Goal: To find out if there is interest and willingness to creating small but comprehensive community plan in case of natural or man made disasters for the first 72 hours after an event.
This being a preliminary meeting we kept our agenda loose, keeping lots of room for feedback and discussion. Here were the points discussed:
1. How do we communicate?
- Phone tree?
- Ham radio?
- First Aid?
- Shelters? - schools, community hall, casino
- Equipment? - plows, dozers, etc.
- Skilled volunteers?
- Neighbors will be your first responders. Do you know your neighbors?
- Face to face?
To the meeting, David Skrinde, Alger Volunteer Fire Department Chief, brought a map of the area fire districts found within the Samish Watershed. Our target area extends from the northern Lake Samish and Cain Lake communities to the south boundary cut by the Samish River. The east boundary is defined by Highway 9 and west boundary defined by the shoreline. Our goal is to network the neighborhoods located throughout the four different fire districts found in the Samish Watershed. The first thing we did at the meeting was have those in attendance mark where there home is on the map. After a group discussion, it came out that a good goal/strategy would be to facilitate the formation of neighborhood teams and leaders. This is a strategy FEMA promotes and there may be potential online resources to help organize. The concept is that each neighborhood would be in charge of creating a phone tree and compiling important information regarding needs and resources. For example, neighbors would compile a list of those who would need extra attention (elderly, disabled, those on medication, etc.), those who have resources/equipment (like tractors, chainsaws, etc.), and those who have skills (first aid, ham radio operator, etc.). Each neighborhood would then assign one or two point contact leads who would be networked within a larger emergency response network that includes the area’s fire halls and other emergency agencies.
Chet and Nela Bradley, long time ham radio operators attended the meeting. They explained how we could create more resilient forms of communication by connecting with those who are a part of the ham radio club of Burlington. Chet and Nela also explained about Citizen Emergency Response Training (CERT) and many in attendance committed to becoming CERT certified.
Dave Shields of Community Action of Skagit County Food Bank Distribution Center in Sedro Woolley was also there representing the interests of the food banks and a larger county wide disaster preparation program.
Members of the Alger Community Hall also discussed the possibility of becoming a Red Cross shelter site and finding grants to convert the kitchen into a commercial kitchen so we could feed the public in case of emergency. Ideas will be discussed at the next Alger Community Hall board meeting.
Our next meeting will be Thursday, May 21 - 6:30 - 7:30 at the Alger Community Hall, 18735 Parkview Lane
Notes submitted by Sarai Stevens - March, 2015