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Community Support Proves Vital in California Wildfires

Community Support Proves Vital in California Wildfires

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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

Whenever an emergency occurs, public safety agencies like law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services come together to manage it. For example, when a fire breaks out, the fire department will be the first to respond. Also, emergency medical services will be on standby, ready to care for the injured, including any firefighters overcome by the heat and smoke.

Community support was invaluable late last week, when two deadly wildfires broke out in California. One was the Camp Fire in Paradise, a small community in the northern part of state, and the other was the Woolsey Fire in and around Malibu, near Los Angeles.

Currently, the death toll from both blazes stands at 59 – 56 deaths from the Camp Fire and three victims from the Woolsey Fire. Hundreds more remain missing.

The fires have been so devastating that President Trump has declared a state of emergency in California. These wildfires have needed the assistance of numerous departments to contain the blazes.

Friends and Relatives Nationwide Helping California Wildfire Victims

These wildfires are so widespread and devastating that extra assistance is needed and not only on the frontlines battling them. Some volunteer helpers tend to the morale and health of those fighting these emergencies as well as the thousands of displaced residents who have lost their homes, possessions and vehicles in the swift-moving infernos.

The situation is so desperate that friends and relatives across the country are coming together to help these families get through this difficult time. Social media applications, such as the emergency preparedness app PulsePoint, can also prove helpful. This app is the work of the Topanga Coalition for Emergency Preparedness (T-CEP). Following a major fire in Topanga, this organization created a thick binder of emergency instructions, organized by disaster, which was distributed to homeowners. PlusPoint is an offshoot of the binder.

Organizations Providing Shelter for Residents and Animals

In addition, other relief organizations, including the Red Cross, local churches and community centers, have set up shelters for residents and their pets as well as for livestock. These organizations relieve some of the pressure on first responders by providing a broad range of assistance during serious, large-scale emergencies such as the California wildfires.

The Woolsey Fire has destroyed several celebrities’ homes and damaged others. Some celebrities also took the trouble to help firefighters and give credit to their work. According to Entertainment Online, Khloe Kardashian bought all of the bottled water available at a local pharmacy and distributed it to the firefighters working the Woolsey Fire. Such acts of generosity are always helpful in boosting the morale of the crews on the scene as well as the displaced residents, especially when dealing with an emergency of this magnitude.

Volunteers Should Consult Emergency Teams before Helping

Although volunteers provide extra hands during emergencies, their appearance at random can create an extra complication that emergency managers and incident commanders do not always welcome. It is important that those interested in volunteering do so in a group and contact the emergency team beforehand to ask if their assistance is needed.

Community Volunteerism and Support

Sociologists say community volunteer support helps a community rebuild faster after a disaster. During large-scale emergencies such as the current California wildfires, it is important for community members to support one another. It may not relieve the devastation, but it will help families to rebuild and recover.

Glynn Cosker Glynn Cosker is a writer and editor, currently based in New England. He is the Managing Editor of EDM Digest. Glynn has more than 20 years of writing experience, and he’s the Managing Editor of EDM Digest's sister blog site: In Homeland Security. Born and raised in the U.K., he began his career in government and spent 12 years working in the Consular Section of the British Embassy in Washington – attaining the rank of Vice Consul in the late 1990s. Glynn and his family live in New England.