During the past six years, Kenai Peninsula residents have weathered three forest fires, one volcano eruption, two floods and a grounded tanker, according to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management’s website. Those types of incidents require foresight to survive, OEM Director Scott Walden said Sept. 5 at a Kenai Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
“It’s especially important considering it’s national preparedness month ... to look at the fact that we can help communities down to the grassroots level in the neighborhoods be prepared to help neighbor to neighbor,” Walden said.
One of the ways communities can support each other is through the Citizen Corps Program.
The CCP is intended to foster self sufficiency in neighborhoods by teaching them to organize on a local level in emergencies.
“To be able to shut off gas lines, for example, that might be fractured in your neighborhood,” Walden said. “To do basic searches in a home that might have fallen.”
He said the most important lesson CCP teaches neighborhoods is how to band together as a team.
The seven day survival kit is another important check mark in preparing for emergencies.
The seven day kit supplies includes such as a gallon of water per person, a jar of peanut butter, a hand-operated can opener, a permanent marker and pet food.
“Once you have your family’s needs taken care of,” Walden said, “it’s easy enough to move on to help a maybe a senior in your neighborhood who can’t get out and about as easily as your family can.”
The seven day kit is the shorter end of the survival spectrum. OEM lists survival kit models for families and communities stranded up to 24 weeks.
Walden also said communities should become familiar with the Map Your Neighborhood Program, a comprehensive survival program.
This program encourages neighborhoods to mark valuable resources and people in their communities.
“You live in a neighborhood for many years you might know one or two neighbors when there’s actually 15 or 20 around you,” Walden said.
He said many neighbors may have skills in useful fields, such as mechanics or medicine. Others may have stockpiles of essential supplies such as generators, snowmachines or gasoline.
For more information on neighborhood disaster relief resources, Walden said for people to visit www.ready.alaska.gov/prepare, the OEM’s website, or call 907-428-7000.
Dan Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.