Courtesy of Citizen Voice website
Hurricane Katrina's 2nd anniversary is the 1st anniversary of a local charity’s effort to distribute evacuation kits to the Sacramento region’s most vulnerable residents. The Safely Out project got a $50,000 boost Wednesday from Sacramento County.
The setting was perfectly symbolic – the shore of the American River. A barge with gravel for levees even floated by just before Wednesday’s event. The most important symbol, though, might’ve been a giant, cardboard, 50-thousand dollar check from Sacramento County.
“We see this as being a very cost-effective investment in public safety,” says Supervisor Roger Dickinson, who presented the check.
It’s an investment designed to make first responders more efficient during natural – and man-made – disasters.
“We can actually commit tens of law enforcement or fire fighter personnel to a given location because we believe there are people trapped inside and desperately in need of help," says Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness, "only to find out there’s no one there at all.”
That’s what the “Safely Out” kits try to address. Each includes a door hanger – one side’s red, and says “Need Help.” The other side’s green, and says “Safely Out.” There’s also a fridge magnet for contact info, a storage bag for crucial documents, and more.
"So when the disaster comes, people can take the bag out of the fridge, the fridge magnet, flip over the sign, fill it out, and in less than 2 minutes, they’re out the door safely,” says Gary Dietrich, the president of the charity that created the project, Citizen Voice.
The “Safely Out” project has already distributed 10-thousand kits in Sacramento; thousands more are in production.