The Mountain Disaster Preparedness group met with several Riverside County officials last week to discuss emergency medical care in case of a disaster such as an earthquake, which might leave the Hill isolated from nearby medical facilities.

MDP has been developing plans for providing emergency medical services for more than a year. Among its initiatives is obtaining Red Cross approval for a shelter on the Hill if necessary and receiving county recognition of the medical response team.

This session was a very positive step forward, according to several of the participants.
“We thought it was very helpful,” said Dr. Dick Goldberg, who heads up the medical response team. “We presented a very comprehensive review of our medical preparation at the volunteer level. They were very supportive of our efforts.”

County officials were impressed with the skills and talent available here, said Emergency Services Coordinator Gina Moran-McGough of the county’s Office of Emergency Services.
No formal agreements were signed at the Nov. 5 meeting, but the county’s medical team has agreed to provide specific training to MDP’s medical volunteers.

“They offered to send people here to train us as a medical reserve corps,” Goldberg said happily. “They have a lot of systems in place to augment our system.”

MDP has been pursuing the county relationship at the Mountain Emergency Services Committee meetings (MEMSCOMM). Moran-McGough chairs those meetings.

She and Peter Lent, OES deputy director, arranged last week’s meeting to introduce the Hill group to the county emergency medical leadership, including Dr. Cameron Kaiser, County Public Health officer, and Bruce Barton, director of the county’s Emergency Medical Services Agency.

Moran-McGough knew that MDP members were Community Emergency Response-trained, but she wanted the county to know of the group’s other emergency medical capabilities and what value they could add.

One advantage of a relationship with the county’s public health organization is that seeking Red Cross approval of a medical shelter won’t rest solely with MDP. The county can also approach Red Cross to designate this resource.

“It really worked out well,” observed MDP President Mike Feyder. “We are only emergency prepared, but as well prepared as we can be.”