All County Picnic aims to build resiliency

This weekend’s gathering marks a decade of preparation

CHIMACUM — The All County Picnic, which combines the fun of a community gathering with the necessity of preparing for possible disaster, celebrates its 10th anniversary this weekend.

The All County Picnic is a collaboration among The Production Alliance, Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and Local 20/20’s NPREP Action Group.

“As a rural community, our ability to respond to emergencies and recover from disaster is dependent on the networks and relationships we build in advance,” said Megan Claflin, co-founder of The Production Alliance and picnic coordinator.

“Connecting to information and resources before a crisis is the key to preparedness.”

On Saturday will be presentations from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at HJ Carroll Park’s Rotary Pavilion at 9884 state Highway 19 (Rhody Drive) in Chimacum.

On Sunday, a tradition born during the COVID-19 lockdown, “Picnic in Place” neighborhood gatherings, will continue with more than 15 neighborhood picnics planned that day.

Neighborhood resilience, with neighbors knowing how to help each other after a disaster, is the whole point of the all county picnics.

“Preparedness planning is critical, but it doesn’t have to be cumbersome or intimidating,” Claflin said, “and summertime is a perfect time to revisit time-honored traditions that bring together all ages, encourage relationship building and create joy.”

Picnickers on Saturday will have an opportunity to participate in Community Points of Distribution (CPOD) which, following a disaster, is a site where the public could pick up life-sustaining emergency relief supplies and would serve as a communications hub.

“In 2020, All County Picnic began incorporating CPOD training into our annual tradition of distributing free corn on the cob,” Claflin said.

“This has become a playful and practical way for residents to practice identifying and traveling to their ‘nearest’ CPOD to receive critical information along with ‘emergency’ rations of delicious, sweet corn.”

Pre-registered neighborhoods can pick up their “ration” of corn on the cob along with Go Bags.

A limited number of supplies also will be available for walk-up attendees.

“It should be noted that, due to ongoing construction at the park, this year’s event will be limited to presentations, about 10-to-5 information booths, and Go Bag distribution,” Claflin said.

“The park has much to offer children and youth, but All County Picnic will not include kids’ activities or live music this year. Carpooling is highly encouraged.”

A cornerstone of the All County Picnic is an opportunity for attendees to engage civic and community leaders from Jefferson County’s network of public health and safety professionals.

A robust series of preparedness, response and recovery presentations are planned on Saturday, Claflin said.

Here is Saturday’s schedule:

• 11 a.m. to noon — Local 2020 Neighborhood Preparedness: Elizabeth Bindschadler, an NPREP member and Quilcene resident, will speak about YOYO (You’re on Your Own) and the need for families and neighbors to prepare in advance for emergencies.

“Not all emergencies Jefferson County may face will be catastrophic disasters, but all have the potential to disrupt the transportation routes and supply chains that all residents depend on for food, medical supplies and more,” Claflin said.

• Noon to 1 p.m. — Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management: Director Willie Bence will explore why preparation is critical and what exactly this community is preparing for by offering insights into Jefferson County’s hazard profile.

• 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. — East Jefferson Fire Rescue: Fire Chief Bret Black will speak about prevention and response to wildfires.

He will give residents direction on how to reduce fire risk around their homes and neighborhoods, and how to keep apprised of instructions for when to shelter in place and when to evacuate.

• 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office: Sheriff Joe Nole will offer updates on his office’s efforts to provide effective and efficient law enforcement service, protect residents and support all in emergency situations.

• 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. — Jefferson County Public Utility District: Communications Director Will O’Donnell will detail PUD’s leadership role in maintaining and repairing infrastructure and utilities critical to public health and safety including, electric, water, septic and telecommunications.

• 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. — Emergency communications: Keppie Keplinger, information officer for the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), will speak about the Nixle notifications service followed by representatives from KPTZ 91.9 FM and KROH 91.1 FM, which as part of the JeffCo Emergency Operations Center, ensure that information reaches the public in emergency situations in the event of traditional forms of communication failure.

If all traditional forms of telecommunications fail, radio controllers become vitally important, according to John Ebner, DEM radio room and facilities officer.

The Sunday gatherings will bring the messages home.

“While neighbors are gathered, it’s a great time to review the skills and resources that individuals and households have to share in the event of an emergency or natural disaster,” Claflin said.

“The more we know about our own capabilities and needs, and that of our neighbors, in advance of a crisis, the better we are able to respond and recover.”

In preparation for National Preparedness Month in September, event organizers will film each of Saturday’s presentations to develop into a series of educational and engaging online tutorials, Claflin said.

The video series will be available online in September at allcountypicnic.com, where more information can be found about the event.

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