Community Cache of Emergency Supplies
At a recent CERT update meeting here in our town, a police officer was asking questions about our neighborhood preparedness. Not our individual preparedness, but what we have done for the neighborhood.
The question about supplies from the police.
“I assume you guys have pulled together supplies, like food, for everyone?”
As it turns out, we’ve been working hard to get our neighborhood aware and organized, so we were proud to be able to describe what we’ve accomplished.
The answer about supplies from our group.
“We have NOT taken on gathering and storing supplies for the whole neighborhood!”
Our motto is “Shelter in Place with your OWN supplies.”
1. Human nature. If people think someone else is doing the work for them, they stop doing it themselves.
2. Incentive. If not everyone participates, then the “good citizens” who store food and water will be penalized when their unprepared neighbors start knocking on their door for help. We remind people that if they are unprepared, they are not likely to be welcomed when the disaster actually hits.
3. Money. Buying and storing food supplies for hundreds of people takes a big financial investment, not to mention specialized knowledge.
4. Space. Storing food supplies for hundreds of people also takes a big and ongoing investment in storage space, maintenance, security, etc.
We are a volunteer organization. Our membership waxes and wanes as people move away or move in. Fortunately our members can get good local CERT training, but some of the best neighbors don’t have it yet.
Now, we’re also fortunate to have a small monthly budget thanks to our Homeowners’ Association – and that allows us to purchase carefully-selected pieces of equipment that we will have ready for an emergency. (You can read more about our equipment purchases here.) But our budget doesn’t extend to the thousands of dollars that would be necessary for purchasing and storing food.
So we’ve decided to continue to stress “Make sure you have your own supplies of food you like and the medicines you need. And don’t expect your neighbor to welcome you with open arms when you run out.”
What decisions are you making in your neighborhood?
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team
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