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County Fire

Arrive safely with these winter driving safety tips

Reduce Your Speed

Commuting in winter weather poses an increased risk to driver safety. The National Weather Service reports that each year, on average, 5,000 people are killed and more than 418,000 are injured due to weather-related vehicle crashes. Rain and snow require drivers to take extra precautions to ensure a safe arrival to your destination. Before you head out on the road in these conditions, make sure to follow these Winter Driving Safety Tips to help keep you safe.

  • Drive Slowly: Most winter accidents are a result of driving too fast for the current conditions. Remember to slow down on the roads and give yourself extra time to get to your destination.
  • Don’t Tailgate: Be sure to leave at least three car lengths in between you and the driver ahead of you during icy or snowy weather conditions. It takes a longer distance to stop your vehicle on winter roads.
  • Turn on Your Headlights: Visibility is greatly hindered in rain, fog, ice, or snow storms so remember to turn on your low beams when in these conditions so other drivers can see you, even during daylight.
  • Avoid Distracted or Drowsy Driving: Limit your distractions while driving in poor weather conditions. Keep your awareness on the road. Never drive when tired and leave the cell phone alone.
  • Keep Up with Your Car Maintenance: Check your windshield wipers, tires, brakes, etc. on a regular basis to avoid a mishap while driving.
  • Make Sure You Can See Out of All Windows: Give yourself extra time before you drive to make sure your windows are defrosted and scraped clean of any ice that is obstructing your vision and ability to be an alert driver.
  • Check the Roadways and Traffic Ahead of Time: Winter conditions can be somewhat unpredictable so it’s important to check the roadways and traffic before you head out in order to give yourself enough time to safely arrive at your destination. Speeding in poor weather conditions puts other drivers and emergency responders at risk. Check highway conditions at www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi
  • Always Carry Snow Chains: Invest in a set of snow chains for each of your vehicles and carry them in your vehicle, even if it’s not snowing. Practice installing your snow chains away from busy roads and be aware of weather conditions and snow chain speed limits.
  • Slow down at the first sign of rain, especially after a dry spell. This is when many roads are the most slippery, because oil and dust have not washed away. A slippery road will not give your tires the grip they need. Drive more slowly than you would on a dry road. Adjust your speed as follows:
    • Wet road: go 5 to 10 mph slower
    • Packed snow: reduce your speed by half
    • Ice: slow to a crawl

Prepare Your Vehicle

  • Make sure all fluid levels are full and ensure that the lights, heater and windshield wipers are in proper condition.
  • Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Avoid traveling alone. Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate routes.
  • Call 511 for the latest traffic/road incidents, construction and weather conditions and restrictions.
  • Carry a Winter Storm Survival Kit that includes:
    • Mobile phone, charger, batteries
    • Blankets/sleeping bags
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • First-aid kit
    • Knife
    • High-calorie, non-perishable food
    • Extra clothing to keep dry
    • Large empty can to use as emergency toilet, tissues, toilet paper and paper towels
    • Small can and waterproof matches to melt snow for drinking water
    • Sack of sand or cat litter for traction
    • Shovel
    • Windshield scraper and brush
    • Tool kit
    • Tow rope
    • Battery booster cables
    • Water container
    • Candle and matches to provide light and in an emergency, lifesaving heat.
    • Compass and road maps, don’t depend on mobile devices with limited battery life

(Source: National Weather Service)

San Bernardino County Fire reminds you to be prepared for a disaster with the free Ready SB County Disaster Preparedness App. During an emergency, you’ll stay up-to date on evacuations, shelter locations, traffic alerts, and emergency resources available in your area.

Download the Ready SB County Disaster Preparedness App at:
http://www.ReadySB.com/

For a website version of these tips, visit:
https://www.sbcfire.org/SafetyTips/WinterDriving.aspx

Assistant Fire Chief Dan Munsey appointed new County Fire Chief

Assistant Fire Chief Dan Munsey

Assistant County Fire Chief Dan Munsey will serve as the new Fire Chief for the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District effective immediately following his appointment by County Chief Executive Officer Gary McBride, with concurrence from the Board of Supervisors.

