With ever-changing situations, the key is to be prepared

CONCORD, CA (Sept. 14, 2021) — September is national emergency preparedness month. With wildfires burning across the West and Hurricane Ida impacting millions of people in the South and East, weathering a natural disaster is top of mind for many of us.

On Sept. 2, the city hosted its annual emergency preparedness fair in Todos Santos Plaza. It featured members of our Police Department and Senior Citizens Club, as well as first responders and representatives from various partner agencies, including the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, American Medical Response, Contra Costa’s HAZMAT team, the American Red Cross, the Concord Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Concord Listos program, the Concord Auxiliary Emergency Radio Services (CARES), the Contra Costa Crisis Center, Concord’s Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) and more.

These organizations shared valuable tips and offered safety demonstrations, allowing visitors to practice using a fire extinguisher, turning off gas flow at the source and performing CPR. Representatives from our local Home Depot were also there to showcase a variety of safety products, which they generously gave away to help people build their safety kits.

As you think about your own safety plans, keep these tips in mind:

Make a Plan: Talk to your family and friends about how you will communicate before, during and after a disaster.

Build a Kit: Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home. Don’t forget to consider the unique needs each person or pet may have in case you have to evacuate quickly.

Low-Cost, No-Cost Preparedness: Know the risk of disasters in your area and learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards. Check your insurance coverage to make sure it is up-to-date.

Teach Youth About Preparedness: Talk to your kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved.

We are fortunate to have partner agencies like the American Red Cross and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, which are actively engaged in supporting the victims of California’s wildfires. Donations to these and so many other nonprofits are always welcome.

The Food Bank says that $25 provides a family of four a day’s worth of ready-to-eat food, snacks and water. The Red Cross says that in addition to monetary donations, they are in critical need of blood donors. They are also seeking volunteers.

When disaster strikes in Concord, we will certainly want our community members prepared to respond, which is why I highly encourage residents to participate in our CERT program. CERT educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact Contra Costa County and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. To learn more about how to get involved, please visit cityofconcord.org/CERT.

I would be remiss not to mention the recent situation in Afghanistan. With tens of thousands of Afghanis resettling in the United States, the humanitarian efforts to aid these families will extend for many months. Concord is a welcoming, inclusive and diverse city, and I know that we will continue to support all members of our community, including newcomers.

So much is happening in our world right now. Kids are returning to school, which is a great thing, but COVID rates are on the rise again. Wildfires are burning and hurricanes are wreaking havoc. The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan has triggered global unrest and a humanitarian crisis.

Add these up and it amounts to a tremendous weight we are collectively carrying on our minds and in our hearts. We must continue to support each other in these challenging times.

The community’s ability to be resilient is incredible, and we will continue to work together to get ourselves and each other through these difficult times.

Mayor Tim McGallian can be reached at 925.671.2489 or email Tim.McGallian@cityofconcord.org