June 22, 2024

Whole Community News

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ABC, Randy Groves: Prepare and practice now with your nearby neighbors

6 min read
Active Bethel Citizens and Councilor Randy Groves shared resources for emergency preparedness, including the new evacuation zones.

Active Bethel Citizens and Councilor Randy Groves shared resources for emergency preparedness, including the new evacuation zones.

Active Bethel Citizens shared preparedness information, including wildfire evacuation zones.

Lin Woodrich: [00:00:07] I’m Lin Woodrich, the ABC co-chair. Our topic tonight is emergency preparation. Eugene City Councilor, Ward Eight, and former Fire Chief Randy Groves is our first speaker.

City Councilor Randy Groves: [00:00:17] Thank you, Lin, and Lin, you have done a phenomenal job in putting some really important information together— things that our lives, our family’s lives may have to depend on at some point. My philosophy has always been, hope for the best, prepare for the worst. And that’s what emergency preparedness is all about.

John Q: [00:00:36] Councilor Groves said that in a disaster, we may not be able to call 911. And even if we get through, responders may be overwhelmed.

City Councilor Randy Groves: [00:00:46] Yeah, with 16 fire stations between Eugene and Springfield, help is going to be spread very thin, very quickly. Same thing with police and public works. No city is able to staff to the level of what a large scale event can produce.

So that’s why home preparedness, family preparedness, neighborhood preparedness is essential. Pick your incident generator. It can be anything that can render a community in a state of disarray. 911 lines will instantly become jammed, if the system is still up at all. Your cell phones may lose their utility with towers coming down and in systems interrupted transportation systems streets can break up bridges can certainly come down.

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I’m not trying to scare anybody, but at the same time it’s hopefully motivation of why it’s important to prepare and to be able to be as self-sufficient as you can. And that’s one of the reasons I really liked the neighborhood association system that we have in our city, because it gives us a chance to think autonomously within a geographical area and how we support one another.

And, a part of that is not only knowing your family’s needs, but knowing people on your street, do you have elderly neighbors that are going to need assistance? Do you have people with special needs, disabilities that might need assistance as well?

John Q: [00:02:10] Councilor Groves recommended that neighbors print their own copy of the Fire Department’s evacuation zones map.

City Councilor Randy Groves: [00:02:17] There’s lots of resources available for us, but the time to learn what those are is not after an emergency happens. For example, just today, our fire department had a press conference that I was able to attend, and released information on evacuation areas. The whole Eugene Springfield area has been broken into zones. There’s a really nice color coded map that shows where those zones are. My advice is, print that off and put it in your kit, because again, you cannot rely on computer, internet connectivity or anything, and whether it’s a seismic event or a large fire there’s all kinds of things that disrupt.

Usually in large-scale events, there’s a cascading chain of events or sequence of events. When you have a large event, usually doesn’t just stop with the earth shaking. It can also release hazardous chemicals. It can cause fires. There’s all kinds of things that can take place. Same thing with transportation accidents, same thing with wildland fires that can move through a community. And in fact, more than just the wooded areas, those certainly can spread into grasslands and affect neighborhoods throughout our community. So when that happens, other bad events can take place as well. So it can get very complicated, very quickly with your normal resources, completely overwhelmed.

Charlsey Cartwright: [00:03:44] I’ve seen the evacuation zone poster, but are we still going to see a plan coming from Fire, that we were promised an evacuation plan in June, I think?

City Councilor Randy Groves: [00:03:56] That is part of the plan, that, it’s hard to give a specific exact evacuation plan with routes and rally locations because you don’t know ahead of time exactly what the emergency is. You’ll receive information via the emergency communication network. You’ll receive over your cell phone if you sign up for the county’s emergency notification system, and then they give you specifics, they will say, for example, whatever your evacuation zone is, and they’ll list off the zones that need to evacuate. At that time, they will tell you, for example, what direction to head.

And so that’s really how it comes together. One of the problems with having predesignated places to report to and directions and route of travel is, in a flood you don’t want to go down to the low level areas. In a wild land fire in the hills, you don’t want to get up into the hills. So if you have one specific plan for evacuation, it doesn’t fit every emergency.

So the main thing is knowing your evacuation zone, knowing how you’re going to receive the information and at that point, figuring out the best route for you and your family. And I would encourage everybody to know multiple ways into and out of your residence, into and out of places you frequently visit, routes into and out of places you work.

Amie Anderson Forbis: [00:05:24] We have a question from Charlie.

Charlie: [00:05:25] You had mentioned earlier about doing a training for neighborhood people. Is that something we would try to coordinate ? If you have people that are doing that, in different areas , is there any coordination or just anybody does it, who wants to from anywhere?

City Councilor Randy Groves: [00:05:39] Both ways. Actually, we encourage groups, neighborhoods, neighbors coming in together because you learn it as a system, then you are being able to participate in ongoing and recurrent training together and being able to practice your skills.

Lin Woodrich: [00:05:55] Ryan has his hand up.

Ryan: [00:05:56] Yeah, thank you. I know that we need to do our best to prepare ourselves and our families, and I knew that in the Bethel neighborhood, there are people without the resources to be able to put together kits for themselves. And so how can we try to, not only put together, supplies for ourselves and our own families, but, identify the people that would be in need and, and provide for them as well. Because I think that that’s morally the right thing to do, but also, you know, the function of a neighborhood group, like ours, right, to watch out for the whole neighborhood. What can we do to kind of proactively strengthen the neighborhood if it’s not stockpiling a month’s worth of supplies for the entire community somewhere—How have communities addressed that?

City Councilor Randy Groves: [00:06:52] Well, I think part of that is, is if you have space and the means to stockpile, stockpile for more than what you need yourself. But if you think about it, for example, just take the ABC association group and think of all the houses and all the people that live in there and think about the quantities of supplies that would have to be amassed to serve that. I mean, it’s considerable. It takes a lot to, to feed and provide water. Now, once the system is all in place, FEMA is pretty good about bringing in the Red Cross and lots of supplies. It’s just getting through, as I said, they recommend three to five days, I think it’s at least a week to be safe, um, longer, if you can.

Lin Woodrich: [00:07:41] I think it would be good for us all to, to think about helping our neighbors. We have the Map Your Neighborhood and Neighborhood Watch, and I think if you know your neighbors and you know that they’re going to need help, you can help them.

John Q: [00:07:53] The complete presentation is available from Active Bethel Citizens. Contact your neighborhood association to learn more.

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