Community Safety-It’s Everyone’s Responsibility

Randy Rowett

Safety in the communities where we reside-it’s something we all take for granted. In some neighborhoods, residents boast of knowing their neighbor, and that most serious incidents do not occur there.

But in today's world, a tragedy, accident, crime or dangerous contamination can occur anytime and anywhere. The areas where we work, live, visit for social or special occasions, or for leisure functions, are all dependent on existing to preventative programs.
Examples of community safety programs include neighborhood watch, block parents, crime prevention and community service groups. Crime Prevention truly is everyone's responsibility. How well do you really know the new person who just moved in down the street, or the suspicious persons loitering in alleyways, or at street corners?  In emergency situations, it is vital to get the help needed.  This can be the police, fire department, public utility unit, water, gas, chemical spill team, paramedics, first responders and others.

Community response organizations also include The Red Cross, St. John Ambulance and others. These organizations provide disaster relief and service in times of need.

Emergency Preparedness agencies provide planning, direction, policy and logistics for operations. Included in these services are mitigation of incidents, resources and public health direction and investigation during critical situations.

As individuals, we can participate in community initiatives to make an area safe.

 This may be achieved by participating in any of the following:

- Joining a crime prevention program and posting notices and asking for a meeting to establish a goal and create community safety objectives.
- Have disaster, fire plans, evacuations procedure and plans in place for the home, industries and organizations.
- Look for impending electrical hazards i.e. a tree overgrowing onto a water line.
- Reporting suspicious behavior of unknown or unrecognized persons in your area. An observation such as loitering, “checking out a place” is an example.
- Create safety procedures for seniors. Sometimes, the elders of the community are targeted by false contractors and fraud artists, who create convincing scams and fraud seniors and others out of their money.
- Keep doors locked when in the back yard. Do not assume you can hear or see someone if they can enter without approval.
- Keep fire protection equipment available in every room.  
 -Provide an emergency kit for evacuation purposes.
- If you had to leave your home, could you survive for 3 days? In the kit place, water, flashlights, emergency candles (to be used safely), blankets, non-perishable food and water for persons and pets, a phone list of contacts in case you must stay elsewhere.
-Be aware of the location of the shut off valves for gas, water and utilities in the home.
-Be alert and watch for unusual behavior of wild or domestic animals in the area.  This could be a sign of illness or rabies. Wild animals that lose fear of persons is a sign.
- If large numbers of sick people, birds, animals, and defoliation, damage to plants is evident, there may be a leak of a hazardous substance or biological threat. If this is the case, do not go outside, keep windows and doors closed, and call the authorities.
-At night time, walk in groups or a buddy.
- Do not leave any personal items in plain view while shopping. Guard wallets and purses.
- Watch children under your care or a neighbors child and be vigilant to protect against strangers who may harm children. Supervise children constantly.
- Be unpredictable. Arrive home at slightly different times, take different routes if necessary. This is especially needed if you own a business and must transport money. Get an armored car to do this.
-Summer is a time for barbecues. At the start for the season, check and inspect hoses,   burners, tanks for leaks or cracks.
-Be aware of traffic hazards.
-Use safety precautions in the home, just as you would in occupational settings. This is especially the case if using tools.
-Ensure adequate lighting of business and streets.
-Promote water safety. Take swimming lessons. (What if a serious flood occurred in your area?)
-When going on vacation, do not advertise when you leave. Have a neighbor or family member drop by every day to check on things, pick up mail, newspapers, check timer lights etc.
-Do not give personal information or confirm identity to unknown callers on the phone. These can be hidden as surveyors or telemarketers.

Make a list; see how many more ideas you can create to ensure community safety.

The information for this report was acquired, from my education, experience and knowledge of every day community safety, crime prevention and health and safety work. This knowledge is converted to practice through the application of learned principles. It is submitted to help to train others to be aware of safety hazards. The aim is to serve the community and promote safety ideas.