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Local public safety officials are encouraging residents to protect themselves and their loved ones before, during, and after a disaster by using a new smartphone app created through the San Bernardino County Office of Emergency Services (County OES) in partnership with QuickSeries Publishing.
“The county’s primary role is protecting the public. The Ready SB app gives residents and their families the tools and information they need to stay safe before, during, and after an emergency,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos.
The new app, Ready SB, provides residents with multiple resources that will assist them in preparing for a disaster. Ready SB is now available as a free download from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store and can immediately help residents prepare themselves for emergencies.
Ready SB features include:
- My Plan – Answer five simple questions and Ready SB will create your customized emergency supply checklist
- Alerts – With push notifications, County OES can notify you instantly of emergency situations in your area
- My Status – Use Ready SB’s integrated messaging system to send an instant status update to your personal emergency contact to let them know you’re OK or that you need assistance
- Evacmap & Shelters – Find evacuation routes with live traffic patterns and shelter locations with on- and offline mapping
- Need To Know – Learn all you need to plan for and respond to natural disasters, terrorism, pandemic flu, floods, earthquakes and more
- Resource List – Find contact information to local health and public safety agencies such as the American Red Cross, Animal Care & Control, county departments, and fire protection agencies
Ready SB’s features can be used with or without Internet connection. The app was created through a grant administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This is the first app of its kind within the state of California.
Public safety officials urge residents to utilize the Ready SB app to make a family emergency plan and stay informed during emergencies.
“Ready SB makes emergency preparedness easier than ever. With one app, residents can stay informed and know exactly what to do to stay safe in case of an emergency,” said Michael Antonucci, Emergency Services Manager of County OES.
Residents are reminded to take the necessary steps to protect their families as firefighters continue to battle and monitor ongoing fires. “The San Bernardino County Fire Department goes above and beyond to protect its residents from emergencies. Now with the Ready SB app, we’re empowering residents with the information they need to take action and prevent themselves from becoming victims of a disaster,” Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said.
San Bernardino County’s Shelter Operations Compound (SHOC) and Local Assistance Center (LAC), which have provided assistance to more than 300 residents displaced by the Blue Cut Fire, will close their doors today at noon. Assistance and services have been provided to evacuees at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville since last week.
Those impacted by the fire can still find out information about services and resources by calling 1-877-410-8829. Staff from San Bernardino County’s Transitional Assistance Department’s Customer Service Center will refer callers to resources. Information will be available in multiple languages, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., until Sept. 2. After Sept. 2, residents can call 2-1-1.
Those who call will be able to access many of the same resources that have been available to them since last week. On Aug. 18, San Bernardino County, in coordination with the American Red Cross, activated the County’s Mass Care and Shelter Plan and opened the Shelter Operations Compound to serve county residents impacted by the Blue Cut Fire. The County opened the Local Assistance Center at the fairgrounds on Aug. 19 to provide a one-stop location for a services including disaster assistance, property information, and insurance claims. Evacuees were provided with food, shelter, health care and animal care to residents displaced by the fire. Cots, food, showers and restrooms were also available.
Reunification of pets and owners is an important focus of San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control (ACC). In an effort to reunite lost pets with their families affected by the Blue Cut Fire, ACC urges individuals looking for lost pets to visit the three emergency evacuation animal shelters in Devore, Apple Valley and Victorville, as well as other local shelters in surrounding cities where lost or stray animal might have been taken.
· Devore Animal Shelter – 19777 Shelter Way, San Bernardino, call (909) 386-9820
· San Bernardino County Fairgrounds – 14800 7th St., Victorville.
· Apple Valley Animal Shelter – 22131 Powhatan Rd., Apple Valley, call (760) 240-7000
Animals evacuated from the fires may not be on ACC’s website due to the various locations they could have been taken to, such as the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville, the Town of Apple Valley Animal Shelter, and Devore Animal Shelter or other local shelters. All stray animals admitted to our Devore shelter are on our County’s website. The animal’s photo is placed on the ACC’s website for easy review, along with a brief description of the animal. Animals evacuated to county shelters by their owners will not be on the website since those animals are unavailable for adoption and we know who the owner of record is.
