When disaster strikes, it’s the first responders right there in your local community who make the difference in effective disaster response – the firefighters, medics, utility workers, the faith and community-based groups, the crisis counselors and search and rescue teams. And these are just some of the people who serve during emergencies or disasters.
But, could you play a key role in your community during a disaster?
Folks all over Alabama asked themselves that question as communities across the state held “Be Ready” events throughout September, recognized as National Preparedness Month.
There, residents got to talk with both paid and volunteer first responders from local, state and federal agencies. Citizens asked questions about what it takes to serve the community during a crisis. They also learned about the services, plans and procedures that are put into place in advance of any disaster that may strike. They learned that being prepared for a disaster can mean more than just having a safe room and an evacuation plan.
Here’s a video from one “Be Ready” event:
Though people in Alabama have recently experienced tornadoes and severe storms, they could also be faced with other natural and man-made hazards, such as:
There are as many ways to serve during a disaster as there are different types of disasters. After Alabama’s devastating tornadoes in April 2011, volunteers worked together on everything from rebuilding homes to writing grants for safe rooms. If you’d like to volunteer in your community, you could join Citizen Corps or register with one of the many faith-based organizations that serve during times of crisis.
If you’re looking for opportunities that can make a lasting difference in your community, I encourage you to consider getting involved with helping your community prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.
Troy, Ala., September 8, 2011 - Students interact with a Patient Simulator at Be Ready Day. The simulator, which speaks, cries, bleeds and moves, makes it possible for practicing patient care with real reactions to emergency situations. Be Ready Day, hosted by Troy University and sponsored by the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, emphasized teaching students about safety in a number of areas, including tornado preparedness.