SEBASTOPOL FIREFIGHTERS FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
ISSUE NO. TWO
Neighbors and Friends,
It is that time of year again – the Annual Pancake Breakfast at the Sebastopol Fire Department will be held on October 14, 2018, at the Sebastopol Fire Department, 7425 Bodega Ave, from 7 AM to 11:30 AM. Please come by and share some pancakes and eggs with us and meet your neighbors!
It is notable that last year our Pancake Breakfast was held on Sunday, October 8, 2017. And, it was late in that evening of that same day that the Tubbs Fire decimated large areas of Napa and Sonoma County, particularly the Santa Rosa environs. Already tired from the activities surrounding the Pancake Breakfast, 20 Sebastopol Fire Department firefighters responded to the request for resources and joined other area fire departments to help contain the conflagration. The Sebastopol firefighters remained involved in personal and property protection efforts from October 8 throughout the following week fighting this destructive fire.
So, when considering a topic for this year’s Newsletter, it seemed natural to review disaster planning.
Recent natural catastrophes, from hurricanes to western wildfires are a fresh reminder that disaster can strike at any time. And no area of the country is immune, when you factor in the threat of tornadoes, earthquakes and human disasters like toxic spills. While the circumstances may differ, there’s one tip that every person needs to take from all these situations: how to pack a “go bag.”
A GoBag is a packed case or bag that you grab on your way out the door, that will help keep you safe and comfortable in the coming hours and days. Stopping to hunt for your medications or other important needs can cost you critical seconds in an evacuation. Pack a separate Go Bag for yourself and every member of your household, and keep them stored in the same location.
Here is a check list prepared by AARP based upon interviews with hundreds of disaster victims.
Basic electronics: Pack an extra phone charger in case you’re fortunate enough to have electricity, and a portable battery pack in case you’re not. Also stash a long-lasting LED flashlight. Pack a small hand-cranked or battery operated AM/FM radio (with extra batteries).
Personal needs: While getting ready for a typical day, list every toiletry you use, then buy a travel-size version of each. Pack backup eyeglasses, as well as a first-aid kit, baby wipes and a multipurpose tool with a knife and can opener.
Clothing: Pack a few days’ worth. Include layers you can add or remove, plus lightweight rain gear and waterproof boots.
Your meds: Pack about three days’ worth of each of your prescriptions, which should last until you can get to a pharmacy that’s open. If you need larger items, such as an oxygen tank, make sure you have a portable version.
The perfect bag: Think small and portable. A backpack is ideal, but a lightweight suitcase with wheels will also do. Just remember, you may literally be running with it.
Paperwork: Fill a zip-top waterproof bag with photocopies of your birth certificate; driver’s license; Social Security and Medicare cards; power of attorney and will; any marriage, adoption or naturalization certificates; proof of address; insurance, medical and immunization records; and information about your credit and ATM cards.
Food and drink : Bottled water is essential. Granola or energy bars are great because they are small and filling, and they come in a variety of flavors.
Cash: In addition to enough money for a few days, include small bills and a roll of quarters. If you need to buy something out of a vending machine, you don’t want to start asking equally desperate strangers for change.
Final Thought: Reaction to every disaster is personal. So, when preparing for a disaster, ask yourself “how does this affect my situation; what are my priorities; are their family members with special needs, animals, etc”. Plan accordingly and prepare ahead !
Michael Reeser, President Sebastopol Firefighters Foundation
P.S. Don’t forget, all donations to the Foundation, including the purchase of the Pancake Breakfast Raffle tickets, may be tax deductible!
ISSUE NO. ONE
At the Annual Pancake Breakfast last October 9, 2016, hosted by the Sebastopol Firefighters Foundation and its membership, the Sebastopol Volunteer Firefighters, we described the purpose of the Foundation as a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible, non-profit corporation with its several goals to support the Sebastopol Fire Department and the Sebastopol community. As part of the effort to serve the Sebastopol community, we indicated that the Foundation would initiate a Newsletter in 2017. Members of the community who were interested in receiving the Newsletter by email were invited to give the Foundation their email address.
You chose to give us your address; here is the first Newsletter. Since 60-70% of the calls to which the Sebastopol Fire Department responds are medical related, a discussion about the visibility of addresses seems most appropriate. Rapid response to the medical request is critical. If the firefighters have trouble locating the correct address, response time can be compromised with potentially negative impact on the requesting party. – The Editor
CAN THE FIRE DEPARTMENT IDENTIFY YOUR ADDRESS?
It’s 2 AM and the Sebastopol Fire Department fire fighters are toned out for an emergency at your Sebastopol residence. The dispatcher gives the responding firefighters the address followed by the cross streets. The firefighters arrive at the assigned area, looking for your residence number.
Where is the residence or business number: On the door to your [apartment, condo, house, or business]? On the garage door or door frame? On the mail box, (if there is one)? On the curb? On a post at the entrance to your driveway? These are all typical places that we look for residential or business numbers. But, some address numbers, due to construction issues or location, have unique placement of their address numbers. These are the most difficult to locate unless they are very visible.
Usually it is relatively easy to locate an address during the day light hours. Nighttime searches may not be as easy, often requiring use of our search light. With some diligence and experience, ultimately we can find the number. But, occasionally, there are no visible numbers designating an address. So, the search continues at the expense of time, which is crucial when one has a serious emergency, albeit a medical or fire issue.
Here is a suggestion – go out to the curb of your residence or business during daylight and nighttime. Can YOU easily see your address under both conditions? Approach your address from both directions in a vehicle. Is the address easily detected? If you can’t, then most likely we too will have trouble locating your address.
As you inspect for the visibility of your address, consider the following:
Are the numbers faded, or is one or more missing?
Do bushes obstruct the numbers from certain angles?
Are the numbers small or unlit at night?
If there are curb numbers, are they hard to decipher due to weather fading or wheel rubs?
When time is critical, a highly visible number can determine how fast we can respond to your request for help.
Do yourself and the fire department a favor – make certain that we can identify your address quickly with minimal searching, particularly at night. Delay is the biggest nemesis in a timely response for fire or critical medical issues.
Editor’s Note: Feel free to forward this Newsletter to friends and family. If you know someone who would like to receive future Newsletters directly, send info to firstname.lastname@example.org.