In the face of disaster, Americans come together with courage, compassion and unity and ask, “How can I help?”
There are many ways to get involved especially before a disaster occurs. The whole community can participate in programs and activities to make their families, homes and communities safer from risks and threats. Community leaders agree the formula for ensuring a safer homeland consists of volunteers, a trained and informed public and increased support of emergency response agencies during disasters. Major disasters can overwhelm first responder agencies, empowering individuals to lend support.
Get Involved before disaster strikes!
Here are a few ways you can help:
Volunteer to support disaster efforts in your community. Get trained and volunteer with a Community Emergency Response Team, Medical Reserve Corps unit and/or other Citizen Corps Partner Program or Affiliate organization. Many local faith-based and community organizations have programs active in supporting disasters too.
Be part of the community planning process. Connect and collaborate with your local emergency planning group, Citizen Corps Council or local emergency management agency. Contact nearest planning organization. Volunteer with your local fire department or emergency medical services unit. These organizations have many support functions that they could use help with in the event you feel you could not perform emergency related tasks.
Join or start a preparedness project. Find an event or identify local resources, build a team, choose a project, set goals and serve your community by improving the preparedness of your friends, colleagues and neighbors. Get started.
Support major disasters by donating cash or goods which may help meet the needs of your community in times of disaster.
This represents only a few of the many ways that individuals and community organizations can Get Involved to help communities lessen, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. For additional opportunities that may be unique to your community, contact your local emergency management agency or Citizen Corps Council in your area.
You can also become more involved on a personal level, by making a plan and getting a kit. Purchasing a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers for your home go a long way toward your safety. Know where you can find emergency information before you need it. Keep your batteries fresh and test your detectors periodically. Teach your children how to evacuate your home in an emergency and where to go. Everyone should know how to dial 911 for assistance.
On a neighborhood basis, get to know your neighbors. Know who may need special assistance or may need a ride in the event of an evacuation. Be sure to check on neighbors during emergencies and during severe weather. Have a parking or snow removal plan for sidewalks and driveways during snow storms. You may also compile a list of special equipment in your neighborhood and expertise your neighbors may have in the event an emergency occurs. Of course, should you ever see something, be sure to say something and although it may be nothing, if it is, you will be glad you did. Dial 911 for emergencies.
Emergency preparedness begins with you!