Sunday, February 12, 2006

Neighbors Organize for Preparedness

The neighbors of Willow Avenue have started organizing to become more prepared in the event of a disaster, reports Council Member Mary Ann Maggiore, who lives on Willow. Neighbors met on January 9th with Fire Battalion Chief Michael Denning to review what they could do to help themselves and their neighbors in a time of crisis. A summary of the meeting and follow-up actions was sent to all the neighborhood. The main points of the issues covered include the following preparedness advice (a good reminder to all): get to know your neighbors immediately; establish gathering points; form Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) [this training will be offered soon; I will give details in a future post]; create parking clearance (for emergency vehicles and people evacuating); form your own emergency response capabilities with a family evacuation and reunification plan; practice evacuation drills; get your property in order (i.e. clear brush outside, check smoke detectors, etc.); and have at least three days of emergency supplies packed and ready to go. To follow-up, the neighborhood is distributing forms for compiling a neighborhood inventory to ascertain the skills of those in the Willow Avenue area (e.g. medical training), as well as any special needs that exist in the neighborhood.

This neighborhood is really setting an example of one way a subset of our community has taken on the task of self-preparedness and helping one another to be ready in the event of a disaster. I am certain that the Ross Valley Fire Service would be pleased to assist other neighborhoods become informed, organized and prepared for an emergency.