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Disaster Planning

We live in earthquake & wildfire country, and the proximity of Bayer, the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, and the railroad line means we're also in chemical/ radiological release country too! We know earthquakes are definitely coming, it's just a matter of how prepared we will be when the ground shakes. It's up to us to be prepared, neighbor by neighbor, block by block. After the next big quake, our Fire and Police Departments will be attending to the "big ticket" items- collapsed apartment buildings, large fires, liquified freeways- so most of us will have to work together to survive for the first 96 hours or so on our own with little or no outside help. Hurricane Katrina illustrated this live on our TV sets last fall.

It's easy to assemble an initial emergency cache- go to the resources below. Don't panic, be pragmatic. Berkeley's Office of Emergency Services (OES) offers free emergency prep training called Community Emergency Response Training (CERT). CERT classes include Basic Personal Preparedness, Disaster First Aid, Fire Suppression, and Light Search and Rescue, among others. OES can also schedule firefighters to talk with your block or your neighborhood group- also for free- about general disaster preparedness.

Berkeley's new disaster planning website has some great resources, and examples of neighborhoods who've done it right.

For more info on CERT, contact Dory Ehrlich/OES at the number below or at

For neighborhood preparedness information and presentations, contact Carol Lopes/OES at the number below or at

The OES website is
The OES general phone line is 981-FIRE, TDD: 981-6903

It's up to us to prepare ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors to survive the next natural or man-made disaster.

Thank you for your efforts,
Jesse Townley
Berkeley Disaster and Fire Safety Commission
Carlotta Avenue neighbor