Emergency Preparedness Class Offered

 

Do you have an emergency kit that will sustain your family for at minimum 3 days?

Do you have an emergency action plan?

Does everyone in your family know what the plan is?

Having a plan and supplies put away will immensely add to the comfort of you and your loved ones should a natural or man-made disaster occur. Many disasters are so wide spread that emergency services cannot get to the entire affected population immediately.

This is where your plan comes in!

Host: Donna Smith, BSN, PHN, LERC, Skagit County MRC Manager
When: 6pm – 8pm November 23
Where: Skagit Valley Hospital, Cascade Conference Room
Contact: Bobby Kysela, MRC Volunteer Coordinator with questions.

Having an emergency plan is especially important for those of us that live on Fidalgo Island, Guemes Island, Whidbey Island, and any of the San Juan Islands.  The need for us to be self reliant is greater, so make sure you have everything that you and your family need including your four legged friends!

RSVPs are not necessary, but appreciated. rkysela@co.skagit.wa.us or 360-419-7645

SAVING PEOPLE BY SAVING PETS

(Anacortes, WA, Nov 1, 2010) –  The Islands Red Cross and Coldwell Banker Island Living announced a joint venture to save pets when disaster strikes.

When Katrina hit the gulf coast in 2005 evacuation shelters did not have a plan in place to take care of family pets.  Rescuers had to tell people in order to go to a shelter, they needed to leave their pets behind to fend for themselves. As a result hundreds of people opted to stay with their pets.  Approximately 1835 people died during Katrina, it is estimated that one third of those, over 600 people, chose to stay behind with their pets rather than go to a shelter without them.  It is believed that those people would have survived had there been a shelter plan in place to accept pets. 

The residents of Fidalgo Island, Whidbey Island and the San Juan Islands will not be faced with that decision if there is a disaster. In October 2006, the federal PETS Act was signed into law, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide for individuals and their household pets and service animals in a major disaster; however no funding was earmarked for the project.

The Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross now has resources to provide shelter for pets if a disaster were to occur, so that people would readily go to a safe Red Cross Shelter.

Brain Geer, Executive Director of the Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross, and Jean Groesbeck owner of Coldwell Banker Island Living and avid animal lover, have been working on what was first termed the “PET” (Pet Emergency Team) project for 2+ years.  The effort culminated this week with the unveiling of the Island Chapter Pet Disaster Shelter Van. 

The van was donated by John and Terri Rains (The Rains Clan). It ran great but needed some work to be Red Cross Ready, so Coldwell Banker Island Living sponsored the needed work which also included having the van painted.  However, the project goes beyond a van.

“The ‘PET’ project will allow us to do a better job of meeting a widespread disaster.” said Brian Geer.  “If it is necessary to evacuate people to shelters, we will not have to turn someone away because they have their pet.  The Red Cross will provide shelter for people and the PET volunteers will shelter domesticated animals. ”

The goal of the project is to ensure that when disaster strikes people don’t have to choose between leaving their pets or staying in harm’s way. Pets will be sheltered in a separate location adjacent to the Red Cross shelter location and the pet shelter will be managed by volunteers. Jean Groesbeck became passionate about this project after seeing a news story on Katrina where a man would not leave his house because the rescuers could not take his dog.  It is believed this man died.

“Half of 3,185 adults surveyed nationwide in 2005 shortly after Katrina said that they would refuse to evacuate ahead of a disaster if they could not bring their pets”, according to a Zogby International Poll Groesbeck stated.  “The percentage is probably much higher in our area, highlighting the need for this project.  There were also over a half a million pets that either died or were never reunited with their families because of Katrina.  It added so much additional heartbreak to the crises”. 

Marie Padovan of the City of Anacortes Police Department will also assist in response planning as well as County Disaster Response personnel.

Chris Terrell and Vicki Armstrong (Sunnyhill Kennels), Amy Terhune, and other volunteers have worked hard raising money and acquiring the needed supplies for the van which include crates, leashes, bowls, and vet supplies.  They have established the Charlie Randall PET fund” in memory of Charlie Randall, an Anacortes resident who was instrumental in establishing the Anacortes dog park and helping with Bark in the Park Festival. “Since our dog park is nearly complete, we were looking for something to do in Charlie’s name to help our local dogs (and other critters). When we learned that Jean & Brian were working on this PET Project, it seemed the perfect place to put our energies in Charlie’s memory,” said Terhune. The funds from their annual Santa Paws photo with Santa will go towards this project. Acquisition of the PET van will enable the project to move forward in a huge way.

Volunteers are needed to help with ongoing fund raising efforts, to assist with response drills and to be “on call” to donate their time in case of a disaster.

The PET Project is a collaborative effort of the Red Cross & The Charlie Randall PET Fund. The goal of the project is is to ensure that when disaster strikes people don’t have to choose between leaving their pet or staying in harm’s way to protect your pet.  If you would like to become involved with the pet shelter project contact Brian Geer at 360-293-2911, Jean Groesbeck at 293-4511 or Amy Terhune 708-9324.  If you have items you would like to donate please call Chris Terrell at 588-8225.  If you would like to donate funds to this project visit www.charlierandallfund.org

Your local American Red Cross and the local projects it supports do not receive funding from the federal government, but are 100% funded by the generous donations you provide.  Red Cross services are free to victims of disaster.  For more information on how you can help the Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross call 360-293-2911 or go to www.theislandsredcross.org.