Through the first and second week of October this year, wildfires broke out across Sonoma County causing destruction to homes, schools, stores, restaurants, and hotels. The Kincade Fire became the largest of the 2019 California wildfire season, and the largest ever to occur in the county. In all, the fire destroyed 374 structures and 174 homes and burned more than 77,000 acres before it was fully contained on November 6.
As a result of the Kincade Fire, many families—including Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital doctors, nurses, and other staff—were evacuated from their homes. Local hotels were either damaged, evacuated or full, meaning many of Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital’s staff had nowhere to go. In all, there were 152 members of the hospital staff, including 54 doctors, without homes.
Petra Takes Action to Ensure Hospital Staff Have a Bed to Sleep In
Petra’s Fredrick-Seibert and the Petra team sprang into action and headed to Sonoma County when they got word of the Kincade Fire. Working with the Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital’s leadership at its Command Center, Fredrick-Seibert successfully transformed several available hospital spaces nearby into functional temporary living areas for hospital staff, their families—and even their pets.
“I knew I could make a difference—quickly,” said Fredrick-Seibert. “Because of the construction work happening on current Petra projects, I knew what resources were available. Plus, our team has the connections for furniture and the expertise at pulling teams together. We also helped the hospital during the Tubbs Fire in 2017, so that experience was invaluable in helping us to know exactly what needed to be done in this kind of an emergency.”
She continued, “Our goal was to give the hospitals’ caregivers peace of mind, so they would know they had a safe place to sleep—often with their families and their pets. If we could help reduce stress and provide even a little bit of relief, then our efforts were worthwhile. And, of course, then the hospital staff could be available to focus on caring for the patients in the community who needed them in this time of crisis.”
Fredrick-Seibert’s team took charge of setting up temporary homes—complete with beds, pillows, sheets, blankets, towels, dishes, furniture, and even appliances—in three adjacent apartment houses and mini “hotel” rooms in a former skilled nursing facility that had been suspended for patient care. The team helped with everything from moving the office space and storage items into additional storage areas, to unloading a semi-truck full of furniture purchased from a hotel liquidation company in Anaheim, Calif. While Fredrick-Seibert shopped for linens and other items herself, she had a lot of helping hands to get all the work done—down to cleaning rooms, washing dishes, and making beds with fresh sheets. Both the Petra team and the hospital’s Environmental Services staff were instrumental in getting everything done.
The Petra team arrived at the hospital on a Monday, and by Thursday afternoon all the rooms were ready. The completed spaces accommodated families displaced by the Kincade Fire who were able to move in, as well as staff who were on call at the hospital and needed somewhere nearby to rest.
Fredrick-Seibert and the Petra team also jumped to respond when the hospital emergency room became crowded as two other local ERs shut down due to the Kincade Fire. With a standing-room-only lobby and a line out the door, the Petra team collected all the patient chairs from the former skilled nursing facility and took them to the ER. There, within an hour, the team removed all end tables and coffee tables to make room for the extra chairs, so patients and their families would be comfortable while they waited.
When our client was in crisis, Fredrick-Seibert and the Petra team responded to the call of need. That’s just one example of how Petra goes above and beyond in service to our clients—and ultimately the patients we all serve—each and every day. “We’d like to extend a sincere thank-you to Dawn Fredrick-Seibert and everyone involved in the success of this effort for their compassion, hard work, and dedication to doing what needed to be done,” said Petra President Craig Beam.