Lifelong Learning instructor who escaped Santa Rosa fire to offer emergency preparedness class at KCC

Smoke billows over trees in Santa Rosa, California, during a wildfire in October 2017.
KCC Lifelong Learning instructor Kevin Boyd.

Lifelong Learning instructor Kevin Boyd

When Kellogg Community College Lifelong Learning instructor Kevin Boyd arrived in Santa Rosa, California, last month to teach a class on emergency preparedness, he had no idea he’d bear witness to the beginning stages of the most destructive wildfire in California history.

The fire, which started and spread quickly in the nighttime hours of Oct. 8, ultimately resulted in the deaths of more than 40 people, the loss of 3,000 homes – 5 percent of the city’s housing – and $1 billion in property damage.

“I was there the very day the fire started,” Boyd, who was staying at a hotel about two miles south of the fires, says. “When I woke up, I noticed firemen in the parking lot and black smoke in the air. I hadn’t anticipated how irritating the smoke was to breath. The evacuation routes were jammed. It took three hours just to go three miles.”

Boyd says that since he was safe where he was, he stayed put. He found himself glued to the television, where he heard emergency professionals offer many of the same safety tips he provides in his classes.

Boyd was able to get out of town two days later, offering his room to a displaced couple who had lost everything and couldn’t find anywhere to stay. The emergency preparedness class he’d come to Santa Rosa to teach, ironically, was canceled due to the emergency.

Boyd says he was told more than 50 Santa Rose Junior College employees and more than 200 students lost everything in the fire.

“Students who had registered for the class could not use the information because it was too late,” Boyd says. “If it was just one week earlier, they would have known what to do.”

Now back in Michigan, Boyd is offering his emergency preparedness class to students in an upcoming Lifelong Learning class at KCC. The class, titled “Plan, Prepare & Backup All Your Vital Information for Any Emergency!” will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 2, at KCC’s Regional Manufacturing Technology Center campus, 405 Hill Brady Road, Battle Creek. The class costs $49 for Lifelong Learning members and $59 for nonmembers.

The class will help participants determine which paperwork is crucial to have in the event of fire, flood, natural disaster or medical emergency, and guide them in organizing vital information into a “Grab-&-Go” binder. Class members will also learn how to convert everything to electronic documents and back it all up to the cloud using free, easy to use, drag and drop tools, and will learn about helpful free apps, preparation tips, evacuation routes and much more.

“You never know when a disaster will strike – a fire, flood, earthquake, etc. Make sure you and your family are prepared,” Boyd says. “Let this expert help you to learn how to prepare and ease your mind.”

Also on Dec. 2 at the RMTC, Boyd will be teaching “eBay 101: The Basics of Selling!” The class will run from 1 to 4 p.m. and costs $59 for members and $69 for nonmembers.

The course will cover topics including how to set up an eBay Seller account, create successful eBay listings, upload pictures and accept credit card payments with PayPal, along with selling “Tips, Tricks and the Traps” to avoid and other information. Optional ebooks will be available for purchase after class.


Registration for Lifelong Learning classes at KCC can be completed:

  • By phone by calling KCC’s Lifelong Learning Department at 269-965-4134 and registering with a credit or debit card, or
  • In person at the Lifelong Learning office in room 102 of the Ohm Information Technology Center on KCC’s North Avenue campus in Battle Creek.

For more information about these or other Lifelong Learning classes, call the Lifelong Learning office at 269-965-4134.

Pictured above in a photo from Kevin Boyd, a view of the Santa Rosa wildfire from Boyd’s hotel balcony.

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