A group of the usual suspects gathered at the fire hall the other night to discuss disaster preparedness. (By “usual suspects” I mean some of the 20% that does 80% of the volunteer work on the island. The 80/20 Rule seems to be an inviolate law of nature). The interest in disaster preparedness should be universal because it is the one issue that will affect everyone. Some years ago the Fire Department started a Disaster Preparedness Program which focused on Map Your Neighborhood. This involved neighborhood pods getting together to discuss how to check on each other in emergencies and how to take care of other basic functions such as turning off water and propane. In addition there were admonitions to acquire a hardhat, flashlight, gloves and a sturdy pair of shoes to keep near ones bed. Map Your Neighborhood got off to a strong start, then stalled.
Interested parties are trying to revitalize Disaster Preparedness on Lummi Island by suggesting a new tack. That is to encourage organizations to take responsibility for specific functional areas. These areas might be: shelter, mapping, food bank, communications, mapping, equipment, potable water, hardware supplies, medical, transportation, fuel supplies, power generation, septic (wasted disposal).
One needs to keep in mind that our Fire Department is a response organization that will not have the time or manpower to do any of the above in the event of an emergency (and by emergency were are talking in terms of an event lasting more than a couple of days). On the other hand, the Red Cross offers support for several of these functions (shelter, food bank, communications and medical).
On January 29, from 8am-4pm the Red Cross will be on the island to train enough volunteers to open and operate a Red Cross shelter on the island should we become isolated during a disaster. Specifically, they will give an overview of Disaster Services, teach how to set up, run and close a Red Cross shelter during a disaster and simulate working with procedures on how to set up, run and close a shelter. The training is free of charge. Anyone interested should contact Bobbie Hutchings 758-7191. Also see Wynne Lee’s post here.
The next meeting of this planning group will be Feb. 7 at 7pm at the Fire Hall. Anyone with an interest is encouraged to attend.