Electeds help lead the charge in preparedness

This is another in a series of stories we are posting on this regional blog related to the American Red Cross response to the Kincade Fire disaster:

Red Cross shelter manager Virginia Escalante and volunteer David O’Neil welcomes Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore at the Sonoma County Veterans Building. 10/28/19
Photo credit: Kathryn Hecht | American Red Cross

See more stories related to the Red Cross response to the Kincade Fire.

See photos from this response.

Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore says the “new normal” should refer to preparedness, not disaster. “Let’s embrace being ready,” he said during a press conference in the middle of the Kincade Fire.

For the past two years, Gore, and his colleagues on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, put in place ambitious plans – coordinating with numerous state, county, and local agencies (including the Red Cross) and neighborhoods – to not only help a community recover from the Tubbs Fires Disaster in 2017, but also prepare for the next one.

By all accounts, their plans worked. CalFire declared the Kincade fire extinguished on November 6, 2019, after it scorched 77,758 acres.

There was no loss of life.

By comparison, the Tubbs fire of 2017 burned 36,807 acres and resulted in 22 fatalities.

When similar conditions to those of the Tubbs fire emerged in late October, signaling danger to densely populated residential areas, local elected officials marshaled their collective resources and started preparing for the worst. Mass evacuations were ordered, including 50,000 residents from Healdsburg and Windsor.

Governor Gavin Newsom is greeted by Jennifer Adrio, Regional Executive Director for the American Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region. The Red Cross is operating shelters at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds for residents seeking refuge from the Kincade Fire. 10/28/19. Photo credit: Kathryn Hecht | American Red Cross

The American Red Cross works year-round to prepare communities all over the world for worst-case scenarios. But the message often falls on deaf ears; no one thinks it will happen to them. Having partners like Supervisor Gore and Governor Newsom, who made multiple visits to Red Cross shelters during the disaster, helps to highlight the importance of these efforts, especially when preparedness feels like a chore.

“Let’s never get caught unprepared again,” says Gore. “Together, we’re stronger.”

There are three basic steps everyone can take to make a difference in their lives: be prepared, get connected, and take action.

For more detailed information on how you and your family can plan for the next disaster, please visit our website for step-by-step instructions.