The Rochester Fire Department will be pushing Do 1 Thing out to help residents of our Executive Director's Hometown get Prepared!

Fire Department urges residents to ‘Do 1 Thing’ to prepare for emergencies

By Mary Beth Almond

ROCHESTER — Disasters and emergencies can strike at any time, leaving even the most organized person scrambling.

Rochester Fire Chief John Cieslik admitted that it can be overwhelming to think about preparing for a disaster, which is why many people never even start, he said.

One of the easiest ways to prepare, Cieslik said, is the Do 1 Thing program. It’s a nationwide initiative created in 2006 that encourages people to do one thing each month to prepare for emergencies or disasters.

“There was a lot of research done as to why people don’t get prepared. Basically, there were four main reasons: People thought it was too expensive, they thought it was too hard, they didn’t know how, and they didn’t think it would happen to them,” said Erika (Crady) Mahoney, executive director of the Do 1 Thing program.

Cieslik said that a lot of times, people will make the excuse that there is a lot to do to prepare for an emergency.

“If we can convince people to do just one thing each month, we can get them prepared for emergencies,” he said.

This month, as part of the program, the Rochester Fire Department is encouraging residents to purchase and store enough water to last each member of their family, including pets, three days — approximately three gallons per person.

In the following months, residents will be urged to take steps toward preparedness by acquiring items such as canned foods, a flashlight with batteries and a first aid kit, as well as creating a family communications plan and learning about emergency shelters in the area.

Cieslik said items will be promoted monthly to help residents build on their preparedness one step at a time.

“Over the course of a year, we will put out information on a regular basis. It’s a way of getting your family ready for any type of emergency that might happen,” Cieslik said.

Mahoney said community members can jump into the program at any time.

“We have been really successful,” Mahoney said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency honored the national Do 1 Thing program as one of its 11 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards for 2014. The White House also recently honored Mahoney with a Champions of Change award.

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