Working to build community resilience during Emergency Preparedness Month, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) brought together over 650 individuals from community-based organizations, local governments, state partners and other stakeholders, through 8 Regional Disaster Ready Summits statewide.
All with the aim to ensure community resilience before, during and after disasters.
“When you have a person, you can call instead of a hotline and say, “Hey, what do I do now?” said Nathan Rubinoff with Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo, Homeless Services Division. “Being able to build those connections with real people at a summit like this is amazing.”
Whether it’s September or any other month of the year, disasters can strike at any time without warning. Ensuring communities across California know how to prepare for, respond to and recover from any disaster is part of what this summit brings.
One highlight of the Regional Disaster Ready Summits was the Road to Safety Simulation. Through 10 unique avatars, users on the “Road to Safety” simulation, role-played the different challenges and opportunities that each of these Californians could face before, during and after an emergency.
“It is interesting to detach yourself from who you are and what you do and put yourself in the situation of somebody else and with their own special needs or special requirements as far as like what they can do and just see their life through their own lives,” said Juan Rodelo with the Brawley Fire Department.
Road to Safety
Featured at these Regional Disaster Ready Summits, the Road to Safety simulation brought individual perspectives to the forefront.
Through 10 unique avatars, users on the “Road to Safety” simulation role-played the challenges and opportunities that each of these Californians face before, during and after an emergency.
“It helped you get into somebody else’s shoes in that bad moment and helped you kind of think through what they needed, what you could do to help and what some of the options were available,” said Barbara Ayers with San Diego County Office of Emergency Services.
Picking from three different disasters – wildfire, flood or extreme heat – participants then moved their avatar through the simulation.
This innovative experience allowed attendees to experience what a disaster is like in each other’s shoes and helped grow community understanding of the emergency response system and what roles organizations can play.
This simulation quickly became one of the more exciting sections of the summits. Watching the participates shed their current identity and really immerse themselves into the game, allowed for thoughtful conversations and creative thinking.
Being prepared for when – not if – the next emergency will occur ensures everyone stays safe. The Regional Disaster Ready Summits served as a reminder to promote family and community disaster planning throughout the entire year.
“It’s about caring about our neighbors, our family members, our loved ones and our friends”, said Kalie Brisbone, United Way of Northern California. “It’s really a movement that is meeting people where they’re at and helping bring them along for a more resilient future.”
The summits were located across California in Placerville, Chico, Santa Rosa, Tulare, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Diego and Palm Springs.
“We’re really hoping that our partners can bring the tools that they’ve learned back to their community, understanding of the unique needs of individuals and how we can best serve them in a time of crisis,” said Brian Ferguson with Cal OES.
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Additional resources, including disaster preparedness for pets, kids, schools, businesses/organizations and Listos California, which focuses directly on engaging and readying our most diverse and vulnerable populations, can be found here.
For additional resources on preparedness: