Mike Feydar, new MDP president. Photo by Marshall Smith
Mountain Disaster Preparedness, the Idyllwild area’s volunteer emergency preparedness group, has a new board and new president. Incoming President Mike Feydar said he would focus on community outreach and getting the preparedness message out.

Feydar, who served as vice president under outgoing President Veronica Alt, brings previous disaster preparation board experience acquired in the South Bay to his new position. Careful to stress that his vision for expanded community outreach depends on board agreement, Feydar hopes to implement a “Map Your Neighborhood” plan that he helped put in place in the harbor area of the Palos Verdes peninsula where he lived previously.

“Being conscious of privacy issues, it’s a way to know who is in each neighborhood — elderly, infirm, kids alone — and what resources are available within that neighborhood that could be useful after a disaster.” Feydar noted that it improves disaster preparedness volunteers to work with and help inform professional responders in the wake of an emergency.

He takes over an organization that has a membership of over 400 and 90 Community Emergency Response Team trained volunteers. He acknowledged the efforts of Alt, Nancy Layton, Rick Foster and Dr. Dick Goldberg to build the organization. He said he believes MDP has a strong and willing partner in new Idyllwild Fire Chief Patrick Reitz and looks forward to working to strengthen that relationship and to better network with other co-interested groups to from an expanded community disaster readiness team.

Feydar also hopes to bring speakers, such as Cal Tech earthquake expert Lucy Jones, to the Hill to address the community and expand awareness about the need for preparation now. Feydar noted the worst-case scenario facing the Hill would be an earthquake and major fire at the same time, coupled with the likely isolation that road closure would bring. “It’s a numbers game,” he said. “Resources [county, state and federal] will first go where there is the most need.” And that would not be the comparatively sparsely populated Hill.

Feydar stressed the most important priority for MDP is to keep Goldberg’s core medical group staffed and supplied. “It’s important to keep medical supplies up to date.”

In leaving, outgoing President Veronica Alt said she is proud of accomplishments made during her and her predecessors’ tenures. Among them she noted: operating with a full board, water in all DAS units, a working radio system augmented by a recently funded satellite system, effective boots on the ground drills, mentoring other nascent Hill disaster prep groups, and receipt of grants from both Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone and the Idyllwild Community Fund.

“It has been a wonderful experience and I wish the very best to the new board,” she said.

Members of the new board, in addition to Feydar, are Sherry Edwards, vice president, Annemarie Padula, secretary, Bob Edwards, treasurer, B.J. Brix, director of communications, Dr. Dick Goldberg, medical director, Marty Krieger, DAS director and Chic Fojtik, public relations director. The position of training director is currently unfilled.