After I left the office on August 6, 2013, I went to the annual “Crime Prevention and National Night Out” celebration sponsored by the Springfield Police Department, Delaware County, PA, the Target Corporation, along with local businesses. National Night Out's goal is to “heighten crime and drug prevention, gain support for local anti-crime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit, and let criminals know that Springfield residents are committed to keeps Springfield Township safe.”
National Night Out was successful in Delaware County because it represented the diversity of the community. It also demonstrated that while communities are made up of many organizations, businesses, and individuals – we can all come together to support a common goal. I’m both a Springfield resident and a volunteer firefighter with the Springfield Fire Department; and I represented FEMA Region III at the event by hosting a table. At my table I encouraged, educated, and talked to people about individual and family preparedness.
It gave me a unique opportunity to educate my neighbors and fellow Springfield residents about being prepared as an individual and about why it’s important to make a plan, have a kit, and be informed. It was a lot of fun for me because I brought my family with me (see the photo above); plus I was able to meet with friends, Springfield residents, and fellow firemen; while promoting FEMA’s ”Whole Community” approach to emergency management. If you haven’t heard “Whole Community” before, it’s the idea that it takes everyone in the community (elected officials, residents, businesses, etc.) to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster.
Next to my table was the Delaware County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Ed Kline is the Delaware County Volunteer Management Coordinator and was there with his local Delaware County CERT members in support of Ready Pennsylvania. Ed and his team were there handing out Pennsylvania Emergency Preparedness Guides, Family and Pet Emergency Planning Guides and Ready Pennsylvania bags that had suggested items for a basic disaster supply kit. It was also a great chance to network with some of the local vendors that supported the event.
As I mentioned before, the event was successful because so many partners in the community were there. In addition to FEMA and the Delaware County CERT team, other groups were there, like:
- Delaware County Office of the District Attorney
- Delaware County E911
- Delaware County Sheriff’s Office
- Delaware County Services for the Aging
- Delaware County Suicide Prevention and Awareness Task Force
- Springfield Fire Department
- Springfield Ambulance Corps
- Springfield Lions Club
- Springfield License and Inspection Department
- Crozer-Keystone Health System
- Child Guidance Resource Center
- AQUA PA
Events like National Night Out demonstrate the diversity of every community - and that it takes everyone working together to make our neighborhoods and cities more resilient. Looking back at the event now, I’m amazed at how well my town came together, shared ideas, and got involved.
Sharing preparedness in your community doesn’t mean you need to wait for a formal event like National Night Out. There are lots of events happening across the country and community.fema.gov is a great place to see the list. And with National Preparedness Month coming up in September, now’s a great time to get inspired and host an event of your own!
I encourage all of you to get involved in your community to help everyone become better prepared for a disaster.
Editor’s Note: We are providing the following links to third party sites and organizations for your reference. FEMA does not endorse any non-government entities, ogranziations or services.