About 100 members of Crescenta Valley CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) attended a special meeting on Saturday where representatives, including those from Southern California Edison, CV Water District and CV Sheriff’s Department, spoke on how to prepare for the next emergency event.
The meeting was in response to a Jan. 12 panel discussion that was led by Congressman Adam Schiff. Representatives from utility companies throughout the foothills spoke about their reaction to the devastating windstorm that occurred from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1.
During that time in Crescenta Valley, many residents were without power for hours and even days. The main complaint from residents toward SCE came down to communication.
SCE President Ron Litzinger told the panel that his company had depended on their outage management system for customer service. And despite being overwhelmed, SCE officials turned down offers of help from outside sources including other utility companies.
In an effort to reach out to the community and work with local emergency responders, SCE representatives contacted organizations like CERT.
“[CV Town Council president] Cheryl Davis had been at the [January discussion],” said Paul Dutton, CERT president.
Davis advised SCE representatives to get in touch with Dutton and work with CERT.
“[SCE representative] Dave Ford contacted me and we started working together,” Dutton said.
The result was the Saturday meeting.
CERT members who came from as far away as Malibu listened and learned about the various cables that lead from utility pole to pole. Members learned not to touch any downed wires and what they needed to note before calling SCE.
CERT members were instructed when calling to describe the scene, including poles or wires that were down. They need to indicate the exact location, what the road conditions are like and how many personnel are in the area.
This is the second safety educational workshop SCE has conducted.
“We launched our emergency outreach in Altadena,” said Francisco Martinez, SCE representative. “We are planning to have an [emergency] drill in June. We are working with the Fifth District [Los Angeles County board of supervisors].”
Dutton and CERT will play a crucial role in the development of the drill. It will include members of his team as well as emergency responders in the area. The drill will cover not only the emergency, such as an earthquake or another powerful windstorm, but will work on communication.
Ford and Martinez both said they were impressed by the turnout at Saturday’s meeting.
Dutton said that he, too, was pleased at the turn out and that the meeting was an important event. Now he said he is ready to start working on the drill.