The Central New York Chapter of the American Red Cross, Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management, Onondaga County Health Department, and Food Bank of Central New York held a joint news conference Feb. 28 at the Central New York Community Foundation in Syracuse to announce Phase I of a new Community Resilience Strategy for Onondaga County.
The Community Resilience Strategy aims to make Onondaga County better prepared in the event of a disaster by creating a network of individuals and organizations that will identify and fill the critical gaps that currently exist in the community’s disaster preparedness strategies. The American Red Cross, Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management, Onondaga County Health Department, and Food Bank of Central New York are coordinating the program.
In Phase I, the partners will identify the county’s disaster preparedness strengths and weaknesses through meetings, town hall discussions, and surveys for the general public. Through May 31, Onondaga County residents can provide their preparedness information through an online survey at www.cnyprepare.org. Their answers will help the Resilience Strategy team determine areas that need to be addressed.
National Grid is the presenting sponsor of the Community Resilience Strategy and has contributed $150,000 for implementation of the program.
Onondaga County has traditionally not been susceptible to high-profile disasters such as hurricanes. But with Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy causing massive flooding in the state in the past two years, Central New York is now as vulnerable to natural disasters as other areas. And Onondaga County also needs to be prepared at all times for man-made disasters such as chemical spills, nuclear accidents and pandemics.
“Together, we have a plan to assess our county’s disaster preparedness strengths and weaknesses. It starts with a survey of the general public to see just how prepared we are as citizens,” said Rosie Taravella, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Central New York Region. “Once we know how prepared – or unprepared – we are as a community, we can build that network of coordinated agencies, neighborhood plans, and citizen awareness.”
To learn more about the program, read the Community Resilience Strategy FAQs.