The people of Northern California know the tragedy of wildfires more intimately than anyone should. We know this is a sensitive topic for our community. But that is why we also know how important it is to be prepared and the difference volunteers and first responders make.
The Butte Community Action Agency has been active in the Camp Fire Long Term Recovery Group that transformed into the Campfire Collaborative. The focus of this group continued to be on recovery efforts from the Camp Fire and the North Complex, formerly Bear, Fires. However, it soon became clear that a group was needed to help make the efforts of nonprofits more efficient and effective.
Therefore, the Butte-Glenn Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) was formed. VOADs are not new and there have been many across the country. These groups do not aim to displace the priority of first responders, but to help. We recognize that there is a valid space for local nonprofits to provide organized efforts in support of first responders and the communities impacted by disasters.
What VOAD Looks Like in our Community
The local VOAD formed and conducted its first General Membership meeting this year in April and we are a member of the Executive Committee. It made sense to us to help our community through VOAD. The Butte CAA looks at needs wherever possible and then looks for partners to work with to address those needs. One prior example of this is the Butte Countywide Homeless Continuum of Care, which still functions and has become a centerpiece in this community’s interests to address the causes and conditions of homelessness.
We are testing communication platforms, but the website for VOAD is: https://butte-glenn-voad.square.site. VOAD will look to North Valley Community Foundation and United Way of Northern California as the conduits for financial support. This way we didn’t need to create another place people would have to donate and can keep the focus on communicating and coordinating services in support of community members impacted by disasters.
Our community is helping itself to be better prepared in the event of future disasters, starting with organizing our own VOAD. But you can also be better prepared in your home should disaster strike once again.
We’ve compiled these tips on how to create an Emergency Supply Kit from ReadyForWildfire.org, a website by CalFire. The website has many other resources on how to prepare for wildfire season regarding your home and family as well as resources for after a wildfire.
Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit
Put together your emergency supply kit long before a wildfire or other disaster occurs and keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you when you have to evacuate. Plan to be away from your home for an extended period of time. Each person should have a readily accessible emergency supply kit. Backpacks work great for storing these items (except food and water) and are quick to grab. Storing food and water in a tub or chest on wheels will make it easier to transport. Keep it light enough to be able to lift it into your car. Ensure you plan with COVID-19 in mind.
Emergency Supply Kit Checklist
- Face masks or coverings
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person
- Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
- Prescriptions or special medications
- Change of clothing
- Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
- An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks
- First aid kit
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Sanitation supplies
- Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
- Don’t forget pet food and water!
Items to take if time allows:
- Easily carried valuables
- Family photos and other irreplaceable items
- Personal computer information on hard drives and disks
- Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.
Always keep a sturdy pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed and handy in case of a sudden evacuation at night.
For more information on emergency supplies, visit www.ready.gov
Remember to stay safe and be prepared, you never know when or where an emergency will strike.
If you want to know more about VOAD and what resources it provides, we encourage you to check out their website by clicking HERE.