Over the first half of December, the news in the western US was covered in ash, smoke, and wildfires – about five big ones going in California. Frequent one-minute blurbs burst into television time, and the nightly reports, even outside of California shared stories, including firefighters joining the battle from surrounding states at least two or three layers deep.
Something interesting happened though, people came together to help where they could, and local charities dug deep to meet local needs of people and wildlife. It’s an interesting thing to watch as good works are done just as they are meant to be by organizations for those purposes … and sometimes as that is done, they can draw positive attention to themselves and gather up support for the future as well.
As an example, on Instagram reports leaked out that a celebrity (Keanu Reeves) living in the Los Angeles are opened his home to a good friend and her dog as they were evacuated from their home in Ojai. The friend posted a picture of her dog and stated they were doing fine and anxiously waiting until they could return home, but also took the time to praise The Humane Services Ventura County – Ojai location and requested that people make donations to help them in their work in rescuing some of the animals that would be left homeless after the fires.
She also said that the dog living the celebrity lifestyle for a few days happened to be a former resident of the Ojai shelter previous to becoming a family member of the woman. Let’s just say, it’s hard to come by that kind of publicity.
But it didn’t stop with animal rescue issues. One of the top US museums was at risk from the fires – The Getty Museum in Los Angeles. It was also easy for many commuters driving on the I-405 to take pictures of large flames along their route only feet from the asphalt. Social media blew up with reports from people everywhere. And Facebook took advantage of their platform to offer a place for people to check in and leave messages that they were safe to hopefully free up phone lines for emergency needs.
Watching this natural disaster in progress, was informative for those who work in crisis management jobs, charities, as well as your average Jane and Joe. People got a chance to help in any number of ways, offering a safe place to stay, putting out water for displaced and thirsty animals, and one man on his drive home even jumped out of his stopped car to rescue a rabbit from the flames.
Maybe it’s time for you to ask yourself what you could have done to help, not just others but with your organization as well.