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Lyme Launches “Ready, Set, Go” Campaign to Respond to All Hazards

June 2016

Town Kicks Off Year-long, Multi-hazard Events for Nearly 2,000 Residents

Lyme PrepareAthon! logo
Every year, severe storms have the potential of significantly impacting the 1,800 residents of Lyme, NH, creating a growing concern amongst the rural town’s population. Still, “emergency preparedness is a tough sell,” said Lyme’s Emergency Management Director Margaret Caudill-Slosberg. “People don’t want to think about it. But when you prepare your population as best you can for unforeseen events, people are more likely to respond appropriately and not be so fearful.”

Go Bags Get Residents Ready for Extreme Weather

 
Image at Lyme Home and Hardware store
 The Lyme Home and Hardware
Store set up a display of items
recommended to include in the
go bags.
 
On September 26, 2015, the town launched a year-long, multi-hazard “Ready, Set, Go” campaign in collaboration with America’s PrepareAthon!

At the launch event, coordinated by Lyme’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the Lyme Parish nurses handed out nearly 100 “Files of Life” for residents to display on their refrigerators. These files help emergency responders quickly confirm a person’s identity, medications, and emergency contacts. “Right now,” said Caudill-Slosberg, “ill people and residents taking multiple medications can identify the need for that on a daily basis. But during emergencies, everyday tasks can seem nebulous and uncertain.”

Lyme’s OEM staff purchased 250 red go bags to be distributed to the community with a grant from the Lyme Foundation. During the kickoff event for Lyme’s PrepareAthon!, nearly 80 residents received a bag they could use to build an emergency kit for their vehicles in case of severe weather. Each bag includes a list of supplies that residents should include in their go bags. The list, provided by the Lyme Home and
"We want to use the go bag as the
emblem of emergency preparedness
so people continue promoting its use
duirng the year."

--Margaret Caudill-Slosberg, Emergency
Management Director, Lyme OEM
 
Hardware Store, outlines readily available supplies totaling less than $100. The bags also include the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s "How to Prepare Guide" for winter storms. Other pamphlets about pet safety, helping elders during emergencies, and preparedness for individuals with access or functional needs were also distributed at the September 26th kick-off event.

To build excitement for the PrepareAthon!, the town raffled off a completed go bag, and the raffle funds raised were used to complete another bag that was given to an individual in the community.

Recognizing their value, town officials decided that the go bags should become a staple of life in Lyme. “Any new resident always gets a welcome basket from the town office,” said Caudill-Slosberg, “and the go bag will now be a part of that gift to new residents.”

Practicality and Multiagency Approach Encourages Preparedness Year-round

In October, in conjunction with a nationwide initiative by the National Fire Protection Association, Lyme’s fire department provided activities for children to learn about the importance of smoke detectors. Lyme also got the town’s First Aid Stabilization Team (FAST) and Girl Scout troops involved. Together, these groups went house-to-house to help number residents’ mailboxes and homes so that residents can be easily identified by first responders in an emergency.

“Putting emergency preparedness into practical terms and concrete actions, like the need to have a smoke detector, house numbers, and Files of Life, makes it easier for people. They begin to understand that these sorts of things will help people respond to a disaster,” said Caudill-Slosberg. “People need to be encouraged to think about the ‘what-ifs,’ and we tried to promote this in a way that was nonthreatening and informational.”

Keeping the Momentum of the PrepareAthon! Moving

As the community looks ahead, the Lyme Parish nurses will continue to promote Files of Life and work with another organization that assists the elderly and families with needs, Community Care of Lyme, and Lyme’s OEM plans to formalize its volunteer process. “When a crisis hits, people rise to the occasion, which is great,” said Caudill-Slosberg, “but we hope to establish more formal identification in training for something long term.”

For more information about how residents of New Hampshire are taking action to prepare, visit www.readynewhampshire.gov.