During its first meeting of the year, the Averill Woods Neighborhood Association assessed the response to the recent ice storm and how residents could prepare for any future emergencies.
Many citizens had complaints about the way the local government handled its responsibility to communicate to the residents of Lansing. (Averill Woods is in Lansing, not East Lansing.) Some members of the association had some dissenting opinions.
“The magnitude of the ice storm was something we have never seen,” said association member Ken Jones. “Could there have been better communication? Yes. But it does come down to personal responsibility to some degree.”
Residents, despite being caged in, recognize the intensity of the storm.
“This is one of the nastiest winters we have seen in a long time,” Fude said “We’ve gotten a bit spoiled.”
Both Fude and Jones agreed that there is only so much the local government could do for its citizens.
“I think they did the best they could under the circumstances,” Jones said “There are people who are angry and I can understand that, but nobody could predict Mother Nature.”
Jones, 60, who works in East Lansing, said people should step up and prepare a little bit to ensure a better experience next time.
“I think, I hate to put it back on the customers – as a customer, we’ve been told we should have a radio. You still need some way to communicate other than Internet and smartphones”
Fude, who is retired, didn’t really need to head outside like most of the Lansing residents but still understands the impact the storms had on the people.
“I don’t think a lot of people took it seriously,” Fude said “They were too overwhelmed”
Businesses also struggled
“I remember going to Quality Dairy, and the lady is like ‘we’re closed, we have no power,’” said Fude. “All D-sized batteries were even gone!”
Lansing Emergency Management Specialist Rhonda Oberlin said that city resources were stretched thin.
“We don’t have many resources to spare,” Oberlin said. “Some things have to be left to the people.”
Personal responsibility and collaboration were themes at the meeting. Oberlin promoted her “Do One Thing” campaign, a plan to help consumers get prepared.
“Do 1 Thing is a 12-month program that makes it easier to prepare yourself for emergencies or disaster,” according to the Do 1 Thing website(make this a hotlink).
The site offers a tip each month, so that visitors can reach full readiness by the end of the year. The plan incorporates aspects of personal responsibility and teamwork.
“This is our way to help people be more ready for whatever happens in the future,” Oberlin said. “We want our citizens to be more prepared for a better experience next time.”