Nebraska communities will get help preparing for emergencies and disasters through a new initiative launched by the American Red Cross.
Gov. Pete Ricketts says recent events should prompt Nebraskans to get ready.
“And, of course, as we’ve seen with the flooding in Louisiana and we know with our own experience with regard to tornadoes like in Pilger and Beaver Crossing, it’s important that we’re prepared for those emergencies,” Ricketts tells reporters in a news conference.
The Prepared Communities Initiative will use three steps to help 100 Nebraska communities better prepare for disasters by recruiting volunteers, sponsoring blood drives, and setting long-term preparedness goals.
Red Cross Region Executive Director Jill Orton says the widespread flooding in Louisiana should be a wake-up call to every Nebraska resident to take steps to be better prepared.
“Last month’s devastating floods in Louisiana are an example of why individuals, families, and communities must always be prepared,” Orton says. “This disaster is the largest disaster response effort for the Red Cross since Hurricane Sandy.”
Orton says while it might seem daunting to prepare for such widespread flooding, the steps toward preparedness are the same no matter what emergency a community might face.
“It’s no different than with the little disasters. It all starts locally. So, it’s being prepared for the first steps, which would be to be able to keep your family or employees safe,” Orton says education is a key and awareness of what disasters pose the most likely threat to a community. “Where are you going to go for shelter and safety?”
The Red Cross hopes to build a foundation of preparedness in the 100 Nebraska community by the end of 2018 and include every community by 2020.
The Red Cross says the Prepared Communities Initiative consists of three levels, and will be a stair step process where we systematically build our foundation in each community.
Level I will consist of four objectives:
· Recruit volunteers in each community.
· Update/develop a shelter agreement to provide shelter for each county in the event of an emergency or disaster.
· Document 25 or more volunteer hours in each community.
· Introduce the Preparedness Health and Safety Services (PHSS) Ready Rating program (ReadyRating.org) to each community.
Level II will consist of one objective: developing and promoting activities for:
· Blood Services (blood drive, speaking engagement, Pint Size Hero Program, etc.)
· Services to the Armed Forces (SAF) (Veteran’s recognition, Get to Know Us Before You Need Us briefings, special events, etc.)
· International Services (Presentation on International Services, host class, etc.)
Click here for a detailed memo outlining the initiative.