“Animal Care and Control is committed to helping reunite lost pets with their families,” said Brian Cronin, Chief of Animal Care and Control. “We encourage individuals looking for lost pets to first visit ACC’s animal shelters and then other local shelters.”
Some animals may be delivered to any of a number of other animal shelter facilities in the surrounding area. The City of Hesperia Animal Shelter, Victor Valley Animal Protective League (serves Adelanto and Victorville) or other shelters in the Central Valley may have received lost or stray animals during this time. Pet owners are encouraged to contact all local animal shelters if they have lost their pet.
County residents who have lost their homes to the Blue Cut Fire have been asking local relief workers if federal assistance will be available to help them rebuild. Unfortunately, the fire is not expected to reach the threshold needed to qualify for a federal disaster declaration and the federal aid that would follow.
The ongoing Blue Cut Fire burning through several San Bernardino County communities already stands as one of the most costly disasters to strike the county in recent years. But counties, cities, and other local government agencies cannot directly request federal aid. Only states can ask for a federal disaster declaration.
San Bernardino County declared a local emergency on Tuesday, the day the fire broke out. In response, the governor declared a state emergency, but the fire did not meet the threshold for a federal disaster.
The county is helping fire victims to the degree that it can by operating a Local Assistance Center at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville. The center is a one-stop location for the various services available to fire victims. Among the services assembled by the county at the center are the state Department of Insurance and various insurance companies who can provide homeowners with advice and assistance on restoring their properties.
The Local Assistance Center also includes representatives from the county Assessor/Recorder/clerk and the departments of Children and Family Services, Aging and Adult Services, Behavioral Health, Public Health, Veteran’s Affairs, Land Use Services, Transitional Assistance and Workforce Development. Also available are the State Department of Motor Vehicles, Oak Hills Water District, Community Action Partnership and Southern California Edison.
The Bluecut Fire started on Tuesday at 10:36 a.m. in the Cajon Pass near Kenwood Avenue, west of Interstate 15. For updates and information on the fire, including mandatory evacuation areas, animal evacuation shelters, road and school closures, click here or visit http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4962/. Evacuation centers are available at the Jessie Turner Community Center, 15556 Summit Ave., Fontana and the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds, 14800 7th St., Victorville.
A relief fund for Bluecut Fire victims has been created. To donate, or text RELIEF to 40403, or visit https://ieuw.org/help, or send a check payable to Inland Empire United Way to IEUW Fire Fund, 9644 Hermosa Avenue, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730.
The County has opened a Local Assistance Center at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds, 14800 7th St., Victorville. for residents affected by the fire. The LAC is a one-stop location for a variety of services including but not limited to disaster assistance, property information, and insurance claims. The following agencies are currently providing services at the LAC:
- County Departments:
- Children and Family Services
- Department of Aging and Adult Services
- Department of Behavioral Health
- Department of Public Health
- Department of Veteran Affairs
- Employment Development Department
- Land Use Services
- Transitional Assistance Department
- Workforce Development Department
- Non-County Entities:
- State Department of Motor Vehicles
- State Department of Insurance
- State Farm Insurance
- Allstate Insurance
- Farmers Insurance
- Oak Hills water district
- Community Action Partnership
- Southern California Edison
Inland Empire men will be inspired, educated and better equipped to tackle the challenges of fatherhood and to be actively engaged in their children’s lives during the 2016 Inland Empire Fatherhood Conference.
The Aug. 20 conference, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at San Bernardino Valley College, 701. S. Mt. Vernon Ave. in San Bernardino, will feature workshops. There will be Spanish translation available. Jaiya John, a renowned author, poet and spoken word artist, is the keynote speaker at the Inland Empire Father Involvement Coalition (IEFIC) event. John, the author of “Father to Son: Ode to Black Boys,” will do a meet-and-greet and sign several of his books following his remarks. To register for the conference, visit www.iefathers.org/conference
“One of the most consequential social trends of our time is father absenteeism,” said Lesford Duncan of the County Children’s Network, who serves as co-chair of the Inland Empire Father Involvement Coalition (IEFIC). “The absence of a father increases a child’s risk of experiencing a host of poor outcomes in the short and long term, such as poverty, poor school performance, child abuse and neglect, emotional and behavioral problems, and incarceration.”
