Rabbit Creek committee helping residents plan before disaster strikes

In the wake of the Hiland Road Avalanche some people are asking themselves if they know who to call during a disaster, and what they should bring with them duri
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 7:25 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - In the wake of the Hiland Road Avalanche, some people are asking themselves if they know who to call during a disaster, and what they should bring with them during an evacuation.

The Rabbit Creek Community Council Resilience Committee is helping residents stay prepared and informed in case disaster strikes. The committee did not form because of what happened recently, but organized a prior natural disaster.

Anchorage has already seen its fair share of disasters and as fire season approaches, Rabbit Creek Community Council Resilience Committee Chair Ky Holland said there are about 1,000 homes across the hillside, and a large number of homes in Bear Valley that have a single road going in and out. For the past three years, he and others are helping residents stay prepared in the event of an emergency

“What they could do ahead of time to be prepared and when that situation was going on, what they should they be doing,” Holland said. “Ultimately we want people to be better prepared so that something has less effect on them.”

Holland said that the committee originally formed in 2018 after the region was struck by 7.1 magnitude earthquake.

“We saw a lot of confusion. People didn’t know where to call to get information. They didn’t know what to do. They didn’t know where to go,” Holland said.

Holland said that committee members have been encouraging community members to get involved, to develop a phone tree and list of emergency numbers, and to have a plan before disaster strikes.

“There’s things that we can do as individuals on our property, also to form a personal plan for what we have to do in an emergency — pack a go pack, meds, papers — make a plan for our individual families,” Rabbit Creek resident David Michael said. “Also if that emergency comes and the time comes for evacuation, where are you going to and what are you going to do.”

The committee is also informing residents how quickly a wildfire can spread.

“It’s not going to go from 5,000 acres to 10,000 acres in a minute, but from 5,000 to 10,000 in 30 minutes, an hour,” Bear Valley Fire Station Senior Captain Nichalas Davis said.

The senior captain added that embers from wildfires are able to impact homes more than a mile away, adding extra importance for residents to mitigate hazards around their homes.

“Some of it would be just clearing your land, brush, grass, weeds, things like that around the building to make it defensible,” Michael said.

The group said some of their long term goals are to possibly create a second access road going in and out of Bear Valley.

“There’s not a secondary way out. If that one is blocked it blocks off that whole area,” said Michael. “... and as a result if you are going to build a new road or a new access road it takes time and money to develop that and it won’t happen this summer it will happen over several summers”

The resilience committee has awareness events planned over the next couple months, including an online training drill scheduled for April 26.

Copyright 2022 KTUU. All rights reserved.