Statistics show that 90% of all survivors of disasters are rescued by other survivors. It may be up to you to save the life of another person or you may depend on your neighbors to rescue you or your loved ones. The human psyche likes to delude itself by thinking “it can never happen to me”; yet our community is vulnerable to a range of potential disasters, and experts agree it’s not a question of “if” but “when.”
As part of and in support of broader disaster recovery efforts in Fairfax County, former Lakeport Cluster President Carol Leos attended a meeting earlier this year sponsored by Volunteer Fairfax to learn about an initiative to help residents in local communities in the event we experience a widespread disaster. Volunteer Fairfax received a grant from FEMA for a “Community Resiliency Program” to create awareness of the capabilities, resources, and limitations of community partners in each Fairfax County District. The goal is to enable a network of local communities to develop our own abilities to respond to a widespread natural disaster or other emergency before government agencies are able to take over. Participants at the meeting received resources outlining what local communities need to do to prepare for and respond to a natural disaster or other crisis. Recommendations include that we establish phone trees, plan door-to-door contacts, survey the neighborhood to check on residents’ needs, create an emergency plan, sign-up neighbors to help, and inform neighbors of the coordinated system.
Jerry Beiter has agreed to chair a committee to oversee this effort for Lakeport Cluster. In support of the committee’s mission, he is drafting recommendations for the community and materials for residents to help us plan for and respond to a major natural disaster or other crisis. If you would like to join this committee, please contact Jerry Beiter at firstname.lastname@example.org.