President Mike Feyder and Dr. Dick Goldberg of Mountain Disaster Preparedness are focusing their efforts on helping the Idyllwild community get prepared for disaster. Feyder understands the challenge well. “Preparedness is like telling someone they need to go to the dentist to get a root canal,” he said. “It’s the last thing they want to hear about but someone has got to think about it.”
MDP is a 501(c)3 nonprofit started back in the 1970s. It has about 400 members of which about 120 are certified as a community emergency response team. They have been certified either here in Idyllwild or off the Hill by various fire departments. Certification requirements include completing a 40-hour class.
Goldberg heads up the MDP medical response team comprised of about 60 retired nurses, EMTs and doctors. In the event of an emergency they establish a triage that is already functional at the Idyllwild Fire Station. Eight disaster aid stations are strategically located throughout Idyllwild, Mountain Center, Pine Cove and Fern Valley.
“September is going to be a busy busy month for us kicking off on Sept. 10 with an event we are working on with the Red Cross,” Feyder said. Goldberg, explaining further, said, “It’s a four-pronged, multi-faceted approach. The first is to make a presentation to the community on ‘all hazards’ preparedness, to educate the community on what the hazards locally are and what you can do in terms of abatement, etc.
“The second is to talk to the medical group here — nurses, doctors and other personnel. We are going to be establishing a medical shelter independent of the shelter that the Red Cross may establish. This would be in tandem with the other shelters but we would be taking care of people that needed so-called in-patient therapy and treatments.
“The third would be an outreach to those who want to register. They will be given information on how to register as members; many have already taken the first step in terms of having been oriented. Those are the 32 people that have signed up. There will be other opportunities for people who did not attend that orientation.
“The fourth facet is that they want to meet with community leaders to do an assessment of our preparedness and what our needs are.”
While Feyder acknowledges that MDP is more geared toward an earthquake scenario, they learned a lot from working with first responders on the Mountain Fire. “We were called on to assist with both fire and Riverside County sheriffs both during the evacuation and for repopulation. We learned a lot. That was a real exercise,” Feyder said.
MDP’s concern about a major earthquake is a valid one. A strong earthquake has not occurred on the San Jacinto Fault since 1987. “Fire is one thing,” Feyder said. “The fire started and a day and a half later they decided it was bad enough that they had to evacuate. We had warning to get people off the Hill. The San Jacinto Fault is one of the most active in the state of California and we are sitting right on top of it. The San Andreas is the San Andreas. If we have a powerful quake on either one of those the likelihood of having a rock slide, a road closure or an accident is high. We could be completely cut off,” Feyder said emphatically.
The southern section of the San Andreas Fault has not ruptured in more than 300 years and the likelihood of a major quake resulting in substantial damage to the area is high. The 2008 Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast estimated that the probability of an magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake within the next 30 years on the northern and southern segments of the San Andreas Fault is somewhere between 21 and 59 percent.
Goldberg feels the Red Cross is an important resource for the Idyllwild community. “If there is a disaster that isolates the community for a couple of days or for even a couple of weeks, which could happen in the event of the big one, we would be the Red Cross up here. The residents up here who have Red Cross training are going to be the ones that are doing the sheltering and will know how to access the food depots, etc. We are trying to alert the community that this is a gap in our preparedness efforts that can be filled and there is a resource that is willing to do it. We need to try and enroll as many people as we can.”
Feyder is also excited to unveil the new MDP website, “There will be a hot button on the website that will be updated throughout an event and the event could be an earthquake, fire, road closure, weather, anything. When the website is updated with new information it is automatically going to be sent to their [registrants] email address. Smart phones, mobile devices and computers will automatically and instantaneously be given information generated by MDP.”
Also, MDP has plans to combine their information dissemination efforts with those of the Town Crier. “I think we need to combine forces the next time … There’s no pride in authorship here. It’s just a need to get the information out,” Feyder said.
On Sept, 18 a community meeting is planned targeting camp leadership and inns. “Right now there are camps up here, there are a couple of schools and there are a number of inns,” There are also a number of contractors that have a variety of skills and an assortment of heavy equipment.
“There’s no overall scheme about how these resources, in terms of housing at the inns, in terms of supplies of food they may have stored, in terms of water resources, there is no scheme about how all of these resources could be integrated, so what we would like to do is establish a forum where we start to look at these issues and ultimately come up with a master plan about how a response might flow if we all had to be up here and take care of each other,” Goldberg said.
Category: Idyllwild News