It is just part of human nature to be reactionary.  All too often we are motivated to make positive changes only after tragedy has struck. Doesn’t it make more sense to spend some time and effort preparing for events that could cripple our neighborhoods or even our entire city before a crisis arrives?

Fortunately, we live in a city where our city leaders have invested in resources to help each neighborhood prepare for a variety of circumstances including (but not limited to) severe weather events, widespread illnesses, the release of hazardous chemicals into the environment, or even a terrorist attack.   

Starting immediately our neighborhood will be partnering with the City of Knoxville Office of Neighborhoods and the Knox County Emergency Management Agency (KEMA) to move the residents served by the KP-SHA toward becoming better prepared – at both the household and neighborhood level.

A neighborhood can’t be prepared unless individual households are prepared. Therefore, workshops will be offered where each family can learn how to:

  put together a “Household Ready Kit”

  create a communication plan for loved ones and neighbors

  shut off (and more importantly turn back on) utilities

  develop skills and knowledge in such things as CPR and fire safety    

The bigger logistical challenge will be at the neighborhood level.  A team of people will be needed to help in various ways:

  Determine what needs our neighbors might have in the event of a crisis such as a long-term power outage.

  Develop a list of neighbors who are willing to share specialized skills such as CPR, First Aid, plumbing, operate a chain saw, etc.

  Create a communication plan and be part of a communication team so that we can help KEMA better prioritize the resources of first-responders and figure out the best way we can serve each other

Benjamin Franklin once said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Along those same lines, Howard Ruff is quoted as saying “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” Let’s move our neighborhood toward being part of the solution instead of being part of the problem once disaster strikes.  

If you would like to help our neighborhood be proactive in this regard, please contact Chris Austin at