Home, safe, home | Feb. 17

We’ve made it to the 21st and final week of shopping for the Red Cross 21 Weeks to Prepare program. It’s been a challenge at times– not only consistently shopping each week, but also writing a year’s worth of emergency-preparedness articles– but extremely gratifying. I want to thank the Signal Tribune for providing space for my Home, Safe Home column since April 2016.
Although my year of service as your mayor is coming to an end, I will continue to follow through on emergency preparedness. I will remain dedicated to helping Signal Hill be prepared and resilient in the face of any disaster. We all need to do our part to secure the basic supplies that our families will need and to partner with our neighbors to develop and plan.

Earlier this month, our city manager, Community Development director, police chief and I attended a seminar with other city leaders throughout Southern California to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our City’s emergency preparation. We returned to City Hall with a clearer vision on how best to focus our efforts and secure our most basic city services following a disaster.

Our Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) program is brilliant, simple and the most practical way for you and your neighbors to communicate and develop a plan together. Here are the first 9 steps of the MYN program to take immediately following a disaster:

• Take care of your loved ones
• Dress for safety– sturdy shoes, hard hat, leather gloves
• Check the natural gas at your home– shut off if necessary
• Shut off water at the house main– to trap water in and keep pollutants out
• Place a large “Help” or “OK” sign on the front door or window– posting a sign lets neighbors and/or first responders know who needs help first
• Put your fire extinguisher on the sidewalk– if a neighbor has a small fire after a disaster, extinguishers are on hand
• After steps 1 to 6 are completed, go to the Neighborhood Gathering Site– the Map Your Neighborhood program will help you choose the best location
• Form four teams to do these tasks: Team 1 will listen to the Emergency Alert system and keep neighbors informed; Team 2 will check on elderly, disabled or unattended children; Team 3 will check all natural gas and propane tanks, and shut off as necessary; and Team 4 will check on all homes with the “Help” sign displayed and on the homes without a sign.
• After your team has completed its work, go back to the Neighborhood Gathering site. Share what you have done, choose a leader to report the status of your neighborhood to your area Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member or first responders

Contact our Signal Hill Community Services Department now at (562) 989-7330 to get the free training and free materials to begin this discussion in your neighborhood!
As always, never hesitate to contact me. I am here to help serve the needs of our community. I can be reached at lwoods@cityofsignalhill.org or (562) 477-1287.

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