After describing "Northern California as an ethnically, culturally, and geographically diverse area - and one of the most seismically active" it continued: "in disasters, many people have found themselves without appropriate help when they needed it most. Traditional emergency responders (government, Salvation Army, Red Cross, and others) cannot easily address the critical concerns of seniors, children, disabled, homeless, and others.
That fact became evident in the Bay Area during the Loma Prieta earthquake, after which hundreds of community leaders and organizations, including the Red Cross and United Way of the Bay Area, came together to search for a solution. They concluded that the community- based organizations (CBOs), organizations that provide day-to-day human services, should be included in disaster response.
Who better to help those with special need during a disaster, than the variety of organizations that already help such people everyday with their needs? With a little disaster response training, those organizations could also help provide for their client's needs during a disaster.
That concept ultimately led to the formation of organizations in Northern California, known as either CARDs (Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disaster) or PrepareNow Collaboratives. They facilitate disaster related activities among various disciplines. Such organizations help CBO/non-profit and government human service agencies created integrated disaster plans, develop relationships with agencies providing similar services learn self and home preparedness, and understand the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS).
PrepareNow Collaboratives function independently of government and Red Cross disaster operations, but serve to connect hundreds of CBOs to their local government emergency response system. Trained and united, these agencies are a strong and powerful regional support system for people with special needs. By adding the expertise of hundreds of trained and trusted CBOs to preparedness, response, and recovery Systems, we've added the perspective of long-term continuum of care, to the traditional immediate and temporary care models. PrepareNow Collaboratives add the ability to reach and serve the depth and diversity of our community, in partnership with the traditional responders who are best able to address and serve the width and commonalities of our community. For more information on the services offered by CARDs, call 510-451-3140 or visit PrepareNow.org.