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Disasters

National emergency alert testing tomorrow, Oct. 3

Tomorrow, Oct. 3, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to conduct the fourth nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA).

The WEA portion of the test is scheduled to commence at 11:18 a.m. Cell phones that are switched on and within range of an active cell tower should be capable of receiving the test message. Cell phones should only receive the message once.

The EAS portion of the test is scheduled to commence at 11:20 a.m. and will involve broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, and satellite radio and television services.

The test may look like regular, local EAS tests that are familiar to most people, but there will be some differences in what viewers will see and hear. During the test the public will hear a message indicating “this is a test.” The audio message will be the same for radio, television and cable. With this test, television viewers will see the EAS message scrolling across their television screens, however,the printed message may not include the words “this is a test”. If you see the message without the words “this is a test” please do not call 911 as this is only a test. If you have an actual emergency, then call 911. Regular programming will resume at the conclusion of the test.

More information and links to both FEMA and the FCC’s information pages are available at the San Bernardino County Fire website here. This site also provides information on how to prepare for and stay informed about what to do in the event of an actual emergency. That information can also be found here.

Please remember, this is ONLY a test and not an actual emergency.

Need a place to escape the heat?

Temperatures in our beautiful county are expected to reach well into triple digits this weekend, which might be not only uncomfortable but downright dangerous for some people.

Don’t know how to beat the heat? The good people at San Bernardino County 211 have compiled a list of more than 70 places throughout the county that are cool when the weather is hot. Click here to find the one closest to you.

You can also call 211 to find the nearest Extreme Heat Cooling Center or help dealing with any food, shelter, healthcare or social services needs. But if you need immediate medical attention, call 911.

Open house for Blue Cut Fire victims on Nov. 5

blue-cut-fire-flyer-pictureSupervisor Robert Lovingood invites residents affected by the Blue Cut Fire to attend an open house to learn about assistance for removing asbestos and debris from their property.

“Helping people who continue to struggle is one of my highest priorities,” said Supervisor Lovingood. “The Board of Supervisors has made special funding available to help people recover and prepare to rebuild, otherwise victims in this situation might find themselves on their own.”

The open house will be held on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Phelan Elementary School, 4167 Phelan Road in Phelan.

Residents will be able to access information about Community Development Block Grants and zero-to-low-interest loans that may be available to them to remove asbestos and prepare to rebuild. They can also get information about building and fire permits, water wells, and debris removal.

Representatives from County agencies including Community Development and Housing, Code Enforcement, Solid Waste, Building and Safety, Fire Marshal, Environmental Health and Behavioral Health will be available. Nonprofit groups such as the United Way will also be present to help victims with any other fire-related needs.

For more information about Blue Cut Fire resources, please visit http://www.sbcounty.gov/bluecut.

County preparing for El Niño storms

Elder Creek at BaselineClearing flood control channels, stockpiling sandbags and holding public outreach meetings in flood-prone areas are just a few things County departments are doing to prepare for El Niño storms this fall and winter.

The Board of Supervisors heard a special presentation today from County staff about what is being done throughout the county to prepare for El Niño.

“The County is doing everything possible to be prepared for heavy rains,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Protecting the public is our highest priority. But we are urging the public to do everything they can to protect themselves, their families and their homes. Surviving El Niño will be a team effort.”

The County Office of Emergency Services is working in conjunction with the Department of Public Works, the Sheriff’s Department, County Fire, and Special Districts – along with local, regional and state partners – to make sure all safety issues throughout the county are being addressed. Risks of flooding and mudslides are higher in areas that have recently experienced wildfires.

Flood control channels and culvert crossings are being cleared in anticipation of heavy rains and advance teams are advising homeless encampments to relocate.  More than 200,000 sandbags are being stockpiled and inmate hand crews have been trained in sandbagging, flood fight techniques and debris removal.  Additional weather stations were added throughout the county and the real-time rain gauge alert system is being updated. Sheriff’s deputies and County firefighters are practicing procedures for swift water rescue training.

Public outreach meetings have been held in Lake Arrowhead, Yucaipa and Victorville to update residents on the latest El Niño forecast and what County departments are doing to prepare. Residents were also offered flood preparation materials. More public meetings will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 at the Yucca Valley Community Center, 57090 Twentynine Palms Highway in Yucca Valley and at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center, 12505 Cultural Center Drive in Rancho Cucamonga. A meeting time and date for the San Antonio Heights/Mt. Baldy area will be announced soon.

An El Niño resources web page for residents to obtain information on storm preparation is available at http://www.sbcounty.gov/main/elnino.asp.

Forest Falls grateful for Public Works support

 

Dozens of Forest Falls residents took the time to thank County Public Works road crews in writing for cleaning up their community following a powerful storm that sent a river of mud and boulders through the heart of their mountain village.

Forest Falls letter

On Sunday, August 3, a thunderstorm parked itself just upstream of Forest Falls and dumped almost five inches of rain in less than an hour. A terrifying torrent of water, mud, boulders, and uprooted trees came roaring down into the community, closing Valley of the Falls Drive, Prospect Drive, and other roads, stranding many residents. The incident prompted an emergency proclamation by the Board of Supervisors.

20140804_092940Within a day, County Public Works had cleared roadways enough for residents to gain access to a shelter that had been established at the community center. Within two days, Valley of the Falls Drive and Prospect Drive were re-opened to the public. Unfortunately, Forest Falls is no stranger to these types of disasters.

The community’s unique canyon geography and the tendency of summer thunderstorms to stall upstream make sudden debris flows an all-to-common occurrence. Undeterred, residents have come to take these incidents in stride, and are grateful for the quick and consistent support they receive from numerous County agencies, including the Department of Public Works.

Volunteers needed to help Mt. Baldy community cleanup efforts

In response to the recent flash floods that hit parts of San Bernardino County and specifically the Mt. Baldy community, Inland Empire United Way is working with the San Bernardino County Fire Office of Emergency Services and San Bernardino County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster to coordinate cleanup efforts tomorrow, MT.-BALDY-FloodingSaturday, Aug. 9, and Sunday, Aug. 10.

Volunteers are needed to shovel and remove dirt, mud, and general debris. The work needed to be done involves hard physical labor, so volunteers must be in good physical shape and 18 years of age or older.  If you are interested in volunteering you must register online at www.handsoninlandempire.org and follow the link titled Emergency Mt. Baldy Cleanup.  People interested in volunteering may also dial 211 or call 1-888-435-7565 for more information.

 

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