Fire Safe Council University City looks back on its first year with news of the past, present, and future

During its first year, the Fire Safe Council University City has been concentrating on education related to fire prevention, preparation, and safety. Since September 2019, the Fire Safe Council has published articles in the print University City News newsletter (available at https://www.universitycitynews.org/ucca-newsletter-archives/) and provided frequent news and updates on the University City News website at https://www.universitycitynews.org/category/sdfd/

For easy reference, here is a look back at how the Fire Safe Council came to be:

  • September 2019: The room was packed in August 2019 at the University Community Library when Charles Butler, Code Compliance Officer San Diego Fire-Rescue Dept., shared a wealth of information to educate UC residents on getting ready to go when a wildfire endangers the area. Following the August meeting, Jemma Samala volunteered to lead the effort to set up a Fire Safe Council in University City. Details at https://www.universitycitynews.org/2019/09/03/ready-set-go-getting-ready-for-wildfire-in-university-city/
  • October 2019: As announced in the October print newsletter on page 12, under the volunteer leadership of Jemma Samala, community members began the effort to form a University City Fire Safety Council during an August presentation by the San Diego Fire Rescue Department. After some preliminary research and guidance from the creators of the Scripps Ranch Fire Safety Council and the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County (http://firesafesdcounty.org/), the UC Fire Safe Council was ready to be formed. Issues to be decided include: council boundaries, evacuation routes, education programs, and prevention services. Under the leadership of Jemma Samala, a Fire Sale Council of University City founding meeting was held at the Library on Governor Drive on October 28, 2019.
  • December 2019: As announced by Jemma Samala on page 12 of the December print newsletter, the Fire Safe Council University City has submitted papers to become an official Fire Safe Council under the umbrella of the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County. The volunteer organization will work on educating the community about fire prevention, safety, and evacuation procedures, as well as organize projects surrounding those issues.
  • January 2020: A working group of the Fire Safe Council decided to focus on education its first year using the San Diego Fire Department’s Ready, Set, Go recommendations as a guide. The primary vehicle for education was the University City News print newsletter, the University City News website, the UC Celebration, and Oktoberfest. By mutual consent, Jemma Samala was president of the Fire Safe Council of University City; David Gimbel, J Smith, and Diane Ahern volunteered to be vice-president, treasurer, and secretary respectively. The Fire Safe Council held a public meeting at the Library on January 26 and decided to host public meetings every other month. Reference page 12 of the February print newsletter.
  • March 2020: The scheduled March meeting was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Since that time, the Fire Safe Council has continued to publish fire safe information and news in the print newsletter  and on UCCA’s University City News at https://www.universitycitynews.org/category/sdfd/.
  • May 2020: At the County level, a University City representative attended a Zoom meeting with the Red Cross and the Resource Conservation District of San Diego County about adjustments in disaster response related to COVID-19 restrictions. Summary published on page 12 of July print newsletter.
  • August 2020: At the County level, University City attended a Zoom meeting with the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County. A summary of that meeting was published on page 12 of the September 2020 print newsletter.
  • September 2020: Fire Safe Council University City met via Zoom and voted to expand to include University City north of Rose Canyon and to begin outreach to other local groups such as the University Community Planning Group. A summary of that meeting is planned for the October print newsletter.

What does the future hold? Now that San Diego is in fire season and continues to cope with COVID-19 restrictions, it can certainly continue with education and information related to fire prevention, preparation, and safety. Future activites include expanding the boundary of Fire Safe Council University City to include University City north of Rose Canyon, creating its own website, identifying egress routes, and supporting the community plan update subcommittee when it addresses fire safety. If you would like to get involved with the Fire Safe Council University City, please contact Jemma Samala at jemmasamala@gmail.com.

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