Safety Groups’ Presentation at OVA Workshop

Last Updated: 01-22-19

Dorothy Webster

President Steve Spanier opened Jan. 19 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 did come in, at $160,000. That`s less than the dog park, Spanier pointed out.

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.

FIRE-PREVENTION GRANTS

            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.

RAINBOW WOMEN HAVE GO BAGS

Katy Carrel reported that the Rainbow Women here have an Emergency Preparedness Club. Members will go to homes and teach anyone how to turn off their gas and open their garage door manually. They have produced checklists and red binders containing information on preparing the exterior and interior of your home, storing important documents on Dropbox, and having a “go bag” packed.

OEPC AND COPE

            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. They tried to get the Red Cross to use our recreation centers as shelters, but got turned down. 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 zone communicators with ham radios that can communicate to 238 team leaders who get messages to people in their zones. She urged us to get to know our neighbors, their mobility issues, and their emergency contacts.