By Kevin Janssen
There are many wonderful qualities that make Glen Park a very desirable neighborhood in San Francisco. Our rare and beautiful Canyon is certainly at the top of any list along with the expanding number of destination restaurants in the Village and easy access to public transportation. Despite this plethora of urban amenities, the most valuable asset Glen Park possesses is the sense of community that permeates this neighborhood. From the large number of individual neighborhood SAFE organizations to the watchful eyes of our activist groups keeping tabs on City Hall, Glen Park is a neighborhood of people who care about their quality of life.
Being one of the original organizers of the Glen Park Festival and gently shepherding that event through its early years, it was amazing to watch how readily and rapidly our neighborhood embraced an event that brought people together while serving a larger goal of giving back to the community in the form of monetary grants from proceeds to local causes. The Festival continues to grow in strength while involving more and more volunteers from our neighborhood who come together to do some good. It started with a committee of four and has grown into a much larger group working for the benefit of the neighborhood.
The only unfortunate aspect of living in Glen Park is that we reside in California which in turn does have an occasional earthquake from time to time. Granted, every locale is prone to one type of natural disaster or another, we San Franciscans do live with the constant threat of earthquakes. Fortunately, the City of San Francisco takes a pro-active approach to earthquake preparedness and invites the community to join in the effort by providing free training and organizational opportunities to its citizens.
Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT), while not such an attractive moniker, is a free training program taught by the San Francisco Fire Department that is dedicated to a “neighbor-helping-neighbor” approach in the event of an emergency. NERT training is available to individuals, neighborhood groups and community-based organizations in San Francisco. Through this program, individuals will learn the basics of personal preparedness and prevention. The training also includes hands-on disaster skills that will help individuals respond to a personal emergency as well as act as members of a neighborhood response team.
NERT classes are held throughout the year and certification (or re-certification) can be attained in a matter of weeks. The information in these classes is invaluable when it comes to taking steps to insure your family, loved ones, pets and neighbors are safe and cared for in the event of an emergency: whether that be natural, biological, chemical or terrorist related.
To find out more about NERT, please visit either of these Internet sites:
To no surprise, Glen Park has an active neighborhood NERT chapter. We are fortunate to have Susanna Russo leading this effort. A large number of Glen Park residents have already completed the NERT training sessions and some have joined the Glen Park NERT group. The Glen Park NERT group provides an opportunity to work with others who care about their community and their neighbors and also keep their disaster skills fresh and up to date. While NERTs don’t get hurt, they do work in coordination with the Fire Department to assist when it is safe to do so. A NERT volunteer would never be asked to perform a task in conditions that are dangerous or unsafe. Our heroic firefighters take on that role and respect NERT volunteers for their assistance in other areas.
There is a full spectrum of roles to fill for NERTS from active search and rescue teams, communication specialists (HAM radio operators) to organizational and tactical directors.
As a community that cares, Glen Park is full of active and concerned residents who can and do make a difference in the community in which they live. If you have already completed the free NERT training sessions, please take a moment to consider joining the Glen Park NERT chapter and find a role that suits your talents and inclination. If you are someone who likes to make a difference, consider obtaining your NERT certification and check out the Glen Park NERT group for a place to make a difference.
As for this writer, there is no greater satisfaction than working with a group of people who are intelligent, ambitious, a whole lot of fun and dedicated to making a difference not only for themselves but also for everyone around them.
To indicate your interested in Glen Park NERT, please contact Susanna at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to talk with us before joining, please look for Glen Park NERT at the up-coming Glen Park Festival in April. As usual, we will have a booth next to the fire engine!
The better prepared and organized we are, the more effective we can be for one another. Neighbors helping neighbors. Now that says “Glen Park“!