In Mountain Disaster Preparedness

Mountain Disaster Preparedness, an ICF Recipient

mountain disaster preparedness shed

Thanks to Jayne Davis for this month’s nonprofit writeup.

Disaster strikes!!  Earthquake, ‘the big one’, fire, torrential rains, mudslides, extended power failure….are you prepared?  You should be, with supplies to last you and your family for up to seven days.  We who live on this mountain, with only three roads up, are so vulnerable to being cut off from timely disaster relief. That is a big concern.  First thing all residents must  do is secure their home, themselves and their families and then ‘head to a shed’ (one of eight Disaster Aid Stations dispersed throughout Idyllwild, Pine Cove and Mountain Center.)  There are eight of them on the Hill manned by Mountain Disaster Preparedness (MDP) team volunteers.

Formed in 1986, the early mission of MDP was to educate the population in emergency preparedness and disaster response awareness.  Since then, MDP has gone from community education to ‘boots on the ground’, hard core emergency relief exercises and readiness, our own Idyllwild Red Cross.  A 501(c)3, MDP volunteers serve Idyllwild, Pine Cove and Mountain Center. The organization has over 400 members (not all active), 70 expert medical personnel (EMTs, doctors, nurses), and 130 members who are trained in Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) disaster response techniques and methodology.

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Disaster Aid Stations (DAS) are a huge component of MDP community service.  It is there, at their own assigned DAS, where neighborhood residents can gather after a disaster to get basic first aide, report on their status, get medical transportation, call for search and rescue for others in the neighborhood, and generally find out what is going on. Note: Neighborhood DAS facilities are not a place to get personal supplies, i.e. food and water… residents should have all of that at home.  At the DAS units CERT volunteers and medical teams assemble and assess damage, threats, and injuries. If necessary, injured will be transported to the Idyllwild Fire Station where eighteen members of the MDP medical team will be set up to do triage.

Another important component of MDP is communication.  They have 40 radios with trained personnel and two operating systems, one a general one, and a second closed one with a repeater to increase range and transmit sensitive medical information from the field DAS units to triage stations at Idyllwild Fire Station or other designated Incident Command Center.  With the support of Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone, MDP recently acquired a satellite communication device to disperse updates in the event of power outages and loss of cell service.

Ongoing functions of MDP are recruitment and support of CERT teams and working with the Idyllwild Fire Department for various certifications and continued training.

MDP ‘s operating budget is $10,000/year and is used for replenishing medical supplies, drugs, and continually supplying DAS units.  They are funded totally by donations and grants.  Without grant monies from the Idyllwild Community Fund this important community resource would not be where they are today.  Grants in the past from ICF have allowed them to purchase hundreds of dollars of equipment to expand community outreach.  Working with the American Red Cross over the years they are gradually convincing that organization that Idyllwild can take care of itself in the event of disaster.

The ICF grant awarded to MDP in 2012 was used for the purchase of a 2nd closed radio network and equipment to go with.   The grant awarded for 2013 will be used to   purchase two emergency cabinets (tough, mobile, and secure).  These will be stored at Idyllwild Elementary School.  ICF has made all this possible and MDP  is grateful beyond compare.

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A DAS shed is packed….easy-ups, tables, medical supplies, fire extinguishers, tools, rope, flashlights, batteries, cots, blankets, sleeping bags, paper products, emergency water, small rations,power cords, a generator…..

A huge job and expense is checking expiration dates of shed contents and resupplying as necessary.  Marty Krieger is in charge of all that.