Jul 25, 2019
by Carol Russell
Last month’s Gazette led off with an informative, motivating article by Vesta titled “Ready for Anything” discussing what we all can do to take care of ourselves, our families and our neighbors in case of emergencies such as fire, earthquake or flood. After all, as was pointed out: “There are only so many First Responders available. They will be busy.”
Coincidently, around the time she read the article, Carol was contacted by one of her neighbors in The Cottages development who’s a member of a team starting to plan for emergencies there. During the 2017 fires, Cloverdale was threatened to some degree and a number of us put limited plans in place; but many, if not most, of our plans have gone by the wayside over time.
If our city does get into trouble, we’ll need to know who’s close-by, who can help or, conversely, whom we might be able to help. If we ever have to leave our homes and even this entire area, we’ll need to know how we can all get to safety without causing congestion and other problems. For instance: what are the surest routes in and out of our neighborhoods?
In 2017, across Sonoma County, 23 residents died and thousands of homes and businesses destroyed. Cloverdale was one of the lucky places, something for which we will always be profoundly grateful and truly humbled. Our hometown was on alert; but none of us had to leave.
Next time, we may not be so lucky. It’s time for each of us to take a thorough look at what we have in place for emergencies. At the same time we need to look around, connect with our neighbors, and plan together. Throughout our county-- Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Petaluma and Sebastopol have begun the process of instituting forward thinking plans and making the connections necessary for safety.
For example, in The Cottages’ neighborhood, encompassing Pepperwood Drive, Laurel Court, and Buckeye Circle, one resident’s husband has mobility issues while another resident copes with blindness, and others are chair-bound. As with most of us, thoughts of what would happen if a fire broke out or an earthquake occurred has its residents asking vital questions like: How can we get help? What can we do to make a difference and make our lives, and those of our neighbors, safer in case of an emergency?
These neighbors obtained a format of COPE’s (Citizens Organized to Prepare for Emergencies) plans and began the process of building their network. They got together to begin the discussion and to gather information. Kevin Souder from Cloverdale Fire Department talked to them about the emergency process. Take-aways. . .
1. Don't call 911 – avoid jamming the lines!
2. Avoid crowding the roads - wait for a Police officer to come and tell you to leave!
3. Sign up for SoCo Alerts – alerts specifically for Sonoma County!
4. Stay connected – remember there are only so many First Responders!
The community gathered important information, which is kept confidential, on who’s in each home, phone numbers, emails, location of keys, special skills. One person is in the process of making an emergency data-base, creating another layer of connection. They are getting to know their neighbors in a whole new way – one that provides caring and safety. They are on the move.
Others within Cloverdale’s area of influence are COPE planning as well: Pine Mountain, Asti, and Mountain Pine Road in Palomino Lakes are laying the groundwork for emergency preparedness and neighbor helping neighbor.
To start learning more about how to protect yourself and those you love most by organizing within your neighborhood, check out:
If you need more information or want to talk with someone knowledgeable regarding COPE in your Cloverdale neighborhood, drop us an email at:firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you make connections to get together, plan, and connect with your neighbors!
FYI: Friday Night Live’s 2019 Season Wraps-Up With:
August 2nd – Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings
August 9th – Royal Jelly Jive
August 16th – The Young Dubliners
August 23rd – DJ Williams’ Shots Fired
August 30th – Tommy Castro & The Painkillers
. . .a wonderful way to end this year’s FNL!
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