PORT TOWNSEND — With the upcoming Jefferson County All County Picnic in mind, community members discussed emergency preparedness and community resilience at this month’s first county Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Daniel Milholland and Megan Claflin, who work to organize the picnic, teamed up with Thad Bickling of the Neighborhood Preparedness Group to talk Monday about how local organizations and neighborhoods are working together with the county Department of Emergency Management to prepare the North Olympic Peninsula in case of an emergency.
The Neighborhood Preparedness Group, or NPREP, is a major part of that collaboration.
“We want to get people talking in their neighborhoods about what resources they have and how they can help each other,” Bickling said at the Fort Worden Commons meeting.
NPREP started in 2005 but became official in 2013 by adopting their name and a partnership with Local 20/20. It currently works in 130 to 140 neighborhoods around Jefferson County, according to Bickling, who is one of a number of NPREP volunteers managed by Local 20/20.
NPREP helps neighborhood organizers find the information and resources they need to be prepared for an emergency.
“In the first few days after a disaster, emergency services will be dealing with a lot and people need to be able to take care of themselves,” Bickling said.
“We try to do the research for the neighborhood organizers since it can get overwhelming to go through all the information about what to do after an emergency.
“We try to boil it down to the basics specific to the demographics we have here and on our geography, which could make us pretty isolated out here on the Peninsula after a disaster.”
NPREP works with the county Department of Emergency Management to do its research and print out informational pamphlets to be distributed at events such as the All County Picnic, which is a free event taking place at HJ Carroll Park on Aug. 20.
According to Milholland, the picnic is a way to celebrate the county’s emergency services but also to tackle a topic such as emergency preparedness in a fun way.
This is the All County Picnic’s fifth year and, as usual, it will be a collaboration between the Department of Emergency Management and Local 20/20.
“There’s a lot of work that’s been done in Jefferson County in emergency preparedness on the neighborhood level,” Milholland said.
“This is an event that deals with how we can work together in the case of emergencies but breaking the ice in a fun way.”
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at email@example.com.