Although the current presidential election campaign has been dominating the news media for several months, the “Super Sandy” storm has interrupted the amount of presidential coverage for the past week and will continue to pop up with the latest storm recovery problems for several more weeks to come. Many professional emergency response and disaster preparedness managers have said that this latest major natural disaster was “unbelievable!”

Once again, when disaster agency resources are inadequate or unavailable, as we have been hearing lately on the daily news reports, it is one’s local neighbors that have stepped up to the plate and come to the rescue. This type of behavior should not surprise any reader. FEMA’s Citizen Corps has been advocating and promoting this theme for months. A recent Internet posting by the National Office of Citizen Corps – FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Division released the following suggestions for “Community Preparedness: Implementing Simple Activities for Everyone.”
http://www.citizencorps.gov/getstarted/neighborshelpingneighbors.shtm

· A comprehensive Program Leaders guide (13-page PDF) and Independent Study Course for those just starting a neighborhood preparedness effort. The Program Leaders guide strongly encourages coordination, collaboration and communication with local government and existing preparedness programs before starting a new effort.

· A facilitator guide (127-page PDF) to assist the person who will lead the training, related presentation materials, and handouts for participants to use and keep.

· 16 preparedness modules can be used standalone for training sessions as short as 15 minutes, or combined to create a comprehensive community training effort up to 2 hours at a time.

· Preparedness Activities for Communities Everywhere modules are available in English (127-page PDF) and Spanish (127-page PDF).

Even our local Argus-Courier editorial of November 1, titled “Are you ready for a disaster?”stated:

“During such a disaster, residents may need to rely entirely on themselves with no help from emergency services or government aid for a week or more.”

“Neighbors and neighborhoods can be a primary source of help and focus in preparing for emergencies. Community and neighborhood emergency response team training (called CERT and NERT) is available locally. If neighborhoods join together to form disaster plans, those in need will have more people and resources to rely on.”

“For more information on how to prepare, visit www.ready.gov. For information on community emergency response training, visit www.sccert.org.”