The details of a mountain communication system are in the works, according to Idyllwild Fire Protection District (IFPD) Chief Mark LaMont at the last IFPD board meeting held Sept. 24.
Details about the materials and construction of the system are in discussion so that a final cost can be nailed down. In the meantime, there are grant funds available that could be utilized to expand local emergency AM radio station WNKI’s service across the mountain.
According to LaMont, Brian Tisdale with Riverside County Emergency Management Department, is in charge of finalizing the details on the mountain’s communication system.
“What I am working on with Brian [Tisdale] now is narrowing down the list of materials needed to expand WNKI across the entire mountain plateau and to install alerting sirens and an education platform to go with that,” LaMont told the board and meeting attendees.
Tisdale is a former Lake Elsinore mayor and aide to Third District Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington. According to a story in the Press Enterprise published June 22, 2016, Tisdale worked as a Riverside County disaster preparedness manager before becoming an aide to Washington.
“We are narrowing down an exact number, dollar amount, to provide us with the proper materials and equipment needed to stand the system up,” LaMont explained to the board and meeting attendees.
“The county is currently working under a grant that they received last year for emergency alerting notifications and Brian Tisdale believes we can utilize some of that funding … So, he is working with the grant folks to ensure that they are able to utilize some of those funds which would kick off the first phase, which is expanding WNKI,” LaMont explained. “The second phase would be actually doing improvements on any parcels that would need improvements to carry the alerting system on them. Thirdly, the implementation and installation of those sirens.
“What the grant needs is an identification of each of those products, each of the pieces of equipment, and need three different suppliers of that equipment in order to narrow down the cost summary so they can prove that to the county to utilize those funds to purchase that equipment.
“Ultimately, we are in the process of narrowing that down whether or not those pieces of equipment qualify for the grant, and if so, could we move forward and purchase them so we can start standing that system up,” concluded LaMont.