All-Community Picnic for Jefferson County residents stresses emergency services

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The second Jefferson County All-Community Picnic seeks to connect neighborhoods and line up resources in the event of a local disaster, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce was told Monday.

“We have great first responders in our community, including police, fire and sheriff,” Port Townsend City Council member Deborah Stinson told an audience of about 45 people meeting for the chamber’s weekly luncheon at the Elks Lodge.

“But the definition of a disaster is something that exceeds our capabilities to effectively respond, and in that event a lot of the resources will go to larger population centers like Seattle.

“We’re kind of out here; we’re surrounded by water with a bridge that could go down, so we’re going to be pretty much cut off.”

The picnic takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at H.J. Carroll Park in Chimacum.

Scheduled events include several presentations about preparedness, live music and booths providing information about emergency management, health, medical options. food, shelter, transportation and communication.

“We’re going to be pretty much cut off,” Stinson said.

“But if we can plan for a big event, we’ll be ready for anything.”

Stinson said disaster preparedness begins in the home with the accumulation of supplies, and that enough should be stored to survive for three weeks.

One of the picnic’s main themes is neighborhood preparation, with information available about how people can pool resources with those who live nearby in order to prepare for a cataclysmic event.

“Many of us don’t know our neighbors very well. We might know them by sight or know their names,” Stinson said.

“We don’t know what skills they have, so this is about formalizing an informal network so we can be prepared and build resilience through really getting to know our neighbors.

”We can better help people who are willing to help themselves.

Stinson said that more than 120 neighborhoods in Jefferson County are now organized but there are far more that need to be connected.

Instructional kits about how to organize a neighborhood for disaster preparedness will be distributed, which requires a 90-minute meeting to line up the resources.

“You can invite all your friends over for a potluck or a picnic and meet with others to see what works for them.” Stinson said.

“At the end of the meeting everyone goes at home with their own chart with contact information, they know who has ladders, shovels and electrical skills, or if anyone is a doctor or a nurse.“

“Working together is definitely what it’s all about with the picnic,” said Danny Milholland, who is helping to organize the event.

“It’s about emergency preparedness but it’s also about community vitality which everyone here is helping to grow in Jefferson County and beyond.

“It’s a an opportunity for all generations to gather and touch upon this topic whether you are part of an organized neighborhood or not.”

Food vendors will be on site although two items — corn and cake — will be available for free.

For more information, go to www.allcountypicnic.com.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 11. 2014 6:52PM
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