Patie and I talk frequently on the phone as friends. For those who do not know, three years ago I relocated to a remote area of Costa Rica, where I currently reside. It was an late morning with blue skies when I received a text message from Patie.

“Did you know there is a fire in Ashland?”

“Is it bad,” I asked?

“F*** yes!” was the answer.

That was enough of a message for me to know something serious was going on. I immediately jumped on Facebook, staying glued for hours. It was bad. There was live footage and social posts happening like crazy. I started to relay the most essential information into the groups I belong to. I then started making phone calls to friends and loved ones, and I was not the only one. I saw many people helping with this effort to share critical information.

People needed to know and they needed to start to plan ahead now, before it got dark, before the winds changed directions, and before there were massive traffic jams of people trying to escape. Some amazing individuals started relaying the police / emergency live scanner. I started listening and relayed this directly to many friends who had no idea what was going on.

It was total chaos… the emergency responders of this community were simply amazing, along with countless unnamed souls who went above and beyond to save lives, property, and animals. Listening to the scanner was like hearing the blitzkrieg of total disorder. A mere fifteen-minute segment went something like this: “23 wheelchairs needed immediately at the senior center… 2 people walking and need a ride…  cardiac arrest in process…  domestic dispute in process… man chasing a woman with a gun… blocked traffic and abandoned semis.

SERIOUSLY… the emergency responders were so busy managing the flow and chaos of the community that you hardly heard what was happening with the fire. I have very rarely shared words like this here in LocalsGuide, but I might as well do it now… because had the fire come into Ashland, we might not be having this discussion.

The community at large is too dependent upon the few to save the many!!!

We must take the weight off the emergency personnel and wake up from the illusion that our safety resides in the hands of the few and put the assurance and security back into the hands of the many. These individuals have families to protect as well, and the situation grew so quickly out of control it is a miracle what was achieved.

A few days later, Patie called me with her idea. I immediately sprang into action. It made sense. The many must now support the few in organized focused groups. We must centralize, organize, and delegate long-term solutions for those in need.

This is our call to you to Rise Up, Reach Out and Receive!

Thank You,
Shields Bialasik

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