Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Boulder Fire

Social it or hate it you have to admit that it has become a very reliable source of information, assistance and support during disasters such as the fire in Boulder Colorado that is going on even as I write this. It is raining right now in Boulder -- how did I know this? Well I guess I could have gone online to and seen the radar. But in reality I used two forms of social media - Facebook and Twitter - to keep me updated.

My focus, as usual, is on the animals. Not that I wish the humans any harm or don't think they are important, I just feel that there are many, many organizations and people who are ready and in place to assist humans during a disaster. It is the animals who are just now getting a voice and immediate assistance during such nightmares thanks to our experiences during Hurricane Katrina. We have learned that many, many people will NOT evacuate an area if they cannot take their beloved pets or livestock with them. So the natural course of events would then be to come up with solutions for evacuation that include the ability to take one's animals along.

A couple things going on in the social media about animals and the Boulder fire. One is the rancher near Boulder who was evacuating but did not have enough trailer room for his 14 horses. This was posted on Twitter and within an hour rescuers converged on the ranch and instead of him only being able to save one or two horses, he was able to get all 14 of them out safely. If you want to follow the Boulder fire type #boulderfire in the search box on Twitter.

Another is the Facebook page of Stealth Volunteers, a rescue group formed in response to Katrina that continues to be ready to assist in the reuniting of pets and their humans in the event of any disaster or just in the course of everyday life. Stealth Volunteers posted a link to the blog of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, cutely named Walk the Blog, and a post written yesterday by Lisa Pederson the CEO. In it she lists the items that are desperately need by the Humane Society as they have taken in 40 cats, dogs and small mammals for people who have been evacuated from their homes. If you are in the Boulder area and can donate items, or if you are online and just want to help by donating money, it would definitely be appreciated at this time, not that they are not appreciated at any time!

I believe that social media is the ham radio of this generation only bigger and better. Instead of waiting for the government to "do" something and provide us with information, we now have the resources and the ability to help ourselves and our fellow citizens in a twinkling of an eye, or rather in a single keystroke. If you are not familiar with social media maybe it is time you jumped on the bandwagon. Who knows? Maybe some day it will be your life, your family's lives, or even the life of your fur kid, that will be at stake and during an emergency is no time to learn the ropes!


  1. Thanks for the nice mention of Stealth. I have never used Twitter. But I set up an account after Ike because I realized it would be the perfect way to communicate if I were in the middle and was in touch with animal rescuers and was hearing what they needed, but was also getting messages from evacuees on animals that needed to be picked up. That happened during Ike to a limited degree and I was using e-mails to relay to people with cell numbers for rescuers. How much simpler if everyone were on the same Twitter account! Also cell service is erratic during a disaster, but a text message can be received if there is only a brief connection. So I have my Twitter ready if needed! Funny you should mention Ham radio. I do believe it is important because a radio can relay when cell towers are down - but when I looked into Ham training this year, I just could not find a group that wasn't either obsessed with the equipment or training to assist with traffic control. So Twitter on!

  2. Marilyn

    I am brainstorming a way to get the RV community more involved in your group or groups like yours. They are already very involved in human rescues and assistance and I am sure there are more like me who would like to also concentrate on the animals.

    RVers are mobile for the most part and many are retired, travel all over, and are looking for ways to give back. They represent huge amounts of untapped potential for transport or other assistance.

    I hope I have my facts straight about the group in my post...if not, please let me know!