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Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach during Hurricane Arthur. Photo: <a href="">Louis Keiner</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach during Hurricane Arthur. Photo: Louis Keiner, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Disaster readiness program pools community knowledge and experience

The National Weather Service predicts 2014 will be a relatively tame hurricane season, but already, this July 4th saw Hurricane Arthur brushing the North Carolina coast.

Significant hurricanes like Sandy and Irene as well Tropical Storm Lee, have led Governor Cuomo to order training so New Yorkers can be their own first responders.

The Inovation Trail's Jenna Flanagan spoke with the head of the state Department of Homeland Security, Jerome Hauer, who's leading the creation of the Citizen Preparedness Corps.

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Jenna Flanagan
Reporter, The Innovation Trail

“Getting the population to deal with a disaster on their own is absolutely critical.”

Commissioner Jerome Hauer doesn’t mince words when talking about the Citizen Preparedness Corps training classes.

The goal is to get New Yorkers prepared to survive on their own for 7 to 10 days. Why so long?

Hauer says depending on a person’s location and the severity of a disaster, it can take a week or more for first responders to reach people. He says New York’s program takes guidelines from FEMA and the Red Cross a step further by asking New Yorkers to pack a backpack of essentials that can sustain them and their families.

“If you’re prepared for the 3 or 4 worse case scenarios in your county you can handle anything, because it’s always easier to scale back the response than to find out you’re under prepared and that you don’t have the right response and now you have to scale up a response.”

Training classes for the Citizens Preparedness Corps are 2 hours long and taught by members of the National Guard. They’re being held in every county around the state and an emergency ‘to go’ bags stocked with starter items like a canteen, radio and batteries and emergency rations are being distributed.

Commissioner Hauer says the goal is to train 100-thousand New Yorkers in the first year.

“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to be trained.”

Find out when and where the next Citizens Preparedness Corps training class is being held.

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