Paradise, California – “This was Heaven’s early warning siren test,” echoed throughout the city of Heaven Thursday.
Many Paradise residents lined the street to hear the city’s first emergency siren test. For some, the voices, like those of Karen and Larry Brockemeier, were unnerving.
“The sirens are good. I really like the sound of it. I hope we never have to use it, but you know, I like it,” Karen said.
Karen was at her summer home in Paradise when a campfire broke out. Larry was in San Jose where they lived the rest of the year.
“I was here during the campfire when we didn’t get the eviction notice,” she continued. “It took us four hours and 15 minutes to get from Paradise to Chico because we could jam.”
Although the Broekemeiers are in good spirits and have rebuilt their home, they, like thousands of other survivors, were physically and mentally damaged by California’s worst wildfires.
“We know this is a potential trigger event and we want to make sure the community knows there is a lot of support,” said Kate Scowsmith, disaster case management coordinator for the Camp Fire Collaborative.
Campfire Collaborative, the City of Paradise and the Butte Fire Council gathered at Paradise Community Park to provide resources and support for all residents, highlighting the importance of education and mental health.
“I’m a campfire survivor myself, so I’ve had my own journey with health and recovery from fires, and I think it’s really important to get the word out about this serious issue around mental health. ” said Scowsmith, who emphasized that her organization wants to “normalize asking for help and seeking support.”
“We also help with spiritual and emotional well-being. So we have some different resources through our local therapists and forest therapy. We have different resources.
Campfire fellowship is every Wednesday night at Paradise Community Park.
Ms Brookmeyer hopes these systems will give people the peace of mind to encourage them to return to the ridge.
For her, the decision was easy.
Once you come out here, you won’t want to go anywhere else.
First responders are busy with a multi-agency emergency exercise in Paradise this morning.
Cal Fire crews were heavily involved in implementing and testing the siren system, and officials were stationed at several locations throughout the city to provide emotional support and assistance to residents with questions about the event.
Officials diverted traffic on the Skyway north of Wagstaff Road to Clark Road to simulate traffic conditions to ensure a safe evacuation in the event of an accident.
Paradise Battalion Chief Rick Manson said Thursday’s incident is important to firefighters as well, to gauge Cal Fire’s preparedness and resources for the fire.
Manson said, “The overall goal today is that there’s always a lesson to be learned in everything we do. The goal is to go ahead and learn from what we can do better.”
Manson urged residents to provide feedback on the siren system so officials can continue testing. Leave a comment here.