Munsey, who has served with County Fire since 1995, succeeds Mark Hartwig, who left the department in February to accept a job as fire chief for Santa Barbara County. Deputy Fire Chief Don Trapp has served as interim chief since Hartwig’s departure.

Munsey’s appointment concluded a nationwide recruiting effort that began shortly after Hartwig’s departure and yielded a broad field of applicants.

“There were several outstanding candidates,” McBride said. “But the Board and I concluded that Assistant Chief Munsey offered the best combination of the traits we were seeking: the leadership skills and commitment to operate County Fire effectively and professionally, and the ability and desire to work productively with public safety agencies throughout the county.”

“Being chosen to serve as fire chief for this organization is a tremendous honor,” Munsey said. “This is a team of highly skilled, dedicated professionals who serve a great community. I am excited about this opportunity to lead them and provide them with the tools and the environment they need to help County Fire fully achieve its great potential.”

In his most recent assignment as Assistant Chief, Division 11, Munsey was responsible for rescue operations, fire, and emergency medical response in the High Desert region, which is the largest of the five regions served by San Bernardino County Fire.

Munsey began his career in the fire service in 1995 as a paid-call firefighter. He became a full-time firefighter in 1998, where he was assigned to Lake Arrowhead. He has worked in every division of County Fire, promoting to captain in 2004, battalion chief in 2008, and assistant chief in March 2014.

Munsey holds a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis on business and government and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Grand Canyon University. Munsey is the current president of the Operations Section of the California Fire Chiefs Association and president of the Hi-Desert Water District Board of Directors. He has been active for a decade in the Rotary Club of San Bernardino, Victorville, and Yucca Valley.

In 2013, Munsey graduated from the San Bernardino County Management & Leadership Academy, a program that provides comprehensive management and leadership training to county employees. Participants gain theoretical and practical knowledge of public service management and leadership practices, with specific emphasis on understanding their application within San Bernardino County government.

The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District has about 1,000 employees, covers approximately 19,000 of the county’s 20,105 square miles, and serves more than 60 incorporated municipalities and unincorporated communities within four Regional Service Zones – Mountain, North Desert, South Desert and Valley – including the City of Grand Terrace, City of Hesperia, City of Needles, City of San Bernardino, City of Twentynine Palms, City of Upland, Town of Yucca Valley, and unincorporated areas. Additionally, County Fire provides contractual fire protection services to two cities: Adelanto and Fontana, via its independent fire protection district.

County Fire is a community-based, all-hazard emergency services organization providing emergency mitigation and management for fire suppression, emergency medical services, ambulance services, hazardous materials response, arson investigation, hazard and terrorism/weapons of mass destruction abatement, and technical rescue, including water-borne, flooding and mudslide, and winter rescue operations.

Deputy Fire Chief Trapp to serve as interim chief

County Chief Executive Officer Gary McBride has announced that Deputy County Fire Chief Donald W. Trapp will serve as interim chief during a nationwide recruitment for a new chief to succeed Mark Hartwig, who is leaving County Fire on Feb. 15 to begin serving as fire chief for Santa Barbara County.

“We would like to thank Don and all of the dedicated men and women of the Fire Protection District for their service and leadership during this transition period,” McBride said.

“I am honored to lead such a talented team of men and women who are proud to be serving in their communities,” Trapp said. “Through teamwork and collaboration with our partner agencies and the communities we serve, we will continue efforts towards community risk reduction plans. Looking for ways to reduce operating costs while still providing the highest level of fire, rescue and emergency medical services remains a priority.”

Trapp has served the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District for 29 years, promoting through the ranks in the Valley, Wrightwood, North Desert and Lake Arrowhead areas. He was appointed Deputy Chief of Administration in July 2015, and has served as Deputy Chief of Operations from 2017 to present. He is responsible for overseeing all fire suppression, emergency medical services, and rescue operations.

Trapp serves on the state Firescope Operations Team and serves as the Operational Area Coordinator.

Trapp became interested in the fire service right out of high school and became a paid-call firefighter for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in Temecula. He began his full-time fire service career with San Bernardino County Fire in 1989 in Fontana.

