Start with a party. That was the counterintuitive message hundreds of Kingston residents heard Nov. 6 about how to get ready for a major earthquake. In the event of “the big one,” North Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s Assistant Chief Rick LaGrandeur said, “it was possible emergency services would not be able to get to you,” due to impassable roads and fire stations crunched by the quake. “Therefore, you need to organize to take care of yourself and your neighbors.”
The Kingston Prepares meeting at Village Green was an outgrowth of two organizations, Kingston North Kitsap Rotary Club and Kingston Citizens Advisory Committee (KCAC), targeting emergency preparedness in recent goal-setting meetings. The evening of good advice and information was also sponsored by Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce, North Kitsap Fire & Rescue, and Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management. Kingston Rotarian Chris Gilbreath, chair of KCAC’s community services committee, led off the meeting. He introduced LaGrandeur and then Scott James, a Bainbridge Island resident and author of Prepared Neighborhoods, a book he wrote based on his experiences since 2011 getting Bainbridge ready to respond to a major earthquake. James said, “the solution lies in us taking care of each other, and to look at getting ready to respond through a lens of love, not fear.” James encouraged setting up neighborhood groups of fifteen to twenty homes in self-response teams. “The first step is to map your neighborhood.” He encouraged neighbors to get together for potlucks and drinks to talk about a Map Your Neighborhood flip chart that was handed out, with nine steps to take immediately following disaster. The Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) handout is a step by step guide to getting ready. It sets out immediate response steps to take following a disaster (it is hard to think clearly under such stress). It helps identify skills and equipment, i.e. HAM radio, first aid, chainsaws, that each neighbor has which could prove useful after a disaster strikes. MYN helps create a neighborhood map showing the location of each natural gas meter and propane tank (to shut off, preventing fires) and identifies each neighbor that is elderly, those with a disability, or homes where children may be unattended during certain hours of the day. Additionally, MYN creates a neighborhood contact list, and instructs on how to work together as a team to evaluate the team’s neighborhood after a disaster and take the necessary actions.
Other materials handed out included a twenty-four week, weekly checklist to build a disaster kit, make a plan, and be informed. For example, week one, grocery store: buy three gallons of water, one jar of peanut butter, three cans of meat, a hand-operated can opener, and a permanent marking pen. Buy additional items if necessary, like pet food, diapers, and baby food. Date perishable items with marker, and decide upon and notify an out-of-area contact who can coordinate information for scattered family members.
Rotarian Gilbreath said, “the goal is to have ten to fifteen neighborhoods mapped by next year, then to come up with teams to help other neighborhoods. It is a journey.” For a complete set of materials and for additional information, residents should contact Dave Rasmussen, Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management Public Educator/PIO at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rotary Interact Club at KHS Delivers
Kingston North Kitsap Rotary’s Interact Club at Kingston High School recently delivered 383 Halloween cards and 2,718 pounds of food. Members of the Interact Club created and delivered 383 individual Halloween cards, one for each student at Wolfle Elementary School just in time for Halloween. “It is a labor of love,” Rotarian Advisor Mark Baze said. “The program started several years ago by creating a few cards for the younger grades at Wolfle. It is now expanded to include all grades.”
Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 the Interact Club conducted its annual November food drive at Kingston’s Albertsons. A new record was set this year: 2,718 pounds of food was delivered to the food bank. Also delivered: many cash contributions from Albertsons shoppers. Kingston North Kitsap’s Interact Club, and those in need, thank you.
Rotary Club President Bill Maule likes to think of the club as “small, but mighty.” In that spirit, we offer a mighty season’s greetings to all. Thank you for all you have helped us accomplish in 2019. And make it a resolution to Map Your Neighborhood in 2020.