Now in its second year, the conference is a collaboration by the Inland Empire Father Involvement Coalition (IEFIC), a group of community-based organizations, county agencies, faith-based organizations, and individuals from various professions working to reduce father absenteeism and the negative images of fatherlessness. The mission of the IEFIC is to encourage healthy child development by promoting the involvement, necessity, and value of the role of fathers in the family and community. Participating San Bernardino County agencies include the Children’s Network, Children and Family Services, Preschool Services Department, First 5 San Bernardino, Child Support Services, Department of Behavioral Health, Department of Public Health Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and Probation.
Children’s Network of San Bernardino County works to improve the quality of life for children at risk who, because of behavior, abuse, neglect, medical needs, educational assessment, and/or detrimental daily living situations are eligible for services from one or more of the member agencies of the Children’s Policy Council.
Children’s Network and the Inland Empire Father Involvement Coalition are doing their part to help the community achieve the Countywide Vision by ensuring residents have the resources they need to provide the necessities of life to their families. Information on the Countywide Vision can be found at www.sbcounty.gov/vision
Following the successful County-led effort to house more than 500 homeless veterans in one year, the Board of Supervisors voted today to expand that initiative and target chronic homelessness, particularly among youth.
In July 2015, the Board of Supervisors vowed to find housing for all homeless military veterans in the county by the end of 2015. A total of 401 veterans were identified as homeless and an advisory group of County, community and private partners went to work on finding permanent housing for them by December 2015. All 401 veterans were housed the day before Thanksgiving 2015 and an additional 162 were housed as of July 2016.
Encouraged by the results of the County-led initiative to reduce and end veteran homelessness, the Board endorsed the expansion of the advisory board’s goals and strategic initiatives to focus on chronically homeless individuals, including the most vulnerable veterans and youth, as well as individuals experiencing mental illness, addiction, and other disabilities.
“We learned many lessons in our efforts to house homeless veterans and we want to use that knowledge to help other segments of the homeless population such as our youth,” said Board Chairman James Ramos. “We believe we can break some of the cyclical and chronic patterns of homelessness, especially when we focus on our young people.”
The Board encourages the development of new strategies emerging from the 401>0 Veterans Initiative including a centralized housing search, development of housing targeted to the chronic population, a cost-benefit analysis study, and the partnership of local communities in the County in solving the homeless problem.
There are 376 people identified as chronically homeless countywide and 31 of them are chronically homeless youth ages 18 to 24. Homeless youth face increased risks of chronic homelessness, including victimization, anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD and suicide.
Philip Mangano, a national expert on homelessness and CEO of the American Round Table to Abolish Homelessness, has served as an advisor to the County-led effort. He praised the Board’s leadership in creating the advisory board to identify impediments to housing homeless veterans and resolve those obstacles. Ultimately, their work created a template of strategic approaches that will serve all homeless populations in the county, he said.
The Division of Environmental Health Service’s Mosquito and Vector Control Program (MVCP) has reported multiple positive indicators for West Nile Virus (WNV) in San Bernardino County. MVCP has sentinel chicken flocks placed in various locations throughout San Bernardino County to detect WNV. If any sentinel chickens test positive for WNV, it means that the mosquito population in these areas are infected, increasing the possible risk of the public being infected. Chickens are not harmed by the virus.
Two chickens from a sentinel flock in Colton were reported to have tested positive for WNV. In addition, a group of mosquitoes collected for testing in Upland and Colton were reported to have tested positive for the virus. MVCP is taking steps to eliminate mosquito breeding hazards.
Those infected with West Nile fever may experience flu-like symptoms that can include fever, body aches, skin rash, and fatigue. In some individuals, West Nile fever can develop into a more serious form of the disease. If you have been bitten by mosquitoes and are experiencing these symptoms, contact your medical care provider.
Residents can protect themselves from WNV by following these tips:
· Drain or Dump – Remove all standing water around your property where mosquitoes can lay eggs such as birdbaths, green swimming pools, ponds, old tires, buckets, flower pots, clogged gutters, or even puddles from leaky sprinklers.
· Dawn and Dusk – Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active.
