Today, we are facing many complex challenges. We have all experienced challenges from more extreme weather - bigger storms, droughts or fires - to health, economic or social challenges like we experienced in the recent pandemic. These often can seem too big to solve. However, there are many things we can do to prepare and strengthen our ability to respond. Resilience is all about strengthening our capacity to respond, recover and adapt to major changes and challenges.
It’s important to know how to stay safe, and you can start with setting up an emergency resilience plan. One of the June Actions of the Month for the Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge is "Find Local Risks and Resources." Here are some steps you can take to get started.
- Start with recognizing the risks in your area. Utilize your town’s resources and feel free to use the Multiple Natural Hazard Index for US Counties, from the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, so you know what to expect. Write down your local hazards, and prioritize them in order of High to Low risk emergencies.
- Find local resources that can help you start your emergency preparations. First, find your local Office of Emergency Services. To do so, search with your city/county name and “Office of Emergency Services” on the internet, or call your city or county office and ask for your local Office of Emergency Services contact information. Your local Office of Emergency Services should be able to direct you to the best resources on local hazards and preparedness, as well as any information about community preparedness meetings and training!
- Your community may also have a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)! CERT is a volunteer program where local community members receive training on disaster preparedness, safety, and first aid. Consider becoming a member of your local CERT organization, or join the basic emergency preparedness classes that CERT hosts! Search for your nearest CERT organization here.
- Sign up for disaster notifications. Newer phones will usually come equipped with emergency alerts for your area, and these are one of the best ways to get reliable, real-time information about emergencies or major hazards. Be sure to find out how your area sends out emergency info, and if possible, choose the best way you can be alerted, whether it’s by email, text, phone call, or all three. Additionally you can rely on social media, apps like the Red Cross, or FEMA to keep your family safe in emergencies. It’s a smart idea to keep a battery or hand-cranked radio to stay informed in the case of power outages.