Emergency meetings about evacuation routes along Russian River

EVACUATION POTENTIAL —Old Cazadero Road between Guerneville and Cazadero has been closed for many years owing to a failed culvert on East Austin Creek. Fire and emergency service providers were asked last year about making the road usable again for evacuations in case of a wildfire disaster.

Two upcoming Guerneville community meetings in January will update Russian River residents about Sonoma County disaster preparedness developments.

Public meetings are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 13 and Saturday, Jan. 20, both starting at 1 p.m., in the multipurpose room at Guerneville School on Armstrong Woods Road.

Local, state and county elected officials, including county Supervisors Lynda Hopkins and James Gore, have been invited but their attendance is not yet confirmed, said Lois Lebovich, one of the organizers of the event.

 The meetings will include fire, flood and earthquake preparedness presentations, followed by questions and answers. If necessary, issues raised in the first meeting will be researched and answered more fully in the second meeting, said organizers.

Presentations will include information on warning siren systems, emergency communication resources, evacuation maps and potential shelter locations. Although the wildfires that hit Sonoma County Oct. 8-14 did not directly impact most of the west county, the level of community concern about disaster planning has been heightened ever since then.

The meetings will also discuss formation of neighborhood groups to aid residents living in the lower Russian River’s canyons and forests as well as in more densely populated areas.

 The Russian River Fire Protection District last year approved formation of a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to aid firefighters and other emergency responders in the event of disasters.

The CERT program is a Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)-created community program that educates residents about disaster preparedness. In an emergency, CERT members may be called upon to assist professional responders with operational activities under the command of the fire district and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department.

January’s meetings are co-sponsored by the Russian River Fire Protection District, the Monte Rio Fire Protection District, the Cazadero Community Services District and the local Cal Fire district.

 Article & Photo provided by Frank Robertson of Sonoma West News.

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