5 WAYS SAN DIEGANS CAN HELP WITH WILDFIRE RECOVERY AND RELIEF
California wildfires are not new to our great state, but that doesn’t make it any easier as we watch flames ravage our beloved communities. If you are looking to support impacted Californians, here is a list of WAYs for San Diegans to make a difference.
- First and foremost, take care of you. This shit can be triggering. San Diegans are not strangers to fires. In fact, we’ve seen and lived through some of the very worst. Post traumatic effects are normal and very real. The latest California wildfires can resurface old trauma. If you find yourself feeling distress, fear or anger make your emotional health a priority. Visit the National Center for PTSD or the American Psychological Association for tips and resources on coping.
- Information is power. It’s important to stay informed, especially if you are near a wildfire. The slightest shift in wind direction or wind strength can turn a contained brush fire to flames jumping freeways. For the latest fire information we recommend following the Twitter accounts of the San Diego Fire Department, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and The National Weather Service. For emergency alerts, resources and preparedness information download the San Diego Emergency App. And of course, your local news resources will have you covered as well.
- Volunteer locally or contribute monetarily. If you are safe and have the emotional equity to support our California communities there are several ways in which you can give time or money.
- In 2017 Facebook launched Crisis Response Pages as part of their mission to bring the world closer together and the best part is it’s as easy as logging in. Crisis specific Pages allow you to report your safety status, check in on friends and family, get the latest information and help individuals with specific requests (a ride, supplies, hosting, etc.). Our favorite feature is that you can sort posts by “Find Help” or “Give Help” with a category filter (shelter, pets, supplies, volunteer, etc.) to narrow in on how you can support. They are also a great resource for finding geo-specific or crisis-specific volunteer groups and fundraising efforts.
- Seek out local chapters of national associations to maximize your impact. Find a Red Cross near you to volunteer on the ground, donate blood or make a financial contribution. Connect with your local Humane Society chapter and local shelters for direction on animal care needs. You can help our animal friends by volunteering, fostering or making a financial contribution. The Salvation Army is accepting goods and monetary donations for California wildfire relief. Funds are used to provide food, shelter, necessities and financial support post crisis.
- Show your appreciation to those on the front lines by mailing thank you cards to your local fire station.
- Help rebuild. The disaster doesn’t end when the flames are put out and the TV crews are chasing the next story. Families and communities are left to rebuild their homes and livelihood. Worse, oftentimes fire damage turns to mudslide dangers the following year. The faster a community can rebuild to safety, the better.
- The easiest thing you can do is keep California fire victims “in the news”. Continue to promote fundraising campaigns, share reports on recovery status (it takes months and even years) and like, love and share rebuilding stories on social media.
- Adopt a local family. Fire victims are rebuilding their lives and replacing things that took years to accumulate. While they are focused on their shelter and necessities, help Light Up The LOVE™ by making their house feel like a home again. Focus on donations and gifts that help a family rebuild memories and tradition. Aggregate photos via friends and family or even the person’s own social media to build new photo albums or to gift framed family photos. Buy or donate board games or books. Rebuild holiday traditions by divvying up decoration purchases. Buy Christmas ornaments to help rebuild their collection. Create an Amazon wish list for friends and family to buy from.
- One of the best things you can do is to put your money back into communities by shopping local, supporting local tourism and purchasing goods and services from national corporations that stepped up in crisis. For example, Airbnb has a disaster response program that triggers local hosts to open their homes for free or oftentimes national chain hotels open their doors at their regional locations to host families.
- And finally, be prepared. As a San Diegan, especially those in urban interface zones, it’s not if you will be impacted by wildfires, but when. Do you have your Ready, Set, Go! plan? Make sure you are prepared. You may also want to evaluate if fire insurance makes sense for your family. If you live in a high-risk area and are struggling to find coverage in the voluntary marketplace California has a state-sponsored program called the California FAIR Plan as a last resort.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford
Did we miss an important resource? E-mail us at [email protected] with additional ways to support Californians during fire crisis.