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To the Burning Man Community Regarding the Oakland Fire

Burning Man Journal – By Burning Man – December 05, 2016

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As we’re all too painfully aware by now, a devastating fire broke out at a gathering in Oakland, California on Friday night. As of this morning (December 5), the death toll was 36, with a portion of the building’s remnants still left to search.

Many in the Burning Man community have been deeply affected by this tragic event, and many more across our global network have reached out to ask how we’re doing. In our tight-knit community of creatives, each of us has been touched if not directly, through friends of friends. The degrees of separation are minimal and the collective sense that “it could have been any of us” is as real as it is heartbreaking. We’re deeply saddened by this loss and we’re holding the victims and their friends and families close to our hearts.

True to the Burning Man spirit, we’re also asking ourselves what we can do, how we can help.

For those immediately affected, the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau has established a Family Assistance Center with the American Red Cross at 2425 East 12th Street in Oakland. If you are trying to locate a loved one, you may go to the center or call 510-382-3000 for information.

Secondly, there are several active crowdfunding campaigns, including this one being hosted by the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts and this one, through which funds are being matched by the Oakland A’s, the Oakland Raiders, and the Golden State Warriors. For those of you in the Bay Area, there will be a vigil tonight from 8 PM – 10 PM at the Lake Merritt Pergola in Oakland. Below is a list of resources collected by some East Bay Burners. Please review and share with those in need.

We also must take a moment to consider what we can do as individuals to try to prevent disasters like this from occurring.

Our resident fire safety manager reminded us this morning that it’s very much about egress, exits, adequate fire suppression, and safety plans. There are little things we can all do to ensure the safety of ourselves and others, and it starts with being alert, aware and not afraid to speak up when we see something that impedes safety.

This is a time that calls for compassion, community support and learning. We can work collaboratively to inform and educate in an effort to prevent these kinds of accidents in the future. This can begin with encouraging venues and community spaces to review their safety protocols and fire response plans. Similarly, we can ask policymakers and agencies to work collaboratively with community spaces, landlords and venues of all kinds in a way that does not drive cultural spaces out of existence, but rather seeks to make a safe and welcome place for them in our cities.

We don’t yet know the scope of the ripple impact of this incident on the Bay Area creative community and beyond. The shock waves are just beginning to be felt, and we will look for ways to participate as the realities unfold.

While we’re all reeling from this terrible news, let’s also take some time to appreciate each other and our precious moments together.

Read entire article here

Posted by Teri Perticone

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