New Poway emergency group organized
By Pat Kumpan
A Poway emergency group that will help train neighbors to help each other during a disaster is receiving $1,500 in funding from the city to kick start the effort.
The Poway Neighborhood Emergency Corps, which comes under the Poway Community Association, will help equip neighborhood coordinators with training and educational materials to use when neighbors need assistance during emergency situations.
The city funding will help pay for walkie-talkies and other items needed by neighborhood coordinators.
Chuck Cross will serve as committee chairman for the corps, while Merrilee Boyack will be City Council liaison.
The PNEC concept, said Cross, stems from a class project when he and others attended the 2010 Poway Community Leadership Institute.
Some of the team had volunteered during the 2007 Witch Creek fire and learned from personal experience how neighbors could help one another during a future disaster, according to Cross.
“With PNEC, we’d have a neighborhood coordinator in each neighborhood,” he said.
“That person would be much like a Neighborhood Watch coordinator,” Cross added. “RB United, which helped people during the Witch Creek fire, will help train people, as will the American Red Cross.”
Boyack said 68 neighborhoods each have a specific name and are now listed on a map located at www.powaynec.com.
According to Boyack, Poway has managed to survive disasters, thanks to neighbors who reached out to one another during community fires, the 2003 Cedar Fire and the 2007 Witch Creek fire.
The new program will rely on volunteers who receive emergency training to help neighbors.
Future meetings would likely include first-aid training, how to recognize what neighbors, such as seniors and physically challenged residents, might need during a fire or other natural disaster.
How to shelter in place would be essential for surviving a disaster, Cross added.
As coordinators gather informational details from their neighbors, such as what experience they have — medical, water treatment, etc. — each neighborhood would know what collective resources to tap into, she said.
“You might not know if roads are closed, for instance, but a coordinator would,” Cross said. “That central, go-to person, or coordinator would be key to helping others.”
During the next few weeks, PNEC will be recruiting coordinators from all Poway neighborhoods.
To volunteer for that position, or learn more about PNEC, call Boyack at 858-354-6703 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact cross at email@example.com.
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