to TIPSfromSURVIVORS.org ~ Lessons from those who lost their homes so you can protect yours.
MASSIVE firestorms in California has destroyed about 10,000 structures in 2017. With my humble resources and immense passion I responded, learned and helped where possible.
Now is a time of retreating and refocusing. Exhaustion is immense and so is the wisdom gained. With what was learned, the question now is how can we improve the outcome of these catastrophic events?
I have some thoughts and will be collaborating with experts over the next month. Thank you to everyone who contributed to relief efforts in any capacity that was within your ability.
My main concern at this point is creating as many housing units as possible that meet reasonable health and safety standards. Resilient building fascinates me too! The economic damage to the housing market, especially in Sonoma County is quite severe.
No one will have the perfect answer, but a willingness to be part of the solution is what we need to move forward.
A couple links for you (1) Guidance for creating emergency RV housing units with hosting models supported by your local building department, (2) Offer to be a home host, (3) Our Christmas RV donation story, (4) Prevention of power line and wind driven fires caused by dying trees.
To those grieving the loss of their home in the recent fire storms, please take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone. (Sometimes people are alone after a home loss, because their home is the only one destroyed.)
As you move thru the recovery experience your emotions will swing wildly in any given day. Breathe into it.
I know you will cry yourself to sleep at night, wishing things were different. And in the morning feel for a brief moment the bliss of the illusion that everything is normal.
In time this will pass.
Your nervous system is hyper-active right now and your body will use water more. Please stay hydrated and have regular meals. Exercise or take walks, especially with a companion. “Fire brain” will stop after you have a home to call “yours” during the recovery ahead and you stop moving around.
I will never forget the brief moment I spent alone after the Whittier Fire at Cachuma Lake in Santa Barbara earlier this year. I deeply wish everyone could have witnessed that moment, as I’ve seen this in others affected by such loss.
In the still quietness of a barren forest, I sat in a circle of burned trees for reflection. There were two tiny birds that were clearly flying, but barely, and still had their fluffy baby feathers.
They looked down on me and sang as if they were trying to communicate to me that they were hungry and confused. I understood this, yet all I could do was witness their precious little lives.
The same is true for you. You have been forced out of your nest and you may think at times that you don’t have the strength for what lies ahead. The truth is most of you do… Even those desperately handicapped, like I was when I lost my own home.
The most important gifts you will receive from this experience are knowing who your friends really are, a new lightness of being, an opportunity to challenge your communication skills and personal strength… and best of all, an opportunity to deepen your community bonds.
For each person, their story is their own. You are writing it now as you move through one of the most powerful experiences of your life. As you move into this new phase of life, that is forever changed, please do your best to tell it well by searching for the love and levity in your own journey.
This song below speaks volumes for how I feel in being here with you now. Please know I’m coming from a very strong place spiritually, but my hands are small… I cannot do this alone. I need you too.
Fly baby fly!!!
Wishing you well,
“Poverty stole your golden shoes
It didn’t steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn’t ever after
We’ll fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what’s right
‘Cause where there’s a man who has no voice
There I shall go singing
My hands are small I know
But they’re not yours, they are my own
But they’re not yours, they are my own
I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters…”
~ Jewel ~
If you want to know why I do what I do, please watch this video from an anniversary ceremony for the Valley Fire of 2015. There is also a sample video of a tip from a survivor.
This is a dynamic, constantly changing situation and the links provided will change as better information becomes available.
Together we can help each other with valuable advice that needs to be shared to protect our homes and our foundation to thrive.