The first step in practicing preparedness is to simply become familiar with your resources. There are various governmental resources designated to respond to the community in times of crisis. Examples of governmental resources are as follows:
-Local, state, federal and volunteer agencies (such as American Red Cross
-City/County Office of Emergency Services
-Community Emergency Response Teams
Additionally, there are many resources in your neighborhood designed to provide assistance in times of need. These resources include:
-Police officers, deputy sheriffs or other law enforcement officers
-Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members
-Citizen Corps Councils
-Others with helpful skills
Please be aware, while these resources seem so readily available and easily accessible in everyday life, they may be severely limited in states of emergency. While the local government is typically the first to respond, please prepare for the possibility that many of its personnel (firefighters, police, etc) might be unable to assist you. This may be due to the overwhelming need and demand for help. It is important to familiarize yourself with other programs and what they have to offer.
Particularly, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is an essential resource your community should consider using. It is a nationwide risk and hazard training program designed to help you protect yourself and others in an emergency situation. It teaches you to respond to an emergency both effectively and efficiently. If you are interested in becoming a CERT volunteer, please visit the website at www.rhfd.org, or call the Rodeo-Hercules Fire District at 510-799-4561.
Other considerations include the Red Cross
, Salvation Army
chapters (http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn.nsf), or a Neighborhood Watch program (Departments & Services/Police/Neighborhood Watch). Please check with your local Office of Emergency Services (www.OES.ca.gov) or local police department for any additional resources.
Also, please be aware that these organizations prepare you to do the following:
-Provide food and water to those who do not have access to emergency supplies
-Provide basic first aid to any injured persons
-Conduct light search and rescue operations
-Report any external damage to homes and other buildings to local officials
-Listen to the radio for safety information and available resources from government officials
In any case, preparing for the unpredictable is very important. You obtain certain survival skills that will not only benefit you, but the others around you. Do not wait for a disaster to strike to exercise vigilance. Ask questions now, not later.