The Cambrian

Fire Safe block parties hit the road in Cambria during July

Members of the Cambria Fire Safe Focus Group are taking their “neighborhood block planning party” show on the road, so to speak, promoting July’s status as Cambria Fire Awareness Month and encouraging residents to plan ahead for potential catastrophes.

Bruce Fosdike, a member of the focus group and the county’s parent Fire Safe Council, and Robert Kelley and Roberta Vitols, other focus group members, have been explaining the concept at a variety of meetings and informal gatherings this month.

Hosting such an event is simple, according to the focus group. The neighborhood-specific classes can be held in someone’s home, at a hall or during a meeting. Some neighbors can gather for an hour or so, learning about how their neighborhood area of a dozen or so homes can prepare for fire or other emergency.

That was the topic du jour at a July 1 Rotary Club meeting and at the First Baptist Church on July 3.

Fosdike, Kelley, Vitols and other Focus Group participants helped host an informational booth at the American Legion’s Independence Day celebration at Shamel Park on July 4, handing out literature about neighborhood-specific block evacuation plans.

There was an evacuation-readiness gathering July 9 on Guildford and another July 12 on Patterson Place.

Other “block parties” are tentatively set for Thursday, July 14 on Haddon Drive, Spencer Street on July 23 and Pierce Avenue on July 29. The need for residents to be prepared for wildfire, earthquake, flood or other major emergencies also will be discussed at various times July 30 and 31 at Santa Rosa Catholic Church (including a presentation in Spanish at 6 p.m. July 31) and on the agenda at the Newcomers’ Club meeting on Weymouth in August.

Kelley and Fosdike say they’re pleased with the response so far and are hoping to help create a friendly sense of neighborhood pride, as residents in small individual areas complete their “neighborhood block evacuation plans” and then gently challenge others to do the same.

For details or to arrange to host a block party, call Kelley at 805-927-3407 or Fosdike at 805-924-1930.