Even with the busy world we live in, it is always an amazing thing to see neighbors helping neighbors. We always hear and see the stories about after events, but there is always plenty of help needed before and possibly during events.
Many Americans rely on their neighbors after a disaster, but there are also many ways you can help your neighbors before a hurricane approaches. Learn about all the different actions you and your neighbors can take to prepare and recover from the hazards associated with hurricanes and floods.
Before a Disaster Occurs
From joining a formal organization or program such as Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and other Citizen Corps to informally helping your neighbors there are many ways to get involved before events occur.
Take a moment to think about your personal situations and your family, friends, and neighbors. Before an event what help do you need or what help can you lend to those more vulnerable. From helping create preparation plans to helping board up windows, there is always someone who could use help. Here are some formal ideas from Ready.Gov:
- Learn first aid, join a Community Emergency Response Team in your community, donate to a reputable organization of your choice, and volunteer to respond to disasters and help your fellow Americans. Visit NVOAD.org to learn more.
- Volunteer and receive training to support disaster and preparedness efforts in your community.
- Teach preparedness curriculum in your school. Download everything you need for grades K-12 through our Ready Kids program.
- Promote preparedness online by sharing preparedness tips on your social media account with Ready’s online social media toolkit or public service announcements
- Take a free online independent study course through FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute and gain more knowledge to help your community become more prepared.
During a Disaster
Depending on the type and strength of the disaster, there is limited things that can be done, which is why preparation is such a critical activity, especially disaster kits. Remember to check on your home and/or friends and family. If they need assistance, please check to make sure it is safe to venture out to assist. Never leave your home if the routes around you are impacted or is forecasted to get worse. More people are injured or die outside of their homes. and if you chose to venture out you are not only risking your own life, but also the lives of first responders.
During or after events, You Are the Help Until Help Arrives (Until Help Arrives). This is a program designed by FEMA and including trainings that can be taken online or in-person, where participants learn to take action and, through simple steps, potentially can save a life before professional help arrives. The program encourages the public to take these five steps when there is an emergency.
- Call 9-1-1;
- Protect the injured from harm;
- Stop bleeding;
- Position the injured so they can breathe; and
- Provide comfort.
Learning CPR is one of the easiest and could be the most important help you can lend an an emergency. Visit the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association to learn more about the importance of CPR and training opportunities.
After Events Occur
It is a positive, but potentially dangerous, human reaction to get out after a Hurricane to help others in addition to cleaning up our own homes and/or businesses. Always remember to pay close attention to your surroundings and if questionable avoid the area or situations until emergency response teams can arrive.
When you are ready to return after a hurricane evacuation or venture out of your home, plan for safe clean-up. Organize a cleanup kit in advance. The kit should include: rubber gloves, cleaning products, bleach, sponges, goggles, spatula, cleanup suits, rubber boots, odor-control products, trash bags, hydrogen peroxide, adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointments, work towels. To learn safety tips, visit the Texas Department of Public Safety Post-Storm Preparedness.
- Safety Tips: Before Entering a Building
- Check for downed or loose power lines and gas leaks.
- Look for external damage.
- Enter the building slowly and carefully.
- Safety Tips: After Entering a Building
- Double check and re-check for gas leaks.
- Be careful around electricity.
- Once the electrical power is turned off, unplug all appliances.
- Check water and sewage systems.
- Safety Tips for Cleaning Up
- Protective clothing.
- Use extreme caution as you begin cleaning up.
- When in doubt, throw it out.
- Be careful when dealing with mold.
To learn more, visit the links below:
Fort Bend County Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
Harris County Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)