The frequency and intensity of natural disasters are on the rise. Aside from a global pandemic, the previous year was also defined by calling for a declaration of a climate crisis. Successive heavy landfall from hurricanes flooded multiple cities, and massive wildfires ravaged the west coast. It really wasn’t a good year.
Emergency responders can do a fantastic job of keeping everyone safe during times of crisis. It’s still important to accept that there is still an individual responsibility for each of us to be prepared. Doing so will significantly contribute to the safety and security of the people around you.
Prepare Your Community
Local governments alone can’t accomplish sustainable risk reduction strategies. This calls for a more local-level capacity building for disaster management. Implementing community-based disaster preparedness (CBDP) planning alongside government efforts will reduce the vulnerabilities that a specific community may face.
If you’re simply a concerned citizen wanting to look out for the well-being of others, consider leading the charge in improving your community’s disaster response. Follow these basic steps to educate your friends or neighbors on what to do in case of an emergency.
The first step is always to identify and learn about the most common hazards that will affect your community. Knowing how to respond appropriately to these circumstances will be the backbone of your preparedness strategy. It will also be helpful to familiarize yourself with the local emergency plans.
Host regular town hall events or even house meetings to encourage your neighbors, friends, and family to become more aware of these measures. You could also inform them of other avenues to protect themselves or their properties. For instance, if your community is prone to wildfires, teaching them about insurance policies for fires will prepare them for the damages they might incur.
Invite experts to give educational forums during these types of events. The valuable knowledge they can impart to you or your neighbors could prove crucial during actual disasters.
Collaborate with Organizations
There are surely countless organizations that already exist around your area specific to the community’s needs. These service groups are often built around the necessary expertise and provide solutions to the common disasters that your community might face.
Get in touch with these organizations to discuss how to develop your community’s capacity to respond and recover from natural calamities. Besides the local fire department or paramedics, contact local chapters of different Citizen Corps partners and see what you can do to help prepare your community.
You could even volunteer for these groups to deepen your own experience in disaster preparedness. You could also ask them to conduct disaster response training with people around your neighborhood to help raise their understanding of important procedures.
Establish a Responsible Team
Take note of the committed individuals that visit your regular community meetings. These people have the most potential to become leaders as well. They will help you implement the initiatives you have planned and relay it to their own networks, people who might be outside of your reach.
The support of these leaders could significantly increase the number of people who will frequent your meetings. A bigger audience can give more individuals a platform to voice their own concerns. Healthy discussions to address these problems will only serve to strengthen your community’s preparedness.
Finally, set actionable goals for every individual to achieve. Do they have emergency kits in their homes? Are they conducting drills with their families or colleagues? Ensure they have everything they need when disaster strikes, from equipment to emergency plans. Track their progress regularly for accountability.
Can’t Be Too Careful
Although there are many ways for local governments to bolster disaster preparedness, relying solely on these initiatives could prove to be disadvantageous. For a single unit, they have to address many people. Devoting their efforts to respond to disasters might take too long to reach your area in return.
Mobilizing people from your own community will help lessen the load that your local government has to bear. Community preparedness allows you and your neighbors to hold out during times of emergency, giving first responders ample time for rescue if necessary.
Natural calamities are inevitable, and they have only been getting stronger and more frequent in recent years. Mitigating the damages that these hazards could bring is a citizen’s responsibility just as much as it is the government’s. You can never be too safe when it comes to these circumstances. You’ll only be doing yourself and your community a favor in the long run.