TMNews: #62: Nov 19, 2018: The California Wildfires: Ft. Kat Peterson, PT, DPT on the PT Role in Disaster Relief

It’s Monday November 19th 2018! We’re here with your physical therapy news for the week. This episode will focus on the devastating fires that have ripped through California, leaving behind thousands of people without homes and a huge part of the state with poor air quality. For more minor headlines, we encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter here

On Thursday November 8th the Camp Creek fire ignited beneath power lines amid dry brush and undergrowth. Powered by extreme drought and high winds the fire rapidly spread and within 24 hours consumed the town of Paradise in Northern California. The fire destroyed over 6,000 structures in the town of 26,000 and has claimed some 70 lives. Over 90% of residential structures were completely destroyed, leaving thousands of families homeless. As of this recording, there are over 1300 people missing, over 12,000 structures have burned,  and the fire is approximately 55% contained.

Meanwhile, in Southern California on November 8th, the Woolsey fire shifted towards the ocean, wreaking havoc on Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and burning parts of beachside Malibu. Over 700 structures have been burned, and nearly 300,000 people have been forced to evacuate, including the town of Thousand Oaks, which experienced the mass shooting tragedy only weeks ago. The fire is approximately 80% contained at this recording.

The fires have farther reaching effects as well; residents in Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay area, and much of Northern California are scrambling to find N95 masks and air purifiers as air quality reaches levels considered worse than those in India and China.

Here’s How You Can Get Involved:

  1. Volunteer directly! 
    1. East Avenue Church Shelter (This is where Kat Peterson is doing her work.)
    2. Check out local shelters–even if they are not looking for physical therapists, as Kat points out, they need people to help with just general, every day tasks
  2. Donations! (This is huge)
    1. RedCross
    2. GoFundme Campaigns:
      1. East Avenue Church Pop-Up Shelter
      2. Chris Pillsbury Fire Assistance
      3. South College DPT Student
    3. Gift cards to Walgreens, Wal-Mart, etc
    4. Paradise Fire Adopt a Family

From a special newsletter from the California Physical Therapy Association:

We would like to express our heartfelt sympathy to those that have been affected by the devastating fires in California. We understand that many have lost their homes and/or businesses. APTA (and CPTA) offers a dues waiver to members facing hardship. Members simply need to call APTA member services to discuss their specific circumstances. In the past, CPTA has supported disaster relief efforts initiated by the districts to help locally and have disseminated information to members regarding resources for fire victims and for members who want to offer assistance. Here are a few of the resources that we have come across so far: