Promoting Sustainability in East Jefferson County, WA
A community’s level of self-reliance and resilience is never more apparent—and critical–than when disaster strikes. This is true whether the disaster is an earthquake, a power outage or an economic collapse. While the activities of all Local 20/20 Action Groups enhance our ability to adapt to such an event, the Neighborhood Preparedness (NPREP) Action Group focuses on the particular needs that arise from a sudden plunge into radically different circumstances. We do this by assisting area residents through education and by example to become self-reliant before a disaster strikes, thus enhancing resilience throughout our community as we work to recover.
The main focus of the NPREP Action Group is to help neighbors organize so that they may work together when a disaster occurs, thereby enhancing the safety and comfort of all in such difficult times. Working with the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management (DEM), this effort has facilitated the self-organization of well over 100 neighborhoods since 2006. While the number of organized neighborhoods is significant, many more are needed in Jefferson County.
Such neighborhood cooperation is built on a foundation of preparedness by individual households. The NPREP Action Group helped promote a series of emergency preparedness classes presented by Heather Taraka, a course that is now available at Get Emergency Prepared. NPREP also worked with the Port Townsend Food Co-op to stage a store-wide special pricing and educational event, now held annually, featuring foods and supplies necessary for disaster preparedness.
Finally, all of NPREP’s goals converge at the Annual All-County Picnic. The first Picnic, held in 2013, was a great success with a turnout of more than 1,000 people. The Picnic offers informational talks and booths, great music, free corn on the cob, hands-on survival techniques, and a chance for neighbors to gather as one community. People interested in organizing their own neighborhoods can meet with NPREP team members to learn about the process.
The NPREP Action Group is currently one of the most active of Local 20/20’s action groups, and is working in partnership with the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management (DEM) to strengthen pre and post-disaster collaboration between neighborhoods and the Emergency Operations Center in areas such as communication and damage assessment. We provide regular outreach events to educate the public on emergency preparedness matters and/or to recruit new neighborhood organizers. We also coordinate training opportunities for our organizers and house ad hoc projects, such as the development of a plan for post-disaster sanitation.
All NPREP efforts can always use additional participation and new project ideas are most welcome.
Is your neighborhood organized? Click here to learn more.