Free disaster-readiness seminar | East Villager & Lower East Sider

Free disaster-readiness seminar

BY HEATHER DUBIN  |  Knowing what to do in the event of a hurricane, power outage or apartment flood is half the battle. While New Yorkers handled Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 with resilience, many lessons were learned for the next time a disaster hits.

Graffiti Community Ministries Baptist church on E. Seventh St. will hold a free community preparedness seminar on Sat., May 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the Red Cross and World Cares Center, a national disaster relief organization. 

“We need to anticipate and prepare for disasters before they happen instead of waiting afterwards,” Pastor Taylor Field of Graffiti Community Ministries said. “Since we’ve had that experience in our neighborhood, we want to be proactive in case something like that happens again.” 

The seminar will cover how families and individuals can prepare their homes, figure out a meeting place or locate relatives, and what to do if alone. 

“You want to have a ‘go bag’ you can grab with bottled water, food, batteries, flashlights and chargers,” said Christy Dyer, the church staff administrator. 

The first 100 attendees will receive a free go bag with a hand-crank flashlight and a portable charger for cell phones. People can fill up the rest of the bag with items they need.

Mental and emotional preparedness will also be addressed by a professional counselor. 

“Sometimes people don’t think about their mental and emotional state in a crisis,” Dyer explained. “You’re never fully prepared to deal with something like that. But if you’re in the best emotional place possible, it will make responding to disasters easier.”

The final topic is community preparedness, and how neighbors can work together to pool community resources, respond to a disaster and prevent injuries.

“This gives you ideas — like sandbags, what you need to move or do if water is coming into your basement — and how to help your neighbors,” Dyer said.

Door prizes, including a hand-crank radio and gift cards, will be distributed, along with lunch.