$11K grant funds radios, equipment for remote Mattole Valley region

The Lower Mattole Fire Safety Council serving residents of the remote Mattole Valley, Petrolia and Honeydew has received a $11,000 grant from HAF+WRCF to purchase radios and communications equipment to improve communications between neighbors and first responders during emergencies such as wildfires, floods, and earthquakes.

The grant, approved by HAF’s Community Response Team, will be used to purchase powerful two-way radios, repeaters, solar arrays, batteries, cables, and antennae, plus labor costs associated with coordination and programing of equipment for the council’s Neighborhood Emergency Services Team (NEST).

“This funding is crucial for when the power or the phones go out, which happens a lot,” said Sarah Vroom, executive director of the Mattole Restoration Council, which coordinates the fire safety council. “This will allow our neighborhood coordinators to better contact each other, check in with neighbors, and reach outside emergency responders easier.” 

“Having this level of communication in a rural area such as ours is key to surviving emergencies,” added Ali Freedlund, a director with the Mattole Restoration Council. “Once we get all this new equipment in place, we will be in a good position to respond to just about anything,”

The grant will be used to supplement and improve the communities’ existing communications equipment, established more than a year ago via collaboration with multiple volunteer fire departments, fundraisers, and contributions from Coast Central Credit Union.

“It’s an honor to support residents who are extremely self-sufficient and resilient,” said Rachel Montgomery, Program Officer for HAF+WRCF’s Strategy, Program and Community Solutions Team. “This grant is critical for underserved communities in extremely remote areas that are susceptible to losing key electrical infrastructure during natural disasters.”

Funding for these grants is provided through HAF+WRCF’s Disaster Response and Resilience Fund (DRRF), which was established in 2021 as a response to the 2020-21 fire season. Funded by contributions of individual donors and philanthropic partners, the DRRF has assisted groups that provide community support for those most vulnerable in response to fires, storm events, earthquakes, and other natural and human-made disasters.

Learn more about the Disaster Response & Resilience Fund at hafoundation.org/disasterfund. Learn more about donating by contacting HAF+WRCF’s Donor Services team at donorservices@hafoundation.org.

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