearly mark your home (with the attached window signs) to indicate whether you are OK …or need help.

In the coming months, you will hear more about “Building and Strengthening Neighbors” as we strive to build neighborhood teams. In the meantime, go down to the Cordova Volunteer Fire Department and get a great stocking stuffer…the booklet that can save lives. It’s easy to initiate. It’s a way to tell someone you care. And it’s free.

Holiday time. It’s time to think of others. It’s time to ….Be prudent. Be ready. Be prepared.