Since 2013, the Sonoma Community Center (Center) has been designated as the Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) as part of the City of Sonoma’s Emergency Plan. During the wild fires of October 2017 the EVC was mobilized. The Center’s staff and volunteers manually registered 556 volunteers, assigning 367 to support emergency operations, primarily at the Evacuation Centers. After manually registering and assigning volunteers for eight days, the Center identified opportunities to better serve the community during emergencies in the future.
With the first anniversary of the fires and support from the City of Sonoma and Pacific Gas &Electric Company, the Center is kicking off an initiative to build a cadre of community volunteers who have been registered and screened for activation during the next community emergency.
Sonoma City Manager Cathy Capriola states, “The City is extremely appreciative of the leadership and dedication of the Sonoma Community Center –first during the fires by registering and organizing our volunteers and now by improving their system and process for the future. Volunteers are a critical part of our ability to respond as a City and community during disasters.”
“In addition to “Brightening the lives…”of those who participate in the Center’s extensive art and recreational programming we are honored to be of value to the community during times of need,” states John Gurney, the Center’s Executive Director. The new partnership allows efficient enrollment, communication and validation of emergency volunteers.
Volunteer registration will be accomplished online at sonomacommunitycenter.org/get-involved/emergency-volunteers/. Once enrolled as an Emergency Volunteer in the database, volunteers will receive periodic communications to validate the volunteer’s status, continued interest in being an emergency volunteer and update the inventory of skills or equipment available. Volunteers will receive invitations to attend specialized emergency training to be provided by public safety, Red Cross and the utility companies.
More information is available online at sonomacommunitycenter.org, by calling (707) 938-4626 x1, or by visiting the Center’s main office Monday through Friday from 10:00AM – 4:00PM at 276 East Napa Street, in Sonoma.