Who looks after the neighbours?
We live nowadays in nuclear families with small (if non-existent) wider families that live some distance away. What happens in times of crisis in our communities? Do we look after our own with little thought for those less fortunate around us? Could we do better?
Let’s take flooding as a particular crisis, remembering that even in the height of summer heavy downpours can cause flash floods. Taking the hypothetical family of mum, dad, Mark and Lara (both teenagers), they can readily mobilise and put things in place to prevent water passing over the threshold or in through air bricks. When this is achieved should the family pat themselves on the back and settle down to their usual evening’s entertainment?
What about the vulnerable members of the community like single parent families whose main priority might be to get the little one to safety? Or Joan three doors down who, at 90, still lives by herself but suffers from poor mobility. These neighbours could really use some help at the time of this and other crises.
When it comes to flooding you should:
- Know your risk
- Be prepared and
- Have a (Flood) Plan
What we’re saying here is that the above plan is personal to your home. Carry it out then think wider. A further Community Flood Plan, especially in areas at high risk, should be available to all in that community. This Flood Plan doesn’t have to be complicated - it may only take a telephone call to ensure vulnerable neighbours are okay followed by “do you need any help?”. Those of us with elderly parents and grandparents should also take the time to ensure they’re okay. The elderly predominantly rely on the TV for information followed by local radio. These might not be sufficiently up to date enough to provide information about conditions on their street. The elderly don’t have apps on smartphones that ping when a yellow weather warning is issued. They can, of course, sign up to the Environment Agency’s Flood Warning System to receive (in their case) a landline telephone warning, but this is only when the property is in a Flood Risk Area.
So let’s have a thought for our neighbours. Not just at times of crisis, but all year round. Then you’ll be able to sleep easy at night knowing that those around us are safe and well.