About 40 Corona del Mar residents are better prepared for an emergency after am informational discussion this week.
Corona del Mar Residents Association hosted an Emergency Preparedness Expo and Workshop Wednesday in the Evelyn Hart Event Center at Oasis Senior Center in CdM.
Several of the 26 homeowners associations and neighborhoods were represented, including Jasmine Park, Spyglass Hill and the Flower Streets.
Association President Karen Tringali led the meeting, which included guest speaker Newport Beach Fire Department Life Safety Specialist Matt Brisbois. He was on hand to answer questions and explain what individuals can do in their own home to better prepare themselves.
“Corona del Mar is really the heart of our city,” Brisbois said, but there are challenges, in terms of organizing, in certain neighborhoods within CdM, he explained.
“Hopefully they’ll take some of the advice and go home and prepare themselves,” he said prior to the presentation.
They hold about 100 similar type of events every year, Brisbois explained, at homeowner associations and other neighborhood groups. Some events are just brief notes given at their regular monthly meeting, others are more in-depth presentations, he said.
Whether it’s a group of five or 50 people, the important thing is that residents are provided with an opportunity to ask questions, gather information and learn about preparedness.
“That’s what it’s all about,” he said.
The theme of the night was “Every Step Counts.”
It’s about getting people to understand that any kind of step they can take toward preparing themselves is helpful, Brisbois said.
If they can at least take care of themselves in the event of a disaster, that’s great, he explained. If they can take the next step and check on their neighbors and help organize their community, that’s even better, he
“Organizing the neighborhood is the ultimate goal,” Brisbois said. “But we don’t want to overwhelm them. So we try and keep it down at a basic home level…focus on what individual steps they can take to better prepare themselves.”
Brisbois also leads the national award winning Newport Beach Community Emergency Response Team.
“Our CERT group is a group of 1,100 Newport Beach residents who have decided that they are better off organizing themselves in their neighborhood to check on one another and take care of one another,” he told the audience.
The aim is to get more residents involved to organize the city even more, Brisbois said.
When disaster strikes, it’s very likely that residents will be on their own for at least 24 hours, so it’s important to be prepared, he explained.
It’s a big misconception that fire and police will be able to respond to every resident’s needs immediately, he said.
“The reality is, you are on your own,” Brisbois said.
Electricity, water and other basic services could be out for several days or weeks, he added.
He encouraged the crowd to start immediately. Now is the time to start preparing, he said.
Brisbois also briefly spoke about emergency kits, including keeping current home photos for insurance and important documents on thumb drives, establishing an out of area contact, learning CPR, windshield surveys, and the upcoming Disaster Preparedness Expo at the Newport Beach Library in September.
Corona del Mar CERT volunteer Laura Curran then asked each table, grouped together according to their neighborhood, to think about what they can do immediately and during the rest of the year to better prepare themselves.
At the end of the table discussions, each neighborhood group had decided upon an emergency meeting location and someone to be the point contact person.
Curran and fellow CERT volunteer Geoff Le Plastrier led follow-up discussion on what each group found. The groups talked about personal preparation, emergency kits, communication and more.
“There are a lot of things that you can do to better prepare yourself that are just on an individual level,” Brisbois said. “It all starts with you.”
For more information about the Newport Beach Community Emergency Response Team, visit nbcert.org or call (949) 644-3112. Fall classes start in September.
For more information about Corona del Mar Residents Association, visit cdmra.org.