Different kind of picnic in Chimacum: All about disasters
Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Judith Alexander, left, and Danny Milholland meet on Thursday at the Port Townsend Food Co-op to discuss some of the last minute details for Sunday’s first annual All-County Picnic.
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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The All-County Picnic will use the neighborhood structure for emergency planning.
The first All-County Picnic is set from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at H.J. Carroll Park, 9884 state Highway 19.
“We were told years ago that neighborhoods will be on their own after a disaster or an earthquake and that emergency providers might not arrive on-site for seven to 14 days,” said Judith Alexander, one organizer.
'Responsibility for preparedness'
“We are hoping that we can get people together to take responsibility for preparedness by collaborating and getting the tools they need to live through a disaster.”
Along with entertainment and networking, the picnic will include a series of educational presentations. They are:
-- “Organizing Your Neighborhood,” 11:30 a.m.
-- “Involving Children in Emergency Preparedness Efforts,” noon.
-- “Pet Care During Emergencies,” 12:30 p.m.
-- “Hand Hygiene and Sheltering,” 3 p.m.
-- “Radio Use,” 3:30 p.m.
The picnic is co-sponsored by the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management and Local 20/20, a Port Townsend business networking group.
Jefferson Healthcare hospital in Port Townsend and the Port Townsend Paper Corp. provided most of the financial support for the event, Alexander said.
The aim of the gathering, which organizers hope will become an annual event, is to bring people together on a large scale so they can develop strategies to help themselves individually.
“We want to celebrate the quality of life in Jefferson County, but our main purpose is to raise awareness of the issue and how you can prepare for a disaster by working together with your neighbors,” said Danny Milholland, who is coordinating the entertainment.
Milholland said he was recruited for the picnic after he successfully organized a cake event at the Rhody Parade in May.
Milholland expects up to 1,000 people could attend, and he plans to serve that many free pieces of corn throughout the day.
Addresses by top law enforcement and emergency officials are scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on the main stage, a ceremony that also will honor first responders.
The event also includes performances by the Toolshed Trio, DJ Caleb Peacock and the Dude Crew.
Children's activities will include pickup soccer, basketball and Frisbee games.
Inspirational speakers and a raffle are also on the program.
No alcohol or dogs are allowed.
Alexander said the new slogan for emergency preparedness is “You're on your own,” or “YOYO.”
Jefferson County's rural location will make it difficult for services to arrive if the Hood Canal Bridge and ferry service are out of commission, Alexander said, adding that a disaster in Seattle would draw services toward the urban area, while those that are remote will be neglected.
“When [Hurricane] Katrina hit [in 2005], New Orleans got all the attention, and the outlying areas got short shrift,” she said.
“That would happen here if something happens in Seattle,” she said.
“All the resources will go there, and it will be awhile before they come here.”
Alexander said about 140 neighborhoods already are organized, but many outlying areas are not participating.
“We hope people will come to the picnic and use what they've learned to prepare their own neighborhood.”
Alexander said the level of preparedness isn't always consistent among neighbors.
“If you are prepared and your neighbors are not, it is to your advantage to get them to participate,” she said.
“If there is a disaster and they have no food, they will come to you.”
Alexander doesn't expect that people would immediately fight over necessities, but “people will end up sharing all their supplies, and they won't last as long.”
Alexander said picnic attendees will be able to determine whether their neighborhoods have been organized, whether they can join an existing effort or whether they need to start their own network.
Information about local neighborhood emergency planning is available at http://tinyurl.com/mdpzsm8.
For more information about the picnic, visit www.allcountypicnic.com.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or email@example.com.
Last modified: August 15. 2013 5:57PM