Wed04162014

Community

Residents train to marshal neighbors in wake of emergencies

Dozens of local residents attended the first Block Action Team (BAT) training Jan. 29, an effort designed to organize neighborhoods to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.

Each BAT comprises neighbors who join forces to prepare for disasters, prevent crime, look out for seniors, involve youth and socialize.

“Our first BAT leader training session was a great success,” said Sherie Dodsworth, BAT and Los Altos PREPARE program director. “A BAT is about building community at the neighborhood level.”

Dodsworth said 32 residents signed up as leaders at the session, which explained how to build a BAT, work with neighbors and prepare family and neighborhood emergency plans. According to Dodsworth, each BAT leader will determine the number of homes – typically 20-50 – included in his or her team.

BAT leaders will also serve as conduits to relay information to city officials in the event of a crisis, allowing first responders to better confront the situation. Battalion Chief Tony Bowden represented the Santa Clara County Fire Department at the meeting.

The newly trained BAT leaders received kits that will help them gather and organize the information necessary to serve their neighborhoods.

“I am very happy to see our city get active – or at least our citizens,” said one newly trained BAT leader.

BAT and Los Altos PREPARE are programs of the Los Altos Community Foundation.

The next BAT leader training is scheduled 6-9 p.m. Feb. 27 at El Camino Hospital, 2500 Grant Road, Mountain View. Attending the session does not obligate residents to serve as BAT leaders.

To sign up for the session and for more information, visit losaltosbat.org.

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