It’s Getting Better
Yes, it’s getting better all the time, as the Beatles once sang. Most of us would agree that while the fire season is always troubling and stressful, some major steps have been taken these past four years to lessen our anxiety. PG&E has worked aggressively on managing our fire risk through responsible land management efforts. County agencies and neighborhood groups have worked on hardening our homes and communities. Fire Districts have applied lessons learned to improve fire-fighting and emergency response strategies. Medical and health emergency response teams have developed new systems for more effective coordination.
We know they’ve been busy but until you hear from someone like last week’s speaker, Carly Sullivan, it’s clear we have no idea of how much they’ve done to make sure every scenario has been considered. Most people think about the future but Carly LIVES in the future. She is the Coastal Valley’s Emergency Service Agency’s Coordinator. Keeping us safe and protecting our homes are two overlapping functions. On one side is the fire fighting component and the other deals with medical/health emergency services. Both are complex and Carly’s presentation was comprehensive and amazingly thorough. Her area requires coordination between; first responders, EMTs, physicians, nurses and administrators (hospitals , etc.). The unpredictability that is the essence of natural disasters is almost overwhelming. She showed us a graphic of a map with circles marking the location of the first reported fire sightings. The time lapse then showed where subsequent calls were coming from and that gave a visual as to direction and speeds they were moving. This provided an unusual sense of how and where the emergencies would occur and services would need to be directed.
Then there are the outliers, those things that one doesn’t want to consider. What happens when a hospital is under immediate threat of fire? How do you evacuate a hospital full of patients given that ambulances can only transport 2 or 3 people at a time and you need to move several hundred people? How many ambulances can you command, where are they located, how long will it take to get there? How do you know how many open beds another hospital has? Well, Carly and her team know the answers to all those questions. Not immediately but the system in place allows open communication among all involved. She can see the number of beds available. What about evacuating assisted living facilities? Those residents, for the most part, are not going to a hospital but need a level of safety and care in any event. She knows where to look, coordinate the effort and make it happen.
She has to be one of the most focused and clear minded people we’ve ever had speak to the VOM Rotary. We will all react when the wind picks up or we have a dry lightning event headed our way, but after hearing Carly’s presentation, I sure slept better than night. Come join us for breakfast at our new meeting place, The Oakmont Gardens on Thursday mornings at 8:00, you’ll feel better.
Free Test Kits On Tuesday, May 31, COVID-19 test kits will be distributed at the Berger Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please register