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A call to volunteers to join NAMI Hunterdon’s Disaster Preparedness Planning Committee

*Posted on behalf of Louise Hartman 

Dear NAMI Friends and Friends of NAMI:

A call to volunteers to join NAMI Hunterdon’s Disaster Preparedness Planning Committee.

Disasters happen! Whether it is a historic flood, a raging fire, an active shooter or a viral pandemic communities need to be prepared. That is why I am reaching out to you. I am inviting you to join a working group to ensure that families and individuals dealing with mental health concerns are included in disaster plans.

NAMI Hunterdon is part of a group of community organizations – The Hunterdon County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters – whose mission is to bring together County organizations active in disaster assistance and to foster cooperation and coordination in response to a disaster.

NAMI Hunterdon can provide a vital and dynamic link between a vulnerable and often misunderstood segment of our community – individuals and their families dealing with mental health concerns – and COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disasters) members.  The purpose of the NAMI Hunterdon Disaster Preparedness Planning Committee is to develop a program to help our families in the event of a disaster. Issues that the task force will address include such basic questions as how should families prepare for a disaster? What is an appropriate organizational response to those with special needs during a disaster? How can response efforts be coordinated? And how do we identify those requiring assistance?

We will consider producing disaster preparation kits specifically designed for families with individuals with mental health needs; creating a protocol for contacting our families; assisting other COAD members with information about the special needs of our families; and exploring the best ways to engage our families as active participants in the program we develop.

What’s next:

An initial meeting of interested persons to discuss the possibilities and goals for our Task Force. We can inventory the contributions different members of the task force are able to make and their level of commitment. With this input a practical plan forward can be devised.

Please contact me with your interest and comments (even if you are not sure if you can join). If there are days and times that are better for you regarding scheduling an initial meeting, please let me know. My MO for group gatherings is that we work hard, we laugh a lot, everybody is right, and we never go home hungry. If you are just curious, come; if you don’t think you have anything to contribute but are hungry, come (and you’ll surprise yourself at how important you are!); if you need to stay home but want to be a part of the conversation, let me know and I’ll keep you in the loop.

I can’t wait to hear from you! With best regards, Louise

Louise Hartman



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