Hundreds of New Jersey residents now have a better idea of how to take steps that can lessen damage before disaster strikes again, thanks to a Disaster Prevention Weekend offered as part of a nationwide initiative, Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities.
Representatives from Home Depot, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the State of New Jersey, Fannie Mae, the Bank of New York and Chevy Chase Bank, teamed up last weekend at prevention booths at seven Home Depot stores in New Jersey.
From the booths, Project Impact disaster prevention experts distributed information and answered questions about ways individuals, families and businesses could take steps now as they're cleaning up and rebuilding, to better protect themselves from future disasters. Information on how to access state and federal disaster assistance programs also was available for those who needed immediate help.
Project Impact:Building Disaster Resistant Communities, is a nationwide initiative that utilizes local public-private partnerships to identify community disaster risks and vulnerabilities and take action that will reduce the impact of disasters ahead of time. The initiative, launched in 1997 by FEMA, has spread nationwide to more than 120 communities and to more than 1,000 businesses.
Many of those stopping at the booths said they had come to the stores to purchase cleaning/rebuilding supplies but walked away with valuable information on ways to build back smarter and stronger, the Project Impact way. The seven Home Depot stores that participated were in Bloomfield, Dover, Lodi, South Plainfield, Totowa, Vauxhall and West Windsor.
"I have to replace my heater and I'm not going to put it on the basement floor," said Jim Ragan of Manasquan, New Jersey. "I'm going to have it raised, just the way it's described in the FEMA homeowner's guide."
Ragan said he'll also purchase flood insurance now so that he can recover better if his property floods in the future.