Transitioning to a More Prepared Community
Minnesota, in the middle of North American, has always been a place of weather extremes. Our long history of extreme weather should mean we are the most prepared to handle it. Are you? Are we?
- Are community members prepared to live for days or weeks without power in case of downed power lines from violent wind or ice storms?
- Do we have systems in place to help frail elderly or medically compromised people deal with extreme heat? What about mail carriers, construction workers, and others who work outdoors?
- Is our infrastructure solid enough to handle massive flooding; can it handle that level of flooding every few years, not every 100 years?
- Floods can result in contaminated water supplies. How is our drinking water protected? Do we have other sources of water?
Preparedness at Every Level
The federal government has FEMA. The State of Minnesota has an Office of Emergency Preparedness. But neither of those agencies is going to be of much help during or immediately after a crisis. That’s when you need to turn to family, friends and neighbors – your real first responders.
People in Transition often take time to prepare for potential emergency situations – weather emergencies, financial emergencies, and other types of emergencies -- and to engage with others to build a more resilient and prepared community. While some may view this as reactionary, others see it as simply being responsible.
- Conduct a study group on emergency preparedness, identifying the most likely emergencies a person or family could face and crafting a plan of action. Encourage members to put all the pieces of their plan in place so they are ready should the need arise.
- Take a first aid class together.
- Prepare for a period of unemployment by increasing your food storage. Learn about food growing and food preservation.
We’re all in this together; we don’t always know that until we’re put to the test. Transition groups help community members get to know one another before a crisis, which may make it easier to provide support and share resources when that's needed.
- Do you know which of your neighbors has no air conditioning and might need a helping hand on a super hot day?
- If a giant tree limb comes down in a windstorm, do you know who has a chain saw to clear the way?
- If your electric line comes down, is there a neighbor who can store your food for you?
Partnerships for Action
In St. Paul, the City is working with the Science Museum and several neighborhoods to help communities prepare. These partners prepared a guidebook for St. Paul residents titled “Ready and Resilient “ (see link in Resources). A neighborhood association or district council may have a critical role to play… or they may not be taking any action and an informal community group like a Transition group may fill that role.
Emergency preparedness IS a justice issue. Money and interest may dwindle before recovery is complete, leaving communities struggling. Gathering resources, building partnerships and helping people connect with one another can made a difference in meeting short-term needs and in long-term recovery.
- Ready & Resilient: A Guide to Extreme Weather for St. Paul Residents
- Transition US Emergency Preparedness
- City of Bloomington Community Based Emergency Preparedness Toolkit
- City of Minneapolis, Office of Emergency Management
- City of St. Paul Emergency Management
- FEMA Preparedness website
- Sharon Astyk article on Resilience.com “Sometimes the Onion Isn’t All That Funny”
Climate Preparedness Speaker Series
When Climate Change Comes Home Series
|Climate and Health (4/20/17)
Paul Moss, MN Climate Adaptation Specialist, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, will share data from the state climatologist about how climate change is already affecting our weather and what we can expect to see in the next 10 years and the years following.
Lisa Strong, a scientist working in public health, who will talk about the health impacts we will see and who is most immediately vulnerable to health issues. We'll end with a brainstorm session on what we can do as a community to begin to prepare for change.
These are videos from the Transition Longfellow speaker series "When Climate Change Comes Home." There are six parts to the series but there may not be videos available for all programs.