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Posted by on May 2, 2012

By Barry Zander, edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers.

As you may know but don‘t really care too much about, there is a cadre of your fellow citizens on the Hill who have accepted duties related to Mountain Disaster Preparedness (alias, MDP, and paired with a lot of other initials that you’ll never remember)

If you noticed a metal storage box in your neighborhood – and you’re probably one of the few who paid much attention to it – with initials like DAS (meaning Disaster Aid Station) or NCP-D painted on

This Disaster Aid Station is on Franklin in Pine Cove

it, you may understand that this container is filled with the items you’ll need in case of a major disaster, i.e., a fire, earthquake, etc.  If that were your understanding, you’d be wrong.

The DAS is set up and ready for a disaster situation

The supplies in that box are for me and the dozens of other folks trained to respond when disaster strikes.  None of it is for you!  But don’t get upset … it is there to help you indirectly.

Let’s go through the process of a disaster that warrants calling team members to their posts.  At DAS-Delta located at Town Hall in Idyllwild, Marshall Smith is the Commander, with Les Walker and me as his captains.  If any of us couldn’t make it, the others would show up and take charge as needed.  The same is true for all the other sites around our peaceful mountain, with their own teams of responsible neighbors.

Okay, so Marshall, Les and I are there to unlock the gate at Town Hall and then unlock the heavy-duty locks on the storage container.  We pull out tables, chairs, a big generator, papers and pens, various kinds of two-way radios and all the items we’ll need to fulfill our roles in this disaster.

Medics Treat a Role-Playing Pregnant Patient

The medical team will show up simultaneously and stand ready to help the injured as needed.  Others will form a team whose function it is to go around the area and find out what’s happening in the surrounding streets – looking for the injured, damaged homes, fires, gas leaks and other crisis situations, pets that are roaming at large, etc.  The members of that team are tasked with reporting back to the DAS center about the good, the bad and anything else of importance.

Our job then becomes to relay that information to the appropriate people, like the fire department, the Red Cross, the main medical center, maybe even animal agencies or volunteers like ARF.  We tell them what is happening and what we hope they can do to help

Let’s get back to that headline:  YOUR SISTER CALLED.  SHE WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU’RE OKAY.  That’s where you come in … literally.   When the DAS unit in your neighborhood opens, your responsibility is to go there.  Tell the person at the front table your name, address and your status – uninjured, injured, lost your home, lost your dog, whatever is relevant at the moment.

That information will be in our records so that when your sister (or other concerned acquaintance) calls the Red Cross asking about you, we can let her know how you are faring.  On the other hand, if you’re injured, a well-trained medical team, made up of local residents with various medical degrees including physicians and nurses, will be there to make the best of a bad situation.  Basic medical supplies are in that same storage box as the Disaster Prep team’s array of necessary items.  The more seriously injured will be transported to the MDP medical station.

Another valuable service you can provide is to volunteer at the aid station.  We need scribes to keep track of what’s happening, who has checked in and what skills are available.  We need

Staffers Keep Track of Where the Teams Are

able-bodied residents who know the area to join with teams surveying surrounding streets for problems.   At our last drill, we had no one except me checking in people for about 30 minutes, which created a major logistics problem.  When a gentleman from across the street volunteered to take over, the benefit to the entire operation was quickly apparent, and he said he felt good about helping.

By now you have put together your own home disaster supplies, complete with food, water, medicines, flashlights and any other items you’ll need in case of emergency.  That’s another way you will aid the Idyllwild effort if the need arises.

There are several training events for participating volunteers, which you can ignore as a non-participating resident, but we hope you will come by the nearest Disaster Aid Station when a community drill is planned and announced – and, of course, in case of a real emergency.

David Alt Reviews Procedures with Team

I want to cite David and Veronica Alt for their devotion to making all this work.  There are dozens of people all around you who are also part of this effort and who deserve credit for their willingness to participate, giving up a few Saturdays a year for training, etc.   I see these people as heroes, who, hopefully, will never be needed for this vital role.

All we ask of you is to come by the DAS unit nearest you when a drill OR THE REAL THING HAPPENS and tell them you’re okay.


ONE MORE THING.  If you are interested in having blogs posted on the Town Crier website, please contact me directly at the email address below.  I’ll be glad to talk with you about how you can participate.


Happy RVers, but At Home on The Hill

Barry & Monique

 Photos by Barry Zander.  All rights reserved.


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