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New Volunteer Program Aids Community Members with Special Needs in an Emergency

SRPMIC Emergency Manager, Cliff Puckett, leads the Listing Information For Emergencies (LIFE) program organized by the Community's Office of the Emergency Manager.

A new volunteer program is available for Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members who may need special assistance in large-scale emergencies.

The Community’s Office of the Emergency Manager recently launched Listing Information For Emergencies (LIFE) to help identify and track Community members with physical, medical or mental health conditions who might need extra assistance in the event of a large-scale public emergency. But because the program is voluntary, it needs help from Community members first.

SRPMIC Emergency Manager Cliff Puckett, who is in charge of LIFE, is encouraging eligible Community members to sign up now.

“We need to identify them before the [emergency] event happens so we can meet their needs,” he said.

LIFE replaces a similar Community program that has since dissolved, Puckett said.

Puckett has presented LIFE materials to seniors in the Community and other members or programs that requested more information. Usually, 20 percent of the population of the targeted community qualifies for programs like LIFE, he said.

“Community members have told me they want this system in place, especially for elders,” Puckett said. “Helping take care of the elderly is a high priority.”

Large-scale emergencies include natural and manmade disasters. A large power outage in the warmer months that extends for hours or days is an example of an emergency event that would trigger a welfare check for all the people in the LIFE program.

Once a person signs up, their name, address and phone number will be added to a database and mapping system to help public-safety personnel and Community staff easily find the members if disaster strikes.

To be included in the database, contact Puckett at (480) 362-7927. A signed consent form by Community members and the homeowner is required. Once you are part of the program, it’s important to update the Office of the Emergency Manager if you change addresses or want to be removed from the database.

Those who sign up for LIFE should not rely on it completely for immediate service during a large-scale emergency, Puckett said. Always have a plan in place to be on your own for at least 72 hours.

“If we have a big event, resources are not going to be readily available,” he said. “Traditionally, we tell people to be prepared for three days, not three minutes. It’s important to educate your family and individuals in emergency preparedness.”

For more information on the LIFE program or to sign up, contact Puckett at (480) 362-7927 or cliff.puckett@srpmic-nsn.gov.