In Ruhenstroth, we are lucky to have several neighbors involved in a program called Neighbor Helping Neighbor. Beth Francis, who lives on Megan Court, is a Block Captain and encourages anyone who is interested to go out to http://nhnpreparedness.com and sign up to be a captain or participating neighbor. There are a lot of great resources on the site, including manuals, lists and videos. Beth encourages all neighbors to get organized by creating a disaster response plan and building a 72 hour emergency kit. This kit contains items for your entire family, including pets and other animals for three full days.
Remember to update your kit every six months to insure that no items have been used or have gone stale – such as food or batteries. Check that clothing items still fit (especially for kids). Check the dates on all personal documents or credit cards that you keep for emergencies, too.
The kit is designed to be grabbed in case you have to “bug out” quickly such as during the wildfires we see so often in Ruhenstroth. But many of these items are essential even if you never have to leave your home.
Items to include:
■ Food and water
■ Bedding and clothing
■ Fuel and light
■ Personal supplies & medication
■ Personal documents and money
■ Equipment: can opener, shovel, radio, knife, duct tape
■ Small toys, books or cards for entertainment
Keep everything in Ziploc bags to keep them safe and ready to use.
Once you have your own family needs covered, you can check out the website for more ways you can help your neighbors in the event of an emergency. Are there invalids or others with special needs on your street? It’s always a good idea to meet your neighbors and talk about how you can help each other. Knowing what family members are in each house and the pets and other animals that might need to be rescued in a fire can make a huge difference in an emergency. Remember to always help yourself and your own family first. Help your neighbors second. Finally when you’re your family and neighbors are secure, you can reach out to help the larger community.
The Community Emergency Response Team, is also active in the Douglas County level. Check out www.ready.gov for information on preparedness kits, disaster plans and more. Or contact Timothy Soule, Deputy Fire Chief and the Douglas County Deputy Emergency Management Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those not familiar with the program, this is a FEMA sponsored program that operates in our neighborhoods. The program has two purposes: train and organize community members to be a response asset in an emergency and to be an extension of first responder services until professional responders arrive.
Tim says there have been some exciting changes in the Community Emergency Response Team program recently and Coordinator Ronna Hubbard will be sharing more with us over the coming weeks.
Reach Karen Brier at RuhenstrothRamblings@yahoo.com, or 790-0072.