On Sept. 10, Marie Elaine Davis, associate director, Emergency Services for the Red Cross, and Jody Haynes, RN, Disaster Health Services Regional leader, spoke to a group of about 40 concerned Idyllwild residents about “all hazards” preparedness. “From the Red Cross perspective, what we teach communities is to be prepared for any disaster because it is all about scale and scope,” Davis said. “It is all about how big, how many people impacted, how many people evacuated … its scale and scope. You can either scale it up and get more resources and more people or you can scale it down dependent upon the disaster.”

There are a number of threats to Idyllwild. Dr. Dick Goldberg of Mountain Disaster Preparedness offered, “We’ve come up with six hazards that we thought made us the most vulnerable, they are 1) fire or wildfire, 2) earthquake, 3) cold and related hazards (ice storm, electrical outages, injuries, road closures), 4) heat exposure, 5) rain related, floods, and 6) wind
storm, trees falling on power lines.”

Once the risks are identified and validated, then appropriate planning can be done. “We are a tourist-oriented community,” observed Mike Feyder of MDP, “Jazz in the Pines brings in 6,000 people or so for a weekend, our camps are full of kids during the summer, so 3,000 permanent and 12,000 during high vacation periods and events up here, So, plan for both?” asked Feyder. “Plan for both,” Davis said.

On Saturday, Oct. 19, MDP, Certified Emergency Response Teams, Mile High Radio Club, and Woodies will mobilize to go through real-case scenarios at each of the eight Disaster Aid Station units.

CERT teams will go out and identify potential issues from the top down. The drill usually lasts for about an hour and a half. The MDP radio network is activated, communication devices within the DAS units are activated and the teams will practice a real search and rescue. The theater group, Isis, participates by portraying injury victims of the various disaster scenarios. Triage units will be active at each of the DAS units. Idyllwild Fire Protection District and Cal Fire both participate in this hands-on exercise.

“Are people close-knit and is it a family here? Absolutely, but if there are 4,500 people here [in Idyllwild], then the whole family is not here tonight, not even half the family is here tonight. It’s going to take more than the people in this room. You’re a start and I commend you, but it is going to take a lot of those other residents to get involved to keep everybody safe and taken care of if something happens,” said Davis.

For more information or to participate, contact the MDP via their website at www.mdp-idyllwild.com.