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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Thursday, June 7, 2012

Study Shows Knowing Your Neighbors Helps During Disasters

Major emergencies and disasters are nothing new to the United States, and Santa Barbara County is no exception.


During these emergencies a repeated lesson is how neighbors knowing each other and working together can help. Daniel Aldrich, a political scientist at Purdue University, learned this when he lived in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The lesson was demonstrated through a neighbor who knew Aldrich hadn’t been through a major hurricane and didn’t understand the threat. The neighbor advised Aldrich and his young family to evacuate, even before evacuation orders were being issued. Aldrich noted that because emergency systems are overwhelmed during disasters, first responders and the government are more often not available and that neighbors working together help with survival and recovery. According to Aldrich, “Really, at the end of the day, the people who will save you, and the people who will help you, they’re usually neighbors.”

Each month emergency managers and community leaders share a theme of preparedness with their communities. June’s theme is “Don’t be Anonymous; Get to Know Your Neighbors”, in the Aware & Prepare Education Program. As a reminder, local emergency managers, government officials and partnering agencies will be using the following as their email tag line with hyperlinks:

Your Best Chance for Help May Come From Right Next Door (Click Here)

Don’t be Anonymous; Get to Know Your Neighbors

www.AwareandPrepare.org

The County’s Emergency Operations Chief, Michael Harris, reports, “When I’m speaking to community groups, people are often surprised when I remind them that hours, and probably days,after a major disaster they’ll be on their own.” According to Harris, having five days of basic supplies such as water (one gallon per-person, per-day), a hand crank radio, non-perishable food and a basic family plan is the minimum. Harris stated, “People in high-danger areas must be ready to evacuate when ordered, and everyone must be prepared to be on their own for about five days. Our residents have to be realistic about caring for themselves. Partnering with their neighbors improves their chances.”

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