June 20th Joint RCPC/NCPC Town Hall Meeting Report

Major topic - emergency preparedness for Rockridge
Thursday, July 4, 2019

On Thursday, June 20th, the Rockridge Community Planning Council and the Greater Rockridge Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council held their annual joint town hall meeting.  It was an opportunity for the two organizations to join together on a topic of mutual interest.  This year, that topic was disaster preparedness.

To begin the joint meeting, the NCPC had invited Lieutenant Daniel Royal, the supervisor for our area, who, after a short presentation by the area’s two community resources officers on the most recent crime statistics, answered questions from the audience about the significance of the figures and some tips on how to avoid crimes, as well as what the police are doing to address “crime waves,” which are often the product of a small group of repeat offenders.  OPD recently arrested a group that had been committing offenses throughout the Bay Area.

After his presentation, David Gomez, the Neighborhood Law Corps representative for the area introduced himself and explained the function of the Neighborhood Law Corps within the City Attorney’s office.  While he admitted he was new to his position, he said he’d be attending NCPC meetings to help residents address local legal problems, such as illegal trash dumping.

The remainder of the meeting was devoted to a presentation by Lars Eric Holm of Eden Information and Referral Services, which provides emergency preparedness training, as well as serving as a general information and referrals resource for Alameda County. (Dial 211 on your phone to reach them).  Mr. Holm pointed out that while 911 is where you’d report a crime or other emergency situation [for fire or medical emergency, can Oakland Fire Dept. at 444-1616], if you want to know where to go if you have to evacuate your home, call 211.  211 can be a good source of information in a disaster – or during normal times.

Mr. Holm next led the group in an exercise in “thinking outside the box.”  He pointed out that while normally, we use “convergent thinking” – knowledge of known details; e.g., what are the pointy parts of a fork? [tines] how many on a normal fork? [4], in a disaster it’s more useful to use “divergent thinking” – finding new ways to solve a problem when the normal answers won’t work.  He also called it “MacGyvering,” after the TV series hero who often had to find unusual ways to solve a problem.  The exercise was thinking of how you might use a ziplock plastic bag.  Answers ranged from storing water to plugging a leak to keeping something dry to rescuing your pet goldfish during a disaster.  He pointed out that in a disaster, optimism is better than pessimism.  Pessimism leads to despair, while optimism can lead to looking for a solution.

In developing preparedness for a disaster, start with “Why?” Obviously, the why is to protect yourself, your family, and your community.  The “How” is the nuts and bolts of preparedness – putting together an accessible set of supplies that you might need, getting training, such as Oakland’s CORE program (Normally run by Oakland Fire Dept., but temporarily suspended due to a shortage of training personnel) or courses run by Eden I & R.  The “What” is being prepared for expected – or unexpected – disasters, such as a major earthquake, a wildfire, loss of power or water service, etc.

How to prepare depends on individual situations.  These include: infants, children, elderly, the disabled, pets, employees, tenants, etc.  Each situation may require special elements for preparedness.  Think about possible scenarios, what might be needed, and how you’d get what you need.  Collect useful items in a preparedness kit.  Also, have a “Go Kit” – what you’d want available if you needed to leave suddenly.

Mr Holm ended by emphasizing that preparedness requires a good attitude as well as preparing and practicing.  Eden I & R is available to conduct more specific training.  Call their office at (510) 727-9516 or leholm@edenir.org.

A video of most of the Town Hall (sorry, a small portion was missed while resetting the video camera) has been posted on the Rockridge Community Planning Council’s YouTube Channel, and a copy of Mr. Holm’s presentation slides is attached below.

ADDENDUM - On July 4th, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck in Southern California, in the mountainous area east of Bakersfield.  Luckily, the area is sparsely populated, and there were apparently no fatalities or major damage.  However, it's a reminder that the Hayward Fault continues to accumulate stress, which will eventually result in a major earthquake in the East Bay.  There's no time like the present to start getting prepared.

FURTHER ADDENDUM - On July 5th - one day later - another earthquake hit the same area east of Bakersfield.  This one was 7.1 on the Richter scale.  That's about the size of what's expected on the Hayward fault, except our earthquake will be right under a heavily-populated urban area, not under a sparsely populated rural mountainous area.  The effects will be catastrophic.  NOW is the time to prepare!!

 

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