At the latest Mountain Emergency Services Committee (MEMSCOMM) meeting, coordinator Gina Moran-McGough discussed current availability of Homeland Security grant-funded mobile trailers designed to assist disaster recovery in areas of most critical need. Each trailer has 100 cots, blankets, a generator and other emergency supplies and can be towed to areas where most needed.

Moran-McGough said she was pleased to announce that out of 49 mobile Mass Care and Shelter Project trailers for the entire county, 14 are reserved for the unincorporated areas. Two will be located on the Hill. Since the trailers must be stored at a location secured around the clock, the Lake Riverside and Pine Cove fire stations were selected.

In addition to these mobile trailers, several Idyllwild residents, members of Mountain Disaster Preparedness, are Red Cross-trained to coordinate the opening of disaster shelters in the Idyllwild area.

Kalenga Munongo, Riverside County Department of Public Health program coordinator for emergency response, was the featured speaker and discussed how disaster preparation and post-disaster response could affect people with access and functional needs differently than others. Examples of access or functional needs include hearing and visual impairment, mobility restrictions, medical, physical or mentally compromised conditions.

“[This] is a very relative classification,” Munongo said. “At any given moment, any one of us could become a person with special needs. I wear glasses, but if I lost or broke my glasses I would be at a disadvantage during or after a disaster.”

Monongo recommended certain disaster preparation steps for everyone: conduct a personal or family needs assessment — know what you have and don’t have and what you would need to survive for several weeks with specific emphasis on medications, identification documents, cash, special needs items for those in your care; first aid kit; crank operated flashlight; radio and sanitation supplies, bedding and clothing; and especially a contact plan for family members. “Your plan should become personalized,” Monongo said. “This is about you.”

The state conducts Functional Assessment Service Team trainings for those with training in assisting those with disabilities who are interested in being shelter volunteers. Contact for an application, if interested. Alia Rodriguez is the contact at (951) 955-5667.