· Dress – Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored.
· DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET according to manufacturer’s directions.
· Doors – Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
To learn more about West Nile virus, visit the CDC webpage by clicking here.
For more information or to report a green pool or mosquito breeding source, contact the Division of Environmental Health Services at (800) 442-2283 or visit our website at http://www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs.
The County’s Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare is urging people to get the meningococcal vaccine who are at higher risk of contracting the disease. Those who are high risk include men who have sex with men, gay, bisexual men, as well as people infected with HIV.
As of Aug. 15, 22 cases of meningococcal disease have been confirmed in an ongoing Southern California outbreak. There are currently no reported cases in San Bernardino County.
In response to this ongoing outbreak, the California Department of Public Health Immunization Branch (CDPH) has granted temporary approval to all local health departments to use state-funded vaccines for outbreak control efforts. It is particularly important that high-risk individuals be vaccinated. This vaccine protects against the dominant strain of disease identified in this outbreak. Meningococcal vaccine is available at no cost to all County residents who desire to be vaccinated regardless of their insurance status or risk factors.
Currently, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the MenACWY meningococcal vaccine to all high risk individuals. People infected with HIV should receive two doses of the vaccine, and uninfected men should receive one dose. Those who were vaccinated more than five years ago should be revaccinated.
Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection that can cause meningitis, bloodstream infections (sepsis), pneumonia, and arthritis. Meningococcal bacteria are transmitted from person to person by respiratory droplets from the nose and throat. Individuals who are in close personal contact with multiple people, regularly visit crowded venues, or use illegal drugs, smoke cigarettes, marijuana, or hookahs may be at higher risk of infection. Symptoms of meningococcal disease may include fever, vomiting, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion, and rash. If experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical care immediately. Symptoms of meningococcal disease often begin soon after exposure and can be fatal.
There have been no cases reported in San Bernardino County to date. So far, all cases have been reported in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, and most cases have been gay or bisexual men. To date, two patients have died from meningococcal disease associated with this outbreak.
County residents who are at risk can make a vaccination appointment at County Public Health clinics by calling (800) 722-4777. This vaccine may also be obtained through a private provider.
For more information about meningococcal disease and vaccine recommendations, visit the CDPH website or call the Communicable Disease Section (CDS) at 1-800-722-4794.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday appointed Assistant Behavioral Health Director Veronica Kelley to serve as department director effective Oct. 15, the same date current Director CaSonya Thomas begins her new board-appointed position as assistant executive officer in charge of Human Services.
Kelley, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, began her career with County Behavioral Health in 2009 as the department’s cultural competency officer, managing the Office of Cultural Competence and Ethnic Services, the Office of Prevention and Early Intervention and the Office of Innovation. She was deputy director over Regional Operations and Alcohol & Drug Services, and in 2013, became assistant director for the department.
“Veronica is a highly qualified professional who has the board’s full faith and confidence,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Her appointment demonstrates that the county’s pool of executive talent is strong and deep. It also demonstrates the board’s commitment to community health, well-being, and public safety.”
“It is with great excitement that I accept the position of director of Behavioral Health,” said Kelley. “In my position as assistant director, our mission of wellness, recovery and resilience is brought to life by the actions of our staff each and every day as they serve clients, fellow departments, community partners and the community at large. As director, I will continue our focus on this mission and provide high-quality behavioral health services through collaborative efforts, partnerships and transparency. I am proud and honored by the continued opportunity to serve.”
“Throughout her career with the department, Veronica’s expertise and proficiency has greatly contributed to DBH’s mission of providing accessible and effective behavioral health services, supporting the countywide vision of creating a county in which those who reside and invest can prosper and achieve well-being,” said current Director Thomas. “I support her appointment by the Board of Supervisors and have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead the department and the valuable services it provides to the community.”
Kelley earned a master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Child Development from Mount Saint Mary’s University. She is also a member of the Governing Board for the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California serving as the Co-Chair for the Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Committee. Kelley is also a professor at Mount Saint Mary’s, teaching in the undergraduate Social Work/Sociology/Gerontology and Film Department and as an adjunct faculty member in the MSW Program at the Loma Linda University Department of Social Work and Social Ecology.