Making your Neighborhood a Safer Place

The holidays are upon us. The flurry of activity is infectious. Our homes are readied for Christmas and our hearts are pondering what gifts to give. How about giving a gift that would help READY your family for a disaster?

Cordova Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD) has just the right idea. It is not flashy. It is not expensive. And it is certainly not the latest fad, but it may save the life of your family member. Give your loved one a small emergency pack to put under their bed ….along with the booklet that teaches neighbors how to help neighbors during a disaster. You purchase the emergency pack contents. CVFD will provide the booklet. For free.

The booklet is part of what we call our Neighborhood Campaign. The Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Alaska Citizen Corps have created this 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. By getting this booklet and attending a Neighborhood Campaign session, you will clearly and concisely determine how your neighborhood could begin its own recovery without having to rely entirely upon the fire department (who may take some time to respond during a major disaster).

The booklet discusses the 9 steps to build strong neighborhoods. It shows you how to map your neighborhood for disaster purposes. It helps you determine WHO will do WHAT in your neighborhood during a disaster (do you know who can run a chainsaw in your neighborhood? Or who has one?). And it tells you what to put under your bed in a small emergency pack, just in case you have to run out in the middle of the night.

Neighborhood Campaign training has successfully been initiated in Cordova, but there is much work to be done. Three such evening trainings in 2010 have given Cordova a good start and numerous evenings in 2011 will be continue the effort. A neighborhood map of Cordova, supporting the effort and giving it focus, has been diligently created by Catherine Craig. Additionally, if you have a student in high school, they will be familiar with the Neighborhood Campaign, as they participated in the training during their “Disaster Day” last April.

Watch for the Neighborhood Campaign advertisements and join us for an evening of fun, food, and disaster prep. In the meantime, stop by the fire department and get a booklet. It will tell you what to put in that small emergency pack under your child’s bed…and yours. You will have the perfect gift. And it’s free.

As you ready your hearts for Christmas…be Neighborhood Ready too.