Safety Groups Present at Board Workshop

Dorothy Webster

President Steve Spanier opened January`s OVA Board safety workshop by explaining its purpose: For residents and all fire-safety groups to hear each other`s plans and accomplishments to date, so that “all of us are on the same page.”

Before each safety group presented, residents were allowed to speak at the podium for two minutes. Lance Wallace shared that he does not have a cell phone, and wants a siren to alert us to evacuate. Spanier responded that the county is considering a 20-siren system, and a bid for a four-siren system came in at $160,000.

Eric Furness, Air Force lieutenant colonel, retired. (Photo by John Williston)

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Furness, treasurer of the 43-home Oak Forest Home Owners Association, asked about an evacuation plan. He said that every forward-operating military base has such a plan and gravel roads built solely for evacuation. All military bases conduct “no-notice” drills to get out, and get out quick using sirens, walkie-talkies, and making both lanes of roads go one way.

Resident Ed Bigland, who worked at a large college, said that there is “no silver bullet” for saving lives in an emergency. His college settled on using police cars with megaphones to get people out of danger.


OVA General Manager Kevin Hubred has applied for Oakmont to receive some of the $1 billion, or $200 million-a-year-for-five-years grant money the state will spend on fire prevention. If and when Oakmont does receive some of these funds, Hubred will address heavy growth in Trione-Annadel State Park adjacent to Oakmont. He has started on an effort to remove quick-burning juniper bushes and replace them with more fire-resistant plants.


Pat Barclay heads up the Oakmont Emergency Preparedness Club (OEPC). They conducted a comprehensive risk review, and concentrate on education and ham-radio communications to ensure our safety. Like many who spoke at the workshop, Barclay emphasized that – in the event of an emergency – we must each plan our own exits.

Sue Hattendorf`s organization, Citizens Organized to Plan for Emergencies (COPE) has 238 team leaders who get messages to people in their zones. She urged people to get to know our neighbors, their mobility issues, and their emergency contacts.