September is National Preparedness Month. Several government departments and agencies such as FEMA, and The Department of Homeland Security, promote the event. Their goal is to create awareness about the need for families, individuals and communities to be prepared for major disasters before they happen.
The need for advanced planning is very real, and not limited to natural disasters. The City of Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management lists 18 different hazards it considers to be worthy of their attention and ours — various scenarios that make us vulnerable if we are not prepared.
The events range from the most likely (earthquakes and snow storms), to the less likely (hazmat incidents, volcanic eruptions, and active shooters). Any major disaster that affects a significant geographic portion of our city or state will likely overwhelm government assistance resources (i.e. first-responders) for up to two weeks. This means that the average citizen will be on their own for as long as 14 days. Do you have enough supplies on hand to last that long? Few families do.
Fortunately, we do not live in a vacuum. Even though first-responders may not be able to reach us right away, most of us have neighbors. And although they may be equally ill-prepared, pooling our resources may be our saving grace, IF we begin before the emergency happens.
The State of Washington’s Emergency Management Division offers Map Your Neighborhood, which is a program for organizing neighbors. The program provides a written plan that guides neighbors through simple steps to help improve their readiness for emergency events. The tried-and-true, easy-to-implement program has been featured on KING5 News.
You can download an overview of the Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) program from our Services page. Just scroll down to the free downloads portion of the page.
The City of Seattle offers its own version of MYN called SNAP, (Seattle Neighbors Actively Prepare).
If you’d like to start with something less ambitious, Just in Case offers a free half-hour presentation to neighborhood and community groups. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 708-9800.