Residents reduce risks at home
“They saw you come in” senior Joan Van Putten told me when I entered the Dr Cann Park residential complex in Southampton.
Ms Van Putten — one of about ten newly trained team leaders of the Red Cross's Disaster Risk Reduction Programme for residents at the estate — informed me that since their training, most of the 100 or so seniors in the five blocks were now much more aware of their surroundings and who is coming in and out of the area.
“They know you are here. The residents can tell you — she was here on such and such a day at such and such a time. It's amazing.”
As a team leader, Ms Van Putten has been responsible for sharing information gleaned through her training with the other seniors living on the estate in order to help them to help themselves in case of a disaster or emergency.
Ms Van Putten said she believed the programme was important for a number of reasons.
She told The Royal Gazette: “It is a good thing because we need to be in touch with our neighbours — it is really important. If you don't see someone for a day or two you can ask around, have you seen Mrs A or Mr B? Let's check them out.
“For me, it has been about refreshing one's memory, being aware of your surroundings and being able to assist because of the first aid we were taught. If there is an emergency or disaster, where do we go from here? We assemble here in the car park, but then where? We now have a choice, depending on what the situation is, to use the ferry, to use the railway right of way to get away from here to a safe place.
“And we know to have basic emergency supplies so we can just pick it up and leave.”
Ms Van Putten also explained how the whole community outside of Dr Cann Park was now involved.
“If we need a safe place we have the [Calvary Gospel] church down the street and there is the [Dalton E Tucker] school.
“It is good to know we have doctors down the street and the fire department up the street — the [Port Royal] gas station has an ATM so if we need money there we go.”
Overall, Ms Van Putten said there was a heightened sense of comfort in the complex since the completion of the course.
“We got to know the complex, got to know more of the residents and to share our thoughts. More of us are much wiser than before.”