Throughout his career in County Fire, Trapp has remained heavily involved in the communities served by the district. He has served on the Emergency Medical Services committee, and co-chaired both the Operations Leadership Team and the Hiring, Testing & Development committees.

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.

Residents urged to sign up for emergency alerts via text message and VoIP

Features of the County’s emergency notification system allows public safety personnel to reach more residents than ever before during disasters.

The Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS) uses listed and unlisted numbers in the region’s 911 database to alert residents of life-threatening emergencies and San Bernardino County updates this database every six months. TENS is a proven success, and has placed hundreds of thousands of calls during wildfire and flood events since its creation in 2004. However, the 9-1-1 database only includes landline telephones, so other numbers must be registered. If a resident wishes to receive an emergency alert text message on their cell phone or an emergency call on their Voiceover Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone they must register the number in the system.

TENS is only used in potentially life-threatening incidents such as an evacuation during a wildfire or earthquake. When the County deems it necessary to activate TENS, it will call the numbers in the 9-1-1 landline database in the affected area, and another separate alert will also go out via text message to the cell phones of those residents who have signed up for these alerts. In addition, a call will also be placed to any VoIP numbers that have been registered. The TENS system is currently TTY and TDD capable, however, residents who use these devices are encouraged to enter their numbers using this new feature so that the County can ensure they receive a message appropriate for their device.

To sign up, please visit www.sbcounty.gov and click on the “Sign Up for Emergency Alerts” icon or from the home pages of the County Fire and Sheriff’s departments at www.sbcfire.org  or www.sbcsd.org. Thanks to the partnership with San Bernardino County’s 2-1-1 Social Services Hotline, residents who do not have internet access may register by dialing 211 to sign up.

Since many households do not have landlines these days, we hope that this additional method will go further towards alerting residents and enhancing the overall safety of even more San Bernardino County citizens.

Be Prepared BEFORE disaster strikes. Learn more by visiting www.sbcfire.org.

The County of San Bernardino Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department utilizes multiple ways to notify residents of impending danger, but residents should not wait for or rely exclusively on any single notification system. If you are concerned about your safety and welfare, please evacuate.

Recently burned areas at higher flood risk

Falling RainAs the seasons change, preparations and adjustments must be made to anticipate the onset of rainfall, especially in areas that have experienced a wildfire. Although the weather forecast for this week will eventually rise in temperatures, residents that live in areas that have recently burned are presented with unique challenges when rain is forecast.

Normally, vegetation absorbs rain, but after a wildfire, the charred ground where that vegetation has been burned away creates a loss of soil strength and can no longer easily absorb rainwater, increasing the risk of flooding and mudflows for several years. Properties directly affected by fires, and those located downstream of burn areas, are most at risk.

Post-fire landslide hazards include fast-moving and highly destructive debris flows. Post-fire debris flows are particularly hazardous because they can occur with little warning, can exert great impulsive loads on objects in their paths, can strip vegetation, block drainage ways, damage structures, and endanger human life. Wildfires could potentially result in the destabilization of pre-existing deep-seated landslides over long time periods.

The best preparation for possible flooding is to plan ahead. The Ready!Set!Go! Flood Preparation brochure will show you some of the things you can do to protect your home, property and family. You’ll find information about how to prepare for wet weather, things like cleaning out rain gutters and storm drains, where you can sign up for emergency alerts, fire stations that have sandbags available, and what you should have in an emergency kit. There is also specific information for areas that have recently been burned by wildfire.

Sandbags can best be used to help protect doorways if a waterproof layer like heavy plastic or waterproof canvas is placed behind them. If possible, secure it to the door frame. Stack the sandbags in a pyramid formation and wrap the plastic up and over the top. Keep in mind, sandbags DO NOT guarantee a water-tight seal, but properly placed sandbags can help redirect water, mud and debris away from your home.

The new San Bernardino County Office of Emergency Services app, Ready SB, provides residents with multiple resources that will assist them in preparing for a disaster such as flooding. 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.

Some other helpful resources:

  • To find your closest sandbag location and other information on storm preparation check SBCoFire’s website at www.sbcfire.org.
  • Check the National Weather Service at www.weather.gov to see current and upcoming weather events.

