SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- On "National Youth Services Day," Saturday, April 15, more than 50 American Red Cross youth volunteers will be visiting homes and apartments of elderly and low-income people in Oakland to do nonstructural earthquake retrofitting and to remove various fire hazards.
The volunteers will install water heater straps, cabinet latches and smoke detectors, and identify window security bars that need safety releases. They will also educate residents on the importance of emergency preparedness.
"This project is a unique opportunity for youth to work with local agencies to make their community safer in the event of a local earthquake. As part of this Project Community Quake Safe, youth volunteers (ages 14 - 18) will have a chance to put their knowledge to work and advocate service to youth and adults alike," stated Anne Chan, Director, Youth Services, American Red Cross Bay Area.
The youth volunteers will be partnering with the City of Oakland Fire Department, Office of Emergency Services, the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter, CARD (Collaborating Agencies Respond to Disasters), CORE (Citizens of Oakland Respond to Emergencies) and firefighters from Firefighters Union Local 55 to provide this free service.
"The Oakland Fire Department is happy to work in concert with FEMA, American Red Cross Youth Services, CORE, CARD, and members of IAFF Local 55 to assist our community, especially our seniors and other residents, in making Oakland resistant to disasters," said OFD Battalion Chief Jim Williams.
This is the third annual April event for the City of Oakland's Project SAFE (Safety And Future Empowerment) program, one of many innovative programs the city has undertaken since it was named as a pilot community for Project Impact, a nationwide initiative led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Project Impact is aimed at building disaster-resistant communities. In Oakland and elsewhere, Project Impact is based on three common-sense principles: preventive actions must be decided at the local level; private sector participation is vital; and long-term efforts and investments in damage prevention are essential.