Maricopa County emergency managers seek public input about preparedness

Maricopa County officials are encouraging residents to gauge, then improve, their own emergency preparedness.

The Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management released its annual survey Jan. 12 and is encouraging residents to provide input into the planning process while gauging their own readiness, especially after the recent floods that hit the area in 2014, according to a press release.

“We work to ensure citizen involvement and transparency in county government,” said Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Chucri in a press release.

This year’s survey focuses on individual preparedness. “Nothing takes the place of Arizonans being individually prepared,” Mr. Chucri said.

The county’s 26-question survey in English and Spanish is online where it will remain open until Feb. 6. The survey is offered in a fully accessible format and takes around 10 minutes to complete, according to the release. Maricopa County is also working to ensure a wide distribution so the survey reaches, and is representative of, the whole community.

The questions break down what all is involved in general preparedness.

“That’s why it’s a good tool to help identify gaps in individual preparedness,” said MCDEM Director Pete Weaver in the release. “You start by thinking you’re pretty set, and then a question pops up that you didn’t expect. It makes you take a second look.”

Emergency planners will use the information to refine estimates of resources and services that could be required during an emergency. Services could include things like sheltering, transportation, and alert and warning communications.

“We always encourage residents to be self-sufficient for 72 hours,” said Mr. Weaver, “but this will give us insights to the realities in our community.”

The department is also hoping the survey prompts the public to take additional steps to ready themselves for emergencies.

“It doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you take preparedness one step at a time,” said Mr. Weaver.

Individual responses will be kept strictly confidential, but the data collected across the whole community will be studied and shared with municipalities and response agencies. Mr. Weaver noted that collaboration is key.

“We’ll find weaknesses to address and strengths upon which to build together,” he said.

For TTY/TDD, call AZ Relay Service 711 or the department’s TTY at 602-244-1409.

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