This collaborative event, held on Saturday August 17th at the Mt. Diablo High School in Concord, was a great opportunity to interact with Assemblyman Tim Grayson and his staff. His District 14 includes lots of north Contra Costa County, and a strip of Solano County including Benicia and Vallejo. We were there with friends.

thanks to the set-up crew and event volunteers

What went well

  • Venue was OK, in a high school parking lot with partial cover by a solar array. Nice to have the shade.
  • Despite some concern about low turnout, we probably talked to about 100 residents of multiple cities. Many of these were good discussions including HAM technologies, preparation for mobility challenged/special needs people, PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shut-off (PSPS) program, and the Haywired scenario.
  • We collected about 30 signatures in support of our OES grant. We are using this to measure how many residents we reach, which supports this grant that helps fund our CERT activities.
  • We had great help from Martinez volunteers (thank you) and HAM volunteers (thanks Greg from Oakland!). Also much gratitude to Jessie of Brentwood CERT and her search and rescue-trained pup Jaxon for their support, involvement, and wagging tail. We didn’t lose anyone!
  • Our setup went well with people and props. The set-up crew signed up to help rather late in the game, and they rocked it!
They showed up to help us get off to a great start.

Thanks to the set-up volunteers!

What might be changed or improved

  • Organizing the event was very last minute. More lead time would likely be beneficial for our planning, and would improve turnout.
  • We did not have sufficient volunteers or visitors to do many demos (e.g. BullEx fire extinguishers)
  • We could have used more Spanish language handouts for our visitors.
  • Walls would have been helpful in our booth for signage. We used shadescreen walls that provided shade and shelter against the occasional gusts of wind, but weren’t good for tape or paper signs.
  • Could use a better strategy about tying our tents together, including weighing them against the wind. Perhaps more bungee cords or even zip ties + weights. Also could use a few more weights to hold paper handouts. Cribbing blocks were pressed into use but were not as effective (because they’re big).
  • Make sure to explain why we might be asking for emails or phone numbers; to contact them for our upcoming trainings if they expressed interest.

Thanks to David and Ron for stepping up early, and David for his notes.