Neighborhood picnics cultivate our preparedness through play | Local 20/20

Megan Claflin
Posted 7/21/21

As a rural community, our ability to respond to emergencies and recover from disaster is dependent on the networks and relationships we build in advance. Knowing where and how to connect to …

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Neighborhood picnics cultivate our preparedness through play | Local 20/20

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As a rural community, our ability to respond to emergencies and recover from disaster is dependent on the networks and relationships we build in advance. Knowing where and how to connect to information and resources before a crisis is key. 

However, preparedness planning doesn’t have to be cumbersome or intimidating, and what better way to put these philosophies into practice than with a neighborhood picnic or block party? 

The ninth annual All County Picnic invites East Jefferson County to celebrate community resilience on Sunday, Aug. 22. 

Registration deadline for “Picnic in Place” events and free corn on the cob is July 25. Visit http://www.allcountypicnic.com to register. Corn will be distributed through Community Points of Distribution on Saturday, Aug. 21. Pick up details will be shared with all who RSVP in advance. 

The All County Picnic is a collaborative effort of The Production Alliance, Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management, and Local 20/20’s NPREP Action Group.

TPA’s Guide to Picnic Planning

Sanitation & Safety

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all too familiar with the need to gather in a safe and hygienic manner. Picnickers are encouraged to set up handwashing and/or hand sanitizing stations and to check with Jefferson County Public Health for updated guidance on masks.

Careful planning of food and beverage distribution is also key. Communal potluck tables should feature items in single-serving recyclable, reusable or compostable containers to reduce the spread of germs. Reusable containers can be deposited in a sanitizing solution of bleach and water. Here are a few fun ideas to consider:

Corn on the Cob;

Roasted meat and vegetable skewers;

Individual jam jars or other reusable containers with fruits, vegetables, crackers, cheeses, and more; and

Cold treats like homemade popsicles or ice cream bars for easy grab-n-go.

Events & Activities for All-Ages

Summertime is a perfect time to revisit time-honored traditions that bring together all-ages, encourage relationship building, and create joy. Here are just a few ideas for your neighborhood picnic:

Walking and biking tours; 

Garden tours;

Scavenger hunts; 

Lawn games;

Live music or performances by local artists;

Buy nothing booths for swapping household goods, tools, and toys;

Work Parties with many hands making light work of a neighborhood clean-up or beautification project

Outdoor movie night; and

Flashlight tag.

For more information about booking entertainment, inviting local leaders and first responders, and resources for planning and permitting your picnic, visit http://www.allcountypicnic.com. 

Plan, Prepare, Practice 

While neighbors are gathered it’s a great time to review the skills and resources that individuals and households have to share. 

In the event of a medical emergency, who has response training? In the event of a utility outage, who has a generator, propane or woodstove heating and cooking equipment, water filtration systems or clean water storage? In the event of an evacuation how many individuals live in each household including pets? Are there individuals with limited mobility or families with young children who may need assistance? Does your household have a “Go Bag” and a plan for reconnecting if separated? 

All of these questions and more are prime opportunities for preparedness discussions. The more we know about our own capabilities and needs, and that of our neighbors, in advance of a crisis, the better we are able to respond efficiently and effectively. 

(Megan Claflin is the Director of Development for The Production Alliance, a Jefferson County nonprofit organization who’s mission is to create joy, inspire engagement, and build resilient communities by leading collaborative partnerships to create dynamic and inclusive celebrations and initiatives.)

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