Re: New Emergency Preparedness Team Needs Guidance
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 2014 13:00:33 -0800 (PST)
Hi all!

At the last national cohousing conference in Oakland, CA (2012?) I attended a 
bang up workshop on Emergency Preparedness.  It was an excellent “round table 
discussion” headed by Bob Flax, Frog Song cohousing.  At least that’s what the 
breakout session description says in my conference schedule.  

However I remember several people besides Bob presenting on the emergency 
preparedness plans of their respective cohousing communities and larger 
municipal community. I remember the session was PACKED.

So I’m wondering … Bob Flax are you on this list?  Can someone at Frog Song let 
him know people on this list are interested in emergency preparedness and could 
he participate in the discussion?  Also can he identify the others who led the 

The session was offered within an equally excellently executed national 
conference by CohoUS. 

EDITORIAL:   I hope one day we will get back to having national conferences.  
In the meantime, we have a great opportunity to have smaller, targeted regional 

It’s very important to interact with people from other communities.  Getting to 
know your cohousing cousins may prevent you from reinventing the wheel on some 
issue.  To say nothing of the fact that we each probably got into cohousing to 
share information, resources, time and energy.  But mostly, after living w/ 
each other for 1-5, or 10 years sometimes a corps of people end up “picking at 
the bones” trying to find solutions to the daily issues that confront living in 
community.   So why not do this on a slightly larger scale with those 
communities living w/in 1-2 hrs of each other?   And  just maybe you find your 
solution is “right next door?”  And get invited to dinner …

For communities that do not have ready access to sister communities … why not a 
google hangout?  Just suggesting … I’m not a techie person but am wiling to 
work w/ someone who is to organize a hangout or two on issues of interest.

What’s a google hangout?  It’s a free service offered by google that allows 
multiple people to have a video conference.  Don’t ask me how it works  — 
computer technology is mostly spaghetti to me  … but a person w/ some 
experience could easily set this up.  I blogged on google hangouts a while ago 
when it was limited to 10 people including the organizer.  Now, I hear it can 
accommodate 100+

Hey!  We could organize one on Emergency Preparedness!  What a concept!

Anyone want to organize this w/ moi?

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church VA

On Feb 13, 2014, at 1:27 AM, S. Kashdan <s_kashdan [at]> wrote:

> Hello Bill,
> At Jackson Place Cohousing In urban Seattle, we have an emergency
> preparedness team working on emergency preparedness too. Here are some 
> things we are working on.
> We already have a phone tree, which we developed fourteen years ago, even
> before our move-in in 2001. We periodically update it, and it is printed out
> and distributed and posted on our internal community web site.
> The phone tree consists of three branches, each one headed by a long-time
> resident who is a dedicated cohouser. If there is an emergency that needs to 
> be dealt with
> by the whole community, such as one related to an earthquake or storm,
> etc., the person who first learns about it activates the phone tree by
> calling the person who is at the beginning of branch 1, and that person
> calls the two people who are at the beginning of branches 2 and 3, as well
> as the second person in branch 1. Each person is supposed to call and leave
> a message down the branch until a live person is reached. The person at the
> end of each branch is supposed to call the person at the beginning to
> confirm that the message has been passed along. We haven't used this phone
> tree for a while, so when we tried it a few months ago, not everyone
> followed through to get to the live respondent. So, only one branch was
> successfully completed. This means we will need to try it again in a few
> weeks, and keep trying until all three branches succeed. We have decided to
> practice using it every year and we won't consider that our work on it has
> been successful for the year until all branches are successfully completed
> during the test try.
> In addition to the phone tree, people are committed to visiting each other's
> homes to let them know about an emergency if they can't be reached by phone.
> If no one is home, a note will be left on the door. We will also use our
> internal e-mail list to inform people, and try to text cell phones when 
> people
> don't answer them.
> These plans are to account for the fact that during some emergencies
> landline phones are working when cell phones are not, and cell phones are
> working when the internet is down, and the internet is working when cell
> phones are not, etc.
> We also have fire drills at least once a year during a monthly community
> business meeting. And, members of our operations/facilities team have shown
> everyone how to turn off the valve to the gas to the common house in the 
> case of a gas line break or earthquake or fire in the common house.
> We are also talking about possibly storing some extra water and other 
> supplies for the use of the whole community in case of emergency.
> And, we are encouraging all residents to develop their own home emergency 
> kits. The city of Seattle has guidelines for emergency preparedness which we 
> also circulated among the group, and probably will again.
> We also sent around a questionnaire a while ago, asking what kinds of items 
> or skills people might be able to share with the whole community in case of 
> emergency: extra canned goods, extra stored water, extra bandages, extra 
> bedding, blankets, etc., nursing skills, able and willing to help children 
> and elders, etc. We will be sending around another updated questionnaire 
> about this in a few months. And, the responses will be compiled and reported 
> back to the whole community for reference if there should be an emergency.
> We are open to other suggestions, if any one has some.
> In community,
> Sylvie
> Sylvie Kashdan
> Community Outreach Liaison
> Jackson Place Cohousing
> 800 Hiawatha Place South
> Seattle, WA 98144
> info [at]
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: 

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.