On the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 18, Mountain Disaster Preparedness held a community meeting for camp managers, innkeepers and restaurateurs at the Idyllwild Pines Amphitheater.
The meeting was the first step in developing a comprehensive plan with the camps and inns for a “shelter in place” situation for up to 14 days in the event of a major disaster, expanding on the Mountain Area Safety Taskforce’s already existing plan.
Speakers included MDP President Michael Feyder, MDP Medical Director Dr. Richard Goldberg, Idyllwild Fire Chief Patrick Reitz, Sheriff’s Deputy Walter Kurtz, and Mile High Radio Club President Bill Tell. Representatives from Cal Fire also attended.
Representatives from several local camps were on hand, including Camp Buckhorn, Alhatti and Tahquitz Pines.
A questionnaire was given to all attendees to ascertain the resources each camp has available. Reitz explained the importance of providing the information requested on the questionnaire.
“How many of you think that if the big one hit right now at 5 p.m. in Idyllwild on Sept. 18, how many of you are prepared for even three days to stand alone at your camps with who you have in camp now and the resources that you have on hand?
“We are asking you now to expand out and consider a couple of things. One is a longer period of time, a seven- to 10-day window. I also want you to think about what you’re going to do if this thing hits in the dead of winter. That’s kind of the direction we want you thinking about. The expectation is that we want you to be as stand-alone as possible.”
The Red Cross offers online tools to assist businesses and organizations in their preparedness planning. The site — www.readyrating.org — includes an online self-assessment, an emergency response planner, a resource planner and a Ready Rating Store that offers preparedness equipment and supplies.
“We haven’t used [the Red Cross site] and I can’t say anymore about it except that it exists, but it is designed to assist organizations, camps, corporations, etc., in terms of their preparedness. We plan to use it as an organization and, hopefully, once we are more integrated with all of this as a community we can use it,” said Goldberg.
“FEMA also has some information on [preparedness],” said Reitz. “A website I was just introduced to this week is 72hours.org. It is put out by the San Francisco Office of Emergency Services. They have lots of ways to do planning but most of it is geared toward individuals, but you’ll get the gist of it when you start clicking on it. It’s a really good website.”
Water systems also posed a concern. “Everyone says you can survive without food but one thing you cannot survive without is water,” said Feyder. He asked Pine Cove Water District General Manager Jerry Holldber about how sensitive the pipes are in an earthquake.
Holldber is confident that all three water districts on the Hill [Pine Cove, Fern Valley and Idyllwild] are prepared. “All three of us have modern systems, good pipelines, good infrastructure. We have interconnections between all three districts. We all three have a lot of storage; we all have a lot of emergency storage.
“I believe that most of our tanks in the three districts are built for seismic zone 4 that we are in. We have plans, we cooperate and we have communication. Pine Cove has communication with other agencies in case of an emergency. We feel confident,” said Holldber.
Tell discussed communications capabilities. “Our communications primarily augment what is available on the Hill.” MHRC is the Mountain District through the national Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services. “There are mutual agreements that we have with other RACES divisions. RACES falls under County OES so if there is an activation of us we are going to be activated through OES.”
MDP is preparing to unveil its new website — www.idyllwildemergency.com — to alert subscribers of updates to the site. “If the earth shakes in Anza, you’re going to know about it. You’re going to know when it was and where it was,” said Feyder.
Feyder’s hope is that the meeting is the beginning of a dialogue involving the entire community. “The hope is that the MDP, and we are just a group of volunteers, can play a role in the future in pulling a plan together through MAST [Mountain Area Safety Task Force.] That’s what this meeting is all about,” Feyder concluded.
For more information on MDP, visit www.mdp-idyllwild.com.
Category: Idyllwild News