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For the second year in a row, the San Bernardino County Fire, Office of Emergency Services (County Fire OES) was awarded the Gold Award by the California Emergency Services Association (CESA) at the association’s annual conference in Indian Wells. On September 10, the Office of Emergency Services received the association’s highest honor for its creation of the “ROPE FOG” (Responders Organized for Pass Emergencies – Field Operations Guide). Last year’s award was received for the development of the innovative Shelter Operations Compound, or SHOC, plan.
Recognizing the nationwide significance of the Cajon Pass/I-15 corridor, lessons learned from the 1996 train derailment that caused a 59 hour I-15 full freeway closure; and taking into account the possibility of a 7.8 catastrophic earthquake, County Fire OES took the lead in assembling critical stakeholders to address vulnerabilities and challenges faced in a catastrophic incident affecting the Cajon Pass. Stabilizing and restoring critical utilities is of the utmost importance to sustaining life, restoring the economy, and overall recovery.
OES steered the two-year planning effort and established a planning team, comprised of all the Cajon Pass stakeholders, to help create the ROPE FOG. Evaluating the progress of the FOG development involved a combination of training events, exercises, and real-world experience to determine whether the needs of the end user were addressed by the FOG.
The end result was the creation of a user-friendly hands-on tool that provides critical incident communications planning guidance, locates possible sites for essential operational locations and pinpoints critical infrastructure.
Receipt of the CESA Gold Award by County OES demonstrates the commitment of the County to be prepared for all hazards and serves as a reminder to all residents to take steps to be prepared themselves. Visit: http://www.sbcounty.gov/Uploads/SBCFire/content/oes/pdf/FamilyDisasterPlan.pdf to download your own copy of “Your Family Disaster Plan” and learn how you can take steps now to become better prepared for San Bernardino County’s next disaster.
Firefighters responded to a three-alarm commercial fire at Monarcas Pallets, located at the 13800 block of Slover Ave. in Fontana. Initial reports stated there were explosions coming from within the pallet yard.
Upon arrival minutes later, firefighters found numerous stacks of pallets, some as high as 30 feet, encompassing about 2-1/2 acres, fully engulfed in 100-foot flame lengths and quickly spreading to adjacent properties. Semi trucks with tractor trailers attached, as well as stand along cargo trailers and passenger vehicles surrounding the facility were already catching fire and putting adjacent businesses at risk.
A chain link fence surrounding the property hindered firefighting efforts. Once access was made, firefighters were able to extinguish the semi and vehicle fires and keep the fire from spreading into over 90 additional semi-tractor trailers. Firefighters were then instrumental in keeping the pallet fire at bay and from burning a commercial building, two manufactured buildings, and reaching a multi-pump fuel station.
Within two hours, more than 63 firefighters from San Bernardino County Fire and partnering fire agencies (Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, and Rialto) had the fire under control. San Bernardino County Fire Inmate Hand Crew (17 additional personnel total), as well as a County Fire Dozer, responded to the business for overhaul and mop up operations, relieving firefighters and medic engines to return back to service. Numerous piles of pallets and other materials have to be broken up to make sure all fire is extinguished. Crews are expected to be on scene throughout the morning.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation by San Bernardino County Fire and Sheriff Investigators. There were no injuries to civilians or firefighters. In all, 10 passenger vehicles were destroyed, 31 semi-tractor trailers were either destroyed or sustained major damage. Firefighters are credited with saving well over $5 million in property and content. Preliminary fire damage and loss is estimated at $1 million.
According to the Earthquake Country Alliance, the motion of the plates will not make portions of California fall into the ocean. Rather, southwestern California is moving horizontally northward towards Alaska as it slides past central and eastern California.
The dividing point is the San Andreas fault system, which extends from the Salton Sea in the south to Cape Mendocino in the north. This 800 mile long fault is the boundary between the Pacific Plate and North American Plate. The Pacific Plate is moving to the northwest with respect to the North American Plate at approximately two inches per year (the rate your fingernails grow).
At this rate, Los Angeles and San Francisco will one day (about 15 million years from now) be next-door neighbors, and in an additional 70 million years, Los Angeles residents will find themselves with an Alaska zip code.
To learn more about earthquakes, visit www.shakeout.org/california and don’t forget to register for the Great California Shakeout at 10:16 a.m. on Oct. 16.
The 12-hour course, “Listos” is free and provides participants with instruction on personal preparedness, utility control, portable fire extinguisher use, and basic first-aid techniques.
The Nov. 14 class is from 6 to 9 p.m. and the Nov. 15 class is from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The course is available through a partnership with the Rialto Community Emergency Response Team in partnership with San Bernardino County Fire Office of Emergency Services.
With almost 25 percent of the County’s population speaking Spanish as their primary language at home, it makes sense to provide disaster preparedness training in a culturally-relevant format.
The first ever Listos course was conducted last week at San Bernardino County Fire Station 72 in Fontana.
For more information about the upcoming Listos course, click here.
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 http://1.usa.gov/1tmgTli or sign up 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 or 1-888-435-7565 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/oes and click on Disaster Preparedness. 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.
September is National Preparedness Month, what better time to take advantage of resources that are available to help prepare for the next disaster. Recently we have all witnessed the devastation of the wildfires burning throughout California and the August Severe Weather (Floods & Mudslides). Preparedness is a year round activity. Building community resilience requires close coordination with government, emergency managers, public and private sectors, as well as individuals to plan for the needs of the whole community. The goal is to engage the public to make preparedness a part of their daily lives and not just for one single month.
Launched in 2004, National Preparedness Month (NPM) is FEMA’s national annual preparedness outreach program managed and sponsored by FEMA’s Ready Campaign.
Ready ask individuals to do four key things:
- Be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and the appropriate responses.
- Make a family emergency plan.
- Build an emergency supply kit.
- Get involved in community efforts.
That’s an earthquake myth. There is no correlation between earthquakes and certain types of weather. Earthquakes begin miles below the region affected by surface weather, according to earthquakecountry.org.
People tend to notice earthquakes that seem to fit a pattern and forget the ones that don’t.
Learn more about earthquake safety at www.shakeout.org/california and don’t forget to participate in the Great California Shakeout at 10:16 a.m. on October 16, 2014.
Telling people to stand in a doorway during an earthquake is outdated advice. It’s one of several earthquake myths you should know about in the lead-up to the Great California ShakeOut at 10:16 a.m. on October 16, 2014.
In past earthquakes, in unreinforced masonry structures and adobe homes, the door frame may have been the only thing left standing in the aftermath of an earthquake. So people thought safety could be found by standing in doorways.
In modern homes, doorways are no stronger than any other parts of the house and usually have doors that can swing and injure you.
You are safer practicing the “DROP, COVER, AND HOLD” maneuver under a sturdy piece of furniture like a strong desk or table. If indoors, stay there. Drop to the floor, make yourself small and get under a desk or table or stand in a corner. If outdoors, get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls and power lines. If in a high-rise building, stay away from windows and outside walls, stay out of elevators, and get under a table. If driving, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses and power lines. Stay inside your car until the shaking is over. If in a crowded public place, do not rush for the doors. Crouch and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.
For more information about earthquake safety or to particpate in the ShakeOut, go to www.shakeout.org/california.
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, Saturday, 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.