[NFBC-Info] FW: [ElectricityEqualsLife] SF Chronicle : Disaster disparity: California spreads emergency training to diverse communities

Eric Calhoun eric at pmpmail.com
Sun Oct 20 20:05:08 UTC 2019

NFBC members, this is very   mportant message here about safety and
security about yourself and your loved ones.

Original Message: 
From: "Robin Earth robinearth at gmail.com [ElectricityEqualsLife]"
<ElectricityEqualsLife at yahoogroups.com>
To: ElectricityEqualsLife at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [ElectricityEqualsLife] SF Chronicle : Disaster disparity:
California spreads emergency training to diverse communities
Sun, 20 Oct 2019 11:57:10 -0700


Disaster disparity: California spreads emergency training to diverse
Dustin Gardiner 
19, 2019 Updated: Oct. 19, 2019 12:19 p.m.


Cliff Gooden rushes to save a rubber dummy - an elderly man for the
purposes of this training demonstration - trapped under a ceiling beam
has fallen during an earthquake.

The wood beam is too hefty to remove by hand, so Gooden yells
as his teammates work to free the victim. He wedges a metal pole against
fulcrum of fallen debris, creating a crude lever.

"OK, we gonna lift," Gooden shouts. "On the count of three - one, two,
three. Everybody out of the way!"

He lifts the beam and his teammates cheer as they pull the rubber man to

Nobody was actually in danger during this training class for San
Francisco's Neighborhood Emergency Response Team - NERT for short - at a
fire station in the Mission District on a recent evening. But Gooden said
he feels more prepared for the time it will be real.

"This teaches us that we can be self-sufficient," said Gooden, a
56-year-old security guard who lives in the Ocean View neighborhood. "It
takes a whole lot of burden off the rescue units."

That's the message California leaders want to take to more communities
statewide in the aftermath of disasters like the 2018 Camp Fire and 2017
North Bay fires, which combined killed more than 120 people.

California will spend $50 million on a training campaign, Listos
California, over the next few years to help vulnerable people better
prepare for emergencies like fires and earthquakes. In Spanish, *listos*
"ready," a nod to the program's goal of spreading preparedness to all

Gov. Gavin Newsom's office, which set aside the money in the state
said one lesson from recent emergencies is that traditional preparedness
efforts often fail to surmount cultural barriers and reach diverse

They say NERT is a model for the type of program that can help prepare
at-risk groups such as people with disabilities, seniors, non-English
speakers and low-income residents for the Big One or other disasters.

The money will pay for equipment so more cities and public agencies can
start training programs that reach all types of residents. It will also
help fund grassroots community groups so they can customize the message to
address the specific needs of vulnerable populations.

"We have seen firsthand how climate change has created a new and
impactful reality for wildfires, floods, mudflows and other disasters,"
Grace Koch, then-chief deputy director at the Governor's Office of
Emergency Services, said when the state released the funding in August.

"And all too often, our diverse and socially vulnerable populations are
disproportionately impacted by these events," she said.

State officials said the Camp Fire was among the recent disasters that
bare the inequities of disaster preparedness. Some seniors and disabled
and around Paradise in Butte County struggled to evacuate and died in
homes. Undocumented immigrants who lost their homes often avoided
fear they would be asked to show identification and end up in federal

When his office started Listos California, Newsom said it would ensure
preparedness information is "not only limited to those who have been
privileged enough to access, understand and afford it."

Most of the $50 million will go to nonprofit agencies and community
so they can provide training tailored to the needs or cultural norms of
diverse groups.

In the Bay Area, the state has given at least $7 million in grants to
nearly two dozen programs. The goal is to support classes at the

One of the largest grants, $1.6 million, was awarded to the Public Health
Institute, a social welfare nonprofit in Alameda County. It will use the
money to pay for training tailored for people with disabilities.

Lewis Kraus, co-director of the Institute's Center on Disability, said
preparedness efforts rarely take into account the unique needs of people
with disabilities, including such considerations as what kind of emergency
power they might need to use a wheelchair or breathing equipment.

He said the right message can help people maintain their independence,
reduce reliance on first responders and, ultimately, save lives.

"You can generally look at almost any kind of guidance and it probably
doesn't necessarily follow accessibility rules," Kraus said..

Sometimes, reaching an at-risk population can be as simple as having the
right messenger, someone who isn't seen as an outsider, said Dore Bietz,
emergency manager for the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians in the Sierra

"In tribal communities, they're a little more cautious about taking on
something that comes from somebody else," Bietz said. "There is a cultural

As part of the Listos campaign, she will help teach California's 110
registered tribes how to respond to disasters on their own. Bietz will
train tribal members to lead preparedness classes for their communities.

State officials set aside about $1.2 million to support training efforts
tribal communities.

The preparedness campaigns and classes include basics such as what to
include in a disaster preparedness kit, how to create an evacuation plan,
where to find shelter, and how to remove hazards in homes. They can also
involve more hands-on skills, including search-and-rescue techniques,
aid and how to shut off gas and utility lines.

San Francisco fire Capt. Erica Arteseros, who coordinates the city's NERT
program, said sharing preparedness tips requires a different tone for each
audience. She said a traditional message can come off "tone-deaf" in
neighborhoods reeling from the effects of violence.

In those areas, the city focuses on such things as why it's important to
know one's neighbors and relies on NERT trainees to share tips with people
who can't take the class.

"I do think when it comes from us it can appear a little rigid,"
said. "We don't mean it to be. The neighbor-to-neighbor approach is in a
setting where people feel more comfortable."

State lawmakers have also called attention to preparedness efforts that
they say leave out many groups. Newsom recently signed a bill to require
counties to incorporate "cultural competence" in their emergency plans.

Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, requires county plans to
for linguistic and other cultural differences in disaster communications,
evacuation and preparation efforts.

Amee Raval, senior policy researcher at the Asian Pacific Environmental
Network, an Oakland advocacy group, advised Jackson on the bill. She said
Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s recent power shut-offs, which left 2
people without electricity, were an example of an emergency plan that
wasn't tailored for a variety of communities.

She said most of the utility's website and tip sheets for customers were
available only in a handful of languages, while people in Alameda County
speak at least 35 languages. PG&E's only resource center in the county was
the Oakland hills, far from mass transit, Raval said.

PG&E said it is working to provide more updates in other languages for
shut-offs. A spokesman said the company located its resource centers,
offered people a place to charge electric devices or sit in air
conditioning, in or near "the most impacted areas."

Raval said the mass shut-offs show why counties must create disaster
that don't rely on centralized, top-down communications. She said
governments should also use outlets like neighborhood groups and
community-based media to reach people.

"Communities are so unique, and a one-size-fits-all approach just doesn't
work in light of that diversity," Raval said. "There's some people that
will need more targeted support."

Back at the fire station in the Mission, Cliff Gooden and 59 other people
from across the city are graduating from NERT class. On their final night,
they practiced dousing flames with a fire extinguisher, rescuing a rubber
dummy and shutting off gas mains.

The graduates each receive a NERT badge, leather gloves and bright-green
utility vest and helmet.

But the preparation doesn't stop there. Many will become block leaders
teach a shorter version of the training to their neighbors, in living
rooms, community centers and churches.

"Take care of yourself first, take care of your family," the instructor,
fire Lt. Patty Yuen, tells the class. "Take care of your neighbors."

Dustin Gardiner is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email:
dustin.gardiner at sfchronicle.com Twitter: @dustingardiner

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