OP-ED: On the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Does a True Disaster Loom in Oakland?

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A real disaster for Oakland, that we cannot let happen, is the loss of one of our most important community partners: CARD – Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters.

 

CARD is a genuine Oakland success story.

 

If you don’t know about them, and if you haven’t supported the organization, you should. CARD offers what Oakland needs most: a different, effective, and positive approach to public safety and disaster readiness.

 

Right now, the group’s future is threatened by a multitude of funding delays from committed partners and the unrealistic expectation that they should continue to create successes for our communities without the levels of public and private support that we’ve long and generously given to other disaster services agencies.

 

Created by local nonprofit agencies in the wake of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, CARD has maintained a laser focus on what actually works for lower-income, vulnerable communities, and the nonprofit and faith agencies that serve them.

 

If you’ve heard local companies trying to come up with less threatening, more engaging ways to share preparedness, it’s likely because they attended a presentation from Ana-Marie Jones, CARD’s executive director, or a member of her team.

 

CARD has embodied the research on how harmful fear-based messages are, and how they STOP people from embracing preparedness. CARD does not use fear/threat-based messages and images in their offerings.

 

Unlike any other emergency services agencies, CARD’s approach is to NOT focus on the scary, threatening, or bureaucratic aspects of disaster readiness. Their philosophy is “Prepare to Prosper!”

 

With CARD, you learn to train your brain, leverage your mobile technology, and control the things you CAN control in your environment – so that you can be your best, especially when responding to emergencies or disasters.

 

The organization won many awards for its innovations. We need to award the group with dollars — from individuals, foundations, and businesses.

 

We need CARD to succeed in its mission to prepare our nonprofits, faith agencies, and all of the people dependent on these services.

CARD has created unique preparedness tools for service providers, curricula tailored for our hardest-to-reach communities, and they rewrote the government’s complex “Incident Command System” so that virtually anyone can step up, create a team, and make a difference in an emergency.

 

CARD also has classes addressing the unique needs of limited English proficiency audiences, LGBT communities, and so many more.

 

The agency’s office is set up copying Israeli hospital design, so that in a disaster, it will convert into an Emergency Operations Center for local nonprofits, while other CARD staff deploy to the Alameda County Emergency Operations Center in Dublin.

 

Losing CARD would be an epic failure for our city and our region, especially as we face the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

 

CARD is one of our best hopes for creating future success, and to avoid becoming the “Katrina of the West” as many predict for us. Immediate donations can be made via www.GoFundMe.com/GoFearFree.

 

To discuss sponsorships and other partnerships contact: Ana-Marie Jones at 510-451-3140, or [email protected], CARD: 1736 Franklin Street, Suite 450, Oakland, CA, 94612.

 

The need is urgent. CARD has been there for us, so now let’s all be there for CARD

 

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