Blue Cut Fire: Resources, services and debris removal

bluecutfire

Residents affected by the Blue Cut Fire who need help with services and housing are urged to call 2-1-1 or 877-410-8829.

Click here for a guide to services available to fire victims.

Questions about how to go about rebuilding your home? Click here

Click here for information on asbestos testing and removal.

Interested in resources for the homeless in the High Desert? Click here

Click here for the application to have damaged property reassessed.

Click here for the required sworn statement to have vital records replaced.

Click here for information on the safe use of private wells and septic systems after a wildfire or call the San Bernardino County Division of Environmental Health Services for assistance at (800) 442-2283. Click here for a list of qualified local well drillers.

Click here for information and applications regarding the process for reestablishing electrical power to water well pumps.

Click here for disaster-related public health information.

Click here for a weather forecast from the National Weather Service regarding the Blue Cut Fire burned area.

For power outage information, please contact Southern California Edison at 800-655-4555. Edison will waive connection fees for total loss properties.

If you are aware of scam artists and price gougers preying on fire victims, contact the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office at (909) 382-7748.

Due to the generous donations of so many, the American Red Cross reports that current needs for items such as food, clothing and household goods for those impacted by the Blue Cut Fire have been met.

The Inland Empire United Way Fire Relief Fund is continuing to work with community partners to assess and address the unmet needs of those affected by the fire and is accepting cash donations to assist with this effort. Cash donations can be made online at www.IEUW.org/help, by texting RELIEF to 40403, or by check, made payable to Inland Empire United Way and sent to: IEUW Fire Fund, 9644 Hermosa Avenue, Rancho Cucamonga CA 91730

Bluecut Fire updates

bluecutfireThe 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.

Follow San Bernardino County Fire on Facebook  and Twitter @SBCOUNTYFIRE or follow San Bernardino County Sheriff on Facebook and Twitter @sbcountysheriff for up-to-date information.

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:
  • Assessor/Recorder/clerk
  • 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

Recently burned areas at higher flood risk

Elder Creek at BaselineEl Niño is expected to drop a large amount of precipitation on our region this winter. While the County is preparing and residents have been given instructions on what they should do to get ready, people that live in areas that have burned recently are presented with unique challenges.

Normally, vegetation absorbs rain, but after a wildfire, the charred ground where that vegetation has been burned away creates a loss of soil strength and can no longer easily absorb rainwater, increasing the risk of flooding and mudflows for several years. Properties directly affected by fires, and those located downstream of burn areas, are most at risk.

Post-fire landslide hazards include fast-moving and highly destructive debris flows. Post-fire debris flows are particularly hazardous because they can occur with little warning, can exert great impulsive loads on objects in their paths, can strip vegetation, block drainage ways, damage structures, and endanger human life. Wildfires could potentially result in the destabilization of pre-existing deep-seated landslides over long time periods.

The best preparation for possible flooding is to plan ahead. The Ready!Set!Go! Flood Preparation brochure will show you some of the things you can do to protect your home, property and family. You’ll find information about how to prepare for wet weather, things like cleaning out rain gutters and storm drains, where you can sign up for emergency alerts, fire stations that have sandbags available, and what you should have in an emergency kit. There is also specific information for areas that have recently been burned by wildfire.

Sandbags can best be used to help protect doorways if a waterproof layer like heavy plastic or waterproof canvas is placed behind them. If possible, secure it to the door frame. Stack the sandbags in a pyramid formation and wrap the plastic up and over the top. Keep in mind, sandbags DO NOT guarantee a water-tight seal, but properly placed sandbags can help redirect water, mud and debris away from your home.

Some other helpful resources:

  • To find your closest sandbag location and other information on storm preparation check SBCoFire’s website at www.sbcfire.org.
  • Check the National Weather Service at www.weather.gov to see current and upcoming weather events.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s El Niño Portal has regular El Niño forecast updates, www.elnino.noaa.gov.

El Niño is coming, are you ready for the rain?

el nino 2015

San Bernardino County Fire Assistant Chief Don Trapp speaks at press conference about El Nino preparedness

Today Caltrans hosted a multi-agency press conference regarding El Niño; focusing on what to expect, how to be prepared and what public safety agencies are doing to be prepared.

