For National Wildfire Awareness Month, Nanette Wardle, our Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Manager, asks, when a disaster strikes are you ready?
For the past seventy years, John C. Fremont Healthcare District has provided critical emergency and medical care to Mariposa County residents. As the only hospital in the county, we are prepared to address all types of emergencies and disasters.
As the Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Coordinator for John C. Fremont, I work alongside highly skilled first responders including firefighters, police officers, emergency medical personnel, and government agencies and the public health department to develop a “common emergency operations plan” for use in response to and recovery from all emergencies and disasters in our county.
Given our geographic location, a wildland fire is the number one emergency disaster we prepare and plan for every year. Our goals in the event of a wildfire are two-fold: 1) to keep our facilities open, ready to address the full range of problems that arise during a wildfire; and 2) to have trained staff and specialized equipment on hand to care for patients with smoke inhalation, burns, and other medical conditions and medical transport needs as a result of the wildfire disaster. During the Ferguson Fire, for example, we had to mitigate issues with smoke within the facility. We used special equipment that had been purchased after the Detwiler Fire, and assisted the County by loaning this equipment to care for people in shelters and in Yosemite National Park. Each time a disaster or event occurs, we learn from the response and update and improve our plans.
When it comes to preparing for the fire season, CAL Fire is a great resource. They have developed an informative website and brochures to assist communities like ours prepare an emergency wildfire plan with recommendations and supply kits for hardening our homes against wildfires. Below is a link to CAL Fire’s Ready Set Go Campaign.