MDP President Mike Feyder opened the meeting to honor the CERT volunteers and to recruit potential volunteers. Photos by Barbara Reese

Mountain Disaster Preparedness, as part of an outreach campaign to recruit new volunteers, held an open house at Silver Pines Lodge on Thursday, April 18.

MDP Vice President Sherry Edwards organized the event to honor Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trained volunteers; but its underlying purpose was to recruit more Hill residents to MDP’s disaster preparedness and response programs.

CERT volunteers undergo training that certifies them to assist professional responders and provide basic emergency assistance in disaster response. Training encompasses basic fire suppression and safety, search and rescue, basic first aid and triage and team organization. CERT volunteers are usually also separately trained in the use of radios for emergency communication as part of their search and report function.

Around 35 people attended and heard Edwards speak about the importance to the community of knowing what role MDP plays and how residents can help themselves and others in a disaster by training and becoming part of MDP’s active volunteer base.

Said MDP President Michael Feyder, “In Boston [Marathon] and Texas [plant explosion] volunteers responded immediately, performed triage and saved lives. That’s why a strong disaster response volunteer base is so important to everyone on the Hill.”

Fire Chief Patrick Reitz, spoke to the asssembled group.
Idyllwild Fire Chief Patrick Reitz said of MDP’s volunteers, “It was one of the reasons that drew me to this community, the strong volunteer base that exists here. I can’t encourage you enough to participate in CERT. There is a small percentage of residents that are properly prepared for a disaster here on the Hill.”

MDP Medical Director Dr. Dick Goldberg announced a new training opportunity the Red Cross is making available to the Hill. Goldberg, who supervises the supplying of the eight Disaster Assembly and Aid Stations said, “There has long been missing from our community plan an important ingredient — the resources of the Red Cross. They are now prepared to commit resources and training to our community.” Red Cross will conduct an orientation for interested community volunteers from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8 at the Idyllwild Fire Station. Goldberg said Red Cross representatives have said they would return to the Hill to teach courses as needed.

Goldberg stressed that as part of that plan, MDP hopes to have Idyllwild School approved and certified as the designated Red Cross shelter where some emergency medical surgical procedures could be performed by Goldberg and staff. Currently, in event of disaster, those procedures would be performed at IFPD, but given its likely use as an incident command center, it would be impractical for MDP’s team to operate there.