Guest speaker, San Bernardino County Fire Assistant Chief Don Trapp, warned citizens that each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard; siting already this year we have seen multiple major flooding and mudslide events. In mid-October, flooding and mud flows trapped hundreds of motorists in adjacent counties and forced the temporary closure of the I-5 freeway through the Tehachapi Mountains. In early September a couple on a first date got caught in a flash flood at Mill Creek crossing in Forest Falls. While she was able to make it to shore, he did not make it out of the water alive.

Chief Trapp went on to state the main cause of so many injuries and deaths is due to people underestimating the force and power of water. More than half of all flood related deaths result from vehicles being swept downstream.

“Heavy rainfall can cause normally dry washes and riverbeds to become raging torrents in a very short amount of time,” Chief Trapp said. “Never cross a road that you can’t see due to it being covered by water. It only takes 2 feet of flowing water to move a vehicle. It is always safest to “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” when roads are flooded. If you are caught in swift water and your vehicle stalls, and there is no water coming into the vehicle, stay put and call for help.  Do not try to exit your vehicle, as the water flows swiftly and can sweep you away.”

Rescue 72 and Swift Water Rescue 72 were on hand to exhibit specialized equipment used to perform a swift-water rescue. Nearly all of County Fire’s first-response equipment is equipped with swift-water rescue gear, which includes dry-suits, floating ropes, personal flotation devices, and other rescue equipment. All San Bernardino County firefighters receive basic swift-water rescue training, and well over 100 firefighters are trained in advanced swift-water rescue skills.

San Bernardino County Fire reminds residents to download and use the free Ready!Set!Go! Flood Preparation brochure on our website at www.sbcfire.og. In it you will find information about what to do before, during and after a flooding event.

The best preparation for possible flooding is to plan ahead. The Ready!Set!Go! brochure will show you some of the things you can do to protect your home, property and family. There are three simple steps you can take to help protect your home from floodwaters and debris: Ready, Set, and Go!

Be Ready. In the brochure you’ll find information about how to prepare for wet weather, things like cleaning out rain gutters and storm drains, where you can sign up for emergency alerts, fire stations that have sandbags available, and what you should have in an emergency kit. There is also specific information for areas that have recently been burned by wildfire.

Get Set. When heavy rain has been forecast – or when heavy, steady rain is falling – monitor the news media, websites and social media sites for updated weather conditions. The phrasing meteorologists use is important; a Flood Watch means flooding is possible in your area, Flood Warning means flooding in your area is already occurring or is imminent, and Flash Flood is sudden violent flooding. Flash floods often come up quickly during heavy rain.

Practice “situational awareness.” Know and understand what is going on around you so that if conditions worsen you can take the necessary actions to protect your home and family. Being ready for any sort of flooding is important.

Go when you’re told. If flooding occurs, you are safest staying in your home if it is not being affected by floodwaters, mud or debris. If asked to evacuate, do so immediately and proceed to higher ground or an established shelter. If the water rises suddenly and you cannot evacuate, move to the second floor or, if necessary, the roof.

If you’re asked to leave, evacuate to higher ground taking your emergency kit and valuables. Don’t forget medications and important documents! Pay attention to your surroundings; look for swift moving water, downed power lines, and debris.

Get your Ready!Set!Go! Flood Preparation brochure and set up a plan now. Having one and practicing it can save you and your family when an emergency comes. Get yours at www.sbcfire.org.  You can also obtain a list of fire stations that have free sand and sandbags.

Other helpful resources:

  • An El Niño resources web page for residents to obtain information on storm preparation is available at www.sbcounty.gov/main/elnino.asp
  • To find your closest sandbag location, check SBCoFire’s website at www.sbcfire.org
  • Check the National Weather Service at www.weather.gov to see current and upcoming weather events
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s El Niño Portal has regular El Niño forecast updates, www.elnino.noaa.gov

Read more about the news conference here with information from Caltrans.

Twitter @SBCountyFollow @SBCounty on Twitter!