Oakland man spreads disaster preparedness message with educational program

OAKLAND — He’s informally known as a “go to” person if you need to know anything about home disaster preparedness.

You’ll often find Doug Mosher posted at a booth at neighborhood events in Oakland, advising people to prepare for the unexpected.

Not just for disasters like the Oakland Firestorm of 1991.

“We know we live right above the Hayward Fault, we know we’re bay side, we have flood and tsunami risk,” Mosher said.

He first learned about emergency preparedness growing up in North Carolina and remembered surviving a hurricane.

“Strong. Windy,” he said. “At the time, I was young, so it was scary.”

Now, the 15-year-old East Bay Regional Parks Safety Patrol volunteer is training Oakland residents to be prepared for any emergency.

Ken Benson, chairman of the board of the Oakland Firesafe Council, said that in 2018, when the City of Oakland’s free emergency preparedness training program sat idle for a few years, neighbors wondered where else they could turn.

“Where do we train or if we need retraining, what do we do?” Benson said. “So Doug came forward and said, ‘Hey, this really has to go on. “”

With a grant from Cal Fire and matching city funds, Mosher founded Oakland Community Preparedness and Response three years ago under the Oakland Firesafe Council.

He leads workshops and creates information guides featuring the Ready Ranger mascot. It also established disaster relief communications in the event of cell service failure.

“We’ve set up a radio network in Oakland that stretches across the East Bay,” Mosher said.

He shares three key disaster training tips:

  • register with your city/county for emergency notifications
  • develop a family escape plan
  • think about how to help your community if the worst should happen.

Neighbors like Brenda Whitfield are listening.

“It’s up to me to grab and grab, and help somebody else, help my neighbor,” she said.

“The community, in general, is much better off because there’s a Doug Mosher,” Benson said.

So for preparing the people of Oakland for the next disaster, this week’s Jefferson Bay Area Award goes to Doug Mosher.

Note: The city has since rebuilt its program and offers FEMA CERT emergency preparedness training in Oakland through the Fire Department’s Emergency Management Services Division. It partners with the OCPR in preparation programs.

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