Downtown Lions Preparing for Disaster
The Eugene Downtown Lions Club recently formed a disaster and emergency committee (called Alert) and had to decide exactly what it could do to be of help when a disaster or emergency strikes the Eugene-Springfield area. Lion Tim Chuey volunteered to chair the committee since he has been through just about every natural disaster there is except a Tsunami. The committee contacted Linda Cook, Program Director of the Lane County Office of Emergency Management, for input in choosing a project. Linda presented three possible projects that would be pro-active meaning preparing before a disaster happens. Her first idea was chosen and it turned out to be the perfect project. She suggested that we find people who would be the most vulnerable in a disaster situation and see what we could do help them be more prepared. As it turns out, one of the club’s members Lion L.M. Reese is a resident of Olive Plaza in Downtown Eugene and utilizes an electric wheelchair. He is on the committee and suggested that there are many vulnerable people living there that we could help. We defined vulnerable people as someone who is a senior citizen and/or is disabled in some way as to make taking care of themselves in a disaster or emergency difficult or impossible.
An assessment sheet was put together with a series of questions to determine how prepared the apartment resident is now and what they need to do to be better prepared. The questions were organized using guidelines from FEMA. Protecting your head, hands, and feet was a top FEMA priority.
It was decided that the club would provide a Red Cross double Emergency backpack and two hard hats for protection. The backpack contains a first aid kit and supplies that would last for at least three days. The reason for the double backpack and two hard hats is that the most vulnerable usually have a caregiver or assistant with them and both would need the supplies to survive. We purchased the backpacks from the Red Cross and Todd Thayer, Executive Director of the Oregon Chapter of the American Red Cross, was generous in giving us a discount for purchasing 6 backpacks all at one time.
Lion L.M.. Reese was kind enough to be the “Guinea Pig” for our assessment process and let us check out his apartment for preparedness and to try out the survey to make sure it was not intimidating to the person we are trying to help. Lion Darlene Thomasec, Vice-Chair of the Alert Committee, presented the backpack and hard hat to Lion L.M. Reese.
We placed a signup sheetat Olive Plaza and began contacting residents who wanted to work with us. Lions Darlene and Tim met with Jim Holder, our first “official”resident of Olive Plaza to have his apartment accessed. Since Mr. Holder doesn’t need a care provider he was given only one hard hat. Jim decided he would pay for his backpack, an option we offer to the resident should they wish to do so. The club will provide the backpack and hard hats at no charge if the resident can’t afford to pay for them.
We consider this just the beginning of our project and invite the LionsClubs of Lane County and all of Oregon to start an Alert Committee in their Club as we have. You might want to pick our project model or another type of project that better suits your area, but the purpose remains the same; to help others be prepared before a disaster or emergency strikes.
For more information and details explaining how our committee got started and decided what project to tackle please feel free to contact Lion Tim at
or call 541-686-3430.
L to R: Linda Cook, Program Director of the Lane County Office of Emergency Management, Todd Thayer,Executive Director of the Oregon Chapter of the American Red Cross, Lion Jeff Musgrove, Committee member, Lion Tim Chuey, Committee Chair, and Lion Darlene Thomasec, Vice-Chair of Alert Committee presenting check from the Eugene Downtown Lions Club to the Red Cross for the backpacks.
Story and Pictures by: LionTim Chuey
Eugene Downtown Lions Club