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Berkeley Fire Department Hosts Wildfire Evacuation Preparedness Workshop

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The Berkeley Fire Department hosted a wildfire evacuation preparedness workshop on Sept. 10. About 340 residents attended the meeting, which was hosted on Zoom.

“As the last few weeks have made profoundly clear, we’re all affected by wildfire regardless of whether we live within the city limits or not,“ said Khin Chin, a Berkeley resident who has worked for the city Fire Department’s Office of Emergency Services for 12 years. “It’s really amazing what a month of smoke, red skies and statewide fires can do to help advertise a workshop like this.”

Chin facilitated the meeting with Katie Hawn, an Emergency Services coordinator for Berkeley who has recently focused largely on COVID-19 response.

Chin and Hawn started the workshop by emphasizing that wildfires are a real danger in Berkeley. In 1923, a wildfire spread from the Berkeley hills and destroyed about 600 homes. Climate catastrophe has increased the risk of it happening again.

“It can happen in Berkeley. It has happened in Berkeley,” said Chin.

If a wildfire strikes in Berkeley, the city likely will not have the capacity to evacuate people, so, according to Chin, “self-evacuation makes up the majority of the community response.”

Chin and Hawn encouraged people to pay attention to the National Weather Service for Red Flag warnings, which are most likely to occur in dry, low humidity, high wind conditions.

“Anytime you hear the Red Flag warnings you should begin your preparations to be ready to evacuate,” said Chin.

To prepare for evacuation, the workshop stressed that it’s important to have a list of supplies and important things you would like to have and save and to be aware of where they are. The list could include medications, supplies for pets, important documents, medical supplies, water, and important irreplaceable items. Hawn suggested bringing games, like cards, to prepare for lots of downtimes while evacuated.

Besides the go-bag of important supplies, make sure to have charging devices for your phones, computers, etc. Spreading the word is also helpful for others.

If you have the ability to evacuate by vehicle, make sure that the vehicle has a full tank of gas. The organizers also stressed finding more than one route to major roads in case certain roads become impassible and, if possible, making arrangements with friends or family who you could stay with the outside of the area ahead of time. If you are forced to evacuate and have no friends or family to stay with, they suggest finding a parking lot that is outside of the evacuated area.

For those who will have difficulties evacuating, which will mean taking more time, Chin and Hawn suggest pre-evacuating on Red Flag warning days if possible.

One Berkeley resident named Phyllis who’s 86 and lives in the Berkeley Hills, said she pre-evacuated to stay with her grandson in El Cerrito twice recently when Red Flag warnings were issued for the Berkeley Hills. There was no wildfire but she was still glad she pre-evacuated as it made her feel safer and less stressed.

“I would have been scared to be by myself and I wouldn’t have slept those nights probably,” she said.

During an evacuation, Chin and Hawn suggest paying attention to the 1610 AM, an emergency advisory radio station. They suggest programming it into your radio ahead of time. Residents should also sign up for an emergency alert notification system suggesting www.acalert.org.

The workshop stressed the importance of preparing ahead of time so you can have some control over your evacuation if it is necessary.

“When you feel really out of control,” said Chin, “that’s when things are the scariest.”

Bay Area

At Least 4 Bay Area Counties Pause Use Of J&J Vaccines Amid Blood Clot Concerns

Public health officials in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Marin counties announced that they would temporarily halt use of the vaccine, which was developed by J&J’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen.

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     At least four Bay Area counties paused administrations Tuesday of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after a handful of people across the country developed blood clots less than two weeks after the shot.

     Public health officials in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Marin counties announced that they would temporarily halt the use of the vaccine, which was developed by J&J’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen.
The state’s Department of Public Health also issued a statement Tuesday urging a temporary pause on the vaccine’s administration while state and federal officials determine whether the clotting incidents are significant.

    More than 6.8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered across the country.
Health officials have confirmed cases of rare and severe blood clots in just six women between the ages of 18 and 48 who received the J&J vaccine, with symptoms appearing between six and 13 days post-vaccination.

   Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have also advised states to pause administration of the Janssen vaccine to allow for an investigation of the clots and whether a causal link with the vaccine can even be established.

     In a joint statement, FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks and CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said the two agencies will review the cases of clotting this week to determine whether they are statistically significant. “Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Marks and Schuchat said. “This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.”

     State epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said the state will also follow the recommendation by the FDA and CDC and order a statewide pause of administrations of the Janssen vaccine.
“Additionally, the state will convene the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to review the information provided by the federal government on this issue,” Pan said.

     California joined the states of Nevada, Oregon, and Washington to establish the workgroup last year to conduct independent review and analysis of each vaccine as they are approved for emergency use by the FDA.
Officials in the four Bay Area counties noted that Janssen vaccines represent 4 percent or less of the doses administered in each county to date, with the majority being the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Health officials have lauded the Janssen vaccine’s utility in reaching demographics like unhoused residents and people who are homebound, who may have difficulty returning for a second vaccine dose.

     Officials in the four counties said they did not expect the Janssen vaccine pause to force the widespread cancellation of vaccination appointments or significantly affect their ability to continue vaccinating their respective populations.

    Janssen vaccine recipients who got vaccinated more than a month ago are not deemed at risk for developing blood clots, according to local, state, and federal health officials.

   People who received the vaccine more recently are encouraged to contact a health care provider if they begin noticing symptoms like severe headaches, leg pain, and shortness of breath, which may be associated with clotting.

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Berkeley

Equity Summit Zoom Discussion: “Learning from Our Elders”

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The Equity Summit Series, hosted by the Friends of Adeline in Berkeley, will hold a  Zoom panel discussion, “Learning from Our Elders: Listening and Honoring the Past to Guide the Future,” Sunday, March 28, 7:00 p.m.

 

One of the speakers on this week’s panel will be Wil Ussery, a long-time civil rights leader in the Bay Area. 

 

The Equity Summit Series has focused on building power to create change in our communities, especially emphasizing gentrification, equity and economic justice. 

 

 

To participate by Zoom on a computer, go to: https: //us02web.zoom.u.s./j/87087838028
To participate by conventional telephone, dial: +1 669 900 6833; or: 1-253 215-8782 US80288
Meeting ID: 870 8783 8028

 

For more information call (510)  655-2503.

 

 

 

 

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Berkeley

Equity Summit Zoom Discussion: “Learning from Our Elders”

The Equity Summit Series, hosted by the Friends of Adeline in Berkeley, will hold a  Zoom panel discussion, “Learning from Our Elders: Listening and Honoring the Past to Guide the Future,” Sunday, March 28, 7:00 p.m.

Avatar

Published

on

Wil Usery at 90

The Equity Summit Series, hosted by the Friends of Adeline in Berkeley, will hold a  Zoom panel discussion, “Learning from Our Elders: Listening and Honoring the Past to Guide the Future,” Sunday, March 28, 7:00 p.m.

One of the speakers on this week’s panel will be Wil Ussery, a long-time civil rights leader in the Bay Area.

The Equity Summit Series has focused on building power to create change in our communities, especially emphasizing gentrification, equity and economic justice.

To participate by Zoom on a computer, go to: https: //us02web.zoom.u.s./j/87087838028
To participate by conventional telephone, dial: +1 669 900 6833; or: 1-253 215-8782 US80288
Meeting ID: 870 8783 8028

For more information call (510)  655-2503.

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