- To date, 1,942,742 acres have burned across California
- There are currently 14,773 firefighters battling 14 active large wildfires
It’s wildfire season in California, and it’s a bad one. How bad? Astronauts aboard the International Space Station can see it…and they don’t like what they see.
Our hearts go out to everyone affected, but our Mobile Communications Trailer is standing by to go out and lend Bay Area victims a hand. We checked in with Corporate Social Responsibility Associate Jess Paxton to find out a little more about this season’s plans, and find out what you can do to help.
RINGCENTRAL: Refresh us on what the Mobile Communications Trailer does and the areas we’ll serve?
JESS PAXTON: “We’ll deploy to any Bay Area community where people have been displaced. The main idea is just to provide communications for people who’ve lost their phones and other devices to the fires, just so they can connect with loved ones, get in touch with insurance companies and so forth.”
RC: We created the trailer last year; what did we learn? How can we better serve these communities?”
JP: “I think what we learned from last year’s experiences is how holistic disaster responses need to be. We set out to provide initial communications for evacuees but their needs go so much farther beyond that: there are people who are without toiletries, food, phone chargers, really just basic needs, so that was something we learned, you know, on top of being able to provide communication. We’re looking at putting together little “tech kits” for people with phone chargers, battery packs, and so forth. At the end of the day, we just want to be there as a partner to provide the things people really need.”
RC: Who’s leading this project from RingCentral?
JP: “Our Corporate Social Responsibility team is leading the project, but we’ve had a lot of help from IT and Infrastructure as well as Marketing and Branding. Everyone’s had quality input and literally helped us build the van from scratch, wrap it and get it looking good.”
RC: What can individual employees do to help?
JP: “Music to my ears. I love this question. First off, if they’re local employees, they can volunteer to roll with us when we deploy the van; we always need extra people to help set up the video sessions and the trailer and all of our giveaways. And for employees who aren’t local or don’t have the ability to physically be there, we’re asking them to support our fundraising initiatives.”
RC: Let’s talk dollars. What’s the best way to donate?
JP: “Another question I love. Our Employee Donation Matching Program through RCause will match up to $1,000 per calendar year per employee, and we’re partnered with the American Red Cross, which employees can also donate to on their own. RingCentral Corporate donated $30,000 to them for fire relief last year, and our employees’ contributions came out to an additional $20,000+, so we’re really proud of that…although we’d love to beat it.
RC: Anything else we should know?
JP: “We’re also looking at deploying our trailer in other ways when we’re not using it for emergency and disaster response. We plan to partner with local nonprofits to share our technology in new and unique ways. The possibilities are endless!”
Keep your eyes on this space for more information on volunteering for the Mobile Communications Trailer, and other ways to help fire victims. If you’d like to donate, you can start right now:
American Red Cross https://www.redcross.org/
Originally published Sep 23, 2021, updated Dec 30, 2022