City initiative to help prepare for emergencies

Sara Van Cleve
Posted

Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere — and the city of Arvada has created a new initiative to help make sure residents are prepared.

Citizens of Arvada Preparing for Emergencies is a community preparedness initiative started a few months ago to focus efforts on better preparing the community before a disaster and helping it recover after, said Arvada Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Lancy.

“We’re asking folks to prepare for all kinds of hazards,” Lancy said. “Here in Arvada it could be a 30-inch snowstorm or wind and hail like the events in 2009. As seen from the fires throughout Colorado, that’s a great threat for us, too. The city has an urban wildland interface and fire is a threat for Arvada also.”

The initiative kicked off Monday, June 10, as the city brought together 45 leaders from Arvada and Wheat Ridge’s faith-based communities to discuss how they can help during disasters and help prepare their residents before a disaster strikes.

“Many faith-based organizations are very active in disaster response and recovery,” Lancy said. “The Red Cross, Salvation Army and other denominations provide special services during disasters. It’s a good way for faith-based organizations to get involved.”

While many faith-based organizations can be leaders in disaster response and recovery, the city also wants to work with them to help spread the word to residents about being prepared.

“We would like to get the message to their congregations that individual preparedness is important and to prepare yourself, your family and neighbors for a disaster,” Lancy said. “Helping each other is important.”

Residents can prepare themselves in three steps:

• Build a plan — know an escape route, how to contact loved ones in and out of state and sign up for alerts.

• Build an emergency kit. “What we ask is for people to gather what they would need for 72 hours, generally services are restored by then,” Lancy said. “If you can take care of yourself for three days, you’re in good shape. We encourage folks to take kits for kids to survive 72 hours as well as pets. We don’t want them to forget about dogs, cats and other animals.”

Some basics to include in emergency kits are clothing, food and water, medications, a battery-operated radio to stay informed, a flashlight and any other individual essentials.

• Stay informed. Lancy suggests staying informed about where to get updates during an emergency from both the city and county.

“The federal and state governments are not the ones to lead in a disaster,” Lancy said. “During a disaster, the local community is the leader. If residents help prepare, the community will be prepared.”

CAPE plans to host other workshops for residents and meetings with other community groups, including Parent Teacher Associations and Homeowners Associations, in the future.

For more information on how to stay prepared for an emergency, visit www.ReadyColorado.com.

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