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September 17, 2021
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Sebastopol offers neighborhood preparedness class/ looks for volunteer emergency scribes

July 30, 2021

To support community awareness, the Sebastopol Fire Department offered its first Map Your Neighborhood class July 21 over Zoom, and the Sebastopol Neighborhood Communications Unit looked to fill the cornerstone position within its emergency communication plan. 

Several residents met with Skip Jirrels, the Sebastopol Fire Department public safety outreach coordinator, from 6:30-8 p.m. last Wednesday over Zoom to get an introduction to the MYN program, learn the nine steps to help neighborhoods prepare for an emergency and role-play how a meeting would play out. 

In relation, the SNCU is looking for volunteer Scribes who will help MYN leaders by working directly with radio operators to communicate information to neighborhoods and the Sebastopol Fire Department during an emergency, according to Stan Green, an SNCU unit leader.

The July 21 MYN class was the first in the series of sessions Jirrels will hold on the third Wednesday of every month, with the next class to be held Aug. 18. 

Jirrels started the class by first introducing the program and the nine steps involved with MYN. 

1. Take care of your loved ones.

2. Dress for safety: i.e., a hard hat or bicycle helmet to protect yourself from falling debris. Sturdy shoes to protect from fallen glass. Leather gloves. 

3. Check natural gas or propane at your home and shut off if necessary to prevent fire. 

4. Shut off water at the house main to trap water in your home and keep pollutants out of drinking water. 

5. Place the Help or OK sign on your front door or window to help neighbors locate those who need assistance first. 

6. Put fire extinguisher on the sidewalk or in view of neighbors to use if a small fire occurs. 

7. Go to neighborhood gather site (requires one to be established at MYN meeting)

8. Form teams at neighborhood gathering site: 

• Team 1 will listen to Emergency Alert System or a NOAA Weather Radio Station and keep neighbors informed.

• Team 2 will check on neighbors over the age of 60, those with disabilities and homes where children may be alone.

• Team 3 will check natural gas meters, propane tanks and shut off the gas if necessary. 

• Team 4 will check homes with Help cards displayed and will be prepared to give first aid. 

9. After each Team completes duties, they will return to the gathering site and report back to the neighborhood. 

But the class was less focused on providing what to do in an emergency as it was a space for Sebastopol residents to learn how to initiate a meeting and establish an MYN plan in their neighborhoods. 

Jirrels took participants through what a meeting in their neighborhood would look like by establishing what primary and secondary skills each member had, making up the teams and picking a gathering site. 

‘Neighborhood’ see page 6

‘Neighborhood’ from page 1

“This is a one size fits all kind of situation. You can make this program work for you in whatever fashion you might consider is best,” Jirrels said. 

While the MYN classes continue, in relation, the SNCU is looking for volunteer scribes to work with MYN leaders. The scribe's job is to document messages transmitted by radio and track communications, ensuring a response is received and responded to the originating neighborhood, according to Green.

“The documentation of messages relayed by the SNCU forms the legal backbone for reimbursement from FEMA during a declared emergency,” Green said. 

No radio experience, radio use or interest in radio operations is needed to be a scribe. 

“Yet, scribes are the cornerstone of the communication plan,” Green said. 

Scribes will meet once a month on Zoom for two hours, and the training involves simply learning a single page of information and training will last about an hour. 

To sign up for MYN classes, contact Jirrels at sjirrels@cityofsebastopol.org or 707-799-2204. 

To get involved as a volunteer scribe, contact Green at stan.sncu@gmail.com.