About Us

Mission: The mission of COPE is to help residents, families, visitors, and neighbors become and remain better prepared to respond to and recover from emergency situations.

Vision: By working together as residents, communities, and local agencies to prepare for emergencies, Northern Sonoma County will be safer and more resilient.

Values:

  • Community
  • Share best practices
  • Trust
  • Collaboration
  • Advocacy
  • Action

Who we serve: COPE Leaders who represent communities in the 4th District (including our most vulnerable (seniors, Spanish speakers, poor, etc.).

Initiatives:

We serve as a California Fire Safe Council and serve our communities as leaders in emergency preparedness.

We promote partnership and collaboration with government agencies, public safety organizations and other organizations.

We are a public forum to educate, train and encourage additional Northern Sonoma County communities to create COPE programs and prepare for emergencies.

We identify, plan, organize and spearhead projects that lead to increased emergency preparedness.

We assist in identifying and pursuing funding opportunities in support of community preparedness efforts.

We advocate for our communities by influencing policy, bureaucratic processes and the allocation of resources for emergency preparedness.

We are honored to be recipients of the 2021 Peterka Emergency Management Award given by the Sonoma County Emergency Coordinators Forum.

Our Board

Priscilla Abercrombie, Board Chair

Priscilla Abercrombie, RN, NP, PhD, has been a women’s health nurse practitioner, professor, and researcher for more than 30 years. She is a board-certified holistic nurse and health and wellness coach in private practice. After retiring from UCSF and SFGH in 2015, she moved to Northern Sonoma County where she could appreciate all that nature has to offer. But she learned quickly that living in one of the most gorgeous places on Earth has its risks; fires and floods are a part of life here. Instead of living in fear, Priscilla sought to find a way to organize her neighbors to help each other in an emergency. She was instrumental in bringing COPE to her own Fitch Mountain community and then worked with the other founding members to install COPE more broadly in Northern Sonoma County. Being a part of COPE NoSoCo has been extremely rewarding for Priscilla. She believes that we are not only learning how to live with fire, but we are developing relationships with neighbors that may not only save our lives but will last us a lifetime.

Geoff Peters, Board Vice Chair

Geoff is a fundraiser, lawyer, entrepreneur, manager, commercial flight instructor, SCUBA diver, emergency services trainer and volunteer, and olive farmer. Geoff has served as COO or CEO or on boards of directors and in numerous other roles with many nonprofit and for-profit enterprises.  He has started business and nonprofit enterprises, argued cases in the Supreme Court and taught people how, effectively, to assist first responders in disasters.  At 76 he is still having fun working and thus refuses to retire. Geoff started the Asti-Cloverdale COPE after attending a few meetings of COPE Northern Sonoma County and meeting other COPE leaders and Fire Chief Turbeville. What they were doing made so much sense to him that he felt they should be doing similar things in his area. This was particularly important since their entire neighborhood was in a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, and they were directly threatened during the 2017 Pocket Fire. He continues to learn from other COPE leaders about their projects and hopes to expand the Cloverdale COPE organization by recruiting more Leaders. His involvement in COPE led him to inquire about CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training.  Put simply, COPE focuses on preparedness before an event, while CERT focuses on what to do during an event.  Since there were no CERT organizations active in Sonoma County, he took additional training to be a CERT Trainer and Program Manager.  He founded Northern Sonoma County CERT under the auspices of the Cloverdale Fire Protection District and the Northern Sonoma County Fire Protection District and in conjunction with COPE NoSoCo.

Rebecca LaLonde, Board Treasurer

As a healthcare professional, Rebecca was always passionate about the well-being of her patients.  Over her career she held senior leadership positions in a health plan organization, hospitals, home health care, and hospice agencies with a focus on patient-centered care that resulted in receiving national recognition and awards.  Rebecca has a baccalaureate degree in nursing and a master’s in business administration, is a registered nurse and public health nurse. In addition to her career, she feels strongly about giving back to her community and has volunteered for many local non-profit organizations focusing on food insecurity and healthcare.  She served on their board of directors and participated in fundraising and financial oversight. With the devastation from wildfires and the loss of property and lives in Sonoma County, Rebecca has pivoted her focus to the well-being of her community by building a successful non-profit to prepare for emergencies.

Dyan Urban, Board Secretary

Dyan is a Marketing specialist who advises large corporations, such as Citibank, FedEx and Nabisco.  Dyan earned her BA from UC Berkely and her MBA from the Harvard Business School. She recently moved back to Northern California from Boston where she and her husband, Roger, lived for 35 years. While in Boston she was a Board Member of the local United Way organization where she ran special events and other fundraising activities. Having moved to Sonoma County, Dyan was impressed by the constructiveness and positiveness of this community. Dyan decided to join COPE because it so embodied these values; specifically, she was inspired by the faith that COPE places on “Neighbors helping Neighbors” responsibilities.

Chief Marshall Turbeville, Board Member

Marshall Turbeville is currently the Fire Chief of the Northern Sonoma County Fire District and a Battalion Chief with CAL FIRE.  He feels that what we do in prevention and preparedness is much more important than what we do during an emergency response.  Working together before an emergency, we may be able to prevent the emergency and if the emergency does occur, we are able to reduce the damages and losses.  This opinion comes from his experience of being a responder for over 25 years and being a member of the Northern Sonoma County community.  COPE provides a model to support grassroots individual and neighborhood level preparedness and helping each other during an emergency where they may not be enough responders to properly help everyone.  COPE NoSoCo supports collaboration and coordination between neighborhoods and communities. Chief Turbeville was awarded the 2021 national Wildfire Mitigation Award by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the USDA Forest Service (USFS).

Nancy Brown, PhD Board Member

Dr Nancy Brown is the Community Preparedness Program Manager for the Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management. Originally from Southern California she previously served as Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for The Hotels at the Disneyland Resort® in Anaheim, California. In this capacity the power of community to fill in response gaps and move preparedness forward was demonstrated daily by Cast Member commitment to support emergency preparedness to keep staff and guests safe in disaster. Nancy began attending COPE meetings in her professional capacity, to support community preparedness. Once again the power of community was being leveraged to get communities ready to stay safe in disaster. NoSoCo COPE has been her model for other areas of the County, demonstrating what local leadership and involvement can accomplish in both mitigation and preparedness efforts for neighborhoods across the County.