We started to blog about Emergency Preparedness on 3-21-06. After posting 52 blogs devoted to disaster readiness and preparedness, the “Trio” do not believe a majority of the citizens (not just Petalumans) are adequately informed or ready to cope with a mega-disaster, such as a 7.8 magnitude earthquake along the Rodgers Creek Fault in Sonoma County.

This concern surfaced, once again, after “Eagle Eyes” caught this headline for an article in the Government Technology magazine. The article by David Raths dated 2-5-09, reviewed what took place and what was learned from the “shaking” drill that took place in Southern California at 10 a.m. on November 13, 2008. The basic purpose of the drill was to answer the question, “How ready are the public, first responders and emergency management officials for such a scenario?”

“Me” focused on these comments: The first thing emergency management officials should realize about a quake of that magnitude is that initially they’ll be overwhelmed-This quake will be unlike any drastic emergency anyone has experienced or can remember. It is a class apart hat has ramifications for public information, sheltering, food and water, fire suppression – everything flows from that.”

“Myself” thought that these sentences related to mutual aid were worthy of one’s attention: “In this quake scenario – there won’t be any way for other responders to get there…That doesn’t mean they won’t work tremendously hard, but the demand will be way beyond their capacity.”

“I,” chimed in with his selection of comments from the article: “This means everyday citizens will play an important role.” “Studies of large earthquakes have found that 95 percent of people rescued were saved by other victims, not by search-and-rescue teams or firefighters.”

Wham! Went “Hammerhead” -“Isn’t this what Petaluma CERT, NERT & ALERT are all about? Isn’t this what they identified as one of the primary goals after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast area in 2005? Isn’t the ultimate goal to help neighborhoods earn a STAR? (Safe+Trained+Alert+Ready) – which means their neighborhood has a Neighborhood Emergency Response Team leader, three member who are CERT trained, one member who is a licensed amateur radio operator, the neighborhood is a registered Neighborhood Watch area, and at least 50% of the residents in the neighborhood have Disaster Supplies sufficient to sustain themselves for 72 hours or longer.

The questions raised by “Hammerhead” certainly hit the nail on the head. Just how many Petaluma neighborhoods are really ready or prepared is unknown at this time. Interested citizens should check out http://www.petalumanert.org or contact Bill Hammerman at 762-6593, or e-mail whammer@petalumanet.org for additional information.

P.S. Isn’t the 1906 S.F. Earthquake anniversary coming up in April? That event took place 93 years ago, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) believes there is a 62% probability for at least one magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake before 2032 in the Bay Area. Look up http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/2005/15/

Will you and your neighbors be ready to be on your own? Stay tuned.