2014 Year in Review: Point Roberts Emergency Preparedness

The Point Roberts Emergency Preparedness group (PREP) is an all-volunteer organization created for the purpose of providing a public educational forum for developing, promoting, increasing and maintaining individual and community capacity to respond to emergencies that affect our community.

Our motto is “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.” Many of our activities this year can be highlighted as helping the members of our great community.

Some of our activities have been focused on raising funds to support our goals as well as those of other community groups. During the year we supported the “Fight the Towers” campaign and the food bank with funds generated at the chili cook-off. We also successfully revived the pancake breakfast held prior to the 4th of July parade and celebrations.

A main focus has been on developing an organized ham communications team that will be able to assist with emergency communication during a disaster. The PRACS group (Point Roberts Auxiliary Communication Service) continues to develop trained ham radio operators and during this year has successfully installed a tower and repeater system that can now communicate with distant emergency responders.

This capability is vital to Point Roberts should we experience the predicted great disaster to come. Every Sunday evening the group conducts a “net check-in” to help members become more skilled.

We hosted a community education meeting with guest speakers Kent Catlin, deputy director of the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center; Bob Jacobson, CERT education director and fire chief Christopher Carleton.

Each speaker provided excellent information regarding how the residents of Point Roberts can be better prepared for disaster. More than 50 people attended the meeting. We have added eight new CERT-trained responders; one is a high school student.

PREP members distributed educational materials during the Arts and Music Festival and the fire department open house. We also continue to encourage neighborhoods to become acquainted with their neighbors in the “Map Your Neighborhood” project. To date at least five areas are active.

PREP has taken on new activities this year. We will be staffing the community center during any cold weather power outages. The center will be open if the power is out for more than 4-5 hours.

Only shelter will be provided; recipients will need to bring any necessary items with them. The second activity is providing transportation for residents who have been taken by ambulance to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital and have no means of transportation back to Point Roberts.

PREP meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the community center.

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