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Summary of Emergency Preparedness Event

02/15/2019 12:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
PMC Emergency Preparedness Event

 submitted by: Julianne Buchler

Being new to the state of California, having recently moved here with my husband, our 1-year old son, and our cat, and also never having had to think much about wildfires or earthquake preparedness, I was very keen to attend the recent Emergency Preparedness event hosted by the PMC this past week. Not sure what to expect, I went with questions stemming from hearing about the tragic events of the Camp Fire last October and feeling like a beginner (a.k.a., “unprepared”) attendee. One week after the event, I now find myself grateful for a new feeling of “better preparedness” (a.k.a., not as completely frightened at the prospect of a disaster as I was before and very thankful to the amazing first responder services for their insight!). The PMC event included three speakers including a Chris Godley from Sonoma County Emergency Services, Ron Klein from the Petaluma Police Department, and Paula Dueweke with Petaluma Fire Department. These speakers presented a multitude of helpful advice through the sharing of stories, personal experience, and training. To help those who might be interested, highlights from the event are included below related to three key areas outlined by the speakers including Alerting, Preparedness, and Connection.

1. Alerting

What stuck with me most regarding alerting, or the act of becoming aware of a pending / current disaster was the emphasis on the responsibility of the individual and family to both facilitate access to existing alerting systems, as well as to respond as advised once given an alert. In terms of awareness of alerts, the speakers outlined different systems that are activated in the event of a disaster. These included wireless alerting that will alarm on a wireless phone for all individuals in a given region, as well as those that are by subscription and alert only for those who have signed up to the service. Regarding the responsibility to act on alerts received, the speakers highlighted many cases where alerts were ignored leading to tragic outcomes for individuals. Key points and actions for preparedness regarding alerting included:

  • Sign up for the County of Sonoma Alerting System (www.socalalert.com) and register phone numbers / emails to receive alerts for Sonoma County

  • Download the CodeRED Mobile Alerting system to receive alerts as selected in the app

  • Sign up for the local Petaluma Alerting System, Nixle (www.nixle.com) and customize alerts

  • In the event an alert is received, such as an evacuation order, comply with this order ASAP

  • Keep your phone on (can be on silent) and in a place where you can hear it so that alerts can be received at any time of day or night  

  • Ask relatives / friends out of state to sign up for the same alerting systems so that they can both be aware as well as serve as a second alert by calling to check in the case you miss the alerts

    2. Preparedness

This topic got me very excited to go home and spend almost a full day (thankful to my husband for occupying our son!) preparing our disaster plan and kits. Included is a scanned copy of the informational handout provided at the event (***), and below I have outlined points that I found helpful / interesting as well as pictures from my experience pulling together our disaster plan and kits.

  • Prepared / purchased disaster kits are good, but do not contain everything you need!! These kits are designed to act as a starter with basic materials that you will need to add based on the needs of your family. Even though I had purchased a kit previously, I realized that I had never actually opened it and didn’t know what was inside vs what items I needed to add. Additionally, one of the kits we had that my husband had bought previously was discovered to be out of date (regarding food and water contents).

  • Take items out of any kit that you have and identify what additional items you need to include. Here is a picture of my two kits on the table and some additional items that I had forgotten we had stored around the house that I wanted to include in the kit (lantern, fire extinguisher, radio, batteries, extra glasses):

  • Check the expiry date of any kits you have and replace out of date contents such as food and water.

  • Extra items I found helpful and included in the kit (that I didn’t think of before!):

  • Garbage bags: can serve as poncho, tarp, block for under doors, ect.

  • Duct tape: when combined with garbage bags can do many things

  • Can opener: if “sheltering in place” and the power goes out on any electric appliances, important to be able to open cans and pet food

  • Manual water purification filter (e.g., filtration straw): does not have an expiry date like tablets and can be used on many sources such as pools, toilet tanks, etc.

  • Pet food, litter box, litter, feline calming phermones: A full pet preparedness checklist is included (***), something I had forgotten even though our cat is our child!

  • Extra driving glasses: The extra pairs of glasses from around the house (some older prescriptions) are great to put in the car or “go kit”, as well as stored in substantial shoes under the bed

  • Substantial shoes under the bed: During the Napa fire, the highest rate of injury was to feet from people who got out of bed quickly and ran around in bare feet on broken items and glass

  • BATTERIES!!!!: Many batteries. Best tip here was to tape extra batteries to flashlights in the case the installed batteries do not work

  • Flashlights: Extra flashlights, especially in places including beside the bed with substantial shoes, and in the car (from above, with batteries taped to lights)

  • Paper map of the region: In the event of evacuation (especially if new to the area like we are), have maps of the region and surrounding areas and discuss / highlight evacuation and alternate evacuation routes

3. Connection

Written out emergency and contact information: In the event of an emergency it can both become difficult to remember information such as phone numbers, as well as wireless internet may go down, making it impossible to search for numbers online. Write out emergency numbers to place both in the disaster kit, as well as someplace accessible in the home, such as beside the fridge, where everyone knows they are posted. Include numbers such as local dispatch, poison control, 24/7 veterinary services etc. Note: Petaluma Emergency Dispatch numbers are (707)-778-4372, and (707)-726-2727

You can find the Red Cross family emergency planning document here:


  • 02/21/2019 3:51 PM | Deleted user
    Thank you for sharing your notes from the event! Much appreciated!
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