Building Resilient Communities

We're digging into disaster preparedness and community resilience, starting with the Bay Area. Learn more about our TR Resilience pilot program.

Last week, fueled by coffee and a will to work, I attended the launch of the Resilient OMI project in one of San Francisco’s most diverse neighborhoods as part of the Team Rubicon Resilience Activation Pilot.

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My TR partner David Borgognoni, who lives in the OMI (Oceanview / Merced Heights / Ingleside neighborhood), and I joined his neighbors for the first of two workshops that will generate goals and objectives to be captured in a Resilience Action Plan tailored for the OMI.

When I got to the meeting, I was energized by the sight of a room full of residents of all ages and walks of life who had answered the call to come together around this unifying challenge. After a presentation by the City’s Daniel Homsey about the OMI’s potential to increase its resilience, the crowd broke into three teams of eight. We rolled out giant neighborhood maps on round tables and got to work marking local sources of power, water, food and shelter.

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Dave B. and I rocked our TR gear and served as facilitators throughout the evening, engaging the residents to identify where they could find the essentials they’d need after a major disaster. We drew on our own experiences as military veterans and TR volunteers to help our teams think fully through all of the challenges they are likely to face post-disaster. For both of us, the experience was positive and meaningful.

My team buzzed with energy and ideas, and I was genuinely blown away at the existing deep awareness of their community’s strengths and resources.

This event was one of many that will be happening across the city during the next six weeks as part of a highly-engaging effort by the City of San Francisco’s Empowered Community’s Program (ECP) to build resilience at the neighborhood level.

I was drawn to this opportunity to contribute to the OMI’s planning because Team Rubicon has become a strategic partner in the development and implementation of ECP. I believe that we should be actively engaging our communities today about how to mitigate the impact of disasters so that when we deploy our TR teams post-event, the damage we encounter will be lower from the get go.

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Moving forward, I encourage any Bay Area TR member to participate in the Team Rubicon Resilience Activation Pilot by attending an upcoming ECP meeting like I did. My role last night didn’t require any training up front, yet I feel like a made a real contribution to Dave’s neighborhoods’ efforts.

“There’s a pool here,” said Steve S., a neighbor in my group. He pointed to the map. “That water could last the block a long time if we use a good filtration system.”

I smiled. As a U.S. Marine veteran and previously deployed TR member, sourcing local knowledge and using it to build a flexible plan ahead of chaos makes sense to me. I can’t wait to return to the next session, Oct 29, to keep the process going with my new friends. Hope to see you there!

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