Feb 20

Feb 2008: RivCo Office of Emergency Services

February 2008 Monthly Meeting Recap
Riverside County Office of Emergency Services (OES)

Many thanks to Fay Glass, Emergency Services Coordinator for Riverside County OES, for doing an excellent job as our featured speaker this month.  Here’s a recap of what you missed if you couldn’t join us…

Fay presented the 12 steps of Emergency Survival reminding us that we need to be prepared with a plan that includes what we will do, where we will go, and how we will communicate and/or be reunited with our loved ones if separated when disaster strikes.  She passed out packets of materials that included information on securing your space in an earthquake, a family disaster plan guideline, information on how to help children cope with disasters, information on business preparedness, and a bag for storing and protecting copies of important documents like insurance policies, driver’s license and passport, etc. Fay also reminded us that we need to have disaster supplies in the places where we spend out time – namely at home, at work, at our children’s schools and in our vehicles – that include water, food, first aid, warm and comfortable clothing and shoes, a means of shelter, and tools as well as a plan for how we will protect our loved ones and our supplies – in accordance with our personal values.  The packet of materials Fay provided included information on the types of supplies and how to store them.  She stressed the importance of getting training in disaster response skills including first aid, CPR and CERT and announced that we are developing a list of folks interested in attending CERT training so we can set a date for our next class.

Fay then talked about how the county’s Emergency Warning Notification System (reverse 911), which is capable of making 250,000 emergency notifications per hour, has now been tested in actual emergencies and was successful in either reaching a person or an answering machine in 5,247 of the 8,902 numbers it tried to reach – which is a very good percentage.  The system is set up to call both published and non-published (unlisted) land line phones, is capable of handling notifications in multiple languages, and will make 3 attempts to get an answer or a machine.  The county is working on creating a form that will be web-accessible, where residents can add their cell phone numbers to the county’s phone number database.

Fay went on to mention that the County OES will be conducting a disaster exercise at March Air Force Base on April 1st for which they will need volunteer “victims.”  During the county’s Golden Guardian exercise (on the heels of the southern-California-wide ShakeOut this coming November), CERT volunteers will be involved on Saturday, November 15th – so mark your calendars now!  You can contact Fay at Fay.Glass@fire.ca.gov if you are interested in either event.

During group discussions we learned that our primary point of contact in the aftermath of a major disaster will be the Jurupa Sheriff Station where they will have an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) set up – that will include radio communications.  Our volunteer emergency radio communicators will communicate to the Sheriff’s Department’s local EOC and they, in turn, will handle or pass along the incidents and needs we report to the County OES or fire department.  We also talked about how our volunteer radio communicator network can be used to disseminate information from agencies like the JCSD to the people in our communities, like where to go to get water when the water delivery infrastructure is broken, or where Public Health Department Points of Disbursement (PODs) have been set up to dispense life-saving medications.  We have lots to do, yet things are starting to come together!

Among the lessons learned (and shared by emergency responders) from the recent wildfires were the fact that inadequate planning for and evacuation of pets, large animals, and vital prescription medications were among the challenges faced by both those evacuated on short notice and those in law enforcement trying to keep the evacuees from returning to their homes before it was safe to do so.  Representatives from the Sheriff Department encouraged everyone to put planning for evacuation of pets and remembering to take prescription medications with you (or planning to have someone get your pets and meds if disaster threatens while you are at work) at the top of their to do list.  Animal Rescue also encouraged those with many and/or large animals to either have sufficient means to transport their animals to a safe place, or have arrangements in place with others for the safe transport of their animals.

Please pass along copies of these recaps to your friends and neighbors who may not be able to join us for our meetings yet can still benefit from what we learn and share.  If they would like to be permanently added to our master list, just have them send me an email with their name, address, agency or group (like CERT) to which they belong, phone, community (like “Eastvale” or “Sky Country”) phone and email address.  If each of us does our part to spread the word, we can eventually reach the thousands of folks in our communities who need to be informed, involved and trained.


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  1. Betty Folsom

    Fabulous work Irene! Please add me to your membership list.

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    1. Christopher Long

      Hi Betty,

      We moderate all comments to prevent spam and to prevent vulgar language. Just trying to keep a professional website!

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