The Central New York Chapter of the American Red Cross and its partners from Onondaga County, the City of Syracuse and the Food Bank of Central New York will host three Community Preparedness Forums this month starting June 14. The forums will provide an opportunity for Onondaga County residents to share information about their preparedness for a natural or man-made disaster.
The forums are open to all Onondaga County residents. Residents will be asked questions about their personal and workplace preparedness, and they’ll be encouraged to make comments and ask questions of the officials from the partnering agencies that are developing a Community Resilience Strategy for the county.
The forums are part of a Community Resilience Strategy created by the partners to identify the county’s disaster preparedness strengths and weaknesses and fill any gaps that currently exist. The strategy also included an online survey that concluded May 31, and a phone survey conducted by the Siena Research Institute that ended June 7.
The Community Preparedness Forums will feature an interactive poll, during which residents will be able to answer questions using a remote control device with the results being instantly displayed and discussed. The answers will provide immediate feedback and an opportunity for discussion regarding the residents’ level of preparedness for a disaster.
An example: What do you consider to be the four most important disaster supplies you should set aside?
Possible answers: Cash, financial documents, first aid kit, flashlight/batteries, food, generator, medications, radio, water.
The officials from the partnering agencies will also explain their agency’s role in a disaster and provide details on how the information gathered at the forum will be used. The feedback received from the online survey, phone survey and forums will be announced later this summer as the partners continue to develop their Community Resilience Strategy for Onondaga County.
Onondaga County has traditionally not been susceptible to high-profile disasters such as hurricanes. However, 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. In addition, Onondaga County also needs to be prepared at all times for man-made disasters such as hazardous material incidents and industrial accidents.
National Grid is the presenting sponsor of the Community Resilience Strategy. The City of Syracuse is also working with the Community Resilience Strategy partners and provided the McChesney and Cecile community centers for the June 14 and June 17 forums.