The Idyllwild Warming Center, located at and operated by American Legion Post 800, is available this winter, as it has been for the past two years.

Located at 54360 Marian View Drive, the center opens, based on an existing activation protocol, when particular weather conditions occur. Those conditions are when an electrical outage affecting multiple homes in the Idyllwild area lasts longer than three hours, when temperatures are 30 degrees or lower; and when temperatures are 20 degrees or below for a 24-hour period or longer.

The center operates under memoranda of understanding between the Legion, the Community Action Partnership of Riverside County and Mountain Disaster Preparedness. The Community Action Partnership is a non-profit that functions as a link with county government and provides certain types of assistance to county warming centers, including blankets, cots and certain consumables such as hot chocolate and granola bars. Mountain Disaster Preparedness is a local volunteer emergency preparedness group with a large membership. Under the dual agreements, the Legion agrees to provide and maintain the center, MDP agrees to use its radio and email system to notify its network of IWC activation and opening, and CAP agrees to provide support as it does to other county warming and cooling centers. To be eligible under CAP criteria, the Legion, as a warming center, had to be generally accessible, have more than one source of heat and/or a back-up generator, have Americans with Disabilities Act accessible entrance and restrooms and space for cots to be set up if conditions warranted.

Legion members Danny Richardson and Rick Foster are primary warming center contacts and are on the activation committee. Richardson noted the Legion is well-equipped to meet its warming center responsibilities when the center is activated, with wood for heating, cots, blankets and food and warm beverage items. Foster can be reached at (951) 249-4702 and Richardson at (951) 659-8286 and 205-1627.

In that event, volunteers might also be needed to help staff and provide transportation for those unable to drive to the center. Contact Warming Center Activation Committee Secretary Nancy Layton at (909) 225-5127 if interested in helping.