Preparing for the worst

By Campbell McCluskey

A wind storm in December and a series of sub-freezing snaps, including unusual snows, in February. How well was the Point prepared and how well have we survived? What’s next?

Individually and collectively, we are facing and reviewing our levels of preparedness. Especially Point Roberts Emergency Preparedness (PREP) as well as the fire district and other entities. Itemizing preliminary steps and initial reactions in emergencies make for good check lists which we all should maintain. Knowing key phone numbers, resource contacts, neighborhood collection points, emergency shelters for warmth, food and information are also essential.

How many of us are aware of neighbors with health or physical problems who would need special help? Do we know neighbors who have special skills or who may already be volunteers? Which neighbors have generators? Who might have extra blankets or shelter in event of fire or fallen tree damage to someone’s dwelling? Or an earthquake? Or tsunami? Who has stockpiled potable water? Which neighbor knows how to turn off specific residential water or has the appropriate tool? Who knows where to go or to whom to report if he or she has special skills that may be needed?

What’s next is a question not only about what emergency might next threaten, but also about our need to focus and be clear on whatever collective actions may be required. Fire chief Christopher Carleton has scheduled a training session at the Benson Road fire hall on March 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. designed to identify how coordinated responses here at the Point need to be improved, learning from recent experiences, and how more of us who might have helped may become part of future responses.

The chief has indicated that residents prepared to volunteer would be welcome to this half-day training session. The emphasis will be on training and how all entities on the Point may be more efficiently and effectively coordinated. The main concern will be addressing emergencies while keeping residents informed and any medical urgencies in check. The name of the game is neighbors helping neighbors.

This PREP column will provide checklists detailing individual homeowners’ responses to various emergencies, identifying the entities and agencies involved, how to keep informed, where to go for food, shelter as needed, or where to go to offer volunteer services, seek specific help, etc., not to mention how to stay out of the way as the case may be.

The PREP website will be providing guidance for homeowners for general emergency preparations to have on-hand; for specific steps to take depending upon the nature of the event (fire, tsunami, wind damage, flooding, earthquakes and prolonged power outages); how to obtain extended emergency housing and how to reach family and loved ones if usual communications are off line or otherwise not available.

Not everyone has to become a volunteer, but for Circle of Care, PREP, the EMTs, the fire department, the Super Track Clinic and the sheriff’s deputies to be effective, everyone needs to know local and off-site phone numbers, addresses, family members and names, numbers and names of pets, etc. This applies to permanent residents/owners as well as part-time or seasonal residents/owners.

Responses to this column should be directed to the Point Roberts Emergency Preparedness website or to Raye Newmen, 360/945-0665 or Campbell McClusky, 360/945-2089.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.