Commentary | How Blair Avenue neighbors helped first responders in a house fire emergency

City of Piedmont

A house fire on Blair Avenue on April 9.

Last month, our neighbor’s house on Blair Ave. became engulfed in fire in the middle of the night. Fortunately, no one was home while intense flames leapt out the windows. The fire threatened to spread to nearby structures.  

While fire personnel battled the fire, the police knocked on our door to tell us to leave. We were not in town.  Neighbors, who knew about our trip, assured the police that our house was unoccupied. Time was of the essence and our well-informed neighbors allowed the police to move on quickly to adjacent homes to clear them. 

Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the Piedmont and Oakland Fire Departments and favorable winds, the fire, fortunately, did not spread to destroy other houses on our hill, despite proximity. For that, we remain grateful.   

I write to encourage everyone in Piedmont to perform two simple but important acts in your neighborhood that may help if a tragedy strikes: (1) when you leave town, be sure to tell your neighbors and/or the police of your absence. You help first responders by doing so; and (2) consider creating a neighborhood contact list — maybe a Google Doc that can be revised easily — so that crucial information, such as how many people and pets live in your home, can be quickly found.  Further, your contact list might include a non-resident contact who knows where you likely may be.  If you cannot be reached directly, this is another possible way to find you during an emergency. 

One thought on “Commentary | How Blair Avenue neighbors helped first responders in a house fire emergency

  1. The Fire Department supports a program, “Map Your Neighborhood” that provides guidance on how to set up an neighborhood emergency response group. The program entails pre-planning for earthquakes and fires that involves neighbor-to-neighbor communication that Barbara recommends. Check with the department to start your own MYN group

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