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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is being proactive in case a major disaster were to strike again. The organization hosted a disaster preparedness conference focusing on some key elements to help keep the community safe.

Foodbank of Santa Barbara hosted this disaster preparedness conference known as the “25th hour” at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara. The conference brought everyone involved in county disaster preparedness together under one roof.

“We are sitting down and asking each other how can we work better together and build better relationships that will make everyone safe during the next disaster, said Erik Talkin, who is the CEO of Food Bank of Santa Barbara.

The eight-hour conference featured different disaster scenarios. The attendees broke up into groups to discuss problems the community could experience in the aftermath.

“The focus today is what is called a mass care training,” said Talkin. “What would happen 28 hours after a major earthquake and how agencies would work together, and make sure people had enough food and were healthy. Then we are looking at three weeks after a disaster. How do we really put things back together again?”

Many local agencies and first responders showed up to participate in the conference, including Anthony Rodriguez, who works a the City of Goleta prepare now program.

“To be able to work with other people and the organizations to come together and collaborate during a time of stress its a really big deal that we have good communication skills and to get to know all of these organizations and what they do and what they can provide during a disaster,” said Rodriguez. “It’s huge.”

The Foodbank is hoping exercises like this might help organizations strategize how to coordinate after a disaster more efficiently.
“We came up with a disaster kit the has enough food for a week, and it also has a toolkit with a mask to protect you from smoke and we are saying if you buy that from the food bank that is a donation and we are going to buy another one for a low-income family,” said Talkin.

The disaster kits are available on the FoodBank website and the boxes are good until 2043.

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